Drinking to Remember

Feel free to imagine the following dialogue with some super bro-ey voices. (not that I have anything against bros, haha)

“Yo, what’s up.”

“Not much, bro, *snort.”

“Where’d you end up last night? I didn’t see you after 2.”

“Heh, *snort. Have no idea man.”

“*snort. Niiiiice man. All in all a pretty good night then, huh?”

“*snort. Yeah. Back to real life now.”

Now, I’ll admit, perhaps my bro-speak isn’t quite up to snuff. Word choice, syntax, etc. might be a bit off. Now, obviously, not every conversation between two “bros” is like this. Nor are bros the only types of people who have this type of conversation. Heck, even I will occasionally play the part of the first character (altho, obviously, not in bro-speak language). And I’ll even admit, my partaking in such conversation is not solely out of a desire to fit in or make small talk. While there is a part of me that is instantly repulsed and shocked at the idea that it is fun to drink to the point of being blacking out/extremely drunk (I mean, what’s the point of “having fun” if you’re not even consciously there to enjoy it?), there is another part of me that does think there is something fun and worthwhile to just completely letting go. And it makes those around you happy, too, right? And those around you have fun memories of you? So … before I get completely kicked off of being a writer on this blog, I will say with much conviction that I believe that drinking to the point of drunkenness and/or beyond is a sin. There are several Bible verses which speak to this:

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. (Galatians 5:21)

Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags. (Proverbs 23:20-21)

This being said, what is the purpose of drinking? And just what exactly are you (Ed) trying to do in this blog post? That is a great question! I have no idea. Hmmmm, what to say. Perhaps the way to go is just to list out some very quick hits (some interesting, some pretty standard) on the thoughts that are currently running through my head when it comes to alcohol. Hopefully at least some of them will be in line with the Bible, haha. Feel free to comment/question/challenge. This is most definitely a work in progress, and I might try to spend some more time writing on one or a few of these.

Getting drunk is a sin.

I’ve already gone over this, but perhaps some implications to this. If we are to view getting drunk as a sin, is it then okay to laugh at stories of people getting hammered/wasted and the stupid things they do afterwards? And what about pushing drinks on to friends? I feel like I do these two things almost by instinct/reflex nowadays, but maybe I shouldn’t be.

Drinking alcohol (in isolation) is not a sin.

Yes, a lot of things in isolation are not sins, haha. Take money as the classic example. But back on topic, I have met people who believe or have believed that drinking alcohol is a sin. The Bible definitely has good things to say about drinking.

“And I commend joy, for man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 8:15)

And think about the wedding scene where Jesus miraculously turns the water into wine in John Chapter 2.

“Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” (John 2:10)

So what about the previous statement? Many things are not a sin in isolation.

There are most certainly ways that drinking, even in moderation, can be a sin. One of them is highlighted by this verse:

“It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.” (Romans 14:21)

When our drinking becomes a stumbling block/temptation for those around us (to get drunk, to drink underage, or other things), that is certainly a time when we are in the wrong. For me, there’s another potential sin that’s been coming up lately. One of the main reasons I drink is to loosen up. I definitely think of myself as a more fun person when I drink, and I find myself much more capable of connecting with outgoing people. This thought process, though, leads down a very dangerous path. I find that sometimes I wonder if it’d be better if I perpetually had a little bit of alcohol in my system to make myself more fun. This of course, goes down the path of idolizing what alcohol does for me and a particular type of person I want to be.

Getting drunk (in a good way)

One of the things I’ve been thinking about (maybe a bit too much) is the idea of being drunk on the Holy Spirit. Now, this line of thought definitely has the potential to go awry but why not try writing on this a little and seeing where it goes. One way of viewing someone who is drunk is that the person is in his/her most free and uninhibited. If a person were drunk on the Holy Spirit, would that mean that a person is so influenced by the Holy Spirit such that even in his/her most uninhibited state, he/she did the right things. Another view on this subject is to think about the buzz you normally get from having drinks in moderation. How amazing would it be to get that buzz/joy from just enjoying the Spirit’s presence in your life. (After all, isn’t that one of the reasons why another word for alcohol is spirits?) Now lastly, and I mention this lastly rather than starting it as a caveat because this is probably most important part of this section. Nowhere, does the Bible actually state anything about being drunk on the Holy Spirit. The verse that often people are actually thinking of is:

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18).

There’s actually a contrast here that’s being set up between being drunk compared to what it’s like to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Additionally, there are many verses which stress the importance of being sober:

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13)

So yea, as much as I enjoy thinking about the idea of being drunk on the Holy Spirit (perhaps that’s the Myers-Briggs F in me coming out) it’s a line of thought to approach very cautiously. I definitely want to spend some more time thinking and writing on this.

Conclusions

Hmmm, there really isn’t a conclusion to this post, haha. I’ve really only started drinking regularly post-college and am still trying to figure this out. Some other thoughts I want to write about, but just haven’t spend enough time thinking about include: 1. There is a limited window of time to grow in faith when it comes your own approach to drinking 2. Drinking (both in excess and underage) is something that many Christian communities don’t address well, or at least I’ll say I’m not good at addressing them when it comes up with friends. 3. Drinking during communion is our way of remembering Jesus’ new covenant for us, shed by his blood

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One thought on “Drinking to Remember”

  1. A good question that I’ve considered and thought a lot about is: “Is drinking a sin?” which you mention here in this post. After many years of being exposed to Christians who drink, I’ve been challenged to think about this question a lot more in terms of what the Bible says about it.

    Some questions to think about (and I’m not necessarily going for or against your post, just offering up food-for-thought!):

    1. In a study of the society at the time of the Bible where Jesus turns water into wine, we can see that because water at the time was not clean and pure, people drank “watered down” wine at meals and ceremonial functions and parties, but it was a much lower-alcohol-content grape derivative, not an intoxicant. As in, what is referred to as ‘wine” then is not the same as the “wine” we refer to now. So that puts into context what the Bible says about Jesus and others drinking “wine,” in my opinion. As you acknowledge in your post, drinking itself might not be a sin, but a temptation — Jesus is able to overcome all temptations, but why should we, as sinful human beings, test ourselves in that manner? Some people can handle the temptations of drunkenness better than others — so I think it’s an individual decision.

    2. When I was thinking about the morality of drinking, I thought about writing a list of “pros and cons” as I often do for it. I realized after writing out the “pros” of it that it was not rooted in God, but often drinking is linked to desires to “loosen up” (which also further goes deeper into social ideas) or to feel a certain way, which I am not sure is Biblical.

    3. The idea of causing those around us to stumble — that is definitely something I feel like we can’t control 100%. Someone might see us drinking from afar and say, “See those members of the Christian fellowship drinking!” and slander God’s name for it. Or maybe seeing upperclassmen drinking causes underclassmen who believe drinking is a sin to drink, in which case that is a stumbling block as well. We can’t control what others see most of the time or hear about, so to me this is a risk that is made for the benefit of … what exactly? To loosen up, to feel good, to have fun?

    This is just a list of things that I have struggled with. Ultimately, we should not forget that arguing about things like this is not what God wants us to do (He tells us not to quarrel about these things) because this is unimportant in the context of the greater purpose of the Bible. This is just a comment as someone who enjoys the occasional glass of wine, but confused as to where that line is drawn between it being “buzzed” and “drunkenness.” Seems too subjective, but my flesh is weak.

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