Flourishing on the Edge of Faith Book

Jesus’s Grandmas: The Most Hopeful Untold Christmas Story

Essays

Dear friends,

I’m excited to share my new Christmas essay with you. Before that, three quick announcements:

  • My book launch party is on Sunday at Wheaton College at 2:30pm CST. If you’re in the area, please RSVP and join us!
  • The event will also be streamed live on my Facebook page. (For friends in Ethiopia, that will be 11:30pm.)
  • Flourishing on the Edge of Faith is now officially available at BitterSweet and Amazon. The audiobook will be released soon!

I hope to see you Sunday! Now back to Christmas…

I’m a shameless lover of Christmas. I love the music, the movies, the trees, lights, and cookies. But I confess that remembering the birth of Jesus feels extra special to me this year.

In its unchanging simplicity and infinite mystery, this is what Christmas is all about: God wants relationship with us.

In fact, God so deeply desires relationship with us that God became one of us. Jesus’s biographer Matthew captures the meaning of this holy birth in a single word: Jesus is “Emmanuel” or “God-with-us” (Matthew 1:23)... 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
Flourishing on the Edge of Faith Book

Tears and Laughter: Flourishing on the Edge of Faith Is Born!

Essays

Dear friends,

When was the last time you cried?

I spent the weekend at Laity Lodge for the Breaking Ground retreat and got to share breakfast with a beautiful man named Alfonso. Alfonso has a kind face and warm presence punctuated with laughter. He leads a palliative care center called Silverstone to help people at the end of life die with dignity and hope. As we started talking, Alfonso asked me this unexpected question: “Andrew, when was the last time you cried?”

His question took me by surprise but touched my soul. When I was teaching at Wheaton College, I used to ask my philosophy students this question on the first day of class. (Their responses were voluntary, privately written, and kept confidential.) One of my student’s answers moved me so deeply that I invited him to meet for a meal in the cafeteria to talk about his life. This began one of Lily’s and my most cherished friendships, which continues to this day... 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
Flourishing on the Edge of Faith Book

Book Launch Party: You’re Invited!

Essays

Dear friends,

My beloved wife Lily is generously hosting a launch party for my new book Flourishing on the Edge of Faith.

The party is at Wheaton College on Sunday December 4th at 2:30pm, and it’s my pleasure to extend Lily’s invitation to you below. As Lily says in her letter, I realize that many of you are distant from the Chicago area. But I wanted to make sure that all of you feel warmly invited to celebrate with us. I’ll let you know if streaming the event online becomes possible.

This will be the first gathering where the book will be available for purchase, and it would be a special privilege to sign your copy and express my gratitude for you going on this journey with me toward a fiercer flourishing.

If you are able to join us, kindly RSVP here at your earliest convenience. I’ll turn it over to Lily now and hope to see you at the party!.. 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

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
Flourishing on the Edge of Faith Book

Sneak Peak: Download the Preface to Flourishing on the Edge of Faith

Essays

Dear friends,

Flourishing on the Edge of Faith

I’m delighted to share happy news: Flourishing on the Edge of Faith is at the printing press and should be available for purchase before Thanksgiving later this month. I hope this book is a meaningful companion for you and a beautiful gift for friends during the Christmas season. To receive release updates, kindly signup here.

Today I’m excited to share Flourishing‘s Preface with you. It’s only four pages long, but it articulates why this book matters to me and who was in my heart as I wrote it. My deepest desire for Flourishing is not so much to “influence” the reader but to make the reader feel at home and invited into a deeper flourishing through a fresh immersion in Jesus’s practice of prayer. Download the Preface here and let me know what you think.

Lastly, Lily is brainstorming a book launch party for friends in Chicagoland. If you’re in the area or feel inspired to make a special visit, please stay tuned for details... 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

Interview With a Heroic Surgeon Amidst Ethiopia’s Civil War

Essays

Dear friends,

This Friday – November 4 – will mark two years since Ethiopia’s civil war erupted. Ukraine has rightly captured the world’s attention. But the world’s deadliest war continues to rage in Ethiopia and has been largely overlooked by the world.

To mark the second anniversary of Ethiopia’s civil war, I want to invite you to do three things below: (1) watch a short video with an inspiring call for peace, (2) pray for peace in Ethiopia, and (3) read an interview that I did with a heroic Ethiopian surgeon in the heart of the war. This should only take you fifteen minutes.

But first a brief update on the conflict:

Last week, the main parties in Ethiopia’s civil war – the Ethiopian federal government and the Tigray regional government – met for the first time to start formal peace talks in South Africa. This was an encouraging step in the right direction.

Sadly, however, the primary representative from the Ethiopian government never showed up, and the fighting in Tigray continued throughout the talks. .. 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

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
Flourishing on the Edge of Faith Book

When Vulnerability Meets Vulnerability

Essays

Dear friends,

What does vulnerability feel like to you?

For me, vulnerability at its best feels like the intersection of frightening self-exposure and soul-filling connection. The self-exposure is frightening because it opens the possibility of being rejected, humiliated, or simply ignored.

But the self-exposure, however frightening, can lead to soul-filling connection precisely because we’ve taken the risk of opening ourselves and revealing something intimately important to us. When we do this, we invite others to respond in kind with their own vulnerability.

And when vulnerability meets vulnerability, something divine happens.

I’ve experienced this in a new way as I prepare to share Flourishing on the Edge of Faith with the world. This book has been gestating in my heart for several years, and I’ve poured my soul into every word. It’s intimately important to me. Flourishing on the Edge of Faith

But after the book was written, I wasn’t done. I then faced that scary moment of self-exposure: I needed to share the book with reviewers and ask for their honest assessment of its value... 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
Flourishing on the Edge of Faith Book

Flourishing’s Final Cover Is Here!

Essays

Dear friends,

Thanks so much for voting for the cover of my forthcoming book Flourishing on the Edge of Faith. You had an overwhelming favorite, and I’m delighted to reveal the book’s final front cover with you today:

Flourishing on the Edge of Faith

The seven artworks in this beautiful collage were created by Holly Harris, and each piece illustrates one of the seven practices in Jesus’s prayer. Special thanks to Holly for these stunning original works, which she sketched, hand-carved into linoleum, rolled with ink, and pressed for my book.

At the very beginning of his public movement, Jesus taught a wildly diverse crowd of people a seven-part prayer. I believe this prayer distills the essence of Jesus’s entire spirituality into a daily meditation. I also believe it’s the secret to the beautiful way that Jesus lived, died, and lived again.

Flourishing on the Edge of Faith is about these seven practices, how they’re connected, and how practicing them every day can re-integrate us into a mature human flourishing... 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

Lily: This Is a Love Story

Essays

Dear friends,

Tomorrow is Lily’s birthday, and I want to celebrate her infinitely precious life by sharing part of our love story with you. Thanks for sharing my joy; I hope our love story reenergizes yours.

In 2007, I made an unusual choice that changed my life: I dropped out of my M.A. program at the University of Chicago. I missed Ethiopia deeply, and I felt called to move back there for the third time. So I consulted with my mentors, met with Dean Owens, and did it.

On the way, I attended a thrilling philosophy seminar at the University of Paris taught by Professor Jean-Luc Marion. The seminar was thrilling to me for three reasons. First, Professor Marion was one of the most respected philosophers in the world and someone I deeply admired. Second, I was the only MA student accepted into this exclusive PhD seminar. And, third, it was Paris – with a course focused on selfhood and the meaning of love... 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

Many Many Colors: The Ethical Vision of James Baldwin

Essays

Dear friends,

Thank you very much for voting on the cover options for my new book Flourishing on the Edge of Faith. 66% of you had a clear preference 🙂 I’m excited for the final cover to be revealed and the pre-order link to go public in the coming weeks.

Stop & Think this week is significantly longer and heftier than usual, but I’m thrilled to share this essay with you, and I hope you wade through it.

Last week marked a special milestone in my life and ongoing education: I finally finished studying all 850 pages of James Baldwin’s Collected Essays (New York: Library of America, 1998).

 

 

I highly recommend this volume. But if you don’t have time to read through it yourself,  I hope my essay helpfully distills Baldwin’s powerful ethical vision and highlights some of his most luminous lines. You don’t want to miss him.

If you don’t have time to read the full essay, explore a few of the highlighted quotes below... 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

Help Me Pick My New Book’s Cover!

Essays

Dear friends,

Your opinion matters to me. Flourishing on the Edge of Faith is coming out in November, and I’d be thrilled if you’d help me choose its cover 🙂

Obi Okolo, BitterSweet’s brilliant designer, has given us some beautiful options. Click here and let me know your favorite! The poll takes less than thirty seconds and closes after the first 100 submissions, so hurry and let your voice be heard!

I can’t wait to share this book with you. Thanks for weighing in!

Yours with gratitude and anticipation,

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
BitterSweet Books

A Prayer to Heal War

Essays

Dear friends,

Last week, I chatted with one of the most prominent politicians in Ethiopia. I asked him, “If you could use only three words to describe where Ethiopia is heading, what would they be?”

His answer was extremely sobering. He replied, “Syria on steroids.”

The day after Ethiopia’s civil war erupted in November 2020, the U.S. Institute of Peace published this statement: “The fragmentation of Ethiopia would be the largest state collapse in modern history… would lead to mass interethnic and interreligious conflict… would overshadow any existing conflict in the region, including Yemen.”

At the time, defenders of the war ridiculed this statement as nonsense designed to defame Ethiopia. They insisted that the war wasn’t even a “war” and that this surgical “law enforcement operation” would end quickly and secure Ethiopia’s “prosperity.”

But almost two years later, the bitter truth has become undeniable: this war is mass-producing human suffering and super-charging hate. It has only led to catastrophic displacement, death, destruction, and famine... 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
BitterSweet Books

A New Beginning: BitterSweet Books

Essays

Dear Friends,

On Friday morning, I opened an email that sent a river of grateful joy flowing through me.

The email was titled “Something New from BitterSweet,” and its message announced the launch of BitterSweet Books, with yours truly as its first author.

Kate Schmidgall founded BitterSweet in 2009 with the mission of telling stories from around the world that Reject Cynicism, Defy Apathy, and Celebrate Good. In the face of a news cycle that glues us to spectacle, violence, and despair, Kate wanted to help us cultivate an alternative imagination for our lives and world.

For over a decade now, Kate and her BitterSweet team have been pursuing this intrepid, prophetic mission with exceptional excellence, elegance, and kindness. From the beginning, I’ve thought of BitterSweet’s work as a healing vision therapy. Their stories shift who we pay attention to, how we see people, and what we believe is possible for our world. Kate has now published over a hundred stories featuring the work of nonprofits that celebrate good in seemingly every context... 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

Interview with Stan Grant

Essays

Dear friends,

I hope you’re having a refreshing summer.

Stop & Think has taken a pause as I’ve been on a wonderful 40-day journey throughout Europe. After a nasty bout of Covid and a breathtaking hike in the Alps, two joyous weddings, three book recording sessions, five countries, seven reunions, and countless conversations, I’m home. Thank you to so many dear friends for your generous hospitality.

This week I’m sharing my recent interview with Stan Grant on his Religion and Ethics Report for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Grant is one of Australia’s leading journalists and has interviewed many inspiring moral leaders and philosophers, including Nelson Mandela and Charles Taylor.

I was humbled that Grant asked to interview me about my article in Foreign Policy on Christian nationalism in Ethiopia. Our interview is titled “How Religion and Violence Are Shaping Ethiopia Today,” and you can listen to it here.

I hope this brief conversation enriches your awareness of what’s happening in Ethiopia and how we can practice the ethic of neighbor-love in this challenging time... 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

My Article in Foreign Policy: “Christian Nationalism Is Tearing Ethiopia Apart”

Essays

Dear friends,

On June 18th, Foreign Policy published my article “Christian Nationalism Is Tearing Ethiopia Apart.” Publishing this article brought a collision of gratitude and grief in my life.

 

On the one hand, I was deeply grateful, because I believe this article compellingly addresses an urgently important but untouchable problem in Ethiopian society: Christian nationalism. I have been inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King’s words, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” And so I chose to break the silence.

Foreign Policy is one of the largest and most respected platforms in the world. Publishing with FP gave my article the best possible chance of being read widely and taken seriously. FP generously published it on the top of their front page, and a week later, my article was still trending on FP’s top seven list. The article has been shared thousands of times on social media and is generating lots of conversation... 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

Peniel: The Gift of Lily

Essays

Dear friends,

Warm greetings from southern Maine.

Lily is my Peniel, the Face of God in human form, and I want to tell you a story about why I see her this way.

Last year on October 6, I took a walk down the street I love most in the world. Hills Beach Road is a quiet lane on a tiny peninsula in southern Maine. It juts out into the Atlantic Ocean with stunning view on either side. The air is fragrant with pine trees, beach roses, lilac bushes, seaweed, and ocean salt. The sounds you hear are gentle waves, lovely birdsong, and the friendly greeting of neighbors. Every inch for me is suffused with sacred memories from my childhood. (The picture below is from a walk with my mom on Hills Beach Road in 2019.)

On my walk last October, I made my way to some rocks overlooking the bay and a beautiful island. The waves lapping at my feet set a peaceful rhythm, and I hit “call.”.. 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

Podcast: How Do We Love Our Enemies?

Essays

Dear friends,

Warm greetings from beautiful Maine! Lily and I are here to celebrate my 39th birthday (May 28) and our 12th wedding anniversary (July 8). I’m so grateful for Lily’s relentless love since the first day we met. She’s my teacher, healer, and gift from heaven.

This week I’m sharing a live conversation about loving our enemies that I recently recorded with Telos Group. Telos is a peacemaking organization that has profoundly impacted my life. I deeply respect their work and am so honored that they invited me to join this conversation. I heartily encourage you to learn more about Telos and participate in their work.

Telos said they were “blown away” by this conversation, and I hope you enjoy it. To listen, please click here.

Happy (early) anniversary, Lily!

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

Recording My First Audio Book and Befriending My Body

Essays

Dear friends,

I was in D.C. last week recording the audiobook of Why Pray? Seven Practices for Flourishing on the Edge of Faith (updated title). This is an intense and time-consuming process, and I want to thank my producer Robert Winship and the entire BitterSweet team for their energizing excellence.

I believe our bodies are good and that we should befriend them. Paul wrote the beautiful question, “Don’t you know your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?” (1 Corinthians 6:17). Ancient spirituality often taught people to ignore or idolize their bodies. Paul calls us to embrace our bodies as sacred homes to be cherished and cared for. I’m with Paul.  

But recording Why Pray? has given me a new window into how my body is still catching up with my belief. As I read my own book into the microphone, I discovered how little I know about my tongue, teeth, and lips. I talk every day and have recorded many hours of content... 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

Pregnancy: The Creative Process / On Writing

Essays

Dear friends,

I’m delighted to share that my new book Practice Flourishing: The Spirituality of Jesus is nearly finished being revised. I’ve just presented it to my board at the Institute for Faith and Flourishing, and my submission deadline for the final manuscript is May 15. My publisher BitterSweet Foundation hopes the book will be released in paperback, audiobook, and digital by mid-October. If you’d like to sign up for updates on the book’s release, please click here.

To mark this moment, I’ve written an essay about my experience writing this book. I’m excited to share it with you and want to thank you for your prayer, encouragement, and investment in my work.

 

Pregnancy: The Creative Process / On Writing

As a man, I would never claim to know what pregnancy is really like. But my sisters and many of my dearest friends have shared their experiences of pregnancy with me. I have watched their pregnancies unfold and witnessed the new life soon after delivery... 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

Groaning: Love in Pain

Essays

Dear friends,

I love firsts, and this one is extra special: Lily and I are collaborating on Stop & Think with a brief essay from me and a brilliant painting from her.

Our shared theme is “groaning,” an experience that becomes increasingly familiar to us amidst pandemic, war, and other forms of conflict and loss. Lily’s painting is entitled Loss and Hope (March 2022). It’s a profound reflection on Ethiopian motherhood with many subtle meanings layered within it. Special thanks to Lily for sharing her sacred gift with me and the world.

Our work was published in this month’s edition of Cultivare, an exceptionally rich online magazine edited by my spiritual director Dr. Duane Grobman. I warmly encourage you to subscribe to Cultivare (it’s free) and read the entire edition. I hope you find it as illuminating and encouraging as I have. Special thanks to Duane for inviting our work!

Yours with groaning and gratitude,

Andrew and Lily

 

Loss and Hope by Lily DeCort

 

Groaning: Love in Pain​

My world shook, and I began to groan... 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 Ethics of Harry Potter

Essays

Dear friends,

I recently finished reading the Harry Potter series, which was published between 1997 and 2007. My late PhD adviser Jean Elshtain always spoke so highly of these seven books, and now I know why.

In this essay, I want to share with you some of what I’ve discovered in the Potter universe. Perhaps these reflections will stir up treasured memories for you, or spur you on to read the series for the first time, or simply enrich your own moral imagination. Spoiler alert: I discuss a lot of plot details and endings below. If you want to jump around, I bold the key topics and characters.

For starters, these books deserve to be the best-selling story in history, which they are with over 500 million copies in print. They’re fundamentally about ethics — about good and evil, love and power, loss and resurrection. They speak to the human longing for goodness, joy, and togetherness despite evil, hate, and murder... 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

Celebrate Right and Good

Essays

Dear friends,

A few weeks ago, I met an extremely kind woman at the airport. She looked at my hat and read it out loud: “Celebrate right and good.” She then said with feeling, “That’s exactly what we need today!” I told her that’s the motto of BitterSweet, the publisher of my new book, and she generously asked me to tell her about it.

I told her it’s called Practice Flourishing, and she immediately said that she loved the title and wanted to buy it. When I told her the subtitle — The Spirituality of Jesus — she responded, “You lost me there. I’m a good Jewish girl. But I’ll buy it for my Christian friend.”

I replied, “I hear you: Christians have done terrible things to Jews for centuries. But Jesus was a good Jewish boy, and the book is for everyone.” But I could tell she had made up her mind and wasn’t interested.

She continued by saying that humans have never managed to “celebrate right and good” throughout history... 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

Fresh Powder

Essays

Dear friends,

Why has Stop & Think taken a break?

For the last month, I’ve been focusing exclusively on writing my new book Practice Flourishing: The Spirituality of JesusIt’s almost done, and I’m so excited to share it with you straight from my heart.

I’m also overjoyed to announce that Practice Flourishing now has an exceptional publisher in Kate Schmidgall and her innovative BitterSweet Media House based in Washington, D.C. Kate combines world-class professionalism with incredible kindness and prophetic values. Paul writes from prison that God is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” I feel this intensely with Kate and BitterSweet as we prepare to publish Practice Flourishing. Look for updates in the coming months!

Kate, thank you!!! Our conversation blew me away.

This week, I’m excited to share my short article “Protest: Love’s Primal Vocation,” which was just published on Offensis, an online magazine in Germany focused on Christian faith and political praxis... 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

My New Year’s Resolution

Essays

Dear friends,

As we enter a new year, I want to share a simple but healing practice with you for our relationships. It comes from Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature. Wiesel said,

“Never allow anyone to be humiliated in your presence.”

We all know what humiliation feels like. It literally means to be reduced to dirt (humus). Whether through a look, a word, an action, or a structure, humiliation makes us feel smaller, belittled, ground down and degraded. When we humiliate, we treat people as if they’re worth less, if not altogether worthless. And that means that we treat them like they’re no longer made and loved by God — no longer our neighbors in creation.

I offer three simple observations on humiliation:

First, few things are more painful and destructive than humiliation. We instinctively recognize and recoil against it, because each of us has a God-given need to be seen as valuable.

.. 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

“Hello Andrew”: A Voice of Hope

Essays

Dear friends,

This summer, I texted my friend in one of Ethiopia’s war zones. I texted him again. And again. And again. “Are you safe?” “I’m concerned for you.” “I’m praying for you.”

But there was no reply. There was only haunting, ambiguous silence for over 5 months. The little notifications on WhatsApp never turned blue, and I didn’t know if he was dead or alive, like so many others.

War cuts us off from one another. It fills us with the grief of uncertainty, gripping us in the suspenseful double loss of not fully knowing what we’ve lost. Meanwhile, we ache for even a single word of hope, or simply the confirmation of our worst fear.

Last week, I sat at my desk writing about forgiveness in the darkness as the sun set. It was the end of my day, and my mind was fully immersed in my new book Practice Flourishing.

And then my phone lit up on my desk and glowed in the darkness.

.. 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

The Gift of Love

Essays

Dear friends,

I recently met a beautiful man who achieved great success and ruined his life in New York City.

He was working in finance with some of the richest power brokers in the American system. His performance was great, and he was promoted.

He quickly found himself working 110-hour weeks. His “team” was locked in vicious competition: the top performer got a 120% bonus on their annual salary; the fifth-place performer was simply fired. Unsurprisingly, the competition became so ferocious that colleagues — people that hung out with each other and considered each other as friends — would sometimes sabotage each other’s work to get an advantage and come out on top, or at least avoid being fired.

To sustain this level of performance, he started using drugs — what he called “synthetic performance.” All of his teammates did as well. Going to bed became the most stressful moment of his day: he only had a 4-hour window to sleep, and if he missed that, he would drag at work... 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

Podcast: Race and Social Justice

Essays

Dear friends,

I have so much to learn from Black and Brown women and their extraordinary experience, wisdom, and leadership.

Earlier this year, Thasia Awad, Dichele Parker, and Heather Nie generously invited me to join their MelaNation Healing Project Podcast to talk with them about race and social justice. Thasia asks refreshingly honest, hard-hitting questions, and I hope you enjoy this frank conversation. You can listen at this link.

Sincere thanks to these insightful, powerful women for their healing work and for trusting me to be part of it. May God energize us to seek deeper understanding, healing relationships, and justice in our society.

Yours with gratitude,

Andrew

PS: Here are the questions we discuss:

  1. How did I get started in the work of healing and reconciliation?
  2. Why is understanding our history so important for race and social justice?
  3. Why is it so difficult to learn from the past?
  4. Has religion played a role in shaping injustices and become “an anchor around our necks”?
.. 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

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

Podcast: Compassion in Conflict

Essays

Dear friends,

What is the role of compassion in conflict?

I’m excited to share my podcast interview on this topic with my courageous friend Emnet Gilbert.

Today many people condemn voices calling for compassion. For example, the popular Ethiopian singer Dishta Gina recently cried out for peace at a concert in Addis Ababa. His courageous message was immediately ridiculed, and he was pressured into giving a tearful apology on television. His sin was simply calling for reconciliation in a time of war.

This week I received yet another death threat for my advocacy for compassion and reconciliation. The man who threatened to “dismember” me has the following banner on his Facebook page: “I’m REDEEMED to be a VICTOR not a VICTIM in any circumstance. Praise the Lord, Jesus Christ!” This is a saddening example of how “Christian” faith can be weaponized to defend violence and death.

In this hyper-polarized time, I deeply admire Emnet’s courage to explore these three challenging questions with me:

  1. What does compassion with practical consequences look like in the midst of war?
.. 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

Prayer: Premeditating Peace

Essays

Dear friends,

November 4th marked the first anniversary of Ethiopia’s devastating civil war. It also brought the answer to a prayer I’ve been praying for the last fourteen years.

This collision of intense grief and long-awaited joy reminded me of the great importance of sustained prayer. This practice has changed my life, and I hope you’ll consider making it part of yours.

It’s a bit like taking a wild leap of faith, twirling through the air, and learning to land on your feet.

How do you pray about people you don’t like? And how are you preparing for conflict or peace in your society?

I believe these two questions are intimately connected and have profoundly practical implications for our lives. Let me try to show you why.

Psalms against the Enemy

If you read straight through the Book of Psalms, it is striking to track how frequently the psalmist talks to God about his enemies.

Out of 150 psalms, “enemies” are mentioned 93 times, “foes” 40 times, and “the wicked” 104 times... 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

Two Prostitutes and the Heart of True Justice

Essays

Dear friends,

One of the Bible’s ugliest stories is also one of its most insightful.

The famous King Solomon had recently been installed as the ruler of Israel. Soon after, God spoke to him at night in a dream and invited Solomon, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you” (1 King 3:5).

What an astonishing blank-check offer: “whatever you want.” How would this new ruler respond, and what would it reveal about his deepest desires?

Solomon’s heart was humble, and he admitted to God that he was out of his depth. Rather than asking God for wealth or power or the death of his enemies, Solomon asked God for wisdom. He prayed, “I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties… So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong” (1 Kings 3:7-9).

Solomon’s honest prayer is surprising for an ancient ruler and perhaps counter-cultural for all of us still today: he admits to being small, not knowing what he’s doing, and needing God’s help in the very basics of human community... 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

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

Celebrating NLM

Essays

Dear friends,

In place of my usual essay, I’m excited to share a 5-minute video celebrating the work of the Neighbor-Love Movement. Click here to watch.

Special thanks to my monthly Stop & Think subscribers who help make this work possible! If you would like to become a partner in this work, please click here.

Yours with gratitude,

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

BitterSweet: I Feel Like a Dancer

Essays

Dear friends,

I’m a massive fan of BitterSweetMonthly. This storytelling platform (and more) was founded by my relentless, brilliant friend Kate Schmidgall to “reject cynicism, defy apathy, and celebrate good.” Those three movements are such a challenging, beautiful way of being human. And it’s how Kate lives and what BitterSweet nurtures through its moving stories and beautiful images.

I was deeply honored when Kate asked me to write for BitterSweet, and my first story was recently published. It’s entitled “I Feel Like a Dancer,” and it’s about a truly extraordinary organization called StandProud in the Congo. StandProud is helping disabled youth walk, often for the first time in their lives.

I hope you enjoy the story, subscribe to BitterSweet, and consider supporting StandProud. Writing this story rocked and recentered me. Next time you put your shoes on and stand up, give thanks for this precious gift and remember our beloved neighbors in Congo and around the world who are working to restore the dignity, joy, and power of our disabled neighbors... 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

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

9/11, Jihad, and Hope

Essays

Dear friends,

As we remember the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I want to share a story about Jihad. This is not a story about global terrorism, religious extremism, and death. It’s a story about a devout Muslim, neighbor-love, and hope.

A few years after 9/11, I was living in a neighborhood in Addis Ababa known as Little Mogadishu. The neighborhood got its name from the numerous Somali refugees who had fled there from the violence ravaging Somalia. My neighbors carried stories of terror and trauma similar to survivors of 9/11.

At the heart of Little Mogadishu is a bustling open-air market. Throughout this labyrinth, you can find vegetables, electronics, fashion clothes, international money transfers, khat, and pretty much everything in between. So one day I ducked inside a tiny shop to buy a pair of shoes.

As so often, I was carrying my laptop with me. My entire professional life was inside that computer, and I foolishly took it with me everywhere I went... 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’s Your Story?

Essays

Dear friends,

What’s your story?

Many ancient cultures told stories about our world that begin with violence. The gods were envious and angry. So they fought each other, killed each other, and we were made from the bloody aftermath as their servants.

The world that emerged was a mirror of this original conflict: kings, soldiers, and slaves competing and cowering in a struggle for status and survival. Priests enshrined the winner gods in temples and images throughout the land to remind people of where they came from and how the world works.

These stories were the bestsellers in their time. Strikingly, archaeologists have discovered versions of them in places as far afield as ancient Mesopotamia, Greece, and South America.

Why were these stories so popular?

Perhaps their popularity makes sense in light of the headline news stories we tell today. In these stories, the great events, the events that supposedly change our world and grip our attention, are often driven by competition and conflict, violence and victory... 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

God’s Love Makes Us Family

Essays

Dear friends,

For the last month, Lily and I have enjoyed the special gift of hosting Lily’s sister Eleni and her beloved children Naomi (12), Nolawi (11), and Naodi (4) from Ethiopia in Illinois. We have shared a wonderful adventure of playing, learning, and serving together in a time of much-needed renewal.

This week, five of our families gathered at my parents’ house for a farewell celebration. After all of the yummy desserts were eaten, conversations were finished, and games were played, I opened my phone and looked at the picture I had taken. There was nothing surprising in the image — not even the mischievous bunny ears and mirthful faces 🙂

But what I saw deeply moved me. It struck me as a living icon of what is possible in our world through God’s love: a family bound together across so many of the differences that contemporary culture says should divide us:

We were born and raised as citizens in different nations — Ethiopia, Mexico, and the United States... 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

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

Human: Neither Gods Nor Demons

Essays

Dear friends,

The Christian imagination invites us to recover a more complex vision of who we are as humans. This moral vision energizes us to better understand ourselves and to cultivate healthier relationships and public life. Its “complexity” means that it braids together seemingly opposite truths that reflect the actual state of our reality and cultivate wisdom for living together. My late PhD adviser Professor Jean Elshtain called this a “moral anthropology.”

On the one hand, human life is infinitely precious and worthy of cherishing. We know this when we hold a baby in our arms and look deeply into the faces of our loved ones.

Christians, Jews, Muslims, and many others agree that we are created and loved by God. Genesis 1 teaches that we were designed in God’s image and invested with divine value. This means that God created each person as an embodiment of God’s own dignity with a calling to care for God’s world.

This vision of humanity stands in marked contrast to ancient myths like Enuma Elish and contemporary ideologies that devalue human life... 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

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

Paul’s Riot Gear

Essays

Dear Friends,

Paul writes from his prison cell in Rome to the Jesus community in Ephesus that we are at war. Paul’s intense language makes sense in light of the violent conflict he survived in Ephesus and our similar experiences of conflict today.

Paul was one of the pioneers who took the message of Jesus to Ephesus, perhaps the most famous city in the Roman Empire besides Rome itself. After just three months, Paul was painfully rejected at the local synagogue. So Paul started hosting conversations and healing the sick in public spaces around the city (Acts 19:8-12). For Paul, the message of Jesus wasn’t confined to religious gatherings; it belonged just as much in the street among strangers and the suffering.

The core of Paul’s message was metanoia: a call to a change of mind and practice in response to Jesus (Acts 20:21). Local sorcerers were so inspired by Paul’s ministry that they voluntarily burned the magical tools of their trade, which were worth massive amounts of money (Acts 19:17-20)... 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

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

Podcast on the War in Ethiopia

Essays

Dear friends,

This week I’m sharing a one-hour interview that I recently recorded about the war in northern Ethiopia. If you’d like to better understand what’s happening, the larger context to the conflict, and how you might respond, I hope this conversation is helpful. Special thanks to Zach Elliott for inviting me back to LAB: The Podcast for this important conversation.

Please join me in praying and advocating for a sustained ceasefire, unhindered humanitarian aid for the suffering, and a dialogue-based resolution to this devastating conflict.

Yours,

Andrew

 

.. 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

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

Being Loved and Known

Essays

Dear friends,

A friend recently put words to something that struck me as both obvious and like an important revelation: being loved and being known are two different things and two different needs in our lives. We may have one without the other.

We need to be loved because we need to experience that our lives have value. Human beings are not content with merely existing, just like plants can’t survive in the soil without water and sunlight. Love enlivens and illuminates our worth.

But we also need to be known, because our lives have inner depth and we feel lonely and less than ourselves when this depth is unexplored or treated like it doesn’t exist. Being known is like cultivating the soil of the self. It enriches the depth and density of who we are, and creates a sense of rootedness in relationship.

People in our lives may genuinely love us. They may smile and embrace us, say kind words to us, spend time with us, give gifts to us, go out of their way for us and generously help us when we’re in need... 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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Lily’s Love: The Mystical Heart of Marriage

Essays

Dear friends,

In this essay, I’m sharing an intimate page of my heart with you. My focus is the love of my wife Lily and the mystical heart of marriage rooted in the revelation, “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God and God in them” (1 John 4:18).

Hannah Arendt wrote that thanking is the most authentic form of thinking, and I want to pause to express my deep thanks for Lily’s sacred ministry in my life. I hope you’ll receive this reflection as a prayer of blessing over your treasured relationships and an invitation to deepen your love and thanksgiving with the ones you cherish.

 

Lily’s Love: The Mystical Heart of Marriage

Lily made my 38th birthday perfect in the beautiful way she does. She made me feel loved, seen, heard, like I belong.

After Lily’s delicious brunch with family, my heart was still secretly heavy. Lily invited me to sit on the couch and read her card... 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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A Lament for a Land Beloved

Essays

Dear friends,

Not long ago, I sat in a memory-saturated room in Addis and heard the most remarkable questions from some of the people I love most in this world. We had just celebrated the wedding of a beloved friend, but these were the considerations on people’s minds:

“What if the violence escalates and we don’t have a country anymore?” “What if we can’t escape to safety?” “What if we can escape but our families can’t? If violent mobs come to our neighborhoods again, will we pick up sticks, stones, and metal pipes to defend our neighbors? If this is what we need to do to survive, is life still worth living?”

As I listened and my heart bled, I wondered if these were the questions people were asking in Rwanda before the genocide exploded in 1994. What a horrific thought. It was the kind of conversation I never want anyone to hear but consider sacred because it was the honesty of my friends in a land I love... 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 Prayer for Enemies

Essays

Dear Friends,

I’ve just finished teaching a 4-week Zoom course called “Love Your Enemy.” In the face of rising conflict here in Ethiopia, I decided to devote a month to studying what some of our greatest leaders have taught about loving people who hate us and want to harm us. We looked at Jesus, Howard Thurman, Martin Luther King Jr, and Arthur Brooks.

Wonderful participants joined the course from four continents and eight countries: Ethiopia, Uganda, Côte d’Ivoire, South Africa, the United States, Sweden, Finland, and the Philippines. As we studied together, we found that praying for our enemies is one of the most consistent and powerful practices of love that these leaders taught. Prayer interrupts and can uproot the enmity we feel toward others as we talk to God for their wellbeing.

Still, students asked what a prayer for enemies might actually say and sound like. In response, I’ve written a prayer for enemies that I want to share with you... 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

On Death Threats

Essays

Dear Friends,

Melkam Fasika — Happy Ethiopian Easter! This season has taken on a new significance for me, and I want to share a very personal reflection with you as we meditate on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

On Good Friday 2020, I started receiving dozens of death threats. People sent me graphic images of death, demons, and heavy weapons. They said they would butcher my body, run me over with a car, or throw me off a bridge. I can feel my heart beating faster and my body becoming tense as I recall these violent words and images. It was a life-changing season.

Why did this happen? Powerful people were outraged that I was trying to build bridges between extremely polarized leaders, and they unleashed a campaign of fake news against me, including a lie-filled YouTube “documentary” that got 55,000 views. Soon enough, people who mostly identified as Christians started promising they would kill me.

I never thought I’d say this... Read More

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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 Neighbor-Love Week for National Reconciliation

Essays

Dear friends,

This week I’m sharing an article that I recently published with my partner Dr. Tekalign Nega on the website Ethiopia Insight. Our article invites Ethiopia’s religious leaders and communities to devote a week to praying and preaching about loving our neighbors in a time when almost every day seems to bring news of another massacre. Please join us in praying for and promoting this reconciling initiative. If you or your community would like to get involved, please email me.

Yours with gratitude,

Andrew

 

The Neighbor-Love Week for National Reconciliation

Ethiopia is an overwhelmingly religious country. The Pew Research Center found that ninety-eight percent of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christians say that their religion is “very important” to them. This makes them among the most religious people in the world.

There is little reason to assume that Ethiopian Muslims, Evangelicals, Catholics, and followers of other faiths see their religion as less important to them. Taken together, over ninety-seven percent of Ethiopia’s population holds its religious texts, traditions, and teachers with very high authority... Read More

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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

10 Reflections on Evangelical Support for the War in Tigray

Essays

Dear friends,

This essay reflects on some Ethiopian Evangelical responses to the war that broke out in Ethiopia on November 4, 2020. My reflections will be uncontroversial to some, controversial to others, and unfamiliar to others. For more context, here is a 15-minute interview that I did with my friend Roger Sandberg for Christianity Today.

As usual, I want to thank you for stopping and thinking with me. My goal is to pause and seek greater honesty, compassion, and human wellbeing across boundaries, while acknowledging the complexity of the situation and limits of my perspective. I welcome your feedback.

Yours with prayers for peace for all,

Andrew

Some Ethiopian Evangelical scholars have published articles on the war in Tigray. Implicitly or explicitly, these articles defend the war. I’d like to offer some brief reflections in response.

1. One article expresses sorrow for the suffering the war has caused. I deeply appreciate this compassionate starting point. (Another skips this expression of sorrow.).. 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

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

Essays

Dear friends,

Today marks 20 years since my best friend Matt Powers was killed in a car accident. Matt was only eighteen; I was seventeen.

I love and miss Matt. He was a person of infectious joy. His smile was so genuine and his mirthful laughter — I can still hear it dancing through the air today. Matt was a fierce competitor, and he was working hard to become a personal trainer. But Matt was extremely kind and made others feel included. He loved God and loved his neighbor and loved me. We did everything together — sleepovers, birthdays, sports, road trips, music, church, life.

Today, if you’re grieving, I want to say you’re not alone. Maybe your grief started recently. Or maybe it started decades ago. You do not need to deny or suppress your grief.

In 2019, I was at a therapist’s office at the University of Chicago talking about Matt and weeping. Through my tears, I asked Dr... Read More

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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

My Identity Crisis, My Liberation

Essays

Dear friends,

 

Two thousand and nine to 2019 was a decade of losing my self. It was the beginning of an unexpected and priceless spiritual liberation. I am still on this journey today.

 

Deep inside my life, I have found a need to be better than others. I’d like to see this as innocent, as me simply wanting to work hard, be my best, and do valuable things. But I think there are deeper and darker roots to my perfectionism. It comes down to me feeling better about myself if I feel better than others — trying harder, doing more, perhaps being more “faithful.”

 

As I look back on the last decade of my life, I’m seeing that God sent me on an extended identity crisis that is slowly deconstructing this need to be better than others. And this is enabling me to be with and for others as equals with new empathy and intimacy. Unexpectedly, my identity crisis is leading to my liberation... Read More

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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

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

Essays

Dear friends,

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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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

Jesus’ Emotional Intelligence

Essays

Dear friends,

The emotional intelligence of Jesus inspires me to live differently.

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

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

How does Jesus respond to Nathaniel’s insult?

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

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

Essays

Dear Friends,

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

These six observations come to mind... Read More

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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

Becoming Un-Insult-Able

Essays

Dear friends,

 

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

 

Why do people use insults?

 

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

 

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

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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