Ambitious church initiatives in Ypsilanti

    Last night, at the request of a reader, I started a thread on Ypsi churches. Among the comments which followed the post, was one from a woman identifying herself as an Ypsilanti minister. In it, she mentioned two ambitious endeavors being undertaken by Ypsi churches. I’ve asked for more information, but, here, in the meantime, is the section of her comment which I found of interest.

    …First let me say, that the American church is changing. I can say there are little pockets of people who take being a believer seriously, and who want to love ALL people! The church is coming out of an age of legalism, judgment, and moving away from past hurts. Great things are happening in the Ypsilanti area in regards to the church. For instance did you know that there is a plan to build a church that will house, feed, and educate the homeless in our area? There are also plans to build a working farm, which will teach and train ex-prisoners renewable and sustainable living….

    If anyone out there has any additional information on either of these projects, I’d love to know more.

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      23 Comments

      1. Amanda
        Posted May 19, 2009 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

        My midwife pal and old preceptor is working with Growing Hope and Food Gatherers to get area churches involved in growing their own gardens to feed the hungry. She’s getting a great response from the churches (and there are a LOT in Ypsi!). Her work involves not only recruiting the churches, but also educating them in gardening and helping them to grow produce that is necessary and wanted, as opposed to Food Gatherers ending up with 500 pounds of zucchini. ;)
        The Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice might lead you to more info about Washtenaw County’s churches. http://www.icpj.net/

      2. Sparaynard
        Posted May 19, 2009 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

        Just saw ‘Kareoke Man’ (sic). Well done. I especially loved the part in the beginning where the giant hollow cock spewed all over that dude’s face.

      3. EOS
        Posted May 20, 2009 at 7:45 am | Permalink

        Reminds me of the Screwtape Letters of C.S. Lewis. If I were the devil, I’d plant my people in “churches” and get them to convince others that the church has evolved and all the silly laws and moral values that Jesus taught while he was on earth no longer apply. He was wrong – sorry, His bad. I’d convince them that there’s not going to be any judgment and that everyone is going to heaven. And then I’d distract them from spreading the Gospel to all people everywhere by keeping them busy on tasks that not only never end, but have no eternal value. If only the devil could keep us occupied in working on farms, educating prisoners or enacting political agendas then there will be less time to focus on leading others to eternal life. I’d convince people that they should shop for a church until they found one that embraces them exactly as they are and doesn’t try to change them or sanctify them or grow them to spiritual maturity. I’d want them to attend a church that makes them feel comfortable even though they live sinful lives separated from God. I’d turn their churches into social clubs. I’d fill the pews with non-believers who are trying to buy an insurance policy without actually changing. And I’d recruit pastors who would stand in front of their congregations deny the truth of large parts of the Bible.

        Jesus may be returning soon and you would be wise to be ready and waiting with lamps full of oil.

      4. Ol' E Cross
        Posted May 20, 2009 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        EOS,

        It’s remarkable that you assume that a church that wants to house, feed, and educate the homeless in our area is somehow divorced from true Christianity.

        Since you’re a fan of Lewis, I let him respond. Here’s a quote from Mere Christianity:

        Charity—giving to the poor—is an essential part of Christian morality: in the frightening parable of the sheep and the goats it seems to be the point on which everything turns. Some people nowadays say that charity ought to be unnecessary and that instead of giving to the poor we ought to be producing a society in which there were no poor to give to. They may be quite right in saying that we ought to produce this kind of society. But if anyone thinks that, as a consequence, you can stop giving in the meantime, then he has parted company with all Christian morality.

        -C.S. Lewis

      5. Posted May 20, 2009 at 8:38 am | Permalink

        Remember that EoS is a true bigot. Good works don’t count when they are provided to black, gays, poor people, and, in this case, prisoners.

        As a self-serving asshole, EoS would be better served in the Church of Satan.

      6. Paw
        Posted May 20, 2009 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        If I remember correctly, the Hope Clinic, or an organization like that, was planning to buy the Ave Maria facilities, until they got bogged down with neighborhood protests about having individuals being treated for addiction in the area. I wonder if either of these two projects would meet the same fate.

      7. West Cross
        Posted May 20, 2009 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        I think the devil has also done a good job of filling the church with judgemental, condescending and sometimes outright hateful people as well that have put a bad name on Christianity.
        I think that was the point of this whole post in the first place, to find a church that isn’t into that.
        I don’t consider myself religious, but I think there is something to it. I don’t have the answers and I don’t think it’s right to judge other who think they do. Let God be the judge.

      8. Irate
        Posted May 20, 2009 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        What kinds of Christians are you people? Helping the poor? Helping former prisoners to get back on their feet? Where’s the hatred of gays? Where’s the part about Jesus wanting you to be financially well off?

      9. Ranay Brown
        Posted May 20, 2009 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        Hello!
        Hope all are having an AWESOME day! Loving the sunshine…
        In response to all the post here:
        Thank you all so much for positive and encouraging responses! The land for the new center was purchased about 10 years ago, and the church has finally had a vision as to what to do with it. The proposal for the farm has been pitched to the proper people and has been given the green light. All great things!
        We as a church are excited, thrilled and passionate to reach, love, help, and work side by side with the community.

        “Working with Growing Hope and Food Gatherers to get area churches involved in growing their own gardens to feed the hungry. She’s getting a great response from the churches (and there are a LOT in Ypsi!).”
        TRUE. Check out the ministry of Shane Claiborne http://www.thesimpleway.org/shane/

        “If I were the devil, I’d plant my people in “churches” and get them to convince others that the church has evolved and all the silly laws and moral values that Jesus taught while he was on earth no longer apply. He was wrong – sorry, His bad.”
        FLASE. I got a word for this response…Pharisee.

        “I think the devil has also done a good job of filling the church with judgmental, condescending and sometimes outright hateful people as well that have put a bad name on Christianity.
        I think that was the point of this whole post in the first place, to find a church that isn’t into that.”
        TRUE. Thank you so much for getting the true meaning of my post.

        Consumed By The Call!

      10. Ol' E Cross
        Posted May 20, 2009 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

        EOS,

        Since you don’t care to respond to Lewis, maybe Jesus will suffice. Your “lamps of oil” reference comes from the beginning of Matthew 25. Here is how that chapter ends. Since you’re a fan of Jesus, I’ll let him respond:

        For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

        “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

        “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

        “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

        Maybe, you’d listen to scripture, if it were set to music?

      11. EOS
        Posted May 21, 2009 at 6:51 am | Permalink

        OEC,

        Are you arguing that good works are sufficient? Can someone earn the right to heaven by caring for the sick, feeding and clothing the poor? Do you think it is not necessary to surrender to God’s will in all things? Can any of us stand before a righteous God on judgment day and deny any of His teachings or moral precepts and then claim you deserve heaven because you earned it?

      12. Posted May 21, 2009 at 8:11 am | Permalink

        If Hitler gives God a blowjob, does that get him into heaven? Because that’s what you’re suggesting.

      13. Ol' E Cross
        Posted May 21, 2009 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        EOS,

        …deny any of His teachings or moral precepts…

        Caring for the poor isn’t a distraction; it’s a moral precept.

        That’s all I’m affirming here. If you deny that that fundamental aspect of the faith, what faith are you converting people to?

        “…You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.” (Mt 23)

      14. jean
        Posted May 21, 2009 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        Nicely played, OEC.

      15. EOS
        Posted May 21, 2009 at 9:21 am | Permalink

        OEC,

        I’m afraid you still don’t understand the thoughts I am trying to convey. Jean, in the other thread, said she wasn’t sure of the order of loving God and loving your neighbor. Her “religion” is all about social action while rejecting what is explicitly stated in the Bible. Her belief is respect for all paths, as if all paths lead to God. The original post said the church is changing. I agree, and it’s not for the good, because God is eternal and unchanging. I’ve never denied that real faith produces good works, just that good works alone are insufficient. Good works are not a condition of salvation, but an expression of it. I think we agree on that, right?

      16. Peri Stone-Palmquist
        Posted May 21, 2009 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        I think the “order” of things is tricky for anyone to discern when you consider verses such as James 2:14-17:
        What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

        I’m not arguing that good works “save” you — but then again, I think our focus should be less on the after-life and more on living out God’s greatest commandments: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ÎLove your neighbour as yourself.

      17. EOS
        Posted May 21, 2009 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        The “order” of things is very easy to discern based on the scripture passage you provided.

        Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.

      18. kjc
        Posted May 21, 2009 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        EOS, I think maybe that 25 years of atheism–and your urgency to save yourself in the face of that history–tells the whole story. I sorta have sympathy for this narrative actually and am glad you included that detail. Your urge to judgment is so intense it’s scary. You can’t even listen to fellow Christians.

      19. Brackinald Achery
        Posted May 21, 2009 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        I think everybody here agrees that good works are good, and that Christians should do good works. The argument seems to be over whether people can earn God’s favor by doing good works (self-righteousness), or if we have to rely on Jesus’ good works to earn God’s favor (a righteousness from God).

        I suggest we have each side build a giant bonfire. If you can’t walk through the other side’s bonfire, you lose.

      20. Posted May 21, 2009 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        This is a great thread to read.

        If you live with love in your heart, and treat everyone and everything with love and respect, what else is there to worry about?

        Some Baptists came knocking on my door the other day. They asked if I knew 100% if I was going to heaven. I couldn’t give an answer. Then they told me the steps I needed to do to get to heaven, which involved admitting I was a sinner and accepting Jesus as my one and only salvation (or something to that effect.)

        Well, maybe I don’t want to go to the Baptist heaven. I’m happy on my path and I’m going to keep seeing where it leads me. Maybe the Baptists and EOS are right, maybe we’re all right, and everything’s alright.

        Let me offer, OEC style, The Wailers:

        “Most people think, great God will come from the sky,
        Take away everything
        And make everybody feel high
        But if you know what life is worth,
        You will look for yours on earth
        And now you see the light,
        You stand up for your rights…”

      21. tommy
        Posted May 21, 2009 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        This is all so silly. Trying to rationalize the irrational, to quantify what constitutes goodness, righteousness, etc., to gain the graces of a sky wizard so you can enter a ‘place’ that’s the be all and end all of human existence. Silly.

      22. tommy
        Posted May 21, 2009 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        Love that Bob Marley song – now if that perfect Church community that Mark seeks involved Bob Marley music and the ‘chronic’ – well, I’m in.

        There is a church in San Fran that worships John Coltrane I’m told – that works for me too!

      23. jean
        Posted May 21, 2009 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        EOS, I think I said clearly that I believe there are many false paths, that the true path is hard to discern. I am both jealous and skeptical of your certainty. Brackinald, I don’t do anything to win God’s favor; I can’t even imagine knowing what he wants. I follow my heart. We all have to feel our way along. Some things seem to work better than others as counterbalance to pervasive human misery. Frankly, Jesus got a lot of stuff right in my experience. So does Sufism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism. The teachings are in the books; we still seem to need to learn by living though. Tommy, not sure how you can dismiss 1000′s of years of human searching as ‘silly.’ All I can tell you is it works for a lot of people when nothing else will. I think Coltrane would have agreed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Love_Supreme

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