life united methodist church

What are suburban traditions or rituals?

At the Open Source Liturgy Project there was a good deal of conversation about incorporating traditions or rituals that are native to a particular culture into the liturgy of the church. This is a great plan.


I live the suburbs and am having trouble coming up with suburban traditions or rituals. Here are some of my thoughts, but I know there have to be better ones…

  • Soccer games
  • Going to Starbucks
  • Walking the dog
  • High school football games
  • Commuting

What else would you add? How could they be incorporated into liturgy?

By Andrew Conard

Christian, husband, son, brother, homeowner

8 replies on “What are suburban traditions or rituals?”

This is a fascinating question. I’m having trouble coming up with suggestions. Suburban life seems to have the effect, at times, of insulating us from the wider world which we are called to engage. The problems of our neighbors aren’t quite as apparent, the condition of our neighborhoods is generally aesthetically pleasing, and there are signs of progress around us (development projects, shopping centers, etc.). The church would be wise to celebrate those moments that become part of the fabric of our lives, but not to the point of creating our own self-contained world.

Good luck coming up with things for this list. I think there are so many things outside of our suburban realities to which we are called that this may be a challenge.

going to the mall…that’s like the suburbia hospital…if something’s wrong/right/bad/good/etc.: go to the mall and shop.

Mowing the lawn, cleaning, shopping, neighborhood block parties, decorating…

The suburban life seems to be a drive through sort of life. Drive here, drive there, pick up this, pick up that, deliver someone to one thing or another, come back and do it again. It is a life filled with monotony as well, for many.

I doubt you want to write liturgy for monotony… but it does seem to be a “tradition” of sorts.

Lawn care might be a possibility as a seasonal ritual. Looking through the mail could be a daily ritual. Setting the security system might be at least a routine if not a ritual. Letting the dog out for morning and evening “duty” could be considered a necessity but have ritualistic implications. Having your child accepted to the preschool of choice might be a celebratory moment. A teenager’s first driver’s license undoubtedly comes with ritual implications, although they might differ for parents and teens.

Another tradition–getting the mail at the honeycomb. That’s where I caught up with all of my neighbors.

*waiting for the school but in the mornings/afternoons (I met and got to know many of my neighbors this way)
*play dates
*early mornings at the gym (same crowd everyday, friends meet up there)
*high school games/musicals/concerts

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