My $500K Insight from UChicago

Uncategorized

Dear friends,

This is the 53rd installment of Stop & Think. To mark this first anniversary, I’m looking back at the most important insight I learned at UChicago and the spirit that guides my thinking as I write and learn with you. As always, thank you for stopping and thinking with me.

Yours with deep gratitude and celebration,
Andrew

#####

I will never forget receiving that email on February 26, 2010.

It was from the Dean of Students at the University of Chicago Divinity School, and its subject line made my heart beat fast: “PhD Admissions.” I was sitting on my friend’s tiny porch overlooking the African Union through the morning fog in Addis. The email I was nervously waiting for had finally arrived.

I braced myself as I opened it. Would it say yes or no? So much of my life and passion – past, present, and future – hanged on that one message, or so I felt.

“I am delighted to offer you admission to the Ph.D... 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.

The Bible’s Emotional Honesty

Uncategorized

Dear friends,

This week I look at the Bible’s raw emotional honesty. Perhaps like me, you have felt your own weakness or had experiences of anxiety, loss, and grief in recent days. When we look at the Bible, we find that none of this is foreign to real faith.

I hope this essay encourages you. I send it with prayers for grace and peace in your life.

Yours with gratitude,

Andrew

 

###

I am encouraged by the Bible’s raw emotional honesty.

The Bible doesn’t deny or suppress our experiences of convulsive emotion, when we feel dis-ease or torn apart. It doesn’t pretend that our life with God is simple, easy, or always stable.

Instead, the Bible expresses the full range of our internal upheaval. From the beginning, its characters wrestle with fear, anxiety, loneliness, sadness, grief, and depression.

Reading the Bible reminds us that we aren’t condemned or alone when we experience convulsive emotion. It invites us into a deeper honesty, vulnerability, and more radical trust in God, precisely in the depths of our emotional pain... 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.

A Letter of Love to Ethiopian Ministers

Uncategorized

 

Dear friends,

In light of the assassinations and the attempted coup that happened in Ethiopia this weekend, I want to share an open letter I’ve been writing to Ethiopian pastors. Whether you’re in Ethiopia or another part of the world, I pray this letter encourages you to be a defender of human life and respect for all people. The image is of Ethiopian elders who got on their knees last year to plead for peace after terrible violence struck their community. Please join me in praying for peace, justice, and comfort in Ethiopia.

With love,
Andrew

###

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings in the love of Jesus Christ, our Prince of Peace.

Our beloved Ethiopia is facing a time of severe ethnic conflict. Around three million people have been driven from their homes. We have seen people killed in public by lynching, stoning, and burning. Rape, maiming, destruction of homes, and other atrocities are reported. This Saturday, Gen. Seare Mekonnen, chief of the military, and Dr... 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.

The Subtle Art of Giving Three F’s

Uncategorized

 

Dear friends,

I believe the first chapters of the Bible give us keys for overcoming some of the most destructive trends in contemporary culture. Thanks for stopping and thinking with me about what it means to human and seek a more flourishing life with others.

And special thanks to Andrew, the newest patron of Stop & Think. I’m deeply grateful for the 31 subscribers who make my writing possible.

Much love,

Andrew

###

For the last few weeks, I’ve been looking at the Bible’s earliest portraits of humanity. Who are we according to God’s original intent and our existential depths?

Genesis 1 introduces humans as the image-bearers of God. Genesis 2 describes humans as complex creatures with five interacting dimensions: the physical, spiritual, moral, vocational, and relational. And Genesis 3 depicts humans as now divided and disordered in these core dimensions of who we are.

If we embrace this biblical anthropology or way of understanding ourselves, what difference does it make in our relationships with others?.. 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.

You Need to Know This

Uncategorized

Dear friends,

One of the greatest mysteries of our humanity is that we’re able to question ourselves: Who are we? Where do we come from? How can we flourish? Knowingly or not, we live out answers to these questions every day, for better or worse.

This week, I look at Genesis 3-4 and its responses to these vital questions. Rather than outdated mythology, the Bible’s earliest chapters offer us an inspiring and honest vision of human identity. I believe it’s key to our flourishing today.

Please receive this newsletter with my gratitude and prayers for God’s grace in your life,

Andrew

###

What does it mean to be human? Who are we in our depths?

Genesis 1-2: God’s Image and Complex Flourishing  

Genesis 1 answers that we’re made in God’s image (1:26-27). Religious objects in temples don’t embody God’s holy presence in the world. People do. And not just elite people like rules and priests with power over others. Each and every person, male and female, is made as a personal representative of God with all the dignity and responsibility of this sacred status... 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.

Human Identity: The Complex Creature

Uncategorized

What does it mean to be human? Who are we when we’re truly alive?

The foundational chapter of the Bible dares to make a heretical statement: humans are the image of God. When we see one another correctly, we recognize that people are the embodiments of God’s presence in the world with a calling to creatively serve the world’s flourishing. Against a worldview that saw idols, kings, and priests as God’s image, Genesis 1 insists that each and every person – including women – carries this divine dignity and responsibility. No one is lesser or lower.

Imagine if we learned to see others through this ancient lens. Indifference, discrimination, and hatred would be replaced with attention, reverence, and love.

If Genesis 1 is the Bible’s big-picture vision of humanity as God’s image, Genesis 2 is the Bible’s in-depth vision of the core elements of our humanity. Genesis 2 is subtly saying, “Humans, this is who you are in the depths of your being... 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.

Vision, Others, and Our Shared Future

Uncategorized

Source: I took this picture at the 2017 exhibit “Some Were Neighbors” at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

In my thirty-fifth year, my mind has been preoccupied with this simple but powerful idea: How we see others produces the society we see.

When we see others as cheap, foreign, and/or enemies, we produce a society of indifference, suspicion, and hatred. Patterns of poverty, conflict, and violence become inevitable. Bodies get dragged through the streets.

But when we see others as valuable, related, and neighbors, we produce a society where care, trust, and love are possible. Patterns of growth, cooperation, and peace become tangible.

How we see others is the fundamental issue for our future.

This applies from the individual to the national to the global levels. Our seeing shapes our attitudes, opinions, speech, and behavior. And these condense into what we call culture, economy, politics, and history.

If we see others as neighbors, we will treat them with kindness, respect, and care... 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.

Human Identity: The Image of God

Uncategorized

What does it mean to be human? What is our core identity?

The way we see ourselves and others creates the world we see. Our basic vision of people shapes our attitudes and behaviors, and these end up structuring our relationships and societies.

From this perspective, the question of human identity is not a speculative fancy. It is immediately practical and deeply consequential for our lives, communities, and world.

The Bible introduced a rebellious vision of human identity that disrupted the assumptions of its cultural context.

Ancient mythology constructed culture-making, society-structuring answers to the question of human identity. For example, see the cover picture above, the influential Mesopotamian myth Enuma Elish (“When on High”) explained that humans were made from the blood of a murdered god. The hero god Marduk (pictured as a warrior) slaughtered his rival goddess Tiamat (pictured as a dragon), and this is where we begin. According to this civilization-shaping narrative, human life is rooted in violence. (It’s also worth noting the gendered nature of this violence.)

Moreover, according to Enuma Elish, the purpose of human life is to labor as the gods’ slaves, building temples for their relaxation and farming food for their feasting... 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.

Remembering Jean Vanier: The Tender Rebel We Need Today

Uncategorized

Dear friends,

On May 7, Jean Vanier passed away at the age of ninety. Many people have never heard of Vanier, but I believe he should be respected and celebrated like Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, and other iconic moral leaders who inspire and challenge us. Vanier shows us a fundamentally new way of being human that is so beautiful and healing.

I explore Jean Vanier’s life and thought in my video course Neighbor-Love, and I want to invite you to spend a few minutes learning about this beautiful man with me. “The Life and Love of Jean Vanier” (4 minutes) explores Vanier’s story and work. “Vanier’s Wisdom of Tenderness” (8 minutes) explores five of the core ideas that energized his vocation and defined his philosophy. Both videos are free.

Stop & Think this week is a lightly edited version of “Vanier’s Wisdom of Tenderness.” Look for the recommended reading list at the end. Thank God for Jean Vanier!

Yours with gratitude,

Andrew

 

What were the core ideas that inspired Jean Vanier’s work with l’Arche for the last half-century?.. 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.

My Enemy Became My Healer

Uncategorized

Last week, I felt spiritually sick. Perhaps you know the feeling.

It was like my soul was nauseous, bent over, and invisibly heaving inside. My chest felt like it was caving in under the pressure of a sorrow, discouragement, and confusion whose source I couldn’t pinpoint. I told Lily that I felt like I was dying inside.

Then on Tuesday afternoon, I was scheduled to meet with someone that I thought hated me for the last two years.

This person had publicly attacked my character and tried to ruin my ministry, because I asked difficult questions and called for deeper Christian thought. This episode was extremely painful and consumed a lot of my time and energy. I felt like someone I didn’t even know was trying to assassinate God’s calling on my life after Lily and I had sold our things and risked our livelihood to serve in Ethiopia.

So, as 3:30pm approached on Tuesday, I thought about rescheduling the meeting... 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.