Things that surprised me about Michigan

1. Michigan pride. A lot of it. When I lived in St. Louis, it seemed like whenever I heard about Michigan it was about what bad shape Detroit was in. So even though I moved here, I guess I had developed this sense that almost nobody lived in Michigan voluntary – they just kind of got stuck here. They’d all really rather be somewhere else. Not at all! There seems to be a lot of city and/or state patriotism. You see it at the grocery store (“Michigan-made”), and I saw it at a folk-festival last night, in the roar of the crowd when a singer started talking about their home state.

For that matter, there are a lot of city-events here in Lansing / East Lansing. It feels like a thriving city, not a dying city.

2. A proactive public transit agency. All the bus stops here list what buses stop at them, and when they stop. If construction forces the temporary closure of a stop, the sign gets covered up with a “temporarily out of service” bag immediately, and information about the bus detour gets posted at the stop.

3. All the bikers, especially commuter-bikers. I would’ve thought the St. Louis climate was a little more amenable to this means of getting around. Doesn’t seem like it, at least not right now! My wife and I usually biked to church in St. Louis – we were almost the only people who did, sometimes you’d see one or two other bikes locked up. Our church here is about 1/3 the size, and you see many more bikes. And there are bike lanes and bike trails all over the place. You see families that are so big they probably need a special license biking together. It’s great. I’m told even in winter many people continue biking, that it doesn’t become as difficult as your Michigan-stereotypes may suggest. (This is southern Michigan, and we’re too far from the lakes to really get hammered by the lake-effect snow.)

4. The mosquitoes. Well… I had to mention something bad, right? On the plus side, I’m now immune to West Nile Virus.

That is all!

On an utterly unrelated note, long ago I dropped a highly speculative post about heavenly rewards. I said it was a topic I didn’t hear discussed very often. I have since heard a sermon from Mark Driscoll about this. Here it is.

Happy Sunday everyone!

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