Thursday, December 10, 2009

New book...

I ordered this a couple weeks ago from the Cathedral Bookstore (I'm trying not to use amazon for brand new books anymore), and it finally came. I started reading it the other night and I really dig it so far. She has a section at the end on the urban agriculture movement here in Detroit, which is pretty sweet. She's trying to fuse the agrarian writers (prophets) of the Hebrew scriptures with the contemporary writers, namely Wendell Berry. I've just begun, but so far I really like her perspective, and I'm excited to see where she takes it. I read ahead a little and she actually addresses the anti-city narrative of the Hebrew bible, including Ellul's Meaning of the City, and she neither embraces or fully denies the validity of this view and is more interested in engaging the reality of what is rather than what should be. I'm excited to read it. I'll have a review in the next Still Small Voice zine.


Today was the first time of the year (not counting january-march) that I woke up to snow. As much as I love the seasons and Michigan I can't lie...I'm not excited at all to see snow. I guess mid-December is late for the first real snow of the season if fairly fortunate. I went against my better judgment yesterday, knowing the cold was coming. In the garden I have salad greens, kale, spinach, and some root crops. I thought of harvesting, but was busy with other projects. The root crops are now frozen in place and the salad greens are wilted and probably not salvageable. I'm going to check it out when I get home and hopefully some of the crops have held out. Its supposed to go above freezing in a couple days, and perhaps some things will bounce back. We'll see.

Carl just posted a podcast of our most recent Detroit Villages in which Jim Perkinson led us in a discussion on white privilige in the context of urban ministry. If this is something that interests you I highly encouraged you to give it a listen here: Emerge Detroit

The moving process is getting a little bit closer. We're projected to move in early February. Our housing situation is not set in stone, but we have a few solid options. There are a lot of really great opportunities to start moving toward long term goals and being grounded in place.

Last night our friends over at the Jeanie Wylie house hosted their monthly film and discussion night. The film was one called Poletown Lives!, about a Detroit neighborhood that struggled to protect their community from being decimated to build a new Cadillac Plant back in the early 80's. It was the second time seeing it, and fairly frustrating in some ways. The litany of the powers' choosing profits over the common good is relentless, and confirms my lack of faith in large institutions and is further incentive to continue to pursue change at the grassroots level. I have very little hope or energy for reforming governments and corporatations.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

moving soon!

Well, I did it again. Way too long between updates. A lot has happened, but I won't bore you.

The biggest news is that we're most likely moving soon. We have a lot of logistics to work out and the details are pretty gray. If things go according to our current plan, we'll be moving to Brightmoor, Detroit. We will be renting-to-own to fairly small homes across the street from the brightmoor community garden. One of the major draws to the area is that there are already several other household living in a sort of intentional community. They are older than us and will hopefully give some amount of accountability and structure. There are some really great opportunities for urban farming. I think it might be one of the strangest neighborhoods that I've ever been in. On the one hand there are deer, hawks, and even foxes running around. The river rouge runs through the back yards. It feels like youre in a neighborhood in the forrest. This is juxtaposed by crack houses and prostitution. Its one of the poorest and most desolate places in the city. Yet there are a lot of exciting things going on there. Good people, good programs, good churches. I'm not totally sure what to make of it, but I am excited about it.

One of the most exciting (albeit scary!) things about moving there is the idea of being settled long term. Besides when I was a kid living at home with my family, I have never moved into a place with the mindset of permenance. This has sometimes negatively affected my attitude and work ethic toward places I've lived. Will this be different? How long will it take to break the "temoral" mentality? Will I be able to be fully present and give myself to the neighborhood? I don't really know the answer to those questions, and only time will tell. I am hopeful though. This is a truly exciting time for me and I think for all of us. We have desired an inter-generational, multi-cultural, multi-household community from the start...and thats what we'll be living within.

Here's an article about our block that recently was posted on a popular website: Urban Farming in Brightmoor