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Monthly Archives: August 2011

1 Bourbon, 1 Scotch, and 1 Beer. But Not Here.

“Ain’t no beer around here. You want beer you gonna have to git back to Missouruh.”

Dan (a life-long friend) and I are both originally from NE Kansas and we were driving on our way for a weekend of primitive backpacking back in 2003.



The “no beer here” declaration were un-welcomed words we heard from a toothless, female gas station attendant after driving quite some time through the ever-winding hills of the Buffalo National River Park in North Central Arkansas. We were driving in an area, unbeknownst to us, which was a “dry county”. I had heard of “dry-counties” before but I didn’t think they actually still existed. I knew that Jack Daniels which is distilled (or whatever they do to whiskey) in Lynchburg, TN, was located in a dry-county, but I thought that was more of, “Yeah, yeah, we sure are a dry county.” (wink wink nudge nudge).  We had stopped at this gas station in hopes of buying some beer to enjoy around our campfire but we were quickly informed by the not-so-eloquently spoken and unkempt service station caretaker that if we really wanted some beer our shortest drive was an hour and half back up through the hills of north Arkansas.  My buddy’s response, “So, that sign 100 miles ago that said, “Last chance to get the beer!”, really wasn’t kidding.” We got back into our car and headed to our trail inlet.

That was my first experience with the south’s “disdain” for alcohol. But I also quickly learned while some people truly are tea-totallers I also learned these jokes hold true.

Jews don’t recognize Jesus as the son of God.

Protestants don’t recognize the pope as the leader of the Church.

Baptists don’t recognize each other in a liquor store.

Why do you take two Baptists with you when you go fishing?

Because if you take just one he’ll drink all your beer.

Another recent experience happened this past Sunday at church.  Before the sermon, the campus pastor opened the floor for “sharing”. One gentleman started sharing about his daughter’s troubles with drugs and alcohol. He made the statement that he now abstains from alcohol for his daughter’s sake but that he believes there is no problem whatsoever enjoying beer or wine as long as it’s done in moderation. After he made that proclamation I wanted to fist-pump and let out a hardy “Amen!” but since I was upfront banging on my congas during the music I chose not to. Needless to say my reaction differed greatly from the congregation’s corporate thought. While nothing was outright said from the congregation in disagreement from I could see all the brows furrow and the faces change shape to that of scorn. I’m sure the campus pastor’s phone was quite busy the next day.

So is this post all about booze? Well, kindof, but when you read this quote from CS Lewis (who might surprise you with what you think you know about his actual theology) I think you’ll be able to apply this quote and thought to more than just alcohol.  I originally saw the quote from Jonathan McIntosh, a friend of mine and a church planter in Midtown Memphis, who tweeted it today (Wednesday, 8/10/11) and I thought it was quite descriptive in what we, as Christians, sometimes do to things, in our attitude and actions, that we might think are taboo.  Since I’ve been living in Arkansas I’ve never seen such religious fueled opposition to alcohol, but it is not solely limited to Arkansas. Remember Prohibition?

So as not to be-labor the point, here’ the quote from CS Lewis.

CS Lewis view on alcohol

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Posted by on August 10, 2011 in culture, Uncategorized

 

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Agreed? Yep, we disagree.

First of all, please understand I’m random. I’m not ADHD, I can focus just fine when I want to, but sometimes the thoughts that pop in my head are just plain random. I can’t explain where the random thoughts come from other than I was the kid who incessantly asked my Dad and Mom, “Why?”. Plus, in my job I have lots of time while I’m driving or while I’m sitting in doctors’ offices to allow the randomness to pepper my brain which is why if you follow me on twitter you’ll see lots of my randomness spill onto twitter moreso than on Facebook.

All that to say, the next couple blog-posts of mine are, well…random, but they are also well intentioned to hopefully increase respectful conversations on difficult topics. I would hope they might be able to help us move beyond the stalemate of “we must agree to disagree” and move to “good men can disagree”. In the first instance there’s no room for considering another view, where in the second instance it allows for discussion. When conversations spill over into beliefs (be it political or religious) they are messy and yet also fun as long as they are combined with a heaping serving of respect.

I’ve been developing some blog posts to get back in the swing of things and hopefully post more often. Over the past couple days I’ve been re-reading some of my favorite books, some of my own writing, and also reading other people’s blogs to help spur me on. But the interesting things is that the recent stream of thought has circled around an idea of how we tend to be an “all or nothing” society. I’ll explain more fully what I mean by that when I hit the ol’ “Publish” button in wordpress of my next blog-post, but suffice it to say, for now, that what I mean is we tend to throw the baby out with the bathwater when we hear beliefs that differ from our own beliefs and not see what good can come in the grey areas of life. I love exploring the grey areas of life and I would hope we could all move to dance in the grey area a little more.

I recently came across a quote in a book I read a couple years ago that I think can help us be more respectful in our conversations – I also think that it segues nicely into my next blog-post about our “all or nothing” society.

(this quote is from a “christian” perspective in regards to living life with “non-christians” but it’s applicable to living life with people of no particular “classification”)

“A Christian’s dialogue with another implies neither a denial in the uniqueness of Christ, nor any loss of his own commitment to Christ, but rather that a genuinely Christian approach to others must be human, personal, relevant and humble. In dialogue we share our common humanity, its dignity and fallenness, and express our common concern for that humanity’ (Report II, para. 6). If we do nothing but proclaim the gospel to people from a distance, our personal authenticity is bound to be suspect. Who are we? …But when we sit down alongside them like Philip in the Ethiopian’s chariot, or encounter them face to face, a personal relationship is established. Our defences come down. We begin to be seen and known for what we are. It is recognized that we too are human beings, equally sinful, equally needy, equally dependent on the grace of which we speak. …We still want to share the good news with him, for we care about it deeply, but we also care now about him with whom we want to share it. As the Mexico report put it, ‘true dialogue with a man of another faith, requires a concern both for the Gospel and for the other man. Without the first, dialogue becomes a pleasant conversation. Without the second, it becomes irrelevant, unconvincing and arrogant” (Witness in Six Continents, 1964, p. 146)

(please note there are several different talking points in this quote that could be unpacked, which I will leave for another post; instead focus on the central idea of the quote)

So before we jump into my next post I think it’d do us all some good to enjoy a song from a band who also enjoyed dabbling in the grey areas of life. Let’s relax and enjoy life together.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2011 in culture, theology

 

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