"Suburban Nation"

The biggest limiting factor for me (ever) preaching at a Unitarian Universalist church is not theology — really — but physical distance. I refuse to get a car to get to church, whether to visit, supply, or potentially pastor. I don’t need one in the rest of my daily life. (Friends I’m visiting may ask, though.)

Which made me think: lacking a robust rural or urban mission, the UUA has to be about as suburban as a denomination can be. Surely rapid post-war growth had an impact.

And the book Suburban Nation is having an impact on me.

Has anyone else read it?

2 Replies to “"Suburban Nation"”

  1. I haven’t yet read Suburban Nation.

    I’ve had exactly the same difficulty with transportation two and from a UU church. When I have traveled by bus to Unity Unitarian in St. Paul, a lot of my Sunday has been spent in transit. There is really no UU church here in Mpls. that I’d care to attend.

    My eyesight has been on the wane in recent years, and it’s probably best if I don’t drive now. I believe I’d choose not to have a care in any case, as I wish to make at least a modest statement about our car culture.


  2. The late Fern Stanley, a professional interim minister, served about nine churches. Every time that she was hired she made arrangements for transportation. In each case the church hiring her knew that she did not drive and adapted a transportation schedule. Though I think that Fern served mostlty urban congregations, her experience demonstrates that the whole transportation issue can be worked out.

    Though I prefer public transport, you are correct that it is not conveniently available throughout most of the suburbs. If a congregation is motivated though, I believe that they will find a system that works with those who have transportation issues.

    This would make a good sermon. . .”How many miles to Jerusalem?” or “On the Road to Damascus or Rockville.” In a sense, Americans probably spend more time traveling alone that people anywhere else. What are the spiritual implications?

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