Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dear Christian Beer Hipster: How To Find A Church That Is Cool With Your Drinking

Dear Christian Beer Hipsters,

As Christians, we have much to celebrate in this God-given life. Our Lord commanded in Deuteronomy 14 that we be grateful and rejoice with wine and beer, and he has instituted a meal which includes wine to be taken weekly.


Obviously alcohol is from the Lord. Haters are going to hate. Let them. In celebration of our glorious freedom to be cooler than everyone else while drinking whatever we like, I here publish several verses. Let "whatever your soul desires" be our motto!


Here we go:


Woe to those who rise early in the morning,

    that they may run after strong drink,
who tarry late into the evening
    as wine inflames them!
 They have lyre and harp,
    tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts,
but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord,
    or see the work of his hands.

Therefore my people go into exile

    for lack of knowledge...
Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter!
 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
    and shrewd in their own sight!
 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
    and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
    and deprive the innocent of his right!
Oh, I forgot to tell you. These aren't verses that apply to us. Just 'cause we drink beer? P'shaw. You and I have never acquitted anyone for a bribe; and we've certainly never been wise in our own eyes. We have never been distracted from the deeds of the Lord by our desire to be seen as cool by the world. Also we are not wise in our own eyes; we just have better taste than anyone. Also we understand the freedom of Christ better than anyone. As for being valiant at mixing strong drink, are we going to say it's unlawful to be a mixologist? Be serious. Also, we're not moral relativists. We just prefer not to have awkward conversations. So, that's dealt with: Isaiah 5 is for others.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;    because you have rejected knowledge,    I reject you from being a priest to me.  And since you have forgotten the law of your God,    I also will forget your children...They shall eat, but not be satisfied;  they shall play the whore, but not multiply,because they have forsaken the Lord    to cherish whoredom, wine, and new wine, which take away the understanding.
It may be true that some brothers know obscure breweries and unusual styles of ale better than they know the Holy Scriptures, but you and I are not such men. I'm pretty sure I talk about Jesus more than I talk about beer. Beer-bibbing hipsters have not rejected knowledge, nor run after strange, hip gods. Hosea 4 is for others.
Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well.
I hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. Don't you? We are certainly not worried that being numbered with our credulous brothers will be embarrassing to us. Faith. Mystery. Heaven. Hell. Trinity. Unity. Resurrection. Judgment. We're down with all that...right? Still, maybe it's a good thing we don't want to be deacons. Skinny jeans and cycling caps are kind of hard to play off as "dignified". Plus, most of us don't even have wives, although if we did they'd surely be sober-minded and faithful. And if we had kids we'd manage them well, of course. The same way we manage our church life, really: by not listening to any of the chiding lame-o's in the sacred congregation. What do our fathers know, after all? 1 Timothy 3 is for others.
Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler.
Me, a brawler? Come on...do I look like I've ever been in a fight? Fighting is so...earnest. Anyone who thinks my Westbrook Gose sour beer with coriander makes me into a brawler is a mindless moron who wouldn't know the aesthetic gorgeousness of good flavor if it smacked their fundamentalist mamas in the mouth. Proverbs 20 is for others.
For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk.
We are not the ones who broke any fellowship over drink. We simply exercised our rights to live free in Christ. Living free in Christ by ministering at every bar downtown, that is. It's true that I missed the last trip to the soup kitchen, but I'm trying to be intentional and relational here. I'll be ready to proclaim the gospel when I'm recognized at every cool pub in town. Then all the effort I've put in to making cool non-Christians like me will pay off big-time. You know, for the kingdom. I've got my thing, the other folks at my church have theirs. 1 Corinthians 11 is for others.

Man, that's a lot of Bible covered in just one blog post. I must confess that seeing these verses has made me reconsider my church life. It's probably time for me to look for a church that's less hung-up on rules. Perhaps a church with a pastor who's more in tune with scriptural freedom. Someone who understands where people like us are coming from. Someone, frankly, who's more like us. Ah, finally, a verse that applies!

If a man should go about...    saying, “I will preach to you of wine and strong drink,”    he would be the preacher for this people!

P.S. In my normal voice: are you hiding in your "freedom" from all the people you're supposed to love but don't? Are you friends with Christians who aren't like you? Can worldlings tell you're a Christian? Are you willing to be uncool enough to use a word like "worldling"? 

I love alcohol, and so does God. But I have seen many brothers try to mask their slow walk away from God with drink. Here's what I think is an easy litmus test to see if you're doing that: do you like anybody? Do you love like Christ, or are you a jerk? I say this as one who is constantly tempted to not give a fig for anyone. Is your freedom making you self-absorbed, turning you into a slave to yourself? Here's how to find a church: look for a place where you can love others, without thinking of what they owe you.

3 comments:

  1. We Catholics even have an official beer blessing. Behold: Bless, + O Lord, this creature beer, which thou hast deigned to produce from the fat of grain: that it may be a salutary remedy to the human race, and grant through the invocation of thy holy name; that, whoever shall drink it, may gain health in body and peace in soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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  2. Exactly what I needed to hear. I confess I'm an asshole.

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