Countless books and articles have been written on the horrors of poverty. Unfortunately, few authors have courageously described the war on materialism. I recently stumbled across a copy of David Goetz's book, “Death by Suburb”. I spent many years residing in suburbia. Amidst the Applebees and soccer games, I could sense shallowness suffocating it's residents. I decided to read Goetz's masterpiece to see if Goetz discovered the same realities. Goetz revealed the underlying shallowness and materialism, dwelling within suburbia. A native suburbanite, Goetz listed spiritual practices to keep fellow suburbanites from starving spiritually.
Goetz revealed people's false assumptions regarding immortality. Goetez challenged many to redefine what remains eternal. Goetz busted the myths regarding; expensive houses, SUVs, and pilgrimages to Disney world creating immortality. Worldly status will not lead to eternal life. Company layoffs are a fine example of one's immorality coming to a halt! True immorality can only be found in the kingdom of Heaven, (John 3:16 NIV).
Goetz also revealed the truth behind modern day parenting. Thousands of parents view their children as trophies. Honor roll status and athletic accomplishments have become status symbols to the modern day parent. In, “Death By Suburb,” Goetz addresses the dangers associated with children placing their self-worth upon accomplishments. Goetz encourages parents to instill the values of Godly character instead. One trait that Goetz finds appalling is a parent's lack to instill the trait of humbleness with their children. Goetz stated how parents should feel a sense of sorrow when their children open several expensive gifts to claim,"Is that it"? Goetz's solution: serving meals at a homeless shelter, (with the true intentions not being to build an impressive college application).
Several members of suburbia have broken one of the ten commandments by coveting their neighbors. Some suburbanites have found themselves discontent to live in their raised ranch homes. Instead, they find themselves envying those who live in the Parade of Homes housing division. Others envy their co-worker that owns a sports car, or the neighbor whose son is in the gifted program. Goetz challenges people to rethink working overtime for the simple sake of, "making it to the top." A brand new Mercedes might not be worth the high-cost of lost quality time with children! Coveting neighbors might also create superficial relationships. Goetz boldly claims how a person might perform acts of kindness toward a co-worker, only so the co-worker will recommend him/her for that big promotion.
Goetz challenges the readers to constantly examine their motives. Goetz also challenges readers to devote quality time with Christ on a frequent basis. Goetz also explained that genuine acts of kindness, will serve as safety measures to prevent spiritual death. Goetz argues that performing such rituals will enable one to lead a spiritually rich life while residing in a money driven culture.
Mainstream materialism has created a new form of deep poverty. Goetz shows the steps to prevent spiritual death from occurring. “Death by Suburb” offers practical guidelines to ensure that you won't be robbed of your spiritual health. We are all called to live for Christ. If you are interested in becoming a suburban missionary, this book is a must read!
Read more articles by Jessica Worden or search for articles on the same topic or others.