Pedophilia; a sexual orientation? And if churches protect molesters, should society overlook pedophilia?

Next Thursday I will lead a discussion in my Sociology of Deviance class. Our prof has given us an extensive list of readings from which to choose, as discussion leaders, out of which we choose two for our class to read and discuss. One of the two I chose addresses whether pedophilia is a sexual orientation, versus a crime. My interest in the topic is self-explanatory. My father was a pedophile. But my interest in this slant to the subject is not so straight forward.

I’ve long taken issue with church protecting pedophiles in the name of forgiveness, and then fretting over how they can protect their children from predators ‘out there’. The same holds true with the prevalence of homosexuality and lesbianism in our Anabaptist culture, and then being all horrified at the ‘sexual perversion’ that exists ‘out there’. Or, as one elderly conservative Anabaptist woman told me a few months ago, they knew ‘back in the day’ that if you missed your period and were not ready for another baby, that you just purchased naturopathic products to cause a miscarriage. But abortion is met with extreme judgement against those ‘out there’. (I understand that some readers will find this shocking and hard to believe, as I did also, at first. Now I have enough stories documented from eight years of working mostly with ‘my people’, and by that I mean conservative Mennonite, not the people of my birth culture – that the shock factor is lost on me.)

Of all of these, pedophilia is the only one that is blatantly and openly ‘protected’ in our culture, by many at the leadership level, as well as lay members. And, I shudder to say this out loud, but in my experience women more actively cover for men than men cover for themselves, many times. Homosexuality/lesbianism, premarital sex and abortion are present aplenty – albeit, with much denial all around – but harshly condemned, whereas pedophilia is openly and actively protected. Yet, not one person in my experience has ever expressed that pedophilia ‘out there’ should be overlooked. In fact, when such news comes to light ‘out there’ all the appropriate gasps escape lips in church.

This double standard ‘because we are sorry, so we must be forgiven and not face consequences’ boggles my mind. I would think that if we are so sorry, truly, deeply sorry, then we would face the consequences with humility. (I also know if I was a sex offender looking to hide, I’d put on some cultural attire and adhere to the strictest rules possible, and look as holy as possible.) It has been my observation that many times when society pushes for a particular agenda – ie; same-sex rights and marriage – that church has already long lived that very thing in some form and hidden it. Same holds true for abortion. It was in church, secretly, long before it was legal at a political level. So who are we to judge?

Pedophilia is no exception. It has not only been present in church for ages, but there’s the blatant protection of those who engage in child molestation. It is only reasonable to expect (and dare I say support) society to legalize it as a sexual orientation, and decriminalize it, if we are already there in how we handle these crimes. So, when this happens, church, spare us all the gasps. At least until first there has been a great repentance across the many denominations in Christendom because we have blood on our hands, and pointing bloody fingers at others is especially shameful. And when that repentance has come, the gasping will cease – because gasping at ‘their sin’ is the work of arrogance, self-righteousness and denial, not the work of love, grace and the Gospel of Jesus, and especially when we begin to acknowledge we have the same sins among us.

So, on Thursday, when I engage a handful of young scholars, I anticipate there will be a stronger stand against pedophilia than what I am accustomed to in my work, as relates to engaging leaders of pedophiles, or their spouses, parents or families. On Thursday I anticipate the class will say even if it is determined to be an orientation, that the person should have to face consequences, and it should still be a crime.

Ironically, in this secular space there seems a much clearer view of the horror and damage done by molestation than I am used to hearing in church …. unless, of course, if we are talking about the man ‘out there’ who, God help him, ‘used’ his children. Or the school teacher ‘out there’ who touched a student. Or the neighbour man/boy from ‘out there’ who so much as makes a flirtatious pass at one of ‘ours’. Or the ungodly man who stalks, kidnaps and rapes one of ours. When it is one of ‘them’ we gasp and weep and ask why. We cannot grasp what wickedness would drive such a person. We acknowledge the horror and the trauma. Our worlds are rocked when ‘one of them’ invade our space and do the very thing that is already happening among us. But when it is one of ours, we don’t believe the victim.

I was around fourteen years old when a young aboriginal boy attempted to rape a girl at knife-point in our community. We were all shaken. He was one of my best friends and had never so much as looked at me in a way that felt inappropriate. In a matter of days he was shipped back to where he came from, leaving our community reeling. I felt both loss of innocence (mostly because of the knife, and thus the violent nature of the crime) and loss of my friend. But no one shipped away the leader’s son who, minus the knife, sexually assaulted some of us to varying degrees. He was successful. It wasn’t an attempt. But he claimed at least one as mutual consent, and took ownership of what he did to me, and life went on as always. It is the most profound example of my youth, of that ‘us and them’ difference, and how in church it just goes away.

There comes a steep price tag with that kind of thing. God says “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). I am convinced that most of what we gasp at ‘out there’, is directly linked to what we hide and overlook among us as God’s people. I am convinced that our repentance and the ‘turning from wickedness’ that moves the hand of God to heal our land is not because we repent for them ‘out there’. He heals our land because we repent for having first wandered away from Him.

Our land needs healing. God’s people need to stop pointing out there and living a double standard, and start repenting in here. If ‘ours’ don’t deserve punishment for molesting children, then I vote that the law criminalizing such behaviour be done away with. The day our expectations of society are higher than that of God’s people, we have absolutely nothing left to offer. And shame on us if that is how we live while proclaiming the name of Jesus.

It’s time to choose which it will be.

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2018

INK SPILLS

INK SPILLS
Red ink
Spills on white paper
Paper thin hearts
Crumpled
Shredded
Cast aside
Crystal tears
Hit the ground
Shatter
Scatter
Left to die
Dying hearts
Bleed
Transparent tears
No one sees
No one cares
No one hears
Silent cries
Not a sound
As words
Bleeding pain
Carved deep
Etching tattoos
On wounded flesh and
Tender souls where
Red ink spills…

They button suits
Suit up in crisp white shirts
They tie their polished shoes
Walking carefully, they step in
Red ink, spilled on their floor…
They point to the noisy bleeding…
New shoes, with red footprints,
Crushing paper thin hearts
Broken
Crumpled hearts
Scattered here and there.
Who made this mess?
We didn’t know
They were there
Those angry
Bitter
Messy
Ones:
“Forgive
Forget
Move on!
You unforgiving souls!”

Aren’t those messy ones
So disruptive?

Have you noticed how good and kind I am?
Just like Jesus.
Do you see my beautiful new shoes?
These are my Gospel shoes
To spread good news.
We better go;
Go save souls
Do things that matter
For Jesus.

It’s such a beautiful day today,
Isn’t it?
The sunrise,
A brilliant red
Isn’t that cloud stunning?
Almost like a crumpled
Paper heart
Bleeding tears.

Have you ever wondered,
Does God cry?

***

God weeps
Crystal tears
Shattered
Scattered on the ground
His heart crumpled, crushed,
Stepped on
Bleeding
Red ink…
His blood
Staining
New shoes
His Love
Beating
Paper
thin
hearts
to life.

His life, His Love, His hope, etched in forever tattoos on my heart.

***

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2018

*They* never cut communication? And what happens to crushed mustard seeds?

Apparently ASAA never cut communication….

I promised that when rumours/questions with faulty information come forward, I will publicly respond. So far I’ve done that. But I need to withdraw that, going forward, after keeping my commitment this final time…

I can say in good conscience that I have never intentionally misled, or told anything less than truth. I have tried to speak only to that for which I hold evidence. When I failed, I owned it.

***

About cutting communication:

Received August 8, 2018, this is the email that I initially interpreted as cut communication, without explanation, or any indication as to why:

Screen Shot 2018-09-08 at 9.35.22 PM

***

About a week later – before I shared with anyone besides Tim, a mentor, two pastors and wives – and before their letter arrived — I received messages saying that Jeremy Sensenig had told several people ASAA cut me off. Only then did I speak out, and I did so publicly, and only then did I call it ‘cutting’ communication… because that is what ‘they’ were saying.

Here are the screenshots of the one of those conversations. It was shocking, to say the least:

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img_5155

 

(Name redacted)

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****

On August 22, 2018: I received the ‘statement’ they promised :

copy ASAA letter_August 22a

(Tim and I both would love and explanation (with or without evidence) as to what ‘personal communication’ I shared, besides the blog about ‘cut communication’ on October 14 – which you will note is the day those text messages came in, making it the third witness that Jeremy was spreading it, and several others were talking about it.)

copy_ASAA letter b.png

They invited me to respond to their letter, but gave no indication that other communication was welcome.

Odd too, how I brought forward concerns, for which I hold the evidence, and they started trying to control me. But, then again, they are a band of Anabaptist men… I am an ex-Mennonite woman.

I did respond:

Screen Shot 2018-09-08 at 10.02.23 PM

 

Until they cut communication (and I feel like I have to remind readers that their board member first called it that), I trusted them. After the letter came, remaining trust shattered. Because of my ongoing trust in them, and at the same time my determination to hold their toes to the fire, I lost most people on both sides, leaving me rather isolated. (Also why I thank God I’m back in school, where encouragement and support and teamwork exist.)

Hearing they now deny that communication was cut is…  well, it just feels like another form of gaslighting…. much like when the message came from their Chair, saying  that I had it all wrong about D’s confession that was orchestrated by a group of men, without any clarification about what the truth was/is. A day later the author admitted he was involved in constructing the confession, and gave an excellent explanation. (Albeit, his advice was disregarded, so he just helped with a bit of the wording). And then a day or two later I heard he had shared at an event that he was part of ‘shutting Trudy down’, and when I confronted him about it, he admitted he may have come across as pleased about it – because he thought I needed to be shut down.

Even after that… I trusted. And I mean, I really trusted. One “I’m sorry”, and I’m back in the race with that person.

I would have been the perfect abuser’s wife. Especially to someone who gaslights. At least until my mind snapped. (Because even now, having posted proof, I question my own mind. For that reason I have to run like hell is after me, or this thing will consume me and destroy more than just me and my faith in God.)

Sadly, if this whole mess had been properly addressed in a timely manner, and with open communication, we wouldn’t be in a position of still having this hanging over our heads, like a tonne of rocks, waiting to crush hundreds, if not thousands of people, in some way.

Ah well…

Maybe God will still redeem … somehow… even if it feels like hell… and I’ve lost most of that faith, and see no good can come from the blood on this ground on which I will die (figuratively)…

***

Only those who have ever pulled the cover off a nest of rattlesnakes and poked – intentionally, or believing it was something else – know the venom they hold…

It all but kills you, that experience.

And that’s if it ends well.

I hope it ends well.

***

Because I promised, I am posting this blog.

But, honest to God, I cannot take any more gaslighting. For the first time in all this hell, I regret speaking out. I am finished. I have lost… too much….

***

Faith, like a mustard seed, Someone once said, is enough. But if that mustard seed gets stomped on by those you trusted… Is a crushed mustard seed still enough?

***

Devastated beyond words…

Signing off…. And closing a door…

But, as always…  And in the only way I know how…

Love,
~ T ~

 

© Trudy Metzger 2018

Mennonite men break-in (update) & a fine poop sandwich

The plot thickens, more like cream gone sour, surprising the coffee drinker with curdles, than like clotted cream, the essential companion to British scones. The latter is delightful and delicious, especially when topped with jelly. The former is unpleasant and disappointing…. the coffee you don’t bother finishing.

To think, when we learned that others knew about the break-in and did the blog on it, that I thought I was ‘closing the door’ on an impossible situation, having given up on any element of acknowledgement or apology for the real victims. I wanted to return to university without this hanging over my head. Now, here we are, with not a shred more hope of that apology, and new information coming forward.

It is unfortunate, the way this most recent story has shaken out… Several people have continued insisting they knew of the break-in, and one spoke out prior to me writing about it, yet no one owns up to having told it. Mystery among mysteries, I say. So that’s the way that part of the story ends. At least for now,. Or maybe for always.

Rather anti-climactic, in my opinion, and left with too many questions, with no hope for a sequel to provide answers. I’m letting that part go, completely, as there is absolutely nothing I can do, or feel I should do.

***

On September 6, I was asked by Steve Stutzman to remove the blog addressing this whole mess about the break-in, because “it in fact contains quite a bit of error, even outside of me”. Tim asked if that means it is true there was an actual break-in, and Steve said it appears there was. My response was that I don’t see how removing the conversation will help, when there is a buried crime (or crimes) here. Breaking into a business is a crime, and even the law has a ‘right way and a wrong way’ to obtain evidence, so asking for a bit of accountability seems justified. And not reporting so that the lawbreakers are dealt with – if the law sees fit – is also a crime. And producing child porn and sex trafficking – if those allegations hold any water –  are both crimes. (Of course one is bad crime, and the other ‘good’ crime, as measured by some.)

So I responded to Steve with some of my questions and said I need some answers about what really happened. I need something to explain this crazy story I was told by the ASAA member… Because it was told to me by a leader who told me to never to speak of it, and now I am left to hold the poop bag, not knowing for sure if it is dinosaur poop or dog pop, or 100% pure angus bull. I think the least that is owed to those of us who were told some version of this scenario is some kind of explanation – reasonable or not – that tells the truth. That’s what I said – in different words, because I know there was more than a little smoke, and convincing me there is/was no fire isn’t going to happen.

To his credit, Steve responded to my questions by sharing what he knows, or thinks he knows. So I decided to do a blog to tell the ‘rest of the story’ that we know to date, as told to us by Steve, and this time we have screenshots of the conversation. (Since we are not able to communicate with the ASAA member, we cannot verify it with him.) Steve was respectful, and responded candidly… And if it turns out these bits are wrong, well… Try to think of it a bit like a ‘play by play’, because, honestly, the silence of the ages has become deafening, and the lumps under the carpet from past incidents that have allowed time to lapse until everyone gives up… those lumps stink to high heaven.

So, in good faith that what Steve shared is true, I am offering this update.

But first some wonderments…

Thinking back to May 27, 2018, what was the point of the ASAA member telling me the story of the break-in in the first place, but not with enough detail for me to report or do anything? No business name. No exact location. Just a story of a small handful of Mennonite men taking the law into their own hands. The story details all enthusiastically told, but being careful not to say who the players were, or where. The men in that car…  the men who went in… full gear and all carefully orchestrated. The alarm, and the crunch time for escaping, so as not to get caught.

It was what he didn’t say, though – especially avoiding names – that left the immediate impression he was involved at the time of the break in, rather than after the fact as it turns out. (It is easy to get lost in a story with multiple characters and no names.)  That missing identifying information in such an intense story, I reckon played a role in convincing me that he was actually involved at the time of the initial crime. That impression was so strong, in fact, that I called my husband after that conversation and told him this guy is no ordinary Mennonite… he was part of a break-in, and said how these guys wanted to retrieve evidence that the business owner was producing child porn and/or involved in sex-trafficking. One of the things that made me realize the role this lack of information would have played, was trying to tell the details to a gentleman in PA this week, who is a truth warrior. I went over all the information I have, walked through it, and for the pieces where I was not allowed to use names, or did not have names, it became very hard to track. So I leave room for that having played a role, and that he did not intentionally lead me to believe he was part of the actual break-in… (However, he did become involved after the fact, according to Steve, and I will get to that).

And then, having heard the story from the ASAA member and shared it with Tim on the phone, I forgot about it… The story didn’t resurface in my memory until August 2018.

(Being completely candid, if I could please, and jumping on a bunny trail to keep a promise… It resurfaced after I read the letter from ASAA, August 22, 2018. Processing the content, my first thought probably was something like, “Nice poop sandwich”, the way they had written nice things and thank you, then went on to make it very clear that I had done things wrong that collided with their good way of doing things. For example, I am too public, but they failed to acknowledge that their board member told a reporter to contact me. So one of my next thoughts was, “You hypocrites!! Judge me for speaking publicly, but one of you directed a reporter to me!

canstockphoto32015016
A woman I met in 2012 said a poop sandwich is when someone starts a letter and ends a letter by saying something nice, and squishes ‘poop’ in between.

Later I thought, “You judge me for doing the right thing the wrong way, but you are involved and covering for a break-in!” And that’s what I’ve thought ever since. I still do. Yes, believe me, when I read that letter, every inconsistent bit floated to the surface. I’ll spare the analogy that comes to mind, but somewhere in there I lost all hope of truth and justice having any place in this story. It doesn’t take four months to get to a place of saying, “BTW, there is no investigation and the ‘outside person’ is not here for that.” And all the while, I genuinely believed it was happening, and defended them out of pure trust. And all the while people warned me, and I encouraged them to have a little faith. To some of you I promised I would admit if I was wrong, and I would do so publicly. I was wrong. The letter did not come through with the assurance that they would do the right thing with the information. In fact, that part wasn’t even addressed in the closing communication. It never has been, other than leading me to believe they were doing something with it. It has taken me weeks since the letter to process that shock, but what many of you predicated would happen, indeed has. I’m sorry I tried talking many of you into trusting the process. I was wrong when I assured you that, based on what they told me, they would respond thoroughly and quickly. And, on that note, the ASAA member told me not to let him/them take over the situation unless I want action, “because I am an action man”. That was May 27. It is September 8 today. Still nothing.)

But back on track…

One big unanswered question, for me, has been, “Just what was the ASAA member’s role in all of this schmozzle?” In part, that question was answered by Steve, who told us what he had learned about the ASAA member’s role.

According to Steve, the ASAA member was brought in after the fact for a purpose that was not disclosed; a purpose Steve said he did not know. Nor was it disclosed by whom that person was brought into the story, or how soon after the incident. However noble the intent may or may not have been, the law was still broken, and crimes still went unreported. The break and enter was not reported. And the suspected trafficking and child porn production was not reported. So God only knows what children have been put at risk since then, all because of illegally obtained photo-shots of the alleged crime scene, and an alleged download of a hard drive were not turned over to the law.

Assuming Steve’s intel is accurate, then there was, in fact, a break-in. And what could he possibly gain from giving me faulty intel in writing so that we have proof he said it? He knows now I will make public whatever needs to be made public to end this abuse of power, and abuse of women and children. It would be particularly foolish in such a high profile mess to speak what is not truth in such a format that it can be produced as hard evidence of its source. That said, I can’t rule it out, but I lean towards believing these details.

The comfort is that no one conjured the information about the break-in out of thin air. (And, believe me, after the gaslighting earlier on, and the cut communication, and some of the other stuff that happened, it can mess with the mind and leave you wondering if the whole thing is just a nasty nightmare.)

Based on what I was personally told, May 27, the break-in did involve at least some Mennonite/Anabaptist men. What business it was has never been disclosed to me, but according to the ASAA member’s account of it on May 27, the business owner accused of having incriminating evidence in his office was also some sort of Mennonite/Anabaptist.

The reason the alleged evidence of the suspected sex trafficking and suspected child porn production was left unreported was because these men went in illegally to get that evidence.

That answers a few questions. And it creates an awful lot of new ones, but I am leaving those for the law to look into. There may, or may not be any more updates as it’s hard to say if ever I will get any more information, or how reliable such information will be, unless the law finds something and acts on it.

It’s a bummer, the way this all came flying down the pipe, and not being able to communicate with ASAA, creating that tough spot of needing to make a call; to be silent or speak out when there is no other way to communicate but publicly, and then find out that a) the story indeed proves to be accurate – or – b) the smoke leads to a fire, and it is accurate info – or – c) the smoke did indeed lead to a fire, but not the fire you thought you had on your hands. It turned out to be the latter. There was a fire, and while it’s similar to the one we thought, there are some aspects that are different, and some that absolutely cannot be proven one way or the other.

In a nutshell, allegedly the ASAA member (according to Steve Stutzman) was asked to get involved, and had knowledge of the break-in after the fact, for an unknown purpose. (We do not know if more than one member of ASAA knew of this incident.) This involvement may have been to ‘help’, but it did not include reporting the break-in or the alleged sex-trafficking/child porn production to the law. (I reiterate, the ‘not reporting’ is according to the ASAA member’s conversation with me, May 27, when I asked if it was reported). There is a legal term for having knowledge of a crime and not reporting it. But in church we call it coverup. In this case I’d be particularly interested in knowing how it was justified, if not to protect those who committed the crime, because the involved leader represents an organization that public states the importance of reporting.

But, frankly, with that said, I am far more concerned about the fact the business owner was not reported, and the proof/evidence – whatever word you want (namely, incriminating photos taken at the scene. If someone has the – whatever it takes – to break into a business to retrieve evidence of a crime, and wants that crime dealt with, then said person better have the integrity and honour to face the consequences for the crime they committed in obtaining that evidence. And if I stand for reporting child abuse, then I better also report suspected sex trafficking and child porn production. Especially if I’m going to judge someone else as “doing the right thing the wrong way”. I am weary of the hypocrisy. And I hope these men will be forthcoming with the law and tell the whole story, the whole truth. There might be consequences, but it would restore a bit of faith in humanity for many of us.

Because if we can’t work with truth, to the best of our knowledge and ability, and be consistent with reporting, rather than selective, and if we don’t have the character to say, “I really blew it and I’m sorry” – and then face the consequences – then what have we got? We have a god-complex deciding who is guilty and who is not, and we certainly don’t believe in reporting.

And that is a good segue to my next thought…

Publicly and privately I have been challenged as to why I would apologize to someone so powerful as Steve Stutzman. The answer is quite simple. Because I was wrong. I don’t need to ponder, debate, negotiate or wonder if that is the right thing. When I am wrong, I own it. If I did not own it, I would be a hypocrite among hypocrites, because from the start the thing I have asked for is that the men involved in this ‘story’ own their wrongs/crime, apologize to the public, and face whatever the consequences might be. I have no right to ask such a thing if I do not first exemplify it. That’s why I apologized. I was wrong, and I try to be consistent and lead by example.

The hardest part in it all was not the oversized serving of humble pie. It was watching as the victims of sexual assault, lewd phone calls, name-calling, gaslighting (not referring to myself), and more  — who, to date, have not been appropriately acknowledged by any of the men involved in this tragic event – suffer through the neglect to address the concerns. Their trauma has not been appropriately acknowledged by the perpetrator of the sexual assault and lewd phone calls, it has not been appropriately acknowledged by Steve, and the further wounding that they went through (in some of the responses) has not been appropriately acknowledged either. Not by any of these men.

The true victims have received no sincere apology for what they have been through, and have suffered anxiety, nightmares, suicidal ideations, and more. They watched as I apologized publicly for passing on information I had in a “they said he said” situation, when they got no apology. There is no justice in that. They watched as leaders became the victims in the story, while they were judged for their anger, and uncomfortable cry for justice.

That, for me is the hardest part. To watch as the real victims in the scenario are, once again — and as tends almost always to happen — overlooked and disregarded. I have read and studied and worked with too many cases to miss the consistent pattern going on here. It makes me ill.

Until that changes, and leaders rise up and apologize to the victims — and dare I add, in a timely manner — and do so on their own behalf for not doing more to protect, and on behalf of the offenders, until then we can kiss change goodbye. Until then we can definitely count on a new and more whitewashed manner of doing the same old thing.

In this holding pattern we continue to idolize leaders without question, build them pedestals and cushion them, while allowing victims to be oppressed, disregarded and judged. Offenders continue to avoid consequences – at least those offenders whom leaders protect. And that is true of those offenders in any criminal activity. And we continue to live as though we are above the law.

I , for one, want no part of it. I will continue to own my wrongs, but I sure as blazes won’t apologize because I make people uncomfortable. We are way past needing comfort. We need raw repentance from the top down. And I’m talking ‘in action’, not lip service. Any one of us can do the latter.

Living it out consistently is a very different thing. And that I have yet to see happen by the truly powerful religious leaders with image to protect.  Just have not yet seen it. And I regret that. In fact, I would dare say it isn’t possible as long as image and power are involved.

On that note,

And as always…

As I close this chapter of life… or maybe the end of ‘this book’… You are in my heart and my prayers…. I care especially about the unacknowledged and true victims in this story, who remain badly neglected. For this, I am very sorry, and I carry that grief with me.

God will bring justice.

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2018

Apology to Steve Stutzman

In my previous blog I posted a statement by Generations Unleashed, in which we responded as an organization to information brought to me regarding a break and enter. My first knowledge of this incident was May 27, 2018, when an ASAA member told me the story at Panera Bread. I told my husband about it later, and soon forgot about it.

Having received a phone call August 28 with information matching what I was told, which allegedly came from Steve Stutzman, I was completely shocked and felt deeply betrayed that the ASAA member did not share this information with me (if the information was, indeed, correct). I had no knowledge of who besides this member was involved. Regrettably, with the history of betrayed trust between Steve and myself, I did not trust asking his word, and with communication cut between us and ASAA, went with what seemed ‘best judgement’. Sadly, ‘best judgement’, and speaking out on information just because the details lined up, was not good judgement enough.

In relation to Steve Stutzman’s involvement, it has become a ‘they say he said’ situation, which we deeply regret. I went in with full confidence that it was accurate, and that Steve would own up to it. In fact, as much as there has been conflict, I wrote just that to the person who informed me and when an officer called me about it, I told him that I think these men will be honourable enough to acknowledge their role. (I also expected there to be an explanation for having done the break and enter to justify it, but that’s another story.) However, Steve maintains having zero involvement in the incident and says he had no knowledge of it. For this reason, I appealed to  Generations Unleashed last night, asking for an apology to be issued to Steve Stutzman. As of this morning, Generations Unleashed has publicly withdrawn all allegations of his involvement in the break and enter, and has released an apology to Steve Stutzman for publicly naming him.

***

I have apologized to Steve Stutzman privately, via text, but owe it to him publicly as well, and I owe it to the public:

Steve, I acknowledge my error in judgement, and my failure to find some way of hearing both your and the ASAA member’s side of the story regarding your alleged involvement in the break and enter. Some way, even with broken trust and cut communication…some way I should have done this… I didn’t. I am deeply sorry for this. I love truth. I despise lies. I love justice. I hate false accusation. I love mercy… mingled with love. While I thought I was dealing with truth, in this case I had no evidence and nothing to substantiate it other than the stories lining up with the story I knew. It was wrong of me to name you. I am sorry for this, and I am sorry for any hurt this caused you, or harm it brought on you. There is an injustice in this, and I’m sorry for that injustice.

***

The individual who spoke to me did indeed get accurate information regarding the break and enter from someone, and because of how it was presented, I do not and did not believe it to be ill-intended but rather a commitment to what he believes is accurate about Steve’s involvement. I believe it was said in good faith that the information is truth. (This became evident again in conversations since last night.) I further do not believe it was an intentional deception to set me up – as some have asked – but a matter of imperfect human memory. (This is a reminder that I *must* stick with my ‘do you have a paper trail, screenshots or other hard evidence‘ way of approaching allegations if I do not have first-hand testimony, as I do with the original story. Anyone who knows me at all, knows I am anal about this evidence, but unfortunately I let down my guard.)

My heart was and is to stand against the evils of abuse, coverups and victim-blaming and shaming. My heart was and is for truth. It was and is for exposing only that which is wrong. And I maintain that many things are and were wrong these past 8 to 12 months. And in the handling of the information that was brought to me, I definitely was wrong. Ignoring it would not have been right either, but this was wrong. What I should have done, and would do next time, is quietly hand it over to law enforcement to investigate and if there was/is a crime, let them deal with it.

What these past few months have accomplished is a crash course on many things. One of those things is the resurfacing of old triggers and traumas. And that simply means I have more healing to do. As mentioned in my previous blog, I plan to start seeing a counsellor in September to work through this, and whatever all it has dredged up. I will heal at a whole new level.

Sitting in the office of one of my doctors today, I shared reactions I’m having to the current heart meds. She shook her head and said those symptoms are not side effects. It’s stress, she told me. Fortunately the nurses had booked an extra long appointment to go over all things heart-related, and all things related to ‘growing up’ (aka transitioning to old girl issues) and such, so she had time. She asked a few questions, and as I shared she got a twinkle in her eye. Before she could say it, I said it for her, “This is what is making my heart ‘rush’ and why I wake up at night having stopped breathing.” She smiled and nodded. I told her I’m glad to go back to school, to focus on research and remove myself from advocating. It’s hard. It’s really hard. And I really am not made for advocating like this. It’s not my gift and it stresses the life out of me. I love public speaking. I love training. But advocating is a trigger for me. A brutal trigger. I’ve never done it so intently before, and I’ve never gone public with a situation before. And now I know how hard it is… and how much it is not for me, but how much I admire those who are able to do so.

In fact, I feel like it has set me back a thousand miles on every front. Like I’ve lost my way among ‘faith people’, and really don’t fit into the church/religion scene. (Even less than before, when I didn’t realize I had anything to lose.) Sure, there’s God. He loves me. He is good. He is kind. He is gracious and patient and tender. Always. But it feels at times like He has gone on an extended vacation and forgot to put His auto-responder on. I know that isn’t a fact, but in the worst of life, when nothing makes sense, it feels that way.

But that’s not all bad. As I tell clients when they share this struggle, one of the best things in the world is knowing that God is present, He is steady, He remains a constant Love in our life, even when things are crazy. He is a straight line that never moves, in the ups and downs of our experience. Knowing that truth is so much more important than feeling it. So much more important.

Another cost has been trust. I’ve been told in the past that I trust too blindly, naively and too easily. Well… no one will need to accuse me of that for a while. So, while it feels like my healing has been harshly disrupted, and my trust in people left dangling on a fraying thread, I will rebuild… or more accurately, I will be rebuilt. (Jeremiah 31). I refuse to surrender to defeat. I will rise again.

If there is one thing I want those who are victimized to know, it is this: You can fall, you can fail, you can crumble, and you can shatter. But you can and will rise again. Always. If you are willing….

Life can knock the wind out of you…

But God…

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2018

Just for fun… Almost-Keto Avocado, Strawberry/Cranberry Smoothie

Never before, in all my life, have I shared a recipe on this blog, that I can recall. (And I think I would remember.) But my doc told me to go Keto… Guess I’m too chubby. Also, my cholesterols have crawled up over the years, while on meds after the heart attack – the worst of which I managed to get off and stay off from 2015 until two weeks ago.

Doc failed to mention that I have to measure and limit berries, so this is only keto-friendly, not true keto. Also, I added protein powder because I like it. It was so pretty, and so delicious, I decided to share it on FB, and now here.

Layer One:
1 whole avocado
1/3 cup unsweetened premium coconut milk (not water)
squeeze of lime… or many squeezes
1/2 cup ice
(I added 1 tbsp protein powder *after* blending to avoid bubbling)

Blend until smooth and pour in cup/dish

Layer Two:
3/4 cup frozen strawberries
1/3 cup frozen cranberries
3/4 cup of remaining coconut milk
3/4 cup water (if needed for desires consistency)
squeeze of lime… or many squeezes
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (if you like it… mostly the taste gets lost)

Blend until smooth. Add 1-2 tbsp. Olive oil and/or any other oils you need/like, and blend again (very briefly)
(I added another 1.5 Tbsp. protein powder)

Pour over avocado layer, and squeeze more lime on top.

If desired, a third layer can be added/substituted, using frozen mango in place of strawberries and cranberries. I am allergic to mango, so not an option for me. I got the idea in Ethiopia in 2005, where they serve this amazing and beautiful layered shakes everywhere.

Delicious!! And such a lovely break from the heaviness of what I typically write about! Enjoy!

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Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2018

UNSPOKEN HOPE

Hope rises.
Silence falls.
Hope shatters.
Her tongue cut out.
Pieces on the floor.
Pieces of her, of him… of me, of them
Strewn here and there

Walking here and there,
People stepping on
Pieces on the floor.
Tall people. strong people. Powerful.
Crushing flesh pieces on the floor.
Flesh, dragging here and there.
Red.
Dry blood on black shoes.

“Only trust Him… Only trust Him… Only trust Him now…
He will save you, He will save you, He will save you now…”

Songs.
Prayers.
Tears
Helpless children.
Raped.
Used.
Cast away.

“Only trust Him… Only trust Him… Only trust Him now…
He will save you, He will save you, He will save you now…”

Children weep.
Wail.
Hell licks their feet.

People walking.
Away.
Where has Jesus gone?
Why do angels weep dry tears?

Trust withers.
Silence falls.
Hope…

Dead.

Religion.

Hell wins.

;

Truth rises,
Tongue cut out
Oh hell be warned!
Death gives birth to unmatched power!
Wordless.
Silent.
Thunder shakes the strongest tower.

No more politics.
No flow’ry speech.
Truth will stand in ruthless silence,
Shouting without sound
Crying from the highest mountain
And all will hear
As, Truth, forced to silent grave,
Rises from the ground.

No white flags.

No powerless surrender.

Silence moves
Stealthy
Wise
Calculated.

Invisible hands,
Wrapped about my throat.
I cannot speak.

But I have my sword.

Truth.

;

Jesus walks into the room.

What will you say now?

Did silence pave His way?

Or was it the voice of those who cried against the norms:

Make a path in the place of death… the wilderness… where nothing of life has ever grown.
Where children’s souls are laid bare by reckless men!
Make way!
Behold! He comes! The Son of God! Make way
!”

He enters.
Holding no regard for rules.
Honouring no politics.
Crying louder for the lost
the wounded
the weak.
Standing silent only to accusation.
Crying out against their sin,
He eats of the forbidden grain.

I eat. 
With no regard for silence.
Breaking all the rules
of polite society.
Hearts are not healed
by
U
N
S
P
O
K
E
N
HOPE.

*************************************************************************************

 

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2018

Another fine mess: FB account reported, and on becoming Dr. Gertruda… or is that Dr. Getruda? And La’wd… La’wd ha’mercy!

Sunday morning a friend contacted me pretty much first thing to ask I was okay. Yes, I was, great, why? He noticed my Facebook had disappeared…

When I signed in, Sunday morning – or more like, attempted to sign in – my account was not there. In it’s place were messages from Facebook ‘police’, asking me questions. I had been reported by one of my ‘friends’ for using a fake name on my account. Could I confirm I was using my real name?

La’wd… La’wd ha’mercy! With friends like that, you got the enemies all covered, right there too. No need for two lists.

It was, in fact, my own name I was using. I had Trudy, but with the title of Exec.Dir.,  as well as the name of an Admin person…..

And it all started when a brilliant idea struck me, recently….

I’ve contemplated how to manage the upcoming 4-year stretch, doing my PhD. I’m excited. I’m nervous. At moments it looks overwhelming. But mostly, I’m excited. The exciting part doesn’t need any explanations. The nervous part, that’s pretty simple too. It’s a challenge, an adventure in learning and experience. I like both. The overwhelming part, that’s so multifaceted I hardly know where to begin. There is home life. Social life. (That, I hear, is no more in the PhD process). There is family. There are friends. There are victims/survivors who are traumatized and reach out via FB. There are those who write to exhort and correct me, via FB. And I do not like to blow anyone off. No matter who you are, you are worthy of acknowledgment, whether you love me or hate me Since June I don’t think I’ve responded to less than 1000 Facebook messages and emails. Probably more. Before that, there were many, albeit not nearly that many in such a short time. And I welcome them and would wish to be able to respond personally and thoroughly to everyone, but at that rate, there is no way I can manage during university.

I had started creating a new forum for staying connected with friends, elsewhere, so that I would be able to deactivate my FB account. While deactivating was not my first preference, the idea of having messages build up for months at a time and never getting caught up overwhelms me. Those who have known me for years, know that in the past I responded to all messages within an hour or two (usually less) unless I was with a client, in a meeting, or away. In recent years that has not been possible. I don’t remember when I last had zero unread messages. So to have them collecting for weeks and months is not a good option. But to shut down an account where so many people message for resources – whether book suggestions, counsellor suggestions, or wondering if I know of any churches where victims are safe – I felt guilty

That’s when the brilliant idea struck me. I could add an administrator to my account. Rose Weber is a trusted friend whom we hired to be available for survivors contacting Generations Unleashed for support, locally, over the next four years.. She could respond to general questions, and forward specific ones to me. It was a perfect solution! Until it wasn’t.

And that moment came shortly after changing the information on my account. About two weeks prior to making the changes, I posted my brilliant idea on Facebook, to give friends a heads up about the upcoming change. No one seemed to have a problem with it. But within a few hours (or less) of changing the name, a friend contacted me, distressed that this ‘stranger’ would have access to all past messages. I responded, saying Rose would only be notified of new messages coming in, and take care of those. As we continued the exchange, I realized that I had not thought it through well enough. With text messages, when you add a new device, only new messages show unless taken from backup. With Messenger that would be different, and there would be no way to control that access. Upon realizing it, I apologized both publicly and privately, and set about letting my FB friends know I had made an error in judgement and not thought things through well enough.

The downside to this whole process was that Facebook wouldn’t let me change my name back for 60 days. I contemplated deactivating for that long, but decided to live with it, feeling a bit ‘Laurel and Hardy’ish, with “another fine mess” I got myself into by not thinking through the implications.

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 2.25.57 PM.png

Things went fine, after that, with friends sending messages, thanking me, and others talking about it publicly. Politely.

But it bothered me every time I saw the name. Only 57 days to go until I can change it… I was counting down.

And then Sunday morning, August 19, happened. My account wasn’t available. Some friend in the shadows was offended, or annoyed, or whatever…

In any case, I immediately set up a new account. It is Trudy Harder Metzger, just like the last one.  {Edit: my old account is back. FB approved my ‘name correction’. If we are not already connected, you are welcome to connect there: Trudy Metzger} However, please be warned in advance that I will not have much time to be messaging, as I start school in September, and Messenger has a way of becoming a time-consuming exchange (which I otherwise enjoy) as the back-and-forth happens, compared to email which is more like letter-writing. So please use info@generationsunleashed.com for the next four years for requests, to share your stories, or when looking for resource recommendations. I am committed to reading all personal messages, though I may have a volunteer assist with responding to resource requests etc.

After starting Generations Unleashed, I decided not to send friend requests anymore, with maybe a dozen or two exceptions in 6 years. The work I do, I figure if people want to read that heavy content, they can send me friend requests. That’s still true. I don’t need a large following, and I rarely send out friend requests. I am happy to interact in meaningful relationships – including those who respectfully challenge me, and even those who hate/despise me, as long as they are don’t resort to being abusive.

But, when it comes to those who are manipulative, underhanded and don’t have the cajones to say to my face what they say behind my back… Ima be honest… I really feel no need to connect with two-faced people. Just not at all. The same goes for those with an agenda to destroy others, or dehumanize them. I hate sexual abuse. I despise the wickedness. I advocate for victims/survivors and will always stand in their corner no matter who I am up against. I will not protect the crime or the criminal. I support criminals facing the consequences for their crimes – at the hands of the law, as well as the social protections that must be put in place. But I will seek redemption of the individual. Every. Single. Time.  Even the worst of offenders needs someone to care for his/her soul, to visit him/her in prison, to hold him/her accountable, to lead him/her to healing and to ensure he/she never again is given opportunity to offend like that again. It is unconscionable to think we should simply forgive and forget, and it is dangerous to presume they won’t reoffend if left floundering without that relational accountability and support. Part of redemption is creating that community where they are accountable and where redemption is valued – which does not always look like redemption to the religious who demand ‘forgetting’ as part of it. That is my heart. Still. If that is a conversation you cannot handle, or engage respectfully in spite of differences, I am probably the wrong person to connect with, and I certainly am the wrong person to align with in ministry.

That all said, if you want to stay connected via FB, and fall in any category except that two-faced, manipulative one, feel free to connect again. (And if you be petty enough to report a friend’s name change that offends you, without a conversation… Well, I’ll leave it at that.)

I value diverse relationships, but also expect I will post infrequently with university starting in a matter of two weeks, and don’t foresee having time for social media much.  I am told the process of doing a PhD is intense, and either makes you or breaks you, so I am preparing for something far more all-consuming than the Masters degree of the past two years. I’ve heard it’s a bit like hibernating. You go underground for weeks at a time, come up for sunshine, air, food and water, and then disappear again. Since my research focus is hopefully going to be about meeting with victims/survivors and others involved in crime among religious groups, I know it won’t be quite that bad, but nonetheless, it will be intense.

And the reward? I emerge on the other side with the title Dr. Gertruda Metzger. One might almost argue it is a punishment, a name like. But that’s my name. At least I thought it was, until I recently looked at my birth certificate only to discover otherwise. I was named in High German – Getruda, and then registered in Spanish, but using the High German spelling rather than the Spanish one of Gertruda, and then spent my whole life being called ‘Trutje’ in German, and ‘Trudy’ in English. I like both Trutje and Trudy. So Dr. Trudy Metzger would have been nice. All these years I have told people I was formally registered as Gertruda Harder, and now I find out ….

As it stands, I will love the next four years of study and search, only to become Dr. Getruda Metzger, but with Dr. Gertruda on the formal documents, because that is how I am registered in Canada.

As if hitting mid-life and starting menopause isn’t enough…

I think I’m going to buy a motorbike and do this midlife thing right. And maybe formally change my name.

On that happy note, I wish you all many blessings!

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger 2018