Friday Five: Michael Kelley
Why a boring, quiet Christian life may just be exactly what God wants from you.

For today's entry in the Friday Five interview series, we catch up with Michael Kelley.

Michael is the Director of Discipleship for Lifeway Christian Resources and blogs regularly at Forward Progress. He is the author of several books, including Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal and Holy Vocabulary.

His latest is Boring, Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life. Today we asked why he thinks the quiet, unspectacular life might actually be radical.

This book is somewhat countercultural–at least in the evangelical world–with its push against the sort of world-changing, "radical" message. Was that intended?

Yes and no. When I began writing the book, I did so with a few very specific people in mind. These are people who raise their families in godly ways, are faithful church members, and work in secular fields where they have chances to share the gospel regularly. But these are also people who have, in my conversations with them, regularly asked the question of whether or not they are really doing anything significant with their lives. I think that question comes from our tendency to think of the work of the Lord in terms of the big and grand when in actuality most of our commitment to and faith in Jesus is lived out in the seemingly small, everyday choices of real life.

It's interesting that with all movements-whether it be a radical Christianity movement, the gospel-centered movement, or the worship movement- these movements tend to expose our ability as humans to take virtually anything and use it as a pedestal to stand on to justify our lives, largely in comparison to others. It's not that any of these ideas are wrong – they're certainly not. At the same time, anything becomes wrong when it turns into that kind of self-justification or pride.

So while I didn't intend to counter a specific idea with the book, I do hope that at least for the few people I was thinking of when I wrote it that the book can be an encouragement to actually find significance and meaning inside a "normal" life rather than seeing it as something to escape from.

In some ways, living a Christ-centered, quiet life–even "boring" might in it's own way be radical, given our increasing post-Christian age. Is that true?

I think it so. By way of example, I think of one of the traits of a godly person emphasized in the New Testament – something like contentment. That's a part of one's character that doesn't get much press in Christianity. But in a culture that's bent on consuming everyone and everything, a person who simply says, "Enough" stands radically apart from the crowd.

September 06, 2013

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September 08, 2013  6:53pm

Thank you for this book! How can I be patient when my special-needs brother is having a difficult back-to-school transition? What does it look like, practically, to love as Jesus loved? What does it look like to live as a godly single person? How should my relationship with God effect my problems at work? Should I care about people all around the world who are hurting, work for change, and so on–of course! But when I swing by mom's house after church, my brother is still having melt-downs. My grandpa is still going to assisted living. I still have friends struggling with cancer and depression. I appreciate this book because I want to live a bold and radical Christian life. But I also want to live like a Christian. I think an important step in loving those who are far away from me is learning to really, truly, practically love the people God has placed around me. (And on the flip side of that, part of growing in my love for those around me has been learning to love those I am not as close to).

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