The Parable of the Same-Sex Wedding

There was a man who owned a flower shop. It was his livelihood, but it was more; it was his art, his outlet, even his worship. He was a Christ-follower, and his work wasn’t just how he paid his bills. It was how he honored God.

One day two men came into his shop, with a sort of eager expectancy. They were getting married in a few months, and wanted to hire the man for their wedding.

And the man’s heart dropped. He didn’t agree with same-sex weddings, and knew that there are few things that God is more passionate about than marriage. Suddenly, his flowers were more than mere petals and stems–they had bloomed into symbols of purity. And so he took a deep breath, met their gaze, and said,

“I’m sorry guys, but I can’t sell you my flowers. I believe that same-sex marriage is outside of God’s will. I don’t at all mean to be offensive, but it would go against my religion to provide services for a wedding that I believe to be wrong.”

The two men stared in shock, deeply offended, and quickly left his shop. They never returned.

And despite the loss of business, the man was content that he had honored God with his work.

Now there was another man who also owned a flower shop. Like the first man, it was his livelihood, but it was also more; it was his art, his outlet, even his worship. He also was a Christ-follower, and he saw his work as his means of honoring God.

One day two men came into his shop, with the same sort of eager expectancy. These men were also getting married in a few months, and wanted to hire this man for their wedding.

And this man’s heart skipped a beat in excitement. He also didn’t agree with same-sex marriage, and knew that there are few things that God is more passionate about than people. Suddenly his roses were more than mere thorns and stems–they had bloomed into symbols of sacrificial love. And so he took a deep breath, met their gaze, and said,

“I’m sorry guys, but before we go any further, you should know that I believe that same-sex marriage is outside of God’s will. I know that sounds offensive and even crazy, but it’s important to me that I say it. But it’s far more important to me that you know that my religion compels me to love people in as many ways as I possibly can.”

“So, if you would still like to hire me–and I completely understand if you don’t–I’d like to provide the flowers for your wedding for free.”

The two men stared in shock, deeply offended, and quickly left his shop. But they found they couldn’t as quickly shake the memory of his upside-down worldview and his even more upside-down generosity. And so one day they returned to take him up on his offer.

And despite the loss of time, revenue, and resources, the man was content that he had honored God with his work.

If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.

Which of the two men truly went the second mile?

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About Tim Owens

I'm a husband, father, and Christ follower. I also live in Albany, NY, where I work as a pastor.
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11 Responses to The Parable of the Same-Sex Wedding

  1. Daniel Vance says:

    Interesting post, Tim. Although the specifics of this situation mean little to me, I struggle with the ideas behind it a lot: namely, where is the appropriate line between love and licentiousness? Or to put it another way, what divides “in the world but not of it” and “come out from among them?”

    I generally fall in to the “be holy” camp, and I’d like to think that it’s because I am trying to be true to my God in a wicked generation–and I believe that is part of it–but if I am honest, it is also because I am not as loving as I should be towards people. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Excellent- well written, well reasoned. Thanks Tim!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Tim,

    I have 4 scenarios/questions for you. Please answer with simple a “yes” or “no.” No further explanations necessary.

    1. A lesbian couple living next door to you is having trouble clearing their driveway of snow in order to get to work. You have some extra time, so you hop on over with your shovel and help. Would you?

    2. You meet a gay couple at the park with your kids. You find out they just moved into your neighborhood, so you invite them over for dinner to get to know them. Would you?

    3. Two college guys who are “partners” visit your church. You find out they are looking for housing and their funds are very limited. You and your wife have an extra, unused, bedroom in your home. You invite them to live in your house with your family for the semester, or until they can find an apartment. They would be using the same bedroom. Would you invite them to live with your family?

    4. You have now gotten to know the two guys from #3 (above) and they tell you they are getting married and want you to officiate the marriage ceremony. Would you officiate at their wedding? (note: this would be legal, as I understand it, in the state of NY)

    • Tim Owens says:

      1. Yes
      2. Yes
      3. No
      4. No

      While you didn’t ask for further explanation, I thought I’d offer some (if for nothing else for those who happen to read this far down):

      My life boils down to these simple motivations: love God and people at all times (which, admittedly, I don’t always accomplish). While I think I best show my love for God by how I love other people, I also do so by how I obey God.

      #’s1 and 2 are an easy yes: great opportunity to show love for people, and I’m not doing anything to disobey God.

      # 3 isn’t about same-sex, but about sex. I believe it’s wrong to have sex outside of marriage, so I wouldn’t want to actively provide someone with an opportunity to have any kind of sex outside of marriage. Since I wouldn’t provide a room for a guy and girl to stay together in my house, I wouldn’t for two guys/two girls either. Now, if they were willing to live in separate rooms? Then the answer, as far as this scenario goes, would be yes. (one quick aside, I believe I have a much greater degree of responsibility for the actions of people in my home than the business owner has for the people who use his/her services. Meaning, I believe the shop owner in the parable could also simply go about his business and provide the flowers without saying anything).

      #4: there’s an inherent difference between all support services provided for a wedding and the service provided by the officiate. Namely, all other services are truly support–they don’t actually make the marriage real. The baker bakes a cake, the florist provides and arranges flowers, etc. But the officiate “makes” a marriage. (ie, “by the authority invested in me… I now pronounce you”). I believe same-sex marriage falls outside the design and will of God; in this case my desire to love God by obeying God supersedes what might feel more loving of the couple in question, which would be to help “make” their marriage.

      • Anonymous says:

        Tim,

        Thanks for your answers – and your explanations. I knew you would find it impossible to not elaborate! ☺ Kind of like sticking me in a room with a freshly tuned Steinway grand and telling me I could sit on the bench…but not touch the keys…

        As you know, John and I are professional musicians. We provide music for many, many weddings. (Sometimes we know the couple; often times a couple we have never met before hires us). As of now, we have not been asked to provide music for a same-sex wedding – which is not legal in WV.

        Here’s where I question your response:

        “There’s an inherent difference between all support services provided for a wedding and the service provided by the officiate.”

        I agree that the person who officiates (usually a pastor, priest, or rabbi) holds a more impactful (and sacred) position than say, the janitor who cleaned the church for the wedding. But there are some gray areas in this comparison. It is something John and I have talked about a lot since we are certain to face this choice in the future. What is the role of the music/musicians in a wedding ceremony?

        So much wedding music has words that are sacred and scriptural. Scripture is the voice of God; it is holy. A wedding almost always includes sacred music to declare the awesome sanctity of the marriage covenant. Can we give an offering of worship and praise (through our music) to a holy God in the midst of a same-sex wedding ceremony where we believe (as do you) that this marriage “falls outside the design and will of God”?

        How many degrees of separation makes it OK to be involved in a same-sex wedding? Let’s make a ridiculous comparison: what if I refuse to pay my taxes because it pays to pave the roads that people will drive on to attend a same-sex wedding? That’s a far-fetched scenario – but where does providing music for a wedding fall between this, and the pastor’s job of “I now pronounce you..”

        I would invite your response regarding the role of music and musicians in a wedding ceremony. For us, personally, we approach the sacred covenant of marriage with a holy fear coupled with thankfulness and joy – it is always our desire that the music we bring to a wedding ceremony reflects this. This is not about pandering to our conscience (as some have suggested). It is about being obedient to the holy things of God.

        (Slightly different topic: I agree that as Christians we have two jobs – to love God, and to love people. I guess I just don’t understand why “loving people” is equated with “doing what they want you to do and keeping your mouth shut about your relationship with Christ and His Word.” You did NOT say this…but I see this in some of the responses. It’s like saying we don’t love our teenage child unless we go along with all their whims and choices – and support those choices wholeheartedly without daring to offer unpopular counsel, advice, or opinion.)

        Kathy

  4. Faith says:

    Great post. Can I mention this post on my blog and link to it??

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Tim, a pastor who honors God’s word…..instead of giving in…..

  6. Cindy Horowitz says:

    Great discussion ! Our circles of influence vary in size. They may be our coworkers, our family or a sizeable wedding party. Our attitudes and actions do influence others and oftentimes we are not even aware of how much. Our actions have to reflect our beliefs in a world that mocks our values. If we waffle , they lose respect and our witness is damaged. Believers answer to an authority much higher than NY State legal system. I loved Pastor Tim’s answers. It is great to see a gray area-topic discussed without mud- flinging. Bravo !

  7. Daniel Vance says:

    Kathy Winkler,
    You mentioned in the comments above that some people seemed to be equating love with licentiousness (an acceptable paraphrase of your thoughts, I hope!). Since I am the only comment on this site that even obliquely references that phenomenon, let me disabuse you of the notion that I fall in to that camp. It is indeed a problem in the evangelical Christian world, but I hope that it is not one to which I contribute.

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