I've always liked Bruce Jenner. When I was a kid he was an Olympic hero. I must admit I questioned his judgment for marrying into the Kardashians.
But I see him as someone who needs wise counsel, loving help, prayer, and while it may sound cliché, Jesus. I'm betting that what he's getting is advice from people with $$ signs in their eyes, who are successfully exploiting him for personal gain.
So here are some points you need to know about Courage,
Sex Change and God:
1) President Obama said Bruce is courageous for sharing his story. He's wrong on two counts.
First, "sharing your story" in this day and age doesn't require courage. In fact, sharing your story (especially if it's out of the norm and sexual in nature) is arguably the most practiced and celebrated thing in our society today. The number of FB (1.44 billion) and Instagram (300 million) users, divulging every bit of their story in (sometimes) horrifying technicolor would testify that courage is not required to share your story.
"Sharing your story" may require (scroll through FB and you'll understand) a) a lack of judgment, b) hope for fame at any cost, c) a narcissistic feeling that your story is the epic the world needs to hear. But in our day the one thing that is most definitely NOT required to "tell your story" is courage. Especially if you tell your story at a time when the media hype will be over-the-top in adoration and Vanity Fair will put you on their cover.
Second, announcing a sex change in 2015 doesn't rise to the level of courage.
Follow me here. First a few definitions of courage:
To Kill a Mockingbird (best book and movie ever), Atticus Finch on courage: "It's knowing your licked before you begin but you begin anyway but you see it through no matter what."
Nelson Mandela: "I learned that courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it."
The Apostle Paul: Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. I Cor. 16:13
Here are some most excellent examples of courage (not a single one was interviewed by Diane Sawyer before their tremendous heroics). I am in awe of and praise God for each:
- The soldiers launching the assault on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. Getting out of perfectly good boats, and running onto a beach under a hail of machine gun fire, all for the purpose of rescuing the world from the most powerful force of evil at that time.
- The 911 first responders. Running to the twin towers as everyone else is running away from them.
- Every fireman in America, every time they go to a fire.
- Every policeman in America, as they go out on the streets to apprehend the worst and most dangerous of society.
Just those four examples are wonderful pictures of courage. And you could add thousands of lesser acts of courage like the student who works four jobs to get through college, the mom who works three jobs to keep her kids in school, the dad who stays in a boring, dead end job to provide for his family and keep it together.
But an announcement that has been PR'ed and marketed to death is not courageous. And to the cynical side of me it seems like it fits right into the publicity for profit ventures of the Kardashians, who seemed to have their genesis from Paris Hilton.
2) You can't change your sex. No one can.
The Bible is really true. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27
DNA determines gender. And it can't be changed. You can pump a body full of hormones, and you can sever organs. But all of that is just window dressing. It's like putting a brick facade on a steel building. It's still a steel building. It just has brick on the outside. And this isn't up for debate. It's simple science.
God really does make a man a man and a woman a women. And no human can change it.
3) The "Sex Change Movement" damages real people who are hurting.
There is no scientific evidence that anyone has been born "a woman trapped in a man's body" or vice versa. None. It's all subjective. There is evidence that people who undergo gender reassignment surgery aren't helped. John Hopkins Hospital quit doing the surgeries in 1979 and see the issue as a mental disorder to be treated. Read more here.
Let me put it in simple terms that help me.
If a man goes to a doctor and says, "I feel like I'm a pirate born in an accountant's body. I'm Hector Barbossa, the one legged pirate from 'Pirates of the Caribbean!'" What doctor would amputate that man's leg? None. Instead the man would be given help to hopefully figure out why he has this false feeling of being a one legged pirate when simple observation proves he's not.
But if a man goes to the doctor and says, "I'm a woman trapped in a man's body," the doctor, who can see like any sane person that the man is a man, says "the way to fix what's wrong here is amputation of the main organ that shows unmistakably that you're a man. That'll fix you right up."
And it doesn't. Because it doesn't change the DNA that is in every single cell of the man's body. And it doesn't because ultimately, just like me and just like you, every false belief about ourselves and the world around us is the result of sin. And Jesus came and said in John 8:32, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."
So pray for Bruce, and the brokenness and sin in our society. Pray not as those who have no hope, but as those who have the great hope of Jesus Christ, and hold out the words of life in kindness and generosity to a lost world.
To learn more read here the story of a man who went through the whole "reassignment" and back again. His story is here.