Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. Ephesians 6:14 (NLT)
“Caitlyn” (formerly Bruce) Jenner has come out of more than one closet recently. The newest revelation is that Ms. Jenner is a Christian…and a Republican.
Considering the cultural climate of American political correctness these days, it’s a little difficult to say anything without a backwash of complaints that you’re a biggoted, mean and ignorant right-wing (read that “typically-uninformed and so-last-century”) christian.
In the June 12th edition of The Week magazine, Damon Linker makes a strong case that American Christianity is the perfect seedbed for the widespread, open-armed kind of theological ingathering of anything goes; in short, where else could Caitlyn go?
S/he couldn’t go to Judaism; neither could the Sharia-bound, sharp edge of Islam be her new home. American, individualistic Christianity is the catch-all basin for the cast-offs.
What to say?
I believe Mr. Linker may have tapped-into the mother load of understanding about why Americanized Christian organizations are drying-up and shriveling on the vine of God’s Kingdom.
The word itself defines what may be a bitter pill for many conservative evangelicals. And yet, this is our history. To “protest” means to object strongly and show it by your speech and actions. This is what Christianity’s face has been throughout the course of the last two thousand years; a group within a group objects, protests, and separates to form a new group under the title of “Christian”; it’s what we do.
And American Christians do it better and more often than anywhere, or anyone else.
And so, it’s natural that the somewhat unnatural approach of Bruce-Caitlyn should find identity with those of us who reject the status-quo and change everything.
Could this be more confusing?
Perhaps not more so than Christianity itself; Christ was hard on a lot of attitudes – hatred, judging, etc – but then he said to love those who did such(Matthew 5) – and then he said to reject some (Matthew 18) who wouldn’t reconcile, but he came to die for everyone. (Matthew 26:28)
Figuring it out, navigating the orthodox amid the chaotic, is what Christians are called to do. We are called to be the theological lens for social scientists, making sense of the intertwine of our times and God’s call, proclaiming a timeless message within a linear framework; the ethereal mixed in the mud of our messy lives.
It aint easy!
But neither was the cross.
Perhaps it is best to look at our times, the headlines, the Jenner disclosures and Keeping up with Jenner’s Kardashian kids, as what it is – simply the chaos of human life that is searching for something to which you can hold onto…but not too tighly, for fear that you’ll get tied down to it, and then you won’t be free to change it all again next week.
And in light of all that confusion, chaos, changing and questioning, I will take the stability of the cross any day.
What’s the greatest need of your life? (Besides a good nap this afternoon?)
When you “figure it out” don’t be too quick to jump without checking to see if that change is anchored to the cross.
Like Caitlyn, you might have to buy a whole new wardrobe.