2:37 PM Drinking and Smoking and the poise of the Church

So, there's been a lot of discussion over at Dan's blog about drinking and smoking. People have some very valid points I might add. But the one thing we as Christians have to be careful of is, do these opinions portray Christ?

Dan's main point was "if you are of age and you act responsibly and you’re not smoking something against the law I do not think there is anything wrong with drinking or smoking." Now, Dan is making a harmless statement and he is entitled to his point of view. But I believe the big picture is being missed.

I stated in a comment that the Church should remain the same as it's always been. Which is, not promoting any support towards these two issues. And discouraging it all together. Not a sin, just not good choices.

We as Christians should never promote drinking or smoking, whether it's on small social levels or larger scales . The reason's are plain as day. Are we trying to justify our own actions? We are called to live out the image of Christ. Now, some can say well," Jesus drank wine." I'm not even going to go into that.

Look, let me share with you something...

We have people in our community that come from different backgrounds, many of the Christians that I know don't have a clue what it's like to come from a background that is full of pain, suffering and damage. Christ is the only freedom from this, do you agree? Now, If we have these mixtures of people in our Church or at least within our influential grasp we have to be sensitive to that. Lets say there is a single mother with four kids that goes to our church. Why is she single? We don't know, she didn't tell us. What kind of perception do you think you would be giving if this woman came to a BBQ put on, not by the Church but personally by you and a bunch of friends just getting together for the heck of it. What if she walked in and saw these people who she, at this point viewed them as amazing, warm, loving, caring people, and they were drinking?

The big picture is this. Before walking in to see what we claim is only a BBQ and a little social drinking she saw Christ. This women didn't see you at all. When she came to Church and she actually encountered Christ through you. It wasn't your cool guess jeans and your Emo hair, your Foe-hawk , your tattoos or gauges. It wasn't your Prada, your Gucci or your Mac make-up. It was Jesus Christ living through you. Now, picture the excitement this woman has at that moment. A sense of freedom. Freedom from pain, suffering and damage. Think about the hope this women has for her children. Now let's go back to the BBQ scenario. What do you think would be going through her mind? I'm not going to pretend that I know but I'm sure it consist of that wrenching gut feeling that brings you to a screeching holt. Like a knife piercing right through the damage that she and her children had to endure. How sensitive are we to these kinds of things? You haven't even a clue this lady is going through this, because she just puts on a smile and presumes to socialize and mingle with everyone there. And heres the kicker, someone actually comes along and asks her if she would like a drink. Again, our perception so far is we haven't any idea what this ladies story is. And there doesn't seem to be any harm done in our eyes by inviting her over to a good ol' BBQ for some great food, socializing and few brewskeez. But what opportunity are you giving to her to continue to see Jesus through you. Are you really being sensitive or have you turned that switch off because it's not sunday night. Here's the deal. The woman is a single mother because her husband died due to alcoholism. He was also very abusive to her and the children. Now, what if this lady brought her children over to play with the other kids running a muck? Do you think those children would understand that you aren't drinking excessively like their farther did for many years? These children would see that one beer and the only thing that registers in their little minds is the damage and death of their father. What are you to do?

We can't view drinking and smoking as something that is miniscule. Look at the damage levels. Alcoholism, Lung Cancer, Death, Domestic Violence, DUI''s, Drunk Drivers. now place whatever title next to those.. Mother, Father, Grandpa, Grandma, Sister, Brother, Niece, Nephew, Cousin, Uncle, Aunt, the list goes on and on.

My point is this. It isn't about you as a Christian being responsible, even if you are following the law. It's about you letting Jesus Christ live through you. We have to always be willing to let God determine the outcome, not us. The Church hasn't damaged the perception of Drinking and Smoking. We have only come against this issue with ignorance and pride. You cannot flex the margin on this. The Church, the Christians, the disciples of Christ, whomever you are called are called to the same thing. This issue on drinking and smoking has to remain a discouraged choice. We cannot promote anything otherwise. Now if you like to drink or smoke, that's your business. But never should we call on the Church to change its views because it's different from ours, we are the Church. Your views are the Churches, especially to someone new to Christ. The Church has to protect first and foremost those that are coming into the Church that need to encounter God, that need salvation in Jesus Christ. That's where this issue is miniscule. Not with it being not a big deal to drink and smoke.

I've made the choice not to disclose whether I drink or smoke. And I have to support that because of the damage levels that these types of actions carry, it is wise for the Church to remain in the position in keeping it a discouraged choice. Remember, I'm not saying it's a sin. I know people that drink. I know people that smoke. I know people that go wine tasting. I even know people that collect micro beers and wines. These people have shared with me that they don't promote that they do. Not because they are ashamed and believe its an addicted sin. They make this choice because they understand the different types of stories out there that may contain damage in this areas.
Now is it safe to say that there is a good side to drinking and smoking? Not for the Church. The Church shouldn't have to explain that. Like I said the damage levels out weigh any justification you can bring.