If I Were Caitlyn Jenner’s Pastor . . .

CaitlynSavannah, Georgia

Photography by D. Plasman

If I were Caitlyn Jenner’s pastor, I would give her a big hug and tell her—in case she has forgotten—that she is held in God’s embrace, an embrace that never let’s go.

If I were Caitlyn Jenner’s pastor, I would remind her that neither gender identity nor one’s sexuality is the sum total of who we are. Only God tells us who we are, and we hear such affirmation whenever God says: “I call you by name. You are mine.”

If I were Caitlyn Jenner’s pastor, I would ask for forgiveness. As a privileged, white, heterosexual male, I often fail to recognize other people’s pain and struggle—especially pain or struggle that isn’t mine.

If I were Caitlyn Jenner’s pastor, I would recall for her the many occasions when the church, institutions, and our beloved country got it wrong: The world is not flat. Our history of slavery was not a God-ordained thing. Blacks are not three-fifths persons as our “founding fathers” maintained. The settling of our country had far less to do with a godly notion of “manifest destiny” than grabbing land that wasn’t ours to begin with and systematically decimating the identities of native people. And who can forget the colossal mistake of bundled mortgage derivatives touted as worthy investments?

If I were Caitlyn Jenner’s pastor, I would tell her how much I admire her courage. If Facebook posts are any indication, however, not everyone thinks of her as courageous. I would remind her that courage comes in many forms. Yes, on battlefields, but also in AA meetings, single parenting, siding with the oppressed, or going to college at age 67, just to name a few examples.

If I were Caitlyn Jenner’s pastor, I would remind her of all the occasions when Jesus challenged conventional wisdom, expanded the circle of inclusion, extended the table of grace, and welcomed those whom others crossed the street to avoid. Of course, he was executed for that, but there are worse things than dying young.

If I were Caitlyn Jenner’s pastor, I would ask her to preach a sermon (or if that seemed too daunting, to give a message) some Sunday about overcoming fears, risking it all, and living the truth in spite of the costs incurred.

If I were Caitlyn Jenner’s pastor, I’d search the internet to find a Wheaties box—the one with Olympian Bruce Jenner on the front. I’d pay the asking price. Then I’d place it in Caitlyn’s hands and ask her to sign it.

If I were Caitlyn Jenner’s pastor . . .



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  1. Dr. Don June 6, 2015 at 4:46 pm #

    LOL at your last full paragraph. How life-affirming!

  2. Dennis Keefe June 6, 2015 at 4:58 pm #

    Why does such sanity seem so rare? “Common sense” is so inappropriately named. Thank you Dan. A big fan.

  3. Heidi Mann June 6, 2015 at 6:20 pm #

    Love this!

  4. Jean Koorndyk June 6, 2015 at 7:17 pm #

    Very very well said, Dan.such profound wisdom..

  5. Kris June 6, 2015 at 8:18 pm #

    Heidi and I miss you and Jody. We always find your words meaningful. Let us know when you both have some free time. We would like to come and visit with you.


  6. R. Holton June 6, 2015 at 9:48 pm #

    Compassionate and intelligent thoughts.
    Thank you, Dan.

  7. Russell G. Donaldson June 7, 2015 at 4:55 am #

    I approve the sentiments expressed in your posting, Dan, and of course the elegant style of the expression. But as a very private person myself, I remain somewhat concerned about Ms. Jenner’s continued embrace of celebrity status. On one hand, I recognize that transgender persons probably need a recognizable champion (no pun intended, Wheaties), but on the other, a life lived before cameras and microphones does not seem to me a spiritually healthy one. It may be necessary, as was Dr. Martin Luther King’s, but at what cost to the soul?

  8. Judy Atwater June 7, 2015 at 7:59 am #

    Oh thank you Dan for writing this. And thank you Caitlin for your courage. This is why I am a follower of Jesus.

  9. George Heartwell June 7, 2015 at 5:29 pm #

    Well-said…and I agree. However, another very interesting perspective is found in today’s ( 6/7/15) NY Times Sunday Review by Elinor Burkett. The author points out that the present emphasis on transgender may blind us to the struggles of women; i.e. the cultural shaping of the female mind which transgenedered people do not experience from earliest life. The opinion piece didn’t change my support for Caitlyn Jenner, nor did it, I believe, minimize the struggle she went through. It did remind me, though, that the “privilege” accompanying my white race and male gender can blind me to the struggles of women for equality in our society.