04 September 2013

Preemptive Strike

I read an article yesterday by Todd Starnes entitled "Christian Bakery Closes After LGBT Threats, Protest." ARTICLE LINK  This article inspired more thoughts than could fit in my Facebook status, so I moved them to my blog.

To summarize for those who do not want to read the article, a Christian baker refused to make a cake for a lesbian couple's civil union. In retaliation, the lesbian couple rallied the LGBT community to boycott and protest this business, and any business that did business with them. They also made threats against the family. Consequently, and not surprisingly, the couple that own the business decided to close-up shop. 

There is a lot here that is very concerning. However, what I am most concerned about is how the Christian community is going to react. You see, too often Christians take these things and turn them into a rallying cry for defending our faith. 

Except, they aren't really defending our faith at all. 

I think we all remember the chicken sandwich brouhaha last year. Governor Mike Huckabee rallied Christians to show their support for a Christian business owner who was attacked by a handful of mayors for publicly speaking about his private beliefs. Christians said it was our duty to stand with our Brother in Christ by going to his restaurants. Nearly every Christian I know on Facebook had a status that day about chicken sandwiches. I watched it all and wondered how the cause of Christ was being advanced. How many souls were saved? How was God glorified? When was the love of Jesus shown to the unbeliever, the lost?

That's my first problem with this cake business. Once again, Christians are making a fuss about what has happened to a Christian business owner. Christians are shaking their fist at the injustice, and making a Christian cause out of what is really a Constitutional issue. Instead of supporting an American's right to do business with whomever they choose, Christians are sounding a rallying cry for Christian activism. How is this going to help anything? How is this going to advance the Kingdom of God, or broadcast the life-changing message of the gospel that sets the captives free?

Once again, we've got it all wrong.

Before everyone writes me off as a loon, or a heretic, I'd just like to ask:
If this Christian bakery is "taking a stand for Christ," as most Christians are all ready saying, by not baking a cake for a lesbian couple's civil union, then what are they doing when they make a wedding cake for the unsaved couple who have been living together? Or, the Christian couple who have been engaging in sexual intimacies, before their wedding? Or, how about the man who is leaving his wife to marry his mistress?
Do you see my problem?

If Christian business owners are going to refuse to serve homosexuals, as a stand for their beliefs, than I would hope they would also refuse to serve adulterers and fornicators—as a stand for their beliefs. I would hope they would believe the whole Bible, and not just the portions about poster sins (that's what the Saxophone Player calls them).

But, too often Christians just react. They don't stop and think about what's really going on. The media plays us like a ukulele. And, friends, some Christian organizations do the exact same thing. We've all gotten the emails, rousing us to action. How often have we heard or read, "If it had been a Muslim...." If a true injustice has been done, shouldn't we be just as outraged if it is done against a Muslim—or even an atheist?

When I was in college, every cause under the sun wanted my attention and activism. I participated in my share. They were mostly worthy and valid, and I loved it. Nothing's wrong with a little social activism. However, when I recommitted my life to the Lord I knew that just giving someone a place to live or food to eat was never going to be enough. Stopping nuclear armament wasn't going to bring true peace to anyone. If I was going to give myself to a cause, it had to be a Cause that would bring real change, lasting peace, and glory to God.

Still, I'm one of those people. I like to lend my support. If sharing a link can help, I'll do it. Read down my Facebook page, and you'll see. I care about a lot of stuff, which makes it easy to get sidetracked, easy to get caught-up in the flood of emotion that flows from roar of the crowd. My neighbor in incensed, and before I know it I've made signs and queued up in front of City Hall. 

If Jesus showed up in the middle of all of this, what do you think He'd be doing? Which cause would He be taking up? Which fight is truly in defense of our King?

Well, I really have wondered what the Lord's position is, because when I see the direction of the crowd, I don't see it heading towards love, peace, joy, or kindness. I don't see Christians turning the other cheek. The Bible really is full of verses that apply to situations like this, but there is one passage that comes first to mind: Luke 6:27-28.

This is pretty clear, but I like how it reads in the Amplified:

"But I say to you who are listening now to Me: [in order to heed, make it a practice to] love your enemies, treat well (do good to, act nobly toward) those who detest you and pursue you with hatred. Invoke blessings upon and pray for the happiness of those who curse you, implore God's blessing (favor) upon those who abuse you [who revile, reproach, disparage, and highhandedly misuse you]." Luke 6:27b, Amplified)
There can be no question here how Christ would have responded in this situation. Would He have baked the cake? I can't say. What really matters though, is not how He would respond, but how He expects me to respond. Knowing the animosity that exists right now between the homosexual community and the Christian community, it isn't hard to imagine that this couple intentionally chose a Christian baker, suspecting she would refuse to bake their cake. Doesn't this happen all the time? The world baits us. They want to draw us into a fight.

What would have happened if the baker had looked upon this couple with love, and chosen to do good to them, to bless them? Don't you wish we could have found out? I do, because I think it would have been fantastic! I think the power of Almighty God would have been life-changing, because it always is, when we allow Him into a situation.

I wonder if Christians have forgotten Christ's example. When He faced Pontious Pilot, He stood before His accuser silently. Passively. A Lamb to the slaughter. He did not defend Himself, yet Pilate became utterly convinced of His innocence. He did not fight the cross, yet He won the greatest victory of all time.  

It seems these days that Christians think they're too good for a cross. They shouldn't have to suffer. Or, be humbled. Or, stand falsely accused. This concerns me. I would be very happy to never suffer in any way ever again. I would like that very much. But, that is not what we have been promised. Instead, Christ assured us that we will face persecution. Christ said, "The world persecuted me, they will persecute you, too." (John 15:18-25)  He tells us that a time is coming when those who seek to kill us will believe they are doing God's will. (John 16:2)

He doesn't leave us with that, though. He doesn't say, "Tough luck, guys." No! He says, "In the world you will have tribulations, but be of good cheer, because I have overcome the world!" (John 16:33)

He has all ready taken up our cause. Let us now take up His, and His alone.


  1. You are so right! Loved reading this.

    1. Thank you so much. I really appreciate you reading and leaving a comment.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Joy. Thanks for reading and commenting. Your opinion means a lot.

  3. I love the term "poster sins," that is very clever coinage. I agree on most parts, except the idea that the homosexual couple purposefully chose a Christian bakery to bate them. I doubt they wanted all this drama. They probably wanted to make and receive a cake order simply, like anyone else.

    1. Hi, LaNeshe. I love that term, too. He coined it to help men understand the kind of change God is truly looking for in them.

      I hope you are right about the couple, though it does make it all even more sad. Thanks for that comment.

  4. I've not followed this story that close, but what I've heard I do think it's a shame that the bakery was in such fear they have felt they needed to close. I know of a young couple; photographers who have had to spend boo-coos of money defending themselves in a lawsuit because they refused to take photos of a homosexual wedding. I'm not so sure the homosexual communities in these cases are being all that tolerant. It seems there are many people in fear of the homosexual community and that ought not be. Hey, if the businesses don't want to do business then fine, live and let live and go find a business that will. I think because it's turned into a Christian issue is perhaps because the businesses are Christian owned and it's their personal conviction so to speak? Correct me on that if I am wrong. I would hope if a group of people spoke death threats to our family, and we had to close our business down there would be those to rally for me too.

    On the other hand, I cannot stand it when I hear that Aunt M and an inlaw were talking about families in town whose sons are homosexuals when they themselves have way too many instances of adulterous affairs and divorces and everything else going on in their own families. That attitude and double standard makes me ill.

    That's my take on both sides.

    1. The homosexual community definitely was not tolerant. Business owners should have the right to do business with whom they please, and that's the issue I wish was being discussed. I thought we had that right in America.

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Amelia. I always appreciate your comments.

    2. I'm not on fb, and I haven't seen any comments on any forums, it sounds like you are seeing some grievous comments.

      Have a blessed day Caroline. : )

    3. The catch about "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone" is that it opens a door for other forms of discrimination.

      I used to think everything was so simple, so cut-n-dried. The older I get, the more complicated everything is.

    4. I think I've gotten old enough that things are starting to get easier. You are right about it opening our society up to more discrimination. Discrimination is always bad. This situation reminds me of how blacks were treated in this county for so long, by many who thought it was biblically sound. It's really inspired a lot of thought.

  5. WELL SAID! Thank you. In between things, I have wondered how to handle this. I lived in New Mexico once, where a photographer was sued for not photographing a gay wedding (and lost). I am a photographer. I may come up on this situation sometime.

    The conflict is whether it looks like we condone the behavior.

    At the same time, I think sometimes we get confused about how to minister to the unbeliever versus how to minister to a believer in sin.

    Jesus dined with the cheating tax collectors and prostitutes while calling them to repentance. Paul tells us to remove an unrepentant believer from our congregations.

    God, help us love and be holy. Sometimes it seems like we can only do one or the other. I know that's wrong, but that's what it feels like.

    1. Christ's example is very challenging. He demonstrated against sin in the temple, not in the world.

      I keep wondering what message is being sent.

      How to love and be holy? Yes, that's it. I think when we start with love, we get to holy.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Carino. I appreciate it, and enjoy reading them.

  6. I agree so whole heartedly! that is a response of a trueChristian, I only wish I could respond like that all the time! Thank you for your inspiring blog I truly loved it! God bless you

    1. The Lord has given us an example that is always going to challenge us. Thank you for reading and commenting - I appreciate your time. God bless you, too!

  7. Hmmm. I have very mixed feelings about this. First, I certainly believe that we *should* all be able to choose who we do business with. Opening a shop or offering a service should not obligate us to serve everyone who happens to stop by. On the other hand, most Christians would tend to serve people regardless of our feelings about their actions, simply because that's what we do. My husband doesn't inquire into the marital state or sexual orientation of people he does work for.

    I do see a difference in serving same-sex couples vs. adulterous couples, however. One is evident, and the other you would have to inquire in order to know the truth. 1 Cor 10:25-29 I'm not saying we shouldn't work for them, but simply that there is a reasonable argument there--it could be seen as acceptance or support for the lifestyle by weaker Christians. I have no idea what specifically prompted the bakery to refuse service, but I think there could possibly be situations where I would do the same--for instance, if the couple were people I knew well.

    I think it's very sad that the couple had to close their bakery, but I don't see why there would be a problem with Christians supporting them. If faithful people had rallied around and given them more business, if they had not had to close, that would have been great, by my standards. No, that sort of thing may not save souls, but it does fulfill the instruction to encourage each other in the faith. It's not violent or even confrontational, to support businesses with Godly standards.

    On the other hand (IS there another hand? ;) ) I know that Gods plans are much bigger than any of us, and trust that His purpose will become evident in their lives through this.

    Like I said...mixed feelings. :)

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. This is something I keep thinking about, so I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts! Thank you for reading and commenting. :)

      I am not sure how 1 Corinthians 10:25-29 applies. I thought this passage referred to actions we do that are not a sin, but could hinder less mature Believers (like drinking intoxicating beverages).

      You mentioned one sin being more evident than another. For me, that just makes it all the more clear we should not be trying to find the sin. We cannot see the heart. We also don't know where that person stands in their walk of faith. What if one member of this couple had been privately questioning their lifestyle or choices? And, for that matter, there are very repentant Believers all over the place dealing with sexual confusion, struggling to come out of a gay lifestyle. If we're supposed to draw a sin line, how do we do it?

      I agree that is is sad - and wrong - that they had to close the bakery. The LGBT community crossed the line. Threatening harm, threatening other businesses...not cool. The article says they are continuing to bake from home, though, so I guess the business goes on.

      I don't think it's wrong for Christians to rally to one another's support, or encourage one another in the faith. I just don't think the premise of this whole thing is sound. Elements of it are sound, but they are not all connected to truth. It's the way so much of us our practice of our faith now, just points of truth that don't connect with lived-out truth. "I'll hop this train as long as I like the scenery, then jump off when I don't like. Jump back on when I get tired."

      I think of the Amish community that survived that horrific school shooting several years ago. How they handled that really convicted me of my lack of love. They lived out, from start to finish, what they truly believed.


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