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Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Demon Drink - Part 1


One aspect of the emerging movement I have found particularly amusing (and a little disturbing at the same time), is the new-found freedom relating to alcohol expressed by many of its proponents. Quite a few 20-30something followers of Jesus are suddenly discovering for themselves that drinking alcohol actually isn't a sin. So in little acts of rebellion these guys and girls are flaunting their right to imbibe in increasing numbers. Nowadays it's not unheard of for Christians to hang out at pubs and clubs or for alcohol to take on an integral role in the act of worship itself.

I am even aware of an Anglican (Episcopalian) church in Sydney that has the "honour" of being Australia's first (and only as far as I am aware) church with a licence to operate a bar and sell liquor!

As I said I find this amusing - not the least because I am Australian. Everyone knows Aussie's are among the biggest drinkers in the world. At one time in my life I took pride in the fact that I could drink a bottle of whisky or a case of beer in an evening and still drive home (it took three arrests for drink driving to help me change my mind!). Drinking is something many of my fellow countrymen and women take pretty much for granted. I've even heard it said it is "un-Australian" not to drink!

But therein lies a problem. Particularly for Christian drinkers. Granted - consuming alcohol is not, in itself a sin. I think it should be pretty obvious to anyone who reads the Bible for themselves that Jesus and his contemporaries considered the consumption of wine a fairly normal part of daily life, however I want to ask the question; "how far have we come, particularly in Australia, from the culture of drinking that existed in Jesus time?".

Can we simply look at the way they did things then and use it to justify how we do things now, especially as it relates to drug use?

I'll throw a bit more out there in part 2 later on, but would like to leave you with some statistics on Australian drinking habits:

  • After tobacco, Alcohol is the second highest cause of all drug related deaths and hospitalisations in Australia costing the community $7.6 billion annually (Australian Dollars).
  • Alcohol is the number 1 contributor of deaths and permenant disablement in Australian young people under the age of 24.
  • Alcohol is the leading cause of road deaths in Australia.
  • In 2004 25% of teenagers aged 14-19 drank alcohol daily or weekly, and 50% of all Australians over the age of 14 drank daily or weekly.
  • 48% of adult males and 30% of adult females have binge drinked at least once in the past year.
  • 1 in 5 adult Australians (20% of the population) are likely to already have, or will go on to develop alcohol dependency.
(Australian Bureau of Statistics report; "Alcohol Consumption in Australia: A Snapshot, 2004-05".)

4 comments:

Rodney Olsen said...

It is interesting to find that many Christians will now use every opportunity to let you know that they drink. It's become a badge of honour.

I've never been much of a drinker but over recent years have started having an occasional beer or a glass of red now and then. When I'm really daring I'll have two glasses of red in the one evening. :)

It's certainly an issue that deserves to be discussed seriously. I look forward to part 2.

Anonymous said...

In the old testament, men who held an excellent spirit such as Daniel, Elijah, Elisha, men like Samson even had his life alcohol clean as part of the nazarite vow with Samuel and John the baptist. This tells me if any person seeking to excel in the things of God will no doubt abstain from anything to do with alcohol. As you say Andrew it is not cased as sin but drunkeness definately is clearly stated as sin. I am continually blown away how christians ponder how close they can get to the world rather than how close they can get to God. I am not a daily drinker of alcohol but if a beer came my way I would have one because I have the victory over it. Like many men would have internet as a means for business and research but wouldn`t abuse it and look for pornography without the need for web blocks. We should be able to master everything in life which has a tendency to enslave us. The abuse of alcohol, M or R rated movies and other backsliding lusts of the flesh will have to be personal convictions we have to deal with if we want to excel in God.
HGP

The Creature said...

Thanks guys - Anonymous, good point about Christians seeing how close they can get to the world!

Super Shane said...

The other point that I think needs to be raised and is in line with the thinking of HGP, about getting close to the world. More and more I hear people justifying the smoking of marijuana to the fact that other people can have a drink or two. As the world continues to take a post modern view on all things, you will always find the ability to justify what you do based on a comparison of others. I hear of "Christian" who justify all manner of things including very serious substance abuse on the fact that it puts them in touch with other people who they want to "Bring to the Lord". We are told that whilst "we are in the world," we are "not of the world". Maybe having a true victory over it would be having the ability to just to say NO! ?? Maybe a modern translation of drunkedness in the proverbs should be stoned or wasted?