An Email to Ervin Stutzman and the MSUSA Executive Board
Dear Ervin Stutzman, the MCUSA Executive Board and everyone else who is interested:
I have been reading Ervin Stutzman lately on the internet. He is the spokesman for a leadership group for an entire denomination – the Mennonites. I’ve been reading his open letters on the internet because he sets the tone for how the leadership group will respond or make decisions on conflict.
Ervin and other Mennonite leaders have worked hard to suppress and further oppress LGBTs within the denomination. A couple of key ways I myself have noticed the suppression that I have seen reflected in my own local Mennonite church are as follows:
1) Pretending that the conservative voices against homosexuality acceptance within the church are a majority
2) Allowing the few conservatives who threaten and use ultimatums to run the denomination through fear. (Fear is the opposite of love, Mr. Stutzman and Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves – He even said it is the 2nd greatest commandment.)
3) Suppressing educational opportunities. When people present information and education, it is ignored and leadership pretends it does not exist.
4) Treating the two views as equals as if nobody is being hurt or oppressed, we just have two different views supposedly digging in their heels and refusing to budge.
Recently, the Ohio Mennonite Conference (to which the church I attend unfortunately belongs too) and a couple of other conferences wrote letters to Mountain State Mennonite Conference that were harsh. The letters attempted to speak for the areas they represent without the congregations within those conferences approval or voice. Mountain State Mennonite church licensed a lesbian pastor who is in a committed relationship and it has raised all kinds of hell within the Mennonite denomination. After a failed discernment process in my own church, I became disheartened with Mennonites in general. But after befriending several Mennonites outside of my own church through Pink Menno and reading much of Mennonite history on this subject from the past 30 years, I now feel resolved to continually be a pain in the ass to the leaders of my local Mennonite church and of the broader MCUSA leadership until they either get their heads on straight or the denomination splits. Ted Grimsrud has an EXCELLENT blog on the negativity of threats and ultimatums and why they shouldn’t be given any weight at all. It can be read here: http://thinkingpacifism.net/2014/02/28/will-mennonite-church-usa-survive-reflecting-on-three-decades-of-struggle-part-1/
The reason for this blog today is to tell Ervin Stutzman, the Executive Board of MCUSA and EVERYONE the leadership of MCUSA can no longer pretend and ignore. This morning, I posted the link to Mountain State Mennonite Conference’s Facebook page on my own page, Pink Menno’s Facebook page and BMC’s Facebook page. At the time, it had only 64 likes… mine being one of them. In a swift show of support, in 12 hours the page has amassed 268 likes. My simple effortless sharing produced 204 people liking MSMC’s Facebook page in half a day. HALF OF A DAY.
Your days of successfully ignoring LGBT’s and their allies are coming to an end. We will not be silent until the Mennonite denomination finally allows LGBTs to sit at the table with Jesus. We will not be silent until LGBTs are loved with the same agape love that Mennonites are generally known for. We will be loud and obnoxious. Passive is not synonymous with pacifism. Our voices WILL be heard.