A Holy (Suburban) discontent
Tim Keel, author of the new book Intuitive Leadership, must be reading my mind. Or, it might be more accurate to say that I have been reading his mind. Or I could just say that I’ve been reading his book…
Anyways, I’m about 60 pages into his new book and he is basically telling his faith story. He is reflecting on how he had an intense and authentic experience of spiritual community in college. Then, post-college he entered into the world of suburban america. he writes,
“I was able to see a number of friends with whom I had live so intimately begin to lose their faith following college. That sounds dramatic, and i don’t mean it in the way you might initially read it: I don’t mean they lost the content of their belief system or became apostate doctrinally. I mean that upon leaving college and entering the world of twentieth-century suburban Christianity, they lost their way of life. They entered a way of life that was compartmentalized, disintegrated, individualistic, sub-cultured, ghettoized, programmed and purpose-driven.”
This morning I am sitting in a local Starbucks because I met with a friend, Mark, for coffee. We just spent about an hour discussing how our lives are enslaved to something other than the gospel. We are enslaved to jobs. We are enslaved to schedules. We are enslaved to debt. We lamented that its just too darned hard to be in community together because of all these things. For us, more than we really even realize it, the culture is calling the shots on our lives.
Frankly, I’m sick and tired of it.
I continually have what I call a holy (suburban) discontent with my way of life. I can’t really put my finger on it. But, I am realizing more and more that my life is still so controlled and governed by the culture rather than by the call of discipleship (and I feel as if I’ve made some good strides in this!). See this holy discontent is good. If I didn’t have a discontent with my way of life, I would be worried. I think that if you live suburban america and don’t have some kind of discontent with your way of life and how it corresponds to the gospel you are either missing the gospel or you are much more mature in your faith than I am. Hopefully its the second reason.
I feel at a moment of crisis. Not a bad crisis. But a good crisis. We can’t keep on living this way. I must personally make some changes. My family must make some changes.
I’ve learned it begins with the little things.
It begins with making my weekly schedule submit to me and not the other way around. For example, Since I work on Saturday some and Sunday, I don’t work on Thursday. I spend the day with my wife and kids. You can’t believe how freeing this is to all of us (or maybe you can).
- It begins with me wrapping my day in the prayers of the Psalter instead of my to do list.
- It begins with Melanie and I dealing with our financial situations. We are meeting once a month with a couple from church who are helping us aggressively attack our debt. She and I are also paying very close attention to how we spend our money.
- It begins with something as simple as me being a servant doing the dishes every night.
- It begins with me being intentional about connecting with one or two other good friends at least once a week and letting them speak into my life. Confessing my sins to them. Encouraging them. Receiving encouraging. Making bad jokes.
- It begins with finding a way for my family to stepping outside of ourselves and regularly serve those who are in need.
- I begins with a lot more things I have yet to process…
Do you feel this same discontent?