Paul’s Riot Gear

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Dear Friends,

 

Paul writes from his prison cell in Rome to the Jesus community in Ephesus that we are at war. Paul’s intense language makes sense in light of the violent conflict he survived in Ephesus and our similar experiences of conflict today.

 

Paul was one of the pioneers who took the message of Jesus to Ephesus, perhaps the most famous city in the Roman Empire besides Rome itself. After just three months, Paul was painfully rejected at the local synagogue. So Paul started hosting conversations and healing the sick in public spaces around the city (Acts 19:8-12). For Paul, the message of Jesus wasn’t confined to religious gatherings; it belonged just as much in the street among strangers and the suffering.

 

The core of Paul’s message was metanoia: a call to a change of mind and practice in response to Jesus (Acts 20:21). Local sorcerers were so inspired by Paul’s ministry that they voluntarily burned the magical tools of their trade, which were worth massive amounts of money (Acts 19:17-20)... 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.

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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.

Podcast on the War in Ethiopia

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Dear friends,

 

This week I’m sharing a one-hour interview that I recently recorded about the war in northern Ethiopia. If you’d like to better understand what’s happening, the larger context to the conflict, and how you might respond, I hope this conversation is helpful. Special thanks to Zach Elliott for inviting me back to LAB: The Podcast for this important conversation.

 

Please join me in praying and advocating for a sustained ceasefire, unhindered humanitarian aid for the suffering, and a dialogue-based resolution to this devastating conflict.

 

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.

Being Loved and Known

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Dear friends,

 

A friend recently put words to something that struck me as both obvious and like an important revelation: being loved and being known are two different things and two different needs in our lives. We may have one without the other.

 

We need to be loved because we need to experience that our lives have value. Human beings are not content with merely existing, just like plants can’t survive in the soil without water and sunlight. Love enlivens and illuminates our worth.

 

But we also need to be known, because our lives have inner depth and we feel lonely and less than ourselves when this depth is unexplored or treated like it doesn’t exist. Being known is like cultivating the soil of the self. It enriches the depth and density of who we are, and creates a sense of rootedness in relationship.

 

People in our lives may genuinely love us. They may smile and embrace us, say kind words to us, spend time with us, give gifts to us, go out of their way for us and generously help us when we’re in need... 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.

A Lament for a Land Beloved

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Dear friends,

 

Not long ago, I sat in a memory-saturated room in Addis and heard the most remarkable questions from some of the people I love most in this world. We had just celebrated the wedding of a beloved friend, but these were the considerations on people’s minds:

 

“What if the violence escalates and we don’t have a country anymore?” “What if we can’t escape to safety?” “What if we can escape but our families can’t? If violent mobs come to our neighborhoods again, will we pick up sticks, stones, and metal pipes to defend our neighbors? If this is what we need to do to survive, is life still worth living?”

 

As I listened and my heart bled, I wondered if these were the questions people were asking in Rwanda before the genocide exploded in 1994. What a horrific thought. It was the kind of conversation I never want anyone to hear but consider sacred because it was the honesty of my friends in a land I 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.

A Prayer for Enemies

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Dear Friends,

I’ve just finished teaching a 4-week Zoom course called “Love Your Enemy.” In the face of rising conflict here in Ethiopia, I decided to devote a month to studying what some of our greatest leaders have taught about loving people who hate us and want to harm us. We looked at Jesus, Howard Thurman, Martin Luther King Jr, and Arthur Brooks.

Wonderful participants joined the course from four continents and eight countries: Ethiopia, Uganda, Côte d’Ivoire, South Africa, the United States, Sweden, Finland, and the Philippines. As we studied together, we found that praying for our enemies is one of the most consistent and powerful practices of love that these leaders taught. Prayer interrupts and can uproot the enmity we feel toward others as we talk to God for their wellbeing.

Still, students asked what a prayer for enemies might actually say and sound like. In response, I’ve written a prayer for enemies that I want to share with you... 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.

On Death Threats

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Dear Friends,

Melkam Fasika — Happy Ethiopian Easter! This season has taken on a new significance for me, and I want to share a very personal reflection with you as we meditate on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

On Good Friday 2020, I started receiving dozens of death threats. People sent me graphic images of death, demons, and heavy weapons. They said they would butcher my body, run me over with a car, or throw me off a bridge. I can feel my heart beating faster and my body becoming tense as I recall these violent words and images. It was a life-changing season.

Why did this happen? Powerful people were outraged that I was trying to build bridges between extremely polarized leaders, and they unleashed a campaign of fake news against me, including a lie-filled YouTube “documentary” that got 55,000 views. Soon enough, people who mostly identified as Christians started promising they would kill me.

I never thought I’d say this... 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 Neighbor-Love Week for National Reconciliation

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Dear friends,

 

This week I’m sharing an article that I recently published with my partner Dr. Tekalign Nega on the website Ethiopia Insight. Our article invites Ethiopia’s religious leaders and communities to devote a week to praying and preaching about loving our neighbors in a time when almost every day seems to bring news of another massacre. Please join us in praying for and promoting this reconciling initiative. If you or your community would like to get involved, please email me.

 

Yours with gratitude,

Andrew

 

The Neighbor-Love Week for National Reconciliation

Ethiopia is an overwhelmingly religious country. The Pew Research Center found that ninety-eight percent of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christians say that their religion is “very important” to them. This makes them among the most religious people in the world.

There is little reason to assume that Ethiopian Muslims, Evangelicals, Catholics, and followers of other faiths see their religion as less important to them. Taken together, over ninety-seven percent of Ethiopia’s population holds its religious texts, traditions, and teachers with very high authority... 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.

10 Reflections on Evangelical Support for the War in Tigray

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Dear friends,

 

This essay reflects on some Ethiopian Evangelical responses to the war that broke out in Ethiopia on November 4, 2020. My reflections will be uncontroversial to some, controversial to others, and unfamiliar to others. For more context, here is a 15-minute interview that I did with my friend Roger Sandberg for Christianity Today.

 

As usual, I want to thank you for stopping and thinking with me. My goal is to pause and seek greater honesty, compassion, and human wellbeing across boundaries, while acknowledging the complexity of the situation and limits of my perspective. I welcome your feedback.

 

Yours with prayers for peace for all,

Andrew

 

Some Ethiopian Evangelical scholars have published articles on the war in Tigray. Implicitly or explicitly, these articles defend the war. I’d like to offer some brief reflections in response.

 

1. One article expresses sorrow for the suffering the war has caused. I deeply appreciate this compassionate starting point... 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.

For Matt (1982-2001): Love, Grief, and Hope after 20 Years

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Dear friends,

Today marks 20 years since my best friend Matt Powers was killed in a car accident. Matt was only eighteen; I was seventeen.

I love and miss Matt. He was a person of infectious joy. His smile was so genuine and his mirthful laughter — I can still hear it dancing through the air today. Matt was a fierce competitor, and he was working hard to become a personal trainer. But Matt was extremely kind and made others feel included. He loved God and loved his neighbor and loved me. We did everything together — sleepovers, birthdays, sports, road trips, music, church, life.

Today, if you’re grieving, I want to say you’re not alone. Maybe your grief started recently. Or maybe it started decades ago. You do not need to deny or suppress your grief.

In 2019, I was at a therapist’s office at the University of Chicago talking about Matt and weeping. Through my tears, I asked Dr... 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.

My Identity Crisis, My Liberation

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Dear friends,

 

Two thousand and nine to 2019 was a decade of losing my self. It was the beginning of an unexpected and priceless spiritual liberation. I am still on this journey today.

 

Deep inside my life, I have found a need to be better than others. I’d like to see this as innocent, as me simply wanting to work hard, be my best, and do valuable things. But I think there are deeper and darker roots to my perfectionism. It comes down to me feeling better about myself if I feel better than others — trying harder, doing more, perhaps being more “faithful.”

 

As I look back on the last decade of my life, I’m seeing that God sent me on an extended identity crisis that is slowly deconstructing this need to be better than others. And this is enabling me to be with and for others as equals with new empathy and intimacy. Unexpectedly, my identity crisis is leading to my liberation... 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.