Monday, October 02, 2006

Just Because We Can, Should We?

A few weeks ago Pomomusings posted a picture of himself smoking a hookah with a beer in his hand. This prompted a post on another blog which pomo has also made a response. Both make valid points and bring up the issue booze and Christianity. There are a few of you here who know my stance on drinking and smoking, but I am going to keep them to myself for the time being. Instead, I want to ask a few questions:

  • It seems to be the vogue right now for Christian groups to have meetings in bars, is this a good idea? Are we preaching to the lost or just using it as an excuse to get drunk?
  • There are a lot of people out there who think drinking is a sin, aren't we to help keep our weaker brothers and sisters from sinning? Because drinking has become more acceptable in the church are we now throwing in the face of those who still have a problem with it?
  • Just because you feel that scripture bears out that it is okay to drink does that mean we should?
  • Finally, do you think it's a sin to drink or not? Why?
If you want to respond to this you can either post it in the comments or send me an e-mail at

Depending on the response I get I might post them on the blog here.

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posted by Out Of Jersey | 2:58 PM


Blogger Art said...

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!

11:09 PM  
Blogger Darrell said...

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. :)

5:16 AM  
Blogger RC said...

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.

--RC of

5:58 PM  
Blogger Preachrboy said...

... An interesting blog.

9:35 PM  
Blogger LutherPunk said...

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 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.

4:35 AM  
Anonymous Too_Lively said...

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.

1:55 PM  
Anonymous Wes Wilmer said...

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.

7:40 PM  
Blogger Dan Morehead said...

Whether people know it or not, the reaction should be seen as a reaction against rule-based ethics, which have their rightful place in training children but quickly become stiffling in adulthood. Rules, as our legal system demonstrates, can never account for the multiplicity of life situations, and so the answer (in our legal system and in Christian churches that primarily operate in this mode) is to supply MORE rules. Instead of a more reasonable, wisdom-based approach to ethics, this quickly becomes rather burdensome and you see people celebrating when the get out from under this sort of oppressive system. Of course, you question is a good one. Should we have Churches meet in bars? Probably not. There are aesthetic (bars don't typically let you install stained glass which may be instructive or simply beautiful or play Bach), communal, and theological reasons. People do so as a proclaimation of "we're Christian, but not like that." I'm not sure that this proclaimation has a lot of value to it. I'd just leave it at "We're Christian" and try to figure out determitive ways of living that out.

1:01 PM  

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