Sunday, February 28, 2010

Can Christians drink?

Wow. This is a tough post to write. I'm writing this all for myself as I learn, grow, and wrestle this out with God. I'm simply letting my thoughts come straight from my ever-spinning mind and heart. First, let me tell you some of my story. Oh, Lord....please help me here. This is hard.

I grew up in a small town in Arkansas. This town is smaller than where I live now, but reminds me so much of it. When we moved here 10 years ago (wow!), there was a huge piece of my heart that loved it here because it reminded me of home.

For all of us, "home" comes with many emotions and memories. And, here is a very tiny glimpse into a part of my home.

Ok, here comes a gulp. I was introduced to alcohol at a young age. I remember it like it was yesterday. I could give you every detail, but I'm not. My parents might have had beer in the house growing up, but I don't remember it being a big deal. Alcohol was always around, but not in front of me very much at all. I also remember a few years while I was in elementary school that my mom and some other moms got together for a "Back to school Bloody Mary party." I truly didn't think much about that either. I can also say that I don't remember any conversations about "stay away from alcohol" or "don't drink and drive" that occurred in my presence either. I guess my memory is a bunch of nothing when it comes to people talking about alcohol in my home or at church. I was 15 when I took my first sip of alcohol. That is where I gulped again. I just typed that.

I grew up in the Methodist church in this wonderful Arkansas town and it's all I've ever known.
I just turned 40 and the church in Arkansas, Christ Methodist in Memphis, and our church here in town is all I've ever known in all these years of my life. It's the only denomination I've ever known.

Now....Let me also say that I'm a HUGE church junkie and if I find a really good pastor somewhere I'm hooked on their sermons and their church whether I've been there or not. Most times I've never darkened their doors, but I feel like I might as well have. I could be slightly obsessed I think. ;)

Well, my family has found ourselves visiting churches here in town and let me say....it's been interesting. I would love to write a post on the good, the bad, and the ugly from the eyes of a visitor. No one is asking so I probably shouldn't. But, when you have been faithful to one church for a very long time and find yourself in a season of wilderness and wondering you see things with a whole new set of eyes.

This past fall, we visited one church. That church was non-denominational. Now, we are visiting another one. This is a Baptist church. This is part of the visiting process....trying different things.....where do you fit in....what are you looking for...what is best for the entire family.

Honestly...I want a biblically solid church.

Last Wednesday night, my youngest son wanted to go to this church so we did. Just me and him.
I went to a Discovery type class for people interested in this church. Alcohol was not the point of this weeks lesson, but it did find it's way into a small piece of it.

So....here we go....alcohol in the Baptist church...remember, all I've ever known is Methodist. We are joked about as having the "Ten Suggestions" instead of the Ten Commandments. Ha ha ha ha. We are also known to be ok with alcohol. Please don't ask me why I say that or how I know that. What I do know is...I have never heard a sermon on it so my assumption is....it's ok.

Ok...back to the piece of the message last week that WON'T LEAVE ME ALONE. Bear with me.

The passage of scripture was from 1 Corinthians 8:1-13. One verse out of this passage says this.... Vs 9 "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak." Read that again. "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak." The pastor went on to share a personal story involving his family and a drunk driving incident that involved a family member. He also said that there probably wasn't a person in the room who had not had a bad experience involving alcohol.

This is unfortunately where I could tell you story after story after story that involves alcohol and my life. Since I have an addictive personality, it's by the grace of God my life was saved multiple times and that I am not a recovering addict of some kind. That in itself is a story to tell, but I won't right now.

Back to what the pastor was saying....He also told a story about a Sunday school class at this particular church that had a Christmas party and alcohol had been served. (Not here to judge, just stating the facts). They were playing some games and having a cocktail or two. However, one person was at this party and alcohol was a HUGE part of her past and she was surprised to say the least that this Sunday school class was serving alcohol at a church sponsored function.

Vs. 13"Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall."

This is where my heart was about to burst and I prayed in my head....."Oh sweet Lord...I have come so far and you have saved me time and time again years ago...I do not want to be a stumbling block to someone else and cause them to fall into sin."

The pastor when on to talk about being a parent. My husband and I are raising 3 boys. I remember someone giving me some advice once..."You don't want to shelter them from the world because they will go out into the world and have to digest a lot of worldly things. You don't want the world to hit them all at once and they freak out and can't handle it and become wild fools."

Is that real? Or is that my fear and imagination settling in?

So, as a parent, and in the words of this pastor, "We must protect our name and our character especially when it comes to raising our kids." I don't know that one of my children won't have a problem with alcohol but it won't be with me saying it's ok.

Does that make sense?

So...where am I with all this? I'm struggling. I don't have one bit of a problem if you like to have a glass of this or that. This is my personal journey that involves my messed up past and the work that Christ is doing in my life today as a wife, momma, and a woman who is ALL ABOUT SOME JESUS!!!

I'd love for you to chime in and say what you want....and please, let's encourage one another and not tear someone down. I'm simply trying to gain insight and wisdom.

I'll stop for now. I love each of you so much and value your opinions and thank God for where you are in your walk.

Keep after Him. He saves. He transforms. He redeems. He loves no matter what!!!!

Blessings~

28 comments:

Sara said...

I think part of what being responsible with our freedom comes down to the fact that this is going to be very different for every single person--there is no stock answer for all Christians. Being responsible is not avoiding every 'thing' 'of this world' that may or may not grow into something 'big' because there is a possibility of it. You know where I come from. It was last March (at the age of 24) when I let myself have my first drink ever because I knew I was strong enough to not become where I came from (and I had an accountability person 'just in case'). There was healing in that and there is healing in that for me every time I manage to still not become 'that' as time goes on. The bottom line is that we can be nothing but human. The best thing we can do is learn how to manage our humanity so that we can become closer TO the divine as we grow. That may mean, for some, being in the world without wasting time trying to separate ourselves from in--we can be holy but we cannot be God. Having a glass of wine right now, studying some scripture and praying about my future. There's not a fine line but mile between having a drink and being intoxicated--that's the lesson.

Teri~Facedown said...

Wow. This is a huge topic.

The first thing that came to my mind while reading this is that scripture you heard in the class was really excellent. Really, it made me take a quick inventory, and gave me the desire to not lead anyone astray. While that is my heart, and I'm sure many of your commenters heart as well, there is a flip side to this scripture as well. "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak." What if there is a "weak" Christian who REALLY stumbles over listening to secular music? Do we stop listening to country music just because it is a stumbling block to her? I would say no. Although, I would prefer her whenever I was with her and not do anything that would cause her to stumble. The thing is if we stop doing stuff or start doing stuff because of how someone else is going to respond then we will be become slaves to trying to please everyone, or not offend anyone.

Hebrews 11:6a says And without faith it's impossible to please God.

One rule I try to follow when faced with a decision is "Can I do this in faith?" If I can't, then I usually don't. Being led by the Spirit helps in making these decisions. We are not big drinkers, but we do feel the freedom to have a glass of wine on occasion. that said, I don't think the drinking thing has to be an all or nothing deal. (Unless God is leading you to make it all or nothing...then absolutely.) But, again, following the leading of the Spirit is necessary. For example, we have friends that feel very strong about Christians drinking alcohol...so when we go out to dinner with them we wouldn't think of ordering a glass of wine. Do we have the freedom to do so? Yes. But we would rather prefer our brother and sister in Christ in that situation. We aren't being hypocritical, because this couple knows we feel the freedom to have a glass of wine when we want to, but we look at it like this...we would rather have their company than have our right to the wine. The wine doesn't have mastery over us.

As far as the kids go...we are just responsible. We don't hide it if we decide to have a glass of wine, nor do we make a big deal about it. We have open conversations. If we are at a family function and one of us has a drink, the other wont and will drive home. We never drink and drive. (NEVER) And we let the kids know about the tendencies of alcoholism in our families (which is why we aren't big drinkers in the first place) and we also let them know that until the age of 21 they are not permitted to drink alcohol and there will be severe consequences if they do.

A few times in my life I felt I was out of control with alcohol. Not in the quantity I would consume, but in the reasons I would drink. lat summer I was going through some heavy stuff and found a nightly glass of wine very appealing. It went on for about 5 or 6 days before I realized what I was doing, and when I finally got it, I stopped. For a long time. and now, as a rule I try not to drink when I am in an emotional state...because it's just not good for me. (Part of being lead by the Spirit.)

Anyway, that's what came out, so hopefully I didn't overstep in any way.

I love you and am thankful for your presence in my life.

Teri

Holly said...

Fran, alcoholism runs in my family. I have seen scenes I'd rather forget involving alcohol that I have witnessed. I have never been drunk, but I have had a drink (never more than one at a time) on a few occasions.

My first drink was at Texas stadium when I was 15 years old. My friend's parents were big wheels and we were in the box before an SMU game. I had a bloody mary and thought it was awful.

In college I avoided it and was the designated driver on many occasions.

I have seen the dangers of alcoholism. And yet, I find that it is not wrong to have a drink. It is something I know I should only partake in rarely. There will be times when I will have a drink.

Last summer at a summer Bible study at a friend's, she offered me an apple cider beer. I felt like it was a proper time and also I was not a stumbling block to these women.

In another scenario, I felt like I should say, "No, thank you." I felt that I would be a stumbling block then.

It is something I hold open before the Lord and ask for His guidance.

Glad you opened the subject, friend! Love you! Holly

Holly said...

oops! I was 14 (just checked fore we had also seen Back to the Future at the show).

Leah @ Point Ministries said...

Fran,

I soooo love your heart! I know that must have been a difficult post to write and I esteem you for doing so.

I grew up in a Baptist church~~attend one now. I have attended other denominations and have found parts of them that I love and parts that I do not love. Not trying to be a cafeteria Christian...just being real.

I do not always agree with the Baptist ways. Period. In fact, when someone says to me, "Are you a Baptist?", my response response is usually, "I am a Christian".

With that said, I have had my own experiences with alcohol personally. In my 20's when I rebelled so hugely, I did my share of drinking. I've gone to church on Sunday with a Saturday hangover (that was 18 years ago....not now). Alcohol was never a problem for me with regard to addiction.

I still enjoy a good glass of wine sooo much. However, I do not indulge very often and I absolutely do not do it in places where I might be a stumbling block to others. Not digging that whole millstone thing, if you know what I mean!!

I think the key with alcohol or any other substance is whether you control it or it controls you!! Does that make sense??

I like what Teri said, "Can I do this in faith?"

Just my two cents worth.

Leah

Fran said...

Oh, thank you for the insight girls!! It always helps to hear and "discuss" with other people. Bless you! Bless you!!

Mary R Snyder said...

Girl, what a great discussion. I met Jesus at revival in a Baptist church and it's truly all I've ever known. But I'm a follower of Jesus not of the Baptist faith & message. Can I drink?
Yes. Responsibly and taking the 'not to cause my brother to stumble' into account.

I have a past with alcohol, too. And many bad memories. As we've raised our girls we've been aware of the need to let them know that alcohol is NOT something for teenagers. We've tried to live out a witness for them.

The very first miracle Jesus performed was turning water into wine at the wedding feast. The alcohol is not the bad thing -- it's the lack of control over it.

It boils down to this:
Who / what controls us.. If alcohol controls us then how can we submit ourselves completely to Christ?

Great discussion and I love your heart.

Mary Beth said...

First, let me clarify the United Methodist Church's stance on alcohol from the Social Principles:

¶ 162 L) Alcohol and Other Drugs—We affirm our long-standing support of abstinence from alcohol as a faithful witness to God’s liberating and redeeming love for persons. We support abstinence from the use of any illegal drugs.

So, no, the greater body of the UMC does not think it's "OK."

Second, I agree with Sara. The question is not "Can Christians Drink?" but "Can I drink?"

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality said...

Good discussion & one that will have many differing opinions.

I grew up in the Assemblies of God as a preacher's kid. Alcohol was absolutely forbidden in our home & frowned upon as heathen. :) So, in my 20's, I experimented for myself, plenty of times. Just had to see what it was all about for myself. It was fun & I got it out of my system, but continued to wrestle with that question into adulthood. Is it wrong to be a Christian & drink alcohol?

I have finally come to the conclusion that it is not sinful (wine was rampant in the Bible) to drink a glass of whatever, but caution must be in order. If I had small children at home, I just don't think I'd ever have it at home, for their sakes. I think it's such a hard thing to be saying one thing & doing another at home. We don't have small children at home and we do have an occasional glass of wine out, but made the decision not to keep it at home at all. It's just not something we do on a regular basis at all. I think each person has to make their own decisions on it. But, I have to say, I'm glad my parents are T-totallers & wouldn't have them any other way. I like it when I see people taken an absolute stance on it. I would be disappointed if my pastor drank alcohol, I do think that those in leadership need to take a strong stance on it. This is a subject that no one will ever agree on. I do wonder about Christians that drink ALL the time, hard liquor and such. I wonder about that. Why do they feel the need??

I do think that a world of hurt comes from alcohol & it probably would be best to totally abstain from it. There have been so many BAD things resulting from alcohol & you never know when that first drink will lead to an addiction. So, that is the caution.

3girlsmom said...

GREAT DISCUSSIONS HERE.

I grew up Baptist - have never been anything but Baptist - and my dad is a Southern Baptist Pastor. Drinking was absolutely TABOO in my house growing up. I was terrified of it. I was told that if I drank, my dad would lost his job. My parents never drank (EVER. I've never EVER seen my parents drink) and have a very strong opinion against it. They avoid social places where alcohol is served (not restaurants, but they rarely go to a wedding reception or a party with my mom's company) and are VERY uncomfortable when people drink around them. My dad's reasoning is the exact scripture, 1 Cor 8:1-13 that you wrote.

Now, having said that, and knowing that I was raised like that, here are my 2 cents.

I have no problem with drinking. I used to think the same way my parents do, but I realized that my stance against alcohol wasn't because I was against drinking, but WAS because I was in a "holier than thou" mindset. I believed that all drinking was bad and all people who drank were bad. Since I didn't drink, I was somehow better than they were. Alcohol became a stumbling block for me BECAUSE I MADE IT THAT WAY. Most of the time, the "drinker" was doing nothing wrong. But my thinking, my "better than them" mindset, MY PRIDE was my stumbling block. TWISTED REASONING. I was so wrong. As I matured in my faith and developed my own thoughts (not just took what my parents had to say as law), I re-thought that scripture. I believe that alcohol is a perfectly acceptable thing. But because of the 1) controversy surrounding it, the 2) addictive nature of it, and 3) the ability it has to cause such over-the-top behavior, it needs to have very specific parameters. Moderation, maturity, and lawfulness. And I think that people, especially Christians, need to remember and respect the parameters. If people are stumbling because of it - and the "drinker" is acting well within the parameters, then that person needs to evaluate where that stumbling is coming from.

Ok. Jumbled. Not sure if what I wrote actually makes sense. But what a great discussion. I adore you and your heart. Love you to pieces, sis.

Cheryl said...

I have very vague memories of my dad drinking beer when I was very young. My parents were saved when I was about 4 and after that I never remember alcohol being in our home. From that point until this day I have been a part of the Southern Baptist church and like Robin, alcohol was forbidden.
I begin experimenting in high school but in college, I went absolutely berserk with drinking. It was a horrible season of my life and it's only by the grace of God that I'm even alive today!
When I got married (the 1st time) we were social drinkers but eventually we just stopped. Not really a spiritual decision, we just didn't want alcohol in our home. After my divorce, I really began wanting to live a holy life and not just believe things just because it was what I was taught as a child.
I believe Paul gives us the answer in 1 Cor.6:12 "Everyting is premissable for me but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissable for me but I will not be mastered by anything."
As with anything in life, you have to ask the question, "will this (fill in the blank) bring me closer to God or further from God?" Whether its alcohol, getting a tattoo, a relationship, a tv show, music, WHATEVER! If the answer is no, then I believe you shouldn't do it.

Love you dearly Fran!!!

btw, I totally think you should do a post about things you've experienced as a visitor. Pastors/Chruch Leaders need to know how they can do things better!
For ex., we went to a church this weekend and the door that was specifically marked, "Guest Welcome Center" was locked. We were there about 10 minutes before SS started. Not really a good message to send your guests!

E-dub said...

Ok I've been saving up my $0.02 so I can have time to type it out.

1) I've grown up Baptist and never been anything but. My favorite Baptist joke: When you go fishing, bring two Baptist friends, because if you bring one they'll drink all your beer. (:

B) I've also grown up in a house where drinking was done pretty much all the time, but only in moderation. My parents never really had a drinking talk with me (we never really talk about anything), but it was always understood that I couldn't have a drink of my own until I was 21.

iii) Strictly Biblically speaking, I think it's absolutely clear on the "no getting drunk" thing. I haven't found any actual scriptural evidence that says I can't drink, however. I of course agree with the 1 Corinthians verses - not letting my freedom offend a weaker brother, etc. I personally don't have an issue with having a drink on occasion. I like it. I think it it permissible and really isn't beneficial or detrimental - just neutral. I think things can just be neutral? I don't get drunk, and I'd like to think I practice good judgement about where and with whom I do partake (as a side note - if anyone would like to JUDGE by using 1 Cor. 8:9, then they're not a "weaker brother" and should examine the plank in their own eye). I don't think it's a good idea to drink in a public place where a kid I teach at Disciple Now can see me and stumble, etc. Anyway, that falls into my whole "good judgement" category. Like not drinking with people who have an issue with alcoholism, or only drinking because I want to be "cool."

4) As far as parental advice, I have none since I have no children. My parents sorta went the default route and it turned out okay (but who knows why - I wouldn't recommend it!). If I was a parent, I would just be real with my kids and tell them what's up. The Bible's clear on submitting to rules and authority and on using good judgement. So I stick with that. (:

p.s. I love you.
p.p.s. Don't click on my blog because I haven't written on it in almost a year.

Meli n Pat said...

Oh fun! What a discussion!

I grew up in a Mennonite Brethren Church that also strictly forbid any alcohol. It was funny, though, that once us kids were in high school/college, mom and dad would order wine or wine coolers at restaurants. I was floored and felt a little like they were hypocritical. I think it would have been better to acknowledge their stance that the occasional drink would be fine, as long as you don't get drunk. My mom also had alcoholism in her family and at that time warned us of the genetic propensities to addictions.

I've since attended Evangelical Free, Southern Baptist, Grace Brethren, and non-denominational churches and have yet to find one that has a total taboo stance! I think it has to do with the kind of church I'm attracted to: modern music, contemporary styles, open feel. My favorite church, which I don't live near any longer, had a great set up of serious small groups that kept people accountable to behavior, i.e., not getting drunk, addictions, etc.

I do think that we, as Paul said, should be convinced. We are not to convince others, and likewise they should not convince us. That should be done by the Holy Spirit.

BTW: I really love a tiny glass of wine in the evenings, and just had the most wonderful bottle that my husband brought home from a trip to Portland! It was Black Cherry Wine that was scrumptious! Especially with the Tillamook Cheese! MMMMM!

His Girl said...

I choose not to drink. ever. not even one glass of wine.

Here's why: I believe that I should be ready to respond any time God asks me to move. If he tells me to go somewhere, do I want to say, "I can't...I've been drinking. I can't drive!"

If I get a phone call from someone who needs prayer, if I need to take my child to an emergency room, if I need to go... I want to be ready. I never want to purposely be 'under the influence' of anything beyond Jesus.

That being said, do I judge others for having a glass of wine or whatever? of course not. All things are lawful for us as Christians... it's up to each of us to determine which things are profitable. It's up to each of us to ask God what He thinks, and obey. If you would be ashamed should Jesus walk in the room while you have a margarita in your hand, don't do it. In areas that are not specifically mentioned in the Bible, (obviously not referring to getting drunk...that's forbidden in the Bible several times)we have a certain amount of liberty. How we choose to use that liberty is part of the beauty of free choice.

I'm impressed that you brought this subject up. I've shied away from it for years, afraid of opening that can of worms... you did it beautifully!

Jen said...

Good Morning, Fran! I meant to come post a comment on this subject yesterday, but never got around to it.

I was raised in a Bible church... non-denominational. No real strict rules on drinking, but it was rarely talked about. Grant and I now attend a baptist church.

The short version of my answer is yes, I think Christians can drink. But I think we also have to be SUPER CAREFUL.

Inksstillwet said...

This is an awesome conversation. You brave girl! First, let me start by saying, I am completely okay with people drinking. Getting drunk, different story. Basing my belief on the word of God, specifically Eph. 5-17-19 “therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery (sin). Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.” And the other verses mentioned here.

In saying any of this, there is no condemnation whatsoever. One thing that came to mind was the fact that if I have a friend that I know is addicted to pornography, I’m not going to lead them in a direction to feed that addiction. If I have a friend addicted to drugs, I’m not going to place their drug of choice right in front of them. If I have a friend that is addicted to gambling and running their life into a pit, I’m not going to help them feel better by taking them to a casino. Since it’s often difficult to know on the surface a person’s deep and personal struggle with sin, why would I offer them a glass of wine when they’d prefer the case?
I agree with the verses mentioned that everything is permissible, but not everything is profitable. (1 Corinth. 6:12 & 1 Corinth. 10:23)

With all of this said, I’m not the judge of someone’s life and how they decide to use it to bring glory to God. People are watching those of us that say we are Christ followers and we have to be aware that we are an influence in others lives not only by our words, but more outspoken by our actions.

you gotta wonder said...

I was raised Episcopalian (fondly referred to "whiskeypalians"). Our belief is "nothing in excess". There are lots of instances of acceptable drinking practices in the scripture, as well as unacceptable. Drunkenness is not acceptable. Alcohol is hard for most people to manage. I've joked before that when I'm trying to cut back on drinking, it's not the last glass of wine I need to eliminate, but the first.

I'm currently abstaining from alcohol as part of my Lenten discipline.

Thank you for this very thought-provoking post. You are a blessing to this community.

Susan said...

Hey you.

Great post and discussion.

Short story long: raised in a family that drank. Both mom and dad have, at one time or another, relied on alcohol too much. Mom still does. As a rebellious 20 year old and newlywed living in a town we hated, we began drinking and began hating each other. It didn't take a rocket scientist, but did take a bunch of marital counseling, to bring us back from the brink.

Now, we like a nice glass of wine. On a special occassion we might celebrate with one glass of something else.

Our Pastor put it a good way. He is not a big drinker. He's a Southern Baptist pastor. He would routinely turn down a drink at weddings, whether he led the service or not until one day he realized that the host and hostess weren't asking him to drink and get drunk. They were asking him to drink a glass (or even just a sip) in celebration. At a wedding. Just like Jesus did. Since then, he has accepted the offer of a nice glass of wine at a wedding. He may not drink it all, but he will not offend another host and hostess. He often reminds our good Southern Baptist church members that the bible does not say do not drink alcohol.

As for our children. I've already shared with Fran our story on that. We have always always always talked to our children about the hazards of drinking. What drinking responsibly really and truly means. Our oldest who is a sophmore in college has beer in his dorm. One of the guys is 21. He's not a big drinker but will have a beer now and then. That is what he says and I believe him. Our 18 year old daughter drinks more than I want to know about. I continuously talk to her about drinking and driving and that we would drop everything to come wherever she was if she found herself drunk or with a drunk driver. NO QUESTIONS ASKED PERIOD. And our youngest boy who is 14 is sitting back and watching it all unfold. He is the one I worry about, lol. Hopefully, he will follow the footsteps of his brother and not his sister.

I think that anything can go to the extremem. We went to lunch one time (after church) with a couple and their three boys to a Mexican restaurant. A bunch of our Sunday school class families. After dinner the mom was reading the menu and started screaming. Apparently, one of the ingredients listed in the queso dip was beer. Probably just a tablespoon worth but she flipped out. She and her husband had sworn that no alcohol would EVER touch the lips of their children EVER. That is the way they were raising them and that was the way it was going to be. Now because we had taken them to this restaurant, we were to blame for the downfall. Seriously. I mean, I get that you don't want your children to drink. I don't have a problem with that, but they told us they were glad they were leaving the area because they would never come to our church again because of what had happened. Hello....we were at a restaurant. My point is...there is an extreme for everything and anything.

Good job, Fran. Glad this is something that is on your heart.

Love you bunches.

Earen said...

Ah yes...this is a huge discussion among believers in Jesus. I grew up in a family that chose to not drink. We were not raised to look down poorly on those that did drink, but just felt this was an area in our Christian lives that we could be different in. As I grew up I decided to test this theory myself and had my first taste of alcohol on my honeymoon. Immediately I felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit for me personally. I have heard many sermons in which they have used that verse you mentioned and I know personally that I don't drink around certain friends because I know they have struggled with it. I definitely know the Word says to not get drunk...but really, when are we drunk? At what point is that? With all judgments aside truly, and with raising 3 boys also we have decided that the Lord has convicted our family to stay away from alcohol. It's a heart issue in my opinion...for me I am constantly feeling the Holy Spirit speak to me and ask me how I stand out and how am I different from the world. Am I perfect in every area...no, but I'm a work in progress. If we look at drinking/alcohol we see it as something that truly does in some ways can represent the world. So...why not be different. But bottom line for me is this....it's a personal decision that only the Lord can convict you on. In reading your blog I can sense His tugging on your heart to look at this issue, especially since you mentioned that it has had an impact in your life. I want to raise my boys to not think they are "holier than thou" because they don't drink but that we are just trying to different. Fran, in my life hardly anyone has ever agreed with me and in my heart I personally know I'm being obedient to what God has asked me to do and truly...obedience to Him is all He asks of me. Listen to His voice, He will tell you....

Georgia Jan said...

Fran - bless you girl, what a topic. I appreciate your heart and desire to grow in Him and raise those boys up in Jesus!

I enjoyed reading all the varied responses from everyone - great insight and thought! If you can stand a comment from this "old Baptist preacher's wife" here goes...

I've never drank - have no desire to - never will. Raised our boys to never touch the stuff - they don't - say they never will. My husband is like Robyn's parents - "tee-totally NO!"

For me and mine, it's like this - WHY? Alcohol abuse has torn apart more homes - killed more innocent folks than we'll ever know. Sure - you can be "moderate," but once again, WHY when there are other choices that are not controversial or where you have to be careful of who, what, when, and once again, WHY? Give me a good old Diet Coke with a fresh squeezed lime and I'm happy.

I won't throw any rocks at those who choose to drink, but I especially love the comment about being "ready to serve or help" someone and not worried about being under the influence of even a glass of wine in the event someone needs me.

As my precious old Granny used to say, "When it doubt, leave it out!"

Love you much,
Jan

He Knows My Name said...

What a weighty subject. I don't think less of anyone who does and I hope you don't think less of me because I don't. I am stating this from my life experience.

This is my story.

I grew up in a baptist home where my parents did not drink. This is the one thing to this day I believe for me they did right for us kids. My husband grew up in a catholic home where they drank socially. He has memories of his dad arriving home in a taxi and his mom having to go out and help his very intoxicated dad get in the house. He was not an alcoholic. This was just an isolated incident and a bad memory for my husband seeing his dad this way. Alcoholism ruined my mom's dad's life and 2 of her siblings. I remember the stale smell of their homes and saw their blood shot eyes, heard their slurred speech and felt as a very sensitive child these people scarred me and they are my mom's family. I was sad for her and I was only a child.

I had a best friend introduce me to alcohol at age 14 by taking it from her parents basement. Her home had it mine did not. They were Lutheran's and regular church goers. She also introduced me to se*ually charged romance magazines also found at their house and not mine, but that is another subject. From age 14 to 17 I drank to get drunk, tried smoking cigarettes, tried pot and pills to get high. At age 17 I felt I was addicted to pot, my drug of choice. In my heart, I do believe by the Holy Spirits leading, I decided to give up drugs and alcohol for Christ's sake. I don't know if this change of heart was spurred on by my church or family's prayers, all I know it was a force within me. My family still does not know my life story. At that time, I went for a walk with my bf and told her I was giving up pot and partying and it was because of being a Christian. I wanted nothing to do with that scene, no drugs, no alcohol. She dropped me like a lead balloon. I was alone. We had been partners in crime for years now. Was I deep in the faith, heck no. I was just 17 and had just made my first right decision with many bad ones behind me and in front of me. I kind of saw life as two roads the one I was on with my friends and the other road, whatever that was, it had to be better than where my road was going.

I became a secretary at Blue Cross/Blue Shield and made the same decision to not drink. I had many lunches/parties where I had to make a choice. I am thankful for having a strong conviction about something at a young age for what ever that is worth.

Then I allowed myself to go there. At around age 25. I would drink wine just to fit in with a couple that we hung with. It wasn't because liked the taste. If anything I was looking for that little buzz. When we pulled away from hanging with this couple for other reasons the drinking stopped. Anytime I EVER drank it was to fit in with people I was with who were drinkers. I have never had anyone not drink because they were following my lead. I do feel my denomination plays into my decisions somewhere.

Then sadly a few years ago, I took a bottle of wine given to us as a gift, never thrown out, and drank to get drunk over family sadness. For me, alcohol has never brought anything good.

I do feel most kids will try alcohol, some won't. I do think alcohol leads to other bad decisions for both kids and adults.

I remember hearing Dr. James MacDonald talk about alcohol during his series called Wise Up. You can access it on itunes: Wise up about alcohol (11/11&12/09) it is worth listening to just to get his perspective.

This is my story, my choices, my sin, my victory in the making.

Fran you are dear to my heart. You came to me at THE hardest time in my life. I can never thank you enough.

hugs,

janel

Kate said...

*Sigh*
I was raised Pentecostal (non-denom now) where alcohol was straight up from the devil and would send ya to hell faster than you could swallow it. So, I tested theory, and alas, I am a sipping saint (and still a Christian). However, I would not serve it, and when I have people at my house and I don't know where they stand, I tear down my wine display. I enjoy a glass of wine from time to time, but I respect people more.
With that being said, I am also single and live alone...if I had children, I don't think I would have it in my house, but I would certainly educate them about it.

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed reading these comments. I, like one of the other ladies, am also a baptist preacher's wife. And in response to the comparison of alcohol being a stumbling block to country music, I would just say to be careful w/such a comparison. Country music isn't destroying marriages and families and taking lives like alcohol. :(

Anonymous said...

Fran,
I so admire how you are searching scripture and your heart about this matter. Personally, if a substance like alcohol causes so much controversy, problems and strong feelings, I think it's best to just stay clear of it. You are right that God's Word only says "Do not get drunk with wine", but in the world today, alcohol causes so many problems-- much more than in Biblical days. It also can be such a stumbling block to others especially in our case where my husband and I both teach children and youth in our church. I would not want them to think because they see me drink that it is OK, so they drink and are irresponsible. It is a parent's responsibility to teach their children to be responsible in drinking, but what if that child who occassionally comes to Sunday School has parents who don't teach them that. In our case, we just stay clear to avoid causing any problems. God knows our hearts and what is best for each of us. He will show you what is the right thing for you and your family and your spiritual influence.

Teri~Facedown said...

To Anonymous,

I wasn't comparing alcohol to listening to country music. I was commenting on the scripture that Fran used out of Corinthians,"Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak." I was using country music as a hypothetical issue that could be a potential stumbling block for someone. Go back and read it and you will see, I believe you've misunderstood.

Alana said...

Catching up on your blog a little bit. Happy belated 40th, by the way!!

I hope you and yours are very well!

Shonda said...

Fran, God bless you for opening up such a candid discussion.

I must say that as I glanced through the comments, my position leans to agree most with Leah.

I've been to a church that absolutely condemned even a glass of wine with dinner. Yet, I've seen the children of those ministry leaders and lay leaders fall into the very snare they parents tried to avoid with their children.

I think it is a delegate issue and each of us must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. And as Leah stated, does it control us or are we in control?

Blessings my sister!
Shonda

Anonymous said...

I think its important to note that wine in Jesus' day was 3/4 parts water and 1/4 part actual wine. Not the wine we think of today....in the Bible full strength wine was known as "strong drink" and was used for medicinal purposes - remember Paul telling Timothy to take some wine for his stomach's sake??? I think we can justify sin in all sorts of ways. You can use the "its okay for me" argument or the "its not as bad a sin as some others" argument, but the truth is that we are not to do anything that would cause another to stumble OR to question our witness. So, as Christians who desire to see others saved, we have a responsibility to err on the side of caution which in my opinion means that we should refrain from drinking. Period. What if your casual glass of wine causes someone else to sin? Is your drinking going to influence a life for the kingdom or is it going to hinder someone from entering the kingdom? My guess would be the latter. Is it worth it? I dont think so.

I blog so you can get a glimpse into my life as wife, mom of 3 boys, and someone who simply wants to bless others along the way. Have fun and be sweet :)

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