The video sets up my long, jumbled, probably ‘full of contridictions’ thoughts
…a lot of people say, ‘who says I can’t do______?’ A lot of others say, “God says you can’t do_______’. What many of them seem to mean is (in my opinion), ‘I say you can’t do_________ because God says so….’
Read on if you like….
Last week on my Twitter & Facebook, I asked a couple of questions surrounding the topic of Christianity and social drinking. I did so to have some opinions to help me prepare for my small group night at Resonate, APC’s post-high group which I lead. I thought, ‘hmm, this is harmless and most people don’t really care.
Boy was I wrong.
People really care. There were numbers of comments left on my wall from young adults, old adults and older adults, each with a different opinion. Some were for it in moderation, some felt that drinking opened the floodgates to every sin imaginable, some thought that the topic itself should be reserved for high school students and that I was a dummy for putting it up. Some people used bible verses, some used cultural references, some used personal examples of family members & friends who started with one drink and then ended up in Vegas stripping (okay, the Vegas part was an exaggeration but it was going there). What I assumed as a short Q & A, built over a few days into a deep discussion about personal convictions. Which is good. We each have personal convictions based on our relationship with God and our own experiences that pull us to or from one side to the next, which isn’t a bad thing. The bad thing is when we try to argue someone to our ideology or belief.
We do it with our faith. We argue with someone of a different faith OR someone with no faith until they say, ‘well, i guess you win so, I’ma become a Christian now.’ Then we jump up and down, singing the praises of the King and how he led them to himself. We fail to realize that for some (and not all…), if you can ‘argue’ them in then someone can argue them out. The media is great at that.
Buy this. NO. Buy that. Pepsi. Coke. Starbucks. Timmy’s. Toyota. Honda. Taylor. Gaga. Man U. Chelsea. Jacob. Edward. CSI. CSI NY. CSI Miami. Obama. NOT Obama. Etc. Etc. What up wit that??!
We are the kings and queens of changing our minds depending on the argument and idea. And if someone has their own idea, we feel it is our job to stop them dead in their tracks.
I worry about that because I have high school students who I’ve lead and I wonder now, “have I helped them make godly decisions for themselves or have I given them rules to follow, without compromise?” Are we helping people hear the voice of God and know the conviction of the Holy Spirit or are we creating guilt-ridden people, who when faced with a ‘wrong’, will turn away from it only to turn back because they feel bad? Now, I’m not slinking away from my responsibilities to teach and admonish people through the Word of God. What I am saying is that out of my or anyone’s teaching, the Holy Spirit plays a role in speaking to and changing a heart. That’s not my job. It can’t be. I’m not God. And I’m not that persuasive.
A buddy of mine looks at things like this and says,” the question isn’t about right or wrong but about purity. Can you do this and still be pure?” Tough question, because we as people rationalize purity to fit our standard of living…and we look for lines to justify what we can and can’t do. But a good question, none the less. The thing is, I know people who drink socially and I would never question their heart for God, intentions or effectiveness. Never. And those same people are wise to know where and when and who. Meanwhile, I know people who don’t do anything ‘wrong’ by Christian standards but things could be ‘questioned’.
Are there things that are wrong in the eyes of God? Yes and if you’re a believer, you know what they are based on the Word. Are their things that are grey? Of course or I wouldn’t have wasted a blog to share my broken thoughts (which someone will read and then try to argue with me about…sad yet predictable). It’s those grey areas that we need to talk through and learn through. And in learning about them, we learn about each other and how unique we all are and how we’re each attaining for God. Romans 14 reminds us to avoid judging and condemning those who aren’t where ‘we are’ but it also says at the end that if we normally wouldn’t do something and then we suddenly do, (i.e. drinking for example), then we are sinning…that’s a good chapter for groups to chat about in their own context.
Our post high small group was great because our chat wasn’t about right and wrong but about how can we respond to certain scenarios when they are brought to us. How can we be Christ to someone who does things we don’t agree with. How do we navigate through universities and work places when people do things we don’t agree with? How can we be effective while still being accepting? Those are the main questions, friends and readers. Our society doesn’t look at things the way we do. Common-law families are the norm (even in churches…lol), drinking is normal (even in churches…), clubbing is the norm (even in churches…for outreach…). So if it’s normal for them, do we stand on a soapbox, like the old Holiness movement days and condemn? Do we simply live and hope they see our example and not think of us as monks and nuns? Do we invite them to presentations via mail?
So many questions…yet it seems we’d rather spend time drawing up lines for us to live by.
Sadly, I’ve lost my ruler.
Side note: We care SO much about the right and wrong about alcohol but we don’t care about gluttony or laziness or small white lies…funny what we choose to crusade against.