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!

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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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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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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

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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

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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 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

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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

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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

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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

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

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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

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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

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

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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

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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

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

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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

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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

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

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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

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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

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

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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

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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

A Prayer for Peace, Justice, and Healing

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Dear friends,

Over the last few days, violence in Ethiopia has killed 67 people and wounded many others. (Read more at Reuters and the New York Times.) In light of this situation, I want to invite you to stop and pray with me for peace and justice in Ethiopia. If you’re not a person who prays, I hope these simple words can serve as a reflection for cultivating empathy and care for others in the midst of suffering. If you do pray, consider writing your own prayer for Ethiopia and others who are suffering violence, loss, and grief.

Yours with love and sorrow from Addis,

Andrew

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Our Father in heaven,

Please have mercy on our many sisters and brothers who have been killed and taken from us.

Please embrace and comfort those who are grieving and heartbroken with unbearable loss.

Please sustain and restore the injured and traumatized and those who are caring for them.

Please protect and sooth those who are filled with fear and still in danger for their lives... 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

The Art of Listening: How Men Can Support Women

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Dear friends,

The Association for Women in Business here in Addis recently invited me to give a talk on why men should support women and how men can do this well. I loved this conversation, and I want to share my perspective with you.

As always, thanks to the subscribers who make Stop & Think possible and for your thoughtful feedback. I love hearing from you.

Yours with gratitude,
Andrew

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  1. Who Needs Support?

Every human, regardless of age or gender, needs the support of others.

From womb to tomb, we need others’ support simply to exist. But more profoundly, we need one another’s support to flourish, to come fully alive and to discover the meaning of why we exist.

Our need for others is not an unfortunate flaw but a beautiful feature of how God made us. We are not self-sufficient gods. We are interdependent creatures who are made for communication and cooperation with others.

Support comes from two Latin words: sub, which means “from below,” and portare, which means “to carry.”.. 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