Monday, June 27, 2016
The Tip of the Mitten (and Beyond)
We don’t live in the trenches, but life on Cecil has given us an opportunity to bear witness to the ceaseless dehumanization waged against the poor. Many who live on our street lack jobs and air conditioning. Last week, we arrived home at the end of the work week to a Homrich Wrecking Company truck cutting off the water to a half dozen homes in forty-five minutes. TGIF. A few days later, we got a call in the morning to see if we could rally deliveries over to Field Street on the Eastside, where a dozen homes had just been shut-off. No one is receiving shut-off notices on their doors 72 hours before (apparently it is in the fine print on the bill itself). Five car loads later, long time Detroiters, many with children and elderly in the home, could at least walk down the street and get a couple of cases of bottled water to tie them over for a day or so.
We’re blessed to have a little two-bedroom flat ($450/month) with a dorm fridge, a single-burner hot plate, a toaster oven and an AC unit in our bedroom (in has been in the low 90s in our place on several occasions already this summer). No need for a microwave oven, TV, internet or dining room table! In this city, we count it a gigantic blessing to have running water, let alone with solid pressure in the shower.
Lindsay has been on the road a lot this month. She took a road trip down to Atlanta to report on a grant that Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries received last year to do work on watershed discipleship. She stayed a couple of nights at the historic Open Door Community, who have engaged in four decades of hospitality and working to end mass incarceration and the death penalty in Georgia. On her way back to the D, she took the long-route through Durham, NC, Philly, D.C. and Cincinnati, visiting great friends and communities along the way!
We joined members of the old Detroit Peace Community at Camp Chick for a few nights, 250 miles north of Detroit, what Michiganders call the “tip of the mitten.” Have we explained how these folks use their hands for the map of their state?? (we were just north of Alpena)
And then Lindsay was back on the road with our neighbor and dear friend Cait De Mott Grady to her native Ithaca, NY, for the 8th Annual Pete De Mott Peace Trot, held every Father’s Day to honor her dad.
Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou preached at St. Peter's last Sunday and brought his band (they just released a new album). In the wake of Orlando, he lamented that "there is no way to neatly unfold this into our theological conventions" and challenged us to journey beyond "a liberal love where we love everybody but we don't know anyone's name."
And we joined in a neighborhood potluck to honor the legendary Liz McAlister, sharing stories of acts of holy witness at the Pentagon and on military bases (one such nonviolent action resulted in a three-year prison sentence). She also joined us for Bible study on Wednesday night: “It doesn’t say anything about what you should do, but the spirit in which you do it. It has everything to do with the spirit in which you do the work. It forces us to ask the question: 'What is our freedom for?'” (on Galatians 5)
We leave you with the family of ducks we've been monitoring over the past month. Their home is on the Huron River in Ypsilanti--a 25 minute drive from Detroit. This has been a beautiful place to rest on our Thursday sabbaths.