Suburban Christian

Overview

Suburbia: Paradise or Wasteland?

Suburbia is a place of spiritual yearnings. People come to suburbia looking for a fresh start, the second chance, a new life. It embodies the hopes and longings of its residents, dreams for the future, safety and security for their children, and the search for meaningful community and relationships. Yet much in our suburban world militates against such aspirations, and people find themselves isolated and ...

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Overview

Suburbia: Paradise or Wasteland?

Suburbia is a place of spiritual yearnings. People come to suburbia looking for a fresh start, the second chance, a new life. It embodies the hopes and longings of its residents, dreams for the future, safety and security for their children, and the search for meaningful community and relationships. Yet much in our suburban world militates against such aspirations, and people find themselves isolated and alienated, trapped by consumerism and materialism. Is there hope for a Christian vision for the suburbs?

Al Hsu unpacks the spiritual significance of suburbia and explores how suburban culture shapes how we live and practice our faith. With broad historical background and sociological analysis, Hsu offers practical insights for living Christianly in a suburban context. Probing such dynamics as commuting and consuming, he offers Christian alternatives for authentic spirituality, genuine community and relevant ministry. And he challenges suburban Christians to look beyond suburbia and marshal their resources toward urban and global justice.

Suburbia may be one of the most significant mission fields of the twenty-first century. Here is guidance and hope for all who would seek the welfare of the suburbs.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
"[Hsu] is an immensely appealing writer, and what he has to say, which includes practical and incremental steps to take, will resonate with many suburbanites and nonsuburbanites alike."
Oct. 23 - BreakPoint
"In his fresh new book, The Suburban Christian, Hsu presents an exciting vision where Christians live and work to transform suburbia from a sea of consumerist isolationism into a hotbed of Christian hospitality."
Lauren F. Winner
"Provocative, thoughtful, even prophetic, The Suburban Christian is a book the church badly needs."
Kelly Monroe Kullberg
"What an education. Al Hsu's excellent book inspires me to see the place in which I live with new clarity, creativity and gratitude. He expanded my imagination and enlarged my heart for the city near us, and God's world around us. I hope every suburban Christian will read it."
Shane Claiborne
"This book is a long-overdue pilgrimage through the empty promises, hidden hopes and subtle demons of suburbia. Urban cynics and suburban hermits rejoice--here is a refreshing invitation to find God at work in the margins, the same God who showed up in the unlikely badlands of Nazareth from which the world said nothing good could come."
Tom Sine
"A very important book for all of those who are seeking to faithfully follow Jesus in the suburbs. A candid grappling with both the challenges and the opportunities of suburban living. A great resource for church study groups."
Robert D. Lupton
"With no end in sight for suburban sprawl and urban challenges spreading relentlessly outward from the city core, The Suburban Christian is right on time. Don't run from the suburbs, Al Hsu urges--redeem them. It's a message whose time has come."
Don Everts
"The Suburban Christian is a helpful, needed resource for living thoughtfully and faithfully in suburbia. Al Hsu has researched well, thought hard and lived vulnerably to produce what I believe will become a basic primer for all believers who live in suburbia. There are no easy answers here, though. By thoughtfully deconstructing suburbia (I'll never look at malls or roads or sidewalks exactly the same way again) and by honestly wrestling with what it is like to live in suburbia (finely highlighting the tensions, ironies and surprises of life here) Al Hsu gives me a clearer, deeper understanding of the life I live and helps me ask the right questions about how to live as a suburban believer."
John Ortberg
"Albert Hsu has written a readable and well-researched treatment of a key issue. I live and work in the exurb, and I am grateful for his wisdom."
Oct. 23 BreakPoint
"In his fresh new book, The Suburban Christian, Hsu presents an exciting vision where Christians live and work to transform suburbia from a sea of consumerist isolationism into a hotbed of Christian hospitality."
Publishers Weekly
Hsu (Grieving a Suicide), an associate editor at InterVarsity Press, provides a unique book examining the social and economic forces that created the suburbs, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses and providing a thoughtful critique of what living Christianly in the suburbs should look like. Hsu is writing to a divided Christian culture: one segment would call the suburbs evil and equate them with unhealthy selfishness and excess (which he acknowledges they may promote), while another unquestioningly accepts the suburban ethos without reflecting on how faith should influence suburban life. He reminds readers that the burbs do not inherently prevent a thriving and genuine Christian faith, and stresses that since over half the population now resides there, Christians must figure out how to do suburban living well. They can integrate faith into a suburban life by, say, going out of their way to remember the needs of those around them, giving generously, doing more business in their immediate local area, questioning the urge to buy what advertisers are pitching, getting out of their cars and getting to know their neighbors. Hsu avoids heavy-handed directives, but provides a number of thoughtful alternatives for the way different Christians may work their faith out in suburbia. Every suburban pastor should read this book. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830833344
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2012
  • Pages: 222
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Albert Y. Hsu (pronounced "shee") is senior editor for IVP Books at InterVarsity Press, where he acquires and develops books in such areas as culture, discipleship, church, ministry and mission. He is also a PhD student in educational studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.

Al is the author of Singles at the Crossroads, Grieving a Suicide and The Suburban Christian. He has been a writer and columnist for Christianity Today and served as senior warden on the vestry of Church of the Savior in Wheaton, Illinois. He and his wife, Ellen, have two sons and live in the western suburbs of Chicago.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Suburbia--Paradise or Wasteland?
1. The Suburban Moment: Glimpses of a Suburban Future
2. Living in Suburbia: The Pursuit of the Promised Land
3. Spaced Out: The Impact of Commuter Culture
4. Material World: The Challenges of Consumer Culture
5. Status Check: How Consuming and Branding Shape Our Identity
6. Won't You Be My Neighbor? Moving from Anonymity to Community
7. Finding God in the Suburbs: Cultivating Spirituality in Everyday Life
8. The Suburban Church: Gathering Places of Relevance and Hope
9. Beyond Suburbia: Mission to and from the Suburbs
Epilogue: Seek the Welfare of the Suburbs
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index
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