For God so loved Caitlyn Jenner

I remember Bruce Jenner winning the decathlon in Montreal in 1976 to become “the world’s greatest athlete.”

I remember seeing Bruce Jenner on the Wheaties box.

I never watched a nano-second of a Kardashian episode nor is such on my bucket list. It was a surprise to me that Jenner was married into that tribe.

I have never wondered if I am a woman underneath. When I was a boy I never wondered if I was a girl. I never thought I was a girl. I never felt like a girl. I never wished I could be a girl, or thought I was supposed to be a girl. Any femininity I might otherwise have is in awfully short supply.

I will be perfectly fine if every personal pronoun used to describe me from here to eternity is masculine.

All that to say, I have no idea at all what Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn Jenner, felt while growing up. According to her Wikipedia page all athletic accomplishment was accomplished by her, not him. (Does this disqualify the awards, or the gold medal? I do not know.)

I have not a scintilla of personal identification with a man or woman who so strongly feels they are actually members of the opposite sex that they will undergo a surgical process to become the opposite sex. I don’t know the kind of emptiness a person who believes himself or herself to be the opposite sex must feel.

Is is physical? Emotional? Psychological? Spiritual? A combination, all of the above, or something not mentioned?

I do not know all the answers.

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.

We do not have to understand the situation to love those in it. We do not have to understand why some have gender reassignment surgery to love those who have had it. We do not have approve of abortion to love the woman who had one or love her boyfriend who, under threat of abandonment, coerced the woman into having the procedure. We do not have to approve of greed to love the businessman who made a fortune lying to customers. We do not have to approve of pride to love each other when set ourselves above the rest.

The love of Jesus prohibits me from treating Caitlyn Jenner like the two-headed goat at the Ripley’s Museum.

This follower of Jesus has a strong suspicion there is a fervent, mostly unacknowledged spiritual component in gender confusion cases. If that be right I’m not sure how refusing to call the former Bruce Jenner “Caitlyn” opens any doors of ministry to others who have gone through the surgery themselves. How does insistence on calling Caitlyn by her birth name help me reach Lisa who now goes by “Fred,” or Tom’s kid who remains confused?

Nor do I understand how loudly condemning people expresses love, compassion, or concern. Too many prefer loud to loving; yelling to relating. It is much easier.

Are we who comprise the churches in America so blind to the implications of our own theology that we embrace the total fallenness of humanity, yet cannot recognize The Fall does not reveal itself the same way everywhere, all the time, and in everyone? Will we set ourselves up judge and jury as to who we will love, who we will hate, who we will judge and who we will despise? I do not find scripture is multiple choice on the love issue.

If the love of God is not for Caitlyn Jenner, and Kim Kardashian, and Hillary Clinton, and Jeb Bush, and Darren Wilson, and Mike Brown, and the Apostle Paul, and pagan philosophers, it is for no one. The very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ is no one is good enough to secure God’s love. And “no one” includes me and all those people I think I am better than, so let us stop pretending. Let us remember grace is not primarily a series of salvific propositions, but is the hand that finds us in the miry pit. The hand that becomes coated with grime to set me on a solid rock and establish my ways.

Is some of the disgust aimed at Jenner because some Christians really do consider some sins worse than others? His gender confusion(?) and subsequent surgery into a woman is worse than my lust, deceit, pride, love of this world, lack of generosity, callousness, and the rest of the endless list? Most followers of Jesus would not believe Jenner to be saved; at least she has that excuse going for her. We are quick to say, “You can’t expect lost people to act saved,” until they actually don’t. Then we act as if they should.

I do not know how we demonstrate the love of Jesus to the transgender, gender confused, and gender reassigned among us if we do not begin by trying to understand what they are going through or have been through. Contrary to prevalent response, condemning people at every turn is an ineffective evangelism strategy. Listening and loving works better.

Yes, I’m aware there is an organized contingent who proclaims all such decisions are perfectly normal. Some even claim “God made us this way,” whatever way that is. Others seem discontented until everyone on the planet is acknowledges there is no such thing as immorality at all, thus no room for judgment for any behavior. I cannot stop them, and I will not believe they, rather than principalities and powers, are my enemy.

We have no option but to love those so affected, so afflicted and so decided. There are among the gender confused and the gender reassigned future children of God through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Whatever it is Caitlyn Jenner seeks no amount of surgery, hormones or editing of a Wikipedia page will bring it. Joy comes from the One who made us to find joy in Himself.

For God so loved Caitlyn Jenner. And you. And me.

Follow up: Loving the way Jesus loved

Marty Duren

Just a guy writing some things.

8 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • Tyler

    Why do Christians start from a basis of assumption that being transgender is a sin? I can’t find anything that would unequivocally suggest it is.

  • I only have a few issues with this article. I am hopeful that the author will agree with me and that these points were perhaps assumed. For clarity sake I’d like to mention them.

    Disagreement does
    not demark hatred, nor does agreement demark love. Truth is a
    display of love. Deceit is hateful.

    Some sins are
    punished more severely by God because they are worse. All sin is the
    same in that it separates us from God, but not the same in severity
    or intensity of punishment.

    Yes we listen and
    love, but we also must share the truth in love, or our listening and
    loving is actually hate.Disagreement does
    not demark hatred, nor does agreement demark love. Truth is a
    display of love. Deceit is hateful.

  • ac

    A great article on this from a worship pastor of Caitlyn Jenner’s church:

    http://jcobia.tumblr.com/post/120611530946/i-went-to-church-with-bruce-jenner-and-heres-what

  • sadeci0

    Good perspective. What I have a difficult time with is the progressive/special interest emphasis on convincing everybody, focusing on teenagers and college students, that transgendered people really are victims of nature getting confused and putting a woman in a man’s body, or vice/versa, and that is carried out to the point where taxpayer money is used to fund gender reassignment surgery, even for Federal prisoners (currently in prison). This discourages critical thinking, and promotes the “don’t rock the boat” plus “whatever floats your boat” mentality in a time when almost nobody seems to understand that our access to almost unlimited information at our fingertips should be USED RESPONSIBLY to affect public policy. In other words, we should collect and analyze data, much of which we already have, when making decisions on public policy rather than basing decisions and positions on our emotions and personal preferences.

    This isn’t to challenge your message, which I think is great. But I cannot sit idly by while such deception is being passed off as truth. As you’ve said, there’s a whole lot we do NOT know, so why are people establishing the only acceptable paradigm, and seeking to harm those who dare to suggest alternate paradigms may be worth considering.

  • letjusticerolldown

    I very much agree with spirit of this post. But I struggle.

    A casualty of failing to incarnate the love of Christ is that the prophetic voice is also lost. When our love is small–then any truth asserted is even smaller.

    Are the Kardashians beloved by God? Or is there a worldly spirit named “Kardashian” that seeks to enthrone itself over God?

  • UnlockingTheTruth

    I agree. As Christians, we should not mock. We should love and treat every one with love. However, we are not loving “Caitlyn” Jenner if we do not tell him that he is a sinner (including his transgender but also not limited to that) and is in need of a Savior. This is a fine line to walk, yes! However, it is a line we strive to find. He must know that changing what YHWH created him to be is a continual sin against the Holy Spirit. We must be watchers on the wall . . . if not, we will be guilty of his blood on our hands.

  • What happens when we throw these Biblical insights on Asexuality into the mix…
    Isaiah 56:3-5, God encourages godly eunuchs! Matthew 19:11-12, Jesus describes 3 ways men become eunuchs!

  • Taryn Vest

    No one is perfect, and only God should be the judge of us all.

    Thanks for writing this. It’s a refeshing article on this subject. An eye opener!!!

  • Jeff

    If more people in churches were like you, I wouldn’t have left it. And I’m a straight male who just got tired of churches spending more time condemning and being hypocrites by creating a hierarchy of sin (which conveniently ignored their adultery, divorce, etc). God’s there waiting for so many people but yet too many “believers” are obstacles to him and not helpers.

    • martyduren

      Jeff-
      If you happen to live in the Nashville area, I’d love to grab coffee sometime.

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  • Jean Steinhauer

    Very well written!!

  • Karen Andrews

    Amen, I’m saved by grace and Bruce can also be saved!

  • Jake Steele

    My friend Kira Davis said it best:

    You are not a woman. You will never be a woman. That title is something that is earned. It is not a persona or a skin you can slip into one day when the moment is right. It is not something you think you are and then later mutilate your body to match. What goes into becoming a woman cannot be surgically inserted (or removed for that matter). It cannot be gained in therapy or a lifetime of feeling different or found in the hem of a particularly stunning dress. I think even the most hardcore of feminists would agree it is far more than biological, certainly much deeper than psychological. You will never understand the careful navigation of the world every girl must figure out for herself. You’ll never know what it’s like to be a little girl in a man’s world or what it’s like to watch your body change into that weird in-between stage when all the boys around you are still little boys and you’re turning into a woman without even really wanting it. You’ll never know what it’s like to deal with a monthly cycle, or even what it’s like to be the very rare woman who doesn’t get her monthly but still has to deal with the stigma of being a teenager developing more slowly than her peers. Ovaries are not just anatomy. They play a big part in who we are as women. There are many, many women out there who have had their ovaries removed for various medical reasons. You are not even like them, because those women also deal with the emotional and physical repercussions of being a woman who had ovaries and can no longer let them stay in her body.

  • Jake Steele

    In the last days they will give heed to teachings and beliefs of demons…

  • Kalilady

    I do not hate Bruce. What I hate is that we live in a culture where even something as basic and scientific as our gender is up for debate, and if we call attention to the fact that no manner of hormone therapy or plastic surgery can change our gender at the DNA level, we are now haters. We cannot truly change our gender anymore than we can change our ethnicity. What if a person wanted to identify as an animal? Would
    we consider this person misguided and have the compassion to remind them that
    at their core they are human? How can we ever actually love someone without honesty? What happened to truth? Compassion does not preclude truth. And when we don’t stand for truth, people remain lost.

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  • Leslie

    As a daughter of God and also of an earthly daughter of a Dad who had GRS….I thank you and praise your teaching!!! My Dad entered the Kingdom of Heaven 3 years ago and he would have loved this read…..as its perfect!!!! So many people are quick to judge, but the Bible tells us to love ALL!!! The Bible also tells us that in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we must profess our sins with our mouth, believe in the Lord Jesus AND BE SAVED. What does being saved mean? It means believing in Jesus, that Jesus was born, died on a cross, was buried and rose again!!! If we do this, we will be SAVED and enter the Kingdom of Heaven!!!

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  • Meech204

    Printing this out so that I can remind myself that God’s Will has been in motion for eternity. Not that I always understand but I trust in the Lord with all my heart.

  • e1313ruth

    Christians Loving people is not the problem..The problem is the people that do evil things do not love Jesus…..

    • jennifer

      All people do evil things. Including Christians. That’s all Christians, BTW. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves…” 1 John 1:8 KJV

      The real problem is that “Christians” feel others aren’t good enough to be worthy of Gods love (yet they / we somehow are good enough).

  • e1313ruth

    Reading the following comments make me wonder what planet I am living on….According to some of the comments all the apostles and the Bible and God Himself were dead wrong to tell us what sin is…
    The truth is this, about sexuality and / or gender change …Genesis 1-28, 31…God made males and females in his image and told them to reproduce and said everything He had made was good..Satan changed this entire scenario in Genesis 3..Satan’s version of what is good and what is evil is about like the insanity we have on earth today,,,abortion, godlessness, homosexuality, transvestites, and a host of other sexual sins that some consider good, not evil…No wonder God has allow Obama, and Islam to invade our once peaceful beautiful Godly country…We are in the hour of judgment and many are sleeping or brain dead in America

  • Shirley Moyer Sanders

    I agree, God loves all of us! ALL of us….

  • Alle Ennis

    What exactly is the sin here? Is there a sin in this? What would it be? Is plastic surgery a sin?

  • Ashlynn Anderson

    Hi Marty, as someone who is transgender, although I’m not personally Christian, I’d like to thank you for writing this article. I found this via a friend’s facebook post, and it makes me happy to see that there are such accepting Christians as you still speaking out, when most Christians speaking about transgender issues seem to be of the extremely vocal judgemental kind, unfortunately.

    There are a couple of mistakes in term usage I’d like to point out, though. You can’t really be blamed considering half of the media gets it all wrong too, but I figured I’d let you know before someone else comes and yells at you about it.

    Gender confusion is considered to be rather rude, since it implies to many that the individual is wrong/could be wrong about their gender being different than the one they were “assigned at birth.” “Questioning” or “transgender”, depending on the context, may be a proper word to use to replace “gender confused” and something along the lines of “transgenderism”(?) might be used to replace “gender confusion.” Although, depending on your actual point of view on transgenderism and whether you just accept it or believe it’s a real phenomenon, you might wish to keep it how it is.

    Additionally, it’s considered improper to say someone is “transgendered.” Rather, “transgender person” should be used, as “transgendered” can be considered to calling a gay person “a gay.”

    Thanks,
    Ashlynn

    • martyduren

      Ashlynn-
      Thank you so much for stopping by, and for your comment. I’m especially encouraged that you find the article helpful.

      Thanks also for helping me with the language. I was a little concerned it could be off. I’m glad to know it’s not as bad as it could have been ;^), but I don’t want to be rude or offensive.

      Blessings.

  • mattea

    I agree fully in loving all unconditionally. However, I do not agree nor believe it is loving to call someone what they are not, it is willfully lying and deicetful; especially to young children who have yet to understand this warped world we live in.
    Science says that catlyn will always be a man despite the number of painful extensive surgeries he will undergo. I work in the hospital, I see post operation patients all the time, it is not something I would encourage or wish another to undergo.
    It is heartbreaking to know people have to hurt themselves that way to feel normal. We should always love them by encoraging them to love themselves the way they are. Isnt that a popular phrase” Love yourself”? Love everytbing about yourself. Even your flaws; it would be a beautiful thing if we truly believed it and encouraged it as a society.
    Loving another is wanting the best for them And the best is not to deceive them or help them to deceive themselves by calling him a her. He is beautifully and wonderfuly made and he needs to hear that. If he wants to be called Catlyn than ok but I will not help him deceive himself. And THAT is love.

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  • TimTripod

    “I do not know how we demonstrate the love of Jesus. . . if we do not begin by trying to understand what they are going through or have been through.”
    I’m not sure what biblical basis you have for that sentiment, but as long as you’re not saying we should affirm transgender people in their preferred gender, that sounds fine to me. I absolutely agree that we shouldn’t be mocking people here. But just as I won’t affirm that a skinny anorexic person is overweight even if they are absolutely convinced that they are, I won’t affirm that Bruce/Caitlyn is a woman now — because that is false, and we’re called to speak the truth in love, not just “dialogue” in love.

  • martyduren

    The curse of being one’s own writer, editor and proofreader. ;^)

  • crystal

    Why does it have to be if I don’t call him a her and call him Caitlyn then I automatically don’t love him? I do not have to agree with the choices of every person to be able to love them or have compassion for them. By calling him a her you are in agreement with sin. This is not passing judgement on him I wish him health and happiness however psychologists say Transgender people have a mental illness and the suicide rate is 20% higher amount Transgender people than any other group even after they have has the surgery. Biologically he is a man his DNA does not change therefore to call him a her would actually be a lie. It would be the same as a homosexual person can say they were born this way and agreeing with them as to not rock their boat. Jesus called us to love but you can love and stand up for morality at the same time. You don’t have to be passive and go along because you might hurt someone’s feelings if you tell them the truth. Last time I checked Jesus tipped the tables of the money changers in the temple and threw them out I bet their feelings were hurt but I also bet Jesus loved them the whole time he did it Jesus was bold and he called us to be bold and confident in our faith. And for what I feel like if the millionth time I’ve had to say this when this whole thing piped up 1. I don’t hate him 2. I’m not casting judgement on him in anyway. And 3. I can show him love and compassion without falling all over myself to agree with him.

    • crystal

      Excuse me I just looked at the article again it’s a suicide rate of 20x higher for Transgenders not 20%

  • Syndi Martin

    Just a question for all you bible thumpers; How do you know this is not part of God’s plan, and if so, who are you to challenge it?

  • Linda RoseKain

    Thank you for writing this article, God has used used to convict me of my judgmentalness and thinking more highly of myself than I ought to. I’m taking this to prayer to my heavenly Father.

    • martyduren

      Thx, Linda. Blessings.

  • EyeKahn

    What Marty said …

  • Great attitude Marty, Love is the only answer at the end of the day.

  • Sean Carniello Bockstie

    I think this is such a well written article! My thoughts exactly. Thank you for writing it. I have shared it with my friends and I truly hope this will open discussions everywhere regarding our willingness to accept people. When I was invited to church, I was a thief, alcoholic and adulteress. I was picked up by the pastor and his wife and even allowed to sing on the worship team! Am I that person now? No. I am happily married with two children and am overwhelmed often that God can forgive me for all I have done in my past. We MUST love people first. I was raised in church and part of the reason I left the church is because I always felt I was falling short. I regularly attend church, lead worship and love to serve people. I love to learn God’s word and live the life He planned for me. One of the things that I will never understand is the eagerness of many Christians to point out the”sinners”. To not accept a gay person, a transgender, a child molester, a thief, an adulterer just to name a few. We should be praying that these people come to church. And we are only called to love them. As their relationship with God becomes more of a desire for them, until they feel God’s love and acceptance, will they change their life to be more like Him.

  • Diana Bunch

    Exactly what I would have said if I had the eloquence. Yes, yes and yes.

  • GREGORY GORDON

    “…for the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.” (Jeremiah 31:22) That is the TRUTH

  • Ariel Klay

    My late husband, Tim, was every bit an evangelical/pentecostal Christian who loved Jesus with all his heart. He also struggled with bisexuality, promiscuity, cross-dressing and died of AIDS in 1995. He would weep over the person called Caitlyn and NOT speak words of condemnation. He would also be deeply angered by comments that condemn Caitlyn because he remembered how some in the Christian community condemned him for his sexual sins. He never made excuses for his actions. In fact, he sought help because he was raised a Christian and knew what he was doing was wrong. However, some Christian’s homophobic reactions made it difficult to get help. Eventually he met and married me and eventually was able to “go straight” for good, partly I believe because he knew I accepted Tim the person the way he accepted me. Marty, I’m glad you wrote this because you spoke up not just for Caitlyn, but also Tim and the woman who chose to love him.

  • Joe Blackmon

    So, exactly how is it OK for an employee who is paid via the sacrificial giving of SBC church members to take a position that mock the position of those who pay his salary? If you had an ounce of integrity, youd refuse your paycheck or quit and go work for the CBF. They’d love to have a clown like you on their payroll

  • Peter

    Very nicely done, Mr. Duren. You have totally gotten His message. “Love one another, as I have loved you.” And it’s opposite side, “Judge not, lest ye be judged. In truth, how Bruce/Caitlyn lives life is none of my business. All these “accusers” seem to feel threatened by the choices of others. Perhaps they should take a long look at their own lives and how much they diverge from that of the gospel as lived by Jesus?

  • Lawrence Hill

    I will not refer to person who has a penis and silicone orbs seen into HIS chest as a woman, a female, or she. I will not play along with that delusion. Is it possible most of them are reprobates, and possibly have already sealed their eternal fate. Just asking…

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  • James Brummett

    I’ve shared your post on my Facebook accounts and it is being well
    received from my friends on all sides of the topic. Thanks for giving a
    voice to my own thoughts.

  • This is beautiful. Thank you very much for writing this. It has brought an intense amount of perspective to the way I look at the Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner situation. You remained classy and professional, and you have reminded us to love as Jesus loved. God bless you, sir.

  • Liz Reeves

    Thank you. Very well written! Shared on my Facebook page!

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  • Marcia McGuire

    He’s still Mr. Jenner and can never be a woman. Never gonna’ happen no matter how much he delusions himself. http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/bruce-jenner-is-not-a-woman-he-is-a-sick-and-delusional-man/