Church, Culture

Jumping back in

I used to blog all the time. As in at least daily. That was years ago. The reasons…well, I’m not sure it was a 100% conscious choice. But that’s another story.

But I’d like to jump back in, not because I miss the intellectual exhibitionism, but because I miss having the same level of creative conversation as I enjoyed years back when I was more e-prolific.

So with that somewhat unnecessary preface, the thing that’s been on my mind for a while is the changing cultural landscape of suburbia. And more specific to that, it makes me think of how that impacts how we envision what a follower of Jesus would like like in this emerging suburbia…as well as what does outreach/mission look like in this changing landscape?

I used to hear people bash suburbs all the time as this disgustingly vanilla mass of homogeneity, of settled boredom, and whatnot. And hey, there’s still some truth to that. But in my corner of suburbia, I’ve noticed an accelerating “urbanization”. First of all, in the Tri-City alone, 80-120 different languages are represented. There are very few good “American” restaurants, but we have amazing Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Mexican, Afghan, Filipino cuisine, among others. And within those cuisines, there is rather broad range of diversity. Second, there is a much greater mixture of low-income and high-income than most people realize. From my house, for example, a 1-minute drive will take me to both the most expensive as well as the most dilapidated low-income house in the city. My local Safeway plaza is quite literally every bit as diverse in every sense as any urban public space I’ve been in. Third, with a constant influx of new residents from other parts of the state, nation, and the world…and residents who are commuting to Silicon Valley, SF, and often times travelling abroad quite frequently, we have a population of people who have an increasingly larger worldview. Fourth, city planners are trying to re-craft suburban life more into high density centers, modeled after urban living. Near my house, for example, the plan is to create a city center that has four major public transit hubs, downtown-style retail, business space, apartments, lofts, parks, library, and other shopping stuff all together within walking distance of each other. I could go on, but you probably get the picture.

Back to my point, I think that there are challenges and opportunities in the life of a disciple that we don’t often explore. But I haven’t had that many people to think through this idea with, so I’m not really sure what those things are.

And I think that evangelism in this context is incredibly challenging. But, again, something that is rarely addressed because most talk on evangelism either assumes you’re a hip city-dwelling bohemian…or a boring clone in a homogeneous suburb.

Looking for more interesting conversation…

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