Wedding Cakes Are Not Simple

I wish Jack Phillips’ case was easy but after listening to Ben Domenich’s interview with Mike Farris I can’t side entirely with the baker who refused to make a cake for the gay couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig. One of Phillips’ lines of defense is that he refuses to do something that contradicts his religious convictions about marriage. And making a cake for a gay marriage would be to participate in a religious ceremony that violates Christian teaching.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the couple and guests at a marriage do not consume a wedding cake during the service. Cake is not like the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper. A wedding cake is not sacramental (neither is marriage for Protestants). Are receptions biblical? Do we have a “thus saith the Lord” about the necessity and exact order of a reception? Personally, if I were a dad, I’d be saying to daughters from an early age, “cake and punch, cake and punch.” Have the reception in the church basement. Get on the road to your first night. And save the money on the meal and cake for a down payment on a car or home. (In parts of the U.S., homes are as cheap as cars — ahem.)

Which is to say, if I were Mr. Phillips’ pastor, I’d encourage him to rethink how narrowly he identifies a cake with his beliefs. Heck, I think 5:00 each day is borderline sacramental, but the regulative principle helps me draw a line.

As for Mr. Mullins and Mr. Craig, did they really need to take Mr. Phillips to court? Did they have nowhere else to find a cake for their wedding reception? Turns out they did:

As for Mullins and Craig, they got hitched without any other major hitches, marrying in Massachusetts before going back to their home state of Colorado to celebrate with family and friends. After their story spread across the Internet, the couple was inundated with cake offers — “even from China,” Craig noted — and, ultimately, they landed on a special plan.

When whites denied blacks access to certain schools or luncheon counters, African-Americans did not have a long line of people signing up to educate or sell them a meal. This is why gay rights, for starters, is different from ending racial discrimination. Gay people since roughly 1990 have had a remedy for services desired — another business down the block. African-Americans did not have such a remedy.

That is why blacks had good reason to make a federal case of Jim Crow. Gays of decorated cakes? Not so much.

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What Would Jesus Bake?

The obvious answer is manna.

But thanks to this piece from our mid-West correspondent, I am less confident of that answer. The Jesus Cookie is either a hoax or a vehicle for evangelism. According to the website:

We are a family owned business, dedicated to furthering the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

It is our mission to bring people to His table, one cookie at a time. It has been our personal experience that people are very receptive to something as innocent as a cookie and a cup of tea as a nice, easy way to enter into dialogue about Jesus Christ.

Our cookie came about to fill a need for a simple and non-threatening way to share Jesus with people who need Him.

One notable problem with the Jesus Cookie, aside from the implicit blasphemy, is the failure of this company to specify the flavor. Is it butter, chocolate chip, oat meal? Wouldn’t that affect the appeal of the gospel?

To answer this question, I went in search of a recipe Jesus cookies and came up with the Easter Story Cookie. It is as follows:

INGREDIENTS
1 c Whole pecans
1 ts Vinegar
3 Egg whites
1 pn Salt
1 c Sugar
Zipper baggie
Wooden spoon
Tape
Bible

PREPARATION
To be made the evening before Easter Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3. Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30. Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11. Sprinkle a little salt into each childs hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27. So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 c. sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16. Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in Gods eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isa.1:18 and John 3:1-3. Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus body was laid. Read Matt. 27:57-60. Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus tomb was sealed. Read Matt. 27:65-66. GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22. On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matt. 28:1-9. HE HAS RISEN!

As any mother knows, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. And as any Reformed confessionalist knows, the way to turn a Reformed confessionalist’s stomach is to mix religion and baking.