I would never try to convince you that Detroit (the city itself) is a safe haven from crime and violence, but please recognize what this is. It is another Detroit tradition--increase your bargaining leverage by trashing your employer. Big surprise that they called their rally for this afternoon at the stadium where the Tigers will begin the playoffs this evening.
As for the safety factor, the reality is that there are two Detroits. One--downtown--is as safe as any big city. The other--the decaying housing in a massive geographical expanse--contains areas that are very unsafe and those areas skew the stats significantly.
i have lived here all my life and never hesitant to go downtown. I try to stay away from the spots well known for gangs and drugs, so I have never felt unsafe in the D.
When my wife and I first married, over twenty-one years ago, it was our thrill to move to the Detroit area to study at DBTS. Those were great years and I still consider Michigan something of a second home in large part because of what the Lord did for us in those years (it helps that I have family and friends all over MI). In the more than five years we lived there (Wayne and then Brighton), we never really felt unsafe. Toni and I found that most of the suburb cities of Detroit are really no different than "suburban areas" near Phoenix, Minneapolis or any other large American city. Sure there were parts of downtown that may have been dangerous - but that is true everywhere - even here in the Metro Phoenix area. I would encourage anyone who sensed the Lord leading them to the Detroit area (especially for seminary work:)), to not let the negative PR that Detroit sometimes gets to undermine your going there. I know my sister and brother in law (who also ministered in the area while attending DBTS) also enjoyed their time away from the desert there in Detroit. For those looking for a great seminary, DBTS is one of the best!
I grew up just outside Detroit in the 60's and '70's. I love Dertroit. And yes, I feel safe in the downtown, a great and fascinating home to some fabulous cultural opportunities. Museums, theaters, orchestra, art institute. Detroit has it all. But just like Rome was beautiful but corrupt in the last days of the empire, Detroit is circling a drain in what is very likely an irrecoverable spiral.
Over the past 10 years, as the Michigan economy collapsed, 25% of the population left Detroit. Over the past 30, it went from the 10th largest US city to something the size of Charlotte, NC. In short, all who could move to the suburbs did. Remaining people cannot move, due to job or unemployability and abject poverty. And, a few hold-outs who live downtown and love the place. The remainder are nearly hopeless. The adult illiteracy rate is at 47% - which is what happens when those who can get jobs move out in droves just 20 miles north, or south, or west.
I fear that Detroit will become the first US city to become one of those dystopian cities of near-future sci-fi. Or the first one with a 3rd world feel. So pray for the leaders. Because the police are posturing, but the trend is terrifying. And because the solution is surely not more social programs, of which Detroit has plenty. If Mit Romney had spoken of Detroit rather than America with his 47%, he would have been understating. The problem is that conservatism too has no answer for Detroit that won't take decades.
Way back pre-Windows, we had Sim-City on our PC. That version had various scenarios where user was challenged to rebuild a city after a disaster (eg. rebuild Hamburg, Germany after WWII bombing). The Detroit scenario was “1972 – Crime and depressed industry wreck the city. The mayor needs to reduce crime and reorganize the city to better develop.” It was impossible to solve!
Thankfully there are some new churches being planted in Detroit. Here's one I'm familiar with. I'm not sure exactly where they are but sounds like they parachuted into a challenging area.
I have the privilege of helping lead a new church (Restore Church) in the heart of the city. Detroit, once called the jewel of the midwest, is both a broken & a beautiful city. While Detroit may never recover, it is emblematic of places across our country that the white bible believing church has abandoned... and that Jesus cares about. Yes, there are two Detroits. The skinny jeans area & the hood! Unfortunately, the neighborhoods, which contain the vast majority of Detroit's long term population, are avoided because of the safety factor. Yet, Psalm 139 informs us that our days have already been numbered, and that we can not add or subtract one day to our life. My burden is that we will see that we have a responsibility to obey Acts 1:8 B & C - to go to the Judeas & Samarias, metaphorically speaking, of our of country. I think of the parable of the good Samaritan where the robber saw the guy on the side of the road as a punk to be exploited, the religious saw him as a scumbag to be avoided, & the Samaritan as a neighbor to be loved. Yes, it's been challenging. Last week was a trifecta of crimes - http://resdetroit.org/2012/10/08/exodus-3318-a-gutted-kitchen/ - but it is a great place to minister! Let's see our cities not just as a place to catch a ball game or get a great meal (in a small percentage of the city) but as place ready for harvest that we need to pray for workers to enter...and a place we should consider going to give our lives in the proclamation of the gospel to the glory of God. Where's your Judea & Samaria?
It would no doubt be controversial, but the idea of dissolving the fiscally struggling city of Detroit and absorbing it into Wayne County is being tossed around in Lansing.
WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reports some state Republicans are talking about giving the city the option to vote itself into bankruptcy. And mid-Michigan Senator Rick Jones said all options should be considered — including dissolving the city.
I have the privilege of helping lead a new church (Restore Church) in the heart of the city. Detroit,... Acts 1:8 B & C - to go to the Judeas & Samarias, metaphorically speaking, of our of country. I think of the parable of the good Samaritan where the robber saw the guy on the side of the road as a punk to be exploited, the religious saw him as a scumbag to be avoided, & the Samaritan as a neighbor to be loved. Yes, it's been challenging. Last week was a trifecta of crimes - http://resdetroit.org/2012/10/08/exodus-3318-a-gutted-kitchen/ - but it is a great place to minister! Let's see our cities not just as a place to catch a ball game or get a great meal (in a small percentage of the city) but as place ready for harvest that we need to pray for workers to enter...and a place we should consider going to give our lives in the proclamation of the gospel to the glory of God. Where's your Judea & Samaria?
The flight to the suburbs did not happen because believers were wiping the dust off their feet. With a majority of the members of the gospel preaching churches moving out of the city, the churches moved with them. And, while there is clearly a racial component to it, it is not exclusively that since the flight from the city has come from across the color spectrum. The main mover was economic--dropping property values (actually, fear of that). There were social components to that, but it is simplistic to say it was all driven by ethnic issues.
To clarify something I said earlier, my point was to say that the perceived "danger" of Detroit is distorted by the fact there are parts of the city which are lawless areas in which the crime numbers are inflated by criminal on criminal crimes. Life in a sin-cursed world is dangerous. I agree with Mike that such dangers should not prevent us from advancing the gospel and seeking to establish assemblies for His name. There is, though, a difference between living and building relationships in a community for the sake of the gospel and driving in from the suburbs to grab something to eat, etc. People who live there know enough to make responsible choices while trusting God; people who are clueless may simply be putting God to the test.
The suggestion about brushing the dust off was not a proposal as to why but an alternate context to the exclusive view of the post to which I was responding, in other words making them aware that their singular claim theory has one immediate other possibility but as you point out many others and a few very practical reasons.
I suggest one of those clueless contexts is claiming bullet-proof status because God has predetermined our life span.
I tried to ignore the sidebar issue on God's sovereignty so as to derail the discussion, but since you raised it again...
to posit that God foreknows the termination point of my life without control over it is a philosophical stance which does not square with Scripture. If God foreknows it to be certain, and He surely does since He knows all things, means it is foreknown as part of His plan for all things.
That the day of my death is appointed does not mean that I should act carelessly or irresponsibly. It does free me from making the preservation of my life an ultimate concern--it is His to use or spend as glorifies Him most (Acts 20:24).
I was not necessarily casting a line and per side bars it my experience at SI that they are unpredictably permissible. So I will be brief.
The foreknowledge and here, divine foreknowledge, does indeed enable God to incorporate our decisions into his plan and in the case of our recklessly losing our life it does not require that the decisions which led to our death are attributed to God because he possesses and exercises foreknowledge, omniscience, omnipotence and sovereignty , that would be at best a rationalism. Rather it is that the decision God made was to incorporate our decisions and their consequences into his plan which is reflected in Romans 8:28 where God "works" all things not necessarily initiates or causes.