Read Mark Van S' post on the Crisis in Generica (his name for suburbia). A blurbia...
These days, when we think of Genericans, we think of vacuous, vapid, consumers. Lonely plastic-people who pretend that everything is all right. Urban folk, and rural folk, both are suspicious of such plastic people. In our cities and towns the problems are obvious. The poor folk aren’t hidden. Our lives are lived in public. When we go to the streets of Generica (those streets with deceptively pretty names), everything looks the same…the pleasant exteriors betray the brokenness of their residents.
And in response, the Suburban church–the Church of Generica seeks to save these people by catering to their broken impulses. We feed the individualism by giving them individualized sermons (David Fitch can detail this phenomenon much better than I can). We try to attack the isolation by introducing small groups (which are usually pretty anemic and unoffensive…being centered on things like the Purpose Driven Life). And so the Generican Church tends to have the same ailments as the Generican people–and all their blessings as well (like resources and a value of excellence).
A spiritual crisis is growin in Generica. The people are dying there. They have money, but it has secured their sense of disillusionment. Materialism grows, but the people cry out for substance. They moved out to the burbs to find sanctuary, but they crave relationship.
But as missional pioneers emerge–those uniquely envisioned folks that can utter prophetic voice to their brothers and sisters in Generica–they flee to the cities with their obvious problems. Urban has its own challenges, to be sure, but it is easier to be missional in the city, in many ways, than it is to be missional in the burbs. Generica needs missional leaders. Missional leaders who reject the homogeneous unit principle (the idea that folks don’t like crossing cultural boundaries so we should do church in a way that appeals to particular cultures rather than being mulit-ethnic in our approach), who reject consumerism and materialism, who embrace authentic community, who care about the poor and the marginalized should come back to the suburbs and minister there. Generica is growing in its diversity. Generia has its poor. And most of the churches in Generica tend to assume that issues of race and poverty and crime are urban issues. But new churches must come to Generica.
Churches that value social justice.
Churches that cross cultural boundaries.
Churches that challenge consumerism.
Churches that build authentic community amidst fracture.
Who will respond to the cries for healing in the broken land of Generica?
Read Crisis in Generica.