Blogging with the Mennonites… again!

written by AMANDA K GROSS

I’ve been in and out of Mennonite spaces for several years, but earlier this year I had a chance to connect with the awesome leadership at Mennonite Women in Leadership and was honored to be invited to share my perspective in a guest blog post.

It was a little overwhelming to have to narrow down some thoughts to 800 words (Okay… it ended up closer to 1,200), but I was pleased by where the process took me. I got to share a little bit about how some of the ruptures from conflict in my early childhood church are being repaired and transformed. I also got to consider how toxic shame is a racialized trauma response for white Mennonites.

Check out the blog post!

2 thoughts on “Blogging with the Mennonites… again!

  1. Amanda, this is a really good piece. You’ve brought historical toxic shame and trauma right up to the present moment in a powerful way. Interesting, I’d never heard the fourth “F” — “fawn” — term, in the responses to conflict and then today I read it both in your post and in another one from a totally different (and not Mennonite) source. Fawning can be so manipulative with a smile — oh yuk! have I seen this in action!!! Thanks for this piece. I hope it was/is well received and engaged with among the Mennonite audience for whom it was written.

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  2. Yay, Amanda! Thank you for engaging and re-engaging with “the Mennonites.” 🙂 I am on my own journey, at times appreciating the positives and at other times getting very frustrated, sad and angry. Especially in the current highly stressed political environment.

    In your blog, I like the parallel between those 4Ds and trauma responses, and that framing for our multigenerational collective Mennonite story… so apt! You squeezed a lot into those carefully chosen words, and even though you used phrases and took on topics that many avoid your writing is honest and personal, which I hope makes it easier for folks to stay with. There is almost a tenderness to the way you refer to the community, a deep love, which is I think critical for those “who have ears to hear” your prophetic witness.

    I will need to explore more of Karine Bell and toxic shame. Her use of the word “perfectionism” in the quote you cited sounds like a very different meaning of that word for me; I always thought of perfectionism as self-criticism, but in that quote it sounds like judgement of others—which can cause a defensive response in them. Or is it a perfectionism for our own in-group, our community, not just ourselves?

    Appreciate that you also demonstrated how to pay attention to, and learn from, our emotions and bodily responses—that instinctual, organic body wisdom. I am still working to unlearn carefully honed “skills” of repressing and hiding my own feelings, both from myself and others. Maybe it’s a self-preservation technique, with roots in some of my own trauma responses. I can only try to imagine what it must be like for a soldier who was trained to neutralize threats instinctively when they come back to society after a few tours of active “duty”.

    Be well, friend. Daryl

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