Is Christianity Boring?
What it means to rediscover the joy of the mundane
Every year, I suggest a list of books for my college CG (community groups) to go over for the semester. As the resident (spiritual) sommelier, I suggest a wide range of books to choose from. From the cerebral to the devotional, I try to offer digestible options that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. For this semester, all the CG leaders chose the same book: Ordinary by Michael Scott Horton.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the premise of the book resonated with my servant leaders. Whether you believe that Christians, too, are victims of the flavor of the month or superlatives, we are all aware of, at least, the reputation of the Christian life; it is a religion of restrictions and repression.
As I was preparing questions for discussions, it dawned on me that while there is much beauty in the ordinary, there is also a boredom. These sensibilities are heightened when you feel like there are movements and fads in the Evangelical world that use catchy words like revolution and revival. And I’m sitting here, my heart barely stirred as I try to catch convictions by reading Habakkuk.
In an age where attention spans are shortening and the bar to be impressed is ever so high, I wonder how we can stay faithful. I feel like programs and aesthetics have supplanted the thing that have worked for generations before: the Gospel.
Galatians is really Paul talking about how the unadulterated and unadorned Gospel of Jesus Christ is good as it is, and I wonder what he would think of the spiritual steroids that has now rendered us so starved for stimulation that our spirituality can barely be sustained until the next hit.
Rather than staying true to pedestrian practices we now need to be impressed by grandiose gestures of our faith. We have redefined what “greatness” means and injected it into our collective philosophy of ministries. Metrics and optics have replaced discipleship and conversion.
And so in one of my questions, in a tongue-in-cheek manner, I posed the question: is reading the Bible boring?
Some might bristle at such a question. But in the secret place, where it’s just you and God, what is your honest answer?
For whatever it’s worth, I don’t think boring is bad. There is actually a beauty that comes to the faithful yet plain expressions of our faith. It demands a steady flow of perspective and it forces us to depart from measuring our spiritual health by emotions. Sticking to the ordinary means of grace despite our fatigue or faithlessness might not be the most exhilarating thing you’ll do but it is what we are called to do.
Horton brings the heat with this truth bomb:
We need to recover not only sound doctrine, but sounder practices that serve to deepen us…in the new creation that God has called into being. We need to question not only false teaching, but false values, expectations, and habits that we have absorbed, taken for granted, and even adopted with a veneer of piety.
It is light work to call out blatant heresies and false doctrines. It is hard to identify and change the subtle. How do you even exorcise the subconscious things we’ve picked up via secondhand cultural osmosis (and assimilation)?
When I survey my own narrative of being both a sojourner and a son, I wonder if God is gracious that he, as an extraordinary being, allows us to be known through ordinary ways. What if God is being gracious in that we are to participate in the ordinary as a way to live by faith and not by sight?
So is Christianity boring?
No. It’s not. Its machinations can seem ordinary, despite it being a faith in the supernatural. But it is definitely not boring, especially when you consider the stakes in the claims of Christ.