Alternate Survey for MC USA Delegates

With all due respect to the probably good-hearted and most certainly earnest people who have created the various and sundry surveys that have gone out into various portions of the Mennonite Church USA world–ahhhrrrgggghhh! Yet another survey is out today–this one for those who will serve as delegates in Kansas City this summer. It is so carefully worded you can hardly tell what it’s asking. And, as always, people who are not necessarily straight and cisgendered are put forth as an issue to be discussed and resolved–rather than as an important and life-giving part of the church to be embraced.

I do not want to belittle what are, I believe, faithful efforts to discern the future of the church. But I’m going to anyway. Because, frankly, I’ve reached that point where if I don’t laugh I’m going to start crying. So I present to you a revised version of the delegate survey. (With many questions taken from the actual survey–so I hope I don’t get sued for copyright infringement.)

– – – –

I am:

  • male
  • female
  • all of the above
  • some of the above
  • none of the above
  • other

I am sexually attracted to:

  • men
  • women
  • all of the above
  • some of the above
  • some subset of all or some of the above
  • none of the above
  • Why? Do you want to have sex with me?

My sexual ethic is based on (check all that apply)

  • Church tradition
  • Modern scientific understandings of physiology, psychology and biology
  • The overall teachings of scripture
  • A few obscure and difficult-to-translate biblical passages
  • How horny I feel at the time
  • The Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective

I know people in my community, church, and/or family who are lesbian and/or gay and/or bisexual and/or transgender and/or queer:

  • yes

Under what conditions, if any, do you believe that people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or queer (LGBTQ) should have opportunities for membership and pastoral leadership within Mennonite Church USA congregations?

  • On the condition that they love Jesus.
  • On the condition that they vote Republican.
  • On the condition that they are willing to do the Hokey Pokey at church meetings.
  • On the condition that I get to start my own denomination because I don’t like gay people.
  • On the condition that they can put up with all of these annoying surveys.

Under what conditions, if any, do you believe that pastors in Mennonite Church USA should be able to officiate at same-sex weddings without censure or review of their ministerial credentials?

  • On the condition that they provide adequate pre-marital counseling for the couple and remain available for spiritual encouragement and nurture as the couple strives to live out the difficult calling of marriage.
  • On the condition that their congregation is willing to keep paying their salary after the wedding.
  • On the condition that they are able and willing to articulate the biblical case for love, justice and fidelity to random Mennonites they have never met who feel like calling and/or emailing them to “discuss” their theology of sexuality and marriage.
  • On the condition that they are willing to go to hell.
  • Mennonite pastors should not officiate weddings. It is a violation of the separation of church and state.

Which of the following best characterizes your personal convictions in regard to the organizational decisions being faced by Mennonite Church USA?

  • I want to be part of a church fellowship that fully includes LGBTQ persons as a matter of faithfulness to God, and the haters shouldn’t let the door hit them on their way out. (Though if they want to stay, I’m cool with that, too.)
  • I want to be part of a church fellowship that upholds the vision of marriage expressed in our Mennonite Church USA Membership Guidelines; attached is my list of people, congregations, and conferences who should be kicked out immediately.
  • I value the success of this denominational experiment that is MC USA so much that I am willing to throw queer people under the bus in order to not seem too “aggressive” or “harsh.”

Which of the following best captures your sense of a preferred future for the organization of Mennonite Church USA?

  • You put your right foot in.
  • You put your right foot out.
  • You put your right foot in.
  • And you shake it all about.

As you think about the future of Mennonite Church USA and opportunities for delegates to be involved in denominational decision-making, which of the following would you prefer?

  • You do the hokey pokey.
  • And you turn yourself around.
  • That’s what it’s all about.

Which of the following choices best represents your opinion on the future status of the Membership Guidelines, particularly Part III, as they relate to issues of sexuality?

  • They should be canonized as scripture.
  • They should be moved to a more suitable document—such as a textbook on the history of Christian thought.
  • They should be translated into as many languages as possible and widely distributed so that people of all nationalities can experience the thrill of ripping them into tiny pieces and possibly also burning them.

What should be the consequences (sanctions), if any, when an area conference does not abide by the decisions made by the delegate assembly?

  • It should receive a sternly worded letter from a deeply disappointed, finger-wagging Executive Board.
  • It should have to go to its room and think about what it has done.
  • It should have to spend all its time explaining and justifying its actions at the expense of doing actual ministry in the world.
  • It should have to do the Hokey-Pokey at every annual convention and post a recording on YouTube. (Because I want to see my friends from Mountain States doing the Hokey Pokey.)
  • Nothing. Just nothing. Really. Get over it.

What should the next denominational survey be about?

  • More sex stuff. We can’t get enough of talking about sex.
  • How we can better follow the way of peace and justice taught by Jesus.
  • Rainbows and unicorns—pro or con?
  • The appropriateness of including the verse about putting your “backside in” when you do the Hokey Pokey during congregational meetings.

5 thoughts on “Alternate Survey for MC USA Delegates

  1. Pingback: Sex, Sanctions, and Overstepping Orthodoxy: Part 800 of Infinity on GLBTQ Conversations in the Mennonite Church | gathering the stones

  2. I don’t think they know the hokey pokey here in Ghana. But many days it is great to be so far away from the mess that is MCUSA (even though I work for them). Our prayers go with you.
    wes bergen

  3. 1. I need some time to process the questions – is there a deadline?
    2. Do I mail this directly to Erv, or can I send it to the author?
    3. Can I treat this like most things in church and submit answer anonymously? I certainly don’t want to go on record!
    4. If I have moral objections to the Hokey Pokey, may I suggest an alternate game/dance in its place?

    Please answer promptly – There are other pressing theological dilemmas I need to focus on as well, but I want to be sure you get my counsel on this one…

  4. I mostly want to say that I’m pro rainbows and unicorns (though I’m open to the possibility that I am being unduly influenced by my present identity as a Lent 1 (Noah) preacher). Also, thanks for helping my friends to cause me to laugh inappropriately from the front row of a pastors seminar today when I was checking facebook rather than listening to the exegesis. We may be your distant neighbours to the north, but we were laughing heartily with you all the same (and giving thanks for our lack of surveys).

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