Cityscape

The relationship of people to place

Hardly anyone likes suburban sprawl. Although most suburbanites prefer to live in suburbs, many of them regret that so many others have followed them out of the city, thereby destroying the advantages that attracted them in the first place. For many, the answer is to move still farther out. Rural landscapes recede, traffic increases and strip malls proliferate.

The cities and suburbs in which we live significantly affect our lives, including our religious lives. But too many churches of all denominations, especially metropolitan ones, are unreflective about the implications of their particular geographic location. Once they have chosen a favorable spot (a corner lot in a populated area, a visible intersection), their reflection about place tends to cease. Some megachurches intentionally appeal to an entire region, effectively cutting the link between congregation and local place.

 

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