Ordinary. That’s the title of Tony Merida’s recent book about how Christians should love our neighbors, practice hospitality, care for orphans, and speak out against injustice. By titling his book Ordinary, he was trying to say that these things should be typical activities and experiences within Christian churches. To that end, he argues his thesis well and shows that these activities are both expectations and even commandments in the Bible.
Merida points out that Jesus’ disciples were described by the religious leaders in Acts as “ordinary,” but that these same disciples were charged with “turning the world upside down.” He calls on his readers to also be ordinary, and in so doing, turn the world upside down. He carefully navigates the issues surrounding social justice and gospel proclamation and shows that both are necessary, that the former should undergird and not supplant the latter. I found myself nodding my head and encouraged to step out more in support of these activities.
Unfortunately, Ordinary doesn’t just mean typical or normal. It can also mean boring and ho hum. As I worked my way through this book, I kept thinking to myself, there are many other books that cover these topics better, and his citations of other books like A Meal with Jesus made me want to stop reading and pick that book up instead. Also, at some points I wasn’t sure if I was reading a book about ordinary Christian life or a commercial for the International Justice Mission. It’s not that the IJM is a bad organization, but its name kept coming up so much that I’m a little surprised it’s not stamped across the cover of the book.
Ordinary is a fine book. It just struck me as ordinary.
I received an audiobook copy of this title from christianaudio for the purpose of review.