Suburban Decay: Advocating for City Living

Living in the middle of Los Angeles County has given us the opportunity to get to know some great people and have access to downtown (5 miles),  Dodgers Stadium (7 miles), Hollywood (10 miles), Cal State Los Angeles (1/2 mile), USC (10 miles), UCLA and Santa Monica Beach (20 miles), among other great places.


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I am an advocate for moving into our urban areas rather than away from them.  Obviously there are needs to be met everywhere, but for so long so many people and churches with economic means have been leaving our cities to get away from the “dangers” of the urban world.

As often is the case, when we run away from those we should be serving, God brings them to us (see immigration to the U.S. and now the migration from the cities to the suburbs of those in dire straits).

“Many low-density suburbs and McMansion subdivisions, including some that are lovely and affluent today, may become what inner cities became in the 1960s and ’70s – slums characterized by poverty, crime and decay.”

With gas prices increasing and the housing market struggling, perhaps others will choose to move to the city.

For more about serving in the city, check out: CCDA (pray for the founder John Perkins as he has been having health issues), Urban Youth Workers (led by Larry Acosta), World Impact (led by Keith Phillips), and Harambee (led by Rudy Carrasco).

Showing 4 comments
  • Henry Zonio

    I appreciate your passion for living in the city. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and loved it. I now live in a secluded city in Ontario, Canada 🙂 Just as any of us with passion for where we are and what we are doing, though, I think we need to be careful not to guilt people into doing something just because we are passionate about it. Also we run the risk of looking at others (who are passionately following God just as much as we are) and look down on them because they are not passionate about the things we are passionate about. I know this is a struggle for me.

    All that to say, I am excited that you are passionate about living in urban areas. I think that there are many people out there who are being called to that who need to just stand up and take a leap of faith and follow God. There are others, though, who are called to other places who need to do the same and simply follow God. The point I’m trying to make? We should all be recklessly following God no matter where that may be to.

  • Vince

    we have been talking about this lately and my concern is that of sustainability. In the next 50 years we will see people spreading out into areas where we can be more self sustaining. Large cities require so much energy and resources that it can not be met locally enough. Maybe we will see rebirth of communal living.

  • Eric Bryant

    Thanks for your thoughts Vince and Henry!

    I completely agree that we need people serving and reaching out in every urban core, city, suburb, and rural community.
    I guess the angst you feel from my post (which is too brief to express fully what I mean) is a response to those (people and churches) who move away from the cities to avoid people with needs or who look, act, or live differently than they do. The article I included points out that this is becomingly increasingly less possible in our quickly-changing world.

    I know we would agree that we need to keep loving and serving where we are, and be willing to go wherever God sends us!

    Eric

  • Henry Zonio

    Oh, I completely agree that it is easier for people to avoid people with needs… especially those in cities. I hear the angst and the passion. It’s great! I only wish more of us were passionate about reaching out to the marginalized.

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