The Soul of Caitlyn Jenner

blog - Jenner 1

(image credit to vanityfair.com)

There was a time long ago, in a land far away, when “private parts” were considered, well … private. But reality TV, social media, and sensationalistic journalism have helped dawn the era of radical transparency. This is a time when a sex tape won’t actually ruin your acting or music career, when explicit tweets won’t derail your political career, and a time when the biggest question surrounding gender reassignment surgery is, “Can we let him/her keep his/her Olympic medals?” In some ways, our society has moved from a religious view of human sexuality (i.e. sex is a dirty, necessary evil) to an irreligious view of human sexuality (i.e. sex is merely an appetite to be fed, and flexible enough to be fed in any way we’d like.)

(NOTE: I’m defining “religious” differently here than many would. I’m considering Christianity/the gospel as something entirely different from much organized religion. Additionally, there are many people who label themselves as “Christians” who I believe fit much better in this “religious” camp.)

The world today has shifted to highly value honesty and transparency. On such an occasion, your core beliefs rise to the surface and become obvious to all. So, for Christians, stories like that of Caitlyn Jenner are good opportunities to measure what kind of evangelical balance, if any, actually lives in our hearts.

While I’ve heard a lot thus far about Jenner’s physical changes, as well as some knee jerk reactions about how wonderful or disgusting they are, I haven’t read a ton about Jenner’s soul. So that’s where we’ll go today.

I’ve used the “trispectival analysis” tool before for diagnosing cultural issues. As a reminder, here’s a quick summary of how it works:

religious person sees morality as purely black and white, believes there are good people and bad people, and while he acknowledges God as the ultimate authority, he believes that because of his good behavior he is more deserving of God’s blessing than the “bad” people. Religion is perhaps best characterized by self-righteousness. The way our current political system is set up, religious people tend to lean right and emphasize truth at the expense of love.

An irreligious person sees morality as relative, believes people are born basically good but sometimes hurt others or themselves when put in bad circumstances, and acknowledges no higher authority than man. Irreligion is perhaps best characterized by self-indulgence. The way our current political system is set up, irreligious people tend to lean left and emphasize love at the expense of truth.

gospel-thinking person understands the black and white of morality but recognizes there is a shaded spectrum of motives, believes we are inherently born broken and powerless to put ourselves back together, and acknowledges Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior. Gospel-thinkers are perhaps best characterized by humility about self and confidence in Christ. Gospel-thinkers are careful not to over-identify politically, understanding that no party perfectly holds biblical reality, and they work hard to hold truth and love as inseparable, non-expendable ingredients for mankind’s flourishing.

With that said…

The Religious Viewpoint – Bruce Jenner is a wacko.

It’s very easy to take cheap shots. It’s easy to say stuff like, “Yeah, after living with the Kardashian girls for 20 years, my only surprise is how long it took Bruce to say he’s no longer interested in women.” In other words, to identify some undesirable traits about some obviously godless people is not difficult, not particularly creative, and for people seeking to shine the light of Christ in the world, not helpful.

But this is a good chunk of our society’s reaction to Jenner and his celebrity family. The Daily Caller didn’t hesitate to take some shots. The Blaze’s frequent op-ed contributor, and someone who is somehow now the apparent poster boy for conservative Christians, Matt Walsh, unsurprisingly shared his thoughts too. In one breath, Walsh says things like, “few share my love or concern for him (Jenner)” and “I pray for him.” But the very next moment he uses expressions in his article like “a culture of narcissistic imbeciles” and “You know, if I want to be preached at by humorless progressive gasbags, I don’t need the worldwide leader in sports.” and “I’m told that white people appropriate black culture when they listen to Nikki Minaj or wear flat brimmed hats. I’m not sure that such offenses constitute cultural theft as much as they indicate possible brain damage…”. 

We’ve got a real problem if THAT is the Christian side of this issue, a side that I cannot comprehend the Jesus of the Gospels ever sitting on. In fact, as I recall, without being dismissive of sin, Jesus ate with sinners, who, so far as we can tell in the ancient world, in all likelihood did consist of the sexually confused, sexually damaged, and even perhaps sexually reassigned.

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Matt. 9:10-11; see also Matt. 21:31-32 to understand that “sinners” is often used synonymously with sexual deviancy)

If Matt Walsh actually has the desire to share the love of Christ with someone like Jenner, he forfeited any opportunity by calling people he disagreed with “disgusting, brain-damaged imbeciles and gasbags.” For that matter, I’m not sure he has any of this actual “love of Christ” thing to share. His militant morality makes him a better candidate to be the voice of the Islamic State, not Christianity.

As many well-intentioned religious people do, Walsh has so many right things to say, but he says them in such a way that he registers as nothing more than the personification of a “resounding gong” (1 Cor. 13:1), a heartless noise-maker.

Christians aren’t heartless.

The Irreligious Viewpoint – Caitlyn Jenner is just being true to herself.

Since western culture today as a whole, especially the average young adult, tends to lean left, most of the reception for Caitlyn Jenner has been overwhelmingly positive. Many have commented on how great she looks in her photo shoot (as though that has something to do with the issue itself being right or wrong). Even more have commented on how proud they are of Jenner for being true to herself – doing what she feels is right and matching her outside to her inside.

Even the president chimed in to offer his support …

While such acceptance seems loving, when something is simply not truly beneficial, it’s not that difficult to prove that it’s not, in fact, loving to support it. By the way, even the secular world understands the concept of “intervention” for someone who is doing something personally dangerous though that individual doesn’t objectively see it that way. While there is some research, including Jenner’s own self-assessment, that seems to suggest gender reassignment surgery is psychologically dangerous, I don’t know that we have enough evidence to be conclusive.

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(image credit to people.com)

Fortunately, there’s a much easier way to take down the arguments supporting Jenner’s choices. All I’d ask for is that people apply the “do what feels right inside” argument consistently. So, for all of the women who are supportive of Jenner’s transition because he’s simply being true to what he feels, are you comfortable allowing your husband to also do whatever he feels inside? Shall he get a free pass on his next business trip if he experiences strong feelings for another woman? For the men, what if there was a known child molester coaching at your child’s school? Shall we still let him be true to himself? Do we still not realize that there are legitimate organizations like NAMBLA who exist because of this “you gotta be you” mindset. Using a “true to yourself” logic, you cannot fault the bully or the drug addict or the murderer or the rapist or the adulterer or the pedophile. Granted, we could debate whether Jenner’s actions are “victimless” or not (the argument usually brought up in these sorts of issues), but that doesn’t at all change the question of whether or not our personal feelings and natural impulses should always be rightly followed. The obvious answer is that they should not.

The reality is that a civilization can only exist not when people are encouraged to pursue the wildest fantasies that exist within their broken human nature, but when they are compelled to resist that within them which, from the standpoint of God, is clearly wrong.

While we said the religious viewpoint espouses truth devoid of love, the irreligious viewpoint often touts baseless love – love not grounded in truth, logic, or consistent thought. Christians shouldn’t be mindless, i.e. devoid of sound logic, either.

The Gospel Viewpoint – Jenner is broken by sin but offered grace by Jesus.

Bruce/Caitlyn is a tender, valuable, eternal soul. He/she struggles with sin. He/she needs to repent of those sins (not just this one). And while I’ll offer an encouragement/warning, ultimately he/she will answer to God, so I have no need to bring him/her to justice. I’ll let God do that as I am merely a witness to his grace, not a judge.

There is a point of commonality between Jenner and me. We recognize that something is not right inside of us. We are far from what we were originally created to be. And the more we look in the mirror, the less we like what we see in our natural self. This reality of imperfection is so gut-wrenching that we know we can’t live another day with it as is – so we look for a cure. We (all) self-medicate in vastly different ways, from alcoholism to workaholism, anorexia to plastic surgery, social approval to materialism, but the underlying issue is much the same – something’s wrong and we want to fix it.

Jenner took the drastic step of gender-reassignment, but I’m guessing this will provide a temporary bandage, a quick high, yet will eventually result in deeper despair when the painful realization sets in that the broken piece was not the private parts. The broken piece was actually deeper than skin and more complex than feelings. Jenner has a heart that hasn’t been pressed by the weight of God, touched and healed.

Interestingly, healing sick people is one of God’s clearest ways of showing his goodness. Whether it’s the blind (John 9:1-9), the deaf (Mark 7:31-37), the lame (Matt. 9:1-8), the diseased (Matt. 8:1-4), the demon-possessed (Luke 4:31-37), or the flat out dead (John 11:1-44), Jesus takes it upon himself to cure those who are sick on the inside and out, including you and me.

Therefore, scoffing at Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner as “sick” (i.e. the religious stance) doesn’t help. Neither does calling him “healthy” or “brave” (i.e. the irreligious stance). To be the kind of person that could actually help Jenner, you have to believe that Jenner is, by nature, exactly as sick as you are. And he needs the same cure that you need – a Savior who was broken in order to put your pieces back together, and then says, “Neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11)

Jenner’s actions, by most estimations throughout history would be considered a bit strange, but “This sickness is not unto death” (John 11:4 KJV) The sickness that he’s trying to medicate – the separation from the love of Christ – that, on the other hand, is actually quite deadly.

(image credit to nydailynews.com)

(image credit to nydailynews.com)

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36 thoughts on “The Soul of Caitlyn Jenner

  1. There are those that divide people into 3 categories and those that don’t. The human temptation of technology, nominalism, is perilous for transcendent thinkers — religious thinkers being an example. I highly recommend “Ideas Have Consequences” reviewed here http://bilber99.blogspot.com/2014/11/ideas-have-consequences-by-richard.html

    I’m a tech. The spell of nominalism IS powerful — but if we believe that the essence of man is spirit, not parts, then it’s use on man, especially by those who minister to the spirit, is concerning from a transcendent view.

    If we use Christ as the standard to judge Matt Walsh, did Christ “forfeit his opportunity” or become a “gong” when he called Scribes and Pharisees “a brood of vipers”, “whitewashed tombs”, etc? I’m not a large a Walsh fan ( I like Aaron Rodgers A LOT better! 😉 ) — I just think we as Christians are often better served by a version of the old Reagan 11th commandment “Speak no ill of a fellow Christian” (in public).

    I recently read a column by Dennis Prager that is in my opinion VERY profound on the whole modern Sodom and Gomorrah state of being … and along with the reality of the Resurrection, it strikes me as a strong proof of why Judaism could not have come from man http://bilber99.blogspot.com/2015/05/proof-of-god-inhumanity-of-western.html

    I believe you will find his column puts much of what is in your post in a larger perspective that will speak to spirit vs the intellect, which the “trispectival analysis” (and all dividing tools) are oriented toward.

    • Bill, not sure if you’ve read some of the dialogue in the below comments, but I think there’s a key, seemingly widespread misunderstanding here whenever one brings up Jesus hostile tone in his “brood of vipers” speech. Who was he speaking to? NOT the immoral of society, but the SUPER moral, the Pharisees. Matt Walsh is using that tone with liberals. Jesus was ALWAYS harsher with the self-righteous, religious, church-going Pharisees than he was with the tax collectors and prostitutes. Matt Walsh does exactly the opposite, which suggests he’s offering a different message from the one Christ was bringing.

      Judging by those you’re citing here, I’m guessing you tend to lean politically conservative. I’m certainly not against many conservative causes. But I don’t, for a second, appreciate the holier-than-though condescension that falls from the mouths of many conservative political commentators. It’s a shame, because so much truth is being shared, but it’s not only being lost, it’s actually driving others farther away from the truth.

      As far as “speak no ill of a fellow Christian” … only to a point. On Walsh’s blog, he refers to himself as a “professional sayer of truths” – he also says enough to indicate he considers himself a pretty devout Christian. Finally, he has a massive audience that is potentially being shaped to think that’s what Christians look like. All I’m saying is…I don’t want to be that or be associated with that because that tone does not glorify Jesus. I sincerely believe it drives people away from him. And I think this is one of the single most important issues/distinctions affecting Christianity today.

      • Christ is talking to JEWISH leaders that are taking part in the government of Judea with Romans. He WILL found a Church — on “the rock” of his being the Christ and dying for our sins (as well as Peter if you are Catholic), but that is yet to happen at the time of those verses.

        Today’s dominant religion in the US is Secular Humanism — to the extent someone is making direct claims about how today’s dominant SH “Scribes and Pharisees” are a “brood of vipers” demanding complete fealty to gay “marriage”, abortion, now gender confusion, etc they would strike me as following Christs example. Christ was clear in is condemnation of the religious leaders of the dominant religion of his day — as his followers, we need to be as well.

        Matt Walsh is a contemporary Christian commentator that happens to have a popular blog. It seems rather a stretch to attempt to paint a blogger or “conservatives” with Scribes and Pharisees — the dominant religion of today is clearly not Christianity nor conservatism in any form. Unless you are hearkening back emotionally to things like “The Moral Majority”, I see no very organized Christian nor “conservative” views in any ascension on social issues — the marriage amendment got shellacked here in MN for example.

        Squabbling with other Christians is covered in the rest of the New Testament — arguments over circumcision, diet, which days are holy, worship on Sunday vs Saturday, which disciple is greatest, etc
        One is of Paul or Apollos, or Matt, or James … one has more “followers”, so they become a target, but ultimately our lack of unity is the most evident to the world — “you shall know they are Christians by their fights, by their fights” …

        I see the most important issue and distinction as always Christ, and him crucified. It was in the early church and still is. We need to be clear and strong on that, but with each other I’d go to Ephesians 4:

        31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
        32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

        Christ was stern with the dominant religious leaders of his day, and I believe would be equally as stern with the leaders of Secular Humanism today. With each other, we are to love. I’d see treatment of Matt Walsh or “conservatives” along with Luke 9:

        49 John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.”

        We who follow Christ are increasingly in a minority counterculture — we are brothers, but we will not always agree perfectly either. Satan and Secular Humanism **IS** our enemy!

        You and I have some differences, but I consider those differences, or differences with other Christians to be very minor compared to the gulf between Christians and our current culture.

        I’m politically “conservative” in the sense of Edmund Burke — religiously, I must be more liberal than you, I’m LCMS 😉

  2. Christian says:

    Judge ye not, lest you be judged. We don’t know what’s in his soul. We don’t know that he has not accepted Jesus as his savior. It’s of course between him and God.

    • Adam Goede says:

      You seem to be implying we cannot and should not “judge” sin, but Galatians 5 makes it clear there are recognizable fruits of faith and acts of the flesh. The Bible calls us to point out sin and encourage one another toward repentance (Matthew 18:15-20). Jesus’ teaching, “do not judge,” means we should not look down on others from a position of self-righteousness because we ourselves are sinners. We should, however, be warning fellow sinners to find salvation in Christ ahead of God’s coming judgment (Hebrews 10:25).

      • Anonymous says:

        Yet there are two different ways to warn others of sin, as was the point of this blog. One way (the religious way) is to condemn people by speaking only truth with no love, calling sinners disgusting. The other way (the gospel way) is to share the truth in LOVE. Have you ever known anyone who is transgender? These people stuggle more emotionally and psychologically than the average person could possibly imagine. Caitlyn Jenner is a person too. She is a human who is struggling. Looking down on someone because they sin in a different way is not helpful to our spiritual life nor is it helpful to the other person’s spiritual life. Jesus died for her sins just as he died for ours. Instead of seeing someone who is sinning and needs rebuking, see someone who needs salvation. They need to hear those gospel words in LOVE. Because if Christians approach situations such as these with a haughty attitude and look down upon them, do you think they will be inclined to listen to the gospel? I surely would not. Speak the TRUTH with LOVE.

      • Adam, you’re still missing a couple important points. No one is suggesting we’re supposed to be okay with sin in the world in general. No one is suggesting we shouldn’t carry out the Great Commission (which, by the way, was stated in positive terms, i.e. “preach the good news”).

        The problem is that #1, you should not expect a life of sanctification from someone who doesn’t have the Spirit of God in them. I’m thankful that Anonymous, Anne, and Paul below all seem to be sharing that same point. It’s the Apostle Paul’s point in 1 Cor. 5, when he says, “But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. What business is it of mine to judge those OUTSIDE the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside.”

        If/When you have godly expectations for the godless, you will #2 forfeit any opportunity to actually minister to them because you will almost invariably slip into self-righteousness. You will resort to childish name-calling, as Walsh has done – “imbeciles” or “gasbags” or his other colorful condemnations.

        The Bible’s take would be that as a redeemed child of God, you’re better than that. The unregenerate individual, however, is not. I understand being angry that someone might thumb their nose at God with their immorality. In due time, God will take care of that. If you try to become the judge yourself, you will repay evil with evil (Rom. 12:17). And you will be of no help to the lost.

      • Adam Goede says:

        Pastor Hein, I agree with everything you said. I hope it was clear that my comment was a response to Christian’s “Judge ye not” comment only (it formats it tabbed in just a bit-but maybe I should have used his name).

    • Christians are called to JUDGE righteously

      The problem is this: God COMMANDS EVERY SINGLE CHRISTIAN to REBUKE, CORRECT AND TEACH ANYONE LIVING IN SIN!!! This isn’t “judging”. There is NOTHING a man or woman can do for a friend that is a greater help, than to REBUKE, CORRECT AND TEACH them when they stray, so they can be put back on the path of righteousness.Correction is not judgment, as the Bible says that we should correct, rebuke and be bold to those who are sinning. It is to be done in an act of caring for them in the hope that they will believe. That way we could contribute to the saving of a soul. If we don’t, we could be responsible for suppressing the truth which could mean eternal death instead of eternal life for that person. “James 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” Hebrews 12:6King James Version (KJV)6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.Proverbs 27:6Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.Jesus and the Apostles were very bold and rebuked and condemned evil. They even openly rebuked people in the church for doing evil, in order to strengthen the church. There were examples when even physical force was used to correct them. In Nehemiah 13:25, Nehemiah cursed, struck and pulled out the hair of the Jews who rebelled by having pagan wives. There were other incidences where he forced people to stop lending money at interest, (Nehemiah 5:10-13) and threatened people for breaking the Sabbath (Nehemiah 13:19-21). Nehemiah forced people to do the right thing. Jesus Also overturned the tables of the moneychangers in the temple (Matthew 21:12-13).Rebuking a sinner, exposing corruption, correcting someone in love or disciplining ones children is not judging wrongfully. If so, Jesus and the Apostles who were our example to follow would have been in error. I believe that the Devil is lying to people to convince them that Biblical correction is judging. Therefore, many believe that it is fine to go on sinning and not obey God by warning others. This is the opposite of the example set by the Apostles. People are more likely to take note and remember strong stirring words. Strong words cause people to repent and not remain lukewarm. Bold ministry can turn people off but they would probably turn away anyway and be considered by God to be lukewarm. Therefore, they probably would have been rejected by God anyway. In the Bible people mostly either turned well away or became committed believers.”1 Timothy 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. Luke 17:3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. 2 Timothy 4:2 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. Titus 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Titus 2:15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” If we don’t warn someone in error to turn from evil, we are partly responsible. “Ezekiel 33:8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.”

      One of the most misused verses in the Bible is, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matt. 7: 1). Every Scripture verse should be read in its context, if we are to properly understand the true meaning. In vs. 2-5 of this same chapter it is evident that v. 1 is referring to hypocritical judgment. A brother who has a beam in his own eye should not be judging the brother who may have a mote in his eye. The lesson is plain, you cannot judge another for his sin if you are guilty of the same sin.

      Those who cling to “Judge not, that ye be not judged, ” to condemn those who expose error should read the entire chapter. Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing… ” (v. 15). How can we know false prophets unless we judge them by the Word of God? If we know the false prophets, how can we fail to exam the sheep of these “ravening wolves?” All through the Bible we find proof that they should be identified and exposed.

      “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit” (vs. 16,17). Did the Lord mean that we could not judge the tree (person), by the fruit of their life and doctrine? Certainly not, for you cannot know without judging. All judgment should be on the basis of Bible teaching, not according to whims or prejudices.

      “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment ” (John 7:24). Here our Lord commands that we are to “judge righteous judgment, ” which is judgment based upon the Word of God. If judgment is made upon any other basis, other than the Word of God, it is a violation of Matt. 7: 1. Webster’s Dictionary says that a judge is “one who declares the law. ” The faithful Christian must discern or judge on the basis of God’s inspired law, the Bible.

      A fornicator is described in I Cor. 5:1-13. Paul “judged” (v.3) the man even though he was absent, and he told the Church at Corinth that they were to “judge” (v. 12) those that were within. The Greek word for “judge” is the same here as in Matt. 7: 1. Paul did not violate “judge not, that ye be not judged, ” in judging the man, nor in instructing the Church to judge also. All of this judgment was according to the Word of God.

      A person who is able to discern between good and evil, has at least one of the major marks of spiritual maturity. “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14). W.E. Vine says of the meaning of discern, “a distinguishing, a clear discrimination, discerning, judging; is translated ‘discerning’ in I Cor. 12: 10 of discerning spirits, judging by evidence whether they are evil or of God. ” Strong also agrees that it means to judge.

      Those who are unwilling or incapable of discerning or judging between good and evil are in this manner revealing either their disobedience or their immaturity.If you truly love your friend , your neighbor the lost and most of all God , you stand firm on the truth and tell those sin the truth so they may be saved .That is true.love.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yet your post says nothing about the gospel. Why would anyone want to do right if they don’t know God? Why would anyone care about their sins if they don’t know God? If Christians approach situations such as these with only the law, their efforts will be in vain. The gospel is a fundamental part of Christianity and should not be forgotten ESPECIALLY in situations such as these. Granted, the law is important because it shows our need for a savior, and I’m not denying the importance of law. But the gospel is equally if not more important. The thief on the cross was saved by the gospel. We are all saved by the gospel.

    • Adam Goede says:

      Maybe I read Christian incorrectly, but my concern is that people seem to use “judge not lest you be judged” to basically say we shouldn’t get involved, we should just go on our merry way, when the Bible tells us we can, in fact, discern sin and that we should warn others about that sin (law) so that they see their need for a Savior–at which point we gladly share the gospel. I know we don’t expect godly living out of unbelievers, but the Bible says law and gospel changes hearts to know and do God’s will. My concern is we don’t look the other way on sin but preach the Word to change hearts.

    • Adam Goede says:

      Maybe I read Christian incorrectly, but my concern is that people seem to use “judge not lest you be judged” to basically say we shouldn’t get involved, we should just go on our merry way, when the Bible tells us we can, in fact, discern sin and that we should warn others about that sin (law) so that they see their need for a Savior–at which point we gladly share the gospel. I know we don’t expect godly living out of unbelievers, but the Bible says law and gospel changes hearts to know and do God’s will. My concern is we don’t look the other way on sin but preach the Word to change hearts.

    • Hey Adam,
      Yep…the formatting on threads like this is goofy enough that I’m not always sure who is responding to whom 🙂 I wasn’t entirely sure if you were responding to me or to “Christian’s” take, but I think my comment still probably applies. And please understand that when I use “you’s” I also don’t usually mean “you” as in the commenter, but usually the ubiquitous “you/someone/all of us.”

      What I’m getting from the replies here is that there are many here who are SUPER sensitive to any moral judgments (which is what I think you were reacting to), while others are saying that as a whole, many self-professed Christians, through their tone and name-calling, seem to be crossing a line of abrasiveness when offering their warnings against sin, and are sometimes perhaps doing so in a way that suggests they don’t understand there would naturally be a different morality expectation for those outside the Church – the point I’m trying to establish.

      In general, I think the comments are lending support to the irreligious/religious/gospel stances I was speaking of in the post.

  3. samantha says:

    I believe you are expressing true compassion with your point of view, and agree that Caitlyn will find this “solution” to be no solution at all, and how tragic that is going to be for her. Hopefully, it will lead her to seek out God and find the peace she’s looking for inside. If she can’t, I think we can guess how her life will end and you capture that in your last sentence. Christians’ condemning this situation will only make it harder for her and other people broken and suffering to find their way to God and salvation, and that’s another tragedy. It must be so hard for some to see Bruce Jenner’s broken parts as being the same as their own broken parts, but it’s the first step, in my opinion, to really spreading God’s word.

  4. Trevor Wolter says:

    The irreligious analysis in this post is lacking key information in order to support of the author’s bias. This also exposes the flaw of the method itself. Self-indulgence is balanced by consideration of God, our world, our neighbors, and our self.

    But more to the point of Caitlyn Jenner, we are so convinced and stuck in the paradigm that the part of her damaged by sin in this case is her brain — so much so that we won’t even consider the possibility that it is in fact her body. We condemn her for living in sin now but maybe now is when she has finally given up her life of lies.

    • Trevor, I’ll be the first to admit that our genderedness goes far beyond our genitals. Furthermore, I’d also admit that it’s possible for sin to ravage the body and distort it from what it’s supposed to be. But the capacity for sin lives in the mind/heart and the objective fact is that from all the physical evidence, Jenner was born as a male. In 1 Cor. 11:13-16, speaking about the roles of men and women, the Apostle Paul gives a logical argument (i.e. “does not the nature of things teach”) that men and women are not supposed to despise their given genderedness. If objectively the evidence points to Jenner being a man, then rather than suggesting he’s just a woman trapped in a man’s body, the more logical conclusion is that Jenner is created as a he and, at least at this point in his life, he just doesn’t like it.

  5. Becky Huebner says:

    I don’t understand how you equate Bruce/Caitlyn’s struggle with a futile decision to heal internal pain. I don’t think we as Christians can know for sure that it isn’t possible for people to truly identify as the opposite sex. I have to believe that persons like this can be devout and saved children of God and still not identify with the sex they were born into. I don’t consider it to be a mistake on God’s part but it may be a struggle these people have a choice about how to handle. Since there is no specific mention in the Bible that you should not attempt to change the sex you were born into I think we cannot be judging these people and especially we shouldn’t be judging them as having no faith because that is not for us to know.

    • Adam Goede says:

      Becky, I would be interested in your response to the Chosen Gen article I posted above, which makes a strong biblical case for why transgenderism would be wrong.

      • Becky Huebner says:

        Adam, I would be interested to know how much knowledge you have of the biological sciences. I am a scientist but still a WELS Christian. I see God’s hand in our biological world and the products of His creation all around us. I also see the problems we face and the imperfections of our world because of our sin. I do not see things as God’s errors but our world has not been perfect since Adam and Eve took those first errant steps.

        What do you make of the people born with genetic errors which assign them to the “incorrect” sex? Are these God’s mistakes? or are these surgically “correctable” problems sinners must deal with?

        There are “women” who have XY chromosomes who were born without or with non-functioning androgen receptors. Their bodies are producing a ton of testosterone yet they developed as partial females. They have a vagina but no uterus. They have breasts and no facial hair. What gender are these people?

        There are babies born with inappropriately tiny penises or as hermaphrodites who are surgically “corrected” at birth to be female. Some of these children are truly XY male and must suffer through life. Genetic errors can and DO happen all around us. You are maybe unaware. How does God want these children of His to live?

        These are things you cannot ignore and I’m not sure you can condemn as sin. Since we are not privy to the biological details and struggles of all transgenders I don’t think we should be casting such a wide net of condemnation.

    • Becky, please read my reply to Trevor above. In 1 Cor. 11 Paul does talk about not despising your genderedness. In Deuteronomy 22:5 God absolutely is against cross-dressing. Perhaps most importantly, in Gen. 1:27 God goes out of his way to suggest that he created humans “male and female.” So the Bible ABSOLUTELY talks about not rejecting your given gender. Since the factual, physical evidence is the clearest evidence we have, someone changing physical sexes would logically then be a violation of God’s clear will.

      I think you’re simply expressing an appropriate amount of sympathy to people who are born into difficult spiritual struggles, ones that tend to be more socially stigmatized than others, especially the “religious” people I mentioned in my post.

      My encouragement to you would be to let clear biblical revelation trump your feelings of “I have to believe.” It sounds a little like you’re viewpoint is being disproportionately guided by the way you think things should be rather than the way God says they are.

      All that said, let me make it clear that a person struggling with gender identity can ABSOLUTELY glorify God by resisting a sinful flesh, pursuing the will of God, and praising Jesus for forgiving the mistakes we’ve made along the way – which is the same way the rest of us also can glorify God.

      • Becky Huebner says:

        Please read my response to Adam. I am not suggesting it is ok for everyone to choose his/her gender at any time for any selfish, sinful reason but I do think that we must acknowledge the flaws in creation since the fall and not cast so large a net of condemnation without being privy to the details. I would hope to not be among those casting stones. We become dangerously self-righteous when we judge others. I think we can use this case to teach but we must be careful.

      • Becky, this is actually a response to your note below, but I have to respond to your comment here because these threads are a nightmare of organization 🙂 I don’t think I disagree with anything you said there – sin has affected the material world in such a way that we want to be sensitive to point out what is volitional vs. chemical/biological, which is difficult, but should still cause us to at least pump the breaks a bit.

        On the other hand, I think we also have to be careful about forming rules based on rare exceptions. Someone born with both sex organs is a scientific anomaly. For that person to have to make a decision about their sexuality (which is sadly often made for them), seems markedly different from someone who has actually procreated many times, as Jenner has. The evidence seems to support him being born a man, who, for numerous reasons, is now choosing to live as a woman.

        I might be able to be convinced otherwise, but I’m almost inclined to say that to compare his situation to someone who actually is born hermaphroditic cheapens unique struggle a bit. In my mind, that’d almost be like comparing a guy in prison who rapes another man for power and sexual release reasons to someone who has wrestled with same sex attraction his/her whole life and calling it all “gay.” One appears more volitional than the next.

  6. Irene says:

    Caitlyn is no more perfect than any of us. However she/he has the right to choose the right path for her/him. It is not our place to condemn. That is for our Lord to decide, on judgement day. As for the Olympic medals. They were earned years ago and have no bearing on what is happening today.

  7. jeff says:

    I don’t think the story is about Bruce Jenner. I think the story is about the media shaming and succeeding in making many Christians today scared to stand up for what we believe in. While I don’t agree with the brash way some conservatives go about making their point…I worry silence is just as bad if not worse.

  8. Anne says:

    Dear Amy, have you not read Paul’s letter to the same people:

    9) I wrote to you in a letter not to associate with sexually immoral people.
    10) Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
    11But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a BROTHER who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.
    12For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?
    13But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.

    Only as directed by the Holy Spirit can we speak in love to those on the outside. Love does not repel.

    • Adam Goede says:

      I did not read Amy’s post to be judging. She makes a case based very solidly in Scripture, identifying her motive as pointing out sin to save the sinner. If we don’t point out sin–that is unloving.

  9. Paul says:

    Matt Walsh is good at speaking the truth. But he isn’t good at speaking the truth in love. Some Christians are simply relieved to hear the truth being spoken–because that is so hard to come by these days–that they love Walsh. But you are right, we need not go into the ditch of being the “religious” segment which errs on the side of truth more than the side of love. We must be both–truth and love.

    Let’s make James Hein’s blog as popular as Matt Walsh’s is 🙂 It would do both the Christian and non-Christian world a lot of good to see such gospel-centered analysis. That is so rare in the world of the “religious” and “irreligious”!

    • Becca Ray says:

      Sadly, shouting people get all the attention and clicks, while at the same time drowning out everyone else. My theory is that Matt Walsh is popular with conservative Christians precisely because he is an Internet firebrand. While what he writes is often true, the way he writes is too often meant to attack rather than to instruct.

      That being said, I don’t think anyone’s pointed out that Martin Luther was a firebrand too — his enemies called him terrible names, and he often replied in kind. (Although, since Matt Walsh is Catholic, I don’t think he’d care to be compared to Martin Luther.) Yet Luther didn’t just denounce his enemies — he taught the true gospel as well, and gospel-thinking people are all better off for it.

      The chief difference, however, is that Matt Walsh is mainly preaching to the choir and justifying hatred of secular people (whether that’s his intention or not), while Luther preached to lost souls and strugglers against their own sinful nature.

  10. jeff says:

    I think wanting to be popular on blogs, reality shows and Twitter is becoming the root of all kinds of evil.

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