When it comes to lottery tickets, giveaways, or any kind of alluring contest, winning does not often enter into the equation for me. My family is convinced that it has something to do with our gene pool because I am not the only one who suffers from this plight. For years, we had a Christmas tradition of buying lottery tickets to scratch off and, since they were an easy gift to give to friends, we would buy a few extra to dole out. Without fail, every one of ours would yield nada while the ones we gave away won their owners some extra cash money.
You can understand my surprise when I found out two weeks ago that I would be receiving an advance copy of Boring by Michael Kelley after I nonchalantly entered a giveaway for it!
The topic targeted by Kelley’s work is one that I believe is a growing issue for people today. More than that, it is one with which I have found myself continually wrestling through each passing year. We are bored. We have more money, possessions, entertainment, available relational stability, freedom, liberty, and opportunity than most people in the world yet we are bored, confused, and feel a deep absence of purpose in our lives. Perhaps you can relate.
Kelley combats this way of thinking through an excursion into the extraordinariness of God. The book itself is split into two overall sections: the first half is devoted to a birds-eye vision of how God invades the ordinary while the final half delves into some specific, ground-level arenas where boredom can slip into our lives (marriage, parenting, church attendance, money, etc).
His thesis is simple – the ordinary, day-in-day-out realities of our existence can be transformed through a greater awareness of the extraordinary God who is near and involved in everything (Rom. 8:28). Significance in life is not found outside of your current circumstances, but in the constant realization of God’s loving direction within your current circumstances . In other words, living purposefully is not necessarily about doing different things, but doing the same things differently in light of the Gospel.
I appreciate this book because it amounts to an overly relatable subject for me. It has been my observation that evangelical Christianity has grown obsessed with thoughts “being radical,” but we have not done well in defining the phrase. The way its communicated from conference platforms and mass publications suggests the image in one’s mind that the purposeful Christian life is to sell all of your belongings and move to the slums of India where the Gospel is desperately needed. And though there are certainly some who may be called to such a journey, what about those like me? What about the ones who see the waywardness of materialistic Dallas; the emptiness of humanistic thought; the hollowing-out of self-serving ambition? Can that not be radical? Is it not of value to the Kingdom of God?
Boring offers (what I believe is) a much more realistic worldview for the rest of us – those who will wake up each morning, walk through the same routine, go to bed, and wake the next day to do it all over again. By all means, this is not a sexy form of Christianity. Is it ordinary? Yes, but a life lived in relationship with the extraordinary God of the universe redefines the conditions of your existence so that personal purpose is no longer built upon circumstantial feeling, but the true character and nature of God who is near. This transcends our circumstances.
Kelley’s book is a straightforward, simple read with nothing out of the ordinary, but it is a compilation of material that speaks to an issue wreaking havoc in our hearts and needs to be addressed. Boredom and purposelessness do not belong within the heart of a Christian as they indicates the greater problem that is losing sight of the all-encompassing purpose of God in the lives of His People. Boring is a book I have been waiting to read in light of my own impatience with life and it did not disappoint.
To pick up a copy of Boring by Michael Kelley, click here. The book will be released officially tomorrow (Sept. 15th).