purple fish guts

Saturday, June 17, 2006


I have the taste buds of a three-year-old. I love Kool-Aid. I hate coffee. The only alcoholic beverages I have ever liked were fruity wine coolers and the "punch" that the guys on our brother floor in college would make at parties. (It tasted like Kool-Aid.) The only time in my life I was drunk was in eighth grade, and I felt sick enough to decide that was the last time I would ever get drunk. It was.

When I married a Southern Baptist guy who was raised in the tradition of abstinence from alcohol, it didn't bother me because I didn't drink. However, I didn't understand the underlying attitude in the Southern Baptist churches that drinking was wrong. I was raised by wonderful parents who are social drinkers and who don't have a problem with alcohol. To me it is a straightforward issue. The Bible teaches that drunkenness is wrong. Jesus drank wine, never got drunk, and I don't think churches should be worried about people doing what Jesus did.

Despite not drinking myself, I feel more comfortable in my current church where drinking is a non-issue than I did in previous churches where there is a stigma attached to those who drink. When I overhear one godly guy in the church say to another "You want to go out after and get a beer?" I feel at home. I like being a member of a church where Jesus and my parents wouldn't be stigmatized.

The Southern Baptists just had their annual national convention in Greensboro, NC, and passed this resolution opposing the "manufacturing, advertising, distributing, and consuming of alcoholic beverages." Sigh. I just don't get it. It is not biblical. It causes non-Christians to see Baptists as self-righteous, judgmental, sticks-in-the-mud, which would be fine if they were taking a biblical stand, but they aren't. The Bible clearly teaches that drunkenness is a sin, but to teach that drinking alcohol in moderation is a sin, is to add what cannot be found in the Bible. I respect anyone who decides to abstain from alcohol for personal reasons, but to teach that everyone who doesn't abstain from alcohol is sinning has no biblical basis.

I love this post by Wade Burleson, who is a pastor of a Southern Baptist Church in Oklahoma, and is on the board of trustees of the International Mission Board. His church's policy about drinking and getting drunk is similar to our church's policy, and he makes a great argument for allowing drinking in moderation for those who choose to. I love Wade's story of the woman whose faith in Christ and reconciliation of her marriage began over a glass of wine. Go read the entire post.