Hey, Jonas here... I’m a man in his early 40s who has had many jobs, careers, and past lives up until now.
I’ve shared my musings across thousands of posts over the last decade or so - including here on Medium as well as publications like Huffington Post, Observer, The Good Men Project, and elsewhere.
I’m studying to become an ordained pastor in the Christian church (ELCA Lutheran), but first and foremost, I’m a human earthling kinda like you. I didn’t decide to become a pastor until I was in my mid-30s.
Before that, I was someone who considered himself spiritual but not exactly religious (I was raised Roman Catholic, but drifted away when I was still a kid). Vocationally, I was a writer who somehow grew a football-stadium-sized audience writing about life, creativity, and spirituality on this blog. I also freelanced as a hired-gun copywriter for brands and businesses.
So, though my vocation has shifted from being in the secular sphere to being in the institutional religious realm, I am still a person with an innate need to write my human thoughts on the digital page. This is my place to say the things I need to express to myself and to those who might resonate with them. I might share a sermon or three here, but mostly, this is where I share the things that I wouldn’t share in the pulpit for fear of tar and feathering.
Though I don’t swear from the pulpit, if I had you over for a backyard bbq, I’d probably drop a few spicy words in your presence just as you might.
(As the prophet, Anne Lamotte, says - sometimes a swear word is the only appropriate word.)
As the night wore on, you might catch me picking my nose (or was I itching it?), yelling at my kid, or making a dumb off-putting remark or three. You might not like me as much when you left as when you first arrived. But we’d have communed and you’d know that I was not much different than you.
This is the spirit that I carry my work in here. So welcome. Grab a dry cider (sorry but my doctor took me off of gluten, so I don't drink beer anymore) or a Coke, dish up some grilled veggies or dogs, and let’s enjoy our imperfect time together.
*The ideas shared here are my own, not necessarily those of my denomination (though sometimes they do overlap).
More on the Christianity thing
Please know this…
I am not here to make you a Christian.
That would be impossible as I am not God (thankfully). All I can do is share my tradition and perspective with you.
The way I see it, being a Christian isn't about being 'right'. It isn't about swearing less and judging others more. It's about trusting that, as flawed and busted as we all (!) are, we're also insanely loved at the core of our being by our creator and designer.
The Gospel of Jesus is the great cosmic leveler. It’s harshly universal while being intimately personal. None of us live up to any notion of a divine standard AND none of us are left out of God’s loving embrace (even those whom we reeeeally wish were).
We don’t have to be ‘right’ in order to be loved by God. Instead, we are loved by God in order to be made right. Again and again.
This Christian faith liberates me to spend more time doing the things I love and going to more places that make me feel small and even a bit afraid. It frees me to remember to laugh at myself more and to let others off the hook as much as I need to be let off the hook. It marks the changing of the seasons via the liturgical calendar as we move from Advent to Pentecost and back again. It gives me the sacred ancient words and liturgical movements that our ancestors have said and embodied for thousands of years.
And, one of the best things is, it makes me a better writer. It dis-illusions me from my false egoic self so I don’t take myself or others so seriously. Which is nice:)
Miscellany about me (if you’re interested)
Let’s see… What are some random personal things you might want to know about me…
- I’ve been married to my wife, Alex, for a buncha years. We have one child, our daughter, Rory (yep, that's her on the right - your right, that is), who has me wrapped several times around her mac and cheese-laden fingers. We’re both a bit older now, but not much else has changed (except that I'm now in recovery from my past addiction to sophomoric graphic tees).
- We live in a very small town in the Sierra Valley of Northern California about an hour north of Lake Tahoe.
- Strong coffee throughout the day and a libation (just one - maybe two) in the evening just about cover my material indulgences.
- Both of my parents died when I was relatively young. Which basically makes me like Bruce Wayne (but without the trust fund).
- I’m the child of an alcoholic and I grew up on food stamps and free lunches. But I was blessed in a multitude of ways.
- I’m an introvert, albeit a social one. I register as an INFP on the MBTI and a 9w1 on the Enneagram. If you’re into that kind of thing.
- I like listening to indie folk, pop grass, outlaw country, and roots-rock music. And AC/DC. And Celine Dion. And Bach (I know, such a basic Lutheran move).
- I can’t stand praise music or any kind of contemporary Christian music including Hillsong-type Christian rock. Give me old hymns and Gregorian chants over that nonsense any day.
- I’m a big fan of fire (as long as it’s controlled). Anywhere from a candle flicker to a raging bonfire will do.
- I’m of Celtic and Danish descent and am a purveyor of all things hygge.
- I prefer mountain lakes over ocean beaches.
- I used to be a golf pro. We should totally play sometime. But you have to spot me three a side.
A warning is due here… Yes, I’m studying to be a pastor. But I am a human and not a perfect one (shocker, I know). I will (yes, I promise) fail you in some way (or in a number of ways). I’m as bogged down by my human bustedness as anyone else. This is why I need God’s grace just as much as everyone.
Also, I plagiarize a lot of plagiarizers… This is kind of the nice thing about being a proclaimer of the Gospel - our job is to plagiarize Jesus. Luther did it. Tillich did it. Sölle did it. So many people do it. It’s our job. So if you see something that you’re sure you’ve seen somewhere else… Yep, you probably have.
Aaaand that’s about it. Okay, one more time, to sign up for free via email, here’s where you can get situated.
Grace & Godspeed, Jonas Ellison