Companions on the Journey

“We love because He first loved us.” ~1 John 4:19

Well, hello there!  I started this blog to record my experience as a bisexual Mennonite. I’m not yet out of the proverbial closet, having recently “come out” to myself.  But I thought this blog might be a way to work through my thoughts, support other people going through similar things, and perhaps gain some personal support.  So welcome!

To clarify a few terms right off the bat:

  • Mennonites are Anabaptist Christians, who value community, peace and reconciliation, restorative justice, music, (and good food)!
  • As the lovely Robyn Ochs put it, “I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge that I have in myself the potential to be attracted – romantically and/or sexually – to people of more than one sex and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”  Sounds pretty accurate to me!
  • I use the acronym LGBTQ+ to stand for the entire community of individuals whose sexuality and/or gender are not represented by the term heterosexual. This includes LGBPTTQQIIAA+* and any other individuals not specifically listed here.  If I use language that is not inclusive, please let me know, and I will do my best to reword it.  I want this to be a safe space for people of all identities.

Unfortunately, the Mennonite Confession of Faith still defines marriage as “a covenant between one man and one woman for life.”  However, many Mennonites affirm LGBTQ+ relationships, and most of the people at the church I currently attend are nothing but loving towards the LGBTQ+ community.  Mennonite Church Canada and MCUSA are both going through independent processes (e.g. BFC in Canada) to hear all people’s voices and determine their future stances on LGBTQ+ marriage and relationships.  Groups like Pink Menno and Brethren Mennonite Council are taking an active stand for equality and justice.  I pray that change comes in a way that is inclusive, loving, and reconciliatory.  I know many LGBTQ+ individuals, especially those with faith backgrounds, face backlash, abuse, and discrimination far beyond what I can imagine.

I wanted to start this blog because when I first used the word bisexual with regards to my sexuality (almost a month ago!), I found plenty of gay and lesbian Christian voices, many of them Mennonite, but only a handful of Christian bisexuals sharing their stories.  While our struggles of identity are related, they are also very unique, and so I wanted to share my story in the hope of supporting our varied community.

The word bisexual came as a relief for me because, though I knew what the letters in LGBTQ stood for, I had never paused to look with intention at the B.  I had worried from a young age that I might be lesbian.  But I knew I couldn’t be: I was a good person; I was also attracted to guys.  I’m not sure if I was ever taught explicitly that being gay was wrong, but whether it was outright or implicit, I knew my feelings were wrong in the eyes of God.  Even after I came to a place of acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community, I still saw my same-sex attractions as despicable.

A concrete word to identify my feelings came only after twelve years of repressed feelings, denial, guilt, and fear.  I’ve felt so much shame for so long that even now, it is still a crushing force.  A force that prevents me from being honest with those I love; a force that barely allows me to be honest with myself.

My faith has had its ups and downs, but through the doubts and sorrow, it has remained a crucial aspect of my life.  God’s love has at times seemed as close and all-encompassing as the warmest embrace; at other times distant and disconnected as though separated by a cold and calculating chasm.  But He has always been present, even when I have felt abandoned.

The church (and by this I refer to a loving, supportive community, not an assembly of people under a roof) has the potential to be such a powerful force of love to those suffering from internal conflicts and depression.  To encourage people who are experiencing crises of faith.  The church needs to focus on acknowledging, addressing, and accepting the realities of people’s lives and identities before they become hidden sources of shame.  If we cherish all stories, I believe there will be fewer crises and more people simply living as the beautiful, loved, and authentic colours of normal that they are!

I’ll elaborate more in future posts, but thank you for listening to my overview thus far.  If there are any topics or aspects of my journey you’d like me to address, comment below and I’ll try to get to them at a later date.  For now, God’s blessing, peace, and love to you.  Let us walk as companions on this incredible, confusing, and precious journey that is life.

Some useful links:

*LGBPTTQQIIAA+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, intergender, asexual, ally, and beyond.

Title is taken from the song “Companions on the Journey,” by  Carey Landry:

“We are companions on the journey, breaking bread and sharing life; and in the love we bear is the hope we share. For we believe in the love of our God; we believe in the love of our God.”

You can listen to it here.