"I think there's a growing sense that the suburbs shape us in ways we don't always understand," said Mr. Hsu, author of The Suburban Christian.
"Suburbs were designed with cars in mind," he said. "You can't really get anywhere in suburbia by walking -- things are spread too far out." Living in one suburb, working in another and perhaps attending church in yet another, he says, "fragments our lives into different communities that don't overlap."
. . . Attending one of the most affluent UMCs in the country, Mr. Lueder senses that "everybody would love to release the pressure valve, to be able to not feel all this pressure to perform and to achieve and to send your kids to Harvard.
"It makes me want to say, 'Can't we all just join hands and say we're not going to put this pressure on each other any more?"
Mr. Hsu envisions something like that -- a way for Christians to redeem the suburbs rather than to abandon them. More people live in suburbs than in central cities and small towns combined, he notes, making American suburbia equivalent in population to the seventh-largest nation in the world. That's a vast mission field, Mr. Hsu says, and one that Christians need to understand before they can have an impact.
"There's a difference between a self-centered suburbanism that gets sucked into all the materialism and consumerism, and an other-centered Christian suburbanism that's focused on how to herald the kingdom of God in the suburbs," he said.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Article: "Suburban churchgoers rethink spiritual values"
Here are snippets from a recent article in the United Methodist Reporter that quoted me: