Now that I’m back from blogcation, I’m picking back up on sharing my journey of “Quitting the Bible.”
First some housekeeping:
- The titles are getting long-really long with adding (Days yada yada yada of Quitting the Bible), so I am leaving it out of the title for the remainder of the series. These posts will continue to be the early/midweek posts.
- This post covers Days 155-196.*
So much to talk about as I begin a new year without the Good Book. Let’s drink to that… Or not.
Speaking of drinking, I had alcohol during my blogcation. In this post, I share my perspective to explore the question: Should Christians drink alcohol? Cause Jesus seemed to get his drink on.
No Longer Judging
I do not judge people whether they choose to drink or not.
I used to because I believed God sat high and looked low on us, giving heavenly brownie points to those who abstained. I mean, isn’t it one of the Beatitudes?
If I had lived during the Prohibition era, I probably would have been one of those church ladies, waving my worn Bible and wagging my finger to shame those unruly heathens who gave themselves over to devil’s potion in underground juke joints.
As for some Christians and people of different beliefs, you might be reading this blog, while unwinding with a glass of Pinot Noir (Why do I struggle to say “noir?” My southern drawl kicks in, and I promise I give it three extra syllables. My husband tried to help me say the word to little avail). You might think something like, “So what, Woman, welcome to the club. Wine helps me to deal with my coworkers.”
Others, on the contrary, might be getting ready to open up your Bibles to rattle off a list of scriptures as part of your keyboard warrior ministry in saintly efforts to come pull me up from the muck and miry clay.
Some of you might quietly judge from afar. Edit: Some of y’all are scraight judgin.’
Then, there are those of you withholding judgment to read my perspective.
Regardless, much love to you because I am like all of you.
When I let go of my religious judgment, my eyes became clearer. My vision became richer. I saw even more beauty in humanity. I could see more of the whole person instead of an inner dialogue about sin and drinking. It’s difficult for me to look at a vineyard without beholding the beauty of this earth and the people who cultivate it.
I felt more invigorated. Religious judgment is tiring to the soul.
Personal Evolution of Drinking
My current partaking of alcohol slowly developed from a celebratory occasion here-a fine dining experience there-sporadic and often several months to years apart.
During those moments, I had this lingering a concern that my drinking could send someone else to losing faith in God. That I would be a stumbling block.
If seeing a Christian drinking causes you to lose faith in God, then… *shakes head.
When I was a child, I had my first taste of alcohol.
I felt so guilty, that afterwards, I ran to my mother to confess. She responded, “Well, you know who you get it from,” referring to father and grandfather.
Well, dang. Talk about keeping it real.
When I went to parties, I danced and had a good time, but I did not drink. Sometimes others thought I was drinking anyway because I was so hyper.
I really do get a “high of life,” so I do not need alcohol to feel like I am having fun.
Around 2010, I began to have a beverage here and there. I would go periods of months and years in between.
From my experience thus far, I have gathered that God wants us to use our brains. Although one could argue that killing your brain cells due to drinking makes it challenging, I believe the issue of alcohol consumption needs to consider context, age, health (mental and physical), spiritual practices, and other personal lifestyle factors for each individual.
A life in excess of indulgences is not a recipe for an abundant life. Avoid getting drunk with wine, which is excess, but instead be filled with the Spirit of God.
You can have an excess of exercise, which is supposed to be a good thing.
You can overdo it on water.
On the other hand, water does not typically lend to addiction and drunkenness as alcohol.
And then there are substances that are just not good for one’s body or soul.
For example, Jesus reportedly turned water into wine. He did not transform snow into cocaine. Big difference, Folks. Cocaine is not a superfood, either.
In other words, I suggest making decisions for the life we want to create.
Going to Hell Poppin’ Champagne Bottles
As with a number of issues in the Christian faith, it boils down to a fear of hell or God’s wrath for our choices. God does not condemn people for drinking alcohol. I let go of all of my religious programming that indicated otherwise.
When I started undergraduate studies, a church I attended used wine for communion. I felt conflicted because the God I knew frowned upon such carnal activities. I did not understand how they taught against drinking, yet used wine for communion. I was new to the faith, yet the church I started in a couple of years prior, used what I considered the true representation of Christ’s body:
Grape juice and wafers that stuck to your teeth to the point that you were distracted from the service for trying to loosen its grip.
The scriptures are neither exhaustive nor conclusive about drinking.
I even went through a phase where I said that “wine” in the Bible was fruit of the vine and non-alcoholic. I am not going to argue about if the wedding feast where Jesus performed his first recorded miracle in the Bible was turning water into grape juice instead of wine.
Paul did not advise to drink a little grape juice for your stomach. He said wine. Wine is wine. What’s next, changing the wine dance into the grape shuffle?
The real hell is the madness we create from attempts to scare and control people in the name of God.
For most of my life, I had a fear of becoming an alcoholic. I did not to become a functional or dysfunctional one. This fear was driving me more than any of my religious fear. Finally, I let go of my fear.
If one is going to abstain from alcohol, do it from a place of love, even if it is love for a healthy lifestyle. Abstaining only from a place of fear creates more blocks and weights in your life.
What’s Driving You to Drink
When it comes to drinking, I think it is important to search your hearts and lives to reveal if you or the alcohol occupies the driver’s seat.
Do you feel like drinking is a necessity?
Can you truly stop whenever you want? Can you truly go for extended periods-months and years without batting an eye?
If you call yourself a “social drinker,” can you really socialize and forgo alcohol with little if any care?
I think when we feel like we “have” to drink or “need” a drink, we might want to stop and ascertain our emotional and spiritual needs.
Sometimes, people use alcohol to self-medicate deeper wounds.
Most things that have a grip on us are worth re-evaluating.
I am not talking about those things that lend toward an abundant life, like joy, peace, courage, empathy, self-control. I am talking those things that are blocking you from having those but giving a false sense of it.
Overindulging in food, for example, can give a false sense of comfort and happiness, yet it is short lived.
Alcohol might give you liquid courage, yet you have not developed the inner fortitude to walk in courage from your authentic being.
If you have an addiction, then I encourage you to seek help.
After reflecting on the moments I had alcohol, I choose to live a life mostly abstaining from alcohol consumption.
I am not going on record to say, “I shall never, ever, ever, ehvuh, ehvuh, ehvuh drink, again.”
Chances are, I might have a drank (I had to use drank it at some point in this post), at some outing or what have you.
Most importantly, my conscience will not condemn me. God will not condemn me.
I am free.
As for my lifestyle reasons, the cons outweigh the pros.
First, I want to have clear judgment. Alcohol impairs it.
From a spiritual perspective, I sense that wine/alcohol lowers my vibration energetically. On another sense, I notice for myself that I do not like how wine/alcohol impacts my energy the following days. By energy, I am speaking more spiritually. Let us not forget that alcohol is a depressant. The word “depressant” does not ring merriment within my soul.
From a food energetic perspective, alcohol and processed foods do not reap nearly the same benefits of fresh and organic produce.
Furthermore, wine/alcohol has been linked to different cancers, such as head and neck, esophageal, liver, breast, and colorectal cancers. An increase in beverage consumption is connected with an increase in developing alcohol related cancers.
Other researchers revealed the findings of a small study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, where they linked alcohol consumption to promoting healthy gut bacteria.
I have heard about the benefits of resveratrol, the compound from grape skins that makes red wine a supposed heart healthy beverage. This short article from the Mayo clinic takes up this topic and a variety of factors, weighing benefits versus risks. However, the benefits could come from any moderate alcohol consumption, and moderation to no-consumption seems to be the best path for a healthy life.
Last, I know for a fact that I can have a good time and enjoy my life without drinking.
I can take it or leave it.
I prefer to spend the most of my days leaving it.
Closing: Be at Peace
If people choose to avoid drinking, be at peace. If people choose to drink, be at peace. Either way, be at peace. Again, I think instead of hurling the Bible at people and squeezing them into a one-size fits all doctrine, that we actually do like God and respect free will and our capacity to create our own lives.
If you are concerned about losing control, then use your discretion.
If you have an addiction or struggle with addictions, please seek help.
You might choose to avoid alcohol for physical health and/or spiritual purposes.
Maybe you are finding that you are turning to alcohol to mask areas of your life you are struggling with facing.
Instead of succumbing to social pressures or unresolved personal issues, we can discern and choose for our lives.
Whatever you choose, my prayer is that you choose from a place of being at peace-a place of wholeness.
*The information presented in this post is the sole opinion of the author. It is not intended to prevent, treat or diagnose a medical condition. Please consult a health care provider for professional advice.