THESE HONEST VOICES
Readers of the DreamSeeker
Magazine Winter 2006 special issue,
"Toward a Genuine Conversation on
Homosexuality," have had to wait
patiently for the conversation to
continue. Finally Cascadia Publishing
House, publisher of DSM, has
extended the conversation in a new 2007
book, Stumbling Toward a Genuine
Conversation on Homosexualitywhich
reprints the DSM special issue as
Part One and adds a new and much longer
Part Two of 17 more chapters. To
introduce the book, below are excerpts
from Bylers "Last Word,"
a response published in full at the end
of the book. DSM readers are
welcome to buy copies at 15% discount
through 12-31-07. To order, simply e-mail
email@example.com and mention code DSM-Autumn07.
For more on the book, see www.CascadiaPublishingHouse.com/stg/stg.htm. Ed.
At San Jose 2007, the biannual
convention for Mennonite Church USA last
July, speaker after speaker told us how
they were drawn into the Mennonite
family. They reminded us of our calling
within the larger Christian church to
speak out for peace and justice for all
people. One speaker said it this way,
"Thanks for what you have given me,
and please continue to be who you say you
Despite our best
efforts to avoid the issue, homosexuality
in the church will not go away, and we
are not at peace with each other. One of
the reasons may be that we have not been
true to our word. As several writers in
this book point out, our Purdue and
Saskatoon statements not only state our
belief about same-gender orientation but
also promise that we will continue to
talk to each other about it.
Stumbling Toward a
Genuine Conversation on Homosexuality
is aptly named. We would still stumble,
but less often, if we could find a way to
talk face-to-face about this topic,
rather than through books like this one.
And still, I found myself laughing and
crying as I read through these pages.
Many of the authors are people I know and
love. People whose opinions I respect
dearly. So often, I wanted to say
"Yes, but . . ." or "But
youre forgetting that. . . ."
But we are left with words on a page
rather than real-time conversation.
Yet thats the
point, isnt it? For whatever
reason, we are only now beginning to
provide space in the church to talk about
this issue and others that have the
potential to divide us.
So let me contribute to
this conversation by telling you what I
think and feel today. . . .
dont think there is enough
support one way or the other to be
clear about what the Bible says (and
means) about homosexual
relationships. . . .
line we draw between homosexual
orientation and practice feels
fundamentally unfair, unjust, and
impractical to me.
leaders have failed to live up to our
agreement to say clearly what we
believe about differing sexual
orientation and provide safe space
for the church to talk about it. We
have a sincere desire to maintain the
unity of the church, and we often are
fearful of the things that threaten
to divide us.
happens at different levels of
and denominationand we have not
yet figured out how to reconcile
them. . . .
We should be
much quicker to admit we cant
solve this issue by ourselves and
more open about asking Gods
spirit to guide us.
Listen to the honest
voices of the followers of Jesus in this
book. . . .
J. Ron Byler,
Goshen, Indiana, is associate executive
director of the Mennonite Church USA. See
Stumbling Toward a Genuine
Conversation on Homosexuality
(Cascadia 2007, pp. 309-311), for the
complete text of his "Last
Word" as it appears in the book.