Saturday, May 08, 2010

Be Not Drunk with Wine

A few hours ago I came home from a church meeting. I live near a, well, winery. It's really funny to say that because Northwest Georgia is not known for vineyards but someone got the idea to start one here. I am not sure where the vines actually are, or where the bottling goes on, but there is a little store on my exit of I-75 where the products are being sold; it's a stop on the Georgia agritourism route. Today they are having a sales in honor of Mother's Day, and a wine tasting. I stopped in.

I saw a man I know; we used to go to church with him and his family. He said, "Don't tell anybody I drink wine." I don't know if he was serious or not; I'll assume it was a joke. I told him I thought most Christians could use a glass of wine. It surely would be better than living so anxiously, and better than taking antidepressants or other meds.

Ironically, in the church meeting I had attended, the theme verse was Titus 2:3-5 "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.4 .Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."

I take this to mean one or more of the following:
1. Drunkenness was more prevalent in the early church (and in that culture) than we think. And why not? Alcohol does dull the pain, it does help one feel less anxious, and let's face it, those folks had a whole lot more to feel anxious about than we. I am not saying that is a good thing, just a true thing.
2. The commandment is to "not be addicted to much wine." I am still looking for the verse that expressly forbids drinking any wine at all. I think the assumption is that people drink it, although that some may abstain for health or personal reasons. As I did, for most of my life, until I decided that I was living in unfaithful and unnecessary fear of becoming an alcoholic because my relatives were.
3. The Bible, I think, makes a distinction between wine (natural product) and spirits (manufactured product, and much stronger).
4. All that said, I would never, ever encourage anyone to drink, even if a glass of wine is supposed to be good for the heart. The best way to not have a drinking problem is not to drink, just as the best way not to get pregnant or not to catch an STD is to abstain from sex. (not a perfect analogy, though; I'm not saying sex is otherwise okay outside of marriage). There are other ways to insure a healthy heart and circulatory system (garlic is very good, I've found.) But I also would never guilt a person about wine or beer. As for me, it takes me a couple of months to get through a bottle, so I think I'm ok. And my sweet husband won't touch the stuff.
5. If it came down to drinking vs. service, service has to win. I'm all for Christian liberty. But we've gone too far with it, to where Christian liberty (i.e, doing whatever I want) trumps everything, including the denial of self that is clearly central to the gospel.

Oddly enough, this being the Bible belt, Eph. 5:18 is printed on the labels to the wine bottles at the Georgia winery.


Cindy said...

Hi Barbara, I just found this by accident and thought you might be interested to know who actually started that winery. He was a long time member of our church. :)

Check out this link:

BTW, you have some very interesting blogs! Great fun reading them... and not just because I happen to agree with most. ha!

Barbara Tucker said...

Thank you! I hope you didn't think I was being critical of the business. I think they do a nice job, although it's hard for me to get my head around the idea that wine grapes are grown in Catoosa county, ha, ha. I plan to get back in the blogging business soon. As you have probably figured out, I teach at Dalton State and we are hot into summer school and it's killing me keeping up with things. Right now I should be grading rather than blogging!!!

This might just change your life!