Lauren Winner has an interesting essay for suburban folks over at Books and Culture. It reviews a couple of books, one by David Goetz, a former editor at Leadership Journal, and another by Albert Y. Hsu, an editor at InterVarsity Press, which desire to ponder what Christian faith and spirituality can might look like for faithful surbanites.
Some good warnings and exhortations are in this article. A few of my favorites:
Suburban life, if pursued unheedingly, "obscures the real Jesus," writes Goetz in Death by Suburb. "Too much of the good life ends up being toxic, deforming us spiritually." But if obscured, Jesus is there somewhere, and Goetz's book aims to help suburbanites find him in the ocean of lattes, in the aisles of Pottery Barn, and in the bleachers at the soccer field: "You don't have to hole up in a monastery to experience the fullness of God. Your cul-de-sac and subdivision are as good a place as any."
"My church is the problem." Goetz has no patience for Americans' pernicious church-hopping: "Only in relationships that permit no bailing out can certain forms of spiritual development occur." Rather than switch churches because your pastor said something you disliked or the new church plant down the street has a livelier youth group, practice the discipline of "staying put in your church." This manifestly countercultural advice cuts to the very heart of America's restless anomie.
A basic guideline for simple living, says Hsu, is "to live at a standard of living that is below others in your income bracket. It you can afford a $400,000 house, live in a $250,000 one instead. Or, if you can afford a $250,000 house, live in a $150,000 one."
Here is the link: God of the Latté - Faith in the suburbs.
Links to the books: