Jesus, Beer and Your College Kids

Doug Giles

8/23/2008 4:55:26 PM - Doug Giles

“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to prosper.”

—Benjamin Franklin

As some of you know by now, I’m a Christian. As a believer I have no problem whatsoever with either you or me having a mug of beer, a glass of wine, or a snifter of brandy, enjoying in moderation what the good Lord has blessed us with. No, Spanky, I’m not a teetotaler. Having said that, I’d never encourage nor drink around someone who, for whatever reason, has no self control. It ain’t worth it. That would be an abuse of my liberty.

In addition, I’m in favor of the legal drinking age being dropped from 21 to 18. I say if our young men and women can go off to war and face a real bullet they should be able to at least kick back a couple of Silver Bullets.

No doubt some of you legalistic 21st century killjoy Pharisees have problems with a Christian drinking alcohol. How do I know? Well, it is because Christianity as of late has been chopped down by the likes of you to these six things, namely:

1. Not watching or reading anything with the name Harry Potter on it

2. Not going to R-rated movies

3. Not smoking cigarettes, a cigar, or a pipe (there goes C. S. Lewis and Charles Spurgeon)

4. Not listening to rock music

5. Not watching CNN or MSNBC (this doesn’t send you to hell, just makes you dumb as hell)

6. Not drinking alcohol

Yep, somehow the greatest story ever told has been reduced to some goofy self-righteous denomination’s list of do’s and don’ts. The funny thing is that the majority of Christian ministers who are fierce about not drinking are not so vociferous about the tons of food they eat, or the gossip they spread, or the unforgiveness they harbor, or the many hours they spend online viewing porn.

I was watching Christian TV the other day as this chunky, sweaty minister who was at least 150lbs overweight (at least!) lectured his flock/the nation on the “demonic evils” of enjoying a Bud Light. I’m sitting back thinking, “let me get this right, Jabba . . . Jesus gets perturbed when I have a 12oz bottle of beer, and he’s completely cool with you eating chicken by the bucket, hamburger by the pound and pizza by the foot?” How convenient, Pastor Man Breasts. And correct me if I’m wrong, Reverend Cletus Klump, but I believe the glutton and the drunkard are both condemned in Scripture. Google it and get back to me.

Both the Old and the New Testament are rife with celebration (feasts) in which alcohol was involved. Alcohol was a part of the God-ordained festivities. And it wasn’t for medicinal purposes, or because the water was rancid and they didn’t have any Evian, and it wasn’t a non-alcoholic grape drink like Welch’s or Juicy Juice; it was a buzz-generating knock back just like the stuff we drink today. Period. End of discussion. Deal with it.

Y’know, I hate to bring the Bible into this, but one of the first snapshots we have of Christ in John’s gospel is Jesus at the wedding feast of Cana turning water into wine. Now, you do know that he could have turned water into anything he wanted to, right? Why? Well, he’s God, for God’s sake. He could have turned water into soy milk, orange juice, a banana smoothie, a wheat grass shake, Yoo-Hoo, Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, a No-Foam-Half-Decaf Skinny Latte, or a Red Bull—but he didn’t. He chose wine—alcoholic wine. And that would be 12 vats of the fruit of the vine. And . . . and . . . that was after all the people had already swilled down the initial 12 mondo jugs of the stuff.

Yes, Jesus filled the wine vats back up, but this time with better vino. This really screws with some Christians’ minds because: A.) Jesus is actually enjoying himself at a party with alcohol and not fasting, weeping, or holding a rabbit like all the paintings depict poor Jesus doing, and B.) when there is a lull in the soirée because the partiers have floated their keg, Christ works a miracle (obviously completely cool with the Father and the Holy Spirit) and keeps the party hopping with fresh and better brew. At that moment he demonstrated his deity not by healing a cripple, not by turning a napkin into a dove, not by making Oprah skinny once and for all, but by turning water into wine.

So, what’s my point? My point is this: If the Son of God drank wine and God “gave wine to make the heart merry,” and if your kids are going to be offered it sooner or later, then you’d better get busy teaching them how to get pleasure from it without going Lindsay, if and when they decide to drink.

I’ve seen too many families forbid their kids to drink only to have them go ape crazy once they got out from under their parents’ watchful eye (i.e. in college!). Yes, it’s usually the party-repressed church kid who gets the most hammered during spring break because booze has been the forbidden apple all their life.

I believe that if drinking is done properly in front of our kids (in moderation), they won’t be the stooge doing 20 shots of tequila down in Cabo on top of the bar at Hagar’s place for a Joe Francis T-shirt, nor will they be at end of 25” hose sucking down Schlitz from a massive funnel.

At our house we have wine or beer served at nearly every meal (especially breakfast!) and at every party. Nobody gets hammered. Nobody strips naked and starts screaming off my balcony and throwing stuff at my Russian neighbors. Nobody drives home blitzed out of their skull. Nobody starts trying to stab anyone in the eye socket with a pool cue after they lose a game of 8 ball. Everybody relaxes, chills and has a good time. No wild crap whatsoever.

My daughters have seen this from birth, and ladies and gents, I’m glad they have because they’ve had modeled before them moderation versus madness, and I believe they’ve carried a mature view of enjoying the fruit of the vine from an early age.

Cheers!

* (If you’d like a couple of great books which cover the topic of Scripture and spirits, get: Drinking with Calvin and Luther: A History of Alcohol in the Church, by Jim West, and God Gave Wine: What the Bible Says About Alcohol, by Kenneth Gentry).