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Ordinary Lives

Pastor Jeff

 I dropped off some life insurance documents at our local agency a couple weeks ago. Our usual agent was somewhere with sun (that is, outside of Michigan and I am guessing in Florida) so another agent looked over the documents with me. As the conversation expanded beyond insurance, we reached a mutual connection—one I’d interviewed on my podcast “Ordinary Lives.” That conversation emphasized why I record that podcast, but I don’t think I’ve shared that reason with you.

               So let me explain.

Many years ago Calvin Seminary invited the noted anabaptist, John Howard Yoder, to engage their faculty about the differences between anabaptism and Reformed theology. Although I was not there (or to be more accurate, I wasn’t alive yet), those who were said Yoder eventually came to something of the following conclusion: “My tradition focuses on the fall and what happens after the fall in the redeeming work of Jesus. But Calvinism starts before the fall, at creation. And the redeeming work of Jesus is applied first to the crown of his creation, human beings, but is meant to extend to the entirety of creation.”


In fact, Reformed theology teaches that our understanding of history can be summarized as creation, fall, redemption, consummation. Although the fall has radically affected all of life, the creation before the fall was good, and that goodness is not removed by sin. Rather sin casts its complicating and distorting shadow over the originally good creation which is now waiting for its redemption (Rom. 8:22).

 This Reformed emphasis on the goodness of creation affects our view of things like vocation, recreation, the arts, the future, and podcasts. I record “Ordinary Lives” to emphasize two things. First, because God’s world is good, we can engage it not with fear or, even worse, indifference, rather we see God’s world as the place we are called to invest in and to unfold (Gen. 1:28). That emphasis on what is common to all of us matters. We are creatures who live in the same world and experience many of the same things. My substitute insurance agent could not wait to listen to one edition of a podcast because of a creation connection with a particular guest. And secondly, and more specifically, the creation connection with others is the most natural way to lament the distortion of creation through rebellion of humanity . . . . and to present how the restoring grace of Jesus can set us from the condemnation of our sin now and eventually will remove every evidence of sin from this world.

               And that’s why “Ordinary Lives.”