For Asian Heritage Month 2021, Klaus Simon Bondoc shares how his discovery of God’s love and acceptance led him on the path toward ministry.
This blog post is part of a series for Asian Heritage Month 2021.
Hey, y’all! Kumusta? My name is Klaus Simon G. Bondoc (he/him), but I go by Simon. I was born in the Philippines, but moved to Calgary when I was seven years old and have been here ever since. My dad didn’t care much for religion, but his side has been Adventist for three generations. My mom is a convert to the Alliance church, where I was also raised. But, growing up, my family belonged to many different churches: Catholic, Pentecostal, Iglesia ni Cristo, Baptist, and Philippine Independent. I learned early on that this Jesus guy was really important and we all just saw him differently.
So, it’s really disappointing that my family can still love each other even though we have different religious affiliations, but when it comes to my queerness, it becomes an issue. To be fair, I can’t fully blame them. Three rounds of colonization and forced systematic religion shaped their opinions on queer people. Before, we were considered holy and sacred. Now, we are marginalized and seen as low-class and deplorable.
I remember the reaction I had when 11-year-old me first found out that I liked boys. It hurts to even think that I told myself, “I have to pray it away.” So, for years, I tried to become the perfect straight Filipino Christian boy. When I got to college, I realized I couldn’t fit into that stereotype. I was mentally exhausted and traumatized from having to fight this battle against myself. But, I remember a sudden voice in my head reciting John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
It was at that moment that I realized that God doesn’t want me to live a life of suffering just because I had to deny being gay. There’s no way! So, I started to open myself up to a new reality. After many uncomfortable but necessary conversations, research, and prayers, I left the Alliance and embarked on this new spiritual journey. The United Church has been a huge part of that journey. Their affirming witness helped me rediscover the God of love and life, who is with me in my healing.
I’m so happy to say that I have been a lot better since I accepted myself for who I am. The people around me have noticed how happy and fulfilled I’ve become. For once, I have something to look forward to in my life, including discerning God’s call to ordained ministry. But, as LGBTQ+, Asian Christians, we have a lot to face: anti-Asian racism, fetishization of queer Asians, bigotry and hate rooted in Christianity, trauma from colonization, internalized homophobia, etc.
So, what I want to share is short – especially for my fellow Gen Zers: Be authentic to yourself first before others. Give yourself space. Give yourself grace. As God has loved you, so we should find love within us and from the people who deserve it.
— Klaus Simon Bondoc was the Outreach Coordinator for YYC Campus Ministries, the presence of The United Church of Canada in Calgary’s post-secondary institutions. He is currently finishing up a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations at the University of Calgary and hopes to pursue ordained ministry within The United Church of Canada.
The views contained within these blogs are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of The United Church of Canada.