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Shortly after last year’s synod, I had a conversation with a non-affirming office bearer in the Christian Reformed Church (CRCNA). This individual suggested to me that it was sad I believed I had to leave the denomination, and now that the confessional status issue was resolved, we could move on to real conversations about what the Bible says about same-sex marriage.

I was flabbergasted.

The reason, of course, is because our denomination no longer simply opposes same-sex marriage, but rather, the CRCNA has decided to require total agreement across the denomination among all pastors, elders, deacons, and members. In other words, anyone—gay or straight—who does not oppose same-sex marriage is committing such a grave error in doctrine that they are worthy of church discipline, ultimately culminating in excommunication.

I have been thinking a lot about why the recent synodical votes — which will almost certainly lead to the expulsion of churches, pastors, and members who I love — have been particularly painful. And I think one of the main reasons is that the synodical majority simply will not acknowledge the truth about what is happening.

Many people I’ve talked with have suggested “we can keep having conversations” or “no one has to leave” or “we are not shutting down debate.” This is just not true.

Affirming churches and members are not “leaving” the denomination. They are getting kicked out. It sounds harsh because it is. And it’s remarkable to me how many individuals think we are still talking about what our position should be—not the decision to expel long-standing pastors and members from the denomination.

This is due, in part, to a synodical misinformation campaign. During the last two synods, church officials have repeatedly muddied the waters about what exactly confessional status means.

In 2022, synod voted to “strongly encourage continuing conversations” on same-sex marriage, and an advisory committee official suggested that confessional status was a “conversation starter.” But the same official refused to give an answer about future discipline for office bearers even though it was clear that the new policy would require agreement or deposition.

In 2023, the advisory committee majority insisted that confessional status was meant to create “more room for growth, humble conversations, and the ability to ask honest and fair questions.” But when asked whether an individual who is simply unsure of their view on same-sex marriage could be a confessing member of the Christian Reformed Church, an advisory committee official refused to give a yes-or-no answer.

Finally, moments after the 2023 vote to preserve confessional status—a decision that could bring about the ouster of roughly a quarter of synodical delegates—synod made a vow “to manage disagreements within our congregations, and among churches, with love, charity, and grace, and to ensure that all who seek to follow Christ are afforded a respectful place to honestly share their views and listen to those of others.”

My deep hope was that these stunning contradictions ultimately stemmed from incompetence, but I’m afraid now that it was an intentional effort to avoid or mask the disturbing implications of our decisions behind a facade of “conversation” and “grace” and “listening.”

This misinformation campaign has victims. When we dress up our sharp red lines in language that we don’t really mean, it confuses our members. But most importantly, language like this hurts LGBTQ people like me who want to live out their faith in their church home, want to embrace values like “grace” and “conversation,” but then cannot figure out why the entire denomination is unraveling over how quickly to excommunicate them.

To their credit, some traditionalists have been candid. One individual spoke publicly about getting rid of “the rot” in the denomination. But more moderate traditionalists who deny they are ripping the church apart by digging in their heels on confessional status have either not done their homework or have been grossly misled by sugarcoated misinformation.

Let me be clear: I wish our values in this moment were conversation, grace and listening. But if those aren’t our values, let’s stop pretending they are.

Enough with the gaslighting.

In a few days, Synod 2024 will have multiple opportunities to slam the door shut. Delegates will consider a request to expel dozens of churches from the denomination, to direct councils to begin special discipline on all affirming elders and deacons, to block the seating of delegates who support same-sex marriage, to oust all affirming individuals from denominational boards or committees, to “out” the number of affirming office bearers on each council, to force out dozens of affirming faculty at Calvin University, and even to declare that just opposing confessional status is worthy of church discipline.

Delegates should openly state on the floor of synod that the purpose of confessional status is to expel all supporters of same-sex marriage from the Christian Reformed Church in North America. There should be no ambiguity about what confessional status decisions mean. It’s cowardly to answer “we don’t know” what happens next when we do, in fact, know.

Of course, I would like to see Synod 2024 protect the current process to allow formal conscience-driven exemptions to our same-sex marriage position—especially for faculty at Calvin University. I would like to see Synod 2024 allow conversations to continue and reverse confessional status. But if they won’t do that, the least Synod 2024 can do is be honest.

Traditionalists say they have drawn a line because this is a “salvation issue.” What? I thought my salvation was rooted, not in Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 108, but in Q&A 1—the comfort that I am not my own, but belong, body and soul, to my faithful savior Jesus Christ.

Since when does God’s grace depend on our cataloging an itemized list of sins like a tax return headed to the IRS? Since when does our salvation status whip back and forth depending on whether we forgot to confess something that day? What a small view of our own brokenness, and more importantly, an even smaller view of Christ’s redemptive work!

I recognize that my days in my church home are numbered, against my own wishes. This is sad, and I have been grieving it. I believe it is the wrong decision. And I am working to accept it. What I cannot accept are lies on the floor of synod to confuse the reality of what is happening, or the pretense that my friends and I are voluntarily leaving the denomination simply because we disagree.

Recently, Synod has paid a lot of attention to the Seventh Commandment.

It’s time to start paying attention to the Ninth.

Photo by Eleonora Francesca Grotto on Unsplash

Ryan Struyk

Ryan Struyk is a member of the Christian Reformed Church of Washington, D.C. He graduated from Calvin University in 2014, and he won the school’s young alumni award in 2021. He is a former Banner news correspondent, and he was member of a CRCNA synodical study committee to provide pastoral guidance on same-sex marriage. He was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He works as a television news producer.


  • Julia Smith says:

    Amen, Ryan. Thank you for expressing so well what is happening. The extent of the deception / self-deception is staggering. If the non-affirming folks were actually paying attention to affirming pastors, office bearers and members, the agenda would be about separation rather than discipline. Can we not learn from every other denominational split over selectively literalist readings of scripture re gender and sexuality?
    Peace to you and all queer siblings in the CRC. May the Lord who loves you beyond measure guard your hearts and surround you with the support of understanding friends in the coming days.

  • Jan Heerspink says:

    Thank you, Ryan, for saying out loud what so many of us are thinking!

  • Jean Scott says:

    I have been praying for delegates not to block the Holy Spirit’s leading, but to be full open to what God would have us do; I was unsure at first, but now fully embrace the love God wants us as a denomination to embrace for ALL people. Jesus called out the legalists in his days on earth and I think he feels the same way today. God bless you for speaking out.

  • Jerry VS says:

    Our Lord has asked all of us to be ushers – welcoming people in to his church. It appears the CRC is mandating we be bouncers – protecting the wall that keeps people out.
    Can it be that “the watchmen on the walls of Zion” have their arrows pointed in the wrong direction?

  • James Vanden Bosch says:

    Excellent thinking and writing in response to very bad synodical reports and decisions. Thanks, Ryan.

    • Bernard Alberda says:

      “Yet I hold this against you we have forgotten our first Love”.
      It was the eye to eye contact between Jesus and Peter which totally convinced the Centurion that Jesus was His Savior.
      It’s time for everyone to review what “No other gods” is all about. Does Jesus continue to find the “den of thieves” still in place and continue weeping?

  • Pat says:

    Thank you for this. I sadly believe the majority of church-goers are completely unaware of what a certain segment of denominational leaders is attempting to do. I wish the “vote” could be across the denomination by all church members on the “confessional” status and the graveman process. It has been my belief that many of the delegates are not speaking for all the members of their classis. It may be too late. We are losing so many of our thoughtful, deep thinkers. I grieve for the CRC.

  • Nancy Meyer says:

    Thanks for speaking truth Ryan. As a lifelong member of the CRCNA, I’m deeply disappointed and embarrassed for our once beloved denomination.

  • Jack Reiffer says:

    Amen, Ryan. If what’s really happening is a set of decisions to remove entire groups from the CRC, it is important to say so. What a disappointing turn of events! Thanks for saying so.

  • Keith Mannes says:

    Hard truth, beautifully, and powerfully spoken. Thank you.

  • Emily Brink says:

    Another Amen! to this powerful yet so sad assessment of synod’s action. Thank you, Ryan.

  • Daniel Meeter says:

    So, if I understand you, within the evolving CRC, simply to believe that same-sex marriage is non-church-dividing or even tolerable is not acceptable, and that’s because of the “confessional” status. To regard it as non-church-dividing is to violate the Confessions, and therefore no longer allowed, and is potentially ipso facto cause for discipline.

    • Duane Kelderman says:

      Yes Dan. That’s exactly right. Over 100 people in a congregation of 1800 members signed a protest document that objected to synod’s high handed ways. There is an overture to this year’s synod that the elders of that church be instructed to begin discipline on those members if they do not repent. Never mind that in our church order, discipline is the responsibility of local elders. The church must be purified at all costs!

      • Daniel Meeter says:

        Well then, I’m not the first to have noticed that the CRC might want to take another look at Article 29 of the Belgic Confession, which states that “As for the false church, it assigns more authority to itself and its ordinances than to the Word of God.” The Confession warns against confessionalism! Mr Struck is simply appealing for the CRC to step back from the brink.

  • David Hoekema says:

    Very well put. It’s time to stop pretending there is still room for dialogue in the new CRCNA, which is not the church so many of us cherish and whose impending death we mourn. And yet: was there ever any likelihood that the Synod 1973 recommendation — to make gay members welcome and involve them fully in congregational life, while demanding abstinence from any sort of relationship — would be followed in any church?

  • Duane Kelderman says:

    Thank you Ryan. I couldn’t agree more. To quote that disingenuous delegate in 2022 who soft pedaled confessional status when it was up for a vote, three times he said, “This recommendation is not a hammer; it’s just the beginning of a conversation.” Everywhere we turn now, the CRC is swinging hammers at people.

    It’s time for synod to be honest. It’s also time for inclusive churches to be honest. This denomination has been hijacked and we ain’t getting it back any time soon. We lost. Plain and simple. We’re ecclesial orphans. What are we going to do?

    • Dominic palacios says:

      I was a delegate at Synod 22. Of all the awful things that were said that week, the “this is not a hammer” statement might have been the worst. It was and still is a hammer. They just want to preserve their “nice guy” status. Say what you want about the Abide extremists. At least they are honest.

      • Sheryl Lyn Mulder says:

        I remember that Synod well. I share your feelings
        The worst part for me with that one, last year’s, and will undoubtedly happen after this Synod..They will all tell us how much they felt their work was led by the Spirit but not fess up to all their plotting over the years to take the CRC over. Watch out Calvin University as you are likely next I see Tyler Wagenmakker now has his name up for the Calvin University Board if Trustees after retiring from the COD and ensuring his replacement by Lloyd Heemstreet there. Yeah all Spirit led. Sure. Keep deluding yourselves.

    • Willemiena McCarron says:

      Yes, our church, my church, has been hijacked.

    • Mark VanDyke says:

      Doug Fakkema (the reporter for that committee) is not a disingenuous minister, and I don’t believe he was acting in that way when he spoke those words. Here we have competing definitions of “conversation.” Those, like Doug and me, on the traditional side recognize that we will need to continue conversations about how to apply the teaching of Scripture. How can we improve on ministering to all our neighbors and the people in our churches? Let’s continue that conversation! However, what I perceive the progressives in the CRC mean by “conversation” is debating the core issue of homosexual activity. The overwhelmingly positive vote in favor of the HSR established that that debate is settled, and I believe many on the traditional side have been consistently honest about that.

      • Lea Wilkening says:

        Please forgive me, I don’t mean to attack you, Mark, but your use of the word “settled” is well, unsettling. For tens of thousands of Jesus-loving, God-fearing people who’ve called the CRC home, no human action has settled what the Spirit has stirred. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that it is settled for some and broken free for others. It’s the strange way the Spirit seems to be working amongst us that is what we could be having the most fascinating conversations about. Instead, one side purges and forces the other to plan. Nothing is settled.

    • Art Jongsma says:

      Thank you for that, Duane. That is exactly my feeling. It is time to admit defeat and do something to create a fresh affirming denomination or join another denomination that has room for affirming congregations (RCA?).

  • Mark S. Hiskes says:

    Thanks, Ryan, for speaking the truth so clearly, courageously, and achingly. “What a small view of our own brokenness and, more importantly, an even smaller view of Christ’s redeeming work!” is a line I will carry with me today.

  • Kenneth Earl Kolk says:

    I’m a 1966 graduate of Calvin. I left the CRC when a friend who was a recent grad of Calvin Sem was ordered to recant a sermon he had made stating that the Bible is not a scientific text and that the two different creation accounts in Genesis were there not to tell us how God created the world but were there to tell us why and how that relates to our salvation. At that time there were “conservatives” in the CRC leadership who wanted the Church to teach that the world was created in 7 days in 4004 BC. That issue died without tearing the CRC apart, but I left and never looked back.

    I am now a member of the Reformed Church in America, which is also struggling with the “Human Sexuality Issue” and I’ve watched a large number of churches leave the RCA. They have the same demand that the question of how to deal with the LGBTQ+ members of our congregations must be that they cannot take a leadership role in any congregation, i.e. they cannot be members, but can only be “adherent.” Fortunately to change the interpretation of the Book of Church Order, Our Faith (Ecumenical Creeds, Reformed Confessions and Other Resources) and Worship the Lord (The Liturgy of the Reformed Church in America) is required by the Constitution of the RCA (established in the Explanatory Articles of 1792) to be approved by all the Congregations, Classis, Regional Synods, and the General Synod by 2/3s votes. The angry radicals who are bound on forcing out all accepting churches and members out of the RCA found that they didn’t have the support of the required 2/3s and they have elected to leave. The rest of us are as the General Secretary of the RCA, Eddy Aleman recently wrote, “Living in the Muddy Middle”.

    If this year’s General Synod of the CRC forces individuals, individual churches, or a whole classis out of the CRC I would suggest that you consider joining the RCA.

  • Henry Baron says:

    Thank you, Ryan, for articulating so well what for many of us has been and continues to be a burden of great sadness. It indeed is not unlike the grief of a child being rejected and separated from the family that nurtured and nourished them from birth into adulthood.

  • Dave Vroege says:

    Yes, Ryan. Not to mention that “status confessionis” doesn’t even mean “confessional status” or have anything to do with the confessions, and wasn’t used this way even by the conservative overture that got introduced this language.

  • Jeff Carpenter says:

    Re the “hammer”—maybe add the stake. Our classis heard and thankfully defeated a proposed overture to declare any affirming stance to be declared heretical, with 9 points fully defined. It did make the synodical agenda as a “communication.”

  • Kathryn Vilela says:

    Thank you for articulating this clearly. It needs to be said and to be heard. I am sad with you – there is so much beauty and so much good fruit that has been lost through this drawn-out debacle, and the gaslighting makes it exponentially more painful.

  • June says:

    What Julia said (prayed) : May our loving Heavenly Father protect the hearts of the queer community who long to be fully seen and heard by the church.

    • Bernard Alberda says:

      Jesus had much more trouble with the “leaders”!
      He walked through Samaria and ate with “sinners”!
      While the Centurion watched His every move.

  • Jodi M says:

    Very helpful. I appreciate all the comments, too. Thank you for speaking and writing.

  • Thomas Folkert says:

    Thank you for this fine article, Ryan. Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.

  • Al Schipper says:

    Thank you, Ryan. Your constant, cultured and articulate prophetic voice is spot on.

  • Anna Uitvlugt says:

    So sad, I feel that my church has been hijacked….good word Rev Kelderman…
    And yet Jesus still shows up every Sunday and most other days too at Neland and Watkins, at Gainey ranch, in the Navaho Nation…

  • Bethany Keeley-Jonker says:

    Exactly. “Settled and binding” is incommensurate with “start of a conversation”.

  • Emily Jane VandenBos Style says:

    Thank you, Ryan. I vote YES for increasing our capacity for conversation. I’ve posted this poem of mine before (truth-telling from my own life-text) – as a RJ comment – about this matter. Am about to head to downtown Plymouth, MA (where I live) to read it aloud at an Inky Hands poetry reading – in relation to PRIDE month & Father’s Day. I was born & raised in the CRC; am Calvin Class of 1970.

    Heavenly Conversation

    Six months after my mother died,
    I sat across from my father
    in their living room

    To say out loud
    that I was amiably
    divorcing my long-time husband
    to live with my long-time
    lesbian friend

    My father said—
    Your mother would never
    have approved—
    and you’re going to hell

    I said—this is how I think about it, Dad

    If you get to heaven
    before I do—
    and I never show up—
    it will be okay
    it will be heaven

    And if I get to heaven
    before you do—
    I promise you
    when you show up
    I will not say
    I told you so

    And I wouldn’t anyway
    it will be heaven

    © Emily Jane VandenBos Style, 2001/2020

  • CameronVKL says:

    This is heart-breakingly well written. As a fellow gay kid who was born and raised in the CRCNA, I now find myself in the also-troubled RCA. While we aren’t quite on the same brink, I’m praying for you and all my affirming siblings heading into Synod week. May the majority recognize the hypocrisy and danger ahead; forgive them Lord, although they know exactly what they do.

  • Leo Jonker says:

    Amen. Well said.

  • Judie Zoerhof says:

    Thank you Ryan, Blessings on you.
    I wonder where “duplicity” falls on the sin chart.

  • Kris Swieringa says:

    Thank you, Ryan for this well written and thought-provoking article. Shortly after Synod last year, I stopped going to the CRC and recently been attending a United Methodist Church in my hometown. This has started to heal my relationship with Jesus Christ after the damage done by evangelicals in the church and the political realm. I see so many similarities between the CRC now and what is going on in the Republican Party. I pray the church and our country will come to their senses

  • Janet Borgdorff. says:

    So, so good to read your words of truth Ryan. And then to read the many responses of people who get it, along with you. I have hope, not so much for the CRCNA, but for those of us who hold on to what that Church stood for

  • Lou Roossien says:

    Ryan, thank you for your clear, good and grace-full words.

  • Henry Lise says:

    God is Love. Where love is, there is God. Comments are an act of love. My prayer is that love will be at Synod 2024 (as it is between people regardless of gender).

  • Henry Hofstra says:

    Thank you, Ryan, for this and the other Reformed Journal articles you’ve written. This feels like watching a 3–5-year train -wreck. Unless I’m mistaken, wasn’t the Human Sexuality Report the result of Synod appointing a Human Sexuality Study committee about 4-5 years ago. In order to serve on the committee, members of the committee had to agree to the traditionalists’ position that marriage should only be between one man and one woman. With the committee stacked with no dissenters from this position, is it any wonder what the final report would conclude? Seems like this would be its analogous to appointing a Racial Reconciliation Committee but only appointing those to serve, who hold white supremacist views! It is indeed tragic to witness how this is all unfolding. Synod 2024 should remove the confessional status it has given this issue, so that, at least, discussion could continue.

    I too was born and raised in Grand Rapids and am a 1964 graduate of Calvin University.

  • Christy Berghoef says:

    “What a small view of our own brokenness and, more importantly, an even smaller view of Christ’s redeeming work!” So well said. And the dishonest tactics of the synod leaders through the process reeks of secular political strategy. While I no longer belong to the CRC, my heart splits open for those who experience such a God- especially the young people, some of whom I’ve encountered, who feel trapped in homes and churches as they suffer in suicidal silence. Thanks for explaining the current situation so clearly and for sharing your deep frustration and sadness. I always appreciate everything you write here as well as the spirit in which you do so.

  • Valerie Van Kooten says:

    Isn’t it amazing how fear can grip a person…a congregation…a denomination…until you end up with torches and pitchforks to expel the “impure” in your midst? Having been born and raised in the CRC, I left 14 years ago and am now a member of an affirming RCA congregation. We went through the worst of this in the past 2 years, but you know what? The axe has fallen, the break has been made (in our classis anyway), and we can now move forward, planning a future instead of dreading what each Synod is going to bring. Blessings on those of you in the fight in the CRC.

  • Claudia Beversluis says:

    Amen Ryan, and thank you. I am praying for your heart, and mine, and all who grieve this deceptive, disgraceful turn in our (for a bit longer) denomination.

  • Marvin Van Wyck says:

    Thank you Ryan. So well said. I have been in this denomination over 80 years. In the past, it has been open and accepting of differing views. Local churches have been able to decide on issues like women in church offices. People with differing opinions over the old just-war theory were accepted. I have always thought that being Reformed meant being able to re-form our positions. I have a difficult time accepting positions that take us backwards. There was this movie in 2022, “Women Talking,” loosely based on a true story, of women in an ultra-conservative Amish/Mennonite type community. Subject to sexual abuse, they were talking about their three choices: “Do nothing, stay and fight, or leave.” I have “stayed and fought” on some of these past issues, but, regretfully, if Synod 2024 does what I anticipate, I think I will be quietly leaving. Peace be with you.

  • Lea Wilkening says:

    Thank you Ryan, I look forward to the book you could write about this experience. Praying for you and your Dad in this season. I have been in the CRCNA for 20 years, came in as an adult, and yet I have been shocked how deep the grief still goes.

  • Dave Buter says:

    I greatly appreciate the candor of this article. The HSR and approving Synods love to use smokescreen words like “welcoming” and “dialogue “. In reality, every step has been part of a very well orchestrated process ultimately designed to purge and purify. I congratulate the architects; they got rid of me.

  • Jim Heuving says:

    though no longer a CRC member in any official way, my blood and bones remain so – this journal being a primary avenue of thoughtful and creative connection. i cherish the crc and its many good things that enriched so many others beyond its own institutions. my family’s move from the crc is mostly due to our (my) naive curiosity of adventure but also to some lesser or greater degree (not sure yet) about our internal incongruence with the tradition that shaped us – too many things just didn’t line up. those personal moves remain entirely beyond my b-grade theology and pastoral practice to comprehend thoroughly, though i have some leading hunches. i lament what I see in the savvy and savage use of synodical actions and process to dismiss the voices of too many like yourself.

    Ryan, your post draws a clear and unfortunate line with honesty and credibility. though i remain mostly outside of the crc, i bear your grief of what is seemingly coming but also bear the fragments of hope that will open a fresh path to what is next.

  • Henry DeMoor says:

    Thanks, Ryan, for your forthright words. I have been at 23 synods in official capacity and some more as an observer. I sincerely believe that synods no longer truly deliberate and search for the leading of the Holy Spirit. Delegates are chosen not so much for their wisdom and grace and love for the denomination, but because they will vote the way the sending body wants them to. Frankly, I think we have been seriously affected by the culture wars of our day. In our bumper-sticker politics fashion, we are either one or the other: affirming or non-affirming, Pro-Choice or Pro-Life as if the extremes of these are the final word rather than intensive exploration and appropriate nuancing. How could you possibly relay your views in an opportunity to speak restricted by synod’s presiding officer to 2-minute limit? The extreme opposition to same-sex marriage is grounded in legalistic thinking. It does not fit the meta-narrative of the Scriptures that presents us with Jesus Christ who always sought out the stranger, the sick, the leper, the sinner and dared to declare that religious leaders were white-washed hypocrites. Frankly, I thought that the 1973 stance of the CRC was fine, but it presupposed pastoral contact between people who struggled and a caring consistory/council who stood by people even if they had strayed. Synod ordered a council to depose a lesbian deacon and the delegates hadn’t ever met her. This is totally unacceptable. It is sad to experience all this. I hope this current synod will mitigate all the grief and sorrow about where we’re headed. I pray for that.

    • John Luth says:

      Thanks Henry,
      I agree with your comments about the culture wars being played out on the church, tattooed on the body of Christ perhaps.

    • Bernard Alberda says:

      Thanks for your wisdom Henry, and for sharing with our Safe Church team a few years ago.
      Will never forget Beth Swagman’s closing statement as our leader, as she was nearly crawling down the floor she proclaimed “they won’t listen”!
      Jesus tried to get their attention by rearranging furniture, and going to the cross.
      Solipsism continues to ooze into all segments of our culture. It is a terminal condition as the love of self prevails.
      We wept with Beth in the parking lot.
      Thanks to all who are hanging on to His First Love!

  • Dennis Holtrop says:

    Amen! And thank you, Ryan, for your tenacity and grace.

    I became an Episcopalian in 2002 but have never stopped loving my family’s church, the CRCNA. My beloved paternal grandmother joined Grandville Avenue CRC upon her arrival in Grand Rapids from Friesland (1908); my maternal great-great-grandfather joined Alpine Avenue CRC when he arrived from Groningen (1890). The CRC is in my DNA.

    I have watched the past few CRC Synods in horror and, yes, grief. A significant consolation is that my dear parents did not live to see this happen to their church.

  • Mary Vincent says:

    Thank you, Ryan and all of those who have left comments. I no longer attend a CRC church, but I continue to watch what’s going on and I am deeply grieved. I will continue to pray for the denomination and for all of us who struggle within it

  • Clarice Kwant says:

    I join all those above who appreciate Ryan’s truth-telling.

    I regret that recent Synodical un Christ-like double talk is destroying the reputation of the college my parents, my son, and my husband and I were once proud to have attended.

  • Paul Graansma says:

    When I learned about the formation of the committee is when I lost faith in the leadership of the denomination and got out. It’s sad what passes for “conversation” at Synod.

  • Stan VerHeul says:

    Thank you, my brother! God bless you for your insight, candor, and courage. And in your decision to walk away from a church that has betrayed you—and us! I am 8+ decades old, over a half century in ministry in the context of the crcna. My ministries and our family’s lives were on its “edge” but I could never (or, by nature try to) avoid the “ecclesiastical” workings. I feel a rant coming on (I’ve had 4 days of canceling this response). Ewww…I wanna share…. But I think we should stay with your brave observation. My years of ministry spanned civil rights…the rise of “Black power”, the 50+ (and unfinished) years of recognizing the gifts/equality/rights of the women in our midst, the horrors of seemingly unending exploitative wars, the realities of systemic racism, and the relentless person/family-destroying denial of the reality of people born same-sex attracted—people gifted by God to the God-community and embraced by the Lord we claim to follow. (Apparently missing from this list…and I know that’s not all we deal with in ecclesiastical matters…is Jesus’ concern about God’s numero uno competitor [mammon/money] or those really vague commandments about idolatry, false witness, and coveting—and maybe the killing that comes from them?). I founded and served for 25 years the Southern California CRC Race Relations Committee, served as moderator with Los Angeles “Days of Dialogue” after the ‘92 uprising, and my congregation joined and allowed me, alongside my pastorate, to train and serve as a community organizer with (Industrial Area Foundation) South Central Organizing Committee. Ryan, I’m not really talking about me; it’s about your concern. I recognize this tactic; I’ve used it—in city commission, in county commission, in state legislatures. All the moral reasonable conversations…all the “we will consider/converse”…does not provide certainty until you nail it into the system. Confessional? Confessional! Who cares what a German guy named Ursinus (or did Olevianus choose that?) meant by “unchastity” 4+ centuries ago. It’s OUR confession, isn’t it. WE say what it means. (And who cares what it meant then, or why?). This is a strategy, not a conversation. Oddly enough, I am still (however estranged from his church,) a follower of Jesus and a scholar of the Scriptures, a reader of theology and, especially, history. One of the things that pains me the most is not simply the dishonesty, but the mere reality. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people have “bathed” this synod in 40 days of prayer; others have planned worship from one day to the next; people are praying in the galleries as volunteers and just because people pray (I do; I hope you do, too).
    And yet…. People are there with their decision not only made, but committed to others to make. Oh, they’ll decide lots of things for “the good of the church”…but one thing they’re committed to (and some don’t even know what they’re doing) is why they were sent. This is enough. I apologize. I testify to the veracity of what you have said, and what so many respondents have said. [a footnote: my own family is now 5 generations harmed by this single selfrighteous “concern” and not one of my siblings, their children or grandchildren is part of a church…nor are my own or my grandchildren)

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