Bruce Jenner the Person raises some interesting questions about grace. I've learned a lot about grace in the last year. I've learned what it looks like to give grace and to receive it. I've learned the power of grace to change lives. But I freely confess that I don't know how to do grace with an unrepentant person who is thumbing his nose at God and glorying in his sin. And I don't know how to do grace with someone I'll likely never meet.
I do know this, though: His grace was not intended as a place to wipe your feet.*
So I admit it. I don't dwell on Bruce Jenner the Person. It's not that I wish him poorly; it's just that he's not even a blip on my radar screen. I don't know the man. I don't wonder what he's up to today. I don't keep up with his social network. I don't lie awake at night worrying about him. If he were my brother, my neighbor, or my grocery checker, that would be different. But there are 20 degrees of separation here. There is, therefore, little obligation of moral proximity. I will leave that to the believers who do actually know him.
And I'll admit this, too. I'm pretty tired of articles and admonitions telling me I can't speak to the topic unless I am praying for him...Praying for him? I'm praying for my bi-vocational husband, my children, my daughter-in-law, and my granddaughter, my church family, my government, the persecuted church, and a handful of unsaved friends. Bruce Jenner is so far down the list, he's not even on the list. Sorry.
And that precludes me from weighing in on the topic?
I care very much about Bruce Jenner the Proposition.
And that has everything to do with those who do live within my moral proximity: chiefly, my children.
Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.
I Corinthians 14:20
Bruce Jenner the Proposition is about definitions.
Mamas, my concern here is for our children. Part of our job as mother, as educator, as discipler, is to teach our children the vocabulary of Truth. And know this, deep in your bones. If you don't...someone else will.
A tree is not a car.
A dog is not a piano.
A man is not a woman.
Lopping off body parts and pasting on other ones does not alter that in the slightest.
Bruce Jenner is a man.
That is not hateful.
It is fact.
And facts are stubborn things.
Facts are also simple things. You are what your DNA says you are. And your DNA is what God says it is. So someone who rejects his gender is doing much more than rejecting his DNA; he is rejecting God, the architect of DNA. It is a shame that we have to spend more than a moment on this silly, stupid argument. These are facts my six year old can grasp. But we do have to spend time here because our culture insists on intellectual regress. In contrast, our homes should be places which foster delight, not doubt, in God's wisdom as Creator. There is no room in a gospel-saturated home for a creation 'oops.'
Bruce Jenner the Proposition is about legacy.
If Bruce Jenner the person were to die today, I would be sobered, not because it was Bruce Jenner, whom I do not know, but because any time a soul who lived at enmity with God has gone to face his Maker, I have the same two responses:
I am saddened and sobered for his eternity.
I am humbled and grateful for mine--because I know I don't deserve it.
But Bruce Jenner the Proposition is not going to die; it is here to stay until Jesus returns. That is his sad legacy. Even if Bruce becomes a believer (make no mistake; the gospel is big enough to save Bruce Jenner), his legacy will always be linked to this sin. Even if he turns from the Wide Path, there will be countless others who will be influenced. That's what happens when we choose foolishness over wisdom. That's what happens when we let our feet stray, even for a moment, to the right or to the left.
Bruce Jenner's legacy is forcing this issue from dark and twisted corners to glamourous magazine covers. He's normalizing a perversion that has never been normal before. Think about it. Do you remember the night your dad or mom sat you down and explained transgenderism to you? No. You don't. They didn't need to. But we do, thanks to the legacy of Bruce Jenner.
Chiefly, though, Bruce Jenner the Proposition is about bravery.
Jenner works at his perversion like Tim Duncan works at free throws. It's the easiest thing in the world to do. And without the restraining power of the Holy Spirit, we would, too. We love our flesh. It calls to us, and we lean in to it as it beckons over the cliff. That's not brave; that's depraved.
Bravery is doing what is right at the risk of personal cost. Bravery is hard. This man is the darling of the Wide Path. He risks nothing to explore his depravity. But culture stands there in its castle built on sand and calls him "brave."
And, Church, listen up.
Neither is it brave for you and I to curl up into a fetal ball and keep the peace. We are afraid of speaking the Truth because, by definition, the Truth offends. It sets limits. By speaking what Truth is, we necessarily speak what Truth is not. We are afraid of being rejected by friends or co-workers.
We are afraid of being seen as loveless, compassion-less, thoughtless. And we are really, really afraid of standing alone.
We fear the rejection of man more than we value the approbation of God.
On the other hand, it is brave to be true to our Lord.
While it is cowardly to keep peace, it is brave to make peace.
It is brave to defend righteousness.
It is brave to stand alone.
You know what, though? Part of me doesn't want to be brave and doesn't want my kids to be brave.
I don't want them to be scorned, mocked, rejected, disdained.
I don't want them to lose jobs, friends, reputations.
I don't want this to cost me. And I don't want this to cost them.
But then I remember Stephen.
And Paul. And Peter.
I remember John Bunyan.
And William Tyndale.
And Richard Wurmbrand.
I remember our current ambassadors in chains,
like Saeed Abedini.
My cowardice makes a mockery of these men who have, like their Savior, set their faces like flint and taken up their crosses.
Or...would it be better to say that their courage makes a mockery of my cowardice?
And rightfully so.
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. I Peter 2;11
It is tough right now to be a Christian. But it has always been tough. The path has always been narrow. And we have always been aliens. So set your face like flint, and carry your cross.
It's time to be...
All I know is I'm not home yet.
This is not where I belong.
Take this world and give me Jesus.
This is not where I belong.**
*Angry Young Men, Randy Stonehill, 1985
**Where I Belong, Building 429, 2010