This Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner media circus from a Christian point of view
Disclaimer :- These thoughts are my own and do not represent any of the organizations, churches or bible studies I serve at.
I am sure you will be aware of the media circus that is following the surgical procedure of former Olympian and cast member of the show “Keeping up with the Kardashians” Bruce Jenner. If you are not, then the most “non-emotive” way of talking about what has happened is that he has went through an operation to present himself as a woman and he now wishes the world to know him as “Caitlyn Jenner”.
The part that is difficult for me as a Christian is seeing how other Christians are reacting to this news, I always try to approach (let me say that sometimes I do not manage it) situations in a “bigger picture” situation as if to ask “how is this bringing glory to God?” or “how are we showing ourselves to be followers of Christ?” and i have to say that I am disappointed in some of what I read from folks who profess Christ as their savior.
The basics behind this scenario
Biblically, if we strip away all the outside issues such as words like LBGT, gender confusion and all of that good stuff and strip it down to plain facts as the Christian sees it then we will realize that Bruce/Caitlyn is in the same spiritual place that we were all in at one point (some folks who read this may still be there) that “All have sinned an fallen short of God’s glory”. Let’s look at that first and realize that the primary issue is that Caitlyn (let’s call her that for the purpose of this exercise) can pay people to hack away at her body, change her appearance, have her on magazine covers, display her as a woman but if we do not deal with the soul and the eternal destination of that soul then it is just a sideshow.
Basically they need Jesus! (Do I hear an Amen?)
The error we make as Christians when we comment on these things
Is that we try to apply unequal standards on things of the world, the world is mixed in opinion on the Vanity Fair cover but most pieces I have read have been supportive of the “brave decision” to appear scantily clad in a magazine parading oneself as this new image of oneself.
Christians have been against it but have by in large missed the major point and really missed a good evangelical opportunity, they have gossiped, they have slandered, they have been guilty of name calling and they have used the story to fuel their own agendas. I get why you would feel the need to “Stand up for the cross” but using this story to club as many people with a pharisaical stick really helps no-one and makes evangelism a million times harder.
We have to be careful to not do this, I am not saying condone sin but really (much like me in this scenario) none of us know Bruce Jenner, none of us know the psychological issues he is facing, none of us know the thought process why this happened and none of us know what influence (counselling, pharmaceutical or otherwise) he was under and whether he realizes what doors he is opening to remain in the spotlight.
Is he a woman?
Legally I guess he can call himself one, however scientifically, anatomically and biologically he is not. He certainly is surgically enhanced, he certainly is taking pharmaceuticals to propitiate the lie that he is what he wants to paint him to be, but when is all said and done he will have been born a man and will die a surgically modified man that has presented himself as a woman for however many years he has left.
It’s not a new procedure!
Bruce Jenner is not the first person to have gone through this type of surgery and probably will not be the last, we as a society have become accepting of the right to “play God” and determine who we wish to be. If Bruce Jenner was a plumber from LA who decided to do this there would be no-one commenting pr even caring outside that circle of influence, what makes this newsworthy is that this man is famous for being an Olympian and latterly famous for being involved with a family who is famous for being famous – That is what makes it newsworthy!
And perhaps that is the tragedy, perhaps some people were not made to be followed 24/7, photographed every time they appear in public and gossiped about every time they let their guard down.
How Christians should respond to Bruce/Caitlyn
Bruce needs prayer not condemnation! Pray for him, pray for his happiness and pray for his eternal destination! I fear for a future headline concerning Bruce as I fear this “transformation” will not bring him the peace and happiness that he longs for. This man was depressed as a man, he has been at the top of his game and is a true example of what Paul spoke about when he compared the life of an Olympian to the Christian life…
1st Corinthians 9:24 (ESV) Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
Bruce has run that race literally and I fear for him, depression is the real deal and I do not approach the subject flippantly and despite the reasons or circumstances behind why someone is depressed you have to always be careful that they are looking for a way out and in the most extreme cases the “way out” may be terminal.
And that is why Bruce needs our prayers as anyone can smile for a photo-shoot but if there are “tears behind the mask” then we need to intercede on his behalf regardless of your views on his life choices.
Pray without ceasing
This may be an application for some of us in that we need to evaluate in our prayer life whether we only pray for people that we like or do we pray for those who hate and despise us. I have found that praying for those (especially the ones who are Christians) that despise and have rejected me then I find myself in a far better disposition towards them. Scripture tells me that i am heaping coals on their head, that is not my desire, I just wish for them to be civil to me.
I have no idea what Bruce thinks of Christians (if he even does) but even if he does hate us, that is all the more reason to keep him in prayer. I once went to a prayer meeting and I mentioned praying for a celebrity that was messing up their life in the public view and I heard a tut of disapproval from someone I respected and it saddens me because these people are in need of God’s grace as anyone and regardless of our status on this earth if they do not choose to follow Jesus then they will not be with him in paradise.
That is a prayer point if ever there was one!
Please do not think I am bashing Christians but people really need to pray before they start to comment on things with huge wide brushes of condemnation. These people are in the world, they do not adhere to the bible and they do not hold the same standards as the bible. Attempting to bring them up to biblical standards in a way that condemns, in a gossip like way which is not helpful and often times will not show them God’s love, grace and mercy. I fear that it will have the opposite effect and give them an excuse to brand Christians as “unloving” and “judgmental” and really my MO is to bring people to Jesus so that is the last thing I want to do. It is a thousand times harder to evangelize someone who has been recently “burned” by Christians.
I pray this was a blessing, a challenge and an exhortation, I know some of this will not go down well and should you wish to comment below then please do. Also please feel free to share, like or comment as the LORD leads you to.