It is known as the city of God. Many resources state the city has more churches per capita than any other United States city.
The only type of builing that holds a candle in quanitity are its liquor stores.
And though many believe it to be angelic, it is often the spectacle of the states, being one of the most sleep deprived, depleted, out of work, obese, vacant, abandoned, uneducated and unsafe cities in the world.
Forget Africa for your commercials, now the broll can be taken from some of the cities’ own blocks.
It is a bit of a problematic paradox. An over-churched city that is often seen as hell on earth.
This is the reality of religion. When Jesus confronted the religious leaders years ago he exposed a group of people who knew all the right words (Detroit drug dealers whether white, black, or hispanic often have psalms inked on their arms), who did the right religious things (most people I meet in the city go to church, sing worship songs, and talk about Jesus all day long), and who wore the right clothes (not robes and tassels like the Jews of Jesus’ day, but you wouldn’t believe how many fancy sunday morning hat stores fill the overwhelmingly vacant streets of the city).
Detroit is religious, and part of me has to believe that as we talk about the issues of education, crime, and poverty we are potentially missing the biggest barrier of all that continues to keep people from the Kingdom.
A religion rooted in doing not being, ritual not relationship, and the hierarchal institution instead of a community on mission that is compelled by grace.
So how do we disciple Detroit? How do we move heaven to the motorcity? What can change the cultural current and kill the most rigid of religions?
The prophet, that’s who: One sent to communicate truth in the most pivotal of moments
Whenever religion has reigned in the rich history of the cosmos, the creator always seems to send the prophet; those willing to lay it all on the line exposing the true state of who God is and the true extent of who people have become. They have the creative ability to expose the most evil, and bring the greyest most confusing of cultural norms into the light for what they truly are.
It’s the prophet.
They value truth over life.
They value the messy redemption of others over the cleanliness of polite relationships.
They understand a necessity of receiving grace is first acknowledging one needs it.
They are often rough and rugged, reckless and resilient, and come when everything has been taken over by religion.
They are Mike Schmidts who care less about color and socioeconomic status and more about honor and respect.
They are Diallo Smiths who move people from isolation and complacency to community and creativity.
They are Fikre Princes whose passion for Jesus leave him dripping with a fierce urgency for the repentance of both people and self.
They are Donna Mcauleys who spend nights on the streets praying with ladies paralyzed by prostitution.
They are Mark Vanandels who choose risk over safety, and sacrifice over consumption.
Welcome to the land of prophets.
God has spoken and continues to send His men and women ready to snuff out religion, urging for communal repentance as they ride the Spirit’s wave of redemption into the future.
Calling all prophets!
There have been many at work and there is still room for more.
Detroit is open for business!