To Bake or Not to Bake…That’s the Question…Or is it?
Thanks for the input I received on Friday’s post. If you didn’t get a chance to read it I suggest going back and reading it for the context of today’s thoughts. But if you don’t have time for that, the gist of the post was to ask the question: “If you were a photographer or baker who thought that homosexuality was a sin, would you bake a cake or take wedding pictures for a gay marriage?” Many of us read about the recent proposed law in Arizona that was recently vetoed by the governor. As in all issues like this, I think the greatest “danger” is in making the issue too black and white. I really think there are two ideas in tension here. As a business owner, I’d like to think that you can pick and choose who you would do business with. I think we all agree with this to an extent. There are “lines” that we would not cross; nor would we want to force others to cross. I also don’t think that there is necessarily a right or wrong answer here; nor can any of us really know what we would do until we find ourselves in the specific situation.
As a pastor I would not officiate a gay wedding. I see my involvement in a wedding as a representative of God (though I’m clearly not God…) and the Bible is very clear that marriage is an institution between a man and a woman. But I struggle a little more with the baker or the photographer issue. I wonder if the right thing for me would be to be honest with my customer about what I believe and yet; if they still wanted me to bake the cake, go ahead and bake it. Could that be an expression of love to those two people; even though I don’t agree with what they are doing? Yet, I want to support the baker or photographer who wouldn’t want to participate in that.
As our culture turns more away from traditional biblical morals, I think the followers of Jesus have important decisions to make. Either decision in my baker/photographer scenario could be supported by Bible verses and examples. Is it possible that the Spirit of God could lead two different bakers to different decisions? I’m pretty confident that the answer to that question is “Yes”. To bake a cake or not to bake a cake isn’t specified anywhere in the Bible. The challenge for us as followers of Jesus is to seek God’s direction in the specific applications and yet, not speak harshly of fellow believers in Jesus who might make a choice different than ours. I do believe that many things in the Bible are “black and white” but the greatest threats to unity and peace in the body of Christ are the gray areas. Some of our greatest challenges and perhaps some of our greatest opportunities for “gain” in the body of Christ is to effectively handle these gray areas; with both grace and truth. Jesus was full of grace and truth. We can be as well…but it’s hard to get the right “mix” and “exposure” sometimes!