Tuesday, April 27, 2010

We're Not Drunk, It's Way Too Early!

Personally, I'm not a big drinker.

I don't have a problem with alcohol, I just don't drink often. I only have a beer every once in a while because A) I usually only drink water and B) beer is expensive. At least, any kind of beer you'd actually want to drink is expensive.

I never really have any hard liquor either. And wine? Just never developed the taste for it. It's like taking a drink that should really taste great and mixing a bunch of gym socks and dirt into it. Or maybe I'm just having the wrong wine.


I find the passages in the Bible that mention alcohol to be pretty interesting. Mostly because of the love/hate relationship that we Christians have with drinking.

It's almost as if we're not really sure how to deal with it, you know? So we come to interesting conclusions like:

Well, it's OK to drink...just not OK to get drunk

When in reality, who the heck drinks without the goal of getting drunk? Sure, some people...but seriously? Isn't 'getting drunk' the end goal of drinking in the first place? Or maybe another goal of drinking would be to make baseball a mildly enjoyable sport to watch? But that's about it!

And we base these conclusions on all kinds of Bible verses that Paul wrote to younger pastors about the kinds of people they should recruit to lead their individual churches...except when he's actually advising them to drink wine...but hey, whatever.

I really enjoy Bible verses and stories that seem to throw wrenches into issues like drinking. 

Take Acts 2 for example.

Everyone at least knows about Acts 2 in some way...it's the chapter that gets preached out of on Pentecost every year if you're unfamiliar.

Here's the scene, the disciples are in a room, doing disciply things when the Holy Spirit "shows up" and messes with the system. The disciples all start speaking different languages due to the Spirit and people are trying to figure out what's going on.

Acts 2:13 reads, "Some, however, made fun of them and said, 'They have had too much wine.'"

I had no idea that drinking too much wine allows you speak in other languages!! Maybe I should give wine another chance. But Peter has had enough of the nonsense and decides to straighten people out by saying that the disciples don't get drunk, they're too holy for that. He then goes on to say that drinking is a sin...but then backs up a bit to say that drinking is ok...but getting drunk is a sin.

Oh wait. No, no he doesn't say any of that, he says this instead in verse 15:

"These men are not drunk as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning!"

Awesome. Nah, we're not drunk, it's waaaay too early for that, come back later!!

Maybe I'm reading too much into this passage..it's possible. But there's another great passage in John 2 about some more drunken revelry as well.

It's the big "turn water into wine" miracle that Jesus performed while he was at a wedding with the disciples.

John 2:3 reads "When the wine was gone, Jesus' mother said to him, 'They have no more wine.'"

So first of all, all the wine is gone. It didn't just magically disappear, they drank it. Odds are, this has the chance of making you slightly intoxicated. This is the point where Jesus decides to turn some water into wine. Oh, did I say some? I meant 150 gallons of wine.

John 2:6 "Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons."

So yeah, on average 25 gallons, times 6, equals 150 gallons. Give or take. The standard bottle of wine is 750 ml. If you don't "speak metric" that's approximately 1/5 of a gallon. Think about it for a second....

This means that Jesus created approximately 750 bottles of wine.

That is a lot of wine. Continuing on.

John 2:9-10 "The master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, '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.'"

So the banquet master not only thinks that this wine is delicious...but he pretty much says how impressed he is that the delicious wine is being served right now...because they've already had too much to drink!

Well, now we have Jesus at a party, where people are already drunk, and then creating another several hundred bottles of wine to add to the mix.

Now, whether Jesus was drinking or not, or the disciples were or not (pshaw, like they weren't drinking, these were fisherman we're talking about here) you at least have to admit that it sounds like Jesus was certainly 'encouraging' or 'enabling' some drunkenness to occur by his actions.

Wondering how we make that jive with our whole "It's ok to drink but not to get drunk" rule...

Do you subscribe to that rule? Do you not? How do we reconcile these stories with the verses used to prohibit drinking or drunkenness?