To those who claim to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, the transformation of Bruce Jenner into Caitlyn Jenner is wrong on so many levels. God knew who each person was from the day he or she was created. If someone was born a man, then they should remain a man. If someone was born a woman, then they should remain so. For the one who follows a literal translation of scripture, the recent events surrounding Jenner and the lauding of him as a hero by the American people is very disturbing. However, maybe Christians are looking at the issue from the wrong perspective.
As a young pastor trying desperately to lead his congregation to follow the guidance of the Bible, I found the whole Jenner hype incredibly irritating. To say the least, I was angry. The publicity, the constant deluge of posts on social media. It was not like I did not have enough else to occupy my mind and time. I had parishioners in the hospital, marriage counseling sessions to hold, staff meetings to conduct, and a sermon to prepare. The last thing I wanted to deal with or think about or answer questions regarding was Jenner. I hurt for my country. I hurt for today’s society. I found myself growing increasingly angry at those who were promoting and pursuing this type of behavior.
Wanting to just take a break, I was offered a proposal to get away and relax that he just could not turn down. My eight-year-old daughter asked him to take her to the local water park. I felt it would be good to get away from the phone, social media, and the news. Even it was for just a few hours, it would be a much needed respite.
The first place my young daughter wanted to go was the wave pool. If the reader is unfamiliar with that, it is simply a very large, olympic sized pool with jet pumps that make for huge waves that the swimmer can ride either on an inner-tube or without any type of flotation device. This place was always full of children of all ages with little adult supervision. This day would not be an exception.
As I struggled to keep up with his daughter floating on her tube, I kept getting bumped into by children who were not paying a bit of attention to where they were going. Many times, I actually got kicked in the side by an overly exuberant adolescent swimmer. At the point that my frustration and impatience level were at an all-time high, I felt someone grab my arm. I looked and saw a young first or second grade boy holding onto my elbow. The boy muttered an apology as I swam on past. I looked away in disgust. After this, however, something made me look back. I saw the boy going underneath the water and struggling to keep above the surface. The young child was drowning.
Immediately, I sprung into action. It only took a few steps forme to grab the young boy and pull him to safety. As I took him back to the red line, I gently admonished him to be careful. The boy thanked me but as he walked away, I heard the child mutter that maybe if he tried swimming at the waves a little differently, he would not drown. I turned around to find the little boy swimming back to the deep end, and it was only a matter of seconds before he was starting to drown again. The lifeguards did not seem to notice so I made his way back to the boy and once again pulled him safely back to the shallow end. This time, however, I was a little more stern. I pointed out how deep the water was in comparison to the boy’s abilities to stay above the surface. I told him to not come back into the deep end under any circumstances. The child not only thanked him again, but this time complied with his wishes.
As I went home that day, I thought about that young man and then found myself thinking again of Jenner. Only this time, I was not annoyed by the thought. I was not the least bit irritated.
Earlier that day, I had heard the local radio station playing a clip of a recent Jenner interview. In the clip, the record-setting athlete remarked how the debut of himself as a woman, whom he called “Caitlyn”, on the cover of a famous magazine would mark the end of Bruce. He said that once the cover was made public, he would have “freedom”. For the first time, I realized that Jenner was not trying to openly defy God. He was not trying to spit in the face of the Creator.
He realized that Bruce Jenner was drowning. He was simply caught up in a web of lies from Satan’s lies that said that what he was feeling was perfectly normal. Lies that convinced him that this was a way he could find himself. Lies that caused him to not recognize that his true identity lay in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jenner simply did not understand how much Jesus loved him. Because of that, he had never really been free to love himself.
The reality is that the world famous athlete is not the only one in the world today who struggles with this identity crisis. There are many around the world who struggle with sexual identity .According to some reports, at least 700,000 people in America deal with this issue. To a Christian, the feeling over this statistic should not be frustration or anger. It should be compassion. A desire to reach out and help pull them out of their web of confusion into the stark clarity of self realization that can only come about when one comes face to face with the person of Jesus Christ. Instead of turning up a nose with an air of condemnation, a hand needs to reached out with an attitude of love. Instead of a feeling of disgust, there needs to be a desire to help pull them safely to the arms of a loving God. Jenner may be the most famous transgender person, but he is not the only one out there.
In no way is this article trying to say that a Christian should ever look the other way when Bruce Jenner or others in his situation come to the limelight, nor is it saying that it should be given a stamp of approval. However,it might not hurt to look at it from a different perspective.
Opinion by Rick Hope
New York Daily News: Caitlyn Jenner revealed as Bruce’s new name in Vanity Fair with stunning photo
Washington Post: 8 critical facts about the state of transgender America
Vanity Fair: Introducing Caitlyn Jenner
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