When Staying Is Hard

I’m a Mennonite. We value hospitality and humility, justice and peace. It’s part of why I love being part of this tradition.

This last week at convention we passed some incredibly hurtful resolutions against the LGBT in our community. And I’m grieving.

I’m having a really really really hard time being a fucking Mennonite right now. I just… I don’t know… I always thought we were better than this. I know some congregations are more liberal (mine) or more conservative (the one I grew up in) but I thought over all we were better than this. I absolutely didn’t think we were going to be “those guys”, who took a million years to get on the right side of history. Who when we look back people say “Yep, those are the ones who opposed interracial marriage until the fucking 70s.” That’s going to be us on issues of sexuality. And that is heartbreaking. And infuriating. And absolute bullshit.

And I feel like we’ve been doing this my entire life. I remember hearing these “We talked about this at convention and decided not to make any changes now, we’ll talk about it again in four years.” updates from convention as a little tiny kid. The little tiny kid with the gay parent. No, there was never the anti-gay hate speech I’ve heard in other denominations… but refusing to stand up for us hurt too. Refusing to formally acknowledge my family no matter how much compassion was shown still hurt. It hurt then and it hurts now.

I’m hurt and I’m pissed and I’m OVER IT. I’m so so over it. And I want to just quit. Just quit and leave and find another faith. Because I can. I totally can. But what does that solve? If we all flee how does that help change happen? What does that accomplish but make more divisions? And if you can just divorce your community over an issue like this what does that say about your level of commitment? But I have kids and I don’t want them to grow up hearing the “four more years” conversation either. I want them to know that EVERYONE is welcome at Christ’s table. Everyone. Equally.

I don’t want to leave because this is community and that should mean something and because I love being Mennonite. But I’m tired of fighting. I’m so tired.

I’m exhausted and hurt and broken.

And usually when I’m exhausted and hurt and broken I go to my community… but to do that right now I need a community that accepts me completely no matter what. And accepts everyone in my family wholeheartedly with love. And accepts my children no matter who they love.

If you can’t do that maybe you’re not the community I thought.

I’m just so tired.


7 thoughts on “When Staying Is Hard

  1. Amen Amen Amen!! My parents also taught us that if you have an issue, you don’t leave the church. You fight (peacefully 😉 ) and work it out. I still consider myself mennonite even though I haven’t attended a mennonite church in years due to geography. I LOVE my church and my heart breaks for the choices that have been made. 😦

  2. Well put. Also is so disheartening right after the recent SCOTUS decision on marriage. I am sure we are going to hear how the resolutions are actually somehow better inclusive to LGBT, but I think “kicking the can down the road” always means, delay. I know we mennos don’t want to blow with the cultural wind, but I don’t want us to just blow.

  3. Heartbreaking. I wish you peace. I hope that you will find a way to fight from the inside, and if that is not possible I am sure God will lead you to a faith family where you will be cherished.

  4. Thank you for sharing your pain. As a delegate who sat through those long sessions this past week, where the struggle with the tension between a longing for justice and a longing for a unified community was palpable. I too am enduring pain. The pain of uncertainty and waning hope for my beloved Mennonite church. I am still processing what those resolutions implicate, and how we as individuals, congregations and a denomination will move forward. I encourage you to hold on. I am holding on. Because God needs us to keep on caring and keep on trying to make the church ever closer to God’s vision for our world. It’s people like you and me and all our LGBTQ brother’s and sisters who have to translate this pain into loving action.

    The resolutions passed last week, are papers that placate those who fear change. They also, hopefully, show how important this issue is for the church. It’s our job to not get discouraged, but to buckle down and do the work that really matters. We must continue building relationships and creating spaces for tough conversations with our fellow church goers who don’t understand and fear the changes we are asking for. We have an opportunity to expand the average Mennonite’s understand of human sexuality in all it’s God given glory especially within a theological context. And, we have an opportunity to identify the reasons we do love the Mennonite church, to strengthen our identity as a church of peace, justice and deep abiding love for all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s