I am a fan of New Urbanism, and I think you should be too.
Raised in the suburbs, I found a home in cozy urban neighborhoods of Chicago. In the city, I found a cure for the rootless, restless, and often pointless existence of 7-Elevens, strip malls and sprawled existence. I felt more neighborly and connected then I ever had before as a post-college adult.
As I glanced through a magazine that a friend had loaned me, an article stood out: “The Church in 2034”, which describes the possible future in which churches have split into mainly three types: “Gigachurches” (even bigger than mega churches), “Middlechurches”, and “Nanochurches”. “Nanochurches, small communities of 10 to 25 people, typically meet in living rooms, basements, coffee shops, public parks, unused rooms on gigachurch campuses, and other free spaces to which the community has access.”
New Urbanism advocates the preservation and healthy use of public space. Unfortunately, in the retailing and sprawling of USAmerica (described really well by Naomi Klein), that public space is constantly threatened and diminished. In other words, these possible expressions of the Kingdom of God are already endangered!
Everything is inter-connected. For those of us/you who worship in a large (mega? giga?) church, by ignoring the uglier side of USAmerican consumerism, you are endangering your brothers and sisters ability to worship. There are those who are validly seeking God, but who are unable to worship in a larger atmosphere, preferring the smaller environment.
However, as mom-and-pop stores go under, destroyed by “big box” shopping centers, and our false “public spaces” are revealed for what they really are — privately held forums that are not “free speech friendly” — the possible meeting places for these small churches shrinks.
It’s just a thought, but it’s all connected. How/where you choose to shop | live | worship effects the culture, which effects us all.