Our idol-making selves must come to their end in order for God’s love to break in and make us anew. To make us… Human again.

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Photo by Dave Weatherall

This is the sermon that I preached on the third Sunday after the Epiphany in 2021 at Truckee Lutheran Presbyterian Church. Click here to view it on YouTube (sermon starts at the 5:50 mark).

Ponder with me for a moment… Reflecting back to a year ago… So many people thought 2020 was going to be epic. A new decade. A “new vision,” as some (including myself) posited.

And then, spring happened. And the wheels started coming off. And we were all proved right. It was epic, for sure. Just not in the direction that we’d wanted. …


I noticed something about the transition of presidential power in the US of A yesterday…

We hate the pardons that a US President grants during their last days in office. At least, I know I do…

Bannon. Kushner. These are horrible people! Seriously!

(BTW, I had no idea Lil’ Wayne was in prison so that shows you how far out of touch I am.)

But this disdain we feel towards the pardons shows us merely a glimpse of the offense of the gospel that forgives sinners alive in their tracks.

Grace + Godspeed,
Jonas

This post was published first in The Jonasletter. To get my notes in your handy dandy email inbox as soon as they’re published, click here to subscribe.


What a day. I’m not a very partisan person, but I have to say… I think the world exhaled a bit as that helicopter flew off to the land of Florida yesterday morning.

Biden is growing on me… Like, a lot. For starters, his faith seems strong. Formed by personal pain, suffering, and healing.

Please know that I’m not saying that one has to go to church to be ‘good’. I know plenty of folks who’ve basically never stepped foot in a church and I envy their goodness. But nonetheless, it’s nice to have a leader who doesn’t just misappropriate Jesus for personal/tribal glory. It seems to soften Biden. …


The law comes in the imperative voice…
It comes in the form of command…
“You must do this.”

The gospel — grace — comes in the indicative voice…
It comes as a promise — as good news…
“This has already been done.”

We are bound to a voice of the law most of our waking (and sleeping) lives. When the voice of the law takes over, fear of defeat and the threat of not-enough loom over every action. When the melody of grace takes over, you’re reminded that everything that needs to be done has already been done.

Under the governance of the law, an inner nervous voice urges us to keep face and maintain our self-image. In the realm of grace, we’re free to laugh at ourselves — not in a demeaning way, but in a way that breaks the chains of insecurity and makes light of what seemed so heavy just a moment before. …


Many spiritual folks say that there are many paths to the top of the mountain. You’ve likely heard this before, no?

But the interesting thing is, in the Christian faith…

The mountaintop is brought low
and the valley is raised
and there we are.

God has moved heaven and earth
to come face to face with us
in Christ.

Amen.

Grace + Godspeed,
Jonas

This post was published first in The Jonasletter. To get my notes in your handy dandy email inbox as soon as they’re published, click here to subscribe.


Rory got a trampoline for Christmas. As an only child, this was a godsend.

She’s already put in a good amount of mileage on it over the last week or so (yes, it took me a couple of weeks to work up the courage to erect it).

Watching her on it is such a joy… I stand in the kitchen and look out at her bouncing up and down in her eccentric diorama of clothing (usually a combination of stripes, polka dots, and various animal print), long hair and arms flailing everywhere as she talks to the birds and waves at neighbors over our fence. …


I used to nap a lot.

When I was in my 20s, I’d open up at the golf shop (yes, I was a golf professional in a past life) at 6 am. Then I’d come home around 3:00 in the afternoon and crash — I mean, crash — for about 40 minutes.

When I got married, my naps went from regular to sporadic, at best. Then, when Rory was born, the napping stopped altogether. I could no longer justify it. In Rory’s younger days, my wife, Alex, and I would split the days between work and parental duties. …


Bringing humanity back to our published words

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Photo by James Sutton

I wish there were an ‘autoresponder’ option on Facebook like you would set on your email were you to go on vacation or leave. But there isn’t. So, I had to post this the other day…

Facebook Auto-Responder: Hey all. Happy belated New Year. Just a heads up that I’m gonna try to stay away from this website as much as possible for the next year and see how it goes. If you need/want to get in touch, FB Messenger is a good way. Also, I’ll be somewhat active on Instagram and my bloggy wog. Peace.

I’ve been noticing something over the last number of years, particularly since more and more of us have moved our lives onto social media and our news outlets have transitioned to…


I want to invite you to read this incredible post (an oldie but a goodie) by my dear friend, Heather Choate Davis

I have an inner conflict between mysticism/contemplative spirituality and orthodox Lutheran theology. I see a both-and with the two, but my ego wants to pick one. As an enneagram 9 (the peacemaker), I stress to a 6 (the loyalist).

Inner-torture, I tell ya…

But in this post, Heather (being a mystical-minded Lutheran like myself — and also an ex-copywriter from back in the day) delivered the spiritual espresso shot that I needed.

A little more than halfway through this post, she writes a little story about what might’ve happened if Martin Luther and Teresa of Avila were to meet up in a pub. It’s such an imaginative depiction. Such is the power of story: making real something that hasn’t actually happened but that your soul yearns for. This is the stuff that truth is born from. …


The entry I published yesterday might’ve come off a little…

Harsh.

I apologize if it triggered or alarmed anyone. But here’s the thing…

It’s important to know that God can handle our wails. Our laments…

That God can handle our honesty…

That God is bigger than any of our fears…

In God, we have a safe container to feel them all the way through. To put them into words and send them out there in case anyone else might be feeling the same way.

Because we know that this is temporary. And that God creates beauty out of our messes.

I used to spiritually override the messes. I used to refuse to look at the human propensity to muck things up. …

About

Jonas Ellison

Writer. Mystical-Minded Lutheran Theologian. Super hard to write with this plank in my eye. | Daily(ish) email newsletter at jonasellison.substack.com/

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