A brilliant rebuttal to my attack on suburbia

So I thought some of you who are tired of my blogomaniac hubris would get a kick out of watching me get owned by one of my friends in a response that he sent to my critique of suburban culture. He gave me permission to share it as long as he could remain anonymous. He’s absolutely right that “suburbia” ends up being a scapegoat depository where hipsters like me project everything we don’t like about America or even just modern culture. Anyway, what I really love is the way he shows how different aspects of worship are the antidote to the social problems I described. So it’s an excellent application of James K.A. Smith’s liturgical theory. It’s way better than what I originally wrote, so enjoy. Continue reading

Why suburbia is bad for the kingdom: a response to Mere Orthodoxy

Postmodern thinkers sometimes settle for deconstructing the motives of their critics instead of making defensible arguments. Unfortunately, a recent Mere Orthodoxy piece exhibited this behavior, promising to explain why the American suburbs are a good, wholesome place, but focusing its energy on developing a caricature of suburbia’s critics as “urban gentry and intelligentsia.” I’ve used that rhetorical trick before: Bob criticizes X; Bob is a snobby aristocrat; therefore everyone who criticizes X is a snobby aristocrat. Well, I’m not an urban gentry. I’m a suburban pastor. And there are things about the suburbia where I live that hinder people from entering the kingdom of God. Continue reading

Amazon and the Soviet Consumerism of 21st Century Capitalism

When I was a child in the eighties, I remember having a conversation with my father about communism. He explained to me that kids in the Soviet Union had crappy toys because the people who made toys had no reason to try hard to make good toys since there was no competition. In our country, if you made crappy toys, somebody else would make better toys and everybody would buy theirs (in theory anyway). I think that we have entered a time thirty years later when our experience as consumers under a global capitalism that has increasingly detached itself from the manufacture of actual physical products has become quite similar to the experience that we presumed Soviet consumers to have in the Cold War. Continue reading