Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Recommended book--Death by Suburb: How to Keep the Suburbs from Killing Your Soul

I wanted to recommend a great book on Christian Spirituality--Death by Suburb by Dave L. Goetz. Have you ever:
- Found yourself feeling smug because your neighbor's 13 year old kid says, "Cool car" when you got your new SUV?
- Signed up to help with the youth, only when your kid hit the youth group and never before?
- Found yourself afraid to enter Dollar General?
- Stayed up all night to finish your 6th graders' science project, while he was in the other room playing Nintendo?
- Lived vicariously through your kids?
- Given your eight year old a $2000 birthday party?
- Shopped around for a church that had the best programs for your kids, rather than asking, what church needs me most?

If any of these hit you, you will want to read this book. It has had a big impact upon my wife Becki and I. I grew up in the suburbs and minister in a suburban church. The struggles of suburban Christians are superficiality, materialism, self-centeredness, shallow relationships, worship of children, and lack of service. Goetz writes in a funny, caustic style with brutal self-disclosure and honesty. You will love this book.

What struggles do you see in suburban Christians?

Here is the link to amazon for this book.


MattSmith said...

I think you covered most of them. Having never lived in a Suburban area, I can't really say much from first hand experience. But as an observer from the outside, I see materialism, splurging of money, and sacrificing family time for work time... got to make all that money to buy that brand new boat!

I suppose all we can really do is do what we feel is right, lead by example, and hopefully people will hop on board. Having our discussion group in Starbucks is a really good place to pick up interesting people that feel the strange need to pay 4-5 dollars for a venti chocolate mochachocolotta espresso cappucinno or whatever they enjoy instead of spending a dollar elsewhere.

Anywho, thats my 2 cents.

James said...

Matt, "venti chocolate mochachocolotta espresso cappucinno" is my favorite drink! Yes, the prices are ridiculous. What people are paying for is an experience--music, atmosphere, a hang out. Except for people who go through the drive through, which I don't quite understand, because then you just get an expensive drink. I go to Starbucks and buy these drinks because this is where I can encounter people.

I suppose all of us buy things that others consider ridiculous--coffee, video games, food, vacations. But we do need to overcome the American tendency for self-indulgence.

One of the best ways to break through materialistic attitudes is to visit a third-world country or o a short term mission work in an inner city. It really changes your perspective. I was part of a short term mission trip in inner city Memphis, and it really opened up my eyes. It was good for a suburban boy like me.