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…
I'm a writer and a midlife seminarian MDiv-ing at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. I'm also a candidate for ordained ministry in the ELCA.
First, some miscellany to break the ice…
Well, what else?…
First and foremost I’m a husband and (as you saw above) a dad.
A nice strong cup of coffee (with oat milk and sugar, please) and a beer (just one) in the evening just about covers my material indulgences.
I’m a social introvert and register as an INFP on the MBTI and a 9w1 on the Enneagram.
I like listening to indie folk, pop grass, and roots-rock music.
I prefer mountain lakes over ocean beaches.
I’m from rural America but consider Chicago (where I currently live) to be the best city in the world.
Okay, now I’ll go a few feet deeper…
To me, 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 inclusivist. None of us are left out (even those we 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.
This is my daily-ish personal newsletter and online community of sorts. I’ve been blogging daily(ish) since 2015. I started over at Medium.com before moving here to Substack. You can read here about why I made the switch.
About the name…
Table Talk has a multi-tier meaning.
The first one is that it’s the title of a book that holds a collection of Martin Luther’s more casual meanderings about life, work, and spirituality that he gave to friends and family at his home (usually around his dinner table). I love the spirit of this collection so much because he didn’t give them from a pulpit. Rather, he gave them likely with a beer-in-hand at eye-level with his peers, loved ones, and students.
Secondly, the tone that I write and talk in here on this blog is as if you and I were sitting across a table from each other - either at a coffee shop or a pub. I write to you, dear reader (and also to myself), not the masses.
Thirdly, the name brings to mind a common table in a family dining room. It’s where everyone gathers, eats, drinks, plays cards, tells stories, and all the other things that humans do when they come together.
And finally, we have the altar table at church. In liturgical churches like mine, this is where the thanksgiving meal takes place and it’s where the entire mass is centered.
Plus, it rolls off the tongue nicely.
Anyhow, to sign up for free to my inadequate daily (albeit enthusiastic) musings, here’s where you can do just that.
THAT BEING SAID, if you’d like to go deeper into the content/community and become a paid subscriber, here’s what you’ll get (beyond my short daily musings)…
(Starting in Lent, 2020) A weekly private podcast where I sit with the Revised Common Lectionary and share homilies, personal insights, random updates, epic dad jokes, answer questions from readers/listeners, etc.
Access to regular community posts where subscribers get to answer questions FROM ME, share perspectives and stories, etc.
Other goodies that I deem worthy of your valuable time and attention.
The knowledge that you’re supporting my ministry and putting me through seminary (because bills gotta be paid)!
HERE’S SOMETHING TO KNOW…I will always offer free or discounted subscriptions to anyone who wants to participate but is not financially able to - simply email firstname.lastname@example.org for either a 50% off code or a free subscription. Just include a short summary telling me your situation (so that I know you’re human and not an internet bot) and we’ll get ‘er sorted.
Also - unpaid subscribers will receive everything I put out there four months out of the year (December, April, July, and October). I’ll try to send a little extra love to unpaid folks now and then to keep everybody in on what’s happening.
Grace & Godspeed,