For the next two weeks I’m going to be speaking on God’s good gift of alcohol. I’m hoping to better understand why he gave it to us and what it means to imbibe in a Christ like way. Jesus clearly drank, so what does his example mean for us today? And what it is about alcohol…
in particular, that makes it such a gift? What can we learn about the mind and heart of God (it’s maker) through it’s nature and effects? If you have any thoughts, please comment.
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Jesus and the joy of drinking
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, September 08 2009 @ 08:00 PM PDT
I have to be honest, I have never really made the connection between God and alcohol or really considered it as a gift from Him. Appreciate it as I do at times, I often have a bit of an internal conflict when it comes to alcohol. I have seen too clearly the damage it can cause…like any good thing I suppose, we (people in general) have a capacity to grant it this unwarranted power in our lives.
There is this wonderful aspect to alcohol…a beautiful wine that can be just so perfect with a wonderful meal…with its ability to warm your soul a bit and bring this calm, or an ice cold beer after a day of yard work under the sun, or a perfectly blended margarita overlooking an ocean sunset. There is something about not only the flavours, but that little bit of a buzz that you can just kind of melt in to. I sometimes try to imagine, when I’m drinking a perfect wine, what it would feel like to break bread and sip a dark red wine, or even a bubbly white wine with my friend Jesus and it always kind of makes me smile. And for that, I have this rather holy appreciation for alcohol.
But…I’ve also walked close to that place of really needing it, using it as a crutch to see me through a stressful day or to numb me to something that I don’t feel like facing. I’ve seen people I love and care about unable to control how much they drink…and I’ve seen how ugly it can be. I’ve walked in on people passed out in the middle of the day because they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) stop drinking. I’ve watched grown men make fools of themselves, and young men almost kill themselves…(and actually, at times successfully kill others. ) I’ve seen love turn to hate, wisdom turn to folly, brilliance become obscured. I’ve seen young women lose their dignity, their security and their innocence because of it. And for that, I have this very holy loathing towards alcohol.
It is a conundrum.
As for what it reveals to me about God…well…I haven’t arrived there yet, but I look forward to hearing other perspectives.
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 12 2009 @ 07:55 AM PDT
(I just previewed my comment and don’t know why it shows I wrote this on Dec 31/69 … technology)
I have just read Pastor John’s article in the newspaper and would just like to comment as I have wrestled with the question whether it was wise to drink as a Christ follower. Let me tell you my conclusions:
– Having a glass of wine is not a sin unless we’ve been convicted by the Holy Spirit to not drink.
– The problem is though when someone sees me with my glass of wine they have no way of knowing whether it’s my first or fifth and my goal is to be a testimony and not possibly cause someone to stumble.
– Drinking in the privacy of my home … my kids see me and think it’s okay … kids copy us and there is no way a teenager can drink responsibly.
– I want to be available, be obedient and serve my Lord 24/7 and after having alcohol I have found that my mind is not as sharp. If I have opportunity to be used by God … I’m not available.
– Yes, I believe Jesus drank, but, our precious Lord was sinless and I do not know where that line is when I drink. Do I sin after 1 glass, 1 1/2, 2? This is one sin that I can totally avoid by abstinence. I, of course, have other areas that I struggle but I can totally shut the door on this one.
– You say in your article to drink in moderation but what is moderation? It actually is the point of sin and for each persons body that is different. I cannot count the number of get together/parties of all Christians where alcohol was served and seldom did people drink as Jesus and his followers did. People had many drinks, got louder, laughed more, did silly things … sounds like the world. We’re to be in the world not of the world.
– Really, what good comes from drinking? The buzz? I believe that Satan has put a big red bow on drinking and that we as believers think we can handle it but often times fail miserably. We open a door that allows the Devil a foothold that can be the beginning of all sorts of heartache.
– My conclusion, abstinence is a wise way to live.
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 12 2009 @ 07:02 PM PDT
I just got this email from another commentator…
How negligent of me! I meant to comment on your blog earlier this week, but then the week happened. Anyway, it will take too long to get an account to comment on your blog.
I didn’t drink until I was 29. Grew up in the SDA church where drinking was abstained from, though I had had beer and wine before, but like once a year or less. I think I was old enough to have decided on a balance and what could be consumed so that it wouldn’t be detrimental to my health or anyone else’s.
Now, I am between ambivalent and excited about alcohol. I don’t NEED a beer when I get home from work, but I do enjoy a couple a week. I don’t NEED a glass of wine at every meal, but I do enjoy a few a month when it’s special. Usually, when AMber offers me a beer, I reconsider and take water instead. I like the taste, the feeling, but it’s not the best taste nor the best feeling.
What I am excited about is being able to share a drink with a friend.
The knowledge that both parties are going to let down their guard a bit and enter a more intimate conversation is very appealing to me. I met a Bulgarian guy who wanted to introduce me to a friend of his. I went over to his friend’s house and before we could visit we each had to take a shot of some Bulgarian liquor – kind of a trust thing I think, but it was multipurposed – they offered me some of their best, a pinnacle of Bulgarian culture and they showed that they weren’t going to hide anything and neither was I. We didn’t get drunk, but we were open. Again this past summer, I was at a stag/staggette party which was really just a drinking party a couple days before a wedding.
Most people’s intention was to connect with others and alcohol helped that happen – some really memorable conversations about Chile, the education system, Obama, music, travel and purpose.
One of the comments on your blog and several of my friends bring up the “stumbling block” issue. I prefer setting an example to my children or my students or my friends as to how alcohol can be enjoyed in a God honouring way. I hope that my son or daughter will never find me like Noah’s sons found him. Instead I hope that when they partake, they will follow their parents’ lead and drink in moderation (or even a little more when it’s safe) with good intentions and a desire for relationship.
… And I think people can easily tell if it’s your first of second glass or your seventh or eighth glass of wine.
I look forward to hearing your talk. Should stir the pot a bit.
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, September 18 2009 @ 01:14 PM PDT
i grew up seventh day adventist in one of those churches of can’t eat or drink anything good. i have since enjoyed studying judiasm (note i am and will always be christian.) and the jewish perspective is completely different than the conservative christian view. we are all too enjoy life, and the gifts given to us in life. i applaud you in teaching the enjoyment of living. life is wonderful, and so is your message.
(originally sent at an email to NHC)
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, September 19 2009 @ 12:12 PM PDT
After reading the article that ran in the Calgary Sun today entitled “In the name of the father, son, holy spirits,” I found myself both surprised and annoyed by the issues presented within the article. I understand the need to make a church “relevant” and accessible, however, I do not believe that we do this by means of watering down the word of God or twisting it to suit our own needs. Alcohol was not meant, in my opinion, as a gift from God in order to help us relax or cover pain. Far too many people have fallen into the trap of self medicating their own pain as opposed to going to God with it, and knowing that God is not far off from us when we are in pain and emotional distress. My fear is that people who are young and impressionable, ones who look to you for your guidance and leadership, will now find themselves with an excuse to use alcohol in a way that is damaging to their own well- being. God never meant for us to cover our pain, by means of anything, but to go to Him with our pain and know that He is our healer, and “ever present help in time of need.”
You stated that ” No drinking and driving, and we want to avoid the debauchery.” Yet you also stated within the article that alcohol is a gift in which it “lubricates communities and allows us to drop our walls and inhibitions.” The fact of the matter is that when our inhibitations are lowered by means of alcohol, the brain and body do not function they way that they do sober, and you will end up with people who drink and drive, people who fall much easier onto paths that they should not go down, and end up with regrets. You will also have individuals who find themselves addicted to the easy, fast and cheap way to cover their pain, and not know when to stop.
I believe that you need to consider these factors, your audience and the rationale before such a message is delievered. Without a doubt, there will be people in your audience who are wear and vulnerable, and do not know when to put down the bottle. There will also be people who do not yet know that one night of drinking may be too much and find themselves struggling…their struggle beginning in the roots of your message.
I do not think that a drink here and there is necessarily wrong. What I do strongly believe, however, is alcohol is NOT a gift in covering pain, as you say. It simply draws out the healing process and instead of going to a bottle, people should know how they can go to God and close friends to help them heal from their pain.
Jesus and the joy of drinking
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, September 23 2009 @ 11:01 AM PDT
As someone who was present for Part 1 and Part 2 of the Sunday messages that Pastor John gave I can tell you that the Sun article does not give a good representation of what he is actually saying. The tone is completely different. It looks like they just picked out pieces that they thought would make an interesting article. I suggest you listen to the messages online. I do believe, however, that alcohol IS a gift from God, just like sex is or food. It almost seems like the greater the gift, the greater the possibility for abuse is. God gives us these gifts and its up to us to practice self control. As a society we tend to over-indulge on just about everything and then we blame the product instead of our own lack of self control.