A few minutes on Facebook or in front of a TV and you quickly notice how hyper our descriptive language has become. A recipe has to be AMAZING!, a performance of a song is the MOST EPIC VERSION you have ever heard, and TV shows proclaim that the upcoming episode is the one THAT WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING!
I understand the need for a product to stand out among others, but when carpet cleaners, stunt videos, and dog tricks are AWESOME we are left feeling flat when we speak of the awesome God of the Bible. The Christian books designed to challenge and grow our faith fall victim to this temptation as well and, of course, I am guilty of it too. How do we dial ourselves back and speak of things with an appropriate perspective?
Michael Horton, professor of Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California, has recognized this trend and some of the heart issues behind it. He has written a book to help us process this dilemma. I greatly enjoyed reading his book on worship, A Better Way, and I look forward to reading his new book or-di-nar-y which is available today. Here is what Amazon says about it:
Radical. Crazy. Transformative and restless. Every word we read these days seems to suggest there’s a “next-best-thing,” if only we would change our comfortable, compromising lives. In fact, the greatest fear most Christians have is boredom—the sense that they are missing out on the radical life Jesus promised. One thing is certain. No one wants to be “ordinary.”
Yet pastor and author Michael Horton believes that our attempts to measure our spiritual growth by our experiences, constantly seeking after the next big breakthrough, have left many Christians disillusioned and disappointed. There’s nothing wrong with an energetic faith; the danger is that we can burn ourselves out on restless anxieties and unrealistic expectations. What’s needed is not another program or a fresh approach to spiritual growth; it’s a renewed appreciation for the commonplace.
Far from a call to low expectations and passivity, Horton invites readers to recover their sense of joy in the ordinary. He provides a guide to a sustainable discipleship that happens over the long haul—not a quick fix that leaves readers empty with unfulfilled promises. Convicting and ultimately empowering,Ordinary is not a call to do less; it’s an invitation to experience the elusive joy of the ordinary Christian life.
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Anthony is the Director of Worship and Communications at Arden Presbyterian Church in NC.
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