Don't Miss Any of the Conversation

Don't miss any of the conversation! Join us at the new home of the Ancient Journey Blog

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

We're Not Dead Yet

As part of my recent Theology of Ministry paper I've been doing some continued cultural analysis of Burleson in particular and US Suburbs in general. Christ Journey folks will likely remember the recent series we participated in regarding living missionally and navigating the suburban wilderness (based in part on the book Death by Suburb). Through this series we attempted to highlight BOTH the blessings (there are plenty) and potential toxins (there are plenty) of suburban life. 

We do not believe, as is popular to espouse right now, that to be a truly committed missional Christian you must move to the city, nor do we . We honor those who are dedicated to urban renewal and to whatever degree we can further those efforts we certainly want to help. However, understanding suburbia has remained a topic of interest for Chris and I as we continually seek to serve as missionaries and equippers of church planters in this particular context.

There has been a good deal written about the "death of the suburban experiment." Much of which is based on concepts I heartily affirm: rejection of consumer culture and indiscriminate greed, a call to actual community as opposed to cookie-cutter psuedo-connections, a reclaiming of local character and culture, a desire to be better stewards of resources and the environment, etc. However, sometimes this rhetoric seems to be more politically motivated than I would like and is often focused on the current trendy-ness of urban life. 

I stumbled across an interesting article today that I thought I'd share. It doesn't give a whole lot of insight on the value and potential benefits of suburbia (which can be found through David Fitch, Todd Heistand, Tom Sine and others). Instead this is merely a closer examination of slanted statistics that have been presented in support of urban growth and suburban decline.

Check it out and let me know what you think.
Death of the Suburbs: Part Nauseum 


Lydia said...

well, i'm not sure I understand that entire article, but I tried. It's pretty neat that you put so much thought into what you are doing - but not just what you are doing, but how it's going to happen. way to go smarty pants.

Bret Wells said...

Lydia! Thanks for commenting...I was beginning to wonder if this interweb thing was actually viewable on more than just my computer! I guess that's what you get when you don't post regularly enough.

I admit the article was a bit...dense. But the main thrust is that statistics can be made to support all sorts of things that don't reflect reality (something I learned how to do during my psychology major days...) The reality is that the folks who are saying that the suburbs are dying and people are relocating to big city just aren't telling the whole story. In fairness its probably not always as intentional as the writer of the article seems to think... I think well intentioned people just see numbers that support their position and viola.

Bonnie said...

hey, I'm kinda with Lyd...haven't read a lot of research on where people are moving (I'm NOT planning to move!) but this guy has me convinced--but I've been around the block enough to know that what you're saying is correct. Anyone can skew numbers to defend what they want it to...kinda like taking scripture out of context to prove a point, any point. I, too, am proud/impressed that you are "doing your homework" (figuratively AND literally!) and realize the potential of the mission you & Rach (and Christ Journey) are embarking upon!