This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Ignoring our violence

Western District Conference’s passage of the Rainbow Resolution (“In Western District, Same-Sex Marriage Won’t Bring Censure,” Nov. 9) signaled a hope that we are ready to reject the violence of our actions and our words. But I wonder about the disconnect between two resolutions approved at the Mennonite Church USA convention in July: the Statement on Sexual Abuse and the Resolution on the Status of the Membership Guidelines. How can we affirm violence against our queer brothers and sisters through the rhetoric of rejection in the Membership Guidelines and then recognize them as vulnerable in the Statement on Sexual Abuse?

Can we have it both ways? We condemn violence all over the world but ignore it in the adjacent pew. We put off letting go of our fear of losing power. Can we join Jesus’ servant leadership but control the agenda? Trying to have it both ways results in confusion, division and no voices representing those we marginalize. It is time to replace the “issue” with a body and a voice and a safe space to express all our needs. It is time to recognize God’s gift of diversity and let go of the fear of what God understands but we do not. It is time to open our collective doors and windows to let out the stench of hypocrisy and risk breathing the air on the uncomfortable path of Jesus. The true issue is trusting Jesus.

Tom Szambecki
Newton, Kan.

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