Founding pastor of Christ Church in Oak Brook, IL.
DeKruyter offers a case study of how he started with the calling from five couples in the suburban Oak Brook Village, to watch the the Holy Spirit grow a dynamic suburban ministry. I appreciated his humble and practical approach to contextual ministry. He resists the universalizing and stereotyping tendencies to speak of suburbia as a homogenous people group. All suburbs are unique places, just like every place, and require the attentiveness of missional leaders to discern what the Spirit is doing in that place and how to serve the community and draw people into the worship of God.read more
A pastor emailed me this week to inquire about the recruiting process for the Deep in the Burbs Action Research Team. Two lines jumped out and haunted me. The pastor writes:
As I enter into the fabric of this congregation I encounter stressed frenetic lives who are in survival mode. I asked a couple today about commiting to Monday nights and they described a near breakdown trying to keep up with all the demands of family.
Stressed. Frenetic. Survival. Breakdown. Demands. These are key words to the suburban existence.read more
I decided to read The Blackwell Companion to Christian Spirituality. It has occured to me that I have become bogged down in the epistemological concerns section of the dissertation and have not attended well to the actual core of my research, which is the topic of spirituality. Thus, I have endeavored to read this primary text which, editor Holder says, maps out the basic program for the PhD in Spirituality at Graduate Theological Union. It is probably an important document for me to know well.
Today I read this quote from Bonnie Thurston in her essay, “The New Testament in Christian Spirituality.” She says,read more
Myron Orfield identifies six distinct types of suburban communities:
at-risk low density,
affluent job centers, and
very affluent job centers.
These six types represent one of the greatest challenges of suburbia: the socio-economic stratification of the suburban population. (31-48)
Social separation leaves middle-class children in overcrowded, underfunded schools, but its more powerful harms accrue to the poor people of color left behind in communities of concentrated poverty in many American cities and some older suburbs. Neighborhoods of concentrated poverty destroy the lives of the people trapped in them and create a growing social and fiscal cancer in the midst of previously healthy communities. In cities and older suburbs, as joblessness, racial segregation, and single-parent families come to dominate neighborhoods, residents are cut off from middle-class society and the private economy. Individuals, particularly children, are deprived of successful local role models and connections to opportunities outside their neighborhood. A distinct society emerges with expectations and patterns of behavior at odds with middle-class norms, and the ‘exodus of middle and working-class families from ghetto neighborhoods removes an important social buffer. (53-54)read more