Saturday, January 20, 2007

Soulless exurbs and Evangelical Megachurches

Check out this story by Chris Hedges which makes some interesting connections between social conditions and their consequences in terms of church.

2 comments:

LaReinaCobre said...

I read the article and most of the comments. What a way to start my Saturday morning!

Ron said...

I read the article and many of the comments and was struck more by what the comments signify than what Hedges finds in the soulless exurbs and Christian right. Or I should say I was more bothered by the comments than by what Hedges finds.

About the article itself: I don't know. I lived for three years recently there in the "soulless exurbs"--there is a fear of anything that might be seen as jeopardizing property values, and there is a lot of waste inherent in suburban sprawl living. But here is the truth of what I experienced: most of the people who live there are there for what they see to be the benefit of their children, or if older they are there to be close to their children and grandchildren. They live there for the school district more than for the churches. They spend their time indoor with children, with children in athletics or other school related programs, and with friends and their families on holidays. In some ways this hasn't changed much in all the years since WWII. They attend church not to bring about fascism in America, but because they think it is a good place to extend their values to their children, for the same reason they go there for the schools.
Oh there are the few true believers, the ones who try to take over the school boards, etc. but most of those populating the exurbs only want a safe place for their children.

Can you grow fascism out of such a longing? Sure, in theory, but I found Hedge's comments not ringing true with who I know in evangelical megachurches or in the exurbs. They are in those churches because of the conditions in the churches of their background, the churches of their parents that no longer spoke to or with them, and from generational elements, moreso than the despair conditions of their environments; as most of the ones in those churches are there from transfer growth not from unchurched places.

And put them in perspective. They may be the big gorillas of the moment in the church landscape in the U.S., but they still aren't the lions of the jungle of American culture. Our society continues to grow more secular