Monday, April 17, 2006

Jesus of Suburbia

As one who, in 37 years of life, has never known the pleasure of living in Suburbia, I find myself an unrepentant Urban snob. I spent my entire early life (pre-college) in small towns and the country, spent college and grad school in college towns and the city, ministered in a close suburb in Richmond, but lived in the city or "urban" part of the Chesterfield County suburbs (I think this meant that blacks, whites and Latinos co-mingled- nobody would tell me). In Houston, it was inner city and in Boston it was a true urban paradise. Once we moved to Tampa, we did not look for a home outside of the city core.

I mention this because over the past few years, not only have some Christians become concerned with the city and started moving back, but books have been written and good conversations have started. While church planting is still a primarily suburban affair, some Christians have felt calls to the city besides those ministering to poor families and those concerned with only the new urbanites (those who want the benefits of the city without the risks).

The pastor of a friend's church in Chicago has an interesting take on how the suburban lifestyle undermines our mission as Christians. This lack of hospitality is especially true in the suburbs, where one has to work extra hard for community, but is becoming a truism of the city (at least the one in which I live). Read the story here.


Dustin said...

As a suburban hater myself I can understand your feelings but the fact that it is harder to build community in the suburbs is one reason churches are needed all the more in those areas! I would say that it is more difficult to live as a follower of Jesus in the suburbs than in the city. It is also much more challenging to have a mission mindset. This leads me to believe that the suburbs are a huge mission field that are in need of followers of Jesus that are much more mission minded than you or I. It was much easier for me in New York City than here, that's for sure. I just hope God sends people who can face that challenge and do something other than the typical corporate church that tries to target young professionals who most likely don't comprise the majority population in the suburbs anymore. Not everyone can handle the suburbs, that is for sure. It takes a strong faith! I want back in the city!

shakkahop said...

I love suburbia, it is where I grew up. We treated it much like the ideal, birthday's, holiday's, grief, and joy were shared with neighbor's and friends. It was sometimes even better than church friends because my family was able to congratulate the indian family accross the street with legit joy when they brought home their baby. I would see the way the redneck pagan family would live and it would disgust me. The rich snobs and army brats that wouldn't set foot in a church would still have dinner together. As we grew all we had were our church friends. Did the pressure of being a 'christian witness' hurt our relationship with our neighbor's and drive us into relationship only within the church? I don't know. Why did I just post this? I don't know. Cheerio!