And Yet: An Untold Christmas Story

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Dear friends,

 

Welcome to Advent.

 

Advent is the season when people around the world focus their attention on

the astonishing mystery of God being born as a powerless baby. After 2000

years, we might think that every inch of the Christmas story has been

explored. But there’s an extraordinary twist in Matthew’s version that is

repeatedly overlooked. Perhaps its radical mercy is too counter-cultural for us.

 

Take a fresh look with me this Advent.

 

“Faithful to the Law”

Joseph was engaged to be married to a young woman named Mary. He was
a devout Jew from the royal line of King David. In fact, Matthew explicitly tells
us that Joseph was “faithful to the Law” (Matthew 1:19). With this important
detail, Matthew wants us to know that Joseph was actively obedient to the
Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament.

But a devastating problem reveals itself.

Joseph’s fiancée Mary was “found to be pregnant,” and Joseph knew that he
and Mary had not had sex (1:18).

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The Neighbor-Love Course

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary movement. It transforms how people see and treat others across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected and misunderstood today.
This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

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I write to help people stop and think. This thoughtful pause helps us restart and live more loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings of faith, hope, and love.

Abide in My Love

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Dear friends,

 
This week I’m sharing an article that’s forthcoming in the journal Ecumenical Trends 49.6. I’m grateful for the editor’s kindness to allow me to share this article with you. I hope it encourages you in this time of increasing polarization, conflict, and violence. 
 
As the military conflict increases in Ethiopia, kindly read, sign, and share the Neighbor-Love Movement’s Joint Declaration for Human Value and Nonviolence in Ethiopia. 
 
Yours,
Andrew 

 

 

Abide in My Love: How Jesus Teaches Us to Respond to Polarization, Conflict, and Violence

When the editors of Ecumenical Trends invited me to write this essay, I was receiving dozens of death threats. My initiative in Ethiopia called the Neighbor-Love Movement works to promote seeing others as precious neighbors across polarized identities, and some people were not happy about the bridges we were attempting to build. Sadly, many of the most hateful threats came from neighbors who claimed a Christian identity.

As I prayed, I asked Jesus if he had a word he wanted to speak to my wife and me as we journeyed through that disturbing season.

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The Neighbor-Love Course

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary movement. It transforms how people see and treat others across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected and misunderstood today.
This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop & Think takes time to write and money to keep free. Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think. This thoughtful pause helps us restart and live more loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings of faith, hope, and love.

Joint Declaration for Human Value and Nonviolence in Ethiopia

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Dear friends,

Beloved Ethiopia stands on the brink of civil war. The United States Institute of Peace writes that war in Ethiopia “would be the largest state collapse in modern history” and “would overshadow the existing conflicts in South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen.”

In response to the escalating conflict in Ethiopia, the Neighbor-Love Movement has published a Joint Declaration for Human Value and Nonviolence in Ethiopia. Our Declaration is available in English, Amharic, Afaan Oromoo, and Tigrigna. It calls upon Christians, Muslims, and all people of good will to defend human dignity and condemn violence in Ethiopia.

As you read the English version below, would you please pray for peace in Ethiopia and add your voice by signing our Joint Declaration? It has already been signed by over one hundred Ethiopian leaders, many holding senior positions in Ethiopia’s religious and civic life. We would be grateful for your solidarity and support in this critical moment.

May peace prevail and human life flourish in Ethiopia!.. Read More

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The Neighbor-Love Course

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary movement. It transforms how people see and treat others across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected and misunderstood today.
This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop & Think takes time to write and money to keep free. Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think. This thoughtful pause helps us restart and live more loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings of faith, hope, and love.

The Election of Everyday Life

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America’s 2020 presidential election is dominating attention at home and around the world. Millions of Americans have already cast their votes, and many more will vote before Tuesday is over.

Some commentators have called this the most significant American election since the Civil War. The candidates have spent a record-smashing $6.6 billion on their campaigns in hopes of victory.

“Election” comes from the Latin word eligere, which simply means to “pick out” or “choose.” A democratic election is the process of citizens selecting people to represent them in government for a limited term. More broadly, an election is the process of citizens deciding what matters most to them as a society.

In this election season, I have felt politically homeless, and I’ve heard the same from many others. As a Christian and ethicist, no party or candidate adequately represents my beliefs and values. Voting one way or another felt like honoring some of my convictions while betraying others. As I stood in line to cast my ballot, I couldn’t help reflecting on the fact that this election is structured by access to massive money, exclusive connections, and tribalistic loyalty in the pursuit of power... Read More

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The Neighbor-Love Course

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary movement. It transforms how people see and treat others across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected and misunderstood today.
This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop & Think takes time to write and money to keep free. Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think. This thoughtful pause helps us restart and live more loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings of faith, hope, and love.

Trump, Ethiopia, and Intercultural Leadership

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Dear friends,

In Stop & Think today, I’m discussing President Donald Trump’s remarks about Ethiopia’s hydroelectric dam during a recent phone call with the Prime Ministers of Israel and Sudan. You can watch the call here and read a BBC article with helpful context here.

You may be unfamiliar with this situation, but I believe President Trump’s handling of it has both local and global importance. Ethiopia has called it an “incitement of war.”

Trump’s conversation about Ethiopia was only three minutes long. But it was a microcosm of much of his communication. As always, his words have reverberated across the world, and, as often, they carry serious implications for hundreds of millions of people. The tone, posture, and content of his statement touch on fundamental issues of intercultural leadership and how to work — or not work — toward peaceful societies where people can not only survive but thrive.

To provide some context about why I care so much about this particular conversation, let me begin with a word about my journey in Ethiopia... Read More

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The Neighbor-Love Course

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary movement. It transforms how people see and treat others across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected and misunderstood today.
This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop & Think takes time to write and money to keep free. Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think. This thoughtful pause helps us restart and live more loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings of faith, hope, and love.

Do Not Conform

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Dear Friends,

As an ethics professor, I’ve had the privilege of teaching many excellent students in America, Ethiopia, Germany, and West Africa. Through the years, some of these students have become dear friends. And I’ve observed that these exemplary people often share several overlapping qualities.

They read rigorously. They think deeply. They ask hard questions. They discuss thoughtfully. They pray earnestly. They travel widely. They cherish friendship. They serve others sincerely.

At root, these are all practices of self-transcendence, of looking beyond oneself and exposing oneself to new ideas, places, people, and God.

And yet, over the years, I’ve watched these exemplary people come to  different conclusions on faith, morality, and politics. Sometimes they come to radically different conclusions — whether they be more “conservative” or more “liberal,” more similar to how they were raised or more dissimilar. Some of these divergences happen in the same family or between close friends.

Observing my students grow has taught me a priceless lesson in radical humility, radical patience, radical nonviolence, radical love... Read More

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The Neighbor-Love Course

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary movement. It transforms how people see and treat others across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected and misunderstood today.
This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop & Think takes time to write and money to keep free. Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think. This thoughtful pause helps us restart and live more loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings of faith, hope, and love.

How Do Political Injury and Healing Begin?

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Dear friends,

 

This week I’m delighted to share my interview on ideological and political healing with the Ask a Spiritual Director Podcast. We explore questions of how ideological and political injuries begin, how these wounds can heal, and what we can do to be part of this healing.

 

This topic is so timely in Ethiopia, America, and many other contexts, and I’m grateful to the hosts of this exciting podcast for inviting me to discuss it with them.

 

As always, thanks for stopping and thinking with me.

 

Yours,

Andrew

 .. Read More

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The Neighbor-Love Course

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary movement. It transforms how people see and treat others across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected and misunderstood today.
This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop & Think takes time to write and money to keep free. Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think. This thoughtful pause helps us restart and live more loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings of faith, hope, and love.

“Cuties”: What Are Our Bodies Worth?

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Dear friends,

This week I’m writing about the controversial movie Cuties.

Some its content is graphic, disturbing, and sickening. But like a war movie that studies the realities of human violence to cry out for peace, this film is asking essential, inescapable questions about our increasingly sexualized, Internet-driven, interconnected world, especially as it affects children. Wrestling with these heavy questions can help us cultivate healthier children, families, and cultures.

It seems to me that some of the controversy surrounding this film is driven by the misleading way Netflix advertised it, which appears to celebrate the sexualization of little girls, when this is the evil this film is investigating and lamenting. My interest is in the actual movie and its subtle message.

Perhaps another outraging aspect about this movie is not only its depiction of how our cultures sexually abuse children but its refusal to satisfy our culture’s hunger for simplistic answers, whether they be “religious” or “secular,” “traditional” or “progressive,” “conservative” or “liberal.” I see Cuties as calling for third ways of seeing and treating our bodies that move away from shaming or sexualizing them... Read More

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The Neighbor-Love Course

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary movement. It transforms how people see and treat others across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected and misunderstood today.
This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop & Think takes time to write and money to keep free. Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

Sign Up for the Newsletter


I write to help people stop and think. This thoughtful pause helps us restart and live more loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings of faith, hope, and love.

Prayer: Premeditating Peace

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Dear friends,

 

Stop and think with me about two questions that may initially appear unrelated but have huge practical importance.

 

First, how do you pray about your enemies?

 

Second, how are you preparing for conflict or peace in your society?

 

Psalms against the Enemy

 

I recently reread the Book of Psalms, and I was struck by how frequently the psalmist talks to God about his enemies.

 

Out of 150 psalms, “enemies” are mentioned 93 times, “foes” 40 times, and “the wicked” 104 times. Interestingly, the enemy is one of the central topics — or targets — of this book of prayers. David meditates on his enemies seemingly all the time when he talks to God.

 

But what really struck me is the content of these prayers. David never prays for his enemies to be changed or healed. That’s not on his mind or in his desires. He also never prays for them to be forgiven or experience mercy, even as David famously confesses his own failures and begs God for mercy (see Psalm 51)... Read More

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The Neighbor-Love Course

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary movement. It transforms how people see and treat others across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected and misunderstood today.
This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop & Think takes time to write and money to keep free. Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think. This thoughtful pause helps us restart and live more loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings of faith, hope, and love.

Why Marriage is Radical

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Dear friends,

This weekend, I had the incredible privilege of marrying two very dear friends: Jenna Herskind and Tyler Heath. My sermon articulates why I believe marriage matters for our world today, and I wanted to share it with you.

Deep love and congratulations to Jenna and Tyler!
Andrew

Why Marriage Is Radical

Two thousand years ago, history changed forever. A revolution of self-giving love began in the heart of the human condition that opened the way to everlasting life. And I believe this ancient revolution shows us God’s design for holy marriage still today.

In occupied Bethlehem, under the shadow of a violent empire, Jesus was born to poor parents, Joseph and Mary. Before Jesus was born, his passionate mother sang a prophetic song about how her son would turn things upside down, bringing good news to the poor, hungry, and powerless.

And Mary was right. When he was just a little older than Tyler and Jenna, Jesus began preaching and embodying God’s love and justice for the poor, oppressed, and powerless... Read More

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The Neighbor-Love Course

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary movement. It transforms how people see and treat others across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected and misunderstood today.
This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop & Think takes time to write and money to keep free. Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

Sign Up for the Newsletter


I write to help people stop and think. This thoughtful pause helps us restart and live more loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings of faith, hope, and love.