Do Not Conform

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Dear Friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

How Do Political Injury and Healing Begin?

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Dear friends,

 

This week I’m delighted to share my interview on ideological and political healing with the Ask a Spiritual Director Podcast. We explore questions of how ideological and political injuries begin, how these wounds can heal, and what we can do to be part of this healing.

 

This topic is so timely in Ethiopia, America, and many other contexts, and I’m grateful to the hosts of this exciting podcast for inviting me to discuss it with them.

 

As always, thanks for stopping and thinking with me.

 

Yours,

Andrew

 .. 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.

“Cuties”: What Are Our Bodies Worth?

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Dear friends,

This week I’m writing about the controversial movie Cuties.

Some its content is graphic, disturbing, and sickening. But like a war movie that studies the realities of human violence to cry out for peace, this film is asking essential, inescapable questions about our increasingly sexualized, Internet-driven, interconnected world, especially as it affects children. Wrestling with these heavy questions can help us cultivate healthier children, families, and cultures.

It seems to me that some of the controversy surrounding this film is driven by the misleading way Netflix advertised it, which appears to celebrate the sexualization of little girls, when this is the evil this film is investigating and lamenting. My interest is in the actual movie and its subtle message.

Perhaps another outraging aspect about this movie is not only its depiction of how our cultures sexually abuse children but its refusal to satisfy our culture’s hunger for simplistic answers, whether they be “religious” or “secular,” “traditional” or “progressive,” “conservative” or “liberal.” I see Cuties as calling for third ways of seeing and treating our bodies that move away from shaming or sexualizing them... 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.

Prayer: Premeditating Peace

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Dear friends,

 

Stop and think with me about two questions that may initially appear unrelated but have huge practical importance.

 

First, how do you pray about your enemies?

 

Second, how are you preparing for conflict or peace in your society?

 

Psalms against the Enemy

 

I recently reread the Book of Psalms, and I was struck by 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. Interestingly, the enemy is one of the central topics — or targets — of this book of prayers. David meditates on his enemies seemingly all the time when he talks to God.

 

But what really struck me is the content of these prayers. David never prays for his enemies to be changed or healed. That’s not on his mind or in his desires. He also never prays for them to be forgiven or experience mercy, even as David famously confesses his own failures and begs God for mercy (see Psalm 51)... 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.

Why Marriage is Radical

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Dear friends,

This weekend, I had the incredible privilege of marrying two very dear friends: Jenna Herskind and Tyler Heath. My sermon articulates why I believe marriage matters for our world today, and I wanted to share it with you.

Deep love and congratulations to Jenna and Tyler!
Andrew

Why Marriage Is Radical

Two thousand years ago, history changed forever. A revolution of self-giving love began in the heart of the human condition that opened the way to everlasting life. And I believe this ancient revolution shows us God’s design for holy marriage still today.

In occupied Bethlehem, under the shadow of a violent empire, Jesus was born to poor parents, Joseph and Mary. Before Jesus was born, his passionate mother sang a prophetic song about how her son would turn things upside down, bringing good news to the poor, hungry, and powerless.

And Mary was right. When he was just a little older than Tyler and Jenna, Jesus began preaching and embodying God’s love and justice for the poor, oppressed, and powerless... 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.

Patient Waiting, Hopeful Missing

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Life is training me in patient waiting and hopeful missing.

Due to the pandemic, my mom and I haven’t done any of our treasured walks this summer. But after three months, we both felt comfortable doing this with masks, and we explored the prairie path together on Saturday.

image1.jpeg

As we walked, mom talked about things she misses after seven years of being a stroke survivor: cooking, gardening, aerobics, riding horses, going for walks without a wheelchair or cane. Our conversations often return to this place of missing and longing for restoration.

I think there’s something spiritually profound about our missing. We don’t simply move on and forget the blessings of life. We miss them, carry them in our memory, and yearn for them to be restored, even after many years and no sign of their restoration.

I see the ache of missing as a rebellious clue of hope. What we miss will be restored, but not often quickly and not always in this life... 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.

Stories That Mean the World to Me: Podcast Episode

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Dear friends,

Last week I had the privilege of doing a podcast interview with Zach Elliot about the Neighbor-Love Movement. Our conversation covers what the Neighbor-Love Movement is, why we started it, and how you can be part of it. I tell some of the stories that mean the world to me, and I’m excited for you to hear them straight from my heart.

You can listen either at www.zachjelliott.com/podcast or LAB: The Podcast on Apple Podcasts.

Yours with gratitude,

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.

Radical Generosity

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Last Sunday was an extremely special milestone in my journey. It was my brother Joe’s 50th birthday and a reminder of the life-changing power of generosity.

In high school, I became very passionate for God. This passion translated into a passion for study. I started reading the Bible intensely and teaching myself Greek and Hebrew. I discovered books by Bonhoeffer and other authors who profoundly influenced my sense of calling. This came as a surprise to me, because I wasn’t a reader as a child.

A new dream was born in my heart: to attend Wheaton College. Wheaton was the best Christian university in America and the school where some of my heroes had graduated.

There was only one problem, or really three: I didn’t have any money, my parents hadn’t saved for my college education, and Wheaton was very expensive. I knew that God had called me to a life of service for others, and thus taking out heavy student loans didn’t make any sense... 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.

Humbling Belief

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Dear friends,

Christian belief is a gym for radical humility. At its best, faith stretches our capacity for complexity, charity, and careful listening in a time of polarization and culture war.

Consider some pillar beliefs of the Christian faith.

God is Trinity or three-in-one. But Christians have had endless debates about what this means and how the divine persons relate, remaining distinct “persons” but not three different “gods.” Some Christians have condemned other Christians over differences of Trinitarian opinion and vocabulary. But who could claim to dissect the inner nature of God?

Jesus is the Incarnation of God, the God-human. But Christians have had endless debates over what this means and how the two (“natures”? “persons”? “hypostases”?) relate without destroying each other. Whole Christian churches and cultures have divided over this question, all certain they are right and the other wrong.

The bread and cup are the ultimate meal Jesus gave to every Christian. But do they “become” Jesus? “Represent” Jesus?.. 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 Face of God

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A friend recently asked me why I feel alive making peace and building bridges
between people.

His question caught me off guard and made me stop and think.

I believe every person is a precious diamond made and loved by God. The Bible
teaches that every person is an embodied reflection of their Creator (Genesis 1:26). To
see a person aright is to catch a glimpse of God.

But if there’s a wall between us, we can’t see that precious value.

When the walls come down and a bridge is built, we have the chance to move closer
and see one another’s profound beauty and complexity. Perhaps we even experience
the joyous shock of loving someone we were tempted to hate or of learning from
someone we thought was totally wrong.

My most poignant experiences of God have happened on these bridges, in these shaky
in-between places of peacemaking with others.

These moments always remind me of Jacob’s astonishing words after he saw a vision
of a bridge connecting heaven and earth: “God is in this place, and I didn’t know it”
(Genesis 28:10)... 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.