How should Christians respond to Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner?
Blogos was asked recently if we run articles on every significant current event. The answer is obviously no. We're pretty dependent on what our writers want to write about, and sometimes they don't have the words or the fresh perspective needed to appropriately address a topic. And, then, sometimes other writers do, as is the case on the Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner news.
Right out of the gate, Marty Duren concentrates on love. He had a lot of good points; here are a couple:
What I do know is insulting transgendered people by mocking them does not gain us a hearing for the gospel. Mockery is not a characteristic of Jesus...His next post discusses the question What is the priority? It's so easy to get swept up in the obvious, public sin that we too often forget that identifying sin is the secondary concern; sharing the gospel is the primary:
The love of Jesus prohibits me from treating Caitlyn Jenner like the two-headed goat at the Ripley's Museum.
Is it even necessary for me to address a person's primary sin or public sin for him or her to be saved? Zaccheus indicates no. Jenner is not saved due to unbelief, not due to gender reassignment surgery.Russell Moore gives more of an apologetic discourse on the biblical view of transgenderism, including pointing out that it is related to Gnosticism* — the belief that our spiritual identity is unrelated to and even held back by our physical form. A few good quotes:
First of all, we should avoid the temptation to laugh at these suffering souls. We do not see our transgendered neighbors as freaks to be despised. They feel alienated from their identities as men or women and are seeking a solution to that in self-display or in surgery or in pumping their bodies with the other sex's hormones. In a fallen universe, all of us are alienated, in some way, from who we were designed to be...Jon Bloom of the site desiringGod.org echoes Moore's concern for both Jenner and for those in our closer circles who struggle with gender identification issues. Regarding how we speak about the issue he says:
The answer is to realize that all of us are born alienated from what we were created to be. We don't need to fix what happened in our first birth; we need a new birth altogether.
Growing in our understanding of the nature of transgender and sexual-orientation disorders is necessary so that we don't hold ignorant assumptions and say erroneous and insensitive things to people. And it would be wise for us to anticipate the possibility of discovering someday that our child, grandchild, cousin, nephew, niece, friend, co-worker, or possibly a parent is enduring such a struggle. If that should happen, we want to be safe people for them to talk to...Bloom also gives some background to Jenner's situation, revealing that the issue has been a struggle since childhood. And part of the reason for his athletic success was to prove to himself that he was a man.
And if you do speak something truthful, seek to be an unusually respectful, gracious voice. Jenner is not likely to read your remarks, but maybe someone you know who is guarding a tender, shameful secret will. Speak as you would to a friend.
This is key. How many who immediately disapproved of the Vanity Fair cover did so because Jenner sinned against the God Who gave him his body and gender? For most, it was probably repulsion, and even betrayal. The righteous indignation came a step later, as justification for the disgust. Those who watched the '76 Olympics and saw the Wheaties boxes on the shelf need to admit that they fell into the same lie that he did — the lie of what a "man" really is. That we listened to the culture instead of God and got angry when we realized the emperor has no clothes.**
But any anger or betrayal we feel is on us. We were the ones who fed into a belief that, "yes, this is true masculinity." God just sees Jenner as broken and in desperate need of love, grace and healing. The same way He sees us.
Of course, the culture will not see it this way. Already Jenner is being heralded as a courageous hero. How should we respond when the world tells us our views are hate and not love? Alex Duke says:
We endure the inevitable derision because Jesus is Lord. We endure the frothing accusations of hypocrisy, of having no right to judge someone we don't know, because Jesus is Lord.So the question becomes, How do we best serve as an example of people who have experienced that grace?
We pray also that those who speak ill of or deny the design of God would be ashamed of their slander...We pray for the freedom of repentance...
Yet, because Jesus is Lord, we also pray for Caitlyn Jenner...We pray Caitlyn would experience a true and better metamorphosis, one not wrought by human design or a doctor's hands, but by the Spirit of God, to the praise of his glorious grace.
For more on emotional reactions to the internet in general, see the excerpts of Brant Hansen's book Unoffendable on RelevantMagazine.com.
* See also Andy Crouch's "Sex Without Bodies"
* Or, for kidsthesedays, find that the cake is a lie.
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Controversial-Issues | Current-Issues
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