Happy Birthday, Reformed Margins!

Last summer, I sent an email to a group of students at Westminster Theological Seminary. Here’s a portion of that email:

I believe, following in the path of websites like RAAN, that the Reformed world needs to hear from minority thinkers on a variety of issues…
That’s where Reformed M****** (name definitely open to change) comes in. My vision is a site made up of a group of bloggers from various ethnic backgrounds who speak not only to issues of race and ethnicity, but to all areas of theology, church, and culture.
I’m writing to all of you because (1) I respect your love for the Lord and your heart for his church. I know some of you better than others, but I believe you would all approach such a blog ministry not from a place of self-glorification but out of a desire for the edification of the church. (2) We represent the three largest minority groups in the United States: African American, Asian American, and Latin American. (3) We also represent a variety of opinions within the broader Reformed Tradition that should foster healthy and encouraging dialogue.”

The email was sent at the end of April and soon we had a name for the site (thanks David Cheng!) and a launch date: September 1.

So after laboring for a few months to create enough content and solidify our vision, Reformed Margins was born.

Which makes today our birthday!

It’s been a whirlwind of a year and I’m amazed at how far we’ve come. We’ve said before that we weren’t expecting people to notice what we were doing. We were, after all, just a bunch of seminary students without much in the way of ministry or writing experience. But here we are, one year and 100,000 total views later. God has blessed this site mightily.

It was fun going back and reading that original email. Some aspects of the original idea have changed. Instead of a collection of individual blogs, we’ve become an online magazine. The original ambition of posting once a week has shifted and we post less often, giving people more of an opportunity to read our work without feeling like they’ve “missed” something and also allowing for more editing (I need it more than most).

But all in all, we’ve stayed true to what got us on board last year. We represent three major minority groups and have spoken to issues confronting the Asian, Latino, and Black communities. We still have a diversity of views on women’s ordination, the sacraments, and church government while holding to Reformed convictions. And we hope that we’ve fostered healthy dialogue through the work we’ve done.

There are also some things that have surprised us. We didn’t expect to be embraced so quickly by some prominent members of the Reformed community. The support shown by people like Tim Challies, Thabiti Anyabwile, and Alan Noble has been humbling; I’m not sure we’ve earned it but we hope to steward it well.

We also didn’t expect to be so deeply impacted by the faith of a little girl and the resiliency of her family. The life and testimony of Emily Choi, and I believe I can speak for the entire team here, is something that will stick with us for the rest of our lives.

As for the team, we’ve all gone through dramatic changes in our personal lives. We’ve had a new marriage, a new baby, new graduations, new graduate work, and new jobs to celebrate. We’ve also prayed for one another as we’ve helped with important work in Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

It’s been an eventful year, but we’re not done yet. Work for ethnic equality and racial justice still needs to be done. We still need platforms to elevate the voices of minorities in a reformed world that is largely dominated by our white brothers and sisters. And there are still topics that we want to explore more fully.

I don’t know what this next year holds for us. I’m sure we’ll spend time responding to the things happening in our surrounding culture. We’ll offer suggestions to the church for better ways to develop disciples and highlight stories of minorities doing great work in the world. Hot-button topics that we haven’t touched yet are currently being researched so that we can write thoughtfully and carefully.

But through it all, the goal remains the same:

Reformed Margins exists to celebrate the glory of God and exalt the person and work of Jesus Christ among the nations.
We pray that this site provides a platform for Reformed Christian thinkers from various ethnic minority backgrounds to join in the broader Reformed and Evangelical conversations.

Of course, none of this would be possible if it wasn’t for the team that has transformed the initial vision into what RM is today. Grace, Andrew, Mark, Eunjin, Bryant, and David have each added an important voice to the site and written articles that I have greatly benefited from. It’s an honor to be a part of such an incredible group of writers and I’m grateful for each and every one of them.

Pray for us as we continue this work. Sometimes thinking of things to write about can be a challenge and we all have busy personal lives. By design, RM isn’t paying anyone’s bills! And pray that we’ll have the courage to say what needs to be said in order for us to remain faithful to Jesus Christ and his Gospel.

Because in the end, Reformed Margins doesn’t matter at all if we fail to be faithful servants of the Lord.

In that spirit, I’ll close with the same words that closed the first email in April of 2015:

May God be glorified in whatever comes of this.

Marcos Ortega

Marcos Ortega (MDiv, Westminster Theological Seminary) is an Assistant Pastor at Goodwill Church (Evangelical Presbyterian Church) and lives in the Hudson River Valley in New York with his wife and two daughters.

2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Reformed Margins!

  • September 1, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Keep up the great work! Thanks for writing what you do.

    • September 1, 2016 at 9:02 am

      Thanks Josh! We appreciate you reading!


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