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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Announcing my new course:

Neighbor-Love

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary idea. It transforms how people see and treat one another across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected or 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, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings that enrich and enlarge your 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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Announcing my new course:

Neighbor-Love

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary idea. It transforms how people see and treat one another across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected or 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

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I write to help people stop and think, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings that enrich and enlarge your love.

Patient Waiting, Hopeful Missing

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Life is training me in patient waiting and hopeful missing.

Due to the pandemic, my mom and I haven’t done any of our treasured walks this summer. But after three months, we both felt comfortable doing this with masks, and we explored the prairie path together on Saturday.

image1.jpeg

As we walked, mom talked about things she misses after seven years of being a stroke survivor: cooking, gardening, aerobics, riding horses, going for walks without a wheelchair or cane. Our conversations often return to this place of missing and longing for restoration.

I think there’s something spiritually profound about our missing. We don’t simply move on and forget the blessings of life. We miss them, carry them in our memory, and yearn for them to be restored, even after many years and no sign of their restoration.

I see the ache of missing as a rebellious clue of hope. What we miss will be restored, but not often quickly and not always in this life... Read More

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Announcing my new course:

Neighbor-Love

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary idea. It transforms how people see and treat one another across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected or 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 and Think remains free (and ad-free) and takes time to write, and money to sustain.

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, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings that enrich and enlarge your love.

Stories That Mean the World to Me: Podcast Episode

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Dear friends,

Last week I had the privilege of doing a podcast interview with Zach Elliot about the Neighbor-Love Movement. Our conversation covers what the Neighbor-Love Movement is, why we started it, and how you can be part of it. I tell some of the stories that mean the world to me, and I’m excited for you to hear them straight from my heart.

You can listen either at www.zachjelliott.com/podcast or LAB: The Podcast on Apple Podcasts.

Yours with gratitude,

Andrew.. Read More

  • Share post

Announcing my new course:

Neighbor-Love

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary idea. It transforms how people see and treat one another across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected or 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 and Think remains free (and ad-free) and takes time to write, and money to sustain.

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, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings that enrich and enlarge your love.

Radical Generosity

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Last Sunday was an extremely special milestone in my journey. It was my brother Joe’s 50th birthday and a reminder of the life-changing power of generosity.

In high school, I became very passionate for God. This passion translated into a passion for study. I started reading the Bible intensely and teaching myself Greek and Hebrew. I discovered books by Bonhoeffer and other authors who profoundly influenced my sense of calling. This came as a surprise to me, because I wasn’t a reader as a child.

A new dream was born in my heart: to attend Wheaton College. Wheaton was the best Christian university in America and the school where some of my heroes had graduated.

There was only one problem, or really three: I didn’t have any money, my parents hadn’t saved for my college education, and Wheaton was very expensive. I knew that God had called me to a life of service for others, and thus taking out heavy student loans didn’t make any sense... Read More

  • Share post

Announcing my new course:

Neighbor-Love

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary idea. It transforms how people see and treat one another across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected or 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 and Think remains free (and ad-free) and takes time to write, and money to sustain.

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, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings that enrich and enlarge your love.

Humbling Belief

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Dear friends,

Christian belief is a gym for radical humility. At its best, faith stretches our capacity for complexity, charity, and careful listening in a time of polarization and culture war.

Consider some pillar beliefs of the Christian faith.

God is Trinity or three-in-one. But Christians have had endless debates about what this means and how the divine persons relate, remaining distinct “persons” but not three different “gods.” Some Christians have condemned other Christians over differences of Trinitarian opinion and vocabulary. But who could claim to dissect the inner nature of God?

Jesus is the Incarnation of God, the God-human. But Christians have had endless debates over what this means and how the two (“natures”? “persons”? “hypostases”?) relate without destroying each other. Whole Christian churches and cultures have divided over this question, all certain they are right and the other wrong.

The bread and cup are the ultimate meal Jesus gave to every Christian. But do they “become” Jesus? “Represent” Jesus?.. Read More

  • Share post

Announcing my new course:

Neighbor-Love

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary idea. It transforms how people see and treat one another across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected or 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 and Think remains free (and ad-free) and takes time to write, and money to sustain.

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, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings that enrich and enlarge your love.

The Face of God

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A friend recently asked me why I feel alive making peace and building bridges
between people.

His question caught me off guard and made me stop and think.

I believe every person is a precious diamond made and loved by God. The Bible
teaches that every person is an embodied reflection of their Creator (Genesis 1:26). To
see a person aright is to catch a glimpse of God.

But if there’s a wall between us, we can’t see that precious value.

When the walls come down and a bridge is built, we have the chance to move closer
and see one another’s profound beauty and complexity. Perhaps we even experience
the joyous shock of loving someone we were tempted to hate or of learning from
someone we thought was totally wrong.

My most poignant experiences of God have happened on these bridges, in these shaky
in-between places of peacemaking with others.

These moments always remind me of Jacob’s astonishing words after he saw a vision
of a bridge connecting heaven and earth: “God is in this place, and I didn’t know it”
(Genesis 28:10)... Read More

  • Share post

Announcing my new course:

Neighbor-Love

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary idea. It transforms how people see and treat one another across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected or 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 and Think remains free (and ad-free) and takes time to write, and money to sustain.

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, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings that enrich and enlarge your love.

Complexity: Our Opportunity and Challenge

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Dear friends,

Complexity is one of humanity’s greatest challenges and opportunities today.

Complexity comes from two Latin roots: com– meaning “with” and plectere meaning “to weave” or “braid.” Something complex is woven or braided together with multiple parts. Complexity isn’t simplistic or monolithic, which literally means “one rock.” Complexity involves multiplicity, which requires being able to recognize distinctions, interconnections, and ambiguities (having two or more interpretations).

Trees are complex: they have many different parts (roots, trunk, branches, leafs, fruit), many different textures (rock-hard, rough, soft, smooth), many different colors (brown, green, yellow, red), many different functions (oxygenation, habitat, shade, fruit, wood, art), and none of it can be seen, experienced, or understood all at once.

Lily and I experienced America’s complexity a few weeks ago.

One of our favorite traditions when we come home away from home — home is complex! — is having breakfast at Big Rock Cafe. The food is delicious and abundant. The restaurant is nestled in a picturesque neighborhood in the beautiful countryside of Illinois.

.. Read More
  • Share post

Announcing my new course:

Neighbor-Love

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary idea. It transforms how people see and treat one another across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected or 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 and Think remains free (and ad-free) and takes time to write, and money to sustain.

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, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings that enrich and enlarge your love.

Ten Years of Marriage: The Gift of Difference

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Dear friends,

Lily and I got married ten years ago on July 8. It was the happiest day of my life, and that day has grown in happiness ever since — a ten-year-long day.

I love Lily far more today than I did, or even knew I could, ten years ago. How profoundly love deepens, expands, and changes us. Lily is the love of my life, my heart, my gift from heaven.

In our marriage, we have discovered how love binds us together in the beauty of our differences and makes us richer than we could ever be alone.

Lily and I were born citizens of different countries, Ethiopia and America.

We were born with different skin colors in different bodies, brown and white.

We grew up speaking different mother tongues, Amharic and English.

We were raised in different religious traditions and cultures, Orthodox and Evangelical.

We have different professional interests, the arts and ethics.

Lily and I are wildly different in so many ways... Read More

  • Share post

Announcing my new course:

Neighbor-Love

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary idea. It transforms how people see and treat one another across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected or 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 and Think remains free (and ad-free) and takes time to write, and money to sustain.

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, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings that enrich and enlarge your love.

Interview with Hachalu Hundessa: “Injustice Cannot Create Justice”

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Dear friends,

This is an especially joyful and heartbreaking week for Lily and me.

On Wednesday, we will celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary and God’s faithfulness to deepen our love across this last decade. Lily is God’s most precious gift in my life, and I cherish these ten years of marriage with her. Thank you for your friendship and support!

Meanwhile, last Monday night, the famous Oromo singer and activist Hachalu Hundessa was murdered in Addis Ababa. In the protests after his death, at least 166 Ethiopians have been killed, including Hachalu’s uncle, and prominent public figures have been jailed. There is a growing sense of fear, anger, and potential for further violence in the community. Rumors of civil war and ethnic cleansing have returned to Ethiopia.

For my response to the current crisis, please listen to my interview published today with Emnet Tegafaw on her podcast Under the Olive Tree. The English interview begins at minute 5:00.

I had the privilege of interviewing Hachalu on April 19, 2019 in Addis Ababa, and I believe his words carry enormous moral clarity and power for this heartbreaking moment in Ethiopia and around the world... Read More

  • Share post

Announcing my new course:

Neighbor-Love

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary idea. It transforms how people see and treat one another across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected or 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 and Think remains free (and ad-free) and takes time to write, and money to sustain.

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, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings that enrich and enlarge your love.