In his small suburban office—the walls covered with photos of his wife of 15 years and crayon pictures, some framed, drawn by his three children—David Goetz's priorities are obvious.
Yet Goetz claims that although it's easy to paste pictures on the walls—symbols of his "trophies"—it's not so easy to live out those priorities. Especially when he's working to keep his business, CZ Marketing, a brand and strategy firm for non-profits, a success and to meet his writing deadlines.
An award-winning author and former pastor, Goetz made a controversial splash in the Christian world with the release of his recent book, Death by Suburb: How to Keep the Suburbs from Killing Your Soul (Harper San Francisco). In it, he claims that even in the most Christian suburban neighborhoods, we obscure the real Jesus and keep our spiritual life on cruise control.
If that's what happens to our faith, what happens to our marriages? One glance at the divorce rate makes you realize pursuing the "good life" that suburban living promises can wreak havoc on even the best marriages.
So how do we protect ourselves from marital and spiritual suicide?
In this MP interview, Goetz provides a wake-up call on how we fall into these patterns, and what we can do to get out of them.
In your book you discuss how living in the suburbs can choke our spiritual life and how intentional suburbanites have to be about living out faith. Has living in the 'burbs done the same to marriage?
Goetz: Yes. It's difficult to have a meaningful marriage in the suburbs. In his book, Escape from Evil, Ernest Becker talks about immortality symbols—things that confer glory on us, which can be measured concretely, such as cleavage, low body fat, big house, career, and successful kids. But marriage isn't an immortality symbol.1