Welcome

First thing’s first: Welcome to 606.

If you have any connection to the Mennonite Church, you’ll probably note that digit is the (long-since abandoned) hymnal number of the doxology:

When Rebecca and I talked about starting a blog together, we soon settled on this as a common reference. She can speak for herself, but I think it’s fair to say our associations with Mennonites play a big part in how we see the world.

And for me, this is complicated. I wasn’t born into the church. Instead, my family moved to a small Kansas town when I was entering adolescence — and we were struck, for a time, but its insularity. The first taste of the Mennonite religion was a bad one. But then I went to a Mennonite Brethren college and came to embrace and love much of the Mennonite outlook on faith.

Sometime later, I lost my faith.

I still qualify, I think, as a quasi-agnostic. I don’t know if God exists, what shape that takes, or what she/he wants from us if she does. Still, I find myself drifting into worship once in awhile. I’ve even sung 606 lustily. You can take the boy out of the church, but you can’t take the church out of the boy. Thus the “(mostly) Mennonite” title of this blog.

One more thing: For me, writing is a discussion. I spent most of a decade writing a point-counterpoint column that was syndicated to newspapers. When that ended, I searched for a new discussion. Rebecca, my friend, turned out to be an excellent person to be in dialogue with, and I’m glad she’s here too. It’s also nice that we have enough in common, idea-wise, that our conversations on this blog won’t consist of endless arguing. Then again, I think our perspectives differ just enough to keep each other honest.

And we want to be in dialogue with you. Comment! We will govern the comments ruthlessly. This is not a shooting gallery. It is a conversation. You don’t have to be ideologically aligned with us to get a word in — but you do have to play nice.

With that: Welcome again. I’m looking forward to it. Rebecca? What say you?

—Joel

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