Hey!

I’m Jonas Ellison. And that’s my little girl, Rory, on the right (your right). We’re both a bit older now, but not much else has changed…

First and foremost, I'm a writer.

Here’s me trying to look serious while writing…

I’m also a midlife seminarian preparing for ordained ministry in the Lutheran (ELCA) church.

Here’s me getting ready to do churchey things…

I attend Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, but live in the Sierra Valley of Northern California about 45 minutes north of Lake Tahoe (thank God for distance learning)…

I’ve shared my musings across thousands of posts over the last decade or so (longer than ministry has even been on my radar) - including publications like Huffington Post, Observer, The Good Men Project, and elsewhere. My bloggy wog, Common Words, somehow grew to be the top single-author publication on Medium.com with a following of over 70,000 readers. It’s a collection of my thoughts, essayettes, poems, and stories. It’s my space to notice things, write them down, shape them a bit, and share them with you.

To me, the best theologians aren’t the theoretical types, but the storytellers, humorists, and poets. I’d say that Anne Lamott, David Sedaris, Ross Gay, Billy Collins, Jedidiah Jenkins, and Zadie Smith are better theologians than a lot of professional theologians (not to throw shade at any professional theologians - a much-needed vocation in the world, indeed).

This is my personal newsletter. By signing up (fo’ free) you’ll get everything I publish on Common Words (and elsewhere) sent directly to your handy dandy email inbox. It beats having to search around on the internets for my stuff.

My publishing schedule is as such… I write 1-2 times per week. Entries here are usually short journal-entry-like vignettes. Some are personal updates. Some go a wee bit long, but it’s nice to change it up.

What’s also great about getting on the email list is that you can reply to the emails. I’ll even read your reply. And if I can, I’ll write you back. And we can go back and forth about… Whatever is on your mind.

Ice-breaking miscellany…

I’m a husband to this lady and (as you saw above) a dad.

Strong coffee throughout the day, a couple of cookies in the afternoon, and a libation (just one - maybe two) in the evening just about cover my material indulgences.

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, 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.

Okay, now I’ll go a few feet deeper…

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 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 are left out of Christ’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 so that we can 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.

And, one of the best things is, it makes me a better writer. It frees me from my egoic self. I don’t take myself so seriously. Which is nice:)

Anyhow, to sign up for free to my inadequate (albeit enthusiastic) musings, here’s where you can do just that.

Archive

Everything I publish on this newsletter/blog thingy is free. THAT BEING SAID, if you’re eager and able, you can support my work as a writer by becoming a member of my Patreon community, which you can learn more about here. That’s where I post my more in-depth and behind-the-scenes content, videos, etc.

Grace & Godspeed,
Jonas Ellison