First, John C Murray invites us to see our blindness as there is much we don't know and we should enter conversations with humiliity. Then Matthew Morin invites us to recognize our wealth and to see that God alone is good and we should not seek the moral high ground. Rachel Swartzentruber Miller invites us to embrace struggle and not withdraw from the conversation. Martha Yoder Maust invites us to stand in the middle and hold on to both ends. Janet Trevino-Elizarraraz invites those with different opinions to stay together. And in the final editorial, Gordon Houser invites us to see the possibility of the impossible in seeking unity in diversity.
Again, each one is a great article as they invite us to look at our world in new ways. Taken together, however, they reveal the echo chamber that seems to exist in the magazine's editorial office. Where is the perspective of Hispanic pastors who said in a recent letter to the denomination:
At our IMH Biennial Assembly on August 8 and 9, 2014, the Hispanic pastors and delegates expressed their deep concern about the issue of homosexuality and how the Conferences and congregations are dealing with it. On the one hand we see the affirmation of our historical position on sexuality and Confession of Faith, but on the other hand we see a different practice. Therefore, confusion and doubts are raising and we pray to God that He will give wisdom to our Mennonite Church leadership on how to handle this issue.
It was not surprising to the IMH Board to hear the Hispanic pastors and delegates calling the MC USA to keep the teaching position of the church and enforce it in all the Conferences and ministers. Also, the pastors and delegates expressed the painful sentiment that most, if not all, of the Hispanic Mennonite Churches will withdraw from MC USA if the present teaching of sexuality and Confession of Faith is changed.
It is our prayer that the MC USA will keep the historical and present teaching position on Human Sexuality and that you will find wisdom to lead our Mennonite Church in these critical times. We will be praying for you as you discern and lead the future of our Mennonite Church.
After reading through this magazine, a senior citizen friend called me and said, "By the time I finished, I just felt discouraged." Being humble, avoiding self-righteousness, embracing struggle, listening to many perspectives, and looking for miracles that bring unity are all good things. The implication by the magazine is that if we truly live out those attributes, staying together as one diverse denomination is the only option. That is simply wrong. It is sometimes the humble, miraculous, difficult choice to walk away. Our Anabaptist ancestors did not get burned alive, drowned and have their tongues cut out because they embraced diversity. They had a strong fire of belief, an unwillingness to compromise, and a willingness to name sin. They chose to walk away from a continuing barrage of propaganda that was directed at them and they paid a heavy price for it.
-John M Troyer