Thursday, June 22, 2006

To drink, or not to drink?

I got this comment from Brittany in response to yesterday's posting:

I thought today's blog was really interesting. Perhaps you can help me reason how the "short-cut" explination fits in with a moral dilemma that I'm working on. I am taking a trip to Europe this fall going all over to contries like France. This is where I have my issue. France is known for their wine and I am really interested in seeing what all the hype is about. I am of legal drinking age in the US so it wouldn't be like I was cheating US laws by drinking in a country that allows it at a younger age. So what is my dilemma really you ask? I know MBE teaches that drinking is not a good idea because it messes with your mental defenses. I would like to respect that. But I'm still curious. I have always had pride in the moral standards that I have maintained for myself because I'm a Christian Scientist (ie no drugs, alcohol, sex, etc). Would it be against my moral standards that I have set for myself as a Christian Scientist to go, say, to go to a wine tasting show in France? Is that a short-cut? You mentioned that you have to "earn" sex, how would that apply to drinking? Can you ever earn drinking? Help!

Before I say what I think, I thought I'd see what great ideas you guys have. Reply in the comments or email me. Has anyone else dealt with this issue? What conclusion did you come to?

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 6/22/2006 06:54:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Jesus drank wine without lowering his defenses, although in the wedding at Cana, when his mother insisted he produce more wine he asked, a bit petulantly like a teenager, "What have I to do with thee, woman?" so maybe his defenses were lowered in that case?
(little joke there)

However, 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 (have you seen how professionals do that? slosh it around in mouth and spit!? Yuck!) can be like standing at the top of a very slippery slope.

- ObiDon

At 6/22/2006 10:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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

At 6/22/2006 11:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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. Many wine drinkers in Europe developed an ability to drink by being given very diluted stuff as children. Second, you'll learn that all that stuff can be very pretentious. With the right shift in attitude, you'll see that drinking wine is not as sophisticated as people try to make it.

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. You can't have it both ways! Better to forgo the curiosity about the wine, I think.

One other reason. Your stand on not drinking may be of big help to someone watching, who needs the courage to say no -- maybe not as a CS, but some other reason. 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?


At 6/22/2006 02:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed, I spent lots of thoughts about this topic before I joined the Mother church. Maybe I can share some of them here.

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 finally I began considering seriously to join the church which I knew from my childhood on. I knew that I couldn't do that and continue drinking occasionally a glass of wine or beer. But I did not want to obey a law 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.

I don't know if it helps, I just thought I share it with you. For me, it was a very important realization and the last obstacle to joining the Mother church :)

With love from Germany,

At 6/22/2006 04:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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 and not in the ritual of participating in a traditional French custom of wine drinking. All the wonderful feelings of friendship and enjoyment that people think comes from drinking, in fact, comes from God. There is no other source!!

I also think that alot of people, C.S. and others, make an idol of not drinking. My friend had a mother-in-law who went out of her way to tell everyone that she didn't drink. She made everyone unconfortable and drew more attention to herself than she really wanted.

To realize that all the good in life comes from God directly (without a medium) is the best way to eliminate idols from your life. Also, 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!!

At 6/23/2006 05:32:00 AM, Blogger Laura said...

This was emailed in 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. I think we make a mistake when we blindly accept every single word MBE wrote so long ago and try to apply them literally today. It's like fundamentalists accepting every word in the Bible as gospel truth, without any thought or judgement on their part. (Like that old bumper sticker: "The Bible said it, I believe it, that settles it.") 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. When Christian Scientists look to MBE for "permission" to do what prayer leads them to do, they are worshipping the material woman. Bottom line--we'd be a stronger religion if we looked to God for answers, rather than a page in Science and Health. After all, "the time for thinkers has come."


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