Shrink your Circle

Why do we live in one community, drive two or three counties over to work, get gas here and haircuts there, and worship at a church several zip codes away?

Not everyone does this, but many do in this Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area.  Apparently (at least in 2010), less than 20% of Maryland residents had a commute time of less than 15 minutes.  Everyone else is sitting on the Beltway or ICC, and maybe there's a couple oddballs (affectionately, this!) biking their 10-mile route every day.

My drive to work averages around 45 minutes.  My drive to church averages 20 minutes.  This is probably average for this area.

My roommate walks or bikes to work, is thinking about committing to the church that's maybe half a mile down the street, and chooses to purchase groceries and other needs as close to the house as possible.

How would the culture change if instead of a vast interconnected (shallowly-connected?) network, we shifted our physical lives into a vast number of tightly-knit smaller communities?

How much more effective would the church be in its obligation to care for the poor, widows, orphans, foreigners, needy, neighbors next door, if all Christians shrunk their circles so as to have more time (and money) and peace to spread into their ministry?

I am where I am supposed to be for now. Nevertheless, my next season of life - and all the rest of them! - will have, in some way, an intentionally-pursued smaller circle.