Posted on May 11, 2015 | 10 comments


Bruce Jenner sat down with Diane Sawyer a couple Fridays ago and opened up about his struggle of sexual identity. He has felt an alignment with being a female and used this interview with Sawyer to announce that he was involved in the process of transitioning to being female.

Translated – hormones and surgery.

Here is the question that I longed for Diane Sawyer to ask: “what if it doesn’t work?”

What if changing the outside does not change the conflict and battle that you feel within?

As I wrote a few years ago about Chaz Bono (see the post here), whatever is broken before surgery will be broken after.

Whatever is broken in you while you are single will still be broken after you’re married.

Whatever is broken when you are sober will still be broken when you’re drunk.

Whatever is broken in you before serving the poor will still be broken after.

Whatever is broken in you before the affirmation on your latest sexy selfie will still be broken after.

Whatever is broken in you when you earn $35,000 a year will still be broken when you make $75,000.

Bruce Jenner, like our attempts,  is trying to fix a soul problem with hormones and a scalpel.

There is only one cure for the brokenness that we experience as this world and its systems and disappointments gang up on us. The truth of Christ, and its answers to our lies, is our covering.

After they pursued wholeness apart from God and ate the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve covered themselves. No longer did they trust. They felt insecure. They wondered if the other would accept them.

So each covered their self.

Although it is much more drastic, that is what Bruce Jenner is proposing for his self, and it is being called transitioning.

All of us are transitioning.

In Christ, as we become aware of how we pursue identity apart from God and learn to release our grip on those things, we become conformed to the image of Christ. That is the believers transition.

Outside of Christ, when left to the standards of the world and with an identity centered on the self, we conform to what is right in our own eyes.

How are you transitioning? In the past six months, what transition have you noticed in your life?

Bruce Jenner is a man. Yet, like all of us, he was born broken and born into a broken world. He cannot fix himself. At some point, he must surrender to a standard that is unchanging, forgiving, and restoring.

A problem in this is that the church, in an effort to achieve cultural relevance, continues to follow lock step behind the culture and redefine brokenness as wholeness. Eliminating the need to surrender to God. Minimizing what it means to carry a cross in this world.

This redefinition is an overreaction. For too long the church, forgetting from whence we all came, has condemned those outside Christ. The apostle Paul would disagree with this strategy. (Read 1 Corinthians 5:12)

What is the compassionate response? What is the response that reflects Christ to the person whose soul struggles against their broken condition?

Rather than trying to ‘fix’ Bruce Jenner, we could relate our own struggles with the pain of measuring up to the world’s standards. Instead of promoting one type of masculinity, we could teach a fuller masculinity that comes in many forms and acknowledges different strengths.

Maybe, instead of a false strength, we could be honest before Bruce Jenner about the core lies we struggle with, those that result from being raised by broken parents and interacting within a broken world.

There is power in weakness. Then others will see that it is not by our strength or might, but by the merciful hand of Christ that we can overcome. To do this, we have to be familiar and living in the better way.

What does a compassionate response by YOU look like towards a population that is different from yours?

I work with followers of Christ to energize discipleship, improve relationships, decrease anxiety and facilitate leadership development. I am a certified coach specializing in pastoral leadership, relationships, discipleship, life transitions, and Christian identity. Also, I am the author of the forthcoming book Discovering Your Root: Developing Your Identity in Christ.

Services I offer are one-on-one coaching, group coaching,  speaking at organizations/churches, leadership workshops, and church retreats. For more info, click here to contact me.

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  1. Thank you for these thoughtful reflections today. Glad to be your neighbor at #TellHisStory.

  2. Wow, such a good point and one I didn’t think of. I do keep thinking about his family, especially his kids. I can’t imagine how confusing it must be for them, even though they support and love him, it still has to be confusing.

    • Particularly as his kids are forced to process this situation in front of the media. One ‘wrong’ word and they will be condemned.

  3. Powerful thoughts, Scott. I’ve often struggled with what should be the church’s compassionate response to these “sexual identity” issues. I know that my church is not really facing this issue head-on. Maybe our pastor knows where he stands from a theological viewpoint, but not a ministry viewpoint. We must grapple with these issues that will require the giant-sized compassion of Christ. Thanks for dipping into the controversial waters to bring greater clarity and a call to compassion as well as truth. I’ll be sharing!

    • Thanks Beth. I think the church has suffered because people are not given space to process their brokenness at their pace. It is unfortunate that Jesus said “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” yet most churches are not hospitable to the sick. Thanks for your great thoughts.

  4. Amen. A point we don’t often hear, gently and firmly stated. Thank you for writing this and focusing on Christ instead of all the secondary issues we tend to look toward so that we have a little more say! Thankful to have found this via #thought-provoking thursdays

  5. This is such a difficult topic and one my family is dealing with. I agonize over it, but still have clue what response I should have. All I can do is love and pray, and that is enough.

  6. Your post is sandwiched between two of mine at Monday Musings, and I appreciate your “cut to the chase” approach to the issue. All of our brokenness shows up in different ways, and when we look at one aspect of it we’re missing the root cause. May God reveal to each of us the strategies we use to mask our need for Him, and then patiently transform us!

  7. I haven’t seen much about the Bruce Jenner story, but this has given a different perspective regarding ‘broken’ people.

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