Bake for them two

canstockphoto9505469In Jesus’ time, the nation of Israel was under Roman rule. The Israelites were allowed to live there and practice their faith for the most part, but they had to pay taxes to Caesar and obey the Roman laws.

To the Israelites, the Romans were evil and ungodly. They had no place ruling over God’s chosen people in God’s chosen nation. That land had been promised to Moses and his descendants when God brought them out of Egypt. Their very presence in the land was blasphemous.

One of the Roman laws stated that any man could be required to drop what he was doing and carry a Roman soldier’s equipment for him for up to a mile. In the Sermon on the Mount, with his followers gathered around him, Jesus referenced that law and told his followers what they should do in that case:

“If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” ~Matthew 5:41

Go with them two miles. That was not the advice that most of the people in the crowd that day had been hoping for. That was not the conclusion that they would have come to on their own, following this man that they hoped would lead them to victory over the Romans. That was certainly not respecting their religious beliefs — go with them two! What if their neighbors saw! What if seeing them carrying the Roman’s equipment caused other Jews to think the Roman oppression was okay? What if there was other work that needed to be done — good work, charity work even, but they spent all that time carrying equipment for the evil oppressor? But Jesus is not worried about any of that:

“If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also,” he said. “And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Christians, our Jesus said, “Go with them two.”

If you believe gay marriage is immoral (I don’t, myself) and a gay couple comes into your shop and asks you to bake a cake for their wedding, what should you do? If God causes the sun to rise and the rain to fall on the wedding days of straight and gay couples, then what is our responsibility? If it is against the law to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation, but you believe strongly that their lifestyle is immoral, what should you do?

Christians, our Jesus said, “Go with them two.”

If you are wondering if it is worth being sued and losing your business to stand up for what you believe is right, if you miss the look of hurt in the couple’s eyes when you refuse them and only see an angry, media-driven, ACLU-led mob attacking the small business owner who is only standing up for what you believe in, what should you do?

Christians, our Jesus said, “Go with them two.”

Jesus said, not only should you follow the law of the land — the law which in America for the most part prohibits discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation — not only should you do the minimum you have to do, you should go the extra mile. (Yes, that’s where that expression comes from!) Do *twice* what the law requires.

If someone forces you to bake a cake for a gay wedding, bake for them two.

Christians, our Jesus said to not only follow the law, but to rise to a higher standard of love. Christians should be the FIRST people baking cakes — for everyone who asks us. We should be known for our cake baking. People should be saying, “There go those crazy Christians again, baking cakes for everyone. They just won’t quit!” Then, when we share the reason for our wild, all-inclusive love, people will want to hear it. “Let your light shine before others,” said Jesus, “that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Christians, when we dig our heels in and insist on our right to discriminate, we are hurting people — we are hurting so many people, so deeply. Behind the ACLU and the liberal media are real people, who have been hurt again and again in the name of Christ. Christians, you and I have hurt them. I know most of us have really good intentions, but we are making Jesus the last thing they want to hear about.

If we “snatch one person from the fire” by refusing to condone behavior we believe is immoral, but send hundreds and thousands of others fleeing churches and Christianity entirely, what have we really accomplished? Someone else will make that cake and fewer and fewer people will look to Christianity for love and hope. We will have won a battle that we were never called to fight in the first place, but lost the war.

*****

Friends, after receiving more than 1500 comments this past week, I’m closing the comments section on this post. I want you to know that I value all of you who took the time to leave a comment, even those who disagreed with me, and especially those on all sides of the issue who vulnerably shared their stories of hurt and healing.

If you would like to read other Christians’ perspective on this issue, or find places for further discussion, I have shared some resources that have been helpful to me here: BFTT follow up and resources.

If you are curious how I came to support gay marriage and full inclusion of LGBT Christians in the body of Christ, you can read about that here.

If you have felt rejected or unloved by Christians or the church because of your sexuality or gender identity, please read my post We choose you.

And please check out Faithfully LGBT and their wonderful photo series of LGBT people of faith.

Love,
Jessica

820 comments on “Bake for them two

  1. I am tempted to drive to Boston and hug you so hard your eyes bug out. That’s not creepy, is it? SO. MUCH. YES.

    Liked by 11 people

    • Um, I could use a good hug, actually.:)

      Liked by 3 people

    • Glenda says:

      What does this have to do with anything Jessica wrote? One of the basic tenets of Christianity is that Christians do not judge. Judgement will be done by God on Judgement Day. The Christians in Arkansas, Indiana, and the other states with such laws need to be reminded of that or they may not like the outcome of their Judgement Day!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Oh, Glenda, Laura is my friend and was offering a hug as support! She would not really make my eyes bug out, I don’t think. Probably?❤

        Liked by 2 people

      • I was merely expressing my support and love for the beautiful essay that my dear friend wrote. That’s all.

        Like

      • Glenda says:

        I’m so sorry that I misinterpreted your comments. And you are right – it is a very good, well-written article. Forgive me for being so cynical and over-reactive. Glad to know you really would not make her eyes bug out!

        Like

      • Jackie says:

        Amen, Glenda! That is what I have been saying for years…it is not up to us to determine whose ways are right or wrong…that is God’s job. Our job is to love thy neighbor. Our Job is to treat others how we want to be treated.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Sara says:

        Thank you So much for pointing this out….above all, what was the message Jesus brought to us? It was one of HOPE & LOVE!! We cannot, as Christians, reserve the right to discriminate and think we are doing something pleasing to God. Best blog post I’ve ever read on this topic! We are not supposed to sit in judgment of others. So glad I stumbled upon it!

        Liked by 3 people

    • Lynne Lyon says:

      Yes. Wonderful, wonderful blog

      Liked by 2 people

    • kim o says:

      Love this totally, except, it insinuates that liberals aren’t Christians…i’m a liberal Christian..so are my family members,,,I’m not a liberal because i’ve been hurt. I’m a liberal for many reasons, but not that one. Keep up the good work:)

      Liked by 5 people

      • I respectfully disagree. I think this totally supports the liberal way of thinking. I believe Christ was the First Lberal. After all, he told us to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the poor, and heal the sick. I think it is impossible to be a “conservative” and be a Christian.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I don’t think it insinuates that at all. I, too, am a liberal Christian. I think it is pointing out that the loudest voices, the ones that galvanize, and get laws passed and dominate the news cycles, are “Christians” at the opposite end of the political spectrum- who are NOT voices of love

        Liked by 2 people

      • hieronymusillinensis says:

        Ms. Ramirez, conservative Christians believe that we are commanded to feed the hungry etc. with the resources that are truly ours to give. We’re just not convinced that we fulfill the command by voting to have Caesar dip into our neighbors’ pockets to do it, or that we fulfill the command through what Caesar takes from us, which is no more than we had to cough up to avoid punishment under the law.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Brad says:

        i’m a “conservative” and I totally agree with this article. Not all conservatives are the same and to say you think it is impossible for a conservative to be Christian is an unfair judgement on them. Some of us are conservative just for a belief in a limited gov. That’s all a conservative really is. Any other view that has been attributed to conservativism are views that one may or may not have and not necessarily all conservatives have them. My wife is a liberal and we respect each other’s views. Maybe if we could all do that, this country wouldn’t be so divided. Also, I’ve never met any conservative that wouldn’t want to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, and clothe the poor. We just have different views on how to go about it.

        Liked by 5 people

      • Patty, I definitely think it’s possible to be a conservative Christian — and I really appreciate Brad’s thoughtful response, above. I think maybe by putting quotes around “conservative” you meant to make a statement about one literal meaning of that word — “marked by moderation and caution” as opposed to one literal meaning of liberal — “generous”? Is that right?

        Like

    • Melanie Sierra says:

      Me too!! I am loving this version of Hallelujah sung by a girl I went to school with, and I hope you love it too, Jessica. Thank you for this piece and Happy Easter!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. lizamryan says:

    Wonderful blog-wonderful message❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Strange that my husband and I had a similar conversation recently, but not nearly as well-said as your post. You have set me to reviewing the Sermon on the Mount which is a delightful thing to do just a few days before Easter. Thank you.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Julia says:

    As an atheist, I just want to thank you for this. It makes me so happy to hear from believers that actually try to uphold the messages of Jesus rather than casting their stones. It gives me hope for a more peaceful and tolerant society.

    Liked by 10 people

  5. John says:

    Just a question: are you aware that many of Jesus’ early followers were executed for failure to follow the law, namely refusing to participate in pagan sacrifices and worship the Emperor?

    Even if the government is evil, there’s no moral issue per se in being forced to carry someone’s luggage any more than there is in, for example, paying taxes that partially support a war you consider immoral.

    There is, however, an inherent moral issue in doing things that violate one’s conscience, such as participating in pagan sacrifices.

    And that means that a lot of Christians who cleave to a Biblical view of human sexuality won’t participate in gay marriages, and their refusal is no more a sign of “hate” than a parent’s refusal to buy a child a candy bar, regardless of the protests to the contrary.

    Liked by 6 people

    • John, thanks for reading, and for sharing your thoughts. I think the analogy holds: Carrying equipment and baking a cake are both morally neutral things. But just as baking a cake for a gay wedding might violate the conscious of some Christians today, carrying a Roman soldier’s equipment might have violated the conscious of Jesus’ Jewish followers at that time.

      I am not calling Christians haters, I want to be clear about that. But I do think that we are taking on a role we were never called to take. We are not the parents of the world. It is not our job to say who gets candy bars and who doesn’t.

      Liked by 10 people

      • hieronymusillinensis says:

        Baking a cake is morally neutral, perhaps, but decorating it as a wedding cake and presenting it at a wedding celebration is arguably an active endorsement of that marriage as a marriage, just as burning incense to the Roman gods was an active endorsement of them as gods. Did our Lord also say “If someone forces you to burn a grain of incense to Jupiter, burn two”? The first Christians didn’t believe so, and paid for it with their lives; do you think they were wrong?

        I don’t doubt those who call themselves gay etc. are deeply hurt people. They are as much the victims of some of the great lies of our world: that a romantic relationship is the summit of human life and that anyone who is not in one is not loved. The same Jesus who told us to love one another also told us that not everyone is going to get to be in a sexual relationship (Mt. 19:12). The world he would have us build and testify to is one where all relationships are filled with love, but sexuality is kept within tight bounds, ordered to bringing new souls into the world for us to love. Glorifying the sexualization of same-sex relationships is just one of the ways post-Christian culture moves in exactly the opposite direction.

        Nor can we forget that quite a few people had their feelings hurt when they encountered our Jesus himself. That is why he was put to death. Many would like to see and love only a partial Jesus. Blessed are they who take no offense at the whole Jesus.

        Apologies for the rambling nature of this comment. Had I many days to write and rewrite it, I might begin to do these matters justice. Alas, I have not.

        Liked by 11 people

    • Taking up hieronymusillinensis’ argument… I take your point to mean that any baker who agrees to bake a wedding cake for any couple are doing so as “an active endorsement of that marriage as a marriage,” in accordance with their intention to adhere to scriptural law. The same scriptures also define under what terms one may re-marry. Do these folks practice the same zeal in determining if those marriages (for example, where a previous marriage ended in divorce not undertaken based on sexual infidelity) are “scripturally sanctioned” before agreeing to bake those cakes?

      Liked by 7 people

      • pocketnaomi says:

        I’ve always been a trifle confused about this aspect of the Christian worldview myself.

        See, I’m a Jew, and to us, the entire Torah is equal. All 613 commandments, with hedges and commentaries and circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each — sorry, wrong quote there. It confuses us when other people talk about the Ten Commandments as if they were any more important than the law telling us not to eat shellfish, or that we have to wear fringes. It confuses us even more when they take one random commandment in the middle of Leviticus and stand on it, ready to fight and die on that hill… while completely ignoring the commandment one above it and the one just below.

        I get that, to most Christians, Jesus distilled the whole thing down to two commandments; and that’s fine. If that’s what you believe, you could do a lot worse than those two (especially since one of them was what the sage said was the entire Torah distilled anyway). But if you’re ditching Levitical commandments in general, why are you picking on the one exception that says gays are yucky?

        Or, if you want to say that only the commandments from the New Testament are valid now, and it’s all the *rest* you want to ditch, OK — we never thought most Torah commandments applied to gentiles in the first place, so we won’t object. But if you think homosexuality is evil because it says so in the NT, and *that* is the hill you’re prepared to fight on, then why do you not make a similar fuss about divorces for non-adulterous reasons? That’s right there with it… but a whole lot of conservative Christian clergy are divorced, and I very much doubt that every single one involved adultery. So something is going wonky in that direction as well.

        I’ve looked and looked, but I can’t find a system form which biblical values are taken seriously by those who claim to take ALL biblical values seriously, and which ones aren’t. Because it’s clearly not all of them. But it doesn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason other than, “We’re not used to doing it this way, and it feels wrong,” which is not a system, it’s an excuse.

        Jessica’s proposed a system, and it has the advantage (for Christians) of being one which Jesus might well have actually used. I hope it gets more widely known and use.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Pocket Naomi, love the Alice’s Restaurant reference!:) Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

        Liked by 1 person

      • hieronymusillinensis says:

        I’ll admit, no. Most of us would extend the benefit of the doubt where there’s room for it. But in some cases there’s no room for doubt.

        Like

      • Brenda says:

        The Alice’s Restaurant nod made me LOL. Thanks for that. And for the post.

        Like

    • Allen says:

      I dont see baking a cake for a wedding, even actively catering as the same level of endorsement as sacraficing to a roman general. I would call it more the same level of selling a calf to a roman to sacrafice to that general. Is it morally neutral? Maybe, maybe not but it’s a closer analogy

      Like

      • pocketnaomi says:

        I see where you’re coming from on this, but I don’t agree and I’ll try to explain why.

        The morally analagous action, in the case of a same-sex marriage, to selling a calf to a Roman for a pagan sacrifice (even the Romans didn’t sacrifice to generals while they were still just generals) might be selling a wedding license to the couple. Something without which the sacrifice/wedding wouldn’t happen. And yes, I can see why you might not want to do that — which is why every law which authorizes civil marriage between same-sex couples makes extremely clear that it is not required for clergy to officiate at such marriages if they’re not comfortable doing so. Because yes, they’re going to get a license or an officiant through a different person anyway, and the wedding will proceed, but I can understand that you might not want to feel you had participated in making it happen, and I respect your need to follow your own ethical path, and don’t want to press you into doing anything which might cross it.

        But a cake, or flowers, or a reception venue or DJ or anything else which is used in celebration, isn’t a matter of participating in the wedding itself. The wedding — which is strictly speaking, just the ceremony — has already happened. In refusing a cake or flowers, what you are saying is not, “I won’t participate in making this wedding happen,” since nobody asked you to; the wedding would’ve already happened without any cake involved, before the cake you’d make enters the picture. What you’d be saying instead is is “I won’t participate in making this wedding JOYFUL.”

        That is the part which, to me, looks mean-spirited about these refusals — although the more I think it over, and see the seriousness of purpose with which un-mean-spirited Christians like those here are thinking about the entire question, I wonder whether it is (in some cases, at least) simply confusion. We are, in this society, so used to seeing a “wedding” as being an entire package — vows and license and rings and big white dress and cake and flower girls and dancing and bouquets and whatever-all else has been written into the “traditions” by eager vendors who want to make money off couples celebrating what is, without the slightest trace of the irony it should have, called “the big day.”

        (Incidentally, I’m getting married in less than a month. To a man, in case anybody’s wondering; so I don’t have an immediate horse in this race, although I strongly support civil marriage rights for same-sex couples. But it makes me somewhat more vividly aware of the overwhelming load of STUFF people assume are an inevitable part of weddings than I might be at other times…. and also more aware of just how little of that stuff is really necessary to make two people into one flesh; legally, emotionally, or spiritually.)

        All a civil, secular wedding involves is an exchange of vows before witnesses, with a license from the state which is signed by the relevant people. Most locations also require some sort of approved officiant, though “approved” can range from being restricted to a judge or licensed clergy, to being anybody you want to have run the show.

        If you don’t feel comfortable participating in making the wedding happen, then sure; don’t get involved in one of those roles. They’re the only ones which make a difference to whether the wedding happens, however. Everything else is just about making it possible to celebrate the wedding which already HAS happened by the time the party starts — which means that the items involved are not the equivalent of the lamb to be used in a pagan sacrifice, so much as they are the equivalent of the bread the Roman eats with his portion of roast lamb after the sacrifice is over. In both cases, the sacrifice or the wedding, the issue with which you have a moral concern has already been completed — without you! Your only question is whether you’re going to insist on playing spoilsport because you’re angry that they did such a thing, and therefore do your best to make it as uncomfortable and joyless as possible for them.

        That doesn’t sound to me like something Christ would do.

        Speaking of joy, a joyful Easter to all who celebrate it!

        Liked by 3 people

    • speakeasy25 says:

      @John–So comparing the LGBT+ community to tantrum-throwing children and self-identified Christians as the well-meaning but strict parents who know better is not patronizing at all. Totally not patronizing. At all.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Donna says:

    I. Love. You. I love my gay friends. I love Jesus. Jesus last mandate to US on this Maunday Thursday is to LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Period. The end. Write On Dister Truth Teller. Right. On!!!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Neil says:

    Hi Jessica. I do understand the point you are making, but where do we draw the line?

    “Christians, when we dig our heels in and insist on our right to discriminate we are hurting people — we are hurting so many people, so deeply”

    I hurt my gay son when I told him he couldn’t sleep with his partner in our house. I frustrated my other Son when I told him he couldn’t sleep with his girlfriend in our house, because for him (in fact both of them) sex and relationships were something casual enough, that they could be started and ended simply and easily.
    Did I want to hurt or frustrate them? No.
    Were their requests against the law? No.
    So why did I choose to deny them? (and discriminate, since the majority of our society says what they were asking for is OK) Because I love them and I want the very best for them, based on what I believe God says is the very best for them.

    For me, the whole ‘cake thing’ should be a personal decision for each Christian to decide based on their own conscience.
    Personally, I would probably decline the request, but I would like to think I would do it lovingly, with sound, gentle reasoning, so as NOT to hurt at all.
    An ideal time I think, to apply Paul’s teaching about being gentle as we correct our opponents.

    As for the law of the land, if my government told me that from tomorrow, I had to put up posters blaspheming my Lord or face Jail, I’d be typing my next reply from a prison cell!

    Bless you Sister.

    Neil.

    Liked by 7 people

    • brownize says:

      Neil – That is *your house*, not your place of business. You’re comparing apples to rump roast here. And you’re also telling them *both* they cannot do that – so where is the discrimination?

      Suppose both of your son’s were getting married and you wanted to buy their cakes from your favorite bakery. One you’ve patronized *soley* for years because they have the most delicious and beautiful cakes in your town .. or any town even remotely close to you.
      Now, suppose those bakers say, “Yes, for your straight son, we will happily bake a cake – but for your homosexual son, we refuse.” Do you just say “Oh, OK. We’ll find another bakery, even though the product will be substandard and we’ll have to go miles and miles to even fine one.” And if you *do* go elsewhere, are you going to give the bakery that refused to help you your business in the future? Are you going to be satisfied with them giving you a ‘sermon’ and sending you to a less desirable bakery?
      Lastly, if you truly have a gay son that you’ve accepted and would still refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding – you are the epitome of hypocritical.

      Romans 2:1 ESV : “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.”

      1 John 3:16-17 ESV : “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?”

      Liked by 5 people

      • Neil says:

        Hi Brownize,
        In the UK, a publican has a duty to not serve alcohol to someone he feels is drunk.
        He is not discriminating, he is using his own discretion to determine when it’s right and proper to implement a law designed to protect his customer.
        It would leave me feeling hypocritical to say I don’t agree with same sex marriage and then make profit from the same situation.

        “Romans 2:1 ESV : “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.””

        Yes, I do truly have a gay son, but I don’t agree with his homosexual relationship, not because I say it isn’t right, but because I believe God says it isn’t right.
        I guess it boils down to whether homosexuality is a sin or not.
        If it is, then Jesus has paid the price for that, just as much as he did for all the stuff I’ve done since becoming a Christian (lies, greed, fear, lust etc)
        The key difference for me is that I’m seeing the benefit of having my mind renewed.

        “1 John 3:16-17 ESV : “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?”

        To have no opinion or take no action when we feel someone is going against God’s will, is failing God.
        If someone came to me to buy several tubs of painkillers after telling me they were depressed, would I be discriminating against depressed people if I chose not to supply them?
        Surely it would be a loving thing to do?

        If I am wrong, and God is happy with Homosexual marriage, then I hope He makes it clear to me real soon, so I can enjoy my gay son’s wedding, if ever he decides to take the plunge!
        Heck, I might even bake the cake myself!!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      With what “sound, gentle reasoning” would you inform a gay couple that you were choosing violate their civil rights?

      Liked by 5 people

      • Neil says:

        Hi Matt,
        The “sound, gentle reasoning” would relate to the reasons why I feel homosexual marriage is wrong, and why I would have a problem condoning it by making money out of something I don’t agree with.

        Like

    • Iorhael says:

      “Personally, I would probably decline the request, but I would like to think I would do it lovingly, with sound, gentle reasoning, so as NOT to hurt at all.”

      Neil, no matter how kind and gentle you would be, just the very *action* of your refusal, would cause hurt. Believe me, I’ve had well-meaninged Christians tell me that I couldn’t be a part of this or that (for various reasons)…didn’t matter how polite or nice the were…rejection is still rejection and it hurts no matter what. And your words on God wanting the best for them would just come off as self-righteous piety to them.

      Try putting yourself in their shoes and think how you would feel if someone refused you service because you were a Christian, or even more, for something attribute you were born with. Contrary to popular belief, gays do *not* choose to be gay…it is the orientation they are born with. How cruel it must feel for someone to be rejected for something they are born with…harkens back to the Civil Rights era.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Neil says:

        Hi Iorhael,
        I am a little overweight because I eat too much. No one in church has ever told me I need to control my weight. I’ve never heard anyone preach on gluttony, but it is still sin.
        Sadly, there is an unfair balance of which sins are preached about, and a lack of love/patience/support shown to those who are the subject of the sermon covering those sins.
        The net result is an incorrect conclusion that their are ‘big sins and little sins’
        This might have been the case when the Israelites were judged by the law, but under grace, ALL sins are covered by the blood of the Lamb who once and for all time made the perfect sacrifice for sin.
        There is no need for ANYBODY to feel judged by sin or other believers.
        I believe from what I understand of God’s word, that homosexuality is sin, but that it is paid for and will have no bearing on eternal destiny for those whose spirit is re-born.
        I believe if my son’s confession of faith was genuine, he will enter the God’s Kingdom as will I, although he might have to wait a little while while I squeeze through the gates!!

        Liked by 2 people

    • Carol M says:

      Where do we draw a line? Go to Jesus who drew a line in the sand then told the crowd who had gathered to stone a woman…let the one of you who is without sin, cast the first stone.

      Liked by 6 people

      • WyomingPBS says:

        I came to this site from a share on Facebook, and it’s given me a lot to think about. I see a lot of comments from both sides that sound like each is privy to the other’s thoughts — what they really want is {fill in the blank}, they just think that {fill in the blank}, etc. I also see comments suggesting that it’s all so simple if we only follow {this particular point of view}.

        If only it were that simple. But the conflicting comments — many of which quote Scripture — only make it clear that it’s *not* that simple.

        Absolutely, we should not hate or condemn or judge or treat the gay couples with any less love than we treat our revered leaders in the faith. I don’t think anyone here is suggesting that. But I do agree that with Jesus’ line in the sand, there is also the caveat of “go and sin no more.” He did not throw stones or allow anyone else to do so, but neither did he offer to hook her up with another client.

        I will say this: Whichever way your interpretation of Jesus’ commands leads you, I will not condemn or judge that decision either. I believe that each of us is trying, in an imperfect world with an imperfect understanding of God, to do what we think will please God (of course, Paul thought that’s what he was doing before Damascus). Accusing one another of hate and heresy absolutely is not part of the “love your neighbor” directive.

        Liked by 6 people

    • Cruorose says:

      But, your sons are your children, under your roof. This same reasoning does not apply to the general public, to equal peers. We can not take it on ourselves to discipline or teach equal pees that we have no charge over. No matter how much you may agree or disagree with their choices, they are God’s charges, and its our job to show them compassion.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Joe says:

      Then I would never do business with. Not for a wedding cake. Not for a birthday cake. Not for a celebration of a big business accomplishment cake.

      Why? Because the wedding day is the most important cake you’ll ever buy. And with that, every cake you buy is a test run, a trial for that big day cake. It’s the one cake you’ll spend the most time pontificating over every detail, so much that you’ll want a close, personal relationship with the baker before you trust them with such an incredibly important decision, indeed, the most important cake of your entire life.

      So, your refusal doesn’t just mean losing one cake. It means losing a -every- cake, a chance to get to know someone, a chance to build a relationship, and perhaps a chance let someone know God as you know them.

      That’s why this isn’t just a simple refusal. It’s an incredible letdown, a trust that has been broken. The most important cake of your life? Why don’t you just pick out a random name of the phone book instead of someone you know and trust?

      Oh, and by the way, you’re still totally a second class citizen.

      That doesn’t sound a lot like loving your neighbor to me.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. meagenry says:

    But where do we draw the line?

    As Christians, we draw the line where Jesus drew it. Jesus drew the line in the sand at the feet of a woman accused of adultery and said “Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone.” He draws the line at the Good Samaritan and the father of the Prodigal Son. God tells us, in the New Testament, that is line so much farther than we think it is. Seventy times seven times farther. So far that we probably can’t even see the line. Bake them two, indeed.

    Liked by 10 people

    • Jeannie says:

      And yet He also told the adulterous woman “Go and sin no more.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jeannie, I think it’s significant in the story of the adulteress that Jesus told the woman, “Go and sin no more,” only after he had asked, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” It was only when she answered, “No one, sir,” that Jesus said, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”

        Jesus was the one who told her not to sin. The role of the other people in the story was to walk away, to leave her alone with Jesus who then spoke to her heart.

        As Billy Graham said, “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.”

        Liked by 6 people

      • Hayley says:

        Yes, JESUS told that to the sinner. He who was without sin was able to judge. We are not Christ and it is NOT our place to do the judging.

        We were commanded to love God and our neighbors, those were the greatest commandments in Christ’s own words. He specifically told us NOT to judge.

        Liked by 5 people

  9. Owenw says:

    Beautiful perspective. And well written. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Diane says:

    This was a very interesting perspective based on scripture that had not been brought to my attention before, so I wanted to thank you for sharing. I do identify homosexuality as a sin (example 1 Timothy 1:10 NIV), but I also recognize that we are all sinners whom Jesus loved and died for; therefore, I would not promote hate of any group. My view on supporting a gay marriage ceremony is this: While Jesus told “those without sin to cast the first stone,” he also told the adulteress to “go and sin no more.” There are also so many passages about repentance – turning away from sin. I think a marriage is the opposite of turning away – it’s making a commitment to the sin. I don’t want to celebrate sin or making a commitment not to change. I feel that my attendance at a gay wedding is showing support or approval of such a commitment, when I am more loving by preaching repentance. The issue about the cakes – would I want to make one or feel comfortable making one? No. Has your post shown me that baking a cake is probably neither here nor there? Maybe.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hi Diane, thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts!

      For me, I think it’s significant in the story of the adulteress that Jesus told the woman, “Go and sin no more,” only after he had asked, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” It was only when she answered, “No one, sir,” that Jesus said, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”

      Jesus was the one who told her not to sin. The role of the other people in the story was to walk away, to leave her alone with Jesus who then spoke to her heart.

      As Billy Graham said, “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.”

      Liked by 6 people

      • misslynn says:

        But the Lord asks us to hold each other accountable.
        I agree to love and not to judge, but not everything has to be accepted.

        Liked by 4 people

    • Colleen Kelly says:

      I would expect, then, that a heterosexual couple who had lived ‘in sin’ would be turned away as well … especially if they had created children ‘out of wedlock’.

      Once they were ‘married’ ‘in the eyes of god and man’ , one could bake a cake for them or let them sleep together in one’s home … but not while they were still living in ‘sin’; for they had not forsaken their evil ways … just because they say they will is not proof.

      Am I understanding your logic? Would you follow such logic?

      Liked by 5 people

  11. debbie says:

    Very well written. My question is, as a Christian why are you ok with same sex marriage? I believe in your message, but I do not believe in same sex marriage. If the Bible likens it to bestiality (and it does),how do we tell someone it’s ok to live in that lifestyle. Thank you for the post, I do appreciate it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark says:

      Debbie,
      As a Christian, I understand that the number one need in most people’s lives is Jesus. It is not a lifestyle change or any sort of morality. It is Jesus. I think that, perhaps, living out that calling as the author has written, may show Jesus. It is not until we have earned our brother in Christ that ‘iron sharpens iron.’

      Liked by 3 people

    • Iorhael says:

      Debbie, may I suggest a book called “God and the Gay Christian” by Matthew Vines. This Harvard student spent two years thoroughly investigating the scriptures that supposedly condemn homosexuality (a word not added to the Bible until the 1940s). I think you may find it very enlightening.

      Liked by 2 people

    • The Bible also sanctions slavery. The Bible also sanctions polygamy. The Bible also says women cannot enter a church with their head uncovered. You cannot line item veto the parts of the Bible that infringe on your personal liberties and dig your heels in on the parts that infringe on other people’s freedom. The Bible is the Word of God- but it was written by men. Mortal men, who were fallible. I love my God, and I love Jesus- who never uttered a word about homosexuality. He DID tell us not to judge, and he DID tell us to love one another.

      Liked by 6 people

  12. Mark says:

    Very interesting, thought provoking message. As a Christian, this certainly seems like the attitude that we are called to have. The one question that I would pose is this:

    As I understand it, Jews did not have the ability to vote or weigh in on any of those debates during the Roman Empire. As us Christians have a role in the government of the United States, does that change the way we should act?

    Like

  13. Helen says:

    I don’t agree with gay marriage. With that being said, it pains me to see Christians unwilling to make a wedding cake. Many Christians call homosexuality a sin. But in the Bible there are no big sins and little sins. All sin is equal. So if a florist refuses to do flowers for a gay wedding, does she also refuse to send flowers to the mistress of an adulterer? Or refuse to do a birthday bouquet for someone who has lied? Why is this the line we draw in the sand? Jesus said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

    Liked by 6 people

    • aubreywursten says:

      I think your post beautifully encompasses the many sides of this issue. I’ve tried to explain it like you do, but my foot got lodged in my mouth. LOL

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Thanks for this. I was reminded again about the bakery situation yesterday and said to my husband how disappointing that Christians if businesses etc, even if they don’t agree with same sex marriage, aren’t taking the opportunity to be loving and kind and take the opportunity to get to know their neighbours. I am a Christian and my son and his partner are gay and Christian and have been together for 10 years. Breaks my heart to read stories of discrimination and such loveless comments from Christians in various social media. Thank you for this blog. You put it really well. Christians need to remember to love as Christ loves whether we agree on a topic or not.

    Liked by 5 people

  15. Thank You for your post. very encouraging. nice to know there are other ppl who think the same way. ITS all about jesus and Others

    Liked by 5 people

  16. Zaya says:

    Why is it assumed that if you are gay you are not also Christian. All of my gay friends believe in Christ and half of them attend church. Not only is the baker turning away a gay couple, he may also be turning away a Christian couple.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Zaya, that’s a really good point, thank you. I apologize if my post contributed to that misunderstanding. If there are LGBTQ Christians reading this, I would love to hear your perspective!
      Jessica

      Liked by 2 people

      • Libtheo says:

        I’m a bisexual Christian who grew up in a very conservative denomination. After a brief period away from the church and organized religion, I came back to the church—this time as an Episcopalian, which is a much more liberally-minded sect.

        In this giant “culture war” between the LGBT community and the Religious Right™, I feel very caught in the crossfire. Worse than that, I sometimes feel like the one throwing stones at each side. In the wake of this entire cake-baking (or pizza-making) debacle, I’ve been upset with many conservative Christians for the belittling I’ve encountered at their hands, and similarly upset with several members of the LGBT community for lashing out aggressively. Where do people like me fit in the picture?

        I have to remind myself constantly that these harsh words and attacks from both sides don’t come out of malcontent. They come out of fear, ignorance, and hurt. Fear of what you don’t understand. Hurt from past attacks. Both sides in general mean well—at least, I would like to think so—but neither wants to put themselves in the others’ shoes.

        On another blog, I ended up having a very civil conversation with a conservative Christian who asked me open and honest questions. Everything in her tone expressed no desire to prove me wrong—only a desire to learn more from me, if anything so she could love her gay friends better. By the end of the conversation, I was hoping I could meet her in person someday, even though she still undoubtedly opposes same-sex marriage. And she felt the same way. It was actually kind of beautiful, and rare.

        The one-mile two-mile is my favorite Beatitude, and one of my favorite Bible verses of all time. It was refreshing getting to see it in this context expressed so elegantly. Thanks for that.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Libtheo, thanks so much for sharing here. I’m so encouraged to hear that you had a good conversation with a conservative Christian, and that she was able to listen and not make you feel judged, and that you were patient and kind enough to answer her questions! That is truly beautiful, and gives me hope.
        Jessica

        Liked by 2 people

      • BeckyJean says:

        Since you asked…

        While most of the world does not consider a Mormon like me to be Christian, I do. I am also gay, married to my wife in Utah.

        I cried reading your blog to her, having not felt authentic Christian love towards myself for many years, until now. Thank you.

        What you beautifully articulated is exactly what I’ve tried to share with others, however, they refused to listen. My own brother chastised me for “twisting the scriptures to suit my agenda.”

        He taught me that you can’t have a dialogue with somebody who keeps their fingers in their ears while singing, “La la la la la.”

        With more people like you and many of the others who have responded, entering the discussion with pure intent and the true Light of Christ burning in their hearts, there now burns hope in my heart that the rift may be sealed and wounds healed.

        May the Lord keep you in the palm of his hand.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Beckyjean, thank you so much for sharing.❤

        Like

  17. Heather Borean says:

    You are made of awesome. Have a virtual hug from .

    Liked by 2 people

  18. K. Chen says:

    This is a wonderful post. I hope to have a more substantive response to it later but I do have to correct one thing. It is not against the law in many, many parts of the US and contexts to discriminate because of sexual orientation. The typical layers of non-discrimination law are: 1. governmental employment and services 2. all other employment 3.Services by specialty merchants (insurers, hospitals) 4. services in places of accommodation 5. provision in goods and services by all merchants.6. And hypothetically, non-discrimination in private conduct. In the U.S., you begin free to be as discriminatory as you want, and then some kinds of discrimination are made illegal.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. kati says:

    I have to agree with the”go And sin no more” crowd, while also not searing my conscience. There is no Biblical basis for racism, even though people would take scripture out of context to support racial segregation and abuses, so I don’t believe these things are the same at all. I have a hard time with the behavior based sins getting equal footing as legitimate. I just think of the scriptures that say “woe to those who call evil good and good evil.”
    This is just something that I’m working out in regards to my walk with Christ, and it’s not a fast issue for me to resolve, as I personally can see that the church has largely failed the gay community in the past in how they are treated.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Kati, I appreciate you being here, and being open about processing these things in your walk with Christ.

      For me it really helped to spend a lot of time listening to people’s stories. The Gay Christian Network is a great place to do this, https://www.gaychristian.net/.

      And Nadia Bolz-Weber and her church made this awesome video — https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=710661775707756&set=vb.240375792736359&type=2&theater.

      One thing that listening to people’s stories has helped me understand is that being gay is SO much more than a choice of who you have sex with. Just as my identity as a straight woman is central to who I am, how I experience the world, and how I experience myself as God’s child, so being gay (or LBTQ) is central to other’s identity. My life and my worship come out of a deep sense of being known and loved by my Creator, every part of me, from knowing that the God who created me looks on me and says, “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.”

      I think one of the biggest places of misunderstanding in conversations about gay marriage is that some Christians think of homosexuality as a choice — as you said, a “behavior-based sin” — whereas gay people see and FEEL it as their identity, as an inseparable part of who they are. For Christians and other people of faith, this means an inseparable part of how their Creator made them.

      You’ve heard the expression “born that way.” To me, it’s even more powerful to think of it as “created that way.”

      Love,
      Jessica

      Liked by 3 people

  20. […] Jesus wasn’t a great moral teacher. He was a lunatic. Jessica Kantrowitz at Ten Thousand Places has a useful reminder: […]

    Like

  21. Jason says:

    This is an interesting thought but I have an even more novel suggestion, remove the state sponsoring of marriage and have them only do civil unions. Then when you buy a cake you are buying it for your union and as that is a state issue not a religious issue, anti discrimination comes into play. For those churches where marriage is important to their structure, the church makes its own determination based on religious grounds.

    If we took the religion out of our business transactions things would just be a lot easier…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Natalie says:

      I like what you say Jason. I do believe this would be more palatable to those who view marriage as a sacred institution between a man and a woman. What I would really like to see is one of the 50 states where the issue of “gay marriage” was put on a ballot and the people voted for it, because in our country of supposed freedoms this has yet to happen. Gay marriage has been approved via money and politicians – not the majority vote of the people….but that’s a whole different conversation. Regarding the original article of baking two cakes – I agree that all people should be treated with love and kindness and compassion. All people, not just the homosexual, transgender community – – but everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • John says:

        Natalie it has already happened. In the 2012 election Maine, Maryland, and Washington all voted to legalize same-sex marriage, and voters in Minnesota voted DOWN an amendment to their constitution to make it illegal, thus opening the way for it to become legal in Minnesota. Polls show that if California were to hold a vote today, the same Prop 8 which passed by a small margin of 52-48% in 2008 would be soundly overturned.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Liza says:

        Actually, it did happen in Washington state in 2012.

        Like

      • pocketnaomi says:

        I’m proud to say that my state, Washington, has already done this. So have a few others by now, I believe.

        Like

  22. Jenn Rowan says:

    Thank you Jessica! I’m an exwife to a wonderful man who is gay. We both were steeped in cultural Christianity here in the US. The hurt caused by Christians is vivid and real to the LGBT community. I believe it is the duty of the followers of Jesus to bridge the gap with love. Tweeted your fantastic meme. Much peace and love.

    Liked by 4 people

  23. IndianaLGBTBibleStudy says:

    As a person who is both Gay and Christian, I believe the primary issue is a misunderstanding of the scripture and true study of the subject. I do not believe that there is any scripture that specifically condemns the LGBT community if living in a committed relationship. The scriptures often used in Leviticus were laws for the Levites because they addressed Temple prostitution, and were never repeated in Deuteronomy which repeats all the laws that apply to the common man. Why tell the priest and not the commoner? Because, if the priest do not offer temple prostitutes then this abomination (form of worship) will not take place. The story of Sodom requires a very twisted reading to apply to homosexuality as the scripture states that all of the townspeople (read the Greek) came and wanted to know the men – in the book of Judges a similar story is told about the concubine in Gibeah – if the story of Sodom is about homosexuality then what is the story of the concubine condemning heterosexuality? No – both are about cruel inhospitable treatment and rape. In the New Testament folks primarily go to Romans but again Paul is writing about worship and then states that because they worship the creatures more than the creator this is what is happening – if you study the cults of the Roman empire and how that started to blend into some of the early churches you will find that Paul’s writing specifically condemns this behavior, especially the cult of Cybele in which men cut off their genitals and lived in the temples as earthly symbols of the Great Mother – others paid to have sex with them in order to be blessed. After the 1950’s a few Bible translations added the word homosexuality; however, it is a stretch because the word being translated is Arsenokoites which is truly a lost Greek word – it only appears in a couple of ancient texts and always in a list so it has no points of references to decipher it’s true meaning. It is a combination of two words – man and bed – the most you could say is – manbedders – but what exactly did that mean in ancient Greek? It is not truly known – imagine if you will coming across the word kindergarten after is had completely disappeared from use and literature – you would say it is a combination of two words kinder and garden – it must have something to do how one gardens in a kinder/gentler way – but how very terribly wrong you would be. Even in KJV this was translated as ‘Abusers of Themselves with Mankind” – if the translators at the time thought this applied to homosexuality they would have said ‘Inverts’ since that was the vernacular of the day. So when asked how can one be Christian and Gay it is through careful study of the Scripture and feeling the Holy Ghost in our soul daily. It is through knowing personally that my relationship with Jesus Christ is secure and that He is with me always. There are entire books written on the synopsis that I provided above, so if folks want to study then it is easily available – as Paul said – Study to show thyself approved! In Christ Love!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Allison Liston says:

      Please share the books and refs I would love to have the information to show some close minded Christians where I live how God truly intended for us to live. I’m so tired of all the judgement and hate coming from the Christian community where I live that I have stopped going to church for fear of falling into their follies. I really appreciate the hint of fresh air in your post!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Jill says:

    I’m one of those Christian Pastors who support Marriage for all gender orientations and identities. To answer the questions about following the Bible, I’d say that it’s so important to put those few passages in context. Though the word “homosexual” was added to later translations, when the Bible was written cultural understandings were different. Many of the passages referred to practices such as temple prostitution or intentional shaming by gang rape. (Think Abu Ghraib) Romans 1 – the favorite passage so often quoted – is referring back to a specific time in history and specific events. It is a preposition to the already mentioned Romans 2 which says therefore do not judge. It also says (in some translations) that gossip was a sin worthy of death. Now that’s an interesting thought. I don’t think any of us are getting any cake if we take that one seriously!
    I’m a pastor, not a scholar. Many people have studied this matter much more deeply and written much more clearly. I recommend some further research into the context of these passages. A very accessible read is Matthew Vines’ book “God and the Gay Christian”.
    Thank you for adding your thoughts on this very needed road to healing.

    Liked by 5 people

  25. Vicki says:

    I and my husband felt you really addressed a very controversial subject very well and reminded us that gods word does address these hard issues. We immediately were reminded of the stoning of the woman…we are ALL sinners one way or another. This reminder has opened our eyes; as well as brought tears of shame for feeling we have been forced to do things that we felt were biblically wrong i will be sharing this with my pastor. Thank you and bless your ministry.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. christi says:

    You’ve posted a thoughtful commentary abd I shall certainly consider it. I have been asking myself and in a good deal of prayer. How do we live well in our world staying true to Christ.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. Reggie11 says:

    I’m wrestling with this topic. Here’s another perspective. The gay person (or couple) has a responsibility too. If what they are doing is offending another person, then maybe they need to take a closer look at their behavior. They are possibly being selfish and inconsiderate by forcing their viewpoint onto the family and/or friends (and in the case of being Christians) other believers who don’t hold the same perspective.

    Maybe not a perfect analogy, but if one person drinks alcohol and his friend doesn’t, then being aware of his friends aversion to alcohol and not flaunting it in the face of the other would be the proper response.

    Jesus’ final and complete commandment (transcending or, maybe completing all other commandments), “love God and love your neighbor as yourself”.

    The lady that wouldn’t let her boy sleep in the house with his girlfriend was teaching him and her through ‘tough love’ that marriage is the ideal, and that’s the standard she would like to see him achieve.

    However, fornication outside of marriage (or at least a reasonable lifelong commitment) hurts both parties. Adultery hurts both people, the spouses of those people and all surrounding parties. Alcoholism hurts one or more people all the time. The act of abortion could very well be murder, or at least the very definition of absolute selfishness if it wasn’t due to rape or threatening the life of the mom (see fornication and adultery, above).

    Does being gay and having a gay partner, (then practicing abstinence until married) hurt anyone? Not sure…

    But, the gay couple also have to own up to their side of the issue, related to Jesus’ words, as well as the rest of us.

    Still wrestling…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Reggie, thank you for sharing your honest thoughts as you wrestle with this issue. Forgive the copying and pasting, but I wanted to share what I wrote to a couple other commenters:

      One thing that listening to people’s stories has helped me understand is that being gay is so much more than a choice of who you have sex with. Just as my identity as a straight woman is central to who I am, how I experience the world, and how I experience myself as God’s child, so being gay (or LBTQ) is central to others’ identity. My life and my worship come out of a deep sense of being known and loved by my Creator, every part of me, from knowing that the God who created me looks on me and says, “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.”

      I think one of the biggest places of misunderstanding in conversations about gay marriage is that some Christians think of homosexuality as a choice whereas most gay people see and FEEL it as their identity, as an inseparable part of who they are — just as straight people do. For Christians and other people of faith, this means an inseparable part of how their Creator made them.

      You’ve heard the expression “Born that way.” To me as a Christian it’s even more powerful to think of it as “Created that way.”

      So while it’s not unreasonable to ask someone not to drink in front of an alcoholic, I would say it’s wrong to ask someone to hide who they truly are in order not to offend others. God is glorified through all of creation, in all of its manifestations. As the Hopkins poem that my blog gets its name from says,

      “Christ plays in ten thousand places,
      Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
      To the Father through the features of men’s faces.”

      Jessica

      Liked by 3 people

      • Reggie11 says:

        Hey Jessica!
        Thanks for the heartfelt response. I had another anecdote I was thinking of, to explain my fractured feelings on this subject. If a gay person knew his or her mother was crying herself to sleep every night (whether or not that is an irrational position) because of him or her being in a gay relationship, isn’t there a responsibility of the gay person to take in to consideration the moms heartache and belief system as well?

        In other words, especially as a gay Christian where one would think they are following Jesus, they should set aside their own desires and take care of the mom? We are all craving love, fellowship, companionship; but in the scheme of things, aren’t all the things of this earth temporal anyway and the whole purpose of our existence is to glorify God – largely through how we treat others?

        The Apostle Paul is an (our?) example. Eschewed marriage for a life devoted to follow Christ and Christ alone. The problem of sexuality would not even be raised. I guess the rebuttal would be, “well that’s not me”, but the rebuttal to the rebuttal is, “yes but it can be”.

        We, especially in “Rome” America get so caught up in – what is my right, my will, my pleasure, my feelings, my identity that we forget its not about us… It’s about God and ‘them’, from both sides of every individual rights argument.

        Just thoughts, on this road…

        Liked by 1 person

    • Ame says:

      Reggie, I’m a gay (and married) Jewish woman, so I can’t quote New Testament for you. But I feel the need to reiterate here: my sexuality is not a choice. This is the way I have felt my entire life. I *tried* to date men, for many many years. And then I fell in love with a woman. She is the person I love. She is the person I choose to go to the park with on Sundays, to go on long drives with, to talk about work with at the end of the day. When we see family and friends, we aren’t forcing a viewpoint on them. We are just going about our lives. It’s just who we are.

      We are kind, giving people who would do anything for the people we love –we are not selfish, and honestly, just seeing you write what you did about “needing to take a closer look at our behavior” made me tear up a little bit. That hurts.

      This is not to say we haven’t had to hide our relationship in certain situations, mainly while visiting other countries where being gay isn’t widely accepted. Again, it hurts. It’s really, really painful to have to pretend that the woman standing next to me is a friend and not the love of my life

      As far as your comment about what a gay person would do if their mother cried themselves to sleep every night–I believe I am incredibly lucky to have two accepting parents, including a father who walked me down the aisle. But I know people for whom that is not the case. They are forced to distance themselves from their parents. Changing their behavior is not an option, because it’s not *a behavior*. It’s an integral part of their being.

      This is why we see so many suicides among gay teenagers. When you are told long enough that you’re weird, strange, selfish, inconsiderate–when all you’re really doing is being yourself–it can lead to dark outcomes.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Ame, thanks so much for sharing your story and your perspective, and for doing it so kindly.
        Love,
        Jessica

        Liked by 2 people

      • Reggie11 says:

        Ame, didn’t mean to have you sad over my statements, I’m just trying to express various thoughts that go through my head on this subject. This is a very open and so far gentle blog/conversation and I so appreciate that! If we were in Russia this conversation wouldn’t even be allowed, according to many of my Russian friends.

        Well, I’ve said my piece – will keep loving in the spirit of Jesus but unfortunately filtered through my own sinful nature – imperfectly at best, all people in my sphere: and hope you can do the same.

        Blessings to you and yours!

        R

        Liked by 1 person

    • Steve says:

      Reggie, a common theme I’m picking up from those “on the fence” is that, if Christians must be accepting, why don’t homosexuals have to accommodate “Christians”. My answer is, it is irrelevant how someone else acts. Christians should follow Christ’s teachings and love thy neighbor no matter how they treat you. Don’t judge or punish others, that is the job of the Father. Jesus may have said sin no more, but he did not include or “the mob will be allowed to stone you or judge you.”

      Liked by 3 people

    • sharayakai says:

      My mother refuses to meet my wife for two reasons, 1) she cannot risk condoning my “behavior and choice”, 2) she is too old and lacks the energy to meet ANYONE new to the family.

      For years I held to the pain her inaction caused in me, distanced myself from her right down to refusing to call her in her birthday! How selfish I was! How could I demand her love and acceptance if I withdrew mine? I love my mother! When she moved to within 30 minutes of me, and I saw how very fragile she has become, all the anger disappeared. All I have is love. I will Not waste her remaining years on a subject, that in the grand scheme of things, matters not. God judge on my love! I refuse to face Him and give the following report: “I didn’t honor my mother because she didn’t honor me.” What a petulant child I would be!

      With that said, what someone chooses to be offended by, is not in my control, why then must I cater to them? I don’t expect the same. My thoughts, feelings, and actions are the only things truly in my control and personally, I’d rather let Christ take the lead there.

      Liked by 3 people

  28. Cathie Waldie says:

    What a wonderful way to explain how we should treat others. I like how you substituted America for the Roman Empire. Great article!

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Jessica,

    Thank you for posting this, I hope you don’t mind that I shared it.

    Since you asked, I’m a gay, married man and I had my daughter baptized. I have moments when I struggle with being a ‘Christian’ not because I don’t have my faith, but because so many other ‘Christians’ seem to think it’s fair to toss stones at me and my family.

    Something I would point out to all those who oppose gay marriage in the name of Christianity – Christianity as a whole does NOT opposes gay marriage. Here is a list of denominations that allow gay marriage; United Church of Christ: Quakers: Metropolitan Community Church, Unitarian Universalist Unity Church, and most recently the Presbyterian Church formally approved them. The Episcopal Church will bless them. I included that to point out that being a gay Christian is not an oxymoron. Only some Christians see the two as incompatible. Fortunately, I didn’t have to choose between being who I am and my faith.

    Thanks again for writing this.

    Andrew

    Liked by 5 people

    • Andrew thank you so much for sharing. I’m so sorry for the stone tossing. I truly believe that if there is a way through this is to listen to each other’s stories, and I appreciate so much that you’re willing to share a little of yours here.
      Love,
      Jessica

      Like

    • Linda Baker says:

      The Swedenborgian denomination also allows gay marriage!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Linda. I’ll add that to my list. And thanks for adding to my point – the anti-gay sentiment is not a Christian thing, just some Christians think that way. It’s unfortunate that some paint all Christians with the same brush and forget all the ones who support us whole heartedly.

        Liked by 1 person

    • pocketnaomi says:

      Thank you for the list, Andrew — it’s helpful even though I’m not a Christian, to know where among the Christian population I might find people who prioritize kindness over judgment.

      One thing I want to clarify: while the Unitarian Universalist church welcomes Christians as they do all others, they are not a Christian denomination. Instead, they are a spiritual organization which includes elements of any and all paths. They started out as a nominally Christian branch because it was unthinkable (and probably politically unsurvivable) not to at the time they originated; but for a long time now they have contained as much of any other world religion as they have of Christianity.

      I hope you don’t mind my tacking onto your comment. I didn’t want Christians who might not feel comfortable with that to be confused.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Naomi,

        Of course I don’t mind you clarifying things, I appreciate it. I had done a search of all denominations that would marry us a couple years ago and came up with the list. There are some Jewish sects that will marry us as well, but I left them off. Not being a Unitarian, I didn’t really know what you posted, so thanks for the add..

        Liked by 1 person

  30. David H. Littleton says:

    There’s going to be a difference of opinion spiraling from the simple fact that there is a divide between those who believe homosexuality is a sin, and those who do not.

    As to not take you on a long, tedious journey just to identify my view on the issue, I’ll start by saying that I am a Christian and do not believe in homosexuality. I also write this in a truly loving, non-confrontational way. I myself have three family members who are gay and love them no differently, and they love me no differently despite understanding our thoughts on the issue.

    Without going into too much detail, I do think the Bible is pretty clear about the stance a Christian should take on homosexuality. Though some advocate that homosexuality is not condemned in the Bible by digging into the text, I do believe those arguments come up short in reaching their intended target. The overall tone toward homosexuality from cover to cover is negative. The most explicit verses used are Romans 1:18-32 (I know, surprise surprise), but I think it holds true. I’ve looked at with a very open mind and heart, but still believe the interpretations in favor of homosexuality are stretched in their analysis.

    Now let’s get to the real heart of it. For a Christian who is against homosexuality, how should we respond?

    LOVE. There are many different sides to it, but LOVE is the rule of thumb. Now, where I feel many Christians are plagued is how to respond without compromising your belief (ie. not baking a cake, not photographing a wedding) if it violates your conscience.

    Where is the line?

    Why is refusing service for a wedding seen as bigoted, and hurtful? Does the fact that it hurts emotionally to a couple make it unnloving?

    The answer is no. Jesus often cut directly to the core of an issue which would typically caused pain for people who did not want to hear it. He spoke truth. No, he didn’t go around saying demeaning things, pumping himself up, and putting others down for where they fell short. But he never shyed away from truth. He never compromised, but at the same time, he was never unnloving while he did it. So, can you be loving as much as you can be uncompromising? I believe you can.

    Are we casting condemnation?

    Let’s tackle judgement. Does refusal equate to judgement? I believe not. I doubt any pro-gay advocates out there would say the majority of Christians are actively going out, casting metaphorical stones at them. Christians don’t want to step on gay people’s toes as much as gay people don’t want to step on Christian’s toes. However when it comes to moral decisions, we are called to take a stand and draw the line. Any true Christian will not approach the situation in anything but the most loving way possible.

    Christian’s are not vindictive in the way they go about interacting with the gay community. I’ll gladly grab a beer with a gay friend, ask him about his life, help him move into a new house, go to a ball game (maybe even a fashion show or two, but not three. Man I hate fashion shows), but there are certain moral dilemmas the Christian cannot ignor. I believe that is one of the greatest misunderstandings the gay community has about Christians. We are not out to get you. We are not condemning you for where you fall short any more than you are condeming the billions of Christians who fall short every day.

    There is a lot more that could be said, but I’ll stop here for now. Thanks for reading.

    Liked by 3 people

    • David, well done for living your faith to the best of your ability. (I mean that sincerely, I’m not being the least sarcastic. Just in case anybody wonders.)
      It’s been a long time since I read the Bible, but I seem to recall that Jesus’ judgment was pretty much limited to a) hypocrisy and b) self-centredness at the expense of others. Granted, Paul took a rather more stringent line but, however divinely-inspired his letters were, in my opinion what he says should be regarded through the filter of his humanness.
      Religion often makes it far too easy to judge another (a human predilection, anyway) for any number of perceived wrongdoings. Even when judging is supposedly done ‘in love’, I still believe that Jesus’ warning ‘let he who is without sin cast the first stone’ should be applied. Or, how about, ‘judge not, that ye be not judged’?

      Liked by 3 people

      • Virginia says:

        Interestingly enough, only a few verses beyond where Jesus said “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” He *also* said “You can know a tree by its fruit” and again, “By their fruit you shall know them.”

        To my understanding, it’s never our prerogative to assess a person’s character or predict their eternity. That’s God’s job. But we *do* need to be aware of behaviors or situations that are out of harmony with the way God designed the universe to operate. Some things work, and some other things *don’t* work. The wise person looks at the bigger picture, thinks ahead, decides the best course to take. That’s not the same as saying someone who disagrees with you will go to H**L. But we *have* to judge. It’s using common sense…isn’t it?

        But while it’s not my job to decide what *other* people should do, I **do** have the responsibility to decide what *I* should do…*how* I should respond…*how* to live the love of Christ. What does it look like in real time, with skin on it? *That* is the question here…or so it seems to me.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mary Russell says:

      David, you say you don’t believe in homosexuality. Then you say you have three family members who are gay and yet you love them. Homosexuality is a result of genetics. In many, many species, including homo sapiens (humans), about 10% of the population engage in homosexual behavior, usually (but not always) instead of heterosexual behavior. Saying you don’t believe in it doesn’t make sense! It’s like saying you don’t believe in rain. Rain happens–not nearly enough where I live, and too often in other places–and it’s nothing something one believes in! It just happens.

      You can certainly say you don’t accept homosexuality, but then you love your family members who are gay. I don’t understand. You can love people you don’t accept?

      Homosexuality makes people uncomfortable, because it’s not ‘normal’. Well, what is normal? There was a time that I might have been burned at the stake as a witch because I’m left handed. The Latin word for ‘left’ is ‘sinistra’, which is where we get our word ‘sinister’ from. They really used to burn left handed people! Oh, yes, and about 10% of people in the world are left handed. Same amount as people who are gay.

      Is being against homosexuality like being against people owning assault rifles, or against people who are left handed, or like being against people who color their hair pink or green? How does it hurt you? Especially with three family members who are gay and yet you love them? I truly do not understand. This is not a moral decision. Genetics has absolutely nothing to do with morality! But the way we treat other people–particularly those people are different from us–has everything to do with morality.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Steve says:

      David well written, but I have to disagree that “not baking a cake” does not equal judgement. I’d go so far as to say the it also equates to “throwing stones.” It is judgement and punishment because, the person who is refusing, is passively expressing their displeasure with the “sinner” (passing judgement) and is treating the customer in a negative manner by denying a service that is given to everyone who is not judged to be a “sinner” (throwing stones)

      Liked by 2 people

    • Roy says:

      Thanks so much for sharing, David.

      Yes, Jesus did not compromise truth for sentimentality. And He is lovingly truthful. Hebrews 12:7 is reassuring of that love. I think, and would hope, most parents agree that discipline is not a bad thing, but a loving thing.

      The Lord helps us be loving and uncompromising as He is.

      Like

    • speakeasy25 says:

      @David–You “don’t believe in homosexuality”? It’s not like unicorns or the Easter Bunny–you don’t get to believe or not believe in it. It’s a thing–which you then acknowledge by saying you have homosexual people in your life. And when you talk about “drawing a line”–and then decide for others what that line should be–you are being patronizing. These are problems.

      Liked by 1 person

    • john schipper says:

      As others have said, Jesus’ response to those who judged the woman caught in adultery was to let the one without sin cast the first stone. And only one person there was qualified to do so. Jesus also said to Judge not, to remove the beam from our own eye. The bible also states that if I consider something (food sacrificed to idols) to be sinful than for ME it is. Not mine to judge my neighbor who eats freely. We are dead to the law (Romans) which in my life means I am free to follow a higher law, which is to love my neighbor.
      Wonderful to see a thread of comments so free of nastiness.

      Liked by 2 people

    • fran says:

      Very well said….I had a good friend in college who was gay. I knew how she felt and she the same. We never discused homosexuality.

      Like

    • curiositycat says:

      I think perhaps if we want to truly behave as Jesus would, we must not only bake two cakes, we must also do so in such a manner that everyone at the wedding will be in awe at how much better that cake is than any they’ve ever seen before.

      Romans 13:13 (and many other NT and OT verses) condemns drunkenness: “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.”

      And yet when Jesus came into his adulthood, what is the first recorded miracle he performed? Turning water into wine for a party that was already so full of carousing and drunkenness that the participants complained that the host had waited until they were too drunk to truly enjoy the good wine.

      The good wine that Jesus made.

      That was better than the best wine of the night.

      That Jesus made for a drunken wedding party.

      Jesus didn’t think it was beneath him to serve people who were actively, flagrantly engaging in a behavior that other places in the Bible identify as sinful. Why do we think it’s our responsibility to do so when it comes to behaviors that we aren’t even active witnesses to (presumably)?

      Liked by 4 people

    • pocketnaomi says:

      I’m afraid I *am* going to say that the majority of Christians I see are actively going out casting metaphorical stones at gay people.

      I wish that weren’t what I see, and I hope it’s simply because the Christians whom I *don’t* see are quietly at home living their own lives and not bothering anybody, and so I don’t know they are there. But yes, the majority of the ones I know about are actively involved in seeking out opportunities to judge, condemn, and mistreat gay people. They don’t simply do their own thing until somebody happens to come to their store, and then politely decline to be involved in something — they’re out there trying to pass laws which control, circumscribe, and damage gay people’s lives. They’re protesting at Pride parades. They’re preaching in churches about how tolerance of gay people is why the world is in such a mess — the Westboro crowd aren’t the only ones who think this; just the only ones who go take it to the funerals of non-gay folks, which is why they’re noticed more.

      The stone-casting is pretty constant, and I think that most other LGBTQ people see it clearly. If you don’t, perhaps it’s because you’re not traveling in the circles where it is happening — but it does happen, a depressingly large percentage of the time where any straight Christians and any gay people (whether Christian themselves or otherwise) intersect.

      Liked by 2 people

  31. Reblogged this on reneehughesauthor and commented:
    It is all about perspective.

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Lovely and wonderful piece. I’m an atheist and a post-Jewish one at that, but this is exactly the way I see Jesus and I don’t understand those who claim their Jesus belief supports their divisiveness and ugliness.

    Liked by 3 people

  33. Nancy says:

    My first thought, like the author of the first reply, was that I’d LOVE to give you a hug. Thank you for writing this.

    Liked by 3 people

  34. Brad Garbus says:

    I have two words…. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. martinweber7 says:

    BTW, lest anyone consider me homophobic, I have visited gay people dying with AIDS and stayed with them by the hour, week after week until they died. And then opened our church to have a funeral, hosting apx 100 gay guests. Never once, during any of my visits nor while conducting the funeral service, did I speak of sexuality. I just talked about Jesus. And that was not going the extra mile–it was just ministry, and friendship as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. So beautiful. Thank you so much.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. Reblogged this on 2sheepinthecity's Blog and commented:
    Beautiful.

    Like

  38. aubreywursten says:

    Is it possible to follow you on Facebook? Social media confuses me. So many buttons… LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Teresa H says:

    I agree with your thoughtful and insightful words. As a Christian, if I owned a bakery and a gay couple wanted to order a wedding cake, I would be happy to do it. I hope that all people, no matter what faith they practice, and if they practice no faith at all, can be more civil and generous towards one another. The pizza store owner in Indiana got death threats because she felt she would be betraying her interpretation of her faith. That is a scary thing to me. I hope that dialogue and respect can replace all expressions of hate.

    Liked by 4 people

  40. David K. Manning says:

    Thank you for your beautiful words. I am going to share this on Facebook. I am Gay. I am not Christian, although I certainly believe in most of Jesus’ teachings. This is an answer to my Easter prayers. I cannot believe that more than a small portion of Christians really believe that their rights are usurped when they respect mine. More Christians who believe as you do must speak out. LOUDLY! I have seen attitudes toward Gay people change so much in my 50 years. The current scapegoating of the LGBTQ community is super frightening. Thank you again.

    Liked by 3 people

  41. dane says:

    when did Christians lose the concept of DOING what Jesus asked them to do? way back when jesus taught! “why do you call me your lord and you do not do what i say???” oh us christians!!! will we ever get it?

    Liked by 2 people

  42. Thank you for this! Over the past few days, because of what I’ve seen happen in Indiana, I’ve made my final decision to renounce any further explorations into joining a Christian church. I decided once and for all to stick with the religion of my birth family, which is Unitarian Universalist. The UU congregations appear to do a good job of acting in ways to which Jesus Christ would have given a thumbs-up, as a general rule. I’m still glad that be reminded that there are many Christians who are doing the same. Rock on, peeps trying to follow the light.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. I cannot agree more. Well said.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Emmy says:

    Beautiful, kind, truth-filled words. Thank you, and Amen.

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Marty says:

    Roman soldiers got in trouble if they allowed someone to carry their packs more than a mile. So carrying it two was an example of peaceful protest, or civil disobedience. Yes, bake them two in protest as well as love. I’m one of those angelic troublemakers.

    Liked by 1 person

  46. Hi!! Thank you for sharing this! The Lord was speaking this to me too, but I couldn’t get my thoughts out because I’ve been sick with pneumonia. The same Scriptures, the same examples. You expressed my heart. May I link to your blog, or at least quote a few portions, all credit to you?? Let us continue to encourage others to know Christ through our love & deeds–not push them away. Bless you!!! Linda

    Liked by 2 people

  47. karen says:

    Thank you for such a thoughtful piece. I’m agnostic with a Catholic background, for the record. I just want to share two thoughts: If you believe that homosexuality is a sin, then be glad you were born staight and please move on. What others do in their lives isn’t really your business, I don’t think. Second, civil rights are not something that we get to vote on. We didn’t vote to free the slaves, on desegregation of schools, on civil rights for black folks. We don’t vote, and by general consensus decide, whether everyone gets to live their lives in equal peace. (It’s bad enough we need laws to explicitly state that people have rights. And laws like these, that limit people’s rights, IMHO, have no place in a civil society.) Thank you for listening.

    Liked by 3 people

  48. mentalbrine says:

    Enjoyed it so much blogged about it and linked back. Thank you for providing a clear perspective. Hope it generates thoughtful discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Susan says:

    YES! YES! A million times yes! (And I say this as a commercial baker)

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.