pink Menno campaign

NOTE: Read first before commenting:

This is a very very simple little post put up way back when only a couple dozen people have heard about Pink Menno (my, times have changed!) meant simply to announce its presence for YARers who might be interested.  If you want to actually find out about Pink Menno, go to pinkmenno.org.  If you want to talk to Pink Menno directly, you can email pinkmenno@gmail.com.  I think a number of people have found their way to this post because it’s pretty high up if you google “pink menno”, and it seems to have attracted some non-YAR people looking for a place to share their hellfire & pinkstone.   If that’s you, please see the YAR guidelines & required reading, as well as the sermon on the mount (especially the beatitudes) – Matthew 5. That said, some good discussion has also happened, so I’ll leave this post up.

original post (March 4, 2009):

If you’d like to do something to help the Mennonite church become more LGBT-friendly, check out the pink Menno campaign. We’re organizing an effort focused on the convention in Columbus this summer to start a lot of informal conversations with people and show that queers are already a central part of the church – and that most people probably know a lot of us already.  And that we’re really very friendly and good and Mennonite-y.

Comments (26)

  1. TimN

    Sings *Go Pink Menno* (to the tune of Go Speed Racer)

    Reply
  2. MaryJo Miller

    Blessings and best wishes.
    Lloyd and MaryJo Miller

    (Title says YOUNG Mennonites—sorry but we are OLD Mennonites—I mean age wise, not as in General Conference and Old Mennonites as we used to be called.)

    Reply
  3. Joseph

    On the same topic, a few months ago a letter calling the Mennonite Church to examine its position on lgbt issues and (if I understand it correctly) urging the church to be open to all people was circulated among Mennonite pastors, asking them to sign on to the letter. I believe that the letter is to be released this week and published in the MWR and The Mennonite, bearing the names of many, many MCUSA pastors.

    I’m glad for all the work being done to move our church towards being more open, especially when one could easily just give up and leave the church entirely. I think it would be good this week to prayerfully consider these pastors who may have put themselves up for scrutiny and risk by having signed the letter. My Dad is a Mennonite pastor of a “mixed-opinion” church, and I know that he agonized over his decision to finally add his name to the letter. I think it’s this kind of bold move, made in faith and at possible risk by people of status that ultimately makes way for the grassroots movement to succeed.

    So I feel like things are happening and it’s a time to be prayerful and hopeful.

    Reply
  4. Matt Flinner

    With all due respect, love and desire for open dialogue I would like to disagree with you. I’m sure I have no “new” arguments against same sex unions/marriages, so I will not bother trying to persuade or argue against you. I would simply like to hear your Biblical understanding of homosexuality and why it is not a sexual sin on the same lines of adultery, lust, fornication, etc. I do not pretend to be a genius or have all the answers. I do see a very clear Biblical teaching against homosexual activities (sex) and that it is a lifestyle that does not reflect Biblical marriage or sex.
    Again, I submit this question to you in love and respect, not out of anger or spite or ill-will. I leave this question for all who may read it on this site to reply.
    matt@mcmc.org

    Reply
  5. Tim Baer

    I don’t get it. Really. In Kasas City there’s a “Rainbow Mennonite Church” that proclaims: “We welcome people without regard to race, ethnic identity, gender, sexual orientation, age, economic or other life circumstances.”

    Am I missing something? Seems like the church is accepting.

    Reply
  6. lukelm (Post author)

    Tim:
    Individuals, congregations, and pastors have been expelled from the Mennonite church for being gay or gay-welcoming. The church still has in place the policies that these expulsions are based on.

    In reality it depends a lot on the area conference a church belongs to, since the church power structure is somewhat “federal” in that sense. For example, the church you bring up – Rainbow Mennonite – used to be affiliated with two different Mennonite area conferences, but was expelled from one of them in 1999 because of those two words in their welcoming statement (which had been adopted in 1978. At the time of expulsion the pastor said he was unaware of any homosexuals actually being part of the church.) Other congregations have been expelled for good, and many have been “disciplined” by the conferences for being gay-welcoming. Not to speak of the countless gay individuals expelled either officially or through shunning.

    Which, overall, doesn’t paint a very accepting picture for us gays in relation to the church. But it’s true – there are more and more local congregations (maybe flying under the radar somewhat?) which are welcoming, and many LGBT people able to be full & active members at these places.

    If you’re really interested in the nitty gritty of all the church politics, this is an excellent summary up through about 2001:
    http://www.ambs.edu/ljohns/H&MC.htm

    Reply
  7. admin

    Matt Flinner,

    The discussion on whether or not homosexuality is a sin has been had a number of times on this blog over the past 3 years. Rather the rehashing it again here, I recommend that you read following posts (listed in reverse order chronologically) and their comments:

    If you have additional questions after reading these posts and their comments, please respond in the appropriate discussion threads rather then this one. Your comments will be sent to the original author of the thread and the post will show up on the right hand side bar under “Recently Commented” so others can respond to your questions as they wish.

    Thanks very much.

    Reply
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  9. Audra Franz

    “And that we’re really very friendly and good and Mennonite-y.”

    This is the closing line of what I will assume is the pink mennonite campaign’s mission statement. My challenge to everyone who supports the practice of homosexuality (temptations or struggles are not sin, but practice is) is to remind you that being friendly, good, or Mennonite-y does not get one into heaven. It concerns me that being a Christian is not even addressed in the mission statement.

    Also, I wonder what is meant by acceptance into the church. Is this group looking for acceptance into the church just as other sinners are accepted into the church, or is it looking for the church to accept homosexuality as godly? For me these are two radically different requests.

    I am a sinner on many levels, and I hope that if I began practicing these sins infront of my church family that they would address it and hold me accountable. So I wonder what level of acceptance you are looking for. I would be appalled to see a man sitting in church with his wife and family on one side and his mistress on the other. In the same way, I would find it unacceptable for a person to openly sin in any way at church and have no one address their sin as wrong.

    The church as a whole has already justified away too many sins. Homosexuality is just one more sin to add to those that have been swept under the carpet by the church, same as divorce, divorce and remarriage (in most cases it’s called adultery in the Bible), gossip (You should pray for so-and-so, they’re….), disobedience among children (spanking is corporal punishment), and the list goes on. When will the church realize that we are saved only by the grace of God and that our God is powerful and mighty and is to be feared. Justification has no place in the fear of our Lord.

    Reply
  10. AlanS

    Tim and Lukelm,

    a side note to Rainbow Mennonite Church. The name is an interesting but unrelated coincidence. While the Rainbow is an almost universal symbol for the gay community, Rainbow Mennonite draws it’s name from the fact that it was originally located near KU Med Center on Rainbow Blvd., and later moved to it’s present location in Rosedale. The name of the church was established long before the gay rights movement was…well…..a movement.

    Salient points otherwise though.

    On a personal note for the discussion, the most significant thought that I’ve come across in the last year or so, in regards to this topic, is the question, “is homosexuality a justice issue?” If it’s not then it allows the Mennonites (who are all peace and justice-y) to separate other justice issues from this particular group. If it is a justice issue, then the Mennonite church is on the wrong side of the Gospel. After hearing it framed this way I’m amazed how much the various arguments in the church seem to come into focus.

    Reply
  11. Lloyd

    What I am reading makes me sad. The Mennonite has completely lost its focus. We are so focused on peace and love that sin is now choice. I will soon be leaving the church. Many of my friends have left and more are leaving. God will not bless the Mennonite church if it continues in this direction. May God mercy on the Mennonite church.

    Reply
  12. Steve

    Why is it that I RARELY ever find a connection between liberal postmodern theology, and support for the cause of the “pink mennos”. Despite popular belief many in even the Mennonite church are not personally grossed out, or have an intrinsic dislike of homosexuals. I personally have been friends with, and have no dislike of “hanging out” with anyone with a different sexual orientation. When it comes to conversations of biblical truth and the present conversation occurring in Mennonite churches nation wide, I ask again WHY is the link between liberal postmodernism and its basic stance of neo-orthodoxy and new-age pluralism largely absent? To further explain my frustration I believe that the pink mennos are the product of a slippery slope of exegetical and hermeneutic error. This has resulted in the blurring of the objective unalterable moral standards of the bible, into a subjective situational ethic. Amazingly, one the grandfathers of the liberal church, Dietrich Bonhoffer, is constantly touted as a stalwart of the faith to many Mennonites, and is often referenced to support agendas like that of the pink mennos. The punch line is this. I believe that the Pink Mennos are blurring clear biblical moral standards through a process of isolating certain favorable traits of God, and Christ such as Love and Peace, and are downplaying other attributes of God that may go against there set of beliefs such as Holiness, Justice and Judgment for sin. Also, they grossly under appreciate the Old Testament’s description of the messiah as the one who would usher in the “Day of the Lord”. Which is a DAY OF JUDGEMENT AND USHERING IN OF GOD”S WRATH UPON THE WORLD FOR ITS SIN (for reference read any part of the Old Testament, but focus on the prophets). As Christians we cannot let a “peace above all” and “one love” mindset cripple us from standing up against clearly heretical teachings. We do not have to compromise belief that the homosexual lifestyle, not the person, is wrong. Claims that those of us who are anti-homosexuality are not practicing true biblical love and peace, are themselves failing to understand that the love of Christ has a large measure of correction and discipline. Just think for a moment, was Jesus ever afraid to confront someone’s sinful acts, whether friend or foe, with God’s word and truth. GET BEHIND ME SATAN sound familiar to anyone?? God’s true shalom is broken by sin, thus God’s true love is exemplified by correcting those in error with the hope of, through discipline, causing them see the error of their ways, repent, and return to right fellowship with both God and the church. This is the heart and purpose of biblical discipline. Any parent who has had to correct and discipline the children that are his/her pride and joy in life can relate to what I’m saying. I have strong feelings about this subject, but I hope that dialogue with continue for the unity of the church.

    Reply
  13. Alan

    I wish you pink “Mennonites” would leave the MCUSA alone and start your own denomination. The Episcopal Church USA is open to your non-Biblical beliefs.

    Reply
  14. AlanS

    To clarify, I’m the “Alan” of post response #10, not response #13. A couple of thoughts.

    First to Steve – do you feel any cognitive dissonance about thoroughly condemning people who see this differently than you and then ending with the line “I hope that dialogue with (sic) continue for the unity of the church”. It sounds like you want conformity not dialogue. Maybe I’m hearing that wrong, but your last line doesn’t seem to fit.

    Next to the other “Alan” – it sounds like you are very frustrated. Please understand that this issue is draining for all involved. I would also hope that you could understand that the issue of Homosexuality is/should not be the primary/only factor in any given denomination. There are many things (adult baptism, non-violence, community, church structure, etc…) that make up an affiliation or affinity to a particular denomination. I would hope that MCUSA is large enough that all positions (and there are more than just 2) on the issue of homosexuality would find a place, while holding up the mountain of other things that we share in common. That statement probably actually puts me at odds with a number of positions on both ends of the spectrum….but that’s ok, it’s not the first time and it won’t be the last.

    peace, on many levels,
    alan

    Reply
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  17. neil anders

    homosexuality is a sin. It is a sin just like lying is a sin. You might struggle with the sin but you have to come to the Lord and ask forgiveness,and try to change your sinning nature. Read Romans 1:21-28

    Reply
  18. Matthew Keiser

    AlanS et al,

    I’ve spent quite a few months reading the back and forth blog posts/comments regarding the LGBT issue within the Mennonite Church and have witheld from commenting mostly because I’m undecided on the issue but something you wrote gave me pause for thought. You say:

    “There are many things (adult baptism, non-violence, community, church structure, etc…) that make up an affiliation or affinity to a particular denomination. I would hope that MCUSA is large enough that all positions (and there are more than just 2) on the issue of homosexuality would find a place, while holding up the mountain of other things that we share in common.”

    You are not the first to echoe these sentiments and I think this is perhaps part of the cause of the impasse that I’ve noticed here. Such a statement is anathema to those on the conservative end of the argument because they view the practice of homosexuality as sin. Orthodox Christians of all stripes can agree that sin is not something to be tolerated, normalized and seen as just another way of living. An example:

    Nearly all Mennonites can agree that violence is not only wrong but sinful – were our Church to normalize the idea of redemptive violence and call what was once evil now good many of us would leave because we would view such action as tolerating gross sin that violates the Gospel.

    Can you understand why then equating what many view as a sinful practice with debatable topics like church-polity and modes of baptism will fall on deaf ears? I understand what you wanted to say; that you hope one day for the LGBT issue to be just another point of dialogue within the church and that the many perspectives can be treated equally and be taken seriously but I fear you’ve missed the mark. The two-sides on this issue can’t dialogue because they’re coming from two different planes or starting points. If we truly want to get to a compromise so that the blood-letting, disciplining of congregations and the willful loss of others can stop than we must be able find a mutually acceptable plane of thought, one in which both sides’ presuppositions make sense and are understood.

    One other quick thought. You also wrote:

    “First to Steve – do you feel any cognitive dissonance about thoroughly condemning people who see this differently than you and then ending with the line “I hope that dialogue with (sic) continue for the unity of the church”. It sounds like you want conformity not dialogue.”

    Again, after seeing the back and forth on this blog for many months I think the same must be leveled at the Progressive side of this issue, at least as it relates to the progressive Bloggers on this site. Fairly harsh and undeserved labels have been leveled at those with whom you disagree. The titles of some of the blog posts “Proposition Hate” for example, paint whole swaths of the Mennonite/Christian population who happen to disagree with you as hateful and backward. Certain ideas and beliefs about scripture, authority and the Church are just dismissed outright as foolish or out-moded. I’m not saying that I might not feel or believe the same way but it strikes me as slightly hypocritcal to accuse someone of condemning others or demanding conformtity as opposed to dialogue when virtually the same thing is practiced here on these pages from the other side.

    Even if we can find a starting place from which to dialogue, we’ll never be able to do so if we allow ourselves to be tempted into demagoguery and refuse to RESPECT the other side.

    Blessings from Honduras

    Reply
  19. Matthew Keiser

    I apologize profusely for indulging in two consecutive blog posts, essentially using the second to clarify myself in the first but AlanS’ first comment in post #10 I think wonderfully illustrates the first point I was trying to make about talking past each other and trying to find a common plane of understanding from which to begin dialogue. He wrote:

    “… the most significant thought that I’ve come across in the last year or so, in regards to this topic, is the question, “is homosexuality a justice issue?” If it’s not then it allows the Mennonites (who are all peace and justice-y) to separate other justice issues from this particular group. If it is a justice issue, then the Mennonite church is on the wrong side of the Gospel.”

    He hits the proverbial nail on the head with this one. I would venture a guess and say that a majority of the Progressive-minded out there view the LGBT issue as a justice issue whereas the more traditional or conservative-minded view it as a sin or scritpural issue i.e. what does scripture have to say about it. This of course leads to a discussion of ways to read scripture the meaning of justice within the church and society-at-large but again I think that all relates to the issue of finding that common plane of understanding from which to dialogue.

    Thanks AlanS!

    Reply
  20. Forrest Moyer

    Maybe each side of the debate should ask “Are those who disagree with me still my family?” Because if we are family, we will do whatever it takes to stay in relationship.

    Pink Menno folks (I, for one) see the Mennonite Church as our home–our family–even though some have experienced judgment, rejection and pain inflicted by this family. Still we push for our inclusion, because we know this is where we belong.

    Can more conservative parents and siblings still see us as family? As we talk together “around the kitchen table” (borrowing an image from my pastor), will the Mennonite community embrace her daughters and sons and call them her own, or will she disown them when they question traditional beliefs?

    Reply
  21. Forrest Moyer

    I should also add…Will we as sons and daughters consider the wisdom of our elders at the table and treat them with respect?

    Reply
  22. Skylark

    I’m probably not the best person to speak to the issue of the church family, given that I am currently taking a break from worshiping at a Mennonite congregation, but as someone who has both gay family members and family members who believe it’s a sin, I can certainly speak on that angle.

    Of course my aunt, who is a long-term lesbian with an ongoing relationship, is still my aunt. One of my sisters stopped calling her “Aunt (Firstname)” for awhile when my aunt and uncle were separating, but she is and always will be my aunt.

    Of course my cousin, who came out of the closet on Sunday, is still my cousin.

    Of course my sister, who nearly made my cousin cry with her Bible admonitions, is still my sister.

    Of course my mother, who said almost the same things as my sister, but came across to my cousin as a bit kinder, is still my mother.

    Of course my second cousin and his long-term partner are still in my family. They’ve been together longer than I’ve been alive (I think). I can’t even remember anymore which one is my second cousin and which one is the person not related to me by blood. I know they are both wonderful people who I am glad to have in my family.

    I really struggle with knowing how to apply this in my church community life. At the moment I am going to a United Church of Christ, in part because of issues like this, and in part because my hours were cut at work and this is one of the churches I can walk to from my apartment. I don’t think I will be changing churches in the near future, at least not until something changes income-wise. I knew from the start I wasn’t going to be making this congregation my long-term home.

    Reply
  23. TimN

    Matthew,

    I think you are correct about two very different paradigms when it comes to talk about LGBTQ folks and the church. One side sees it as a justice issue. The other as a scriptural issue. Another way to understand these two paradigms is as appealing to different pillars of morality. Those pillars, as described by Jonathan Haidt are: justice, compassion, purity, authority and in-group loyalty. I’ve found this lecture by Haidt hugely helpful in understanding how liberals and conservatives view these pillars differently:

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/video/conference/2007/haidt

    Where I think I’d disagree with you is that this operating on different planes and completely different starting points is exceptional to the LGBTQ debate. There are many times in the church’s history where the sides were operating from entirely different starting points. One side appealed to the justice pillar of morality, while the other appealed to the compassion pillar. Or one might appeal to the purity pillar, while the other to the compassion pillar. The winner’s view became part of the orthodoxy and the loser had a heresy named after them (i.e. the Arian heresy).

    On a different, but related point: who gets to determine orthodoxy has often had far less to do with essential rightness or wrongness then we would like to believe. Political power and maneuvering have often played a central role in determining the winner or loser. The struggle between Athanasius and Arius is a great example.

    Reply
  24. Jim

    You can’t mock God. You can’t USE the true church to promote your life of sin. You will bow down to Christ. You will confess. Accept Christ and repent. Read His Word and educate yourself about true Christianity (not playing church or being Mennonite).

    Reply
  25. Tim B

    I greatly fear a church that has forgotten how to love.

    I greatly fear a church that has thrown away the truth.

    Again and again I feel in the middle of some grand struggle. I hear preachers during the same sermon say the divorce is a product of our times that the church must accept while homosexuality will ruin marriage. They gladly accept the former, but decry the latter.

    We all love to pick and choose our scriptures. Our religion. Our church. Leadership is weak, thus disrepected. Worship is “me” focused. No wonder we fight over these issues.

    Reply
  26. ralph

    Leviticus 18:22
    Leviticus 20:13
    Romans 1:26-27
    1 Corinthians 6:9-11

    I believe our God is very clear in His instruction and His commandments, we can justify this sin all we want, the church is only going to turn more corrupt as the book of Revelation states. Why would anyone choose NOT to obey God’s word, especially if it is clearly written right in front of them? It’s time to take responsibility and ask for forgiveness. God is here to help those who call on Him and forgive. Rather than teaching blasphemy against the Word, why not just obey what the word says and come to God for healing? There are many controversial subjects among other denominations in the Bible, but where does it say that homosexuality is God’s intention for humankind?

    I don’t try to be a Theologian, but honestly, sometimes it’s the people who don’t have a Doctorate in Theological Studies who are more dead on with the Bible.
    Also, if you have any controversy inside of you regarding this issue, your spirit already knows the right answer, but you are choosing to disobey. There is no reason for this topic to become a long conversation…all it becomes is “justification.” It is ultimately your choice, but I would personally choose to NOT risk eternal life and live a celibate life if I questioned my sexual orientation. I would also be praying too against any bondage or spiritual warfare as these are a couple of things that lure one in to such an abomination.

    I pray for everyone who is hurting right now Father, and I pray you reveal Your Truth to all your children so we all may come to know you more and live a life according to your intentions. Lord break any chains and spiritual bonds in the name of Jesus, I pray that all who are restrained by evil and sin may be free in Your name…this goes for all sins for anyone reading this.
    In Your Holy Name,
    Amen.

    Reply

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