7 out of 10 Stars
Author: Michael Kelley
Reading Level: Leisure
In Boring, Michael Kelley teaches us that God is found in life’s ordinary tasks. We don’t have to travel to the heart of Africa or build an orphanage to have purpose or value. Michael says,
The truth is that we will all spend 90 percent of our time here on earth just doing life. Just being ordinary. If this were a self-help book, I might follow that realistic, slightly de-motivating statement up with something like: “Break out of the ordinary. Pursue your bliss. Go skydiving. Do something important. Carpe diem.” The same motivation, in Christian terms, might read: “God’s will is that you have a life of adventure. Get out there and make an eternal difference. Do something big for God.” . . . What if God actually doesn’t want you to escape from the ordinary, but to find significance and meaning inside of it? (4, 5)
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Michael encourages Christians to understand God as active and present in our every day life. He notes many of us interpret our lives as functional deists. God winds things up then lets them run their course. Michael encourages us to find significance and meaning in the ordinary like changing diapers or paying bills.
We can pay the bills, go to the job, play with the kids, change the diapers, and whatever ordinary boring details real life involves, but we can do so in faith. We can actually begin to believe that what we are doing has significance and purpose. We can believe in the great and intricate plan of God, embracing His “forness” and the extent of “all” and believe that the donkeys matter. They have significance.
And so do we.(40)
He backs this up with a robust discussion of contentment and finding our value not in having less necessarily but finding ultimate value in Christ (50). He aptly reminds us, “God is not a miser. . . . He’s given us everything He has to give in Christ” (53).
Michael uses the story of Saul seeking the lost donkey as a backdrop to his discussion of the ordinary. He also weaves in and out of stories to make his point. That’s definitely one of his strengths and something which made his last book Wednesday’s Were Pretty Normal one of my favorite of last year. He then moves through a variety of topics and connects each of them with our identity in Christ and gratitude for God’s gifts. Those topics range from marriage, work, children, money (a particularly helpful chapter), worship in church, and ends with a helpful discussion on obeying one step at a time (“Our priority should be to do what we know we are to do today, this moment, and not be distracted.” 201-203).
For those who might feel discouraged their Christian life isn’t radical enough or sacrificial enough or whatever enough Boring will reorient your theology of work and life towards Jesus Christ. Michael provides foundational purpose and significance to your every day life. If you’re like me and the mundane, repetitive grind of your nine to five wears you thin many days and sometimes you wonder “What other more important stuff God has for me?”, Boring will help you find the extraordinary God in the ordinary.
How can, as C. S. Lewis says, we restore “the sense of divine vision. . . to man’s daily work”? What tasks do you find particularly mundane or boring? Have you ever thought of your daily tasks as a prologue to the really important stuff of the Christian life? How does your identity in Christ impact your daily living?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”