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Racial Justice, MLK, and the Toxic Sides of “Christian Nice”

Racial Justice, MLK, and the Toxic Sides of “Christian Nice”

The whole time I’ve been developing this series on the toxic sides of “Christian (Midwest Middle Class White People) Nice,” I haven’t been able to give credit to all of my influences in looking at the topic other than a few key concepts from my area of communication studies (helpful as though those have been!). I’ve been wanting to give credit to Martin Luther King, Jr. for awhile and connect these concepts to racial justice, and I can only apologize for…

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“Christian Nice,” Morality, and Political Disgust (Part 1)

“Christian Nice,” Morality, and Political Disgust (Part 1)

It’s been one of those weeks for me. The kind in which a confluence of a lot of conversations pops together with concepts you’ve been absorbing for a long time, and bam! One of those blinding insights. So blinding you can’t unsee it even when you close your eyes. It all started when someone I grew up with—someone who’s admitted to being bad at conflict—was assertively courageous enough to say to me last week that they liked my blog but…

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On Facing Difficult Conversations from a Trauma Background

On Facing Difficult Conversations from a Trauma Background

If you’ve been following the Assertive Spirituality Facebook feed closely, you know I had one of those difficult conversations this week. Without sharing personal details about the encounter, I asked for support there. Because no matter how skilled you are and knowledgeable you are about conflict, these things are hard. That is especially true when there is a trauma background involved in the conversation—and there was on both sides of this particular encounter. This week’s long-and-raw but hopefully worth it…

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Toward Healthier Communication Climates; Or, Why We Need to Speak Up

Toward Healthier Communication Climates; Or, Why We Need to Speak Up

As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in a culture of what I called Christian (Midwest Middle Class White People) Nice, which had some great things about it, but also some toxic side effects. Most notably, I left my childhood with a strong aversion to calling out negative behaviors. I was a little better at speaking up against unhealthy narratives, but still felt awkward and inept at doing so. In this article I’m going to introduce two communication theory concepts…

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In Pursuit of True Civility; or, On Standing Up for the Common Good

In Pursuit of True Civility; or, On Standing Up for the Common Good

There’s been a lot of flap about civility in the news lately, and I’ve seen it mirrored on my news feeds posted by friends, family, and acquaintances. “If we’re to ask for civility for the little guy, then we also need to give it to government employees,” they say. Or “You may not respect the man, but at least respect the office.” As someone who’s been teaching about civility for years, and who’s also been away on a trip until…

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Christian Folk, Let’s Stand Up Against Abuse!

Christian Folk, Let’s Stand Up Against Abuse!

We’ve spent a few weeks discussing the toxic patterns that can be enabled by conflict-avoiding “Christian nice” spiritualities and the ways they can make us sick. It’s high time we discuss what healthier spiritual responses to conflict look like. In this post, I’ll outline what I see as an excellent constructive way to approach conflict in abuse situations by jumping off an excellent reflection by Abbot Tryphon, the leader of the All-Merciful Saviour Monastery of the Russian Orthodox Church on…

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How “Christian Nice” Can Literally Make Us Sick

How “Christian Nice” Can Literally Make Us Sick

Now that we’ve dived into a few nuances of the toxic sides of “Christian nice” (see the bottom of this page for the earlier posts), it’s time for us to discuss why the gangrene metaphor I used in that post isn’t so metaphorical. Which is all to say that it’s time to discuss how suppressing our stress and emotions and disagreements literally makes us sick. My Experience and Some Disclaimers Before I dive into the details, let me say I’ve…

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Christian Folk, Please Stop Enabling Human Rights Violations!

Christian Folk, Please Stop Enabling Human Rights Violations!

Note: This post is an example of me enacting Assertive Spirituality. It is doing so about the recent zero tolerance US immigration policies. If you’re new to this site and want to know what Assertive Spirituality is, check out my part 1 and part 2 of the site’s definition posts. If you want to know what’s going on at the US border, please google major news outlets that fact-check their work and admit to errors when they accidentally commit them….

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Swear-policing part 2/”Christian Nice” part 3: The Robert DeNiro Vulgarity Case

Swear-policing part 2/”Christian Nice” part 3: The Robert DeNiro Vulgarity Case

So as I started writing this I was recovering from a Facebook conversation about the Robert DeNiro’s vulgarity. (Literally recovering—as will be discussed in next week’s post, I feel aggression of all kinds can cause literal pain under some circumstances, and as I’ve said, I’ve been there and done that regarding all kinds of conflict situations.) At any rate, I’m very glad I pushed through the twinges to engage in the conversation thoroughly with those of opposing perspectives, if only…

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The Toxicity of “Christian Nice” Part 2: Some Tips to Counter Cordial Hypocrisy

The Toxicity of “Christian Nice” Part 2: Some Tips to Counter Cordial Hypocrisy

Since I wrote my post on the toxicity of “Christian Nice,” two friends in Christian ministry contexts sent me this tips and tricks piece published at Christianity Today. This article, specifically directed at Christian pastors, offers specific conflict confrontation tips to deal with the passive-aggression of “Christian Nice.” Especially since one reader of the previous piece wanted more examples and healthy conflict confrontation tips, I wanted to offer it here, and also put in my two cents, including some cautions….

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The Toxic Spirituality of “Christian (Midwest Middle Class White People) Nice” (Part 1)

The Toxic Spirituality of “Christian (Midwest Middle Class White People) Nice” (Part 1)

Okay, so as I think I’ve said before, I grew up as a pastor’s kid (in church slang, a PK) in the Midwest. I’m not saying my life was the plot of Footloose or anything, but it was a cultural climate that was VERY white, very tribal-Christian, very “Christian-Midwest nice.” It was also pretty patriarchal. And honestly, I think the particular brands of conflict avoidance I’m about to discuss enabled that and other unhealthy societal structures quite a lot. Let…

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