Church Planting In The Suburbs Is Too Late.

Because my field is local politics and economics, I tend to see things through such eyes.

When I first became interested in local government, there was a concern few were discussing.  It went against all conventional wisdom.

The problem was suburbs and urban sprawl.  To complain about it was to be a liberal snob.

To me it was about economics.  By stretching the distance between single family homes the cost of to home owners and to cities could not help but rise exponentially. This would be caused by too few people supporting to many miles of infrastructure, police calls and fire runs.

Now many cities are in their third cycle of replacing the water, sewer and streets.  Many times the costs have risen faster than inflation.  On top of that, the demographics of suburbs have changed so those who tend to live there are less able to pay for these escalating costs.

The link discusses new thinking about cities.  I have seen this discussed at local planning meetings.  The idea that a city prospers by galloping across the fields is an idea that has not panned out.

When I read about church planting, it is invariably about building churches in suburbs. Land is cheaper so the building and the little used parking areas can by purchased.

Actual population growth has, however, turned to the city core.  Building higher with more people per square mile to help share the costs is an economic model that has more hope.

Where the church will fit into this new reality seems unknown.







48 Responses

  1. entech

    In Australia and I am guessing in America the large supermarket chains are subsuming more and more traditionally independent shops and services. The bigger ones have a newsagent, pharmacy, prepared ready to eat take away food. Why not incorporate them, after all the church is the institution not the premises, make good use of existing parking and perhaps get a bit of passing trade.

    1. entech 2:31 Why not incorporate them?

      There is quite a bit of that going on here. Sometimes a church will buy a closed KMart store or the like. In one Iowa town I was in there were three churches in what looked like formerly abandoned stores on the town square. In the downtowns of Fargo and Des Moines I don’t see any of this, however.

      1. The irony of lost farmland to urban sprawl is that farmers, or rural politics, played a big role in the highways, parking lots and malls that now cement over farm land. Rural states first lobbied harder than urban ones for big highways. After that came the highway lobby for urban sprawl.

        I’ve always thought one of the ways to make sprawl sustainable is toll roads without any general taxpayer subsidy. Change people by the miles they drive and the market will take care of sprawl.

        For some reason, most conservatives fight toll roads tooth and nail. They are like all of us, public subsidies are good subsidies when they benefit us, bad when the benefit others.

        1. entech

          I thought toll roads would be a conservative ideal, the free market suggests that everything should be owned by someone and others must pay ?

  2. Freedom

    The Time article was very good. But I don’t see things changing much. The money lenders like government debt because the government, at least in theory, has the taxation power to pay the loan back. Mommy government is now over 17 trillion in debt but she’s still dropping it from helicopters to anybody that wants to cost share a project.
    I think there is too much urban sprawl. Sad to see so much productive farmland covered with cement. In the past, larger families lived in smaller homes with small yards and now smaller families live in huge homes with big yards. The population densities per square mile must be going down a lot. Hey, maybe they are doing home church in those big houses!

  3. Long John

    I wouldn’t worry about the loss of some farmland; we’ve been paying farmers not to plant crops for years.

    1. noblindersonme

      Long John -that was about the dumbest comment I have seen since I started reading this blog!
      I have never understood the ‘Christian ‘right’s political view about this.
      Urban sprawl? “Well screw that land , to hell with God’s green earth ‘! ‘ Pave it over and erect something ‘MAN made ‘over it”. Man can always do better than GOD can! Didn’t GOD say to have dominion over the earth! Be fruitful and multiply?. The Christain manifesto- destroy God’s wonderment and put up shrines to HIM and US! Aint it wonderful what WE CREATE!
      That is a hyperbolic view but I know truth lies there.
      Without the GOD angle , John should realize that the more we spread out ,the more we expose ourselves to the ravages of nature. Larger towns leave a much bigger target for storms , tornados . Big town and built up river banks expose more to flooding !!!!Expansion to the burbs leaving a dead core to a city mean more services to the taxpayer . snow removal etc . IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO MORE MONEY JOHN!
      FEMA is going broke ! Why? One reason is that more storms to more and ever expanding cities mean more federal money neeeded to fix and repair when tragedy does strike . Econ 101 . Conservatives bitch about runaway spending but then it is too often THEM who are causing the NEED for that spending!
      Does this mean I am opposed to growth and expansion NO! I am saying we should be INTELLIGENT about it and not smarmy and stupid. Willy nilly urban planning is NOT the way to approach this.
      Lastly JOHN !!! You have not been paying farmers to not plant crops for decades now! I am a farmer buddy ! That old canard went out a long time ago. The farm bill today is totally devoid of that!!! All or most of the payments are in the form of crop insurance. The not planting crops thing in effect today is the CRP programs , which I doubt you know even the first thing about. Do you know how much YOU benefit from it?
      Snide remarks are your free speech John ,but they should be anchored in some fact!
      Apathy about the loss of farmland , indeed the very arrogant indiffernce to it , is not CHRISTIAN

      1. Henry

        Psst….nbs……let me tell you a secret. The inflammatory language that got you riled comes from an atheist. Instead, you pegged John as the “Christian right”.

        1. noblindersonme

          henry . I am perfectly aware of what I said and to whom I made those charges . I was addresing the christain right as a group and not longjohn specifically. The christian right does have a track record of treating ‘God’s green earth’ as immaterial and secondary to their view as man’s subserviance to their God.. Reagan’s secy of the Interior, James Watt, held those far right beliefs . He once said that environmental protectionism was not of great importance to him as the ‘relevation’ was near , and soon we all will be in Heaven with the Lord and these ‘earthly constructs’ would soon be meaningless”!
          yeah how’d that work out for him? Damn! Jesus never called him up in the last century and now he STILL has to do meanial stuff like pick up the garbage!
          THIS Christian really does not have a problem keeping the earth tidy and clean . God ,I believe , wants us to be that way.

          1. Henry

            nbs:“I am perfectly aware of what I said and to whom I made those charges . I was addresing the christain right as a group and not longjohn specifically.”

            Weak. Very weak.

            Perhaps you should do something to relieve your anger, perhaps raise some ducks or geese.

          2. entech

            Weak. Very weak. Do you have nothing left but derision for any with whom you do not agree ???
            Henry is Weak. Very weak.</i

          3. entech

            Where I live there are no cats or dogs even, let alone domestic fowl. Good homophone as most of what you seem capable of writing lately is pretty foul.

          4. Henry

            Duck and geese are in keeping with the 1:57 comment concerning saving the ozone hole/environment. You are off on your usual tangents talking about homosphones and the like. Jon should be proud of you.

          5. noblindersonme

            henry – your pompous replys to me illustrated by their brevity( ‘weak very weak’) huh? , once again demonstrates your unwillingness to live by moral standards you accuse others of not adhering to.
            I have ‘anger ‘issues? yet you avoid pointed debate with dismissives about my need for anger management by raising fowl?
            please grow up sir !
            FYI I am a farmer with over 50 years of raising livestock and living off God’s green earth with the beauty of raising crops. My criticism of James Watt , and it was a good example to bring up here , instead of insulting me perhaps you could of commented whether Watt was indeed the best man to head the Interior deptment by having “Christian’ views such as he had! Do you think he and others who feel like that, should view ‘GOD’s earth , farmland , meadows ,mountains , lakes , etc as just ephemeral wrappings of man as we wait to enter heaven???
            THAT was my posting !
            You can be snarky with the poultry slur , but I can tell you as a real farmer who HAS raised ducks and gesse , they do have more of a soul than you!

          6. Henry

            Yep. Raising duck and geese would be a good prescription for you. That should destress you a little bit.

  4. Matt Noah

    Since your premise from previous blogs is that churches are dying, why even ask the question?

    Looking at Fargo, people have spoken with their actions. Most people prefer a neighborhood rather than a downtown apartment building. While there are lots of apartments, condos and townhomes in Fargo, they tend to be outside of the city core.

    People like neighborhood parks and neighborhood schools. If they can afford it, most prefer a single family home; small or large. Fargo is affordable. New York City, Tokyo and London are not affordable.

    Living compactly is not something I want so I live in a place that is affordable. It’s called America where we have freedoms and options. If you like congestion and high-rise apartments, go live in a place that suits you.

    1. Matt 1:07 Living compactly is not something I want so I live in a place that is affordable.

      That’s my point. Most place that are sprawl seem “affordable”. The link points out that in the longer reach of time they are not.

      Urban sprawl is subsidized development. It is no wonder you like it.

  5. Matt Noah

    Nearly all of the assertions made by Jon are incorrect. He states them as facts but provides no proof. A freethinker would want proof, not rely on faith.

    For example, the assertion that, “The idea that a city prospers by galloping across the fields is an idea that has not panned out.” By most rational measures, Fargo is a prospering city with low unemployment, good jobs, relatively low crime and decent people. Yet Fargo has “galloped” across fields to grow. While there is a mini renaissance in downtown, most people shop, dine and relax in south Fargo; once farmland. This is an isolated example but can be repeated across the USA and the globe. Jon’s assertion is false.

      1. Matt Noah

        Bill? What bill? The obvious bill is the one in urban megacenters like NYC, Chicago, Detroit, etc. Chicago is an unsustainable disaster as is Detroit and a host of other cities. Yes, they have large cores with people piled on top of each other. Their taxes are sky-high as well. They are corrupt, bankrupt and dysfunctional. More Americans are killed in Chicago each year than American soldiers in Iraq. How is gun control working in Chicago and Detroit? Both cities are run exclusively by Democrats. There is your problem.

        1. noblindersonme

          Matt you posted your screed after I typed in my reply to you. Guess I was very clarvoyiant.
          Fargo may be like Detriot someday as I said , yet you are using Detriot today to embrace your lazy partisan thinking.
          My oh My. the foolishness of the right who thinks the fact that a city like Detriot having a democrat as Mayor is the root cause of their problems. You went from sober thinker on Fargo’s future to the radical mania of a Glenn Beck.
          tell you what ,Matt ,do you think the bozos who run North Dakota’s state legislature could go to Detriot and get it turned around? Mr NDGOP would go to Detriot and say’ well shucks just drill baby drill!’ When told they were making cars once in Detriot until Americans quit buying them ,Mr ND GOP would be flumoxed about what to do next! No farm land to raise wheat or corn ? No oil under the Michigan ground ? What kind of f***** up country is this? I am outa here!
          Your stupid partisan screed about urban blight really answered itself ! Inner cities die and grow unihabitable because of the lack of foresight and a careless disregard for sprawl and ‘conservative ‘ savings for the future when times are good! And when the folks abandon those inner cities when the lack of foresight catches up to them , the fault lies very much with the cowards who left the nest they trashed. and they probably drove out of Detriot with their Toyotas Hondas Nissans and Hyundias!
          btw New York Boston and many great cities are run by DEMOCRATS and they are flourishing! I was there Matt , your glenn beck tactic has failed.

        2. Adam Heckathorn

          Here’s a point made by Omdahl “The state of North Dakota has been on government welfare of one kind or another for years, receiving $1.60 from the federal government for every dollar we send to Washington.” and where does that money come from
          Tables of Federal Taxation and Spending by State[edit]
          The following table shows the net federal contribution of each state as a percentage of the state’s gross state product for fiscal year 2013. Revenue is gross collections which indicates the total federal tax revenue collected by the IRS from each U.S. state and District of Columbia. The figure includes all individual and corporate income taxes, estate taxes, gift taxes, and excise taxes. This table does not include federal tax revenue data from U.S. Armed Forces personnel stationed overseas, U.S. territories, Puerto Rico, and U.S. citizens and legal residents living abroad. Spending includes all federal outlays consisting of retirement, disability, and other direct payments; grants; procurement; and salaries and wages. Spending does not include interest on the debt and other spending not allocated by the individual states.

          State Dollars (millions) Ratio to GSP[4]
          Revenue[5] Spending[6] Net Revenue Spending Net
          Delaware 20,062 6,240 13,822 32.0% 10.0% 22.0%
          Minnesota 90,704 48,368 42,335 29.1% 15.5% 13.6%
          Nebraska 23,802 9,708 14,094 21.7% 8.9% 12.9%
          Maryland 56,332 13,181 43,151 16.5% 3.8% 12.6%
          New Jersey 128,052 61,088 66,964 23.6% 11.2% 12.3%
          Ohio 124,731 63,243 61,488 22.1% 11.2% 10.9%
          Illinois 137,068 61,351 75,716 19.0% 8.5% 10.5%
          Arkansas 28,772 17,850 10,923 23.2% 14.4% 8.8%
          Kansas 24,729 13,260 11,468 17.2% 9.2% 8.0%
          New York 231,880 135,383 96,497 17.7% 10.3% 7.4%
          Rhode Island 13,011 9,812 3,199 24.5% 18.4% 6.0%
          Colorado 46,539 29,845 16,694 15.8% 10.1% 5.7%
          Massachusetts 90,464 66,812 23,652 20.3% 15.0% 5.3%
          Wyoming 5,305 2,907 2,399 11.7% 6.4% 5.3%
          Georgia 74,301 51,413 22,889 16.3% 11.3% 5.0%
          California 334,425 227,549 106,875 15.2% 10.3% 4.9%
          Oklahoma 30,057 21,629 8,428 16.5% 11.9% 4.6%
          Utah 17,658 11,714 5,944 12.5% 8.3% 4.2%
          Washington 59,880 44,779 15,101 14.7% 11.0% 3.7%
          Texas 249,912 197,575 52,337 16.3% 12.9% 3.4%
          Missouri 54,412 45,106 9,307 19.7% 16.3% 3.4%
          District of Columbia 24,464 21,080 3,385 21.6% 18.6% 3.0%
          New Hampshire 10,002 8,127 1,875 14.7% 12.0% 2.8%
          South Dakota 6,317 5,039 1,278 13.5% 10.8% 2.7%
          Iowa 21,189 17,943 3,247 12.8% 10.8% 2.0%
          Michigan 68,915 61,120 7,795 15.9% 14.1% 1.8%
          Oregon 25,716 21,803 3,913 11.7% 9.9% 1.8%
          Nevada 15,858 13,654 2,205 12.0% 10.3% 1.7%
          North Carolina 66,102 58,258 7,845 14.0% 12.4% 1.7%
          Alaska 5,293 5,032 261 8.9% 8.5% 0.4%
          Connecticut 53,703 55,356 -1,653 21.5% 22.2% -0.7%
          Vermont 4,046 4,268 -222 13.7% 14.5% -0.8%
          Idaho 8,669 10,149 -1,479 13.9% 16.3% -2.4%
          Montana 4,997 6,158 -1,161 11.3% 14.0% -2.6%
          Hawaii 7,140 10,407 -3,267 9.5% 13.8% -4.3%
          Virginia 71,365 91,422 -20,057 15.8% 20.2% -4.4%
          Tennessee 53,909 70,283 -16,374 18.7% 24.4% -5.7%
          Louisiana 40,185 54,909 -14,724 15.8% 21.7% -5.8%
          Arizona 36,769 53,827 -17,058 13.2% 19.3% -6.1%
          Maine 6,745 10,653 -3,908 12.3% 19.5% -7.1%
          Pennsylvania 120,398 169,209 -48,811 18.7% 26.2% -7.6%
          West Virginia 6,799 12,980 -6,181 9.2% 17.5% -8.4%
          Mississippi 10,430 21,739 -11,309 9.9% 20.7% -10.8%
          New Mexico 8,547 18,716 -10,169 9.3% 20.3% -11.0%
          Wisconsin 46,381 82,950 -36,570 16.4% 29.4% -12.9%
          Indiana 50,994 92,429 -41,435 16.1% 29.1% -13.1%
          Kentucky 27,744 60,563 -32,819 15.1% 33.0% -17.9%
          Florida 141,178 284,602 -143,424 17.6% 35.6% -17.9%
          Alabama 23,766 58,474 -34,708 12.3% 30.2% -17.9%
          North Dakota 7,562 28,972 -21,411 13.4% 51.4% -38.0%
          South Carolina 20,446 109,854 -89,408 11.1% 59.8% -48.7%
          TOTAL 2,837,725 2,658,787 178,938 17.0% 15.9% 1.1%
          The following historical table shows the annual ratio of federal spending to the corresponding federal revenue collected from each state. Values greater than 1 indicate a state having a net negative effect on the federal budget in that fiscal year.

          State Federal Spending to Revenue ratio by Fiscal Year[7][8]
          2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
          Maryland 0.23 1.61 1.34 1.28 1.45 0.93
          Delaware 0.31 0.50 0.54 0.45 0.61 0.20
          Nebraska 0.41 0.58 0.72 0.62 0.74 0.37
          Illinois 0.45 0.56 0.59 0.72 0.80 0.50
          New Jersey 0.48 0.87 0.88 0.54 0.79 0.40
          Ohio 0.51 0.66 0.61 0.65 0.87 0.53
          Minnesota 0.53 0.56 0.43 0.49 0.53 0.32
          Kansas 0.54 0.71 0.85 0.95 1.38 0.72
          Wyoming 0.55 0.91 1.02 0.86 1.02 0.55
          New York 0.58 0.80 0.76 0.76 0.91 0.47
          Arkansas 0.62 1.10 0.73 0.71 0.92 0.53
          Colorado 0.64 0.84 0.80 0.86 0.87 0.49
          Utah 0.66 0.86 0.90 1.03 1.02 0.59
          California 0.68 0.94 0.97 0.87 1.07 0.59
          Georgia 0.69 1.05 1.19 0.87 1.12 0.64
          Oklahoma 0.72 0.90 0.98 1.06 1.19 0.61
          Massachusetts 0.74 0.94 0.80 0.94 0.98 0.59
          Washington 0.75 1.04 1.00 0.92 1.05 0.52
          Rhode Island 0.75 1.56 0.97 0.86 0.97 0.56
          Texas 0.79 1.43 1.48 0.94 1.09 0.59
          South Dakota 0.79 1.17 1.36 1.44 1.31 0.91
          New Hampshire 0.81 1.07 1.06 0.90 1.05 0.68
          Missouri 0.83 1.05 0.94 1.05 1.19 0.86
          Iowa 0.84 1.12 1.14 1.20 1.25 0.80
          Oregon 0.85 1.29 1.24 1.13 1.27 0.69
          District of Columbia 0.86 1.15 1.38 1.66 1.62 1.29
          Nevada 0.86 1.16 1.13 1.05 1.18 0.65
          North Carolina 0.88 1.34 1.45 1.07 1.16 0.60
          Michigan 0.89 1.08 1.07 1.17 1.48 0.85
          Alaska 0.94 1.41 1.46 1.66 1.80 1.16
          Connecticut 1.03 1.28 0.86 0.71 0.81 0.54
          Vermont 1.06 1.42 1.44 1.50 1.40 0.91
          Idaho 1.17 1.40 1.76 1.66 1.71 0.87
          Montana 1.24 1.55 1.74 2.00 1.93 1.08
          Virginia 1.28 1.77 1.95 1.73 1.78 1.25
          Tennessee 1.30 1.64 1.04 1.00 1.21 0.73
          Louisiana 1.37 3.35 3.84 1.89 2.75 0.78
          Pennsylvania 1.41 1.31 0.93 0.99 1.08 0.71
          Hawaii 1.46 3.19 3.51 1.62 2.77 0.94
          Arizona 1.46 1.62 1.58 1.53 1.62 1.07
          Maine 1.59 1.80 2.36 1.83 1.98 1.14
          Wisconsin 1.79 1.68 0.92 1.04 1.18 0.59
          Indiana 1.81 2.01 0.89 0.95 1.18 0.82
          West Virginia 1.91 2.23 2.35 2.68 2.72 1.71
          Florida 2.02 4.57 4.97 1.71 2.48 0.80
          Mississippi 2.08 3.07 4.26 2.68 3.46 1.57
          Kentucky 2.18 2.39 1.35 1.41 1.63 1.46
          New Mexico 2.19 2.82 2.61 2.69 2.77 1.56
          Alabama 2.46 3.29 2.37 2.00 2.33 1.34
          North Dakota 3.84 5.31 1.77 1.35 1.58 0.87
          South Carolina 5.38 7.88 4.41 2.43 3.18 1.31
          Total 0.94 1.40 1.30 1.01 1.22 0.66
          See also[edit]

    1. noblindersonme

      No Matt , there are tidbits of truth there. For one, all the prosperity you are seeing which indeed has come from urban sprawl does come with a price and those “hidden fees ‘ are ones you don’t factor in. Yeah yeah all seems hunky doary NOW!
      My wife and I built a new home 30 years and Boy was it great. Today we need new shingles , a new paint job , plumbling gets rusty etc etc , neverending list of fixits! and fixit costs are double it was when we first built. The principle seems to be the same for a growing city. yeah so much is shiny and new today , but 30 years from now.?
      FEMA is broke today , do you think Fema or whatever system is in place then will be better off? The NEXT flood will be paid off by WHOM? ‘Fargo you are on your own ‘, Washington will tell you. streets and bridges? Haw! Find your own $$$!
      Will Fargo always be a ‘prospering city of low unemployment good jobs low crime rate’ etc? Fargo could end up to be North Dakota’s Detroit buddy! and then what !
      well I guess guys like you could always MOVE to a newer shiny place and say ‘good riddance’ to the old Fargo. yeah look what THEY did to my great city!!!’ This free thinker thinks that senario is very possible as that is how Amercians have dealt with the places they have lived. Expand willy nilly , and cut and run when the their shortsightedness catches up with them.

  6. Adam Heckathorn

    I think this is an important topic. One thought that caught My attention was: “the economic principle that individuals will act on their own self-interest and deplete a shared resource for their own bene?t, even if that goes against the long-term common good.” I’ve seen this in action in many ways from family economics to the use of the emergency room as a clinic by Union members. I lived in the city limits of Hibbing yet had My own septic and well. There was talk of extending services out to Us (Hibbing is the largest city in land area in MN) I thought about the sense of providing services to rural areas like Our’s and how it would be cheaper to provide subsidies for well and septic improvements where needed. I was shocked to face the specials out here seems like financial Russian Roulette. I had specials for the improvements on First Ave. N in Moorhead yet I ride My bike on 2nd Ave N. to work (rough as a cobb). I think it makes more sense to spread the cost of road infrastructure improvements over the entire city I’m willing to pay something for road improvements in S. Moorhead that I will rarely Use because I believe We’re in this together. To Me it seems like The Republican view is When it benefits Me directly We’re in this together When it doesn’t directly benefit Me Your on Your own. I find that attitude selfish. Having said that It is wise to have incentives, disincentives to help control spending. I think it would be good to have public discussions about the real cost of improvements but isn’t politics all about shifting realities, perceptions to benefit the few at the expense of the many? Urbanization instead of suburbia, public transportation instead of individuals commuting in metal boxes weighing tons, grocery stores and other often used services in walking distance of Population dense areas, all make sense. In the F/M area I see City planning to promote a sense of community and enhance quality of life e.g. well designed Parks bus/train seating to promote conversation. I’d like to see planning for eventual commuter trains with corridors preserved for the future. corridors for greenway bike commuting would be great too.

  7. Wanna B Sure

    When you say “Church Planting”, I get the impression of; “Build it, and they will come”. In some circles “church planting” is more like a preacher looking for a job. In others, (unlike “planting”,) it is more like believers looking for a place to worship in communion without having to drive 20-40 miles on Sunday or for other weekly activities. For others, like buying a new car, the smell of new paint has it’s attraction.

    1. QuietOne

      Church planting in sprawling suburban areas may be non-sustainable in the long run. If inflation continues to go up and people continue to want a high standard of living, individuals may not have enough money to support the financial needs of all those churches.

      Can people not gather without having such elaborate structures to feel the presence of God? Perhaps they are deemed influential in the formative years and inspirational for the rest of a person’s life, but I wonder if they are necessary. As a child, I thought the church was a safe haven that was immaculate and holy. In some ways, I still do. But the “church” is being stained by radical efforts to combine religion and politics. I am often stunned by what comes out of the mouths of some outspoken church attending (?) Christians. Do they not “know what they do”? Countering a radical group with another radical group and spreading a concept of fear are surely not the answers?

      1. Wanna B Sure

        “The Church” is not the building. The building is only a place to gather in communion, (agreement). Big, small, or a house/ home. “Where two or more are gathered in my name”. Many “churches” don’t get involved in the politics of electioneering. Others do, and they have lost their purpose. I see just last week the IRS is going to start to inspect those who are involved in political candidates campaigns. (It’s against the law), but some are defying that law in spite of the tax advantages of a non-profit. Well, that’s just fine. If you stick your head in the noose, knowing full well what may happen, don’t be surprised if the rope gets tight. Such is the way of “radical groups” that have lost their purpose of “The Church”. Yes, they know not what they do. One negative result of this is that some think all church groups participate in this behavior. They would be wrong. Even “guilt by association” is inaccurate because there is no association between those who do and those who don’t.

        1. Wanna B Sure

          On 2nd thought, it may be that they do know what they do, and defy the law. If they don’t clean up their act, maybe the IRS will. Then hear the screams of “persecution”, that they have created all by themselves.

          1. Adam Heckathorn

            JW’s do not get involved in politics (God’s Kingdom is The answer to every problem). John 18:33-36 33?So Pilate entered into the governor’s palace again and called Jesus and said to him: “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34?Jesus answered: “Is it of your own originality that you say this, or did others tell you about me?” 35?Pilate answered: “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered you up to me. What did you do?” 36?Jesus answered: “My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.” If all Who considered themselves Christians followed this it would mean the end to violence By Christians. I’m not going to hold My breath even among JW’s I see the letter of the law but not the spirit followed.

          2. Wanna B Sure

            And the letter of the Law comes from Brooklyn. Go against that, persecution filters down through the elders, out to the family.

          3. Adam Heckathorn

            One of My Daughters pointed out the schizophrenic nature of it all. One minute we’ve got to do what ever it takes to recover Our lost sheep and The next minute We don’t even talk to people like You Then its back to Luvvy dubby. For Me it’s been a Twenty Seven Year conversation with a bowl of corn flakes. There is a lack of the simplest of reasoning. The People at the top would have others die for their faith but will not comply with what they admit to Me the bible teaches when it might inconvenience Them. Hypocrisy with a capitol H. I have benefited from living by principles derived from the Bible, principles I share in large measure with Atheists and religious People of all denominations. I have been surprised to discover that the concept of moral principles eludes so many. Obedience yes but the ability to reason on why something is right or wrong morally no. “Cause God said so”.

          4. Henry

            10:21, be careful of millstones.

            So often the Christian gets accused of brainwashing their children in the Christian faith.

  8. The recent trends of people moving back into the urban core is actually good for churches. Churches are old and a disproportionate amount of their infrastructure is in older sections of cities rather than in the suburbs and these trends promise to if not revitalize these congregations, at least stave off some losses in an increasingly secular world.

    They benefit from the same efficiency that public services do.

  9. Wolfy32

    I’m in Duluth for the week for work and a once booming mining town, shipping yard from the great lakes, and now, a semi struggling tourist town with most of it’s economic industry on the down trend. Some local startups are trying to restart some of the dead mines for minerals that may be more valuable than iron ore, but, even that is having limitations right now. The town used to be a strong strategic center for trade and shipping, a nice growing economy for many years for the early US. Then, bam, unions formed, mines shut down, shipping became more economical via alternate methods, and duluth is now an isolated city 200-300 miles from any form of civilization. My God are it’s roads in disrepair. Every road in the town and even the county highways need a ton of maintenance. Some roads I dodged 3-foot diameter pot holes. just sitting in the middle of the road. I thought some of Fargo’s roads were bad. This is no comparison. I saw a vision of what a city could not afford to maintain itself could look like. It’s struggling, with it’s primary employer / economy dependent on a large hospital system. Most of the labor force in the town works at the hospital. or moves to Minneapolis for work. There’s no housing development, no appartment construction, nothing “new”. It’s having difficulty maintaining the old let alone the new.

    I had seen an article on the water systems, and much of the city’s pipes and water systems are leaking and need updates, but the city is unable to afford the maintenance. They replace the worst sections of pipes and let the rest decay until they become the worst.

    The vibe I get from such a beautiful picturesque place, is that it’s a dieing place. The nature around is a stark contrask of beauty and life. As the town itself gives way to nature.

    It’s not an issue of religion though religious will make it a religious issue. It’s an issue of maintain what you build…If you can’t afford it don’t build it. Just because something new is built doesn’t mean you can now forget about it. That seems like such a basic principle.

    Reminds me of the game of Sim City. I used to get so angry when my city budget when catastrophicly wrong when I built a new neighborhood and a bunch of roads through it, and the new people in the city weren’t sufficient to pay the road maintenance, and I’d go into the negative having to borrow money every year just to maintain the stupid road systems. They exceeded the costs of the city police and fire departments by far, and I couldn’t build more fire and police because I couldn’t balance the budget with the roads. I’d ultimately fail because there were insufficient infrastructure to maintain transportation.

    I have the feeling a real city planner was involved in the design of the game. 😉

    1. Wolfy 1:39 Great analysis of Duluth. We used to visit it many times a year when our son lived there. It’s about the same size as Fargo and I was always surprised that it had move services than Fargo has–left over, I assumed, from the time when it was quite a bit larger. I agree it is a city that seems unsustainable. Great city to visit, however.

    2. Adam Heckathorn

      The interesting thing about it is The Iron ore industry produces Ore with a fraction of the labor /ton cost it once did . There are good jobs but not as many. I’ve talked to People Who remember filling ore trucks with a #2 spade (basic shovel) by hand. Isn’t that what We see in farm country? more acres per farm bigger equipment? We are on a march to replace a great deal of skilled labor with sophisticated machines and cheap unskilled labor. It seems like a recipe for constant political upheaval.

      1. Almost everything is a recipe for constant political upheaval. It’s the law of conservation of personal problems.

        What all those efficiency gains have bought us is the highest standard of living for the most number of people in the history of history.

      2. Wolfy32

        More than that, I am told the Iron mines shut down. Found out today that some have tried to restart the mines to mine copper, however due to Minnesota’s environmental laws so far, the people trying to restart it have been unsuccessful at getting through all the EPA regulations. Keeping the city from restarting it’s economy. It may still have some mining operations, but my understanding most of the mines are shut down currently.

        Also, Duluth’s sign says 86,000 people (approximately), and I believe Fargo by itself I thought is around 120,000. So, almost 1.5 times bigger.
        Not including any of the add ons to fargo or duluth.

        1. Adam Heckathorn

          There are six mines still operating They’ve actually been going to beat the band but the benefits reach fewer People. There are some real concerns about the precious metal mine. Some of the players have very bad reputations. It would be great if They could do it in a responsible manner.

          1. Wolfy32

            Good to know. Strange that most of the people that live in the town say that the “mines are closed and have been for years”, I wonder if there’s one big one that impacted the town the most when it shut down and the few remaining aren’t noteworthy?

            heh. either way, amusing to see what the lifelong resident’s perception is vs. the truth…

          2. Adam Heckathorn

            Actually the mines are some seventy miles away on the Iron range around Hibbing and Virginia. Shipping Iron (taconite pellets), coal and grain is big in Duluth but again machines and better industrial processes have replaced jobs with fewer but safer much better paying jobs the result. I see this as leading to not enough meaningful work for Our entire Society.

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