Last week the people of Great Britain voted to leave the European Union. It is a major decision, and it seems to have split Britain itself in twain.
One wonders many things:
What might the “Brexit” vote have to do with the major migration of Muslim people into northwestern Europe?
Would the “Remain” campaign have won had not the Scots recently decided to stay a part of Britain? (And was anyone calling that vote “Scexit”? Sounds like something from The Dark Crystal.)
Are continental Europeans freaked out about losing the British?

And for me, there is the completely fantastical question: ‘What if the church decided to get out of the world-running business?’
It’s fantastical because, of course, there will never be anything like an official vote on “CHEXIT.”
The seat which church occupies at the table of societal and cultural leadership is getting increasingly crowded out, but it’s more of a ‘Cheviction’ or a ‘Chembarrassment.’
No, the church’s ouster from societal power is happening slowly and tendentiously, but not imperceptibly. The sun does not suddenly disappear from the evening sky, but if you pay direct attention to a sunset, you can almost see it happening before your eyes. And as it sets, the sun seems to assert its right to glow with all its intensity to the very last, before it finally gives way and goes under the Pacific Ocean or the western hills.
That is how the church is going out of social prominence in America: slowly, but noticeably.

For someone like me, with major anabaptistic leanings, this is not a very bad thing. Or at least, there is much about it that seems good. And yet, I too feel the culture shock every time I notice the growing shadows. What rattles me, though, is not the church losing societal or cultural influence. It’s the horrible misperceptions of Christians, Christianity and the Bible that attend each loss of a fingerhold. But that is a subject for a different time.

For the moment, I am just pondering again how the church is going to handle—is handling—its waning prominence in American society. Maybe we won’t celebrate it much. But maybe we can be glad about the fact that it just might have something to do with the call of God.

After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast. For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.”
Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, My people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities….”
— Revelation 18:1-5

From student work on Shakespeare…

A student paper says, “At the age of 18 William married Anne Hathaway a 26-year-old elderly woman.”
I feel ancient.

A little later, the same paper reads, “Their youngest daughter is Judith who grew to marry a tavern owner named John Quincy who was 4 years younger than her at the time.”
I guess maybe he caught up to her later on.

And, believe it or not, this follows in the same paper: “In Shakespeare’s life he wrote at least 37 plays, some we don’t know about.”
The curiosity is killing me.

For Ambyr, May 14th, 2016

Her daddy gave a name to her when he
Had learned a little bit of Greek to share.
The word “Sophia” fit her to a tee,
Yet many others would be just as fair
To give to her and rightly see her wear—
Such fitting names as Phila, Chrēstē, or
Perhaps Pistikē might have fit her more.

Her friends have found no truer friend than she,
Nor anyone whose kindness or whose care
Or faithful presence keeping company
Could comfort them and burdens help them bear.
They know that she would join them anywhere;
In times of joy and those of grief so sore,
Her heart for them has but an open door.

And with her fam’ly she is just as free
In loving us and living with the flare
Designed and put into her heart by He,
Who gave us this amazing Ammie-Bear,
The One who lives through her His love to share.
His death and life the power at her core,
This girl’s a light the world cannot ignore. (Matthew 5:14)

For my Beloved: Mother’s Day, 2016

I say of the one who gave birth to my kids
That she is a mother to me,
And daughter and sister and lover and friend
Who gives of herself constantly.

Already a grown-up when but a small child,
With wisdom and grace beyond years;
And yet in the woman, a cute little girl
Still shows in her laughter and tears.

In serious playfulness, making days fun,
So each of us feels so adored,
She cares with the care of a mother so well
And loves with the love of the Lord.

For the Mother of My Children

Well, I took out the garbage today
And expected a “Hip-hip, hooray!”
So it did get my goat
When my wife took no note
Let alone had a thank-you to say

So I pointed out what I had done
She just glanced and said, “Oh, thank you, Hon”
Then went on scrubbing floors
And with other such chores
On her list of a hundred and one.