Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Grace and (not or) Justice

Written by: on February 9, 2024

Do you know what cancel culture is?  Have you been mysteriously ghosted after a night out?  Have you had a long-lost relative jump out of the woodwork and begin to attack your latest post?  Well, The Canceling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Rikki Schlott may be the book for you.  Lukianoff comes from a left-leaning liberal background and is a freedom of speech lawyer and Schlott comes from a Libertarian background and is a journalist.  This is refreshing as they encounter what it means to be “canceled” from both sides of the political line.  In my first run through of this book it feels to be very even handed and calls out both sides of the political agenda on what we are responsible for and how we can help

Canceling of the American Mind gives us what cancel culture is, how cancel culture works and what to do about it.

What Cancel Culture is:

Lukianoff and Schlott warn that “for decades, free speech advocates warned that American higher education was headed for disaster- that colleges and universities were straying from their core mission of pursuing truth wherever it led through freedom of speech and the scientific method”.[1] My first love in all the careers I’ve had was in Higher Education.  I worked as an Admissions Counselor at my Alma Mater in South Dakota, and then at 24 years old, I had had enough of small-town life, and I moved to Chicago, IL and became a Residence Hall Director and eventually Director of Residence at North Park University.  As someone who has worked on a Christian campus and has watched culture and faith collide, at George Fox as well, it has become very tenuous. How does a university hold on to is core beliefs and values, and allow freedom of speech? “In fact, several of the warning schools are Christian Universities who rank as “Abysmal” for free Speech rankings, including Hillsdale, Pepperdine, Baylor, Brigham Young and Saint Louis University.”[2]  Colleges and Universities need money to run, students bring the money, diversity in a student body is great for learning, and yet, have our Christian institutions learned how to embrace our students where they are at?  Do we allow diversity of faith and culture at Christian schools the freedom to express free speech?

How Cancel Culture Works

I found their chapter on Science and Medicine to be very interesting.  Cancel culture not only affect higher ed, but it has had some significant effects on medicine and research.  “Canceling dissenting voices-or even the voices of those associated with dissenting voices, has allowed some pretty bizzare concepts to go unchecked in the Medical world”.[3]  In a world of research and finding new ideas, there is an awareness to making sure we are being inclusive in our research, writings and study, but can lead to danger for researcher as it can present a landmine for being canceled.  I was the chairperson for a few years for my organization for DEIB.  DEI is highly recognizable group but what I thought was a meaningful aspect to our group was the B…Belonging.  Ever since we entered kindergarten, aren’t we just all seeking a sense of belonging?  So in my opinion, there are times when an idea should be canceled, but we seem to only be satisfied with canceling and entire person and their sense of input and belonging in this world, and this is not what Christ modeled for us.  He could’ve canceled a lot of people, and perhaps, because of what he stood for, he was “canceled”, crucified.  I am appalled by all the stories in this book.  I consider myself a high social justice pursuer, and yet what has happened to people canceled has my justice hackles raised.  All of this leads me to my greatest fear, my children being canceled for a misstep.

What to do about it.

As a parent I devoured reading chapter 10; “Raising Kids Who Are Not Cancelers”.  My 11-year-old had some severe behavior issues in 5th grade that forced us to change schools.  It was our idea as parents because I could only think of all the ways this behavior was going to follow him all through school.  While it was hard to go through, I’m glad we gave him a fresh start at least for the end of his 5th grade year.  “Kids are inherently anti-fragile, meaning that if they’re left to their own devices and allowed to fumble, they become more resilient in the process.  But if parents swoop them up before they ever trip up, the process is undermined”.[4]  THIS IS IT! My children are my literal heart beating outside of my body, I would do anything to protect them, and yet this is the world we send them out into, it is seriously scary!  My son had to relive some of his bad choices as rumors flew around him as all the kids joined for middle school, and all I could do was prep him for his reactions, as that is what they were looking for, he needed to walk away and correct bad thinking but not get mad or angry. We told him if he did this, it would eventually go away…so far it has, but I do worry he will be canceled.  He was only 10, still a child, and yet was encountering the adult world and not knowing what was appropriate or not.  I appreciate how this book gave me hope and tools to use, to help myself, my coworkers, and most importantly my children navigate the cancel culture.

Grace!  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24.

[1] Lukianoff, Greg and Schlott, Rikki. The Canceling of the American Mind.  (New York, Simon and Schuster, 2023)

[2] Lukianoff and Schlott, 329

[3] Ibid, 194

[4] Ibid, 21

About the Author


Jana Dluehosh

Jana serves as a Spiritual Care Supervisor for Signature Hospice in Portland, OR. She chairs the corporate Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging committee as well as presents and consults with chronically ill patients on addressing Quality of Life versus and alongside Medical treatment. She has trained as a World Religions and Enneagram Spiritual Director through an Anam Cara apprenticeship through the Sacred Art of Living center in Bend, OR. Jana utilizes a Celtic Spirituality approach toward life as a way to find common ground with diverse populations and faith traditions. She has mentored nursing students for several years at the University of Portland in a class called Theological Perspectives on Suffering and Death, and has taught in the Graduate Counseling program at Portland Seminary in the Trauma Certificate program on Grief.

11 responses to “Grace and (not or) Justice”

  1. mm Pam Lau says:

    Thank you for sharing your family stories about your changing your child’s school. In looking back, do you believe at the end of the day, your decision to move him was best? Also, if you could add to the chapter of raising anti-cancelers, what would you advise?

    • mm Jana Dluehosh says:

      I don’t regret moving him to another school. However, there are always consequences because the school cannot clarify rumors out of privacy. So, he got to finish 5th grade with a fresh start, with new teachers and principle who met with him daily, we found him a great therapist and we just rode the rollercoaster. We knew he needed new set of friends before middle school. We also knew that there would be rumors and kids from the other school who would probably bother him a while. We worked on the response, and for the most part the rumor was he was expelled, and our trained response was “my parents wanted me to go to my neighborhood school”. Eventually they dropped it, but I know it can come back to haunt him. He was definitely in the wrong. He definitely hurt others, and all I can do as a parent is to think about how the other parents may feel if I were on that end, and removing him from the situation I hope helped them too! My son owns his stuff,(most of the time with deep shame and lesson learned) but it was hard! If I could add to this book or even add to my blog I would’ve added quotes from “being wrong” and the reconciliation trials in South Africa. How to we help those who are the wrong doers, find their way back to healing. Forgiveness and Justice. My son paid pretty big consequences socially, emotionally and I believe a year later he is thriving. whew…holding on for the next ride, but hopefully we continue forward with honesty, grit and unconditional love . I’ve always told my boys there is NOTHING they could ever do that would make me not love them. I may be disappointed and there are consequences to choices but loss of my love is not ever one of them!

  2. mm Jonita Fair-Payton says:


    I focused on Chapter 10 also. You wrote,” I appreciate how this book gave me hope and tools to use, to help myself, my coworkers, and most importantly my children navigate the cancel culture.” I also found the tool really helpful, and they left me encouraged that we could help make an impact in a positive way. It sometimes feels so helpless to watch your child navigate the difficulty of growing up in today’s society. Everything seems so amplified.

    I appreciate you ending your post by pointing us back to scripture. Thank you for this,
    “Grace! “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24.”

    • mm Jana Dluehosh says:

      I sometimes feel we make “forgiveness” trite, and shallow. To me, forgiveness of others is a gift to ourselves, and a key part of forgiveness is reconciliation. It does not mean a forget, but it means and orientation towards the one who hurt us. It does not say “forgive and forget” I think it should be forgive and learn. Anyway, I am deeply anxious for all three of my boys, but I also know our home is safe…ALWAYS. It is where they can ask questions, where we can navigate awkward questions, and wrong thinking in a curiosity way and not a shaming “you are wrong” way. I hope that we can model a counter-cultural way of “being” out in the world. Lot’s of time on my knees…praying…and cleaning out the bathroom! Why are boys so gross?

  3. mm Tim Clark says:

    Jana, YES. It’s easy to think about how cancel culture is a challenge for our world, but how it affects our KIDS??? That’s the key!! I think I can deal with it all but I want to ensure that my kids have a fighting chance. Thanks for your perspective and analysis. It’s vital.

  4. mm Russell Chun says:

    “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” – John 15:18 (NIV)

    For some reason this verse came to mind. I cannot help but think that we are salmon swimming upstream. We, by our very identity in Christ, are called to swim against the cultural current.

    Sigh….WE can do it! but your concern for your children strikes a chord in me. My daughter has fetal alcohol syndrome. She contracted it when her biological mother self medicated herself in her cancer period in Hungary.

    Now at age 23, my daughter lives at a maturity level of 15. People around her see her as juvenile and BLOCK her on their phones. Double sigh. Cancelled.

    Wish I had an answer that fits better….


    • mm Jana Dluehosh says:

      Russell, you have no idea how much I can resonate. I have 2 boys who are neurotypical and one who is tall, manly and moderately autistic. He is the one who easily gets “canceled” too. I’ve had parents follow him around a playground because he is a big kid swinging, he looks just like any other 17 year old, but he LOVES the swings. I can see concern in parents eyes, and then they back off when they see me come close. I wanted to train my dog to be a therapy dog with a vest for him to bring with him out in the world, so other’s will know that he is “different”. Your daughter and my son have invisible disabilities and the world can be so damn cruel. Oh to lock my house and keep them in forever! I wish peace, joy, confidence and a hedge of protection for your daughter and my son! Thanks Russell for your response!

  5. mm Jennifer Eckert says:

    Hi Jana, I really enjoyed this post. The topic is extremely relevant and well-spoken. I work in the field of prison ministry and we often discuss how can we reduce the prison population upstream through prevention (crime prevention, teaching coping skills at a young age, etc.). A pastor recently shared that he felt the best prevention methods would target children with an incarcerated parent. Knowing that prison is often generational, it’s about stopping the bad behaviors (bullying) that lead to criminogenic thinking (entitlement, low self-worth) and eventually illegal behaviors (all kinds of stuff here).

    I am glad to hear your attention to coaching your son on appropriate responses when he hears unkind remarks. It makes my heart sad that you have to do that. But how are you helping him to refrain from canceling others in such a heavy culture of it?

  6. mm Cathy Glei says:

    Thank you for sharing from your perspective as a parent. The culture we live in is so cruel. In some respects I think cancel culture has always existed. . .people have difficulty embracing differences and loving as God first loved us. Thank you for the reminder of God’s grace, ALL-sufficient.

  7. Kally Elliott says:

    When our boys would do something dumb my best friend used to ask them, “Well, how did THAT work out for you?” It was her way of getting them to think about the decision they had made and the consequences of their actions. It was super helpful for six-year olds. It can also be a helpful question to a 16 year old who just gets his license and then gets pulled over for speeding (my friend’s boy though it could have happened to mine just as easily!) However, it is not as helpful when your child’s heart is breaking because their actions were serious enough to hurt themselves or somebody else, or to follow them for years after.

    Children are resilient but they become resilient through unconditional love and grace from their adults. I’m so glad you were able to navigate this situation with your son and that he is thriving now. I am sure a huge part of him thriving has to do with the resiliency he’s built because he knows he is deeply loved. Kids our our hearts walking around outside our bodies and when they are hurting we are too! Thank you for sharing about your family.

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