I have been thinking the last couple weeks about the seemingly dominant American narrative which I have affectionately dubbed the "Suburban Narrative." It has been something I have been thinking about for quite some time, but it has become somewhat crystallized for me the last couple weeks after leaving Oceanside and finishing this book.
I am right now in Dallas, a corporate center of America. Doug got me thinking about how Dallas and Orange County aren't really that different. Both are high disposable-income areas, they both support huge suburban communities and share similar stories of white flight and money. A perfect place to begin!
Okay, so the average person in America seems to think of success or fulfillment as an upward progression, a path of accumulation and comfort. This is, in fact, what drives the economy and work force of America in many ways I think. And this is 'normal'.
It seems that many people cannot even find their way out of this narrative, should they want to. Perhaps it's because many people don't see themselves in a story. Perhaps it's because there are so few other alternate narratives out there. Perhaps it's because most alternative narratives at some point sold out to the dominant narrative and were absorbed into it.
I'm not sure.
But what I'm fairly certain of is that Jesus offered a different narrative. It was a narrative of downward progression, of simplicity and service and poverty, of releasing the material to grasp at the relational, of discomfort that allowed for the purest form of contentment.
Perhaps this is a bit too big picture for some people. Perhaps some people still can't see Jesus beyond what their childhood pastor told them he was. Perhaps some people think the Suburban Narrative and this Self-Emptying Narrative can work hand in hand.
But I'm not so sure...
Will you help me in forging (or perhaps recovering) this Alternate Narrative?