Howdy, Jonas Ellison here. First and foremost, I'm a writer and a memoirist at heart. I’ve shared my musings across thousands of posts over the last decade or so - including on this site as well as publications like Huffington Post, Observer, The Good Men Project, and elsewhere.
I’m also a midlife seminarian studying to become an ordained minister in the Lutheran (ELCA) church. It’s been a whirlwind, this path to ministry. I’ve gone from being baptized as a child in the Roman Catholic church to identifying as a spiritual-but-not-religious “none” to… Well… here. Kinda wild. But I hope my experience helps me relate to people who have no idea why the Christian faith even matters to modern-day life.
I find it impossible to separate my faith and my daily life. Faith is an incarnate thing. A created, material, physical thing. This platform is my place to be human, not merely a ‘religious figure’ (though I know I can’t escape that label altogether).
In my tradition, the preacher does not stand outside the community of hearers but in the middle of it. Yes, they are elected to study the scriptures, administer the sacraments, care for the souls of the community, baptize, provide sacred space, offer confession and absolution, share the preached word, etc. But the pastor is not at a higher status than anyone else in the community.
Please know that the ideas and stories shared here are my own, not necessarily my denomination’s (though sometimes they do overlap).
More on the Christianity thing
Please know this…
I am not here to make you a Lutheran, or even 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 rest is up to the Holy Spirit and, well… you.
The way I see it, being a Christian isn't about being 'right'. It isn't about cussing less and judging others more.
It's about trusting that, as flawed and busted as we all (!) are, we're also insanely and undeservedly loved at the core of our very 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 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 and spaces 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 frees me from my egoic self so I don’t take myself or others so seriously. Which is nice:)
Anyhow, to sign up for free via email, here’s where you can do just that.
More about me (if you’re interested)
Let’s see… What are some random personal things you might want to know about me…
I’m a husband to this lady and a dad. That’s me on the left (yep, your left) with my daughter, Rory. We’re both a bit older now, but not much else has changed (including my addiction to sophomoric graphic tees).
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.
I’m the child of an alcoholic and I grew up on food stamps and free lunches.
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 Bach (I know, such a basic Lutheran move).
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 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; I will (yes, I promise) fail you in some way (or in a number of ways). I’m as bogged down by Sin as anyone else. This is why I need God’s grace just as much as anyone.
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 the Word of God from the Bible. 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.
My publishing schedule is as such… I make 2-3 things per week. Could be an essayette. Could be a sermon. Or a video. Or a podcast. But what’s also great about getting on the email list is that you’ll get everything I make in your inbox as soon as it comes out.
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,