From the mother of a transgender child
I grew up in the MB church and remain an active member of a local MB congregation. And I am privileged to be the mother of a transgender young adult. Why do I say privileged? Because my child is still alive. He spent years trying to deny who he is – to the lengths of suffering a psychotic break at 15.
Observations from the past eight years:
Being transgender is real – it is not a decision.
Being transgender is hard: accepting who you are, then having to educate everyone around you is hard. People’s reactions can help or hurt ongoing mental health recovery.
My child is made in the image of God; fearfully and wonderfully made. It breaks my heart when people assume a transgender child from a Christian family will be abandoned and rejected. Jesus reached out to people on the fringe of society and loved them. Why do we often more closely resemble Pharisees and the religious establishment of Jesus time?
The best examples of unconditional love have come from my child’s grandmother and other seniors. People who continue to reach out and love my child give me hope.
Grandparents are vitally important: their unconditional love may save a life and it will encourage their children on a difficult road.
I have met amazing people I would never have encountered if this were not my family’s story.
I pray each day that I will not be a stumbling block to my child hearing the voice of God.
My hope is that my family’s story will help transgender children to speak to safe people before suffering a psychotic break, and to let families know they can live well in this situation.
Engaging the churches
Recent MB Herald reports about leadership changes and questionable financial management are disappointing. Yet, we as member churches must own at least some of the responsibility, due to our lack of engagement.
I am dismayed that we have so quickly embraced the corporate leadership model which entrusts leadership to a small circle of professionals who appoint and affirm each other; make major decisions and in some instances allow individuals to operate with very little accountability. To control everything may seem more efficient, but, in the process, it is extinguishing the flames of enthusiasm and creativity of gifted volunteers, who have historically contributed to the growth and health of our churches and conference.
Our national conventions have become less accessible to the average person. The venues and registration fees for these gatherings are unaffordable. The result is that many churches feel no sense of engagement and have little knowledge or commitment to our larger ministry projects.
Church members are oblivious of the many wonderful ministries we do together as a larger body of believers. Unfortunately, many of our pastors never mention anything about upcoming conventions; never give attention to the matter of sending delegates and therefore nothing is reported about decisions or ministries we are a part of.
It is my prayer that our leaders will have a renewed vision of how to do church and conference, in a way that engages the many wonderfully gifted members who also are part of the body of Christ.
Letters to the editor
Mennonite Brethren Herald welcomes your letters of 150–200 words on issues relevant to the Mennonite Brethren church, especially in response to material published in the Herald. Please include name, address and phone number, and keep your letters courteous and about one subject only. We will edit letters for length and clarity. We will not publish letters sent anonymously, although we may withhold names from publication at the request of the letter writer and at our discretion. Publication is subject to space limitations. Letters also appear online. Because the Letters column is a free forum for discussion, it should be understood that letters represent the position of the letter writer, not necessarily the position of the Herald or the Mennonite Brethren church. Send letters to: Letters, MB Herald, 1310 Taylor Avenue, Winnipeg, Man. R3M 3Z6, or by email to email@example.com.