Faith in the suburbs

Evangelical Christian books about suburban life

Authored by: Brian J. Miller

The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Cities

Print publication date:  December  2020
Online publication date:  December  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367367121
eBook ISBN: 9780429351181
Adobe ISBN:


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As the United States developed into a suburban nation after World War II, multiple authors critiqued the move of religious individuals and congregations from cities to suburbs. With suburban life well established among evangelical Protestants at the beginning of the twenty-first century, analysis of seven texts from evangelical publishers since 2003 addressing living in suburban contexts reveals multiple patterns. Common arguments in the texts include staying in suburbs to live for God, remaining awake to God’s work in a land of comfort, relying on God rather than the American Dream, and practicing spiritual disciplines as well as hospitality and justice. At the same time, the texts fall short of engaging the complexity of suburbia by not fully grappling with social structures (including the racialized, class-based, and gendered ways in which suburbs developed and exist today), suburban institutions beyond churches and neighborhood relationships, and a more robust theology connecting faith and place. These texts suggest evangelicals would benefit from deeper analysis of suburban life and structural action within suburbs if they desire to shape and influence the suburbs or a suburban nation.

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