Integrated Justice and Equality - A Review

Social justice is a contentious topic among Christians these days. A large reason for that is that the term has many and varied definitions. While the term was originally used to discuss ensuring actual justice within society, it has come to be interpreted as a means to privilege some ideological groups over others, to justify inherently unjust economic systems, and to excuse violence for certain, approved causes.

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 The corruption of the term has led it to be a polarizing phrase between theological stripes of Christians. Progressives who claim faith in Christ recoil when conservatives attempt to use the term to describe their efforts. Sometimes the affirmation of “social justice” leads Progressives to advocate for causes that undermine true justice. Those on the right often repudiate the term, even when the term is meant appropriately. Often the negative reaction to the term “social justice” leads conservatives to reject important works that are biblically warranted.

 In his book, Integrated Justice and Equality: Biblical Wisdom for Those Who Do Good Works, John Addison Teevan sets out “to encourage the good works of compassion that Christians want to do to make the gospel while differentiating between good works and social justice.” He notes that in order to do that, he must begin by disambiguating his terms. Throughout the text, Teevan is arguing for what he calls integrated justice, which is justice built on a traditional, biblical understanding of justice.

 In Chapter One, Teevan argues toward a biblical notion of justice, which is often significantly different than many perceive. Through historical argument, Teeven establishes his position that social justice is a term that originated outside of the church by those who found the work of the social gospel attractive, but liked even the traces of gospel that were left in the movement. He surveys the recent historical discussion, interacting critically with contemporary, conservative Christians. Chapter Two provides a survey in greater detail of understandings of justice, especially in those traditions that have impacted Western culture. In the third chapter, Teevan outlines the historical evolution of social justice, which he argues is largely rooted in Rawl’s understanding of politics. He also develops his critiques of social justice with the notion of a biblical, integrated justice. These two chapters provide the foundation for the rest of the volume.

 The remaining three chapters offer critiques of social justice, arguing it tends to undermine true justice, and bring the book to a close. In Chapter Four, Teevan critiques the notion that economic inequality is inherently unjust through practical examples of perfectly just inequality and the problems associated with attempts to create equal outcomes. The fifth chapter argues against redistributive economic systems designed for “fairness,” which often do not accomplish their stated goals. At the same time, Teevan is critical of capitalism, because he recognizes the limits of the economic system. All economic systems rely upon the virtue of the people. The final chapter brings together the concepts of the earlier chapters to outline specific warnings, conclusions, and practical applications for the reader. What he produces is a call to activism, but an activism grounded and controlled by the norms of Scripture and a traditional understanding of justice.

 This is a volume much more likely to convince the uncertain that to lead to converts. Those longing for a better society but who are repulsed by the gross depravity of much of the social justice movement will find an outlet to pursue true justice in this volume.

 At the same time, Teevan appears to concede the term social justice too quickly. Notably absent from his volume is a discussion of the development of the early Roman Catholic use of the term social justice, which was much more biblical than present parlance. It may be possible yet to redeem the term and turn it to good use.

 Overall, this is a much needed, accessible volume that is both biblically informed and economically accurate. Teevan provides a helpful critique of the social justice and gives a sound justification for his newly coined term. His critiques are honest and forthright. He does not demean, mock, or dismiss, which make this book a useful resource for the church. Additionally, Teevan moves beyond his critique into encouraging practical application, which is necessary to move conservative Christians from theory to action.

More than Enough - A Review

Most of us live in this world unaware of how wealthy we are. We have much more than what we need. As people in the United States, or even much of the so-called developed world, we have more resources available than royalty in previous ages.

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Lee Hull Moses seeks to address this condition and provide a Christian approach to living in our state of wealth. Her book, More than Enough: Living Abundantly in a Culture of Excess is an attempt to navigate through the tangle ethics of a global economy, with a myriad of decisions each day. This book is focused on showing how Christians should live in light of their situation.

Moses is Senior Minister of the First Christian Church in Greensboro, NC. The congregation she leads is part of the left-leaning United Church of Christ. A liberal approach to Christianity significantly colors the volume, and helps to explain where she lands in so many ways.

The volume is comprised of thirteen chapters, in addition to an introduction and conclusion. In the first chapter, she begins by calling the reader to desire to live well as Christians; she wants her readers to delight in daily existence. Chapter Two offers the assertion that we (middle class Americans) have plenty and need to learn when to accept we have enough. The third chapter decries the complexity of living a simple life: it just isn’t as easy as the books usually suggest. Chapter Four is a lament for injustice in this world.

In Chapter Five, Moses uses two texts of Scripture to commend generosity and self-limitation to the reader. Zacchaeus and the rich young ruler represent this paradigm for her. The sixth chapter offers a confession of her own wastefulness and indulgences, like buying candy that she fears may have chocolate sourced by child slaves, and taking a vacation trip to Barcelona, Spain. Chapter Seven addresses the plague of stuff—too much of it, more of it than needed, and much of it never really appreciated. The eighth chapter speaks of the Sabbath, the theory of which Moses pulls from Walter Brueggemann, with a call to practice it in contemporary society.

The ninth chapter calls for people to pursue social justice, particularly to seek the good of neighbors. In Chapter Ten, Moses celebrates hope and finds energy for her pursuit of justice in the future reconciliation of all things. The eleventh chapter documents Moses’ work to increase government expenditures on social programs some see as necessary to bring about justice. Chapter Twelve calls the reader to delight in the good things in life, which is about where the volume began. In the thirteenth chapter, Moses discusses participation in Christianity—particularly the mainline denomination—and finding continuity and future meaning related to her God’s goodness. The conclusion ends with plaintively, with a statement that there is good and bad in the world, but she hopes it gets better.

There are several strengths to this volume. First, Moses avoids the trap of idealism all too common with volumes on the topic of social justice and excessive wealth. She recognizes that sometimes we make decisions that are considered by some to be less than good because we don’t have time to research more, drive farther for a product, or simply walk instead of driving. By including a confession of her own failings and the sometimes murkiness of her own decisions, Moses captures the complexity of life in our contemporary world. This makes he volume more convincing than some advocates of a certain version of social justice.

Second, Moses recognizes the very apparent reality that the United States is awash in wealth. Much of the perceived financial pressure middle class families feel is self-caused, as they pursue a lifestyle that is just a little beyond their means. Life really is more delightful if we desire less and delight in what we have. Additionally, her assertion that Christians should be exemplars for others living in contentedness on less than others is biblically sound.

Despite these strengths, Moses’ approach has some deficiencies. The most striking is the absence of a real gospel, of propitiation, of actual forgiveness of sin. Moses does define sin in the volume, but she describes it as human action that interrupts to flow of God’s love rather than an offense against a holy God. (52) The deepest weakness of this volume is that Moses senses her own guilt, but does not seem to understand that the solution to the guilt is not marching in the state capitol or buying so-called fair trade products, but in throwing herself on the mercy of God and receiving relief from her guilt through Christ. Instead of building her faith on the completed work of Jesus Christ, Moses claims, “The faith we affirm is built on the hope of a future reconciliation, a promise that the world will be made whole.” (97) This is vastly different than Paul’s claim that the resurrection is of first importance. We have to have the resurrection before we can have that future reconciliation.

The missing gospel is due as much to the absence of a real, personal God through the volume. It appears that for Moses the most significant relationships on earth are those between her and other humans. In fact, the entire volume reflects an attempt at self-justification by attempting to mitigate human suffering. Moses puts herself at the absolute center of her Christian experience, and seems to believe others should view themselves as the center of their own. Therefore, she does not ask whether what she does pleases an almighty, holy, personal God. Rather, she asks whether she’s done enough to assuage her guilty feelings about her wealth and privilege. The book is built on a foundation of what appears to be moral therapeutic deism.

The efforts Moses suggests to bring about equality of outcomes tend to be built on growing the government and forcefully redistributing wealth. Moses claims that the government’s role is to “make sure nobody gets left out or left behind.” This is a far cry from pursuing justice, which is what Scripture repeatedly affirms as the role of government. By calling the government to enforce equality, Moses is asking it to do something that it simply cannot do in concert with pursuing justice.

In addition to a questionable definition of government, Moses also falls prey to the popular myth of a zero-sum economics. She views her own consumption as morally dubious because she sees whatever she uses as taking away from others. This approach to economics is common, but is certainly not universally accepted. It is also undermined by the fact that the percentage of the world’s population living in poverty is declining, contrary to her assertion that the “rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” (43) While there is too much poverty in the world, Moses fails to recognize the vast improvements in human welfare that have been made possible very recently, and that many who own nearly nothing in this world’s goods are among the most wealthy.

This book holds out a great deal of promise. There is too much injustice in this world. There are structural biases in our nation that need to be addressed. Many times companies and politicians are motivated by selfish gain rather than the common good. Individuals and families waste too many resources and ignore too much evil in this world. The topic is a worthy topic.

However, Moses’ approach is unsuccessful because it lacks the potency of the gospel, which motivates the regenerate to do justice, and love mercy in this world. It is the gospel that should inspire Christians in the West to work toward economic systems that recognize the goodness of human contributions and the justice of protecting private property. It is the holiness of God that should enflame the hearts of the Church to action. What Moses offers is a motivation built on a feeling of sadness due to personal guilt. Thank God that he provided a way for so much more through the cross.

Note: I received a gratis copy of this volume from the publisher with no expectation of a positive review.

Speaking of Ethnicity

Race relations in the United States is becoming a third rail topic. Better to discuss politics and religion than to suggest there might be ongoing patterns of systemic racism in some circles.

If social media is any indication, some groups seem to think that by even discussing racial differences, others are fomenting and accentuating racism.

In extreme cases this is true. However, in most cases, the people discussing racial issues are dealing with the real difference between the minority and majority experience in the United States.

The Myth of Color Blindness

One of the arguments against discussing race is the argument that society should be “color blind.” The term means that we should not consider the color of people’s skin when making evaluations of people and their work.

Image Credit: Old Couple, used by CC license,  http://ow.ly/oA8T303zFnk

Image Credit: Old Couple, used by CC license, http://ow.ly/oA8T303zFnk

I believe that most people engaged in discussions of race relations see “color blindness” as a desirable outcome in the long term. In Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, part of his dream is that people will not be judged by the color of their skin. Someday a future generation may reach that point.

Despite the desire to have a world in which skin color does not matter, that world does not exist now. We have a world in which ethnicity and skin color still do matter much more than they should.

At this point, there are some who will swoop down onto my argument like a vulture to point out certain statistics. What I’m speaking of here is more than just statistics—whether the statistics support certain percentages of killings by ethnicity or disparate academic outcomes.

I’m speaking of the observed reality that my middle-class, professional, African-American friends have on average been pulled over many more times than I have for no more apparent cause. I’m speaking of the reality of my own observations of minority males of color being treated differently than me by authorities even while we were both in uniform. I’m speaking of the internal impulse in my own mind to make snap judgments about people based on their appearance.

I like statistics (in fact they are a fun part of my job), but they don't always tell the whole story. Sometimes they tell a different story than reality.

To claim that skin color does not influence societal evaluations is foolish. It’s like a person ignoring an infection in a limb.

Our Wounded Reality

Imagine if you get a cut in your finger while working a dirty job. You ignore the pain and keep working. You tell your hand that it is OK and that it is just like your other uninjured hand. Both hands are equally valuable to you, therefore it should stop hurting. Meanwhile it gets infected. However, you don’t clean the wound or treat it. You tell your hand that the cut was inflicted a couple of days ago and that it hasn’t been cut recently, so it should stop aching. Slowly the infection may heal, if conditions are right. Or, quite possibly, ignoring the legitimate needs of your hand could cause the infection to spread and perhaps even blood poisoning to set in.

At best, the neglected hand heals itself but may scar significantly or take longer to fully heal due to the lack of medical care. At worst, the blood poisoning spreads and kills the individual with the injured hand. In both cases consequences could have been avoided by taking timely, appropriate action.

Few people would ignore an injured hand. Instead, most people react to a cut by getting first aid, keeping it clean, and treating the injured hand differently for a time. The common sense understanding is that the wounded hand may have different needs for a time.

There is wisdom in recognizing there is a difference between the hands and taking care of the wound.

Our contemporary reality of race relations is something like this analogy.[1]

The Reality of Injury

To provide just one example, African-Americans were economically and socially harmed by American society by being enslaved and later by unjust laws that were in place in the middle of the last century. There are enough evidences of ongoing negative racial bias that we need to accept that such bias continues to exist in some cases. (See: the alt-right movement)

There has been legitimate injury done that will necessarily take time to heal. It may also take focused attention to promote healing, which includes at least being free to talk about racial differences without being accused of fomenting division.

Until healing occurs, we need to recognize that there are differences in society between the experiences of people of different ethnicities. Stereotypes built on generations of observed behavior, depictions in entertainment media, and self-selected identities all impact the experience of people in the United States. It takes time to change these deeply seated societal ideas, but the first step is to recognize they exist. Someday we may be able to be “color blind,” but we aren’t there yet. In many cases we really aren’t that close.

Moving Toward Change

We should long for the day when ethnicity is a point of interesting difference, like discussing where people grew up and what their favorite home-cooked food is. However, the experience of racial minorities in the United States is often significantly different than that of the majority. If you want to know what sorts of differences exist, talk to a few minorities. Their experiences will be unique, but some common patterns will tend to emerge if the sample size is large enough.

Unless we address the injustice of some of those differences, the healing process will not progress very quickly. Unless people are free to explain what is wrong without being accused of hate and division, we can never have meaningful conversations.

We can certainly have meaningful discussions about the best ways to deal with our differences. There is no simple solution for undoing the intentional harm inflicted in and by previous generations. There is no single, easy method of eliminating the often obscure, but deeply seated biases of contemporary perceptions.

However, until people are allowed to have open, charitable conversations about the existence of differences because of ethnicity, society will be unable to move to the next phase of healing.

[1] The analogy obviously breaks down at some point. I am not inferring that racial minorities are somehow infected limbs that should be removed from society. Quite the reverse. I am hopeful that this analogy will illustrate the interconnectedness of society and the value in promoting social healing for overall health. Just as one does not blame the hand for being wounded, we should not blame minorities for past ills inflicted by society.

Under Our Skin - Benjamin Watson Discusses Race in America

When Benjamin Watson, a Tight End in the NFL, wrote a Facebook post in the aftermath of the Ferguson, MO decision, some hailed it as a “race-baiting” others saw it as an attempt by at least one person to try to make sense of the racial tension in our world.

The thing is, whether we all like to admit it or not, race is still an issue in the United States. For the most part we’ve gotten over the biggest obstacles to living with one another: Jim Crow has been repealed, discrimination based on ethnicity is forbidden, and society doesn’t generally tolerate overt racists.

However, that doesn’t mean that the issue is settled. It isn’t. And the reason that we need to talk about it is so that we can identify and begin to root out subtler forms of bias against other races.

Benjamin Watson’s book, which was co-authored by Ken Petersen, tries to bring gracious light on the issue from the perspective of one African-American. This is a book that will make you think, even if you don’t agree with all of the details. That is, it will make you think as long as you take the time to read it and try to see what Watson is really communicating.

Summary

The book includes an introduction and eleven chapters. The topics of ten of the chapters come directly from the bullets in Watson’s original, viral Facebook post.

Watson begins with anger, but he recognizes what it is and boiling it down into a gracious tone. He invites the reader in to his perspective on the status of race relations in general and the Ferguson decision in particular. This chapter shows that our starting point can shape how we view the justice of the ending point. Instead of arguing with his readers, he tries to show why he arrives at his perspective.

That’s really the point of the book. It makes the reader aware that there is another perspective and that it is rational. In the end, the reader chooses to believe it or not, but a fair reader should walk away with a better understanding of Watson’s view of race in the United States. Although he certainly doesn’t speak for all African-Americans, his perspective is authentic and winsome. It can’t hurt much to think about things from his point of view.

In much the same way, the remaining ten chapters examine emotions that Watson experienced in response to the Ferguson decision. Introspection, embarrassment, frustration, fearful confusion, and sympathetic sadness are among them. Add to these things feeling offended and hopeless, but at the same time encouraged and empowered. Watson walks through how all these emotions were a part of his response. He does this without giving into any of them or becoming so rational that he discounts the power of the emotions.

Reaction

This isn’t a book on theology with a linear argument that I can critique. Even if it was, that isn’t the point of the book. The point of the book is to get the discussion about race going. It is intended to get one side to see that there is more to the conversation than facts and figures; simply showing that overt racism has been banned is not the end of the story. It is intended to show the other side how to begin a discussion without so much anger that your words can’t be heard.

I think that Watson succeeds in providing a gracious beginning point for conversation.

Watson’s book helps me, a white man, to better understand what it’s like to see things from his perspective. He puts into gracious terms some of the bits and pieces of testimony I’ve heard from friends that are part of racial minorities. I can’t have ever experienced these things, but I can certainly appreciate his perspective better now because he presents his case so carefully.

It is shameful that for many people on the political right simply talking about race has become a divisive political issue. Of course, often that idea is intentionally promoted, as some try to use racial division to paint the other side into a corner. But the issue is too important to allow it to driven by politics.

When we are talking about race, we are talking about people made in the image of God. We are talking about how we treat one another and whether justice is being done. Those are gospel issues, not merely political issues. This is a conversation that we can’t afford to skip out on. This deserves a deep discussion and consideration of where we are as a society, not merely a cursory head nod to equality.

I am thankful for Watson’s book and that he took the time to write it. He’s making enough playing football that he didn’t have to take the time, and yet he did. I’m thankful for the way he engaged the question so that I could benefit from his perspective.

In the end, I’m hopeful that reading this book has helped me see things a bit more clearly and gives me the ability to have a bit more empathy. I’m hopeful that others will read the book and have a similar experience.

Note: I received a gratis copy of this volume in exchange for an honest review.

Here is a video Watson did with The Gospel Coalition on this topic: 

Is Doctrine Central to Evangelicalism?

When a second edition of a theology book is published nearly four decades after its first publication and just over a quarter century after its second printing, it begs for an explanation. The explanation is even more necessary when the book is a monograph and the author is dead, requiring the addition of a second author to edit and augment the volume.

 Rediscovering and Evangelical Heritage: A Tradition and Trajectory of Integrating Piety and Justice is the equivalent of a digital re-mastering and re-release instead of a series reboot. Donald Dayton’s original text remains intact. The 1988 printing only added a preface. The most recent edition adds postscripts to several chapters, another introduction (1/4 of the book is introductory!), a conclusion, and a foreword by Jim Wallis.  The core of this volume is exactly the same as it was in 1976, three years before my birth.

 The answer to my question rests largely in the similarity between the cultural milieus. Just as the 60’s and 70’s gave rise to a growing number of Christians who emphasized social justice and cultural engagement over doctrinal definitions, another similar tide is rising. This time, instead of the civil rights and the beginning stages of environmentalism, we have an aggressive sexual revolution and a much stronger push for environmental repristination. Wallis is nearly correct when he observes in his introduction “that a new generation of evangelical Christians is hungry to do exactly what these earlier reformers [the 19th century subjects of this book] were doing.”

 After its excessive front matter, the book has ten chapters. The first seven deal with institutions or people that Dayton felt represented the best aspects of evangelicalism in the 19th century. He writes about Jonathan Blanchard, who founded Wheaton College, in the first chapter.  Chapters two through seven focus on Charles Finney and those who are closely related to him. All were active in abolitionist movements most were active in moving parts of the church toward egalitarianism. Chapter eight explains that, according to Dayton, the roots of feminism are in evangelicalism. Chapter nine emphasizes the focus on the poor and marginalized among the 19th century American evangelicals. Finally, chapter ten laments the loss of social justice among evangelicals and tries to explain why this loss apparently happened.

 There is some helpful history in this book. It accurately portrays the evangelical pursuit of the end of slavery before the American Civil War. Many of the abolitionists were Bible believing Christians, contrary to the popular meme that portrays all Christians as bigots. This is because chattel slavery founded on the practice of kidnapping is unquestionably a violation of biblical norms. The fact that some Christians couldn’t see that, or that they argued against that, is not an argument against Christianity but an indictment of cultural blindness and bad hermeneutics.

Charles G. Finney

Charles G. Finney

 This book gets it wrong by assuming that Finney is theologically representative of evangelicalism. Finney held some doctrines which were consistent with theological orthodoxy. However, Finney, confident in his own ability to reason, approached Scripture alone, without benefit of the community of tradition to help shape his beliefs. This is what led Charles Finney to adopt the heresy of Pelagianism, or a position next door to it, according to some friendly accounts. Even Donald Strong admits in the newly added conclusion, “Finney’s theological orientation went beyond these standard Arminian positions when his preaching ended to verge close to Pelagian works righteousness, especially when he described humanity as having an almost unaided ability to bring about social perfection.” Other contemporary theologians, like J. I. Packer and Beth Felker Jones (who is a Weslyan and generally sympathetic with an Arminian point of view), have described Finney’s doctrine as Pelagian.

 In short, despite the good that Finney did in preaching the gospel, he did so from an unsound theological foundation that tended to undermine the realistic vision of humans as sinful people, living in a sinful world, in need of God’s redeeming grace to save and redeem them. Finney’s preaching enabled social justice movements to move forward vigorously, but crippled the future generations that would reject the established doctrinal foundations that empower believers to recognize the source of injustice in human sin and call for righteousness through the cross.

 The rejection of concern for right doctrine is at the heart of Dayton’s and Strong’s version of evangelicalism. Strong makes the lack of concern for orthodoxy apparent in his conclusion to the 2014 edition. He argues that religious experience (“orthopathy”) and ethical behaviors (“orthopraxy”) are the central characteristics of evangelicals. He then specifically rejects concern for right belief (“orthodoxy”) as a necessary attribute for evangelicals.

 In truth, what Strong and Dayton seem to be arguing for is a lighter form of liberation theology, which maintains a real, but less caustic suspicion of the text of Scripture. This is similar to the position argued in another recent book from Baker Academic, Introduction Evangelical Ecotheology: Foundations in Scripture, Theology, History, and Praxis. In that book the authors present an ecologically formulated liberation theology as an acceptable evangelical option despite its rejection of the norms of Scripture.

 In the end, the purpose of Rediscovering an Evangelical Heritage is to promote the idea that right doctrine is not an essential characteristic of the authentic Christian life. What matters for this paradigm is having a religious experience and acting the right way. In some ways, this sounds much like the Pharisaic lifestyle–which was primarily concerned with externalities–more than true conversion–which comes through the power of the Christ and leads to the conversion of the mind and the hands.

 The movement to reject doctrinal norms and sever contemporary evangelicalism from historical mooring has been ongoing for decades, but it is reaching a new climax of activity as social liberals attempt to lure self-identified evangelicals into socially popular positions that contradict Scripture. This book is an attempt to argue toward that end. It encourages young believers to reject “doctrinal exclusivism and biblical literalism,” by which Strong means evangelicalism connected to historical Christianity.

 In many cases, as with a pursuit of environmental health, just treatment of minorities, and reform of the justice system, folks like Dayton and Strong have just cause. Pursuing social justice is a moral good and a necessary part of being a true evangelical. However, so is doctrinal integrity. Maintaining doctrinal integrity prevents believers from advocating for abortion rights, redefining sexual norms, and creating policies that wantonly eliminate societal freedoms because those things violates the image of God.

 Doctrinal integrity permits evangelicals to ask the question, “Is this consistent with what the community of God has consistently believed about the world?,” in addition to asking, “Is this immediately consistent with my envisioned ideal state for the world?”

 The evangelicalism promoted in Rediscovering and Evangelical Heritage rejects the foundation of doctrine, and thus enables the ability to reject scriptural teachings in pursuit of contemporary definitions of justice. In other words, contemporary culture becomes a superior source of moral authority to Scripture.

 In this manner, the value of the unborn, biblical sexual norms, and property rights become subject to debate, despite their settled nature in historic interpretations of Scripture within the church. The church can do better than this. Evangelicals can, contrary to Dayton and Strong, pursue doctrinal integrity and social justice. Indeed, they must.

 This book is significant and worthy of attention. Not because its content is earth-shattering (it can’t be this because it was originally published decades ago) but because it points to a recognition that in many ways we are where we were in the 1970’s, though the issues have changed slightly. This re-publication points toward an opportunity for orthodox evangelicals to respond to culture and doctrinal degradation in a way that is more helpful and healthy than the Religious Right and the Moral Majority were decades ago. We should be thankful to Baker publishing and to Douglas Strong for making that clearly evident.

Note: A gratis copy of this volume was provided by the publisher with no expectation of a positive review.

Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down

Don’t read this book unless you are prepared to have your practice of faith challenged. When he titled this book Ordinary, Merida wasn’t describing what your ordinary life is, he was describing what your ordinary life ought to be.

It turns out that the biblical definition of ordinary is a lot different than how most of us normally life. According to Merida,

Ordinary is not a call to be more radical. If anything, it is a call to the contrary. The kingdom of God isn’t coming with light shows, and shock and awe, but with lowly acts of service. I want to push back against sensationalism and ‘rock star Christianity,’ and help people understand that they can make a powerful impact by practicing ordinary Christianity.”

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