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Monday, November 28, 2011

Use of Alcohol Revisited

I want to share my rationale for opening this can of worms.

I have been part of Mennonite congregations where moderate drinking was in the open, and church events in homes often included beer and wine.  I have also been a part of Mennonite congregations where the operative congregational practice was don't ask, don't tell.  In these congregations, the easiest thing seemed to be to publicly assume the teetotalist view as a Mennonite norm, but privately many, if not most, would drink, with a wink and a nod to one another.  This made everybody happy.  The teetotalists could take comfort in believing everyone else thought and practiced like they did, and everyone else could do what they wanted with discretion so as not to give offense.

So why upset this happy state of affairs?  The answer lies in the assumption underlining this blog.  The teaching of the church matters.  And while everyone should not be required to agree with it, we are all well served to have clear teaching we can pass on to our children that reflects the thinking and practices of the church.  Our children are paying close attention to what we say and do.  This is true of many things, not just alcohol.

The purpose of this blog is not to speak ex cathedra, pontificating on this and that topic, but to help us all reflect on what might be an authentic Christian life in our times.  To do this, the range of thought and practice possible within a Christian life becomes an important topic, and an occasion for teaching.