“Phooey” is not the Greek word that means: “You are wrong about Flint,” but it should be. This week I read another article containing another stupid list of the worst cities in America and, of course, the New York biased or Los Angeles biased author (I bet dollars to Donna’s donuts the author has never eaten a Koegel hotdog or stepped foot in our city) placed Flint on his worst cities list. Pardon my not-so-ancient-or-accurate Greek, but “Phooey!”
I like Flint. In fact, here are just a few things I like about Flint:
- The people of Flint. They are generous and loving!
- Flint’s history of how a labor sit down strike lifted the working people of America.
- That jobs are coming back to our city.
- The pastors I’ve met as we worked together since the water crisis who love Jesus a lot!
- We are becoming a pretty great college town.
- The Flint has a downtown ice rink, even though my ice skating days are behind me.
- The Capitol theatre is opening up again.
- The Farmers Market is great!
- The Crim is the coolest race in America not named “the Boston Marathon”
- The brick streets down town—I especially like it when the brick streets downtown are filled with old cars during Back to the Bricks.
- The Vehicle City signs over Saginaw Street.
- The Sloan Museum.
- The General Motor’s Factory One is a very cool venue.
- We have a minor league hockey team, although I would have named them the Stones, not the Firebirds, I still like them!
- When someone mentions the Flintstones, we don’t think about Fred, Wilma or Pebbles but of basketball players Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson, and Charlie Bell
- Koegel hotdogs, Donna’s Donuts Foster’s Coffee, Totem Books and the Crepe Company!
- The Whiting Auditorium is a wonderful place to see a concert.
- Halo Burgers (although their bill board announcing “salvation is just ahead” on the highway annoys me mostly because it’s Jesus who brings salvation not an olive burger)
- Chipotle and Panda Express have built new restaurants in Flint this year and if Chick-fil-A were smart, they’d open one too.
- When people debate on the yumminess of a Flint or a Detroit Coney (True Confession: I like Detroit coneys. Don’t hate me).
- How at Central Church we purposely misquote the Lord’s prayer just a little bit and pray that God’s kingdom would come “IN FLINT as it is in heaven” (of course we want God’s kingdom to come to the whole earth, but are just kind of partial to idea of God starting in Flint as His kingdom comes).
OK, more honesty, there are a few things I don’t like too. I don’t like that…
- Poverty is still high in Flint and crime and drug dealers and sex traffickers are present, but too often our kids are growing up when their moms or dads are not present in their lives.
- People are still afraid to drink the water, because they don’t trust the politicians who told them it was ok to drink the water (when it wasn’t) in the first place.
- We have too many liquor stores, bars, strip joints, boarded up houses and pawn shops not enough Holy Spirit filled outposts of God’s Kingdom.
Still, I like Flint and I like to think that Jesus was thinking of Flint too, when he grabbed a scroll in the Nazareth synagogue and unrolled it to Isaiah 61 to read:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor. (He didn’t say it, but I think we could have said, “I’m looking at you Flint, Michigan!”)
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:18-21)
I like Flint and I know God loves Flint, and far, far, far from turning his back on Flint or has forgotten Flint or in some way has abandoned Flint and certainly unlike what any author of an article that says how terrible things are might say, God has great things in store for the hard working, fun loving, generous and wonderful people of Flint in 2018! In fact, I think God is FOR FLINT and if we are on God’s side we will be saying, “I am FOR FLINT TOO.” In other words, I think Jesus would have read that article about worst cities in America and would have said, “Phooey! People said the same thing about my home town of Nazareth, but it was a lot like Flint and I loved that place too!”
Merry Christmas Flint! God is on our side!