My brother hates suburbia. Super Target, Applebees, and Krispy Kreme would not be high on his list of what is needed where he wants to live. I actually kinda like these retail establishments, but my bro and I have had some great discussions about the "toxicity" of suburbia, the felt safety that seems to stealing life out of the very beings of our friends, family, and society.
I was at a birthday party last night and the five year old birthday boy got a really awesome skate board from his parents. The sweet old lady (who I love dearly), sitting right behind me, shouts, "Where's the helmet? He'll likely kill himself". I remember riding in the back of a van pre-seat-belt-law days (oh the good ol days). I remember going down scalding hot aluminum slides and hanging on monkey bars that had gravel under them. I remember when only the geeks wore helmets and Nintendo didn't exist. In a sorta old guy skepticism I have a hard time believing anyone is safer. In fact, I could pose some pretty good arguments to why our kids are not better off!
I see a trend among young families getting out of suburbia and purposefully moving to smaller spaces in more urban areas... places where their kids might be less safe but you can walk to get a gallon of milk... Places where art, music, and diversity are a little more accessible.
There are quite a few books recently published that deal with how suburbia is affecting our lives, and even our perceptions of Jesus. One is by David Goetze , who was recently interviewed by Cutting Edge magazine. Here are some excerpts that spoke to me.
"the journey is one of simultaneously becoming distant from our culture, and at the same time deeply belonging to it in order to serve it"
"the answer is not to leave the suburbs but to stay and figure it out, and find Jesus there"
"so the thicker life in my thinking means a life filled with joy, that embraces suffering, that exhibits the fruits of the Spirit"
I think I may be called to be a suburban missionary. Is it possible to live a missional life in suburban culture? Any Thoughts?