50 Reasons Why I Drink

For the people who think that I need them.

When I came across the article, "50 Reasons Why I Don't Drink," the title wasn't what caught my eye (I've made it clear before how I feel about excessive listicles like this). It was the byline: "We are living in a church age where drinking has become 'hipster' for some. Even some pastors drink. Not this one."

Perhaps some people are under the mistaken notion that the church has historically been a dry community, but there's nothing "hip" about Christians drinking. We've been doing that for so long it's still a part of the Eucharist in many churches. In fact, some of my favorite beers have been brewed by monks for centuries (this one is my favorite).

As far as the "ster" goes, excuse me for wanting a more refined palate than the local Cracker Barrel can offer. That's why craft beer is so ubiquitous today that you can find it at Walgreen's. People are drinking it because it's delicious and the immense variety makes food pairings an adventure worth anticipating.

The real issue isn't some imagined cultural shift; it's the fact that the author, Pastor Jamie Morgan of Life Church in New Jersey, has a bad history with alcohol. I'd like to cut her some slack seeing that she's from my home state and all, but personal experience doesn't make you an expert. It makes you both knowledgeable and biased. And in this case, she's biased against alcohol because her experience have largely been negative.

I can respect that. A few of my friends don't drink for similar reasons and it's probably for their best. What I don't respect are those who plum the depths of their own bad choices looking for contextualized examples to impose as universal life lessons. Drinking alcohol doesn't make you an alcoholic or a future alcoholic; lacking coping skills to deal with stress does.

To make my point equally excessive, here are her 50 "don't" reasons followed by my 50 "do" reasons (mine are italicized):

1. I can't be sober-minded if I'm not sober.
I can be sober-minded by not drinking until I'm drunk.

2. Alcohol has an assignment: destruction.
I assign an inanimate object like alcohol it's purpose and, for me, it's enjoyment.

3. Alcohol is a depressant. Anything that depresses should be avoided at all costs.
I don't avoid depressants because the Bible tells me not to.

4. I don't want to make my brother or sister stumble in the name of exercising my "Christian liberties." My choice to drink could lead to someone's demise.
I primarily drink at home in private.

5. Alcohol skews my judgment.
I don't drink to the point where alcohol skews my judgment.

6. Alcohol leaves me worse, not better.
I make myself worse, not substances.

7. What I do in moderation, my children will do in excess.
I'm not a sorcerer so I don't know the future. But I will leave a good example for my children and let them make their own decisions.

8. Even the unsaved know I shouldn't drink. Bible in one hand, beer in the other—any lost person could point this out as a confusing contradiction.
I don't employ circular reasoning when I defend my choices. Also, I don't drink around Christian teetotalers because they're the only people who care.

9. Alcohol doesn't bring others closer to the Lord when they see me drinking, but further away.
I do plenty of things that don't bring them closer to God (like go to the bathroom) and plenty of far worse things that push them away (like tear others down).

10. Alcohol doesn't bring me closer to the Lord when I drink, but further away.
I've read this before.

11. I want to be fully awake and ready for the return of Christ, not drowsy, sluggish and fuzzy.
I can't be fully awake because sometimes thinking about Jesus for 16 hours straight makes me need to rest for 8.

12. Show me a family for whom alcohol has made a positive difference in their lives. You won't be able to.
I can't think of a single positive difference that any Christian media has made in my life.

13. I have never heard anyone say, "Wow, that gin and tonic made me feel so Christlike!"
I have never had any sort of beverage that has made me feel Christlike. Am I still saved?

14. I want to avoid all appearances of evil.
I want to read all biblical passages carefully and without anachronistic semantics (the KJV's choice of the word "appearance" in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 can imply the modern connotation of impression or perception while newer translations use more precise words like "kind" or "form").

15. Alcohol makes it much harder for me to practice the fruit of self-control.
I have never been out of control due to alcohol, even on the rare occasions I've been drunk. Loss of self-control is how people who avoid accountability describe it.

16. Alcohol causes me to lose my filter.
I don't need alcohol to lose my filter. Just ask my wife.

17. Alcohol is a legal mind-altering drug.
I have taken a number of legal mind-altering drugs, like Benadryl.

18. Alcohol is addictive.
I regularly consume lots of addictive substances from caffeine and sugar to cheese and the salt on McDonald's french fries.

19. Alcohol is a numbing agent for pain and sorrow only Jesus can heal.
I try to find comfort in all of the things God provided from friends to food.

20. Many regrets are associated with alcohol. (I can give you a whole bunch!)
I have had two regrets associated with alcohol, but neither of them are as bad as the one associated with ingesting the Chicago river.

21. No one has ever said, "If only I had taken a drink, things wouldn't have gotten out of control."
I have never said, "If only I had taken a drink..." because I don't turn to alcohol to solve my problems, and the people that do are the same people who over-indulge with food (and for whom complete abstinence is worse). Removing the food and drink in their cases only treats the symptom.

22. Alcohol causes me to act in ways I normally wouldn't.
I have never acted in ways I normally wouldn't due to alcohol. I'm already odd enough.

23. Alcohol kills brain cells.
I have lost brain cells listening to sermons (time, otherwise known as aging, is the number one killer of brain cells).

24. Alcohol is a counterfeit and provides a false peace.
I have never found peace in alcohol--that would be weird. But I have found relaxation. Perhaps we should ban recliners and hot tubs too.

25. The Bible says that no drunkards will enter the kingdom of God. Being drunk starts with one drink. I don't want to see how far outside the lines I can color when eternity is at stake.
I am not a drunkard. But getting drunk usually started after 10 drinks. Also, I'm pretty sure God's grace is bigger than my sin.

26. Alcohol is a waster—money, gifts and talents, destinies and so on.
I have never wasted one moment with alcohol. It has either brought an enhanced dining experience or provided the setting for a meaningful conversation. 

27. Alcohol leads to really bad behavior. It is a factor in 50 percent of violent crimes.
I have never been led by alcohol to do really bad behavior I didn't already want to do.

28. Alcohol distracts and derails you from living the victorious life for which Christ died.
I don't have a victorious life and I don't want one because Christ's suffering is more than just a bedtime story, it's a model I'm supposed to follow.

29. Wisdom is the principle thing that I need to pursue at all cost; alcohol makes me stupid.
I pursue wisdom by enjoying food and drink because that's what the wisest person to ever live said to do.

30. Alcohol has ruined many, many marriages.
I have an amazing marriage and alcohol has yet to ruin it.

31. The only influence I should be "under" is God's.
I am more often under the influence of my own ego than anything else. Being under God's influence is this process called sanctification.

32. The Bible tells me to be alert; alcohol delays my reaction time.
I am often so alert that sudden noises make me fall down. Alcohol calms my nerves.

33. If I don't start drinking, I'll never have to stop.
I don't want to hide from my need for salvation because then I might begin to believe that I don't need it.

34. Alcohol severely tarnishes my testimony.
I don't want a spotless testimony because others might be tempted to give me the credit. I'd rather my testimony be my need for Jesus.

35. Don't want your teenagers to drink? Yep, same reasons apply to you.
I expect my future teenagers to drink because I expect that they'll need to experience their need for grace eventually (and I intend to be there to give it to them when they do).

36. God is holy; alcohol is not.
I'm not holy. Maybe I shouldn't be around me either.

37. Alcohol and prayer don't mix.
I think I'm going to start drinking when I pray because I just realized that's what Jesus did the night he was betrayed.

38. Alcohol and Bible study don't mix.
I should be able to have a beer at Bible study if I can drink aromatic amphetamines and eat gluttonous circles of diabetes too.

39. Alcohol lowers my resolve to resist temptation.
I have never had a drink powerful enough to make me want to rob a bank, but now I'm curious and I want to know if such a drink exists and what it tastes like.

40. Alcohol = Brokenness (broken lives, health, dreams and so on)
I've experienced (and caused) my fair share of brokenness but only with people. I don't make excuses for their actions by blaming substances.

41. When the world sees us drinking, it sends the message that Jesus isn't enough.
I send lots of messages when I'm drinking but most of them are lame jokes or yawns. None of them suggest that Jesus isn't enough because the only people who would think that are Christians.

42. Moderate drinking? How about moderate pornography or moderate heroin use or moderate lying or moderate adultery?
I try not to call things that Jesus did sins. That's heresy.

43. Christians are called to live a life of total surrender and separation from the world.
I can't live in total surrender because then the Spirit would be possessing me, not indwelling me, and that's not biblical. And I can't live in total separation because Jesus said that would be like hiding my light under a bowl.

44. Alcohol makes me forget. It can make me forget that I am married, that I am saved and so on.
I can't forget that I'm married. She's the one who helps me remember all of the things.

45. "I don't get drunk. I only have one or two drinks." If they didn't affect you, you would drink soda.
I like the taste of alcohol better than soda. And I like the effect it has my stress the same way I like the effect that Tylenol has on my headaches.

46. I should never look to the glass or bottle for joy, which can only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I take joy in many aspects of God's creation. That's what he told me to do.

47. Alcohol fills my mind with impure thoughts.
I fill my mind with impure thoughts because, as Jesus said, it's not what goes into a person that corrupts but what comes out.

48. If it could hinder my faith walk or love walk or dishonor the lordship of Jesus Christ, I need to forsake it.
I accept Jesus' advocacy on my behalf because I know that the only way to avoid dishonoring him is to not wake up.

49. Alcohol doesn't help me run the race that Jesus has marked before me to finish with more accuracy. It does the polar opposite.
I don't run the race worried about all of the things that could distract me. That would be too distracting.

50. For any argument that tries to justify Christian drinking, there are at least 50 other reasons not to. The writing is on the wall. It's not God's best for Christians to drink.
I don't need 50 reasons to drink. I just need to stop calling my fears faith and trust in God's love every once in while.


Photo credit: mezzoblue via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Comments

  1. I guess I'm lucky - I was raised in a tradition that left me gobsmacked at some of the things she said. No matter how long I've been married to Steve I'm still surprised at what comes out of that tradition. Thanks for rebutting really clearly.

    It's also sad (to me) that so much of her life is focused on the second coming. Doesn't that make it hard to, I don't know, live life now?

    I'd like to add:
    3. Alcohol is a depressant. Anything that depresses should be avoided at all costs. You mean like my own brain chemistry? That could be hard.
    35. Don't want your teenagers to drink? Yep, same reasons apply to you. Actually, I wouldn't want my teenagers to drink because it disrupts developing brains in a way that's more harmful than the way it impacts adult brains.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great thoughts. I'm actually developing some ideas around why that tradition is so patently futuristic and ignorant of the needs in this life.

      Delete
  2. Alex (by extension: Kim, Steve, Sara): I am really, really proud about who each of you are. Let's get beers together next time you're all in S. Jersey, OK?

    ReplyDelete
  3. The 50 "reasons you drink" are not even reasons to drink there are just poorly constructed argument to the original article and some points are flat out ignoring what was said by the original article for example 12 your point has little to nothing to do with what was said and instead makes a meaningless statement about christian media.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My response was written with the same amount of absurdity as the original.

      Delete

Post a Comment