Lest we forget during this busy holiday season, and especially for Salvation Army folks -

“Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.”  ~ Mother Teresa

This quote came via David Tooley at THQ; thanks, Dave.

Alex S. MacLean writes

Cities are and will continue to be the greenest places to live on a per-capita basis. This is made only more striking when I fly over the suburbs and see the inefficiency of single-family homes. They are dependent on cars, for one thing, and are connected by miles of paved roads to single-use zones of office and retail developments. These areas will not fare well, if we begin to mitigate climate change through measures like a carbon tax.

Detroit’s rebound is just a matter of time.

Check out MacLean’s Detroit By Air.  It’s revealing of Detroit’s current state.  A lot of empty abandoned areas.  But, you can see that there really are signs for hope.

A phone by John, near Dexter and Chicago.

A phone by John, near Dexter and Chicago.


Sometimes it’s Fritos.  Sometimes it’s Cheetos.  Doritos, always in third place.

This evening when I saw the photo of Kierra and John S. serving at a Salvation Army canteen counter, my eyes voted Cheetos.  Tonight I feel more cheesy than freezy.

Here’s the photo and a few words from the Urban Mission Center about a Ferguson experience last August for Temple House folks.  BTW, I do miss John S. who’s back in Colorado before his next urban adventure.  Dr. Who.UMC logo

If you haven’t seen yet here’s a set of photos from last Sunday’s graffiti at the KFC in Ferguson.

Last Sunday a small group of young adults was quietly at work in Ferguson MO.

December 1 2014 004

Several of our folks from Temple Houses in Benton Park West spent most of Sunday performing authorized graffiti at the boarded up Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Nov 2014 in Ferguson (5)

I like this creative framing of the drive-up window.  Is that Banksy inspired?

Nov 2014 in Ferguson (3)

Sir Gabriel, Elysia, Charlene and Cheryl.  They joined others in this creative window of opportunity.  To help turn anxiety into hope.

December 1 2014 003

December 1 2014 001

Temple Houses is a missional community of young adults living in St Louis’ Benton Park West neighborhood.  They serve together as part of The Salvation Army’s Urban Mission Center.  Since August they have been serving in various ways in Ferguson.  Next month they will be learning at Urban Youth and The Leaders Who Love Them.  You are welcome to join them for this workshop at the Temple Corps, 2740 Arsenal Street, St Louis MO.

BTW, Gail and I are headed for a home on Arsenal Street.  We patiently sit with our packing boxes.  Hope sometime this spring to be in Temple Houses.  We are a little bit older than the TH community but they are making an exception for us.

The Urban Millennium is characterized by dramatic changes in density,
diversity and wealth disparity.  And one indication that the UM has arrived
in these United States is seen in recent statistics from the National
Center for Education Statistics.

White students of non-Hispanic descent have for over a century accounted for the majority in public elementary schools.  This has changed.  Now non-white students comprise the majority.

Story from the Associated Press.

Detroit is a metaphor for America, for America’s challenges and America’s opportunities. It is a hothouse for new innovation, for ingenuity and risk taking. That doesn’t happen in a lot of American cities. We need to be in Detroit because of that. – Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation

Read more of the Free Press’ article How Detroit Was Reborn.


If you missed it, Detroit’s been restructured.

It became official two days ago and here’s details as reported by the Detroit Free Press on U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes’ decision to approve the plan.


I am feeling like one of those squirrels running around here before the snow falls.  This morning I looked to my left as I ran on Argonne in Kirkwood.  Seven squirrels in one front yard.  That’s a lot of squirrels.

Running, but also because as I clean email tonight I am finding what I’ve saved.  Not acorns but articles.  Such as 5 Key Themes Emerging From the ‘New Science of Cities’, in The Atlantic’s Citylab of September 19.  What is recent research revealing about “the dynamic behavior of cities”?  The research is based on Jane Jacob‘s insights of over 50 years ago how understanding “the emerging sciences of ‘organized complexity'” could help urban planning.

Jane Jacobs

For instance, the wealth of a city grows from its ‘small change':  when humans are able to connect in the most unassuming of encounters on sidewalks and other public spaces.  And cities underperform when people are excluded, isolated or restricted.

Worth the quick read.  Check it out.

The Detroit Free Press reported yesterday that while Ladder 22 responded to a fire on Dundee near Grand River someone stole their saws.

I’m certain that was the fire which burned down the building dedicated in 1928 for use by The Salvation Army as the Detroit Temple Corps. It is the building that I worked in and from more than four years as we planned for and saw a new building go up on West Chicago just west of Dexter to replace it.

Miracle of miracles, a Nigerian businessman bought that old building from the Army. Young people in the neighborhood would bring us the latest news on what it was being used for. Not particularly noble uses.

And now, from what I am hearing (thank you for your report, Artee Lewis) it is pretty much gone.

I’m sorry, Detroit Fire Department. You face more challenges than is fair. Especially around Halloween and the dramatic duality played out each year of Devils Night/Angels Night. People setting fires. People trying to prevent fires.

While fighting the fire on Dundee Street someone stole your saws. It’s happened to you before. Might again. Hope not.

It’s burnt down?

One reader of Intersections sent a note today, that it had completely burnt down.  Rex Dame happened to be driving by and saw it completely engulfed in flames.  Some folks in the neighborhood think it was arson since there was another major fire across the street two days before.

It is our old Temple building in Detroit.  Which I describe something of in the love of life in quiet Detroit.

I have mixed feelings.  What good was it to anyone?  Abandoned in diminishing dignity.  But, the people who came there, young guys who played in the warped floor-board gym with water dripping or gushing from its ceiling, down its walls, freezing during the winter.  The staff who froze, and then in the summers sweltered.  The young kindergarten boy who came to our programs, who then one morning at home did a strange little jig and dropped dead.  The young people who crowded the building for activities, programs, just to hang out.  Teens and adults from Royal Oak Corps who came to help clean that nasty alley running north from behind the Temple.  Steve Diaz brought them.  Our cook, Mary, working in our woeful basement kitchen.  And the men and women and children who walked down those worn steps to eat a hot meal.

Buildings do have meaning, regardless of their grandeur or their grittiness.  They have meaning because of those who abide.  Our guests.  Our family.  Who are my brothers and sisters, my mother, my father?  I simply look at the building, and there they are.  As I remember.Dundee  4 13 2013 c


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