Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Don't Tell Me Christians Can't Drink

Recently, I've been forced to withdraw from a position as a bible study leader because the pastor saw a picture of me drinking hard cider (over the summer in London btw). Apparently, drinking is wrong and it hurts my witness for those who see me. Not only do I fundamentally disagree, but this blog explains the reasons why. Although I'm sad that he is so stuck in his ways, this experience has taught me that, sometimes, Christians can be the most hypocritical, judgmental people and I need to be careful. When forming a new bible study, or even when deciding on a church, I need to make sure that the values of the church, organization, etc. are supported by what the bible says. 

Although I understand that each organization has their own rules and that, to abide by these rules, you might have to change something about your life, I also think that this mentality is constricting. Either I have a couple drinks every now and then and hide it, making it seem like I'm ashamed, or I do it and have these organizations look down on me as if they're any better. So, to back up why I believe what I believe (and why I'm standing up for this belief), I found verses to prove my point. Because, let's face it, in this whole situation, that certain "organization" hasn't shown any verses to back them up. Now, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with them or their guidelines; I'm simply saying that they might not have done all their homework on the matter. 

On the topic of drinking, Jesus warned against not being a "drunkard." Or, as we would call it today: a drunk or an alcoholic. Jesus never said anything about abstaining from drinking at all (like he did about sex, murder, and stealing). 

Ephesians 5:18

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.

Galatians 5:21 

Envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Timothy 3:3 

[An overseer must not be] a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.

Matthew 15:11 

It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.

On top of that, Jesus' FIRST miracle was changing water into wine. Also, He hung out with those who drank and engaged with them so much so that those who did not truly know Him thought He was a drunk himself. 

Luke 7:33-35 

For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’"

Deuteronomy 14:26 

And spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household.

Proverbs 31:4-7 

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted. Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.


First miracle:  John 2:1-11 (The Wedding at Cana)
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.[a] Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

Jesus himself was accused of being a glutton and drunkard, so being judged by those who do not know me doesn't really bother me. Honestly, it means I'm doing something right. If people know I'm a Christian and I know it's okay to drink, then they will feel more comfortable coming up to me and talking to me. People will know that I will not judge them, and that they can feel comfortable around me. Also it gives me a good transition to talk to people about my faith and explain to them that being a Christian is about having a relationship with Him, not being stuck in old rules that people have severely twisted over the years. 

If you personally don't agree with drinking and you choose to stay pure of it in your own life, then I will not judge you. I have plenty of friends that do not partake in it at all for personal reasons. They know where I stand and I know where they stand, and we respect each other's decisions. However, I do not appreciate someone telling me that I cannot be a Bible Study leader because of my personal interpretation of what the Bible says about this topic. 

The picture in question
I mean no disrespect by writing this blog. But, it's my blog and I needed to vent about this situation. I've talked to my roommates about it enough and they all encouraged me stand strong with what I believe, which might mean sacrificing something. I will miss the kids in the study, but this issue is much deeper than simply being in a weekly small group. I personally feel like I need to be able to be who I am without hiding it. Enough people accept me the way I am and I don't feel the need to pretend to be something/something I'm not. 

Anyway, to those of you who have read this far, I hope it was at least educational to know why I believe what I believe. I'm not forcing anybody to think the way I do, and I'm not judging those who disagree. All I'm saying is that I think this whole situation is silly. Let's just agree to disagree, shall we?

Cheers!