“No conversation about us without us.” This was a voice that has consistently been missing from Synod’s debates. Why does that matter? Read Ryan Struyk’s response to Synod 2023:
Less than 72 hours after I came out, an office bearer in the Christian Reformed Church, standing in the church lobby after worship, compared me to a child rapist.
A friend compared a recent date to murder and hasn’t spoken to me again. Days before my 30th birthday, a family member reached out unsolicited to tell me to end my relationship. A former teacher abruptly messaged me years after graduation to accuse me of attacking the church because I’m gay. A church member messaged me on Facebook out of the blue to urge me to pursue conversion therapy. I’ve experienced depression on and off for the last decade, and as recently as this year.
After two decades of Christian education, I still spend some days trying to convince myself of the refrain, “Jesus loves me.” And I am still working to reverse the shame and self-hate that stems from the ultimate message from the institutions that raised me: “You don’t belong.”
I know this is uncomfortable to read. It’s uncomfortable to share. But I tell you this because I want you to hear a real, candid view—not sanitized—of my experience over the last decade as a gay son of the denomination into which I was baptized and raised. . . .