Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

Kurt Fredrickson on The Good News

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

Illustration by Nidhi Balwada from India

This entry is a part of an on-going blog series called The Good News, which is taking place throughout the Easter Season, from Easter to Pentecost. A full list of the contributors can be found here. Kurts’s local city newspaper is the Simi Valley Star. Here is Kurt Fredrickson on the Good News. The title of his entry is: The Big Story in the Suburbs

THE GOOD NEWS

It is easy to get caught up in the trivial. We live fast paced lives where demands press in on us crying out for attention. As the voices scream, we pick up the pace, clutter our calendars and determine that every task will be accomplished, and every need met. Being exhausted and frazzled is an indicator that we are living the suburban life well, but our racing lives easily conceal any sense of emptiness or shallowness that may exist just below the surface.

In the midst of our scattered lives, we daily tell stories. These stories about family, work, school, sports, vacations, hobbies, and clubs motivate us, define us, shape us, and announce to others what is most important. Often these stories are enough for us.

But at points along the way in our suburban living something strikes us, either from outside or within, and we are confronted with issues that shake us to the core. These moments reveal the portions of our lives that are transitory and plastic. Sometimes these intruders into our façade- propped lives startle us, wake us up, and calls us to question and wonder: could there be more?

At these moments we are struck with a new awareness: we need a story that is fuller than one that simply highlights our interests and activities. We need a story that is bigger, a story that we can fall into, that can carry us. We need a story that gives a sense of meaning and hope to our lives.

The Gospel writer John points us to that bigger story, this good news. Writing about Jesus, John says: “the Word became flesh and blood, and stepped into our neighborhood” (John 1:14 The Message). John shouts out, above the clamor of the suburbs: God cares about you. God, who has been invading our world throughout history, especially through Israel, now comes into our world, in flesh and blood, in the person of Jesus Christ. His life, his death, and his resurrection offers us new life, not just at some point in the future, but right here and now.

There is a danger that this good news story remains nothing but dusty and dry doctrine. People can recite a creed, but it is just words. Yet, when this big story stirs in a heart, this good news brings comfort and strength, a sense of hope and the promise of transformation. This story becomes something worth engaging.

Followers of the Story band together and because of an inner change, work for change in the neighborhood. This brings a new purpose to the wild-ness of suburban living. It breaks people out of a frenzied captivity, and stirs them towards a lifestyle that is gracious and humble, wide-armed and open-hearted.

Kurt Fredrickson is Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program, and Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Previously, for twenty-four years, he was pastor at Simi Covenant Church in suburban Simi Valley, California. He continues to live in Simi with his wife Kristi. They have two adult children both on the verge of marriage! He serves in his neighborhood as a Simi Valley Police Chaplain, a member of the Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise, and the Simi Valley Task Force on Homelessness. He is also on the board of the Free Clinic of Simi Valley, and the Simi Valley Community Foundation. He blogs at Church Then and Now. His local newspaper is the Simi Valley Star.


6 Responses to Kurt Fredrickson on The Good News

  1. Danny says:

    “We need a story that is bigger, a story that we can fall into, that can carry us.”
    – You described my falling in love with Jesus. At the same time I let go of the hussel of life, the pursuit of perfection, the desperate need for the approval of others, I found a Life that holds me. I find it a daily battle to let go and rest in the BIG-ness of this story and the intimacy it brings to my life.
    “It breaks people out of a frenzied captivity, and stirs them towards a lifestyle that is gracious and humble, wide-armed and open-hearted.” This is what I really want!

  2. jrwoodward says:

    Not only have you described suburban living well, but you have managed in a short space to call people in your neighborhood to another story. A story that people can “fall into” and one that can not only carry them, but one in which personal and communal transformation takes place. One that gives genuine hope for society. That certainly is some good news! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. Dustin James says:

    Kirk, I don’t know much about Simi Valley, but it seems like you really described the gospel for your place well. I bet being police chaplain definitely spices up suburban life! haha. Your activism makes the Story of God more real, more believable.

  4. Dustin James says:

    Kurt, I apologize for misspelling your name.

  5. Kurt says:

    Thanks for the responses. Ministry in the suburbs sometimes is looked down on as not being real ministry. The challenges to minister here are a bit different from urban areas, but real none the less, and many urban ministry situations are now appearing in suburban settings as demographics change.

  6. Pingback: The Good News Series « Godspace

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