My church recently featured a series of very effective service messages based on the book Death by Suburb. I figured if the church services were this insightful, well, the book itself must be fantastic. My assumption was right.
The subtitle of the book is "How to Keep the Suburbs from Killing Your Soul." While Goetz's message is important to hear it's most effective when you project his observations on your own life. Some of this stuff was pretty darned painful to read but 100% accurate.
For example, chapter 6 is called "Shirker Service" and he defines Shirkers as people who "are always on the move for the next spiritual plane." A Shirker tends to say things like:
I want to make a difference with my life. I want to make my life count. I want more from my life than investment banking. I'm weary of making money; I want to help poor people become suburbanites just like I am.
He goes on to say that "the Shirker Life is full of service activities, mostly to and with other Shirkers." Ouch.
Here are two other nuggets of wisdom that resonated with me:
If you want to be a sweet grandfather and not a bitter old man, then you must learn how to embrace suffering.
Frustration and conflict are the fabric of spiritual development.
Those are the kind of statements I have to read several times to truly appreciate them. Putting them in practice and living them are a completely different challenge. This book is full of pearls like this and well worth the reading investment.