A Suburban Psalm of Lament

O how I long to live, move, and breathe beyond the dearth of life that is this life in the suburbs.

My faith has slowly faded into a pale reflection of the beige neutrality bathing neighboring houses.

My image of God has become nothing more than  a commodity, a trinket, a logo.

I now worship safety, security, and comfortability.  My flame has become a barely-glowing ember.

My suburban neighborhood has delivered on its empty promises of community.

I live in a cold shell of community.  Individualism remains my most closely held tenet.  Give me what I want and to hell with everyone else.

But, alas, God has given us the suburban church to redeem this suburban life.

Ah, the suburban church.  A sanctioned place for us to come and hide our emotions, our stories, our family’s skeletons.  Spray on holy, sing our songs, preach our sermons, pray our prayers, shake our hands, say our peace, then back to our empty cocoons.  Back to our hollow and empty faith.

“Come as you are,” we tell everyone, but omit the addendum, “I’m just not going to let you know how I am.”

Apathy.  Discontent.  Shallowness.  Hollowness.  Distraction.  Apathy.  Consumption.  Narcissism.  Neglecting the other – no more than neglect, here in the suburbs we deny the existence of the other!  Arrogance.  These suburban vices infect us like the Bubonic Plague.  Such widespread infection has more victims than could ever be counted.

But, lo, you are the God of the suburbs.  There is, underneath our vanilla existence here a creative and vibrant life crying out waiting for release.  Like Jonah in the whale, Jesus in the tomb, there is a quiet expectation for what lies on the other side.

Promises are made for the poor, the downtrodden, the weak, the feeble, the forgotten.  But where does that leave me?

I am rich, educated, healthy, strong, and remembered.  I am the rich young ruler.  Am I ready to sell everything?  Could I?

I am caught in the middle – living amidst superficiality and shallowness yet longing for reality and depth.  Bring me below the surface.  Anchor me in the depths.

May the God of the suburbs hear my cry.

May the God of the city unite me with the other.

May the God of the rural bring me to community.

May the God of the universe humble me.

May the God of Abraham, Moses, and David become the God of Chipotle, Macy’s, and Pier 1.

O how I long to live, move, and breathe beyond the dearth of life that is this life in the suburbs.


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