Wednesday 4 September 2013

Michael Horton on the Ordinary

There is a lovely piece here by Michael Horton on ‘Ordinary: The New Radical?’, offering a warm apologetic for the ‘ordinariness’ and ‘everydayness’ in a culture – in which the church is often complicit – of restlessness and endless pursuit of The Next Big Thing.

Some highlights:

‘My target isn’t activism itself, but the marginalization of the ordinary as the richest site of both God’s activity and ours. Our problem isn’t that we are too active. Rather, it is that we have been prone to successive sprints instead of the long-distance run.  There’s nothing wrong with energy. The danger is that we’re burning out ourselves – and each other – on restless anxieties and unrealistic expectations. It’s an impatience with the familiar, sometimes slow, and mostly imperceptible aspects of life.’

‘Take marriage, for example. Is there a plan or program that allows you to expect and to measure progress? How do you measure a relationship?... And as you look back, what counted most: the extraordinary weekend retreat or the ordinary moments filled with seemingly insignificant decisions, conversations, and touches? You have distinct memories (if not photos) of the former, but probably not of the latter. The richest things in life are made up of more than Kodak moments.’

‘Is it any different with raising children? When it comes to the time we spend with them, the mantra among many upwardly mobile parents (especially dads) is “Quality Time.” But is that true? What happens in those seemingly mundane moments that are unplanned, unscheduled, and unplugged?’

‘It’s precisely because we need to look outside of ourselves – up to God in faith and out to our neighbors in love – that it’s important to talk about the ways we’re stepping over God’s activity in ordinary and everyday ways.’

‘Just think of all of the pastors, elders, and deacons whose service is as unheralded as it vital to sustainable discipleship; to all of the spouses and parents who cherish ordinary moments to love and be loved; and to all of those believers who consider their ordinary vocations in the world as part of God’s normal way of loving and serving neighbors right under their nose each day.’

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