Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Suburban Captivity of the Churches - 1

Citizens of the metropolis realize that their future and the lives of their children depend upon the creation of a safe, healthy, environment in the metropolitan area. The exodus to suburbia has failed to check the spread of blight. There is no retreat from the disorder and deterioration which plague metropolitan society.

The metropolis is an interdependent community, even though it attempts to conduct its private life in independent enclaves.

Somehow, and before too long, the metropolitan areas must face the task of rebuilding their local communities and integrating these communities in a public sphere; this means the creation of a community in the metropolis in which respect for all citizens is expressed through access to housing and interclass associations.

The churches bear a heavy burden of responsibility for the failure of the metropolis to become a community.

This interpretation of religious responsibility extends to all phases of metropolitan development - the ghettos, housing inequities, school deficiencies in slum areas, exploitation of newcomers by real estate and business interests, the disregard for life that permits residential areas to become highways, and the inadequate fire inspections in slum areas.

The churches are not alone in this responsibility, of course, but they bear a large share of the burden. And the responsibility remains theirs whether they concentrate their ministry in the satellites or remain in the central city.

~ The Suburban Captivity of the Churches, Gibson Winter, 1962, Chapter 7 "The Renewal of the Metropolis", pgs 190-191

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