Friday, June 23, 2006

To drink, or not to drink? Part II

Got some GREAT comments to the blog entry yesterday. Thank you everyone for your thoughts and participation. Here are some excerpts, you can read them in full here.

It's a good idea to avoid using anything that claims to change your way of thought. And having teensy little sips of wine at a wine-tasting can be like standing at the top of a very slippery slope.

With all the sin in the human condition -- the things that challenge the first commandment -- why is drinking wine elevated above others?

I'd say don't do it. A practical reason for not partaking at a wine tasting is that you will not know whether or not the wine is any good! Do a Google search for "first taste of wine." You'll learn that it takes years of experience with wine before understanding those "nuances" the experts claim.

Mrs. Eddy had other reasons for discouraging alcohol use than interference with our mental abilities. She encourages us to deny the pleasures of matter so that we can avoid believing in the pains of matter.

One other reason. Your stand on not drinking may be of big help to someone watching, who needs the courage to say no. And you will be a shining example of how to graciously refuse to drink while enjoying life and the people you are with. Why lose that opportunity?

From Germany—

In my youth I was drinking a glass of wine or beer from time to time. I never got drunken, and it was ok for me for a long time. But I did not want to obey a law [as a Christian Scientist] just because it was written somewhere - I did want to understand why I should obey it. So I started to ask God why I had to quit.

The answer finally came. I catched myself with a beer in my hands which I did not really want to drink. I took it because the party was wonderful, and everyone took beer. That one bottle wouldn't have done any harm, because I had very little before - but suddenly I realized how much power the alcohol has in the society. It shows up everywhere, at birthday partys, in pubs, at jubilees, ... It was such a matter of course to drink alcohol anywhere and everytime. Although for me personally it was always easy to say no when I did not want any more drink, I realized that there may be people who cannot draw themselves from drinking that easily. In that very moment, I decided not to add any more power to alcohol, and I quitted it. I did not feel any want for any alcohol afterwards.

For me, it was surprising to see how people reacted. My friends - I was at the university at that time - did just accept it. When they gave a party and invited me, they always had some juice and water just for me. Collegues at a jubilee did grab a glass of champaign first, and when I asked the host for some juice they put it away again and said "Oh, that's a good idea! Please can I have one as well".

So the key point for me was a) to see how much power alcohol has over people, and b) how little the power is known.

This is such a great topic! I have been working with these concepts myself and it occurs to me that the problem is the "making of idols". What I mean is that we create a little idol of the wine or alcohol by saying that we need it to enjoy ourselves or enjoy a trip abroad. I think that we can spiritualy look for the good in ourselves and the good in the trip abroad and realise that the good feelings and wonderful time we will have come from God. All the wonderful feelings of friendship and enjoyment that people think comes from drinking, in fact, comes from God. There is no other source!!

It is wonderful to ask God every day what He would like you to enjoy. It takes away the human mind's need to search and identify with something to feel good about and allows God to fill you with joy directly.

Have a wonderful trip!!

This was emailed to me:

Brittany would be doing absolutely nothing wrong--or disobedient--by attending a wine tasting. Looking at the spirit--rather than the letter--of MBE's caution shows that she was warning against conceding one's mental control to a material substance, much as she warned against hypnotists. If Brittany were contemplating drinking so much that she passes out in a French gutter, she would be being disobedient to MBE's warnings against inebriation, but that's not what she's expecting to do. My feeling about Christian Science is that MBE's followers are "allowed" --indeed, expected--to turn to God for direction, not to blindly follow the letter of her writing. After all, "the time for thinkers has come."

Really great stuff. And what would my answer be?

I’m an admitted teetotaler. Have personally never let any alcohol pass my lips (unless you count the few sips of a Kahlua and crème many years ago that was mostly crème). So I’m not sure I’m one to ask. I don’t understand the draw, so can’t really comment on that. I saw Sideways a few months ago, and it made wine drinking look fun until they started getting sauced all the time—and it was while they were drunk that they did the stupid things that moved the plot forward. Is that a necessary part of wine? Can you drink wine without overindulging?

Anyway, here’s a passage in Science and Health that to me could lead to an answer for Brittany:

At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good. Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil. Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you. The cement of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity.

“Know thyself.” Brittany, no one else can do this for you. You know your own goodness; you know your own curiosity. This trip to France will probably be a long journey of self-discovery for you—the wine tasting is just one small part of what you’ll learn about yourself. Be yourself and know yourself. God’s in France, too, and He’ll guide you. I hope you’ll blog about it while you’re there!

It’s like what I’ve written before about other issues: It’s not about taking a stand and then forcing our spiritual journey to fit with that. It’s about letting our spiritual journey inform our practices from the basis of understanding and self-awareness.

You are on a journey, in more ways that one. Only you can know what fits with that journey, but you can be sure divine Love is right there with you, every step of the way.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 6/23/2006 10:19:00 AM, Blogger Brittany said...

Wow, thanks for all of your help everyone. I wasn't expecting such a loving outpour of inspiration. I appreciate it and will take each of your words to heart when I finally come to make my decision in France. It's nice to get words of wisdom from other CSers who have worked through the same questions. Thanks again!

At 6/23/2006 11:04:00 AM, Blogger athos said...

Thanks Laura for convening this discussion. I LOVE what you said about not taking a stand and forcing our spiritual journey to fit -- it's about letting our spiritual journey inform our practices. This is truly the only way our whole heart is behind a particular stand, whatever it is -- so it is with joy, peace, freedom, courage. Any spiritual development is always and only between you and God. There is no other guide or judgment.


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