I think he should have baked the cake.
I feel like I need to discuss today, why I think the baker, Jack Phillips, in the case before the Supreme Court about refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, should have done differently.
It’s not because of the morality or immorality of gay marriage. Nor is it about his rights or liberties or religious freedom. That’s the Supreme Court’s problem.
No, for me, there is a Jesus reason to have made the cake.
It’s because the Bible says the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Gal 5:16).
I’m not taking that out of context – it’s in context of a discussion about how much of the Jewish Law to obey – in other words, what is it God is looking for in us? What does obedience look like?
And God is looking for us, if we are his people, to love first. Our faith should express itself not first in outrage, not first in legalism, not first in taking a stand…but in love.
I mean, what has been accomplished in making this into, literally, a federal case?
Did the baker, by his principled stand, cause the gay couple to reevaluate their lives and not get married?
Did the baker, by punishing the gay couple with a public refusal, a lack of welcome, a rejection of their “lifestyle,” cause them to reconsider being a couple, or being gay?
Of course not.
Did the baker, by standing up for “his rights” to “personal expression” and “religious liberty,” drag the good news of Jesus into the mud from the point of view of the people around us?
Yes, unfortunately, he did.
I understand he did what he thought he should. But I wonder, who taught him he should do that?
Because I don’t think Jesus would have taught him that.
What Jesus wants from that gay couple, is not their outward obedience to sexual or marriage norms, but their hearts.
He wants them, and all of us, to know how beloved we are by God – loved so much that God sent his Son to rescue us.
From what? From death. From living a life that is stunted from a disconnect with God. From living without knowing we are loved by God. And, yes, from living the life we could be living in concert with the way we were made, in relationship with God.
God offers us a new life, joined to Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit. That new life is lived in companionship with God, who leads us into a way of life that pleases him and blesses us. What that life is like, is up to God-in-us.
These are the stakes, not who is having sex with whom, or who let themselves be dragged into what they regard as a counterfeit wedding.
The baker wasn’t asked to marry them. He wasn’t asked to approve of them. He was asked to LOVE them.
Just like Jesus did.
Do we honestly think that the things we don’t see about our own lives would have been any less uncomfortable for Jesus to be around, than this gay couple was to the baker?
Have we really not taken into account what “sin” really means?
It’s not just our acts, it’s our minds and hearts which are out of sync with God’s mind and heart. It’s not just what we do. It is, unfortunately, like an infection we have. Since everyone has it we tend to ignore it, but the truth is, it’s killing us.
And somebody doing what you or I would never do, is not MORE infected than I am.
So leaving aside the morality issues (and I am well aware that I am writing to both people who regard homosexual behavior as sinful, and those who regard people who think that as monsters), let us consider what love is.
Love is Jesus coming to us. Love is Jesus going to Matthew the Roman collaborator’s house, to sit with other sinners for dinner. Love is welcoming the woman who poured perfume on his feet, who so distressed Simon the Pharisee because Simon thought he was holier than she was, and he’d never let her do that to him! Love is Jesus asking the Samaritan woman for a drink of water, and then telling her how to be saved. He broke so many rules that day that the disciples didn’t know WHAT to think.
What matters, is faith showing itself in love.
So what if the baker, recognizing the situation, had decided this was his chance to heap the coals of love on the heads of people whose sin, from his perspective, truly offended him?
What if he’d made them a cake, a really beautiful cake, and told them God loves them?
What if he prayed for them while he made them that cake?
Would they have reconsidered their plan to enter into a same-sex marriage?
Would they have reconsidered their identity as gay?
Would his cake have changed anything about their behavior?
Except, they would have heard and seen the love of God at work.
And who knows what happens next, when we put ourselves at the disposal of God to love, regardless of our “personal expression” or our “religious liberty rights”?
What happens if we act like Jesus, take the hard parts on ourselves, and love first?
He should have just baked the cake, with great love.