Why the suburbs?

The biggest point of discussion this week centered around why we chose to live in the suburbs. 

I've lived in various suburbs all my life. I was born in the Atlanta suburbs, did a stint as a kid in the closest thing to a suburban community near Honolulu, and finished out my growing-up years in one of the richest suburban counties in the nation, where I still live today.

This suburban life has made me really jaded toward suburban culture, I admit. Really jaded. Surrounded in high school by 16-year-olds whose parents bought them designer clothes and new cars, and in the neighborhood by families with vacation homes and boats and personal trainers and interior designers- I quickly got sick of the shallowness of it all. Faith was described as an intensely Personal Relationship With Jesus thing, and once people "prayed the prayer", their materialistic lifestyle didn't look any different than their pagan neighbors'. Something seems amiss.

So, why do I still live in this suburban community? My immediate answer is "it's close to work". When I was in an apartment, I could walk to work, and now I'm about 15 minutes away driving. But that's not good enough. I mean, I could have moved 15 minutes south of my suburban office, closer to the city, and had the same commute as I now do living 15 minutes north. We chose to live in the suburbs.

We chose an acre of land rather than the small lots of the city. We chose to have the flexibility and independence of each having a vehicle rather than relying on public transportation. We chose the luxury of having grocery stores and drug stores (and Starbucks) on every corner.  We chose to live within bike-riding distance of our sprawling suburban church campus. We had the resources and means to make all of those choices.

Am I comfortable with all those choices? Not entirely, and they're just for this season. The next season of life may take us elsewhere. Others in the discussion like living in the suburbs and enjoy the opportunities that the area provides. Some who grew up in small rural towns voiced concerns about raising their kids in the suburbs- full of great schools and parks and everything a family would want, but missing the Something that a close-knit small town brings. I also voiced concerns with raising our future kids in the suburbs, because I know the culture here better than I'd like, and I'm not sure I want my kids immersed in it.

Some in our group want to read Justice In the Burbs to figure how to incorporate justice into their lives in the suburbs, being unfamiliar with Surburbia and not sure of what that looks like. Me? I'm very familiar with Suburbia, and I'm not sure if it's possible. We all have lots of learning to do!

2 pennies for thoughts:

Kacie said...

We live in a suburb of Pittsburgh. The wage tax here is 1.4%, whereas in the city it's 3%. Also, there's a lot of crappy, run-down neighborhoods in the city proper. There's some gems, too, but they're expensive.

My husband walks to the train stop, and we're close to all sorts of shopping, parks, libraries and entertainment.

We're living in one of the nicest parts of the metro, and I *hope* that people aren't all crazy about designer clothing and new BMWs and stuff. Maybe I can be a good influence on 'em. You can get designer clothes at thrift stores. Heh.

superdiamond said...

Living in the suburbs is way better than living in the city. In the city, your world is surrounded by many people being crowed, sometimes in filthy areas. In the suburbs, even though you pay a premium for it, is alot safer and cleaner. It's a safe haven from the stress of work and the big city. Don't get me wrong about city as it's a great place to interact but I'll take the suburbs anytime.

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