Author Topic: “United Lutheran Mission Association” Wha?  (Read 4229 times)

Dave Benke

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Re: “United Lutheran Mission Association” Wha?
« Reply #30 on: December 24, 2019, 04:37:14 PM »
The suburbs are not where the people are. The suburbs are, though, where the mission church prospects are/were. It’s been a priority getting my flock to the problems with that distinction even as it played an important role in the history of our congregation.

The language switch is from latin to Greek.  Urbs/urbis up against polis.  So the urbs give birth to their underlings, the suburbs, or their far-flung, the exurbs and so on out to the barbarians hordes, who were ensconced in Germany and such northern zones.  In Greek, its the polis, with its encompassing concept of the metropolis.  Which is a more inclusive and less segmented way to see it; also churchly, as the early bishops had the title "Metropolitan."

The thing that's hard to process, especially for the older folks, is that the people who left the city at certain times left because "urbs"/city was considered bad, crime-ridden, too diverse, etc.  So the sub-urbs were considered better.  In a lot of big cities today, the children and grandchildren raised in suburban settings are fleeing TO the city for the sake of diversity, common values, and not in the least because it's not nearly as crime-ridden (NYC for the most part).  Areas of Brownsville and East New York, Brooklyn are now being gentrified.  Absolutely unthinkable even five years ago.  But they're handy to transit/train, and cheaper locations, and they tend to get more services as the gentrifiers arrive (which is nice but also leaves a lot of questions for those who've been there for 30 years). 

Anyway, the concept of metropolitan allows for the distinct nature of neighborhoods or communities in the middle or on the edge of the metropolis, and links people rather than exiling them.

Dave Benke
It is easy to think of advent of modern suburbs as fear of the "others" in the urbs, but a more charitable (and in many cases more accurate) explanation is that unprecedented general affluence gave regular workers the ability to own their own homes in the suburbs instead of living in an apartment in the city. The ethnic groups (with the exception of African-Americans, initially, due to racism) mixed and blended in the suburbs, whereas in the urbs they tended to clump into distinct neighborhoods. The two neighboring houses that share a back yard border with my suburban home are immigrants from Poland and Mexico, but my neighborhood is not Polish, Mexican, or any other designation, not even just "white."   

I think it depends on the part of the urb that's involved.  In this part of the world, it wasn't so much affluence, but the network of highways heading outward from the city, along with the romance with the automobile, the use of a transit system that went along to the outer areas, and the GI bill that helped with home purchase in brand new homes that were not the mother/daughter housing that prevailed in the city that gave rise to the 'burbs. 

To put the "mission" spin on it, for the most part early suburban growth was the same as the basic model for outreach by the earliest German settlers - "versammlung;" that is, the gathering of the younger Lutherans who were on the migratory journey with their kids out to the land of milk and honey.  Their folks were in the heritage home.  And when I got to Brooklyn, the heritage zone was transitioning rapidly from Anglo to Black and Latino.   So the "new" mission in the heritage zone was to people who had not heretofore been Lutheran.  Or, as time went on, Christian. 

The congregations where heritage grandparents had their homes have made it through or not based on opening up to whoever is living in the "urb" now, not who lived there in the 1940s and 50s.  The suburban congregations begun in the 50s and 60s are, I think, having to make similar adjustments.

Blessed celebration of the Lord's birth!

Dave Benke