In 1926, the United States Supreme Court made a well-intentioned ruling that affects our everyday lives - perhaps for the worst.
The justices ruled that the town of Euclid, Ohio could bar the development of land which had been slated for an industrial-use complex in order to protect nearby neighbors from toxic pollutants and foul smelling factories.
Which was a good decision.
As a result, however, they made it constitutional for municipalities to separate the use of their land into different buckets. Thus, the post-World War II neighborhoods many of us live in are separated into different zones. While it may keep our neighborhoods quieter, it also forces us to take our cars considerable distances away to enjoy a meal at a restaurant, grab a coffee with a friend, or do some window shopping.
Now, that’s not the end of the world… But, after looking at the art of neighboring through these past 8 weeks, I’ve realized anew how our neighborhood layouts actually discourage interacting with those who live closest to us. Why? Because, unless we’re out for an evening stroll, nearly everywhere we go we get to behind the wheel of an automobile.
In the Preface of Larry Strawther’s book A Brief History of Los Alamitos and Rossmoor, he notes that in September 2012, Coldwell Banker ranked Rossmoor the number one suburban community in California and ninth in the nation! But, especially if you live in Rossmoor, does a largely suburban neighborhood help us make next door like it is in heaven? Or does it hinder it!?
This week we begin a new series we’re calling Counter Culture. No, not like the turbulent 1960’s - instead like the 60’s - when one of Jesus’ closest disciples wrote a letter a fledgling churches in modern day Turkey, encouraging them to live lives of holiness, to live unlike anyone else around them.
He instructs them to live counter the culture, as elected exiles! I pray that by engaging this nearly 2000 year old letter, God’s Holy Spirit will inspire us to continue our own little counter culture revolution for His Kingdom - even in the suburbs!