Archives for posts with tag: Twin Cities

I have a little time before breakfast at Denny’s with my uncle and aunt, so I am enjoying Minnesota ‘nice’ weather at Palmer Park here in Brooklyn Center.

Last evening and this morning I am mildly awestruck at the diversity here, especially so by the number of interracial couples in public. The diversity of the Twin Cities northwest suburbs is striking to a person used to the racially defined suburbs and neighborhoods of Chicago. It brings to mind those depictions of the world to come in Jehovah’s Witness literature.

It was even (confession here) unsettling to my Chicago-programmed mind. Why aren’t people where they are supposed to be?

These are suburbs, yet a diversity we associate with the city exists here, a degree of diversity that is still rare in Chicago.

Why? Is it Minnesota’s ‘liberal’ tradition and ‘nice’ culture?


I have been feeling lazy lately.  Still euphoric that the term is over and I am no longer a slave every evening and bit of free time to homework and reading.  It feels good.  I feel lazy.

I am also pleasingly full tonight in the Twin Cities.  It is Friday night, and I ate at a Japanese restaurant just as I did last Friday in Appleton WI where we were visiting our youngest son.  In fact, in the past month I’ve also had food at Japanese eateries in Chicago and Duluth MN.

How different this era is from when I was a boy.  Japanese food then was not to be found anywhere but in the largest American cities.  Now, Duluth and Appleton.  And even in Litchfield IL where a few months ago I saw Sakura Hibachi Sushi.


Here’s another thing.  I found Oishi via the internet.  Arrived in Brooklyn Center, googled area restaurants and read the reviews.  voila.

We live in a techno-urban world.  Our cities are more diverse.  We have the tools that give access to that diversity.  drat.  I could have taken a photo to post for you to see the generous bento box $12.99 bought.   Not fantastic, but decent food.


Tonight I didn’t have to eat at McDonald’s.  Chopsticks for tonkatsu and tempura and sushi and teriyaki and gyoza and …

Gail and I are in the Twin Cities this weekend for last night’s Good Friday meeting, tomorrow’s Sunrise service at the Como Park Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, and Easter Sunday worship at the St Paul Citadel.

This morning we split different directions to visit.  I headed to Oakdale to try a Western Panini at Dreamcoat Coffee with Lars and Kristy Carlson.  Their two sons, Marky and Ethan, were busy nearby with Spongebob Squarepants on computers at a counter.  Lars and Kristy work long hours, utilize their gifts of ministry, and love what they do. 

The panini was good, along with my cafe au lait.  So was our talk about Dreamcoat’s past several months, how it fits among traditional expressions of the Salvation Army mission, and the place innovation has in the Army’s future.

I don’t feel I can tell all the details of the story Lars shared with me this morning; it’s moving.  But this week a young teen girl’s painting was placed on display in the coffee shop area where people dine, listen to music and comedy programs Friday nights, and meet throughout the week to study the Bible and talk about faith.  The painting represents a turning point, metanoia, in the teen’s life, it shows that something of God’s peace and hope has entered the life of this young person who is going through a very difficult time.

It was a beautiful morning on this day between Good Friday and Easter.  It’s a day that stands between darkness and light, despair and hope, a day that precedes the certainty of the resurrection.  And I am glad that the resurrection life entered a teen girl’s life this week in a coffee shop in the Twin Cities.

I’m in Minnesota tonight, the Twin Cities.

We stopped by Dreamcoat Coffee, a social ministry of the Salvation Army.  It’s located in Oakdale, a suburb on the east side of St Paul.  It’s run by Lars and Kristen Carlson.  It’s a new way of doing the community center.  It serves coffee, desserts, sandwiches, and live music on Friday and Saturday nights.  It offers a boutique shop like and unlike any other Salvation Army thrift store.  Like, because it sells items donated to the Army.  Unlike, for when you walk in it is a stylish shop that could easily fit in on St Denis Street in Montreal or along Clark in Chicago.

Lars explains that it’s a gathering place, a place for community.  That our age is one in which people are increasingly isolated, unconnected, and that they need an alternative to sitting in front of a computer, that we need to be with others.

Read about Dreamcoat Coffee in this Oakdale Patch article.

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