Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Baskets and Lines and What the Bible Says About Caitlyn

When I was in Zambia, I spent a week at a Mission Hospital.  One evening, the hospital showed an AIDS awareness video.  The audience was watching and listening attentively, when the camera panned across a river, where a man stood fishing with a basket.
The crowd erupted.  There were hoots of derision, tongues clucking in disapproval, people even threw things at the screen.

I was baffled by the uproar.

My friend explained how in this tribe, only women fish with baskets; men fish with lines. The tribe in the video did the opposite: only men fish with baskets; women fish with lines.

Of course there is nothing essentially male or essentially female about a basket or a line, it's a cultural tradition that is so ingrained that anything different seems wrong.

We had our own little uproar this week, didn't we, Christians?

It's important to remember that we aren't guardians of tradition, but grateful recipients of grace.

If one man decides to fish with a basket, you may fish with a line.
If one woman decides to fish with a line, you may fish with a basket.

We don't need to deride, or yell, or throw things.

In fact, Jesus showed us when Christians can throw stones: never.  (You can read about this in the book of John, chapter 8, verses 1-11.)  And Jesus showed us how to treat people who are different from us - with mercy and tender kindness.  (This one is in the book of Luke, chapter 10, verses 25-37.)

There's a lot the Bible doesn't talk about, and gender identity is one of them.  So I don't know what God thinks about Caitlyn Jenner's identification.  But I do know what God thinks about Caitlyn Jenner.

It's the same thing He thinks about me, and He does talk about it in the Bible.  A lot.

He loves us sinners so much He sent His Beloved Jesus to die for our sins, so that we might believe on Him and not perish but have everlasting life.  (You can find that verse in the book of John, chapter 3, verse 16).


  1. Job 31:15
    Leviticus 18:22
    Leviticus 20:13
    Deuteronomy 22:5
    Romans 1

  2. God help us...

  3. Hi Anonymous. I'm not sure if you're one person or a few different people, but thank you for your feedback. I appreciate your taking the time to reply :). I'm happy to share my thoughts on your response, but would also gently ask you to consider using your name if we know each other - I do like to know who I'm chatting with, and much as I refuse to entertain phone callers if I don't know the speaker, I also occasionally limit comments on my blog if I am uncomfortable with the comments of the person sharing (or their tone, which clearly isn't a problem here :) ).
    What I understand from your Scripture references is this: God made us, and who are we to argue with Him about what He made? Amen! I agree. But I wonder what you would say in a case where someone is born with a problem - perhaps a hole in their heart. Should their parents choose to deny medical repair because this was how they are made? Perhaps you see this as a false dichotomy; either way it's not at all the point of my post - what I should begin with is that I'm not trying to argue that Jenner is not a sinner. I think all Christians (and all observant inhabitants of the world) can agree: we are ALL sinners. I was trying to show in my story about the two tribes that throwing up our hands in horror over sin (especially one that is unfamiliar to us) is quite natural - but it isn't what Jesus did, and in fact He rebuked those who did by reminding them to look at their own sin. (See John 8:1-11, or Luke 11:38)
    This is the beauty and heart-breaking truth of grace.
    To God, all sin is filthy and repugnant. Yet ... "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more."
    God doesn't want us to point out others' sin as if He isn't aware of it. No, He wants us to see our own. Those who spend their time measuring the sinfulness of others "neglect justice and the love of God." (read Jesus' rebuke to those doing this in Luke 11:37-44).
    What does justice and the love of God look like? For a parable that illustrates it nicely, check out Luke 10:25-37.
    Our world is full of hurt and hurting people. Everywhere you turn, there are sharp tongues and judgemental eyes and cold shoulders. Let it not be so among Jesus' followers ... He asks us to show costly mercy (Luke 10:37).
    The same mercy He poured out from the cross.
    For me.
    For you.
    For all of us sinners.