Christianity / Ethics / Faith / Hypocrisy / Religion / Thoughts

For the love of God, no cake for you!

This whole cake baking thing is going to be as slogan-ed as ‘Joe the Plumber’. I fear we’ll never hear the end of it. “Why should I have to bake a cake if I don’t want to?!” “It’s against my religion to bake you a cake!” If you have been reading my thoughts on homosexuality since the beginning, you will be able to see my journey open up with this article. Never before have I embraced the homosexuality-race rights connection. After Easter, I have changed my mind. After this law in Indiana, I have changed my mind. It’s enough. You’re on the wrong side of history!

After our Easter meal, comes the Easter debate. Given all that’s going on in our country and my in-laws proclivity for watching FoxNews and believing it, we obviously started with homosexuality. It’s a hot topic when we’re all together now, because my sister and brother in law have found out about a gay family member. He is studying to get his doctorate in seminary, and has struggled his entire life with his sexual orientation. He believes that it is against God’s will for him to have a boyfriend, so he has never been in a relationship. Until now, my brother in law has been about as anti-gay as you could be. Now that it’s close to home and he can truly see his family member’s struggle, everything has changed. Relationships.

Homosexuality isn’t the only thing we talked about. We also talked about adultery. Why, my brother in law rightfully inquires, is it okay to get divorced and re-married and not okay to have a gay relationship? “It’s not the same the same,” they cry. Wait, what? In the minds of the conservative evangelical Christian how can these two life choices not be equally viewed as sexual sins? When asked to explain, they said that he Bible allows for divorce. Yes, the Bible does allow provisions for divorce. In the OT, they told us, divorce often came before the consummation and therefore, was perfectly fine. In the NT, they say, divorce is allowed in the case of infidelity. Homosexuality is always forbidden, they say. OT and NT both have verses against homosexuality. They also told us that homosexual couples were welcome in the church as long as they didn’t “flaunt” their relationship. Flaunting entailed bringing their partner every week, ‘acting gay’, and making out in the church as well as other things. My in laws then say that the couple would need to be asked to leave or ‘dealt with’. Another point that was quite important to my mother in law was that people have convictions about not serving cake to gay couples; how can we ask them to go against the leadings of the Holy Spirit and cause them to sin? Finally my father in law exclaims in glee that the bakery which refused to bake a cake for homosexual couple has received donations totaling over 300K. Don’t worry ya’ll I wasn’t silent! Let’s talk about each of these issues in turn.

  1. Defining homosexuality: Homosexuality, as we were talking about it, is engaging n a sexual relationship with someone of the same sex whether in a committed relationship or not. My family would not consider a person who is gay but chooses not to ever pursue a relationship to be a problem. Though if pressed, they may not be in favor of involved service in the church.
  2. Remarriage vs. Homosexuality: Here’s the thing. Remarriage is mentioned in the OT and the NT and is mentioned by Christ. It is mentioned over and over and over. Biblically, it is adultery. Christ told us it is adultery. Getting remarried is a lifelong choice that is a sexual sin. As far as homosexuality is concerned, we see a lot of ambiguity. First, homosexuality is only mentioned seven times and never by Christ; with at least one of those references being in the context of rape and in-hospitality. Also, homosexuality as it exists today did not exist then. As there was no mention of a committed marital homosexual relationship, we can look at homosexuality in the Bible as fornication. Sex outside the bonds of marriage. As we are seeing in our country that is not the case anymore. For me, Christ’s words are the highest concern. What He has addressed, I want to address. What He has encouraged, I want to encourage. I do not believe that it is in any way a coincidence that Christ never mentioned homosexuality.
  3. Gay Couples and Individuals in Church: My understanding of this is simple: the church is made of sinners. How dare we turn away someone who wants to know God! Everyone should be welcome-period.
  4. Convictions: If you have a conviction that puts someone down, discourages someone, makes them feel worthless, it is my belief that you need to double check who it is you are feeling the leading of. Those of you who know me, know I’m not a Scripture quoter for fear and reverence sake, but 1 Corinthians 13 says it all. If you don’t have love, what do you have? Why are we rejoicing in the profit of someone who at the very least has a lack of love for someone else?

For me, that’s what it boils down to. Lack of love. How can anyone read 1 Corinthians 13 and think that this is loving? This is a discrimination problem. We are allowing people to use God’s name to keep others out. Once again we are putting signs up in windows and telling a group of people that they are not going to be able to be served by us because we ‘have a conviction’ about it. When I reminded my mother in law about segregation, she said ‘Well, that was wrong. These people are doing it because of their belief in God.” Well, for those who have forgotten, the Bible and belief and God were used in justifying slavery and segregation as well. Bob Jones University was the last college in the country to desegregate. That university is a conservative Christian university. It puts out curricula for Christian schools across the country to this day. We were wrong then and I believe we are wrong in what we are doing now. It’s enough. If you believe that homosexual couple is sinning, lift them up with love. If you believe the person sitting next to you is righteous, lift them up in love. If you believe that homeless man is an addict, lift him up with love. Before you make an action, before you refuse a service or a tip or praise, before you break a spirit (let’s make no mistake, that’s what you’re doing!), ask yourself is you are showing love. Are you showing this person love. If you’re not, then don’t do it!!! If you don’t have love, you are nothing.

What caused the change of heart in my brother in law? Relationships. Why do my in laws find remarriage more acceptable than homosexuality? Relationships. Let’s look again to Christ. Jesus is the progenitor of an individual, invested relationship with sinners of all shapes and sizes. Christ broke bread with sinners. Christ showed them love. Christ invited them into the flock. He never cast them out of His sermons. not only did Christ do these things, He got to know sinners, walked with them, talked with them. He loved them (us) enough to give His very life to the people who killed Him. If you find yourself unable to love a sinner, to love the unsaved, the habitual sinner; take some time to build a relationship. Follow the most basic example of Christ and build relationships. The only place that Christ does not tolerate sin is in God’s name. Rethink that. And I will try everyday to do the same. It’s the hardest calling- to love like Christ.

In case we need a reminder of what love looks like

1 Corinthians 13

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.Β  For we know in part and we prophesy in part.Β  But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Any and all emphasis is mine.

Advertisements

13 thoughts on “For the love of God, no cake for you!

  1. It’s funny how I saw the same set of events happen and went in the exact opposite direction, and after seeing the atrocious way that many of the activists were behaving, I said “enough” and stopped supporting them. It’s not because I want to see people discriminated against – I am all for people having to serve all comers – except in the case of a very specific single event that is against one’s sincerely held beliefs. For example: make an unlabeled cake for a gay person? Great, that’s absolutely required. Put “happy gay marriage” on it? No. Be forced to cater a gay wedding? No.

    Love for all is important. I absolutely agree with you there. But it’s not love to force people to not only stay out of your way to exercise your rights, but to force them to condone things they don’t agree with, to force them to participate in things they don’t agree with. Where’s the love there? And why would you want someone whose heart isn’t in it to be a part of catering or documenting a day that’s very special to you? When does it change from “I want my rights” to “you have no rights?” It’s not a simple problem, but the rights of religious people don’t go away. There is a line. The question is where is it, and at what point do both sides have to give a little to have a free and functioning society?

    Jesus teaches that love is about sacrifice. And it is. Those on the religious side need to sacrifice their need to be right in favor of their command to love. And those on the activist side need to sacrifice their need to be affirmed in favor of their obligation to respect those who don’t agree with them. It fits both sides, it’s important on both sides, and until that’s dealt with, there will be no peace.

    I hope you don’t mind my commenting. Intelligent posts demand intelligent responses.

    • Yes, I think that what you mention here is quite important. I will say though that as with much of our faith and politics today we often confuse what is right with what we have the right to do. It’s a heart problem when you feel compelled to refuse service to someone based on a ‘conviction’. Do they have a right to do it? Well, yeah apparently. Is it right, is it best for a Christian to do it. I believe it’s absolutely not. I see this issue much the same way that you see the issues we discussed earlier on your blog. i see that it is excluding and ultimately turning people away from faith. Imagine this in a church. A homosexual couple comes to a church meal and people refuse to serve them food. Refuse to set up their seats next to each other. What does that say about Christ? How does that welcome them in? Even if you don’t agree with what people do sometimes, it doesn’t mean you can do nothing for them. Christ is the ultimate example of doing just that. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. And we can’t bake a fucking cake for someone…..? Doesn’t make sense to me. Silliness. (Rant over.) I certainly like how you put it: “Those on the religious side need to sacrifice their need to be right in favor of their command to love.”

      I thank you for and welcome your comments. There’s nothing a blogger likes more than an intelligent response to a post.

      • “A homosexual couple comes to a church meal and people refuse to serve them food. Refuse to set up their seats next to each other. What does that say about Christ? How does that welcome them in?”

        I would be the FIRST to say that that is entirely not appropriate. If the church I attended did that, I would take aside the two pastors that I consider to be close friends and lovingly rip them a new one, and I think they’d appreciate it. But inviting gay people to meal at a church is a very different thing than attending or catering a gay wedding, and I don’t think conflating the two things does a service. If I were owning a catering business (I don’t, I’m a computer guy), I would say “If you’re gay and you want me to bake you a cake, I will bake you a cake. If it is for a gay wedding, I will not decorate it with words, and I will not take it to your wedding.” To me, that is where the line is, and I really don’t see why it’s so important to force someone such as me, the hypothetical business owner, to do their bidding. To be just a little bit crude, there is an attitude amongst some activists that are not content with just having the right to marry, they want to make Christians their bitch, and I don’t think that’s a very good attitude to have.

        Christians have to toe a very fine line between being loving and following our God. Sometimes that line is difficult, sometimes it’s a very sticky wicket, but the line is always there, sometimes it conflicts, and sometimes love is not what people think it is.

        But I do think we’re in agreement on one thing: If gay people enter a church, and they are following all of the cultural norms that heterosexual people are expected to follow, they must be welcomed, they must be treated with love, and they must never be rejected.

        • I wish I could edit this line upon reflection: “Christians have to toe a very fine line between being loving and following our God. “. We never toe that line, we should always be loving. But then that’s moderated by the sentence below: “sometimes love is not what people think it is.” πŸ™‚

          • Yes, loving is following our God. The greatest commandment is love and every command can be summed up in that. To be obedient is to love.
            I think that statement at the end can cover all kinds of evil. Love is what Christ showed us. If they are confused, perhaps a re-reading. haha.

            • Yes. And remember Jesus with the woman at the well. He approached her, matter-of-factly stated how she was sinning, she acknowledged that he was Lord, and he forgave her and told her to sin no more. At no time did he accept her sin, but he still loved her regardless. That is how I approach it. Yes, we are fallen and we always fall short, but sometimes the loving thing to do is to confront and refuse to accept the sin, while at the same time loving the sinner as one who is no less or more of a sinner as we are.

              I see homosexuality as a sin. I am not a homosexual. But I am just as much of a sinner in a thousand other ways, so who am I to condemn or judge? But that doesn’t mean I can pretend it’s not. And that’s the sticky wicket. I can’t accept someone trying to tell me that it’s not wrong. But I can show grace and love anyway. And that’s what’s expected of me as a Christian.

              That’s what I was trying to get across in my blog post. Don’t try to force me to accept sin as not being sin, to condone it, to participate in it. That’s what we will defend to the death. But to walk alongside a fellow sinner as we try to show them the grace and forgiveness of Jesus? That’s what we do. πŸ™‚

              • Ok. Your comments say something different in the sidebar… Hold on.
                I suppose this part for me would come back to a definition of what exactly is the sin. I would assume that even delivering the cake you would not have sexual relations with a groom as this would be a sin on more than one account. So, participating in the sin is a bit difficult to use as an argument. The rest is a matter of doctrine. And well, I’ve written about that elsewhere. but I absolutely understand the idea. I feel it is done in very poor taste for the most part. It’s also very difficult to me because we don’t call people who were remarried adulterers, but we define homosexual by a very private act or inclination. It takes over their being. So, rejection and calling out of what is believed to be a sn takes on a different form.

                Adore this conversation by the way. Sorry for all the complications. Not sure what’s up with my sidebar…

        • Oh wow, when I read your comment the firs time it was so short. Then when I replied it got longer!
          The part you said about forcing someone to be their bitch. I agree with you. Some people want to do it just because they can. In my opinion, this is like giving charity. You pray over your gift and give it to God that God may then be responsible for it’s well-being. It’s not for us to control every aspect of what we give or how people will use it, sometimes we have to give it to God. For example, my husband and I went up to a couple people begging on the street and invited them to eat with us at restaurant across the street. We spoke with them a few minutes and they eventually told us that we were very nice Christian people and that they couldn’t take anything from us because there are people they take from and people they don’t. I firmly believe that if we show our love as commanded God can soften hearts to use our love in the right way. Changing hearts is not out business, just as conviction is not our business. Loving so that people will be open to it is.

          • It’s the amazing expanding comment, now for only three easy payments of $29.99.

            And I don’t have a problem with anything you said. I think charity is great. But, then, what if it were a gay couple who said “come up to our room and you can tell us all about Jesus while you watch us!”. (I know that’s hyperbole but I’m making a point). Would you consider that to be acceptable? Would it be loving to attend that kind of “event” in the hopes of showing Jesus to someone? I don’t think it would. I think it’d be wrong on multiple levels. To me, that’s very similar to being forced to cater a gay wedding – the same kind of participation, just far less egregious.

            And just so you know, a couple of years ago I actually performed a gay wedding. I think they were two cool guys, and even though I’m not sure I’d ever do it again, I still like them. I just don’t think that as a Christian I can participate in those kinds of events and still follow Jesus.

Complaints, Compliments and Questions

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s