Faithful Deliberation: Rhetorical Invention, Evangelicalism, and #MeToo Reckonings
Published by: University Of Alabama Press
Imprint: University of Alabama Press
Sales Date: 2022-06-14
Published: June 2022
216 Pages, 152.00 x 228.00 x 25.40 mm
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While often perceived as an insular enclave with a high level of in-group agreement about political and social issues, predominantly white evangelicalism includes prominent voices urging deliberation about appropriate responses to sexual abuse, domestic violence, and the discourses surrounding these traumas. In Faithful Deliberation: Rhetorical Invention, Evangelicalism, and #MeToo Reckonings, T J Geiger II examines theologically reflective rhetorical invention that reconfigures trauma-minimizing commonplaces in order to facilitate community-internal deliberation.
Resting at the intersection of feminist rhetorical studies and religious rhetorics, this book contains four related theological-rhetorical case studies that consider how figures such as Beth Moore, Jen Hatmaker, Rachael Denhollander, Karen Swallow Prior, and others engaged in rhetorical invention. Each juxtaposes differing approaches to contending with rape, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and other traumas. Each case contrasts an approach based on appeals to highly circumscribed understandings of grace, purity, and other denomination-specific traditions and values with approaches rooted in those same traditions and values, but with an eye toward community transformation, healing through justice, and reinvigorated forms of forgiveness. Geiger skillfully argues that this faithful deliberation involves practices of thinking, reflecting, storytelling, and acting within a tightly bounded community that can foster change through a recommitment to core values.
These rhetorical practices exemplify the kind of inventive listening deliberative discourse requires, point to the sort of healing they may promote in response to trauma and trauma discourses, and occur within a range of genres including social media posts, blog entries, published interviews, victim impact statements, and petitions. This study of invention for evangelical-to-other-evangelical deliberative discourse contributes to rhetorical studies by demonstrating the civic and social possibilities of rhetoric within religious enclaves. By locating the case studies as recent moments in longer US public and evangelical histories of activism, deliberative practice, and politics, Faithful Deliberation brings into focus how enclaves and the dominant public sphere interact.
"Faithful Deliberation is a timely study, and the angles the author takes on the subjects therein unique and compelling. The author effectively analyzes the rhetorics of women figures like Denhollander and Moore, making clear their rhetorical significance."
-Jessica Enoch, author of Domestic Occupations: Spatial Rhetorics and Women's Work
"Geiger's argument is fresh, important, and compelling. There is, to my knowledge, no other work out there that does what the author is doing-analyzing evangelical women's rhetoric on their own terms. Really, it's a phenomenal work."
-Jeff Ringer, author of Vernacular Christian Rhetoric and Civil Discourse: The Religious Creativity of Evangelical Student Writers