Personal Update – 2018 into 2019

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Dear friends,

Lily and I want to wish you and yours a very merry Christmas and happy New Year!

Special thanks this week to Maria! and the now 19 monthly supporters who make this writing all possible.

I want to give you a personal update this week into Lily’s and my life and our work in 2018 with an eye towards 2019. I hope you enjoy the update you can see HERE. We added pictures again to make it less dense 🙂

I love hearing from you. Please don’t hesitate to drop a quick note or ask a question.

Yours,
Andrew.. Read More

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

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The New Us: How Christmas Saved Nationalism

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Each Christmas, I reread the stories of Jesus’s birth in the Gospels seeking fresh insight. What are these ancient stories trying to teach us today?

This year, I was struck by the brilliant intersection of Christmas, nationalism, and Jesus’s kingdom in Matthew’s Gospel. In short, Jesus is “God with us,” but Jesus totally  reimagines the meaning of “us.”

Let me explain.

First, the not-yet-born Jesus is introduced as “the Messiah” who will “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:1, 21).

Matthew’s Jewish audience would have read this as nationalistic language. When the “people’s” sins were finally overcome, God’s favor would return, and thus Israel would defeat her enemies. Israel’s idea of salvation always had this double-meaning: salvation from sins (the cause of God’s judgment) leads to salvation from enemies (the agents of God’s judgment). The Messiah King was expected to be a military leader who would “save” the nation in both senses.

Second, Matthew quotes Isaiah 7:14 and calls Jesus “Immanuel” or “God with us.”

.. Read More
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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

The Ethics of Christmas

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The birth of Jesus reveals God’s love for all people across every barrier. God wants to be with and for humanity. So God comes personally and gently – in a powerless baby born to a poor family in an occupied country – to be Immanuel, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Luke calls this “good news that will cause great joy for all people” (Luke 2:10-12).

Why would God do this?

Jesus explains God’s character like this:

“The Most High is kind to the ungrateful and wicked… your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:35-36

This is who God is: totally undeserved kindness and mercy. And so God never stops giving good gifts, even to “the ungrateful and wicked.” Christmas, then, is the most personal revelation of God’s self-giving generosity. God loves across every boundary and comes in person to share his life with sinners, enemies, the damned – with “all people.”

What is the appropriate response to God’s generosity?

Jesus answers like this:

“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

.. Read More
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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

Advent: Does God Care About Social Justice? Part 3

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Israel’s Hope

How do we get ready for God’s coming?

This question pulsed at the heart of Jewish hope. After Israel had been defeated and exiled from her homeland (first by Assyria in 722 BC, then by Babylonia in 586 BC), it seemed like God had disappeared. Ezekiel wrote the dark words, “Then the glory of the Lord departed” (Ezekiel 10:18).

But the prophets promised that God would finally “return” and make everything right. Isaiah foresaw valleys being filled in and mountains being leveled to “prepare the way for the Lord.” At last, “the glory of the Lord” would be “revealed” and the good news would be shouted, “Here is your God!” (Isaiah 40:1-9).

So if God is coming, how do we get ready? This question was burning in many Jews’ hearts in the first century. They were groaning under Roman occupation, and many people believed that “the Day of the Lord” was finally dawning.

Jesus’s Coming

Of course, this is also the question of Christian “Advent.”.. Read More

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

Does God Care About Social Justice? Part 2

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Last week, I asked, “Does God care about social justice?”

The Prophet Isaiah answers with a thunderous Yes. God not only cares about social justice. God cares about it infinitely more than our traditional religious practices like celebrating holidays, going to church, giving offerings, praying, and fasting (Isaiah 1:12-17; 58:1-12). In fact, when our faith is disconnected from justice for outsiders and the oppressed, God says, “I hate [it] with all my being” (Isaiah 1:14).

But perhaps Isaiah’s passion for social justice was a bit “extreme.” How does his teaching compare with what God says through the other prophets?

This week, I want to show you three more examples of God’s passion for social justice in the Bible.

In the Prophet Hosea, God promises to “stop all of [Israel’s] celebrations” and “holidays” (2:11). He declares, “I also reject you as my priests” (4:6). Why such harsh judgment?

“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” Hosea 6:6

What God really wants is compassionate care for others, especially the unwelcome and unworthy... Read More

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

Does God Care About Social Justice?

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In my research and teaching, I’m always amazed by this trend: religious activity often correlates with forgetting what God really wants. We can fill our lives with church, singing, and prayer but miss the point.

Reading the biblical prophets reminds me of watching Wile E. Coyote chase Road Runner as a kid. The prophets try everything they can to break through to the people, sometimes going to ridiculous lengths. But their message rarely catches up as the people race through their routines.

The irony is that the people won’t listen because they’re already certain that they know what God wants, and they’re busy doing it. So they see these prophets as distractions or rebels, and diligently defend their orthodoxy.

Isaiah summarizes the problem like this:

“No one stops to think.” Isaiah 44:19

This is a wild and arresting biblical claim: we can be convinced that we’re running towards God but actually be running away from God. Devotion can be dangerous, if we’re not willing to stop and think about it... Read More

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Do you enjoy Stop & Think? Become a Sustaining Patron with a monthly donation and invest in my work around the world. Gifts are tax-deductible through the Institute for Faith and Flourishing. Yours with gratitude, Andrew

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

Dakar’s New Humanity

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Last week, I spent five, full days with twenty-four African pastors and community leaders in Dakar, Senegal. Dakar is the westernmost tip of Africa, and I was invited to cross the continent to give these women and men an intensive course in Christian Ethics.

Many things from this intense week impressed and inspired me, including these leaders’ deep thoughtfulness and passion for their communities. But what moved me the most was
the thick sense of love and affection that grew between us as we studied, discussed (and debated!), broke bread, and went out into the community together.

Ten nations were represented in the classroom. We came from different languages, cultures, economic backgrounds, and theological opinions. For my part, I had never been to West Africa before, and my students were total strangers to me when I arrived. And yet by Friday afternoon, we embraced one another with the warmest sense of love and cherishing. In those five days, we had become a new family, and we already started missing one another before we even said goodbye... Read More

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Do you enjoy Stop & Think? Become a Sustaining Patron with a monthly donation and invest in my work around the world. Gifts are tax-deductible through the Institute for Faith and Flourishing. Yours with gratitude, Andrew

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

Midterm Elections Prayer

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Dear friends,

We have just had our midterm election in the United States. This moment reminds me of Paul’s challenge to Christians living in the world’s superpower: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). J.B. Phillips’ old translation is striking: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God re-mold your minds from within.”

Isn’t this the temptation facing Christians around the world? If we don’t rebelliously “renew our minds,” we easily get “squeezed” into the mold of some camp that promises us security and power. But in the process, we make a mockery of Christ’s cruciform lordship and his command to love our neighbors – especially our poor and oppressed neighbors – as ourselves. Before long, our minds conform, and our Christianity and culture become virtually indistinguishable. Values completely foreign to the New Testament – racial superiority, personal privilege, political power – claim our passionate allegiance... Read More

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Do you enjoy Stop & Think? Become a Sustaining Patron with a monthly donation and invest in my work around the world. Gifts are tax-deductible through the Institute for Faith and Flourishing. Yours with gratitude, Andrew

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

Why Christians Should Celebrate the Rise of Women Leaders

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Ethiopian Women Rising

Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, has been making inspiring reforms since he took office in early April. Most recently, Abiy’s reforms have included appointing women to senior positions of government leadership. These appointments have made history in Ethiopia and news around the world.

On October 16, Abiy appointed ten men and ten women to his 20-member cabinet with women now heading important federal ministries like defense, peace, trade, transport and labor, revenue, science, and culture. Abiy said in parliament, “Our women ministers will disprove the adage that women can’t lead.”

On October 24, Abiy appointed Sahle-Work Zewde, an experienced diplomat, to serve as Ethiopia’s first female president. Abiy’s spokesperson Fitsum Arega tweeted, “In a patriarchal society such as ours, the appointment of a female head of state not only sets the standard for the future but also normalizes women as decision-makers in public life.” That night my friend Eden told me, “The glass ceiling has been broken.”.. Read More

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Do you enjoy Stop & Think? Become a Sustaining Patron with a monthly donation and invest in my work around the world. Gifts are tax-deductible through the Institute for Faith and Flourishing. Yours with gratitude, Andrew

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

U.S. Embassy Talk: Enemy Love

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Dear friends,

Last week, I gave you a window into the youth workshops that Dr. Tekalign Nega and I have started leading in Ethiopia with the U.S. Embassy. This week, I’m excited to share some of that content with you. You can read my brief message on the common good and enemy-love below or, if you have Facebook, watch the video (starting at minute 21) here.

Have a great week,

Andrew

The New Ethiopia

Prime Minister Abiy has called for a “new Ethiopia.” What is the new Ethiopia, and what does it require to become possible?

I believe two things are essential for the flourishing of a new Ethiopia and renewal in any society: the common good and enemy-love. In this essay, let me briefly unpack these two ideas.

The Common Good

Humans are creatures driven by what we love. When we talk about “the good,” we’re using another name for what we consider worthy of our love. And what we love is what we give ourselves to... Read More

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Do you enjoy Stop & Think? Become a Sustaining Patron with a monthly donation and invest in my work around the world. Gifts are tax-deductible through the Institute for Faith and Flourishing. Yours with gratitude, Andrew

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

Meet My Newest Friend, Ferdosa

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Meet my new friend Ferdosa from Dire Dawa in eastern Ethiopia. She inspires me, and I’m excited to tell you how we met – and why we’re holding hands.

This week, Tekalign Nega and I embarked on a new collaboration with the US Embassy here in Addis. We’re calling the project “Youth, Public Life, and the New Ethiopia.” In short, for the next eight months, we’re leading a series of workshops for youth around the country to promote the common good and human flourishing. Seventy million of Ethiopia’s 105 million people are below the age of 25, so youth like Ferdosa are extremely important for Ethiopia’s present and future.

Ethiopia has been journeying through a painful period of intense social and political upheaval for the last several years. In its wake, this year Ethiopia registered the largest number of internally displaced people in the world – more than Syria, Congo, and other war-torn countries. Much of this violence has been fueled by communal hatred and conflict, so our workshops are meant to create a safe space for Ethiopian youth to ask big questions, discover fresh perspectives, and imagine a new future as Ethiopia stands at the crossroads... Read More

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Do you enjoy Stop & Think? Become a Sustaining Patron with a monthly donation and invest in my work around the world. Gifts are tax-deductible through the Institute for Faith and Flourishing. Yours with gratitude, Andrew

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

What Is Truly Important in Life? Jesus’s First Sermon

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Jesus’s Debut

Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount was his first major teaching in public according to his biographer Matthew. In contemporary language, it was his debut, his launch party, his initial public offering.

Matthew tells us that Jesus had been healing “all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering from severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed” (4:24). Jesus imbedded himself with the down and out, and he offered them liberation.

Unsurprisingly, then, Jesus was attracting “large crowds” from all over Syria, Israel, and the surrounding region (4:25). People were traveling to see him. The enthusiasm around  Osho in the documentary Wild, Wild Country comes to mind. Jesus was quickly becoming a celebrity minister, a superstar.

So when Jesus goes on the public record, what does he say? What does Jesus consider most important for these “large crowds” to hear as his new ministry surges with success?

Perhaps we can reorient our priorities today around what is truly important based on Jesus’s message... Read More

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Do you enjoy Stop & Think? Become a Sustaining Patron with a monthly donation and invest in my work around the world. Gifts are tax-deductible through the Institute for Faith and Flourishing. Yours with gratitude, Andrew

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

A Wedding Homily for the Shadid Family

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Dear friends,

Andrew and Maryam Shadid graciously asked for me to officiate their beautiful wedding. With their permission, I’m sharing the homily below in hopes it would encourage others.

As always, I love hearing from you. Please don’t hesitate to drop a quick note or ask a question.

Yours,
Andrew

*****

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 eternal life. And I believe that 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 Andrew and Maryam, Jesus began preaching and embodying God’s love and justice for the poor, oppressed, and powerless... Read More

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Do you enjoy Stop & Think? Become a Sustaining Patron with a monthly donation and invest in my work around the world. Gifts are tax-deductible through the Institute for Faith and Flourishing. Yours with gratitude, Andrew

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

Personal Update in Lalibela – Postscript

Rehab of the Senses

Dear friends,

Thank you to our newest patron this week, Roger, ⚡️and our total 13 supporters who make it all possible. We are almost at 20 supporters! With your help, I’m one step closer to making writing my full-time career.

I want to give you a more personal window this week into Lily’s and my life and our work in Lalibela, Ethiopia. I hope you enjoy the update you can see HERE. There are many pictures again this time 🙂

I love hearing from you. Please don’t hesitate to drop a quick note or ask a question.

Yours,
Andrew.. Read More

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Donation = Appreciation

Do you enjoy Stop & Think? Become a Sustaining Patron with a monthly donation and invest in my work around the world. Gifts are tax-deductible through the Institute for Faith and Flourishing. Yours with gratitude, Andrew

Sign Up for the Newsletter


My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

This Is My Body – Conclusion

Rehab of the Senses

The Body as Bridge to God 

In Rehab of the Senses, I have been exploring the body as a bridge rather than a barrier to a profound relationship with God in everyday life. My goal has been to describe an embodied spirituality without gaps that welcomes the presence of God at all times, in all places, with all people in the temple of creation. Rather than accepting a divide between spiritual and secular, church and world, our physical senses of sight, touch, and listening can become sacred organs for experiencing and sharing God in our God-created, God-loved, God-inhabited bodies.

This is why the Bible’s original and ultimate vision has no temple. The world, the human body, and our bodies in community are seen as God’s temple. Genesis pictures our embodied humanity as the marriage of earth and heaven, physical dust and divine breath inseparably woven together. Paul asks,

“Don’t you know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit?”

.. Read More
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Do you enjoy Stop & Think? Become a Sustaining Patron with a monthly donation and invest in my work around the world. Gifts are tax-deductible through the Institute for Faith and Flourishing. Yours with gratitude, Andrew

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

On Listening

Rehab of the Senses

Shema

Stop and listen for a moment

I have always been amazed that God’s first command for ancient Israel began with the simple word listen (Deuteronomy 6:3-4). This command is repeated dozens, if not hundreds of times, throughout the pages of the Hebrew Bible. For many Jews to this day, shema – the Hebrew imperative listen – names the very essence of authentic religion.

Listening is an act of faith that positions the listener in attention and readiness for transcendence, for what stands outside and beyond the listener’s knowledge and control. The one who listens can neither force the other to speak, nor can they foresee what the other will say. Instead, their listening is an active, risk-taking embrace of raw vulnerability to what is unknown and must be revealed by someone other than myself.

Thus, the open ear says,

Here I am. I don’t know what you will say or what it will mean for me. But I’m listening. You are free to reveal yourself.

.. Read More
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Do you enjoy Stop & Think? Become a Sustaining Patron with a monthly donation and invest in my work around the world. Gifts are tax-deductible through the Institute for Faith and Flourishing. Yours with gratitude, Andrew

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

Touch: The Prayerful Body

Rehab of the Senses

The Gift of Touch

Touch, when it is gentle and free of manipulation, is one of the primary ways that we know we are loved and not alone. Touch communicates that others are with us and for us, and that we belong in a community that will walk through life together despite everything.

When my mother had a severe stroke five years ago, she gave no sign of hearing anything I said to her. So I sat beside her through that dark night and held her hand, nervously listening to the beeping of machines. I wanted her to feel my presence through the warm touch of my skin on hers as she powerlessly rested in that hospital bed.

We held hands and embraced one another often in the hospital. Since then, when I return home from Ethiopia, mom rarely asks for deep conversation. But she often asks me to hug her, sometimes abruptly in the middle of us doing something else... Read More

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Do you enjoy Stop & Think? Become a Sustaining Patron with a monthly donation and invest in my work around the world. Gifts are tax-deductible through the Institute for Faith and Flourishing. Yours with gratitude, Andrew

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

On Seeing

Rehab of the Senses

Intro: Seeing the Face

Pause and look into the face of a person near you. Or if you prefer, look into the man’s face from the Crown Fountain in Chicago. Try to keep eye contact for ten seconds.

When you see another person’s face and don’t look away quickly, something profound happens. You make a discovery that takes you deep into the heart of reality and what it means to see truthfully, beautifully, and reverently.

Seeing another’s face brings into focus the intersection of intimacy and mystery, presence and hiddenness, access and inviolability, which inheres in all reality. The face is simultaneously a window and wall for our gaze, an invitation and a limit.

Let me try to describe the face’s paradox and how seeing it might help rehab how we see all things.

Intimacy: The Window

When you see the eyes of the other person, you see that someone is looking back at you. Your gaze is being met and returned, and thus you are not only seeing but being seen... Read More

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Do you enjoy Stop & Think? Become a Sustaining Patron with a monthly donation and invest in my work around the world. Gifts are tax-deductible through the Institute for Faith and Flourishing. Yours with gratitude, Andrew

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

Intro

Rehab of the Senses

Intro

My next series of essays is called “Rehab of the Senses.” It explores how our bodies can be bridges rather than barriers to a profound relationship with God and others in everyday life.

What if the body is not something to escape or idolize but a gift from God to cherish? What if our senses of seeing, hearing, and touching can remind us that we live in a world created, loved, and promised everlasting life by God? What if the physical body is also a spiritual organ, a sacrament that opens and connects us to God?

Living in our bodies with rehabbed senses can change how we relate to others and experience the world. It can also deliver us from a part-time spirituality that only really functions when we’re in church or doing things we’ve defined as “spiritual” like Bible reading, praying, and sharing our faith.

“Rehab of the Senses” seeks a life of incessant devotion to God in every, physical experience of our lives – an embodied spirituality without gaps or breaks... Read More

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

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Jesus: A New Beginning for Christian Politics

Was Jesus Political?

Intro

For the last four weeks, I’ve been asking the question, “Was Jesus political?”

The point of this series hasn’t been to politicize Jesus or to make Jesus the mascot for an agenda. The point has been to stop and think about how Jesus’s politics as recorded in the Bible might challenge the polarization in contemporary culture and point us to new possibilities for organizing our communities. What if Christian politics began with Jesus rather than the camps and categories of our culture war?

Like Hannah Arendt, I find an incredible “originality” in Jesus’s life and work, and I believe Jesus can cast a new vision with energizing hope for our political life. When Christians confess “Jesus is Lord” (Romans 10:9), what are we actually signing up for?

1. Economic and Political Reversal for the Poor and Oppressed

In “Mother,” I argued that Jesus was conceived, born, and raised by a radical young woman who sang songs of economic and political reversal against the system that oppressed and impoverished her... Read More

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Do you enjoy Stop & Think? Become a Sustaining Patron with a monthly donation and invest in my work around the world. Gifts are tax-deductible through the Institute for Faith and Flourishing. Yours with gratitude, Andrew

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

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Hero: The Public Enemy Who Paved the Path for Jesus’s Career

Was Jesus Political?

1. Intro

In my first two essays, I looked at how Jesus’s politics was formed by his radical mother Mary and the profound implications of Jesus’s birth for how we might think about power, outsiders, and disobedience. In this essay, I turn to look at Jesus’s hero.

Who is your hero? Who do you admire and aspire to be like? Who would you name as the greatest person to ever live? What is greatness?

These are massive questions. They’re worth stopping and thinking about for a moment. Our heroes and visions of greatness tell us a lot about ourselves, what we love, and our politics – how we think power should be exercised and people should be organized.

2. John’s Story

Jesus had a hero, someone he followed after and named the greatest person ever born. We can learn so much about the politics of Jesus by looking at this man’s story. The Gospels don’t give us an exhaustive portrait, but what they tell us is profound and thought-provoking... Read More

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Do you enjoy Stop & Think? Become a Sustaining Patron with a monthly donation and invest in my work around the world. Gifts are tax-deductible through the Institute for Faith and Flourishing. Yours with gratitude, Andrew

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

Birth: Animals, Shepherds, and Infidels

Was Jesus Political?

What is the mark of true power? Should we have room in our society for outsiders and infidels? Is it ever right to disobey political authority?

Last week, we saw that the politics of Jesus began with the subversive praise songs of his young mother. Mary’s lyrical protest against oppression and poverty started forming the life of Jesus even before his birth.

But the story of Jesus’s birth is also bursting with profound political implications that are easily overlooked but equally important for the development of Jesus’s politics. This story provides thought-provoking answers to the questions I asked above.

1.

First off, the birth narratives of Jesus repeatedly give him political titles like “King,” “Ruler,” “Lord,” and “Savior” – all titles that Caesar Augustus claimed for himself. The Gospels clearly want us to see Jesus as the personal embodiment of God’s will for the world, not so subtly challenging the claims of the power-hungry rulers that Mary protested in her song... Read More

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Do you enjoy Stop & Think? Become a Sustaining Patron with a monthly donation and invest in my work around the world. Gifts are tax-deductible through the Institute for Faith and Flourishing. Yours with gratitude, Andrew

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

Mother: Mary’s Singing and Jesus’s Radical Political Roots

Was Jesus Political?

Was Jesus political? If so, how did his politics begin and grow? Was political consciousness an insignificant add-on in Jesus’s later life, or was it formed into Jesus from his origins?

In this opening essay, I argue that Jesus’s life was political from the beginning and that we can discover the roots of his radical politics in the most obvious but overlooked place: with his young mother Mary and her songs. And this beginning had profound implications for who Jesus would become and how his political vision would unfold later in his public career, as we will see in the weeks to come.

Like many of us, Jesus grew up listening to his mother sing. One of the earliest details that Luke mentions in his biography of Jesus is that Mary sang when she first learned that she was pregnant with the Messiah. According to Luke, her song went like this:

My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant…
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

.. Read More
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Do you enjoy Stop & Think? Become a Sustaining Patron with a monthly donation and invest in my work around the world. Gifts are tax-deductible through the Institute for Faith and Flourishing. Yours with gratitude, Andrew

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

Introduction: Polarization and the Politics of Jesus

Was Jesus Political?

We live in a time of deep political polarization that is ripping through Christian communities and spreading arrogance, antagonism, and indifference.

Many Christians believe that God is sovereignly at work and returning American society to its Christian heritage through new political leadership. Many others believe that our leadership is morally bankrupt and that Christians should resist being seduced by promises of power for a better future. Still others have lost interest altogether and insist that Christianity is apolitical and unconcerned with what happens in the public square. All three groups – and many others – call themselves “Christian” and claim to follow “Christ” or Jesus.

Rather than taking sides, in this series of essays, I want to stop and think about the politics of Jesus that we find in the four primary sources about his life (known as “Gospels”). Was Jesus political? If so, how was he political, and what can we learn from his words, actions, and the wider story of his life for our politics today?.. Read More

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Do you enjoy Stop & Think? Become a Sustaining Patron with a monthly donation and invest in my work around the world. Gifts are tax-deductible through the Institute for Faith and Flourishing. Yours with gratitude, Andrew

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My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course

Introduction to Stop & Think

Uncategorized

Dear friends,

I’m excited to write to you about my weekly newsletter I’m calling Stop & Think.

I write to help people stop and think, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others.

In her brilliant book The Life of the Mind, Hannah Arendt argued that genuine thinking is only truly possible when we are willing to interrupt our drive toward easy answers, simple solutions, and satisfied desires. The good life requires this paradoxical pause that opens fresh room for new questions, creative imagination, deep gratitude, and radical responsibility. Thus Arendt judged,

“All thinking demands a stop-and-think.”

Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind

Martin Luther King, Jr. anticipated Arendt’s vision of thinking in his classic book Strength to Love. Dr. King asked, “Who doubts that…toughness of mind is one of humanity’s greatest needs?” And yet he observed “an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions.” According to King,

“Nothing pains some people more than having to think.

.. Read More
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Donation = Appreciation

Do you enjoy Stop & Think? Become a Sustaining Patron with a monthly donation and invest in my work around the world. Gifts are tax-deductible through the Institute for Faith and Flourishing. Yours with gratitude, Andrew

Sign Up for the Newsletter


My deepest passion is encouraging others in love. As you stop and think with me, I hope you feel more at home in your humanity, less lonely in what you believe, and fresh courage to love others beyond boundaries. Thanks for reading!

Neighbor-Love: The Course

How do we truly flourish? Take a deep dive with me into the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of loving our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28). This course shows you how.

View Course