This is probably my favorite read this year so far. How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds. The author, Alan Jacobs, teaches at Baylor University. [Note on the first quote:  Megan Phelps-Roper is the granddaughter of Fred Phelps, former pastor of Westboro Baptist (the “God Hates Fags” church). She later […]

5 Quotes from Alan Jacobs’s How to Think


I recently became a full-time pastor for the first time. So I read a fair bit these days. It occurred to me that I could put this reading to further good use by sharing 5 good quotes from each book I finish. So expect to see these periodically from now […]

5 Quotes from Matt Perman’s How to Get Unstuck



I press my toes into the sand. They disappear; my whole foot disappears up to the arch. I push the pads of my feet forward and a furrow forms behind them. Soon, the sand that I am plowing dips into something clear. The clear substance is moving and alive. It […]

Learning about Hebrews on vacation


Note: This post was originally written in 2013. At the time, I was editor and reporter at the Macon County Times, which published the story referenced. By Tilly Dillehay A few weeks ago, my newspaper reported on a local animal cruelty arrest. A photo of a dog, which had allegedly been malnourished […]

Animal cruelty: the gateway crime?



You’ve seen these memes about being an introvert. They pop up on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter and are often produced by Buzzfeed. “21 Things That Will Never Make Sense to Introverts” “53 Pictures Only Introverts Can Truly Appreciate” “21 Tweets That Will Make the Introvert Laugh Out Loud” These little […]

Stewarding your introversion


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When I turned 16, I had been homeschooled my entire life. I was finished with my high school work, and preparing to go to college in the fall. I bought a car with cash that I’d saved myself; I’d already worked at several different jobs. I was ambitious and creative, […]

5 things I wish I could say to every 16-year-old ...



Note: The following piece was originally published at The Gospel Coalition on April 9 under a different title.   God saved me through hospitality. To be more precise, God used hospitality crucially in his pursuit of my soul. After years of a debate between my agnosticism and my longing for […]

God saved me through hospitality


I was rooting around in some old files and found quite a lot of old poems, most of them written between 2009 and 2011.  If I date my conversion to early 2010, then these poems literally surround the days that I stumbled and fought my way back into the faith […]

Poems from my youth



Hello friends! I’m excited to show you the cover of my book, which will be out September 4. That’s still six months away, but it’s exciting to me to be able to share this with you.  

Seeing Green cover finished!


(Editor’s note: This is part 2 of a blog post in which I share a letter I wrote to Tilly in early 2011, in response to her question about eternal punishment. For the sake of length, I’ve broken the letter into two parts. Part 1, in which I make a biblical […]

How I Deal with Eternal Punishment (Justin’s Letter to ...