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

They’ll make you answer a question.  Go ahead.  So you can read more about Father Dunne and his Newsboy Home.

The building at 3010 W. Washington in St Louis is no longer the Newsboy Home.  This past week Gail and I snuck around workmen, fresh paint to see the former Newsboy Home/former Harbor Light now becoming what we are calling (unofficially) 3010.

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photo 2 (2)

Part of the remodeling includes keeping as much as possible the building’s past.  The chapel retains original floor tile and many other features.

Such as the stained glass windows.  When we walked into the chapel a workman offered to show us the newly arrived renovated windows.  He unwrapped one and set it out for us to admire.

photo 2

The windows will soon be re-installed.  Lovely.

The Post-Dispatch says that The Salvation Army is remodeling the building into apartments.  More to the story.

The apartments will provide affordable housing for men and women, many who will be or have been in the Army’s treatment programs.  The apartments will provide a place, home.

And 3010’s existence in the city means that there will be a place in the city for those who in many American cities are being pushed out by economic realities.  It’s just too expensive.  Because it’s become just too lucrative to not develop properties for upper-middle and higher income folks.  Chicago’s Lincoln Park, etc.  Will it happen in St Louis?  It will if there is no will to make a place for those who are easily squeezed out.  Out to the edges, to the margins.

Salvation Army has been creating places in St Louis for affordable housing.  Railton Residence.  Veterans Residence.  Now, 3010.  And plans for further developments.

Why?  Because cities do not become full, complete places by homogenizing their economic landscape.  A city’s economy cannot offer a rich urban experience with only the rich.  The rich only become poorer.

When the Army’s co-founder William Booth envisioned salvation for the world he saw more than a religious compartment of human life.  Life also means having a place, a decent place, in this world.  This world so loved by God.

Sunday morning in St Louis we rolled up to this sign.  It’s at the exit from eastbound I-64/US40 at Kingshighway.  It’s a place that often has a man or woman collecting.  This morning no one there.  Just a sign.

October 5 2014 (7)The light turned and we headed north to Euclid Corps, a Salvation Army neighborhood center in north St Louis.   We enjoyed our morning worship with the corps.

October 5 2014 (9)October 5 2014 (3)October 5 2014 (4)Sunday evening we were in south St Louis with the Temple House community.  Sara is leading us now in Don Miller’s Storyline.  In a few weeks I will lead a study of the Gospel of Luke.  Any day now a copy of Joel Green’s great little book on the theology of Luke should arrive.  It will be among material to guide us in seeing the gospel’s place for marginalized persons through Luke’s lens.  Our cities need Christians who also see those who are marginalized, on the fringes.  I hope our study helps us become more seeing in this way.

photo 3 (2)Cheryl, John S. and Elysia.

We also said our goodbyes to John S. who left St Louis this morning, returning to Colorado to be with his family.  For a time.  John’s a multi-talented person.  His plans are to be in the city.  Which city?  He’s yet to decide.  We will miss John S.  In his honor we all went over to the Texas Street house and in solidarity joined him to watch an episode of his favorite show:  Dr. Who.  Darren threw for the chips and guacamole.

John S. was with us a year, as a City Vision College student and intern.  He’s among two recent Temple Houses departures.  The other John left last month for Nashville.  John Aho (our son) has had the longest stay at Temple Houses.  Was the first.  Came alone.  Now there’s a flourishing community of young men and women living near the St Louis Temple Corps on Arsenal Street.

John A. with Kyle D.

John A. with Kyle D.

Temple Houses now has three openings.  Are you a young adult?  Looking for a missional community in the city?  Check out Temple Houses.


A few photos from last Friday night and Saturday morning at the Melvin on Chippewa Street in St Louis.  We were there for a young adult retreat sponsored by the Salvation Army.

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Cory in front of the Melvin

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photo 3 (3) photo 3

004Duluth at dawn a few weeks ago.  An urbanized frame for early morning over Lake Superior.


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