Why I don’t drink much alcohol but I’m mostly ok of you do

Raised as a Southern Baptist Christian, I always thought any drinking was wrong. It’s not necessarily my parents that taught me that, just the culture that existed in the Baptist church in the 80s and 90s.

So when I became an adult I still believed drinking alcohol was wrong, or even a sin. Naturally, I didn’t drink because of that. As the years have gone by my opinion on drinking has changed and I think that’s a good thing. Instead of just blindly believing one thing or another, I’m learning why I am the way I am in this area.

It mostly started when I moved to Nashville and began making friends, and some of those friends (who were/are Christians) would drink a beer at a party, or drink a glass of wine at dinner or a special event. I wondered if they were just rebelling, or was this issue less black and white than I’d grown up believing?

Long story short, I rarely drink except at special events like a wedding and I’m mostly OK if you drink, too.

For the longest time I was uncomfortable when anyone asked why I don’t drink or if it’s OK if they drink while I’m around. I didn’t want to come across judgy or “holier than thou.” The truth is I can’t stand the taste of any alcohol I’ve ever tried. White wine? Red wine? Shots? Whiskey? Beer? They’re all gross to me! no offense 🙂

So do I have a problem with you drinking? Probably not. But the other day it occurred to me that there is a scenario where I would have a problem with you or me drinking… and here it is:

Why are you drinking? If it’s because you like the taste or it helps you relax, fine. But if it’s covering up or helping you escape real life… well then yes that’s something I wouldn’t support, for you or for me. Because what you drink isn’t as much of an issue as what it’s masking (if anything).

I remember when this ‘aha’ moment came to me, and I’m glad it did because to know the reason behind someone downing a glass of wine or chugging a beer, I have to know that person better than an acquaintance. It’s a challenge for me to be more social, and to be a better friend.

I remember traveling with a crew from CMT where we’d have a remote shoot in Arizona, or California, or some tiny town in Kentucky. I loved spending time with them because they were all genuinely good people. In fact, lots of times one of them would buy a round of shots for the group and we’d have some sort of moment where we all raised a glass for a toast (usually before the shoot because afterwards we were exhausted and just wanted a long sleepy date with the hotel bed!). These moments were instrumental in my thoughts on drinking, as well, because each time I had a choice. Would I join the crew in the toast, and take a shot of the throat-burning, mouth-tingling drink of choice, or be so rigid that I can’t bond with them in this way? I sincerely believe sitting out would do more damage to my relationships with these men and women than joining in and creating memories from these memorable trips.

What are your thoughts on alcohol? Have you experienced anything you’re willing to share about why you drink, or why you don’t drink? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below!

-Out of the Wilderness

 

Adult remembers the first time he lifted his hands in worship

By definition, Pentecostal means a Christian who’s faith is evidenced by speaking in tongues, healing, and even exorcism. If you ask the Baptists, it would include raising your hands, too. And Baptists don’t want to be Pentecostal.

Steven Turner, son of Pastor Turner and his wife Janine, was raised Baptist from the time he was in Royal Ambassadors all the way up to becoming a student leader at nearby Stonecrest Baptist Church. There are things Baptists don’t do, Steven told us.

“Folks at our church, we don’t judge, but we also don’t handle snakes, and we don’t separate church and football.” Living in the south means two things. You cheer on your football team Saturday, and cheer on your pastor Sunday.

Although he was keeping it lighthearted, there is something else Steven shared. When he was just a young teen attending Wednesday night youth group, he can still recall hearing a song that has meant a lot to him over the years.

“I was standing right next to ol’ Greg Simmons and this song came on. Years later I found out it was Avalon ‘Testify to Love.’ I didn’t know all the words but I just had to do something. So I raised my hand.”

The story goes that when this happened, his friends glanced over and some started snickering. Youth leader Christy Janson thought Steven needed something so she made her way over.

Christy: “I saw Steven’s hand in the air so maybe he needed to go to the bathroom or had a question about the Bible. ‘What’s up, Steve?’ but he didn’t answer and that’s when I got worried.”

Christy had heard about these things happening but not here. Not in this church. How had the devil got a foothold? She consulted the other leaders in the building and they set up a committee to look into it the following week. The pastor was made aware and added a few Scripture verses to the sermon the following Sunday.

Steven, meanwhile, had no idea there was anything going on behind the scenes. When Sunday rolled around and the choir was halfway through “What A Friend We Have in Jesus,” he raised a hand again and the organist nearly fell off her bench. The pastor’s lips became tight with the shenanigans this youth was putting on.

Steven remembers the pastors prayer during the offering, “…and Lord, let us make a joyful noise to you, give us opportunities to serve you as we raise our hands in worship, although we don’t mean that literally, we should keep our hands by our sides during the worship service… Amen.” Steven, being a normal person who knows things, knew that was a weird thing to say.

Steven would like everyone to know it’s OK to raise up hands in worship. He’s still not sure about snake-handling, though. Steven, neither are we. Until we know more, just keep it to the ones without the diamond-shaped heads.

-Out of the Wilderness