A Time for Vigilance and Resistance

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Dear friends,

 

Stop & Think this week offers a response to the historic siege of the United States Capitol Building on January 6 by pro-Trump rioters. I look at disturbing parallels between Nazi Germany and contemporary Trumpist America based on my PhD research on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Some of my readers may disagree with my analysis, but I ask you to read with openness of heart and honesty of mind.

 

Thank you for stopping and thinking with me,

Andrew

 

 

A Time for Vigilance and Resistance: Disturbing Trends in Nazi Germany and Trumpist America 

 

I’ve studied every surviving word of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) — all of his journals, letters, sermons, lectures, and books. What I’m seeing in America today increasingly reminds me of the rise of Nazism in Bonhoeffer’s Germany. Like Bonhoeffer, followers of Jesus should pay vigilant attention and fiercely oppose these dangerous trends.

  1. We see increasingly apocalyptic political rhetoric like “Save America!” 

The rally where Trump spoke and incited violence minutes before the Capitol siege on January 6 was titled “Save America!” The clear implication is that if you don’t side with this group, you support the death of America, and thus you’re a mortal enemy... Read More

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The Neighbor-Love Course

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary movement. It transforms how people see and treat others across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected and misunderstood today.
This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

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I write to help people stop and think. This thoughtful pause helps us restart and live more loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings of faith, hope, and love.

Humble Defiance, Radical Hope: Gratitude in 2020

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Dear friends,

As we begin a new year, I’m practicing gratitude as an act of humble defiance and radical hope in the face of the many evils and sorrows that 2020 brought. Dietrich Bonhoeffer called gratitude “a profoundly transforming power,” “the Yes from which all [life] springs.”

Here’s a list of 20 reasons why I’m giving thanks for 2020 amid the grief we carry. I invite you to start 2021 with your own act of humble defiance and radical hope.

Yours with love,

Andrew

 

 

  1. Mom’s Health: My mom had a stroke scare hours before we returned to Addis on January 14. It was an ominous start to 2020, but mom fully recovered and has been healthy since.

  1. The IFF Board: The board of the Institute for Faith and Flourishing (formerly ICCG) provides invaluable leadership, friendship, accountability, and generosity as we serve Ethiopia. Thank you, James, Liz, Joe, Steve, and Lily!

  1. West African Pastors: Lily and I taught a Christian Ethics course for 50 West African pastors in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in January.
.. Read More
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The Neighbor-Love Course

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary movement. It transforms how people see and treat others across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected and misunderstood today.
This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop & Think takes time to write and money to keep free. Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think. This thoughtful pause helps us restart and live more loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings of faith, hope, and love.

Christmas in 2020

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Dear friends,

2020 has been an extremely difficult year.

The coronavirus pandemic has taken around 1.67 million lives. Some of my dearest friends have lost their parents to the disease. Perhaps you or people you know have lost loved ones. We have all felt the ache of ambient stress, lost rhythms, loneliness, vulnerability, and uncertainty. The whole world has labored under the heaviness of loss and grief, and we carry this in our bodies.

The United States has seen high-profile police killings of Black Americans (George Floyd among others), nationwide protests, and a rancorous presidential election. The integrity of our democratic values and institutions is being severely questioned. Ethiopia has had high-profile assassinations, horrifying massacres, and a heart-wrenching war. Some 50,000 people have become refugees and 2.3 million children face hunger among other crises.

Polarization has become a feature of our daily lives across the world. It seems that more and more people not only disagree with each other but see each other as enemies locked in existential conflict... Read More

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The Neighbor-Love Course

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary movement. It transforms how people see and treat others across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected and misunderstood today.
This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop & Think takes time to write and money to keep free. Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think. This thoughtful pause helps us restart and live more loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings of faith, hope, and love.

Podcast: Bonhoeffer, Nationalism, and New Beginnings

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Dear friends,

On Saturday, a rally called the “Election Jericho March” was held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This nearly 5-hour event shamelessly fused Christian identity, American nationalism, and a cult of personality around Donald Trump. (It’s one thing to support some of Trump’s policies. It’s another to give unquestioning allegiance to Trump as a leader.)

The “Jericho March” was MC’ed by Eric Metaxas, the author of the famous biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Early in, Metaxas told the crowd that if they saw a helicopter that wasn’t Trump’s Marine One, “get your bazooka out and shoot it down.” The “joke” would have seemed more fitting at a Taliban rally, but the crowd erupted with cheers. Later on, another speaker said that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act to stay in office; if he didn’t, they would start “a bloody war.” Again, the crowd went wild, and Metaxas kept saying, “Praise the Lord!” Another speaker urged the crowd to threaten local leaders that they will “burn it down!” if they don’t get what they want... Read More

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The Neighbor-Love Course

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary movement. It transforms how people see and treat others across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected and misunderstood today.
This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop & Think takes time to write and money to keep free. Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think. This thoughtful pause helps us restart and live more loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings of faith, hope, and love.

And Yet: An Untold Christmas Story

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Dear friends,

 

Welcome to Advent.

 

Advent is the season when people around the world focus their attention on

the astonishing mystery of God being born as a powerless baby. After 2000

years, we might think that every inch of the Christmas story has been

explored. But there’s an extraordinary twist in Matthew’s version that is

repeatedly overlooked. Perhaps its radical mercy is too counter-cultural for us.

 

Take a fresh look with me this Advent.

 

“Faithful to the Law”

Joseph was engaged to be married to a young woman named Mary. He was
a devout Jew from the royal line of King David. In fact, Matthew explicitly tells
us that Joseph was “faithful to the Law” (Matthew 1:19). With this important
detail, Matthew wants us to know that Joseph was actively obedient to the
Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament.

But a devastating problem reveals itself.

Joseph’s fiancée Mary was “found to be pregnant,” and Joseph knew that he
and Mary had not had sex (1:18).

.. Read More
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The Neighbor-Love Course

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary movement. It transforms how people see and treat others across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected and misunderstood today.
This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop & Think takes time to write and money to keep free. Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think. This thoughtful pause helps us restart and live more loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings of faith, hope, and love.

Abide in My Love

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Dear friends,

 
This week I’m sharing an article that’s forthcoming in the journal Ecumenical Trends 49.6. I’m grateful for the editor’s kindness to allow me to share this article with you. I hope it encourages you in this time of increasing polarization, conflict, and violence. 
 
As the military conflict increases in Ethiopia, kindly read, sign, and share the Neighbor-Love Movement’s Joint Declaration for Human Value and Nonviolence in Ethiopia. 
 
Yours,
Andrew 

 

 

Abide in My Love: How Jesus Teaches Us to Respond to Polarization, Conflict, and Violence

When the editors of Ecumenical Trends invited me to write this essay, I was receiving dozens of death threats. My initiative in Ethiopia called the Neighbor-Love Movement works to promote seeing others as precious neighbors across polarized identities, and some people were not happy about the bridges we were attempting to build. Sadly, many of the most hateful threats came from neighbors who claimed a Christian identity.

As I prayed, I asked Jesus if he had a word he wanted to speak to my wife and me as we journeyed through that disturbing season.

.. Read More
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The Neighbor-Love Course

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary movement. It transforms how people see and treat others across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected and misunderstood today.
This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop & Think takes time to write and money to keep free. Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think. This thoughtful pause helps us restart and live more loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings of faith, hope, and love.

Joint Declaration for Human Value and Nonviolence in Ethiopia

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Dear friends,

Beloved Ethiopia stands on the brink of civil war. The United States Institute of Peace writes that war in Ethiopia “would be the largest state collapse in modern history” and “would overshadow the existing conflicts in South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen.”

In response to the escalating conflict in Ethiopia, the Neighbor-Love Movement has published a Joint Declaration for Human Value and Nonviolence in Ethiopia. Our Declaration is available in English, Amharic, Afaan Oromoo, and Tigrigna. It calls upon Christians, Muslims, and all people of good will to defend human dignity and condemn violence in Ethiopia.

As you read the English version below, would you please pray for peace in Ethiopia and add your voice by signing our Joint Declaration? It has already been signed by over one hundred Ethiopian leaders, many holding senior positions in Ethiopia’s religious and civic life. We would be grateful for your solidarity and support in this critical moment.

May peace prevail and human life flourish in Ethiopia!.. Read More

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The Neighbor-Love Course

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary movement. It transforms how people see and treat others across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected and misunderstood today.
This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop & Think takes time to write and money to keep free. Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think. This thoughtful pause helps us restart and live more loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings of faith, hope, and love.

The Election of Everyday Life

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America’s 2020 presidential election is dominating attention at home and around the world. Millions of Americans have already cast their votes, and many more will vote before Tuesday is over.

Some commentators have called this the most significant American election since the Civil War. The candidates have spent a record-smashing $6.6 billion on their campaigns in hopes of victory.

“Election” comes from the Latin word eligere, which simply means to “pick out” or “choose.” A democratic election is the process of citizens selecting people to represent them in government for a limited term. More broadly, an election is the process of citizens deciding what matters most to them as a society.

In this election season, I have felt politically homeless, and I’ve heard the same from many others. As a Christian and ethicist, no party or candidate adequately represents my beliefs and values. Voting one way or another felt like honoring some of my convictions while betraying others. As I stood in line to cast my ballot, I couldn’t help reflecting on the fact that this election is structured by access to massive money, exclusive connections, and tribalistic loyalty in the pursuit of power... Read More

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The Neighbor-Love Course

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary movement. It transforms how people see and treat others across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected and misunderstood today.
This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop & Think takes time to write and money to keep free. Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think. This thoughtful pause helps us restart and live more loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings of faith, hope, and love.

Trump, Ethiopia, and Intercultural Leadership

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Dear friends,

In Stop & Think today, I’m discussing President Donald Trump’s remarks about Ethiopia’s hydroelectric dam during a recent phone call with the Prime Ministers of Israel and Sudan. You can watch the call here and read a BBC article with helpful context here.

You may be unfamiliar with this situation, but I believe President Trump’s handling of it has both local and global importance. Ethiopia has called it an “incitement of war.”

Trump’s conversation about Ethiopia was only three minutes long. But it was a microcosm of much of his communication. As always, his words have reverberated across the world, and, as often, they carry serious implications for hundreds of millions of people. The tone, posture, and content of his statement touch on fundamental issues of intercultural leadership and how to work — or not work — toward peaceful societies where people can not only survive but thrive.

To provide some context about why I care so much about this particular conversation, let me begin with a word about my journey in Ethiopia... Read More

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The Neighbor-Love Course

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary movement. It transforms how people see and treat others across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected and misunderstood today.
This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop & Think takes time to write and money to keep free. Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think. This thoughtful pause helps us restart and live more loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings of faith, hope, and love.

Do Not Conform

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Dear Friends,

As an ethics professor, I’ve had the privilege of teaching many excellent students in America, Ethiopia, Germany, and West Africa. Through the years, some of these students have become dear friends. And I’ve observed that these exemplary people often share several overlapping qualities.

They read rigorously. They think deeply. They ask hard questions. They discuss thoughtfully. They pray earnestly. They travel widely. They cherish friendship. They serve others sincerely.

At root, these are all practices of self-transcendence, of looking beyond oneself and exposing oneself to new ideas, places, people, and God.

And yet, over the years, I’ve watched these exemplary people come to  different conclusions on faith, morality, and politics. Sometimes they come to radically different conclusions — whether they be more “conservative” or more “liberal,” more similar to how they were raised or more dissimilar. Some of these divergences happen in the same family or between close friends.

Observing my students grow has taught me a priceless lesson in radical humility, radical patience, radical nonviolence, radical love... Read More

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The Neighbor-Love Course

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary movement. It transforms how people see and treat others across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected and misunderstood today.
This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop & Think takes time to write and money to keep free. Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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.