Skip to main content


I sang 606 this morning.

Funny thing about 606 — something Mennonites know, but you might not — is that 606 isn’t actually even 606 in the hymnal anymore. Oh, it was a long time ago. These days, it’s No. 118. However. Mennonites like their traditions, and even though 606 hasn’t been 606 for ages, it’s still known as 606. The hymnal even makes a concession to this in the index. Next to the song’s title, in parentheses, it helpfully explains that name and location aside, this is the 606 you’re looking for.

This is 606. The doxology.

Now. It’s been a few years since I was officially Christian. I sometimes describe myself as “lapsed Mennonite,” but that’s kind of a half-assed way of maintaining connection to the faith. I’m agnostic, if I’m honest. But in kind of a half-assed way.

But damn, that’s some beautiful hymn singing. The congregation I sang with this morning was just a fraction the size of the one in this video, but they gave it their all. I suspect all it takes is two Mennonites gathered together — four, at most — to get a really rousing rendition of this song going.

So yeah. I went to church this morning, my first Sunday back in Lawrence after eight years away. And yeah, we sang 606. And yeah, I might’ve gotten a little teary-eyed.

And yeah, I suspect there’s a metaphor there for my return to Kansas. I just haven’t figured it out yet. I’m still a touch bewildered about how to define myself now. Long story.

But I found myself in Lawrence once before. Maybe it can happen again.


Popular posts from this blog


I've been making some life changes lately — trying to use the time I have, now that I'm back in Kansas, to improve my health and lifestyle. Among the changes: More exercise. 30 minutes a day on the treadmill. Doesn't sound like a lot, but some is more than none, and I know from experience that getting overambitious early leads to failure. So. Thirty minutes a day.

One other thing: Yoga, a couple of times a week. It's nothing huge — a 15-minute flexibility routine downloaded from an iPhone app. But I've noticed that I'm increasingly limber.

Tonight, friends, I noticed a piece of trash on the floor. I bent over at the waist and picked it up, and threw it away.

Then I wept. I literally could not remember the last time I'd tried to pick something off the floor without grunting and bracing myself. I just did it.

Small victories, people. Small victories.

Liberals: We're overthinking this. Hillary didn't lose. This is what it should mean.

Nate Cohn of the New York Times estimates that when every vote is tallied, some 63.4 million Americans will have voted for Clinton and 61.2 million for Trump. That means Clinton will have turned out more supporters than any presidential candidate in history except for Obama in 2008 and 2012. And as David Wasserman of Cook Political Report notes, the total vote count—including third party votes—has already crossed 127 million, and will “easily beat” the 129 million total from 2012. The idea that voters stayed home in 2016 because they hated Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is a myth. We already know the Electoral College can produce undemocratic results, but what we don't know is why — aside from how it serves entrenched interests — it benefits the American people to have their preference for national executive overturned because of archaic rules designed, in part, to protect the institution of slavery. 

A form of choosing the national leader that — as has happened in …

I'm not cutting off my pro-Trump friends

Here and there on Facebook, I've seen a few of my friends declare they no longer wish the friendship of Trump supporters — and vowing to cut them out of their social media lives entirely.

I'm not going to do that.

To cut ourselves off from people who have made what we think was a grievous error in their vote is to give up on persuading them, to give up on understanding why they voted, to give up on understanding them in any but the most cartoonish stereotypes.

As a matter of idealism, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on democracy. As a matter of tactics, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on ever again winning in a democratic process.

And as a long-term issues, confining ourselves to echo chambers is part of our national problem.

Don't get me wrong: I expect a Trumpian presidency is a disaster, particularly for people of color. And in total honesty: My own relationships have been tested by this campaign season. There's probably some damage…