Chala Mohammed

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Dear friends,

I want to tell you a story from the streets of Addis about a young man named Chala Mohammed.

I was walking home from work in one of the busiest parts of the city on a Thursday (February 6). The sidewalk was packed with a river of people as always at rush hour. Lily said she was making dinner, so I was walking fast.

But then I passed a young man laying completely motionless on the sidewalk. I thought to myself, “He’s probably drunk,” and I kept walking. No one else was stopping or helping, so why should I?

But my conscience arrested me, and I turned around.

At first I thought this young man was dead. He was not moving at all, not even his eyes. There was a small pool of saliva by his mouth. He was like a piece of wood.

But I came close to his face, and he whispered, “Sugar.”

I immediately ran to the nearest cafe, bought him a Mirinda, and slowly poured it into his mouth... Read More

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Announcing my new course:

Neighbor-Love

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary idea. It transforms how people see and treat one another across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected or misunderstood today.

This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

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I write to help people stop and think, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings that enrich and enlarge your love.

On Devastating Disappointment

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“Between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Victor Frankl, Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist

###

How should we respond to devastating disappointment?

This is a crucial question for everyone in the quest for justice.

Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. But he also wrote a speech called “Shattered Dreams.”

The struggle for justice often involves the crushing collision of passionate hope and devastating disappointment.

For example, what if – I hope and pray not!!! – the abducted students we all ache for are not returned safely to their families? How will the hundreds of thousands of people out in the streets respond?

Like a nuclear reactor, the collision of hope and disappointment generates extraordinary energy within and between us. This energy often takes the form of fear, grief, anger, and rage.

These emotions are overwhelming, and they make us feel like we are bursting inside and breaking apart... Read More

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Announcing my new course:

Neighbor-Love

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary idea. It transforms how people see and treat one another across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected or misunderstood today.

This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

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I write to help people stop and think, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings that enrich and enlarge your love.

A Seed of Peace in Abidjan

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Dear friends,

Last week, I had the privilege of teaching a 40-hour intensive course in Christian Ethics for fifty West African leaders in Abidjan. As we talked through difficult issues, I was inspired to hear their courageous commitment to fight corruption, ethnocentrism, and violence in the name of Jesus for the common good of Cote d’Ivoire.

The classroom erupted in applause when a woman pastor gave her presentation on ethnicity and neighbor-love and declared,

“Our problem is that ethnic conflicts are created by politics, and people bring these problems into the church. Different ethnicities follow different political leaders, but a pastor should not give privilege to people of one ethnic group above others. Sometimes there is no love for others in the church if they are not from our tribe – they won’t even say their name but only refer to them as ‘this tribesperson.’ We think we are better than other people, and we should not think like this; we are all the same... Read More

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Announcing my new course:

Neighbor-Love

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary idea. It transforms how people see and treat one another across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected or misunderstood today.

This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop and Think remains free (and ad-free) and takes time to write, and money to sustain.

Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings that enrich and enlarge your love.

Personal Update: Neighbor-Love in Abidjan

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Dear friends,

Warm greetings from Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa! Lily and I are overwhelmed by the extraordinarily kind welcome we have received here. Special thanks to our hosts Rev. and Mrs. Kwak and Pastor Soro and Mrs. Kerim.

Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking in a local church about seeing others as our precious neighbors. Entering into this community as strangers and being immediately welcomed as family felt like the most powerful miracle in the world. This is what the eyes of neighbor-love do: they see through every boundary of geography, color, religion, politics, and status and unite us in the bond of love.

I was deeply moved to unpack the Neighbor-Love Covenant through Pastor Soro’s French translation and see literally the entire congregation come forward to sign it. How beautiful that this Covenant, which was printed in Ethiopia’s national language of Amharic, was signed by seventy French-speaking neighbors 3,000 miles away on the opposite side of Africa... Read More

  • Share post

Announcing my new course:

Neighbor-Love

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary idea. It transforms how people see and treat one another across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected or misunderstood today.

This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop and Think remains free (and ad-free) and takes time to write, and money to sustain.

Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings that enrich and enlarge your love.

Eyes: Embodying Neighbor-Love

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Dear friends,

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

Yours with gratitude,

Andrew

How do you see others?

 

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

 

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

 

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

  • Share post

Announcing my new course:

Neighbor-Love

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary idea. It transforms how people see and treat one another across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected or misunderstood today.

This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop and Think remains free (and ad-free) and takes time to write, and money to sustain.

Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings that enrich and enlarge your love.

A Covenant for 2020

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Dear friends,

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

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

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

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

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

  • Share post

Announcing my new course:

Neighbor-Love

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary idea. It transforms how people see and treat one another across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected or misunderstood today.

This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop and Think remains free (and ad-free) and takes time to write, and money to sustain.

Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings that enrich and enlarge your love.

Christmas Against Nationalism

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Dear friends,

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

Merry Christmas!

***

America first! Ethiopia first! Israel first!

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

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

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

  • Share post

Announcing my new course:

Neighbor-Love

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary idea. It transforms how people see and treat one another across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected or misunderstood today.

This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop and Think remains free (and ad-free) and takes time to write, and money to sustain.

Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings that enrich and enlarge your love.

Almost Christmas

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Dear friends,

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

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

Merry Christmas,
Andrew.. Read More

  • Share post

Announcing my new course:

Neighbor-Love

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary idea. It transforms how people see and treat one another across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected or misunderstood today.

This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop and Think remains free (and ad-free) and takes time to write, and money to sustain.

Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings that enrich and enlarge your love.

The Gift of the Individual

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Dear friends,

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

Yours with gratitude,
Andrew

###

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

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

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

But I believe this is a serious mistake.

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

  • Share post

Announcing my new course:

Neighbor-Love

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary idea. It transforms how people see and treat one another across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected or misunderstood today.

This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop and Think remains free (and ad-free) and takes time to write, and money to sustain.

Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

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I write to help people stop and think, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings that enrich and enlarge your love.

Dear friends,

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

Yours with gratitude,
Andrew

###

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

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

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

  • Share post

Announcing my new course:

Neighbor-Love

Neighbor-love is a revolutionary idea. It transforms how people see and treat one another across our greatest divisions. And yet it has been neglected or misunderstood today.

This 8-hour course distills my deepest passions and highest hopes as a professor and practitioner. Please join me and rediscover the rich history, profound meaning, and practical implications of neighbor-love. Become an ambassador of neighbor-love for our world.

View Course

Donation = Appreciation

Stop and Think remains free (and ad-free) and takes time to write, and money to sustain.

Please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee and a good meal.

Sign Up for the Newsletter


I write to help people stop and think, and thus to restart and live more thoughtful, loving, deeply human lives with others. As you stop and think with me, I hope you discover new beginnings that enrich and enlarge your love.