You're catching me thinking again. So, it's a bit of a mess in here, but this is what's been on my mind.
In America the most dangerous place for Christians to live is suburbia. I know you may have moved here precisely for the safety and security offered: for the good schools, big houses, clean parks and the upscale malls. But the danger of suburbia is the lack of danger itself.
The 'burbs allow us to maintain a sense of safety as we "protect" our children from the ugliness of the world. The poor are not seen here. The homeless, if they stop by, are quickly and quietly removed. While there is spousal abuse and drug abuse and alcoholism, most of it is hidden because we either do not want to see it, or admit that we are afflicted by it. This is made possible because we have created communities without relationships. The result of this insulation is we no longer see a need for redemption, rescue or salvation. Everyone is "doing just fine."
Christians and churches seem to have adopted suburban values. We are more about consumerism than compassion, and more characterized by professionalism than mission. Being "Christian" in suburbia looks very much like being middle class and friendly. The only difference seems to be where you are on Sunday mornings, or where you drop your kids off one night a week. A church "on mission" appears to mean giving money to a cause, instead of giving our lives for Christ, his community and our culture. The danger of suburbia is its values: safety, comfort, fulfilled desires. Is it even possible to deny yourself, carry your cross and follow Jesus here?
So what do we do? Jump ship like many others and move to the places where diversity, community and culture are more real? Do we go to the places where redemption is more recognized and visibly needed? Some will do this, but many need to remain. Some outsiders need to come here to help uncover the real needs that only the Gospel can reveal.
What will following Jesus look like in the 'burbs? If the Kingdom of God is a counter-culture, what conflict will arise as we follow the Master? What needs to change? How should we look different and how should we look similar to our culture? More thoughts coming soon, but I would love to hear from you guys on the topic.