So sorry to hear about your weeping. Truly. It sounds like you’ve come to some very painful and difficult realizations.
I’m wondering though – did you mean to send this to everyone? Was this an unintentional blog post that was meant to be an e-mail? Perhaps you meant to send this to friends and family to ask for support in this awful time, when you’ve realized just how much harm and violence you’ve done, how much you’ve overseen, how much you continue to do.
That is completely understandable. Of course you’ll need that.
And don’t be embarrassed – we’ve all sent something to the wrong person or replied all by mistake. Usually it makes for a funny story later.
Just to be clear though – you weren’t asking queer folks to provide you with emotional support for your weeping? Nor the broader church? You weren’t looking for us to open up our arms and hold you while you cry? You weren’t seeking out sympathy or empathy or comfort or awkward back pats?
Because in the conversations I was a part of, seeking a response from the church, we weren’t looking for you to bring us your emotional burdens. Reading that sentence, do you see just how backward it is? We were looking for the historic peace church MC USA to condemn the violence against queer folks, to condemn Islamophobia in our queer names, to take accountability for MC USA’s theology, culture, and community practices that engender and enact hate and violence toward queer folks – especially and most of all queer People of Color, and to commit to concrete changes.
Do you understand the difference? Truly. It’s a question. Do you understand that this is a moment for you to turn to your family, friends, and community for your personal grief and pain? And it is a moment for you, in your role as Executive Director of Mennonite Church USA, to condemn violence, take accountability for your personal as well as the broader church’s role in it, and to name the ways the church will do better in the future.
Would you like to try again? We’ll be waiting.
Good afternoon, allies and humans of the Mennonite Church. I (a human who is queer) have a quick note, a “call to action,” if you will.
First, some facts:
- I am a human with a human life partner and a human (step/bonus/partner’s) son. In addition, members of my family such as my mother, brother, sisters, and father are humans.
- I am not an elephant.
- I am not an issue.
- I am not a crucible time.
- I am not a dilemma, a burden, a conflict, a problem, a discussion, a question, a challenge, a threat, or any other non-living, non-breathing thing, noun, verb, adverb, what-have-you.
- I am not even “homosexuality.”
Today, what I have to give is only support and love for my community harmed by church polity, exhausted from the violence of power, privilege, and oppression. Let’s hold each other up.
Here are some songs shared with me recently:
Mennonite Church USA has roots in sixteenth-century churches planted by what today we might call “radicals,” and was impacted and shaped by “social justice activists” and thinkers. Our church continues to grow and be enlivened by people who join us from many countries, backgrounds, races, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, as well as other diversities and differences. As Christians, we believe we are called to welcome these seekers of church community in our congregations and communities, especially as our government fails to serve all but a privileged few, with harsh laws frequently punishing difference. Assumptions about identity make some people more vulnerable to political biases and discrimination than others. Our concerns about the status of peace and justice in this country and in this world relate to how people are treated based on race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, ability status, citizen status, religious identity as well as other statuses. We seek to join with the new civil rights movement happening all around us, galvanizing around the movement created by three Black women, two of whom are queer women: #BlackLivesMatter.
We reject our country’s mistreatment of people, repent of our silence, and commit ourselves to act with and follow the lead of all our marginalized community members regardless of any status.
MCUSA Executive Board has thought and prayed deeply about power and privilege. Prayerfully and humbly, every member of the MCUSA Executive Board will be stepping down, and will be replaced with a consensus-based collective composed only of members of the communities mentioned above, and the collective will remain open to marginalized communities we have overlooked in our privilege. Continue reading