Pain of being different

Mar 14, 2016 by

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It makes me very sad when I see what is happening to my beloved Mennonite Church. I was raised in an Old Order Amish blended family. My 31-year-old mother died the second day after my birth; the widow my father married when I was 14 months old brought three sons with her. Ours was a loving, sheltered home, except there was the usual sibling rivalry. An older stepbrother hid his insecurity by being a bully. I was an easy target. I have this brother to thank now as I look back (we are reconciled). He gave me a heightened sensitivity to pain in others.

There is no pain like the discovery that you are not like others, such as discovering that you are attracted to the same gender. And there is nowhere you can go with this, so you hide in the closet or, in cases I have known, you take your own life.

This makes me very sad. For the most part this is a given; it’s not a choice. Some of the most loving, caring people I know happen to be gay. But we can’t talk about it in church. These are the voiceless among us. Churches who don’t want to talk about this are fleeing Mennonite Church USA in droves.

I’ve served as a pastor in Indiana-Michigan, Lancaster and Franklin conferences and discovered many deeply caring, loving people. Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us, for we need you to help us find a way.

Samuel J. Troyer
Goshen, Ind.

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