Eyes: Embodying Neighbor-Love

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Dear friends,

Last week I invited you to begin 2020 by signing the Neighbor-Love Covenant. I believe neighbor-love begins with our bodies – not ideas, money, or technology. Our bodies can be our most intimate and powerful organs for practicing a life of love for others. This week I’m starting with our eyes.

Yours with gratitude,

Andrew

How do you see others?

 

This simple question has occupied my mind and spread like a life-giving virus throughout my thinking. I invite you to welcome this question into your being: “How do I see others?”

 

The way we see others massively influences how we treat others and the kind of interactions, relationships, and cultures we create. The way we see others is the operating system for our lives as social creatures who are constantly meeting others – in our minds, online, in passing, in person.

 

Seeing others as neighbors is the first practice that embodies the Neighbor-Love Covenant... 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

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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.

A Covenant for 2020

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Dear friends,

What covenant are you keeping in 2020 as you begin a new year and new decade?

A covenant is a sacred promise that guides our desires, decisions, and actions. It’s our most basic commitment, which we aim to embody in everything else that we say and do.

For example, as a husband who made a marriage covenant with Lily almost ten years ago, I’m always seeking to live as her husband and to love her – wherever I am, with whomever I am, in whatever I’m doing, even if she isn’t around. My marriage covenant has become the overarching context and commitment that defines every other context and commitment in my life. My covenant with Lily is always relevant and at the heart of who I am.

In 2020, I want to invite you to sign and practice the Neighbor-Love Covenant, which I’ll share below.

When Jesus was asked about the key to everlasting life, he said to love God completely and to love your neighbor as yourself... 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.

Christmas Against Nationalism

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Dear friends,

The story of Jesus’s birth has never been more inspiring and challenging than it is today. Thanks for stopping and thinking with me about this world-changing event and its implications as we approach 2020.

Merry Christmas!

***

America first! Ethiopia first! Israel first!

We live in a time of nationalism, and we often justify the ultimate importance of our nation by appealing to God. We tell a story about how God has chosen us and promises our group special favor, and thus we are right to put ourselves first, even if it harms others. Our nation’s success is a God-given blessing and duty.

There was every reason to expect the Christmas story to be a religious nationalism story. And this is how the Christmas holiday is often celebrated today. God is with us, we tell ourselves.

But when we read the Gospels’ Christmas stories, they are strikingly anti-nationalistic stories. God isn’t on the side of any nation. God doesn’t get behind the collective identity of any group... 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.

Almost Christmas

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Dear friends,

I’m taking a break from Stop & Think this week as Lily and I prepare to return to Chicago for Christmas. In lieu of my regular essay, I want to recommend my friend Laura Merzig Fabrycky’s fantastic essay “Dietrich Bonhoeffer: The Good Neighbor.” Laura was kind enough to discuss some of my research and work in her essay, and I love how she has centralized Bonhoeffer’s passion for neighbor-love.

Chicago friends, Lily and I would love to see you during this brief visit home away from home!

Merry Christmas,
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.

The Gift of the Individual

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Dear friends,

This week I’m reflecting on individualism and the precious treasure of our individuality. Thanks as always for stopping and thinking with me!

Yours with gratitude,
Andrew

###

Few concepts have been so attacked as individualism in recent times.

“The Enlightenment” and “modernity” are routinely blamed for producing individualism. “The West” is condemned for exporting individualism to the rest of the world. The easiest way to cast suspicion on a choice or philosophy is to show that it comes from or leads to individualism.

When I was teaching at Wheaton College, I noticed among my students that “individualism” was often the taken-for-granted villain in what’s wrong with the contemporary world. I have seen the same pattern in my work in Ethiopia.

But I believe this is a serious mistake.

Of course, humans are fundamentally relational creatures. We are born from parents before our wanting or choosing into a particular place and time. We are buried by others after we die... 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.

Dear friends,

This week I’m reflecting on the moral implications of heaven for wealth and poverty on earth. I find the Bible’s vision of heaven extremely thought-provoking, challenging, and inspiring, especially as we look toward Christmas.

Yours with gratitude,
Andrew

###

Do class differences exist in heaven? More broadly, what are the moral implications of the Bible’s vision of heavenly society for how we structure earthly society now?

Many people may think of heaven as irrelevant pie-in-the-sky that distracts from earthly life or as the reinforcement of the class structures that oppress poor people on earth. But when we read the Bible and especially the teachings of Jesus, we find a radically different picture. Instead, the Bible’s vision of heaven is a subversive manifesto for status reversal, economic justice, and ultimate hope for the poor.

There are various Hebrew and Greek terms that get translated as “heaven” in the English-language Bible. In the New International Translation (NIV), for example, the word “heaven(s)” appears 622 times... 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.

Dear friends,

This week I’m reflecting on habits of talking about people vs. talking to them. Join me in renewing your commitment to dialogue with others.

Much love,
Andrew

###

I believe one of the great problems in contemporary religion, culture, and society is that we spend so much time talking about people and so little time talking to people. There is a massive – and morally profound – difference in these two little words: about vs. to.

When we talk about people, no courage or character is required. We don’t need to check whether what we are saying is accurate or honoring. Our word is reality – almost divine. Moreover, we don’t need to risk the other person actually having something to say back to us, whether a word of harsh critique, unexpected kindness, or an honest question. No listening is required. We can stay safe in our globe of gossip, the invincible trench of anonymous attack. Our monologue – spiced with others joining us – is unilateral... 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.

Strange Fruit

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Dear friends,

What would your life be like if God were on your side? This week I’m reflecting on the signs of authentic spirituality in a time of increasing polarization and conflict.

The Neighbor-Love Movement had a very encouraging soft launch at blueMoon last week. Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin wrote, “[The NLM] was without doubt the most incredibly moving event we have ever had… You are my neighbor. I care for you. Period.” Please take a look at our Covenant and consider signing it today. There’s good work ahead.

Yours with gratitude,
Andrew

###

What would your life be like if God were on your side? Who would you be? What would you do?

We live in an increasingly religious world. The old prophecies that “God” was disappearing have proven false. The news is full of stories of religion, from Kanye’s conversion to exploding churches in China. With glitz and glamor, the prosperity gospel preachers promise us health, wealth, and miraculous success if only we give our allegiance and money... 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.

Depolarizing the Person

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Dear friends,

This week I’m stopping and thinking about contemporary polarization and the ways we see others.

If you’re in Addis, you’re warmly invited to blueMoon at 5:30pm (opposite Sapphire Hotel). I’ll be speaking about the Neighbor-Love Movement and how we might see others as neighbors. Big thanks to Dr. Eleni Zaude Gabre-Madhin for her hospitality.

Yours with gratitude,
Andrew

###

How do you see others?

Seeing others as angels is unfair. It gives them too much credit and sets them up to fail.

Seeing others as demons is also unfair. It gives them too little credit and sets them up to fail.

These seemingly opposite ways of seeing others are actually the same. They both refuse to behold – to see and embrace – the human being. They both need idols – super-human objects – to worship or smash, to adore or destroy.

The Bible’s basic vision of humanity is more complex and subtle. We are neither angels nor demons... 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.

Yours: A Word of Freedom and Peace

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Dear friends,

This week I’m stopping and thinking about a single word at the end of Jesus’s famous prayer. It contains incredible power for personal and cultural transformation. Thanks for joining me in seeking a more authentic, thoughtful life.

Yours with gratitude,
Andrew

###

Kingdom. Power. Glory. KPG.

These three words capture some of deepest drives and desires in the human heart.

How many lives have been destroyed in conflicts over kingdom and power and glory? How many injustices justified? How many families shattered? How many wars fought? How much anxiety and addiction enflamed?

Kingdom is systematic control over others. Power is the active exercise of that control. And glory is the status that arises from that kingdom and power.

When Jesus teaches his followers to pray, Jesus teaches us to renounce these three things. Let them go. Give them up. Make prayer a premeditated act of surrendering KPG.

Whoever we may be and whatever we may be doing, kingdom, power, and glory shouldn’t be part of our agenda... 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.