Strange Fruit

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Dear friends,

What would your life be like if God were on your side? This week I’m reflecting on the signs of authentic spirituality in a time of increasing polarization and conflict.

The Neighbor-Love Movement had a very encouraging soft launch at blueMoon last week. Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin wrote, “[The NLM] was without doubt the most incredibly moving event we have ever had… You are my neighbor. I care for you. Period.” Please take a look at our Covenant and consider signing it today. There’s good work ahead.

Yours with gratitude,
Andrew

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What would your life be like if God were on your side? Who would you be? What would you do?

We live in an increasingly religious world. The old prophecies that “God” was disappearing have proven false. The news is full of stories of religion, from Kanye’s conversion to exploding churches in China. With glitz and glamor, the prosperity gospel preachers promise us health, wealth, and miraculous success if only we give our allegiance and money... Read More

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

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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.

Depolarizing the Person

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Dear friends,

This week I’m stopping and thinking about contemporary polarization and the ways we see others.

If you’re in Addis, you’re warmly invited to blueMoon at 5:30pm (opposite Sapphire Hotel). I’ll be speaking about the Neighbor-Love Movement and how we might see others as neighbors. Big thanks to Dr. Eleni Zaude Gabre-Madhin for her hospitality.

Yours with gratitude,
Andrew

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How do you see others?

Seeing others as angels is unfair. It gives them too much credit and sets them up to fail.

Seeing others as demons is also unfair. It gives them too little credit and sets them up to fail.

These seemingly opposite ways of seeing others are actually the same. They both refuse to behold – to see and embrace – the human being. They both need idols – super-human objects – to worship or smash, to adore or destroy.

The Bible’s basic vision of humanity is more complex and subtle. We are neither angels nor demons... Read More

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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.

Yours: A Word of Freedom and Peace

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Dear friends,

This week I’m stopping and thinking about a single word at the end of Jesus’s famous prayer. It contains incredible power for personal and cultural transformation. Thanks for joining me in seeking a more authentic, thoughtful life.

Yours with gratitude,
Andrew

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Kingdom. Power. Glory. KPG.

These three words capture some of deepest drives and desires in the human heart.

How many lives have been destroyed in conflicts over kingdom and power and glory? How many injustices justified? How many families shattered? How many wars fought? How much anxiety and addiction enflamed?

Kingdom is systematic control over others. Power is the active exercise of that control. And glory is the status that arises from that kingdom and power.

When Jesus teaches his followers to pray, Jesus teaches us to renounce these three things. Let them go. Give them up. Make prayer a premeditated act of surrendering KPG.

Whoever we may be and whatever we may be doing, kingdom, power, and glory shouldn’t be part of our agenda... Read More

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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 Prayer for Peace, Justice, and Healing

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Dear friends,

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

Yours with love and sorrow from Addis,

Andrew

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Our Father in heaven,

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

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

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

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

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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 Art of Listening: How Men Can Support Women

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Dear friends,

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

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

Yours with gratitude,
Andrew

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  1. Who Needs Support?

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

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

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

Support comes from two Latin words: sub, which means “from below,” and portare, which means “to carry.” To support another person is to leave your privileged high-ground and to help them carry the weight of their life... 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.

Let God’s Voice Echo in Your Eyes

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Dear friends,

This week’s essay continues my reflection on God’s declaration, “You are my beloved child; I’m happy with you.” If you try the experiment I suggest, please let me know how it goes.

Congratulations to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, for winning this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. May peace, justice, and reconciliation spread in Ethiopia.

Yours with gratitude,
Andrew

###

In “The Divine Declaration,” I invited you to consider that God’s most basic message to you is the same as his only message to Jesus: “You are my beloved child. I’m happy with you.”

Inhaling and internalizing this divine declaration fills our being with dignity, peace, and joy. Before we have done anything or made something of ourselves, God declares his love for us and his delight in us – simply because we exist.

This divine declaration has powerful implications for our relationships with others and the moral quality of our society.

Imagine if we saw and treated others as people for whom God declares, “You are my beloved child... 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 Divine Declaration

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Dear friends,

This week I’m writing about divine declaration. Hope you all are having a great Fall and hello from Ethiopia!

Rich blessings,
Andrew

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Imagine living your life by embracing that you are lovely and loved by God simply because you exist. Fully accepted at your core. Causing delight. Celebrated as you are created.

Imagine breathing that in and allowing it to oxygenate and illuminate your entire being, even the deepest and darkest parts of your self.

This was the essence of God’s first and only message to Jesus throughout his entire ministry.

God’s words to Jesus are utterly profound and beautiful:

“You are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22)

In other words: “Child, I love you. I’m happy with you.”

The phrase “whom I love” translates agapetos – my beloved, the cherished one. The Greek word for “well pleased” (eudokeo) communicates goodness, delight, pleasure: “You are good, delightful, pleasurable.”

It appears that God understands our deeply human fear that we are ultimately unlovely and unworthy of love in the depths of who we are... 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.

Loss, Presence, and Hope

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Dear friends,

This week I’m writing about a recent road trip I took with my parents. The essay reflects on loss, anxiety, and a deep experience of hope I had with my mother. I hope you are encouraged.

Please pray with me as I return for a new semester of service in Ethiopia tonight. I’m excited for the good work ahead.

Rich blessings,
Andrew

###

Do you ever fear that you are losing your past or that the best is behind you?

Six years ago, my mother had a serious stroke. It was a Thursday – October 17, 2013. After that night of anguish, her life – and ours – has never been the same.

Mom’s physical abilities, appearance, and personality all dramatically changed. The person who loved spending time with others, who engaged in deep conversation and prayer, who worked out, rode horses, and practiced massage largely transitioned into memory burdened with a deep sense of loss.

Mom is still with us and full of love... 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.

Being Known Undamns Us

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Dear friends,

This week I’m stopping to think about an unusual question: what damns us? I find Jesus’s perspective extremely thought-provoking and liberating. I’d love your feedback and insights from your own experience.

I’m on a crazy road trip with my parents to Maine. I hope you’re off to a good week.

Love,
Andrew

###

What disconnects us from God and damns our life? In less spiritual language, what is ultimate loss?

Jesus gives a thought-provoking answer to this question at the end of his first major teaching. As I look back on thousands of sermons in church, I can’t recall a preacher discussing Jesus’s strange statement.

Jesus says that not being known by God is damning and leads to ultimate loss. “I never knew you; away from me,” Jesus replies to those seeking his favor at the last judgment (Matthew 7:23).

Jesus’s words here are counter-intuitive. Jesus doesn’t say, “You didn’t know me.” Many religious people assume that us not knowing God is the obvious path to damnation... 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.

Sister Death

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Dear friends,

This week I’m looking at death and lessons it can teach us about living well. Thank you for journeying with me, and special thanks to the subscribers who make Stop & Think possible.

With love,
Andrew

###

Every human being will experience death. In fact, part of what makes us uniquely human is that we live with the awareness that we are dying.

Still, death is difficult for us to face. It disturbs and frightens us, and thus we often avoid or deny it, until death visits us.

Christian faith invites us to face death with honesty and hope. It calls us to reflect on death’s meaning and to live in light of what it reveals. Ecclesiastes says, “Death is the destiny of every human; the living should take this to heart” (7:2). Paul wrote, “I face death every day” (1 Corinthians 15:31).

The reflections below are a brief attempt to take death to heart, to spend time facing death and learning from it rather than pushing it away... 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.