Why I Write About My Mennonite Culture & My Life Story

Criticism, as addressed in my previous blog about my bold telling of stories from my time in the conservative Mennonite churches, is inevitable.  If it isn’t the criticism about bashing Mennonites,  then there’s the risk of making some churches (or ‘brands’, if you please) look good and others look bad.

This leaves me with a few options: Stop writing. Misrepresent the truth. Or keep writing and take the criticism. I’ll go with option three.

I am also criticized for not speaking the truth in love. Of all the accusations that have come my way, this is the most common. Still, compared to the encouragement I receive, it’s minimal. And, since there is no truth in it, it deserves no defence. I know the love and compassion I have in my heart, and that is the fuel that keeps me writing.  I admit that I’m a fairly direct communicator, which can be misinterpreted by those who would prefer if I softened the blow and downplayed the truth.

The thought of doing so wearies me to the point that I would never get my writing done if I had to write pretentiously, so I will decline to invest great effort in making it less extreme.

When I write, I spill my heart onto the screen, or paper, as the case may be, and not a hint of hatred for my culture resides there. None. I say I am Mennonite with the same confidence and boldness as I’ve ever said it. In fact, more. While I no longer attend a Mennonite church, I am very aware that one doesn’t become a ‘non-Mennonite’ by leaving. I always was… I still am… and will be, to my death, a Mennonite. There is no way to ‘unlearn’ the cultural experiences that shaped me. Nor would I wish to. Not the good, the bad, the beautiful or the ugly. All have contributed to the person I am today, and I embrace the experience and the outcome.



I am the product of the culture I was born into and lived in, refined by God, for His purpose–the exposure of sin, and the redemption and healing of many broken hearts. What’s not to love about that? Sure, the tears exhaust me at times. The pain overwhelms my soul, at times. The accusations, though few, crush my spirit, at times.

But I would do it all again, for even one of the friends I have had the honour of leading to the Father, through Jesus, for healing. (Most of whom continue to do life in conservative Mennonite churches, and are among my most appreciated friendships.)

That healing, that hope, and that redemption of stories, is why I write about my Mennonite culture. It is why I write honestly and acknowledge the shame, the pain and the abuse that still hides in the shadows of an otherwise beautiful culture–because it offers a voice and healing to those trapped, voiceless and oppressed.  For any offence–however unintentional–I cause in the process,  I am confident I will be forgiven, if it needs forgiveness at all.

It is for this same reason that I have written a memoir of my life story, up until age 18, and am currently working with an agent to find the right publisher. To bring hope and redemption to many, not only in the Mennonite culture but Christian culture in general, where abuse lies hidden and voices are silenced, giving the enemy an unfair advantage, and leaving believers sick and dying spiritually. It is unnecessary.

Furthermore, it is one thing for people to pop on here, and read a blog, and judge me as harsh or hateful toward the culture, while not taking time or having time to read nearly 400 blogs just to see what my heart is in it. It is another thing to read a book, beginning to end, and see the horrible truth mixed with love and respect for many in my cultural background, who have shaped me, blessed me, and still have a special place in my heart.

My hope is that, with the release of my life story–and the sequel is already in the making–there will be a better understanding of my passion for Jesus Christ, in the middle of the truth of life experience.  While I know it will stir up more anger towards me, I am also confident that the wonder of Jesus’ love, and the power of the cross, will be magnified and lifted high.

Jesus said, “I, if I be lifted up… will draw all men unto me.” Being lifted up on that cross, 2000 years ago, Jesus  drew men and women of every generation to Himself. And when we lift His name, and raise Him up in our words and deeds, we point others to Him, and He draws them to Himself, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

And that is why I write about my Mennonite culture… Because Jesus is being lifted high, His name is being raised up, and He is drawing many to Himself in the process, and they are finding He is the Saviour, the Healer, the balm in Gilead; a safe place.


© Trudy Metzger

To Donate: Generations Unleashed, and Help Victims of Sexual Abuse in the Church
(Tax Receipts will automatically be issued for all donations over $20)

Return to First Blog: September 2010, “Running on Empty”

Return to first post in Sexual Abuse Series

Return to First Post in Spiritual Abuse Series

Return to the First Post in ‘Abigail’s Story’ Series


Sexual Abuse & Violence: Understanding God’s Original Intent

To understand the abuse of something, we must first understand its intended purpose. The first step in preventing sexual abuse is proper education. While this is not ‘fool proof’, it does serve as somewhat of a protection. As parents it is our responsibility to teach our children healthy sexuality, and healthy sexual self-image.

This is first and foremost rooted in a healthy view of God. If I trust God, I trust His purposes. If I trust His purposes, I respect His original intent and recognize that any deviation from that plan is ultimately destructive in my life. God didn’t create us and then, as an after-thought, slap on a list of ‘do’s and don’ts’ so that He could sit back and be entertained by our struggle. Sometimes we treat Him as though that is how it is.


In the Garden of Eden, God made Adam. Adam was not incomplete as a man. He was whole, in the image of God, nothing lacking. Except human companionship. God could have left him there like that, but God saw that it was not good for mankind to do life alone.

Why? What harm could it or would it have done?

Adam was made in the image of God, but on his own he could not fully reflect God. More than anything else, God is relational, loving and giving, always working for the good of His children, always giving life to others. Without human companionship, Adam would have had no choice but to be introverted, having no one to invest in relationally. And Adam could not have reflected God as Creator and life-giver. To create life requires two humans and One God, again establishing God’s design for relationship and His interest in His Creation.

Just as God breathed life into Adam and Eve, He placed in them the ability to procreate, and have children, just as we are God’s children. This made them parents and, again, they reflected God. To this day we reflect God, or our beliefs about Him. not only in the procreation experience of intimacy and childbirth, but also in the way that we parent.

I have, on occasion, heard teachings that only Adam was created in God’s image, and Eve, as his helper, was merely pulled out of Adam. Almost as an afterthought. But the creation process was not a random series of experiments by God, in a ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-His-pants’ style project. Every step, every move in God’s plan had a purpose, communicating specific messages so that we would understand who He is. To reach in Adam’s chest, and create Eve out of Adam’s rib, was a deliberate act of God, creating a strong bond between them, and it made her no less created in His image. Genesis 1:27  “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Individually we reflect God, and, in a marriage union, as one man and one woman, we reflect God together. Our sexual identity is deeply personal, and intended to be protected, guarded and saved for marriage. In marriage, our sexuality is still deeply personal, but shared vulnerably with our spouse, as a symbol of complete acceptance and unselfish love. It is a level of intimacy that, in an ideal world, is shared only between one husband and one wife. (God knows we don’t have a perfect world. Virginity, celibacy, and monogamy are a rare thing, even in the church.)

Repeatedly the Bible says that a man and a woman are to leave their families and become ‘one flesh’. (Genesis 2:24; Mark 10:8; Matthew 19:6; Ephesians 5:31) It was God’s original intent that we bond sexually with only one person, that we become ‘one flesh’ and nurture that relationship in selfless sacrifice, as a reflection of His faithfulness, His unconditional love for us, and His full acceptance of us.

When we mess with God’s purpose, and pervert the natural (and obvious) plan for us, especially in the area of our sexuality, we mess with our core identity. As image bearers of our Creator God, we misrepresent Him, we defile ourselves, and pay a high price, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically and physically.

This is especially true when this innocence is forcibly taken from us through childhood sexual abuse, exposure to pornography against our will, rape or any other form of sexual violence. There is pain even with wrong personal choices, but it cannot compare to the trauma that goes with these violations.

If there was not such incredible power for good, especially spiritual power, in our sexual identity, then it would not and, indeed, could not have the power for evil and destruction that it has. It would be a neutral experience. Only something with powerful potential for good, has the potential for dynamic evil. Spiritually, one potential cannot exist without the other. The greater the potential for good, the greater the potential for evil. That is part of the curse of the knowledge of good and evil.

Stop and ask yourself this question, “What has caused more damage in our world than sexual perversion?” And, if your answer is ‘murder’, I would add this question, “How often is murder linked to sexual sin?” It is not uncommon for an ex-lover, or a ‘would be’ lover, to commit murder. Granted, many other things can trigger it, but there is a sexual connection in over 90% of male-offender murders. (See Statistics Here) This alone should convince us that there is deeper and more spiritual power in our sexuality, than a physical act. If it has the power to unleash this kind of demonic power, then it has to be spiritual.

Even when murder is not connected to anything sexual, many victims would echo that death seems less traumatic than the thought of being violated to the extreme. These most horrific of sexual violations, no human being should need to live with.

Within the context of marriage between a husband and wife, sexuality is blessed by God, and is a form of worship. When God created man and woman, He said, “It is very good…. Be fruitful and multiply.” When we function within God’s plan, we stand in agreement with Him in saying, “What You created is very good. We honour You as our Creator.” When we honour God, we worship Him, and when we worship Him, we are made whole.

It is little wonder that the church of Jesus Christ is a broken, wounded Body, limping through life, with little of substance to offer the world. If we cannot fight for this most basic area of our God-given identity, by fighting for innocent children who are brutally violated by professing Christians, then we have lost sight of God. If we don’t honour God, in the area of our core identity—in reflecting His image—the consequence is, as described in Romans 1, that God will turn people over to unnatural desires….

Jesus would not stand by and accept our self-preserving shrugs and excuses, as we pretend ‘it doesn’t happen in our church’. He would clean house.

We as the Body of Christ have failed God. We have looked to religion. We have protected image. We have sacrificed our children for our pride. We have played God. And society is a direct reflection of that sin. Romans 1 is in full play and we are not innocent.

May God forgive us, if we will only repent.

2 Chronicles 7:14

New King James Version (NKJV)

14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

© Trudy Metzger 2012

Return to 1st post in Sexual Abuse Series

Stand Up and Fight, One More Time

Tears started, as I read the email a second time. It wasn’t the first time I had received a message like it, nor would it likely be my last. And, while every story is unique and deserves personal attention and response, the reality is that many of our stories are similar in nature. The content was not new, or shocking. But this time it had a different impact on me.

The message was from an out-of-province pastor, writing to share his story. When he was a young teen, he had spent quite a bit of time with a young girl, alone. One thing led to another and he ended up abusing her. Now, as a middle-aged pastor, he struggled with finding peace. He had done all the right things, had confessed, taken ownership, but still it haunted him. Was there more he could do, or should do.

In a Christian world, where silence reigns on the topic of sexual abuse, he had carried this secret for nearly forty years. Other than his wife, and the victim, I was the first person to hear his story, as he searched desperately for freedom from the power the memory had over him.

The message at a time when I felt particularly lonely in ministry, and the magnitude of the battle against sexual abuse and silence hit me. I fell to my knees beside my bed and wept. For a long time I stayed there, in wordless prayer.

When the words finally came, all that spilled out was, “God, I can’t do this alone anymore. I can’t do this alone.” My heart cried out to God for courage, for boldness, for others to stand with me, to fight with me, so I would not feel so alone.

I felt weak. Who am I, that I should fight these demons and monsters, when the church itself, and its leaders hide in shame? My glaring weaknesses stared me in the face, my perceived ones taunted me. Everything in me wanted to run, to close my eyes, to pretend I ‘see no evil, hear no evil, know no evil’. But I know it well, and I’ve proclaimed that awareness publicly. To retreat into pretense was not an option and to abandon the call to ministry, no more so, but the temptation lingered.

Several days went by. The battle continued, as my feelings of inadequacy tormented me. Being results oriented, it takes a lot of patience to ‘take on the world’, one person at a time, and try to make an impact for good. When I lose focus, when I shift from facing the current battle with God, to trying to determine the bigger picture, I can become overwhelmed. When I lose sight of the fact that God has called me, and begin to reach for humans to fill that place, I get lonely when humans are not there, and discouraged because the battle is too big. And that is just what had happened.

It was the first time in many years of hearing people’s stories, or reading them, that I felt completely overwhelmed, and I found myself questioning whether I had it in me… Was this really my purpose, my calling?  In that place of questioning God met me, through a song.

As I searched YouTube for ‘Healing Rain’ by Michael W. Smith, I saw a title I had not previously seen. ‘One More Time’. I opened the link. In the words I felt God speak to my fears, my inadequacies, as He reminded me that it is in believing, it is in faith, that we accomplish His plans and purposes. It is not so important that people agree with me, walk with me, or believe in me. It is critical that I am aware that ‘heaven’ walks beside me, and that I am willing always to give it one more try, even when I feel as though I wander through a spiritual minefield.

“This is what you’re made for, standing in the downpour, knowing that the sun will shine…. one more time…” Michael W. Smith, One More Time

Though time has passed since that battle, I don’t regret having experienced it. I needed to come to that place of feeling like it was only God and I doing ‘hands on’ battle, and that was enough.

While I continue to long for ‘like-minded’ spiritual warriors, who will rise up, and take a stand against abuse of every kind, it is enough for me to know that God has called me, that He is on my side.

That in mind, I begin the difficult task of writing about sexual abuse and violence in Christian cultures, for my upcoming blog posts, knowing that God has called me.

© Trudy Metzger 2012