The truth is, I can identify with both Bruce Jenner and Rachel Dolezal. Not because I would prefer to be a woman or a different ethnicity, but because I, like just about everyone I know, feel strongly that I am not the way that I'm supposed to be.
And, like the two of them, I have aspired to a dramatic change, one that might prompt someone to ask me "Who do you think you are?"
Jenner has volunteered for surgical and medical procedures to try to remedy the perceived problem of his masculinity. But he can not stop taking his medicine. He must go on working at the preferred identity all day, every day. And while the changes are significant and (in some cases) irreversible, they do not go all the way down, down to the level of the chromosomes and of the soul.
And Dolezal's conversion, similarly, has been mostly superficial and cosmetic, a matter of affectation. And however persuasive her presentation, it could never have reached the level of her DNA. And it took constant effort. It required keeping at arm's length all of the evidence from the past that would call into question the new narrative.
And here is where my story is so different. Where their "conversions" required an effort applied to the outside that could never quite penetrate to the "inmost places," mine began with an act of submission that gave God access to those inmost places so that a profound change could take place on a deeper level than that of even my DNA. And the change that is being effected is from the inside out and the success of that change is not dependent on the effort I put into it.
There are days when I feel like a fraud and an impostor (and I suspect that that too is something I might have in common with both Jenner and Dolezal.) But here is where I take comfort in another difference. My conversion is not a matter of self-identification.
In Revelation 2:17 I'm told that a reward for the victory of my faith will be a "white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it." It is God who has given me my ultimate identity, God who has secured it in heavenly places, and God who will make that identity my eventual reality. It is through no effort or initiative of my own. It is not something that requires medicine to accomplish or people to validate.
And what it means is that who I really am and will be is different from who I seem to be and have been. And that's good news. I may not be the way I'm supposed to be, but I am not stuck being who I have been and who I will be will not be the result of my own efforts. That being true for me, how could I not be full of concern and compassion for Jenner and Dolezal and want for them what I enjoy.
Jenner's blood still tells the truth about Jenner, as does Dolezal's. But to know the truth about me it's Jesus' blood you have to consider.
Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church Blog