I may get some push back on this one! In a previous book, I mentioned that the Bible doesn’t forbid drinking alcohol in moderation and received some VERY critical reviews. Yes, reviewers, we remember the good, the bad, and the ugly.
In the early 70’s, 9 of us took a mission trip to Penasco, NM, just outside of Taos. One Saturday afternoon, the local lady, Laura, who set up the trip came by with a six pack of beer to relax with us. Our rented house was miniscule. A kitchen and bathroom, one living room and a hall. For 9 of us! She offered a beer to one of the group, who graciously declined. As did the next. And the next.
Laura seemed to take each decline as rejection; you could see her shrink within herself. Back in the legalistic day, Christians didn’t drink. Shouldn’t drink. Couldn’t drink, and still be viewed as a good Christian. And, many of our group genuinely didn’t indulge out of preference, not legalism. But Laura didn’t seem to make that distinction.
I did indulge, but didn’t feel the urge then. But I popped out, “Laura, I’d love one.” Someone else did as well, maybe another, and with each you could see Laura relax. Not judged by these California Christians after all. And, think about it, a six pack wouldn’t come close to leading to drunken carousing!
I’ve pondered that a lot over the years. I thought then, and still do, that taking that beer was an act of love. It broke the “rules,” the nonbiblical rules, that so afflicted the church and drove away so many unbelievers. Why have Christians, in many ages, thought it necessary to enforce behavioral codes that neither Jesus nor Paul nor Peter nor James considered important? I can’t answer that to my satisfaction.
The problem is we condense faith to following requirements that Jesus never required. Honestly, I didn’t know Laura’s faith. I don’t know if our having a beer helped her in that. I am sure it didn’t damage her. But I didn’t want her to decide about Christianity on false rules.
Kick Starting the Discussion
Do you have some rules that define faith for you,
that Jesus never gave? Do they help or hurt you? Do you evaluate others by how
they follow your rules? Do you see, in some areas, how breaking those “rules”
can be an act of love?
Love to hear your thoughts.