Reformed Margins and Getting Our Priorities Straight

We’re back!

After a few months of silence, Reformed Margins is returning for your reading (and listening!) pleasure. 

Some of you may have wondered where we went. 

Well there’s no great story. Life just got really busy for a lot of us. 

Babies have been born. Marriages have been built. Ministry has gotten crazy. Heck, I planted a church a few months ago! 

And to be honest, Reformed Margins just wasn’t as much of a priority in the midst of all the craziness. 

I’m glad about that. 

We don’t get paid to write at Reformed Margins. It’s a labor of love and a commitment to the cause of equality in diversity, but it’s not feeding our families and it doesn’t matter as much as our work in the local church. It’s important that we keep our priorities in order and that’s why RM went quiet for a while. We just had more important things to do. 

That’s a weird thing to write in an article announcing our return. Shouldn’t we sell this as the most important thing to hit the internet since Mark Zuckerberg? 

Maybe. We’re probably really bad at this whole marketing thing. 

But maybe over-inflated egos and extreme positions are part of the problem. According to Christian social media, every cause/position/article/mistake/event/podcast is THE most important thing you’ll come across. 

It’s just not true. Jesus, family, your local church, your work. These are the most important things in your life. All the rest is extra. 

Still, we think this bit of extra matters. And we hope that what we do with our extra time will bless you and encourage you as you pursue those important things.

So allow us to reintroduce ourselves. 

What We’re About

Hello. We’re Reformed Margins. Let us tell you a little bit about ourselves.

The writers at Reformed Margins come from a variety of backgrounds. Some of us are pastors and some of us are in the workforce. Some of us are parenting and some of us aren’t. Some of us are single and some of us are married. We live in different parts of the country and, as is the heart of our website, we represent various ethnic backgrounds. Perhaps there’s more difference among us than there is similarity.

Still, there are two main things that unify us. First, we all live under that broad Christian umbrella that we call “The Reformed Tradition”. There’s a lot of room under that umbrella — and we hope to explore it — but our voice is limited in this way. We’re not saying our Pentecostal, Catholic, and Free Will Baptist friends are outside the faith. In fact, there’s a lot we can learn from our brothers and sisters in other traditions. 

But when it comes to this website, we’re all Reformed and value that heritage, all-the-while calling our heritage towards that creed: Reformed and Always Reforming. 

Second, all of our writers value diversity. Yes, “diversity” has become a buzzword and has lost a lot of its meaning. Still, we believe the Bible lifts up diversity as central to God’s redemptive work (see Revelation 7:9) and we hope to champion this cause through our writing. 

This commitment extends beyond the ethnicity of our writers. It is too easy to stop at cosmetic diversity (look how many X attend my church!). We want true diversity. And true diversity means diversity of thought. It means allowing non-white brothers and sisters to be as involved in designing the table, not just allowing us the “privilege” of sitting there. 

Diversity will also influence the topics we touch on. Current church discussions, theology, and church history will get their day in the sun. So will parenting, Christian living, and missions. We’ll talk about pop culture and politics one week and share a devotional from Scripture the next. People don’t just care about one thing and neither do we. Being Reformed isn’t about only discussing things that are traditionally ‘Reformed’. It’s also about bringing our Reformed core convictions to bear on “every square inch” of life. So we’ll write about as many different topics as we can.

We’re also diverse in opinion. Not all of our writers agree (shocking, I know). And those disagreements are going to get some air time because echo chambers are sinful. Not every disagreement is worth disfellowshipping over. In fact, there are very few that should take us to that point. 

You see a different picture when you pull up your news feed. Polarization is at an all-time high, and I’m not just talking about politics. I’m talking about the Church. 

Perhaps there is a split coming. Perhaps we can’t be reconciled. Fights over things like social justice and the place of women in the church have created tribes and factions within the body of Christ and it’s heartbreaking. 

We’re pushing back. We want to be a place where disparate voices are brought together to talk things out, not just further the divide. So we’re making a couple of changes to who we are that will hopefully encourage you away from controversy toward deeper relationships with those around you. 

A Podcast

It’s called Family Discussion. Your hosts: Lisa Spencer and Marcos Ortega. 

You’ll learn more about it when the first episode drops next week, but allow me to explain why we’re doing this. 

It’s not because the world needs another podcast. It’s because the state of discourse in the Church is at an all-time low. We’re not listening to one another, and we’re not able to find value in a difference of opinion. 

Lisa and I don’t agree on everything. In fact, there’s a lot we disagree about. But Lisa’s my sister and I’m her brother. We didn’t choose that, Jesus did. 

We have two choices. Either we run to our respective corners and become a part of the partisanship that’s ripping the Church to pieces, or we move toward each other. We listen. We hold our tongue when we disagree. We ask questions and give one another the benefit of the doubt. 

The social media economy gives you points for how effectively you hurt the person on the other side of the screen. But that’s not who we’re supposed to be. It’s time we all came back inside, called a family meeting, and discussed things as brothers and sisters. 

Our podcast is designed to be one long Family Discussion. The first episode releases Tuesday. I hope you listen and enjoy!

A Schedule

A new article will release once a week, on Thursdays. This does a couple of things for us. 

First, it keeps us out of trouble. We can’t react to every little controversy that comes across Twitter. If we did, we’d never leave our computers. 

That’s part of the problem. Real life isn’t lived on social media, it’s lived in your local church. If you’re too busy fighting on Twitter and Facebook to engage with people in your local church and families, then you’re missing something vital in your Christian walk. It’s hard to caricature someone you disagree with when they have a face and a family. 

So rather than add to the discord, we’re going to take away our ability to “hot-take”. We’ll address issues that we feel need to be addressed, but we’re going to think about it first (gasp!), talk with one another about it (double gasp!), and spend time in prayer (fainting spell!) before we click publish. 

Second, a schedule like this will keep us from burning out or getting our priorities out of order. None of us have the time to write an article a week. We’d love to, but that’s not reality. We have to remember that this shouldn’t become too high of a priority. If it does, families, ministries, jobs, and friendships start getting neglected. 

So each writer will have some articles in the queue, ready to be published. Once a week, one of them will hit the internet. 

So come by on Thursdays! We hope you enjoy what we have for you.

That’s all for now! Podcasts Tuesdays and articles Thursdays. 

We’re Reformed Margins. It’s nice to meet you. Again.

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.

4 thoughts on “Reformed Margins and Getting Our Priorities Straight

  • September 5, 2019 at 6:38 am

    If you are saying that Catholicism is not a false gospel, that is very troubling!

    • September 5, 2019 at 11:40 am

      Gordon, I think Marcos was simply saying that those who consider themselves Catholic—not Catholicism as an institution or system of dogmas.

      A Catholic believer versus Catholicism are two completely different things. Most Catholics—and most Reformed believers for that matter—cannot articulate the intricacies and nuances of their respective traditions. But I have met plenty of Catholics who have explicitly stated that they believe in Jesus and are saved by grace alone. Just because one may be a part of the Catholic Church does not mean that they are reprobate.

  • September 5, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Clarity is always good. The way it was phrased was not. And to be clear, I am not saying that Catholics cannot be saved. As Mark Dever said “Some are… Same as Baptists”

  • September 5, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    One does have to ask this question: “If a Catholic is truly converted, how can he or she stay in the Roman catholic church?”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.