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A Key To Our Salvation?

Personally, I don't need to read any more "letters" to or from Detroit, but at least in this one Detroit native Ryan Mack offers a reasoned, proactive take on seedy businesses, our economic climate and what more we can do to change our material conditions.

Most intriguing to me is the following:

What would happen if churches learned how to combine forces and create economic development corporations? The largest employer in Queens, New York is Floyd Flake of Allen AME Church Cathedral and last I checked he has $30+ million Corporation with over $75 million in real estate assets. Other churches like Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, Harlem Congregations of Community Improvement, and the list goes on across the country of how churches have used their leverage for the greater good of the community. We can do the same in Detroit. If done right, an economic movement of the church can create thousands of jobs for the city of Detroit.

Now, you already know I'm a card-carrying atheist who thinks we give too much credibility to these "men of the cloth." But I'm also realistic when it comes to recognizing the centrality of the church, synagogue and mosque to the lives of many metro Detroiters. And I know that we drop a whole lot of money into the collection plates around this town.

So while I think an idea like this is fraught with peril -- I'm having bad visions, for instance, of churches turning down employment applications from non-believers, followers of other faiths, gays and others whom the pastor won't approve of -- I also can't help but wonder whether there's validity to what Mack is putting forward.

Even if I'm not yet ready to agree with him, do you? Whatever your position on faith and religion, do you think Detroit houses of worship can and should develop a broad-scale cooperative effort to attack the city's worst problems? Are there examples that are working already? How much should the city and state encourage this type of cooperative economics?

And what're the risks?

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  • 1

    I'm a church planter in Detroit (actually, St. Clair Shores) and have felt impressed that there is both spiritual and financial revival coming to the Detroit region.

    We're developing a business/finance ministry with this in mind. Our heart is to see biblical principles embraced to the degree that true financial revolution comes to this area, and in turn, to the nations of the Earth.

    As we experience an infusion of faith (not hope, not hype, but tangible faith) the fear and depression and anxiety will dissipate.

    This faith will literally rise up in people as the principles of the Word of God take root and blast like a spotlight into a dark room.

  • 3

    This article is ridiculous! It's impossible to agree or disagree with his argument - it's completely incoherent.

    Ryan Mack leaps from the issue of inner city strip clubs to the larger problems at the city's hand - sky-high unemployment statistics, terrible deficits in education and literacy, a discouraging small business climate, crashed credit, other problems we all know well at this point. It's not that any of these issues aren't directly related to the problem of inner city strip clubs; it's that Mack doesn't relate any of these problems to his thesis (a thesis I don't even understand) in any meaningful way, nor does he tie any of his "proposed solutions" (job fairs and training? church investments?) to the central conundrum posed at the beginning of the piece: is regulating strip clubs good or bad for the city?

    Infuriatingly, he does not cite any sources or statistics besides "awareness of my hometown," "hypothetical examples" and "Google searches."

    Who is this guy? Why did he write this? This is the kind of unchecked, unedited and unproductive blather that makes people think media is dead. And it does Detroit no favors.

  • 4

    Perhaps Mr. Mack can call the Pope and ask for a loan. The Catholic Church is one of the worlds largest businesses. Maybe they can offer Detroit a loan, buy up everything from the river front to 9 mile road, plow it under (ie RoboCop) and build something new out of the heap that Motor City has become.

    Sorry that won't happen, and recent history has shown that many Church-like entities become corrupted by their own successes. I'm not sure if a quasi-city-state-church-thingamabob would be the right thing to do.

    As for the poor strippers losing their jobs - buy a web cam and offer your services over the web for a fee. You can write off the PC, camera, Internet connection and probably a portion of your home "studio" as a business expense. ACORN has all the forms!

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