For the one who dares to carry the Word into our time has given up all chance to retreat into the safety of tradition. One who simply repeats old phrases takes no risks; it is easy to remain orthodox and hew to the old line. But one who speaks to this hour’s need and translates the message will always be skirting the edge of heresy… Only the one who risks heresies can gain the truth.

- German Theologian, Helmut Thielicke; ‘The Unfinished Conversation

Howdy, Jonas here. Before I tell you more about myself, let’s talk about you and what I hope you’ll get from this bloggy wog of mine.

Ultimately, I hope to share some stories and thoughts with you about life, work, and faith. Along the way, I hope to offer you a human perspective of a God who is FOR humans and our precious natural world. A God who isn’t a booming distant deity in the clouds, but a mysteriously redemptive, restorative, and loving presence right here on the ground beneath our feet. A God whose goal is not ‘control’ but rather ‘reconciliation’. In other words, the God that Jesus came to show us in his birth, life, death, and resurrection.

Why Should I Sign Up?

In short, this is the home to all of my work. Sign up to receive everything I create, all the essayettes, sermons, videos, audios, poetry, photography (yes, I take all of my own photos), and good news directly to your inbox so you don’t have to go running around the web looking for it. No algorithms, no computer telling you what you should see, just you and me.

I post daily(ish) minus a couple of breaks throughout the year. Some people like the daily emails but others only opt-in for a weekly compendium with the links from earlier in the week - you can adjust all of that in your email settings when/if you subscribe.

Email is awesome!

I SO prefer posting here rather than on social media. I hope subscribing here keeps you away from the doom-scrolling and hoping you randomly stumble upon one of my posts in the endless sea of sponsored posts! Everything I make goes directly to your inbox, which makes reading, watching, or listening to my stuff as simple as checking your email. Besides, aren’t we all spending far too much time on social media anyway? I digress…

Who are you?

Okay, fine, since you asked… I’m a man in his early 40s who has had many jobs, careers, and lives up until now. I’ve been married to my wife, Alex, for 13 years. We have one child, our daughter, Rory, who is the center of our universe. We live in a very small town in the Sierra Valley of Northern California about an hour north of Lake Tahoe.

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 Roman Catholic as a kid to identifying as a spiritual-but-not-religious “none” in my 20s and 30s 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 postmodern life.

Browse the archive

*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 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 swearing less and judging others more (God knows I swear all the time). 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.

Miscellany 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.

Some caveats

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 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