Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Just Because We Can, Should We? Part II


Art's

Jesus drank wine - And don't tell me that it didn't contain any alcohol (like they told me in the CofC).

An occasional social drink never killed anyone (nor sent them to hell).

The problem is that this is such a downfall for so many these days...

After all Jesus might have drank wine but that doesn't mean He went on three-day benders either.

I think we must be very careful, as Christians, to avoid extremes. We shouldn't condemn those who drink responsibly nor those who abstain.

And it's not our business to condemn those who drink irresponsibly either - but we should try to help them and avoid tempting them.

There is a fine line here between trying to reach people through unconventional means and validating self-destructive behavior.

If you figure out where this line is please let me know!

The Southern Conservative
My response to this was shaped by C.S. Lewis. I think it's a sin to drink to excess... or to smoke to excess, eat to excess, etc. Doing anything is really turning something else into your god, a false idol. It messes up your priorities and gets your spiritually off track. I think that fanatical teetotalism can be a sin, too, if you turn that particular focus into a kind of false god. Anything that comes between us and God, be it drinking or even NOT drinking, can be really damaging.

But then again, I enjoy an occasional heavy stout, just as Lewis did, so maybe he (and me) came up with answers that suited. :)

Strange Culture
definitly not a sin to drink, otherwise jesus was a sinner...which he wasn't.

I personally have never even had a drop of alchol...namely because for me it is a matter of personal/private discipline, and it keeps me from falling into a temptation i can not get out of it.

Often, I feel uncomfortable when Christian's get together and are drinking, even moderatly...that, though, is my problem, and is me being judgemental.

Preachrboy
http://purposedrivendrinking.blogspot.com/

... An interesting blog.

Lutherpunk

Do I even have to type a "Lutheran" response????

I think St. Paul had the right approach. While there may benothing wrong with something in general, if it is going to be a stumbling block, then maybe it isn't the best idea.

As far the guy drinking and smoking on his blog...it is his blog and people shouldn't freak out over it. Of course, he may not have wanted to post a pic of that. Regardless, it is his space to do what he wants with. I just quit smoking last year, after smoking since middle school. When we go out dinner, I'll have beer or wine. Even this year at synod assembly I walked into a bar in my collar and saw several other collared folks enjoying a nightcap after a long day. Sometimes a little scotch takes the edge off.

Fact is, Christians have consumed alcohol throughout Christian history. I don't think we should throw that in the face of Christians who have an issue with it, but I also don't think they should be pushing their tee-totaling on those of us who do not see an issue with a cocktail.

Too_Lively
This is a greatly interesting discussion. My thoughts mirror many of the ones mentioned so far.

I do not beleive drinking or smoking to be a sin unless you do it to excess or allow it to become an idol.

As for having prayer/Bible study meetings in bars, this seems like a bad idea to me. Alcohol is a problem for too many people and asking them to meet in a bar may be putting them in danger or making them feel uncomfortable. Of course, I guess even this could be overcome if the group is a small, intimate group and everyone feels comfortable talking about issues like this.

Wes
Good comments. I like the tone and the content thus far. The only thing that I want to add is that I feel like both choices--to drink or not to drink--is often worn as a badge of honor. In doing so it is used to put oneself over and above someone else. I have talked to Christians that are very proud that they don't drink and never have. And I have met equally proud Christians that would never take such a "legalistic" (in their mind) approach to drinking. Afterall, they better understand Christian "liberty." Why do we divide over these things? Both sides bring up valid points. But it's not worth dividing over. My fear is that the world doesn't care one way or the other whether we drink in "moderation" or we don't drink at all. But they do take note of how we treat each other when we differ in such things. Thanks for opening up the conversation.

Cube Rev
Two stories that may or may not help people understand where I am coming from:

1. I have the pleasure of going to see my friends band perform at a lot of pubs and bars across the Philly region. Many of which are near colleges. Rounding about 2 AM I stopped listening to the music and instead started to pay attention to the people around me. In every corner there were people hooking up, throwing their arms around each other, but too drunk to really notice what they were doing. I saw this as a need of intimacy, a need for connection, and love. A need not getting filled only numbed or temporarily filled. I found it rather disheartening. I never got into the bar scene when I was younger. I went to a club a handful of times in my life. The only bars I go to are for dinner (there are a few that have great wings). I can understand why they go there every week. To get what they aren't getting every day of their life. Something which we as Christians take for granted. Community. Here is a ministry opportunity and I do not know how to fulfil it.

2. When I turned 30 a friend of mine threw me a b-day bash. We invited all my friends and family as well as his parents and sisters. His parents are a lot more conservative than we are so we wondered if it's a good idea to have beer at the party. After some consideration we figured it wouldn't hurt since most people I know don't drink to excess. Fast forward a few years, I find out it upset my friends parents more than I realized, to the point they were brought to tears. They recognize they are the weaker brothers and sisters as a result of this. So I come full circle. There are plenty of Christians I know who feel that way. Just because I can drink, does it mean I should. And if I were to drink or smoke, am I causing my brother and sister in Christ to sin by throwing it in their face? I agree that he has the right to post whatever he'd like on his blog. Quite frankly I don't think he has much of a problem. No more than most people. Even I felt like he was flaunting the fact he likes to drink and smoke in my face. Are we showing grace to our weaker brothers when we do such things?

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posted by Out Of Jersey | 7:15 PM

6 Comments:

Blogger Art said...

Wow, I've never been quoted in someone's post before. Thanks.

Good points all around, including your final thoughts.

10:36 PM  
Anonymous Too_Lively said...

I looked at the blog in question, and the young man did seem very proud of his lifestyle. I think what Wes said could be thought of here. I agree with you, Cube Rev, that the blogger probably doesn't have much of a problem, he is just young and maybe a bit immature.

I have a friend who chooses not to drink and thinks for the most part that Christians should abstain because it ruins their witness. When we discussed this, she told me that even if you aren't drunk, just having a beer ruins the esteem others hold you in.

I have thought a lot about her points, and I don't think I can agree. When we are witnessing I do not think the world judges us as harshly on this topic as other Christians. And it doesn't seem very often that having a beer will encourage another Christian to fall, it just irks them, and unless we do it knowingly, I don't believe we can take responsibility for that.

8:25 AM  
Blogger The Cubicle Reverend said...

Art,
If I see something worth while, then I think other people should read it. On more than one occassion I almost posted things you wrote, but because of time never got around it.

Too-Lively
It can go either way. when I was over a youth group kids house for dinners the dad offered me a glass of wine with dinner. I told him I prefer not to drink in front of the kids. He made a good point, don't you think it's a good thing to teach kids how to be responsible and to show them?

2:05 PM  
Blogger Darrell said...

Good conversation. I do want to correct one typo from my comment, though. I wrote: "Doing anything is really turning something else into your god, a false idol." I meant to say that doing anything obsessively, or to excess. Silly me.

1:55 PM  
Blogger jasdye said...

i was reading this post earlier this week, shortly after finishing Romans this week, considering whether or not to serve alcohol at a mixer party we're having (for co-workers, friends, fam and church peeps) later this month. and then i ran into this post at Scot McKnight's blog (_Jesus Creed_) and thought it'd be worth a read, even though it's pretty much been well-covered here:
http://www.jesuscreed.org/?p=1539

peace

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was your friend's band name?

8:09 AM  

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