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

Kryptonite, Agendas and Exploration

Written by: on February 2, 2024

“What does the Lord Require of Me? But to do Justice, and to Love Mercy and to Walk Humbly with our God.” Micah 6:8


I have a weakness…an Achilles heel, and I’m willing to admit it today: I suck at arguing! I found myself on edge as I read Evangelization and Ideology: How to Understand and respond to the Political Culture by Matthew R. Petrusek, it brought me to a place of anxiety of knowing that in my gut I’m not on the same page as the author on a lot of what he said, and it takes me back again to the inner dialogue of why I am here?  But yet, it convinced me that what I needed most from this book was to recognize the value of arguing.  It is an election year in USA, and this is when I “retreat and take shelter “[1] as Petrusek notes as one of the ways we engage the world.  I’m using it in an opposite way as I use it to disengage from politics, but it is a helpful strategy for me and here’s why.  I just know what I know and trust my gut instincts/holy spirit in observing and knowing what is true for me.  When I read this book, I want to instinctively rail against it as I find myself in alignment of a lot of what he is saying about ideologies, but feeling frustrated because this book has taken all of them to the extreme versions of them and I do not consider myself an extremist by any measure.

“Once you discover they are not going to leave you alone and are intent on joining their cause (or else), it becomes clear that there are only four options to respond: You can run. You can submit. You can bloody your knuckles. Or you can craft a better argument and make your case boldly.”[2]   I’m going to work off this quote in several ways, first of all back to my kryptonite: crafting a better argument and making my case boldly.  I do not have time or energy to do that for this book this week.  Inspectional reading does not give me the opportunity to “craft a better argument for disagreeing with this book”, so my chaplain, find the middle ground heart can acknowledge that my kryptonite is revealed, and perhaps that is what this book has taught me as I engage the world as a Doctor of Leadership.   I have to encounter so many patients in my context who project their thoughts and beliefs on me just based on being a person of faith.  I literally have to take deep breaths when I walk in certain patients’ rooms because I know they’ll have a news station blaring that I cannot stand, and yet, I meet them there.  My vocational ministry is agenda “less.”  I do not evangelize and that is what makes a Chaplain different than a pastor.



When Petrusek mentions in the aforementioned quote “once you know they won’t leave you alone….”[3] Is in my experience the very moment our relationship with others is not fractured, as now one side or both sides have not sniffed out the “agenda” to the relationship. It seems to me (in my inspectional reading) that Petrusek has an agenda to make our political atmosphere more in line with Christian ideals so that they may receive Christ.  I often don’t have a reply to people’s political alignment as I choose to keep the person’s dignity first and foremost in my mind and choose love, this is how I keep my cool even within my close family members. RELATIONSHIP IS MORE IMPORTANT TO ME THEN AGREEMENT, and that is where I will always stand.  My family members argue they vote according to their faith, and I vote according to my faith, Same God, Same Jesus, very, very different voting record.  “But to do Justice, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with my God”[4] this is my agenda, and though the author is advocating for bold advocacy, I believe that courage also looks like love the other, I choose love.  I believe we can have a President who is Christian but not a Christian President.


“The more I contemplate these times, when we truly are giving birth to a new world view, the more I realize that our culture is presently journeying through chaos. The old ways are dissolving, and the new has not yet shown itself. The old ways are dissolving, and the new has not yet shown itself.  If this is true, then we must engage with another differently, as explorers and discoverers”[5].  I resonate with this statement as a true way to be in relationship with each other without agenda is to be an explorer, asking open ended questions and discovering something in the other person we may have misjudged or been biased towards.  Most of us play detective instead, we have made up our minds about an ideology or political leaning or belief and we therefore look for evidence to back up our original thoughts and biases.  When training resident assistants at a Christian college in Chicago, part of our training was playing loud music in the hallways, we had loud Christian music, loud pop music, loud country and loud rap and hip hop.  This exercise brings out our bias because a real life encounter for our RA’s was making sure people were abiding to communal living and realize, that they were far less likely to ask someone to turn down their music if it was a song or style they liked…it didn’t seem loud, but encountering a style that is often played loud and has a wall-rattling bass is easily determined as loud and therefore confront.  As you can guess, many times this was true among racial diversity lines.  If we decided that other’s ideologies are all wrong, how do we not become biased to people who believe this way, and ask them to turn their back from their framework to accept ours?  I am out of time to lay them out, but the last chapter of Petrusek’s book has some helpful ways to argue.  In summary they are: “Try to Avoid attacking “bad People”, ask sincere questions, seek clarity not simplicity, be disposed to learn something new, be a happy warrior, don’t be afraid of courage, don’t compromise the faith to gain a (temporary) ally, be ready to make strategic retreats and take shelter”.[6] Now I’m not sure in the context of this authors intent I agree with all of these, but I will continue to wrestle and to assume the best in this author, and turn to “inquiry and wonder”[7]on who he is, why he may be saying these things, and how I can argue with courage and perhaps one day shake off my Kryptonite, and probably admit I am not an evangelical!


[1] Petrusek, Matthew R. Evangelization and Ideology: How to Understand and Respond to the Political Culture. (Illinois, The Word On Fire Institute, 2023) 454.

[2] Ibid, 19.

[3] Ibid, 19.

[4] Micah 6:8

[5] Wheatley, Margaret. Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a New World. (San Francisco, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc, 2006), 191.

[6] Petrusek, Matthew R. Evangelization and Ideology: How to Understand and Respond to the Political Culture. (Illinois, The Word On Fire Institute, 2023) 446-454.

[7] Palmer, Parker. A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life. (San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, 2008). 281.

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.

4 responses to “Kryptonite, Agendas and Exploration”

  1. Kally Elliott says:

    Whew! I was so mad while reading his book! I am impressed that you were able to read, write and express yourself in a way that was centered, logical, and full of grace. I was not able to do that….just see my blog for that evidence. I actually had to edit several parts out of my blog because I let my anger get the best of me. You write that inspectional reading makes it difficult to craft a better argument. I’ve found this to be so very true and frustrating. There is just so much to read – in this program, in work, and in life – that it becomes difficult to go deep. Anyway, thank you for the grace you were able to weave throughout your post. You make me want to be a better person 🙂

    • mm Jana Dluehosh says:

      I appreciate your words Kally. There is a reason I was a day late in posting…I needed to ruminate on it a bit more before posting. I really did try to weave grace and mercy throughout so thank you for that kind word. I am glad we are here together!

  2. Adam Harris says:

    It was a mixed back for me as well, but I loved when he said: “You can run. You can submit. You can bloody your knuckles. Or you can craft a better argument and make your case boldly.”

    Reading through the blogs, some people had issues with this book and others really resonated with it. I think the key I took away from him is “Don’t avoid, engage!” Our natural tendency is to disengage or dismiss, but Matthew’s book does challenge us to run into the arena, even if it means with him. Getting META now! Thanks for pulling this out Jana!

    • mm Jana Dluehosh says:

      I do want to engage, I don’t want to fight and I suppose that is where the problem starts. I can appreciate this lesson from the book, how to be in the arena! (With a deep knowing of when to retreat and take shelter). Mental and spiritual health can only take so much for so long which I suppose is another reason we are here as a society now too:)

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