The records of human history go back to the 4th millenium before Our Lord’s first advent. We live in the 3rd millenium since. In that span of 7,000 years, the “suburban life” has existed for less than 100 of them. The whole idea is an experiment that has never been tested in human history and shows every sign of unsustainability, yet millions are subscribing to that life like sheep running off of a cliff behind other sheep ahead of them.
Listen, folks: it cannot work.
I know, the cute little community park, shopping mall, public library, broad sidewalks and silky smooth paved roads are all just so nice, but this dream is funded by short-sighted loans and government subsidies that will need to be repaid. When we consider the real poverty we will be leaving our grandchildren in as they try to figure out what to do with the concrete ghettoes and particle board neighborhoods that the land is being filled with, as we all but force them into slavery since they have no ability to produce food, clothing, shelter or transportation, along with the national bankruptcy they will inherit that gains them nothing but oppressive taxes and crippling regulations, it will go down in history as one of the most selfish and imprudent generations to ever have dwelt upon earth. Just imagine ancient wise men like Abraham, Moses, Solomon, etc., visiting modern neighborhoods. Imagine them seeing a woman walking a $500 neutered dog, God designed to accompany hunters, or to guard livestock, on a little leash with a poopie bag picking up his droppings and then bringing him into a carpeted and air-conditioned house. Imagine them seeing chemically fertilized grass (i.e., livestock forage) that is cut–and disposed of–religiously. It’s ridiculously funny to meditate on and as you continue this type of thinking to broader circles, it just gets funnier.
If you simply think of one fact, it will be obvious that suburban living cannot be sustainable. Here’s the fact: Human beings reproduce. Yes, you can live on a 1/2 acre in the Fancyville development, but doing so will cost you all of your children and grandchildren, because there’s no way to predict where they will have to go to obtain “a job” and buy “a house”…if they ever do, in fact, fact a house. The family wasn’t designed to operate in the single-generation (i.e., disposable) suburban world. It was designed to allow self-sufficiency across generations, with a three to four generation system of family life keeping human beings balanced and happy.
I go out on the farm every day to work with a number of helpers. My father is with me, who has worked in construction since he was 18 years old, and was raised by my grandfather, a West Virginia farmer who was a machinist. My sons are also with me, who are working to care for and develop livestock and land that will be…no…IS…theirs. Their children will be born right here and will receive all of my help in the next generation, building and developing one generation after another. We get an incredible amount of work done every day and never pay a worker to do anything. All labor is free, which means that every project costs us a fraction of what it costs others…which means we always have a competitive advantage, simply by working as a family.
Furthermore, as member of the suburban generation is called “responsible” when he/she takes care of itself, a family is “responsible” when it pours itself out for the next generation of the family. Our Lord said, “No greater love is there than this–when a man lays down his life for his friends.” If that is true of any man, how much more of a father for his own wife and children, or a woman for her grandchildren? The suburban life is not harmonious with Christianity.
So, as we consider the question of self-sufficiency, let’s first persuade ourselves of this one thing: the alternatives are not sustainable. Only when we’re persuaded of that will we be able to move forward.