What’s A Christian Response to Chaz Bono?

As you’ve probably heard, the transgender child of Sonny and Cher Bono is starring in this season’s Dancing with the Stars. I’m thankful to those like Scot McKnight and my buddy Josh Graves, who have encouraged Christians to formulate a constructive response the LGBT issues.

There is no escaping the issue. It’s not going away. As a father of three young daughters who attend school in a state in which the schools celebrate Harvey Milk Day (with no opt-out) and now mandate that LGBT (Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender) history be taught in curriculum, this is something I have to work through all the time. Like many Christians, I honestly resent having the acceptance of alternative lifestyles forced on me and especially my children. Having said that, I also resent the venom some Christians have toward the LGBT community, and believe the Church has quite a ways to go in modeling Christ in their attitudes toward LGBT people. The answer isn’t in accepting it as God’s will for human sexuality. So, what is it, then?

This isn’t the forum for an exhaustive theological discussion on the matter. Rather, the intent here is to open a fruitful discussion. So, let’s keep it simple and civil 🙂 But, be honest.

So, what’s a Christian response to Chaz Bono? Here are some options I believe have integrity. They uphold a biblical view of sexuality without resorting to bigotry or hate.

  • Don’t mock. Mocking others isn’t a Christian response.
  • Don’t watch the show. In this way, you show support for biblical views of sexuality and protect younger kids from exposure to gender confusion issues. Or…
  • Watch the show. As you do, think missionally, and educationally. Chaz Bono’s inclusion on Dancing with the Stars is, to some extent, an expression of media’s social values. It’s a putting forth of transgenderism as normal. It isn’t. Nevertheless, how can Christians model the Gospel in our interactions with the LGBT people? What can we learn about our culture’s beliefs and how we can address those out of sync with the Gospel?
  • Use this occasion as an opportunity to clarify your theology of sexuality. This should include an understanding of how many heterosexual expressions of sexuality damage people and sin against God, as well. I once had a man who had recently left his wife for another woman (who he was now living with unmarried) rail against his daughter’s lesbianism. He didn’t see the hypocrisy. Granted, his situation and transgenderism aren’t the same. But, they are both sinful and a mutation of the beautiful and robust sexuality of which the Scripture’s testify. Get your Bible open and wrestle with these issues. Remember always that God loves all people and desires their redemption into His family.
What would you add to this or take away?

 

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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11 thoughts on “What’s A Christian Response to Chaz Bono?

  1. ok, that’s nice, but you still run the risk of endorsing and enforcing a traditional (some say ‘biblical’) understanding of sexuality upon chaz bono, and while ‘hating the sin and loving the sinner’ (i HATE that expression), you are still passing judgment upon him.

    that may work for someone who consciously sought to correct his sexuality. here’s a harder issue: who can caster semenya marry?

    (http://robertcargill.com/2009/09/10/question-for-the-yes-on-prop-8-supporters-who-can-caster-semenya-marry/)

    the is not a science book, but rather a book of simple generalizations with ZERO understanding of genetics.

    seriously, have you read gen 30:25-43? read that and tell me the bible records an accurate understanding of reproductive genetics. really?

    or try the sex-for drugs swap in gen 30:14-24. yes, sell sex with your husband for a mandrake. then just eat the mandrake and cure your barrenness. go figure – this is the bible’s level of understanding of sexuality!

    how can we argue that the bible can address complex issues of gender genetics when it was written at a time when people still believed you reproduced what you happened to be looking at at the moment of conception? or that you could cure barrenness with magical mandrakes?

    like slavery and genocide and the subjugation of women, the bible is woefully outdated with regard to many social issues (and most scientific issues).

    why then would we ask it to guide us on a complex issue like transgender correction? (and why would we judge against it???)

    just a thought…

    • Bob, sorry for the delay. Your comment was caught in the spam filter. But, alas, it’s been discovered. A couple of quick thoughts.

      Perhaps we make a mistake when we assume the biblical writers were scientifically unenlightened…and that scientific enlightenment = ethically correct. I think we would do better to begin with the question of whether we need to adjust our societal ethics to biblical norms, rather than whether the Bible meets our supposedly high ethical standards–all the while acknowledging cultural differences. Contemporary secular ethics (the place from which you seem to be making your case) isn’t a very “high” ethic. What I’m saying is, I’m not sure holding up our culture (or others of today) as a moral compass is wise. I would also suggest that even foundational biblical teaching seems to clearly undermine gender “reassignment,” from God as sovereign Creator who knits us together in our mother’s womb to the fact that “we are not our own.” It is God, not humankind that ascribes to people “who they are.” To seek to take that into one’s own hands is to rebel against God’s creation of oneself. Our bodies are not our own, we were bought with a price. That’s the orthodox Christian understanding.

      I’m not exactly sure where you’re going with the mandrake story…and I don’t see what it has to do with transgenderism. The Bible doesn’t hold that story up as ideal. It’s recorded as a part of a narrative. As far as all of the other things you mention (slavery, etc.), I also don’t believe they have much to do with Chaz Bono…other than perhaps you are calling the Bible into question as an ethical guide in general. In which case, I would suggest it is an infinitely superior guide to ethics in comparison to either scientific discovery (which also told us the earth was flat) or supposedly progressive Western thought…which gave us the holocaust, the atomic bomb, and other “enlightened” contributions to society.

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  3. Hate the sin, love the sinner. But also don’t act as if the sin is acceptable, because it is not. God calls it an abomination. But God desires that ALL come to repentance. And we are His representatives here on earth to teach people about the offer of salvation and the need for repentance.

  4. Great article — and confessing I had to Google “Harvey Milk Day” (I live in the Bible belt! 🙂 I really appreciate your last point. So many of us have chosen homosexuality as a stone to throw/ splinter to notice in another’s eye as we ignore our own sins, or even *wink, wink* or laugh hysterically at tawdry, lewd heterosexual humor that the media gives us now. How is that better?

    Good dialog.

    • I am a 75-year-old lifelong Christian woman and I have to admit my first response to knowing Chaz Bono was going to be on Dancing With The Stars was “I don’t think I can watch that without being sick!” My family said go ahead, you can fast forward through her dances. (Sorry, God created her and I cannot find it within me to say him). Of course, curiosity made me watch her. And I’m glad! Because I think my response to her is now the correct Christian response: Hosea 11:8 “… My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused.” I could not watch her woeful lack of self confidence and uncertainty about who she is (despite surgery to correct it) without my heart going out to her. I may never be able to minister to her, but I will look at others like her with a completely different set of eyes.