On Death Threats

Uncategorized

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

  • Share post

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.

The Neighbor-Love Week for National Reconciliation

Uncategorized

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

  • Share post

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.

10 Reflections on Evangelical Support for the War in Tigray

Uncategorized

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

  • Share post

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.

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

Uncategorized

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

  • Share post

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.

My Identity Crisis, My Liberation

Uncategorized

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

  • Share post

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.

How Do We Not Hate? 12 Lessons From a Man of Courage

Uncategorized

Dear friends,

 

How do you not hate, even after three of your precious daughters have been murdered?

 

This is the burning question at the heart of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish’s powerful book I Shall Not Hate. Dr. Izzeldin is a Palestinian doctor who was born and raised in Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp after his family fled from Israel in 1948. He tirelessly served between the Gaza Strip and Israel as the first Palestinian doctor to work in an Israeli hospital, overcoming extraordinary challenges and humiliations.

 

Then in December 2008, Israel unleashed a devastating 23-day military campaign on the Gaza Strip. Dr. Izzeldin writes, “I felt a colossal, choking fear for my children, a level of terror I had never experienced before” (169). And then it happened: his daughters Bessan (20), Mayar (15), and Aya (14) were killed when an Israeli tank fired into their bedroom in the Jabalia refugee camp.

 

How was Dr. Izzeldin not consumed with hate and a desire for revenge?.. Read More

  • Share post

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.

Jesus’ Emotional Intelligence

Uncategorized

Dear friends,

The emotional intelligence of Jesus inspires me to live differently.

At the beginning of his movement, Jesus overhears a guy named Nathaniel talking about him. Someone told Nathaniel that Jesus was the Messiah, but Nathaniel doesn’t buy it. In fact, Nathaniel takes a stab at Jesus: “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” (John 1:46).

Nathaniel was basically saying that Jesus was either a loser or a troublemaker if he was from Nazareth. Nobody expected good things from that rural town. We’re all too familiar with these kinds of generalizing, belittling attitudes today based on something about our identity. They’re often at the root of the isolation and conflict between us.

How does Jesus respond to Nathaniel’s insult?

Two responses were predictable. First, Jesus could have  been offended and insulted Nathaniel back: “Where are you from? You’re the real loser!” Or, second, Jesus could have defended himself and started a debate with Nathaniel: “You’re wrong: Nazareth is actually a great town!”

Most of us would have responded in one of these two ways, attacking the other or defending ourselves... Read More

  • Share post

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.

Celebrity Christians Leaders Need to Be Retired: Reflections on Ravi Zacharias

Uncategorized

Dear Friends,

 

Ravi Zacharias was a world-famous Christian speaker and writer. He wrote many books and had a huge global ministry. When he died last year, my social media was flooded with his pictures, quotes, and testimonies about how he changed people’s lives for Christ. It was like a Protestant saint had been canonized.

 

Since then, it has been revealed that Zacharias sexually abused many women in the United States and other countries. He had hundreds of female massage therapists’ numbers in his phone, which he used for extramarital sex. He had hundreds of images of women, including pornographic images, in his phone, which he actively requested from women. At least one woman has claimed that Zacharias raped her. He embezzled tens of thousands of dollars from his ministry to sustain and silence these relationships.

 

It turns out that Ravi Zacharias was a deeply broken, corrupted, harmful man, even as he was a beloved celebrity Christian leader.

 

These six observations come to mind... Read More

  • Share post

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.

Becoming Un-Insult-Able

Uncategorized

Dear friends,

 

I’ve become fascinated by the psychology of insults. Over the years, if I kept a list of the insults I’ve been called, it would be long and sometimes entertaining. I’ve been called most of the ethnic insults in Ethiopia, KKK, a pimp, a dangerous liberal, etc. Whenever I write about something even remotely controversial, I can expect to be insulted by someone — often someone with a sweet slogan on their platform like “Shine a candle in the darkness.”

 

Why do people use insults?

 

Insults are colorful, undigested ways of saying, “I’m angry” or “I hate you” or “I’m superior to you” or “I’m afraid of you.” They’re attempts to express negative emotion and intimidate and belittle the other person into believing they’re less — less than “us,” less than human, less than whatever is supposed to be the standard.

 

So why not just say, “I hate you” instead of “You’re a piece of sh*t” or “F*ck your mother”?.. Read More

  • Share post

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.

10 Pillars of Christian Nationalism

Uncategorized

Dear friends,

 

In my last Stop & Think, I made seven observations about how Christian nationalism has become such a powerful force in Evangelical Christianity around the world. This week, I’d like to look very briefly at ten pillars of Christian nationalism itself.

 

As always, this essay is an invitation to stop and think — not necessarily to think like me. But I’ll suggest that each of these ten pillars should be carefully analyzed and fiercely opposed by followers of Jesus. The reason is because each pillar harbors a deep dishonesty that creates (1) blindness toward ourselves, (2) broken relationships with others, and (3) a blasphemous pride toward God.

 

Rejecting Christian nationalism is one of the most exciting and challenging opportunities for Christian conversion and witness around the world today. When we abandon these pillars, an idolatrous temple can fall and a new freedom for God’s presence opens up between us. Humility is strength not weakness.

 

Yours with gratitude,

Andrew

 

10 Pillars of Christian Nationalism

 

  1. Innocence: 

 

“We are good people, and our history is glorious... Read More

  • Share post

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.