As you may have noticed, we’ve given the website a remodel and a fresh coat of paint for the new year. But the new look doesn’t change our original vision at all: We still aim to be “a platform for Reformed Christian thinkers from various ethnic minority backgrounds to join in the broader Reformed and Evangelical conversations.” We want to thank you, our readers, for continuing to support us toward that end. We are deeply thankful for your engagement with our work as it has spurred us on to become better thinkers and writers.
We also hope that the new design will make it easier to access our content and will serve to present that content in a more pleasing way. Whether we grow in readership or not, we are committed to producing thoughtful, stimulating, helpful, and Christ-exalting content to hopefully fill a lacuna in the Reformed and Christian blogosphere, and to ultimately serve God and his kingdom. We hope our new site will allow us to better deliver this content to you. And as always we welcome your feedback for any aspect of Reformed Margins.
Finally, the start of a new year is always a cause for celebration because it resonates deeply with the human hope for a new beginning, a re-creation, a chance for change and difference—and so we look forward. But a new year is also a time for reflection on the steady march of time in our lives, to consider accomplishment and failure as we’ve passed yet another cairn along the road—and so we look backwards.
Thus as we launch our new website in this new year, it seemed appropriate for us to look backwards, despite our short existence, and forward to what is yet to come. Each Reformed Margins contributor has shared their thoughts below on how they’ve enjoyed this experience thus far and their hopes for the future of Reformed Margins.
First of all, I want to thank Marcos Ortega for coming up with this idea and opportunity, a way that I, as a Chinese American, can serve the church while straightening out my thoughts. It’s been a pleasure and privilege to work with Marcos, David, Mark, Bryant, and Grace.
Reformed Margins has given me a place to kill multiple birds with a single stone. The temptation of a student and an aspiring thinker is to spend all his time reading, filling his mind with other people’s thoughts. Reformed Margins is my accountability partner. It forces me to organize the countless floating thoughts in my head in an articulate way, but also in a way that serves the church and aims to inspire thoughtfulness and worship. Reformed Margins is a constant reminder to me that my calling is far more than laying in bed and reading other people’s thoughts all day. It reminds me that my calling is to think constructively for the health and thoughtfulness of the church, and to reflect worshipfully in the hopes of inspiring worship amongst others.
My hope for the future of Reformed Margins is that it will embody a posture of embracing all minority voices in the Reformed community, seeing every particular individual and context as rich with unforeseen, yet invaluable insights and perspectives, worthy of our attention. We want to take the image of God seriously. I also hope that our writers and readers will grow in the art of nuance, worshipfully reveling in the mysterious and often tense unity and diversity of creation as well as of Christ’s body, the church. Finally, I hope Reformed Margins communicates that the gospel and Christianity are the ultimate metanarrative of creation, in which every minority finds his or her fulfillment as truly ___________ [whatever or whoever they are in the eyes of God].
I never dreamed that Reformed Margins would be what it is after only a couple months of blogging. When we started I thought that my wife and mother would read what I had to say (and then only half the time). But God is doing something extraordinary in my life through Reformed Margins. He has let me be part of a team of writers that I can learn from and be pushed by. Of course, it helps that they’re all better than me. But I’m finding my voice as a blogger and I’m getting to watch everyone else grow as writers too. He’s pushing me theologically and helping me understand nuance in ways I hadn’t before. He’s opening my eyes to worlds of culture that inform even the most basic theological conversation.
I think we’re starting to add to that conversation a little bit. And that was the goal in the first place. We wanted to create a platform that allowed ethnic minorities a chance to have the microphone, to share from their perspectives in ways that would help the whole church grow. It was about the collision of Reformed theology and ethnic culture, listening to voices who were—for a long time—at the margins of the conversation. So honestly, I think we accomplished something remarkable when we launched a couple months back.
But now we’ve made it into the New Year, still putting out content on a regular basis, and now with a new look to the site. So what’s next? I don’t know. I’m still humbled and amazed that we made it this far. We’re bringing on new writers and hearing fresh voices. We’re finding that the Reformed tradition has many different contours to it that deserve to be heard and valued. So I hope we continue on the same trajectory, embracing the diverse richness of the Reformed tradition and providing ethnic minorities with a place to contribute to the conversation. I hope that we thoughtfully confront the issues of today without ignoring the theology and meditation on Scripture that grounds us as Reformed thinkers. I hope that we carefully, lovingly, help people see a different perspective of the same great Gospel that has united the church since she was founded by Jesus himself. And above all else, I hope that God would receive all the glory and honor from everything you see under the Reformed Margins banner.
The most enjoyable part of this experience has been thinking through issues that affect the church and society with my fellow bloggers. We don’t agree on everything, which is great, since we can bounce ideas off each other and sharpen each other’s thinking. So much turmoil has happened this past year in the world, especially regarding issues of race and identity, and this blog has given us an opportunity to think through these issues from a Reformed perspective. These conversations need to increase, and my hope for 2016 is that more diverse voices will join the conversation.
We need more writers to think through a whole host of issues. I’m excited to be challenged on RM to think beyond my often limited Korean-American viewpoint about issues that affect the broader church. I’m eager to share more lessons from the Korean church and hope to speak more on how the Reformed faith should shape our thinking on missions.
Reformed Margins has been a thing for four months now, and I’ve been a part of it for three. Yet, despite being in the early stages of this movement, I feel like we’ve been around forever. The team I’m working with is phenomenal. Everyone has their own perspectives, and we’ve excelled at building off of each other’s unique strengths while simultaneously covering each other’s weaknesses. I truly believe God strategically brought us together to create something that will impact generations to come.
My prayer as we move forward is firstly that all who contribute to RM would pursue Christ and his righteousness always in their personal lives; secondly, God would keep our hearts committed to sound doctrine as it has been expressed in historic reformed creeds and confessions; thirdly we would remain sensitive to the needs of the various minority communities that we are serving through this resource. If God continues to bless RM with contributors that excel in these things, I have no doubt that RM will accomplish the mission we have set out to do, and we will be of great service to the Lord’s Church.
To me, fewer things are more joyous than when God uses my hardships to strengthen others. That is, after all, the model reality of our Suffering Servant Christ, by whose wounds we have been healed (Isa 53:5). I think of Joseph’s words here, “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Gen 50:20)—the good of knowing Christ in my depths and so the good of being able to love and hurt with others in their depths, too. It is the great joy of being part of the body of Christ! I consider it a huge privilege, then, to have a platform on Reformed Margins where I can do just this—use my struggles and the graces that God shows me there to encourage others in their difficult times. Looking ahead at the new year as someone who enjoys theological studies and discussions, I hope to explore, God-willing, different ways to make theology more personally available to the struggling believer.
When you hold a seed in your hand, it’s a tiny thing. Its hard sheen makes it seem more like a stone rather than something that might one day house chirping birds, bear ripe fruit, and bring a shiver of delight to those who watch the wondrous flow of its leaves stirred by the wind, washed golden by the setting sun.
When we first discussed starting a blog that later became Reformed Margins, I held that tiny seed in my hand, and I wondered if there could actually be life in a such a pip of a thing. And yet with much faithfulness from the rest of the team, who labored hard, who gently watered, and who prayed much, I think we’re beginning to see a squiggle of a sprout break the loamy soil. This is a soil richly tilled by Reformed theology, our Westminster education, Christ-centered preachers, our ethnic churches, our immigrant parents, our experience as minorities, and our loved ones who have supported us in this endeavor.
I am deeply thankful for the opportunity to work with such wise, insightful, and sharp minds—I have learned much from my fellow writers and know that I will continue to do so. My hope for future is that this tiny seedling would grow up—perhaps it will be but a small tree, yet I hope it would be a productive one. I hope that Reformed Margins would be fruitful in bringing blessing to all who come, growing the church’s depth of understanding on God’s love of different cultures and rich diversity, and even more so, of a greater seed that has become the greatest of trees, filling the earth with the knowledge of God and his Son.