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Would you like a drink with that?

I have a feeling this one’s gonna get me in trouble. But I’m going to be real and honest cuz that’s my number one rule for this blog. I have to be real or it’s just a bunch of hot air. Here’s the thing…I just don’t understand the “Traditional Christian” view that it’s wrong to drink alcohol.

Now before you send me an angry email, let me clarify. I completely understand the idea that it’s not Christian to get drunk and I’m not condoning getting smashed. People do stupid things when they are drunk and I’m not a fan. But as with so many things, it seems that the church in general over-reacts and throws the baby out with the bath water. This can make us look self-righteous and judgmental.

It’s not just with drinking. I know there are churches that frown on dancing, playing cards and rock music. Are we not intelligent enough to figure out what is harmful and what is not without banning it all? If I want to play Rummy with my friends, is that equal to losing my life savings playing Poker? If I dance with my friends at a wedding is that the equivalent of dirty dancing? And while we’re at it, how insane is it to say that the beat of a song makes it evil? I will totally agree that there are some lyrics out there that are evil. But I will never concede that a drum beat is evil.

Where is the emphasis on personal responsibility? As a believer, I should be responsible enough to make right choices, not because I’m worried about what others think or I’m trying to fit into a certain mold. I should make good choices simply because I love Jesus and therefore want to please him. Because I don’t want to do anything that will disappoint him. But I don’t believe that having a glass of wine or a martini with my dinner will do that. I think he’s cool with it.

Now, if I had been a binge drinker in college or if I had gotten a DUI, then I should be responsible enough to choose not to drink. Or, if I’m out to dinner with someone who’s had an issue with abusing alcohol, I should be sensitive enough to drink a coke instead so that I don’t make it difficult for them to do the right thing.

I believe there is a big difference between something that is a sin (think Ten Commandments…don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, etc.) and something that is not a sin but if abused could lead to sin (think drinking alcohol, dancing, playing cards, etc.). I think it’s way more important to teach young people to make wise choices than it is to give them a list of banned activities.

At this point, some of you may be really disgusted with me. But you may also be surprised to learn that I’m intimately acquainted with the pain caused by alcohol abuse. I grew up with it. I saw the dysfunction that it can cause in a family. But I still don’t think that means that no one should drink alcohol. I think people shouldn’t abuse it. There is a difference. Some people drive their cars way too fast and cause accidents. Does that mean no one should drive a car?

Certainly, if you’ve abused alcohol in the past, you should stay away from it. Any substance or activity that you have used to self-medicate is an issue. It’s an indication that you need God to heal you. Ideally, he should be our medication. When we are sad or scared we should run to him…not food, alcohol, sex or any other cheap substitute for his love. In the end, he is the only one who will truly satisfy.

I don’t write this because I want someone to give me permission to drink. I’m not concerned about it, personally. If I want to have a drink, I’ll have a drink. I’ve never been drunk and don’t expect I ever will be. I don’t feel that I’ve missed out by not getting drunk. I’ve seen drunk people…they do stupid things and I don’t like to be stupid. I’m fine with my one drink. I write this because I know of so many people who find the typical church view on this to be puzzling and often hypocritical but it seems that no one says anything about it. They just keep their opinions to themselves or grumble about it behind closed doors. They, like me, don’t grumble about it because they want to get drunk. They just want to be given the opportunity to make wise choices without feeling like they are going against “church policy.”

I don’t expect the church as a whole (and I’m not talking about any specific church…just to be clear) to change their stance because I wrote a blog about this. It’s just something that has bothered me for years. And after discussing it with some friends tonight, I just want to get it off my chest. Comment if you dare! 😉 If you agree, share this on your fb page. If you disagree, please understand, I don’t pretend that I have everything figured out. Maybe there’s some part of this equation that I’m missing. Enlighten me if you can, or we can agree to love each other but disagree. Either way, I’d love to start some conversation on this one.

Love,

rebekah

 

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18 thoughts on “Would you like a drink with that?”

  1. I think you make alot of good points in this blog and I agree that the bible verses that deal with drinking talk about abuse, and not encouraging those who struggle with it, to drink, by drinking in their presence.The reason some churches make cut and dried rules about it is because they see all the destructive influence that alcohol abuse has on families and society and its easier for them to just ban it than to trust people to draw responsible guidelines that fit everyone. Reminds me of our government..enacting rules and regulations about everything we do to protect us from every possible danger..but it doesn’t work.It just takes away freedom and people who want to hurt themselves or others always find a way around the rules anyway.I choose not to drink because I hate the influence alcohol has had on my family members and friends, and I’m making a stand for them by not drinking.But I also believe that each of us answers for ourselves and we don’t get to decide this issue for others. By the way,I see you found a good use for the photo…I have another one that actually is even more appropriate.

    1. Well said mama! I’m writing a new post right now about legalism and you’ve said exactly some of the things I plan to say…about how restricting freedom to protect people doesn’t necessarily work. Thanks for your comment. And thanks for the pic. If I knew how to give photo credits on a pic I would have credited your excellent photography 🙂

  2. ….I think you may go to hell for writing this….lol….I hope your friends don’t read this and think I’m serious! Why do Christians need to stray off the road into legalism…or licentiousness for that matter? They need to be more level headed….like us! ~K.

    1. agreed! (not about the hell part…ahaha). Legalism drives me nutty…as does licentiousness (good word, btw!) Level headed like us. Amen. LOL love u dear 🙂

  3. I haven’t drank since I was in college. I kind of think its just something that God showed me wasn’t necessary in my life. While I agree that the bible does not explicitly say not to drink alcohol, there are a great number of passages that talk about being wise, making wise decisions, and thinking about how your decisions will affect others. I think you covered most of those in your post. But honestly, I just don’t understand the point of drinking. My super-Christian (if that is such a term!) in-laws drink with dinner, but again, I just don’t get it. I’d much rather eat my calories in the form of dessert if I’m going to consume empty calories. Nobody ever died from eating too much cake and driving. But that’s just my humble opinion.

    1. LOL Dana! I agree that Driving under the Influence of Cake has never caused death. I don’t understand the point of getting drunk…that is for sure. I’ve watched people do it many times over the years and while I get that they like the feeling it gives them on the way..the reprecussions (i.e.. puking, embarrassing behavior, hangover) just don’t seem worth it…I just don’t get the point. But I do understand why someone would like a glass of wine with dinner. Studies have shown that in people over the age of 21 or 22 years old, a moderate amount of alcohol has a calming effect. Interestingly, in people under 22 it has the opposite effect on the brain…causes more of a manic response. So, I think a lot of people just like that calming effect. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  4. I could have written this myself. I agree 100% with the post. I think we are probably very much alike in our ideas and beliefs. I just don’t believe that Jesus drank non-alcoholic wine at the wedding – I believe he lived a life of healthy moderation! Of course, I am still sensitive to the fact that some people, my mother included, are not comfortable around alcohol consumption, and I firmly believe what you said about not getting drunk – the bible is very clear about that and past experience has taught me just why. I also feel that as a parent, I owe it to my children to show them how to use and not abuse (or choose not to use because of your own intelligence, not what is shoved down your throat) alcohol and other things. Well said, sister!

    1. Barbara…it’s kind of scary…we even sort of look alike! I just discovered I’m gluten intolerant in december. I’m a singer, too. I hate crafts tho, so we don’t have that in common. LOL. Thanks for your comment. I agree with YOU 100%. My husband and I have said the same exact thing. We want to teach our kids how to responsibly do things…not abuse things. Of course, there are some things that in any amount are harmful and should be abstained from but not everything is like that.
      I will definitely be checking out your blog on a regular basis. Thanks for reading!
      ~rebekah

  5. Well said, Rebekah. I appreciate you for having the guts to put it out there. I also have dealt with a person close to me who had an alcohol addiction and it is a horror to watch the destruction. I would never have considered drinking in his presence. I dont drink much at all, but love a nice glass of wine with dinner. While i have attended churches where it is hugely forbidden i never felt there was any reason that it should be regarded in that manner – as with dancing and socially playing a fun card game with friends. There are so many things that are more worthy of our focus. This just seems to be one of those things that is more of man than of God. So i guess its safe to leave my wine rack out next time you come over LOL.

  6. I totally agree Rebecca. My family has also been hurt by the abuse of alcohol. Despite that, I don’t condemn those who want to have a beer in the evening. I personally may have 2 drinks a year, I don’t really care for it and honestly, I don’t want to risk playing with fire. I think Christianity is more than a list of dos and don’ts. Legalism makes the church intolerant and to use your word, borish, to those we are trying to reach. The best church I was a part of was in Chicago. The church was very much blue collar. A good part of the men in the church were recovering alcoholics. The men were a close supportive group. The youth pastor’s wife became tangled up in new agism and left him. Yet when he offered to step down the pastor told him no, we love you and we want you to continue your ministry. And when his wife returned to the church one Sunday, she was welcomed and showered with hugs. People that sang on Sundays had no music training (and sometimes talent) but they sang because they wanted to, and the church loved it. It was real, without pretense, without judgement, without gimmicks, without glitter or “new building fund raising.” It was the personification of Christ’s love. There was no “rules.” There was the gospel, God’s love, honesty, and Biblical teaching. That’s the way “the church” should be.

  7. I’m going to comment, but I’m sorry, you won’t find any interesting or debatable conversation coming from me on this one! My thoughts have always echoed yours. I, personally, don’t drink (I’ve tried, for social reasons, which I guess maybe is the wrong reason now that I’m thinking about it…was it “peer pressure” so I would “look cool”?), but I just haven’t found anything yet that I actually enjoy the taste of. There have actually been times that I wished I could enjoy something (glass of wine to chill me out after a particularly harrowing day 😉 ), but I guess God just didn’t wired me that way. If it doesn’t taste like Kool-Aid, count me out. 😉
    I guess the only thing that I can think of, when it would be a wise choice to abstain would be when it pertains to your “witness”. ie, if having a drink with friends who are not Christians, and it impacts their views of “us”. Although, I’ve tried, simply to show them that “Christians can have a little fun too…the life we strive to live is not filled with a list of Do’s & Don’ts….” But you’ve pretty much covered that one too.
    I guess I just don’t understand what the big deal is. Besides the whole “all things in moderation” “rule”, I don’t think there’s anything inherently “wrong” with it.
    So, preach it, Girl!

    1. haha Kim…we are really scarily alike! I won’t drink anything that actually tastes like alcohol. I hate beer. I’m learning to like wine (you know…hubby runs an italian restaurant and all) but I do like a nice Kahlua and cream 🙂 As always…thanks for your comments.

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