It turns out that, on a business trip to Japan, our now repentant speaker had plumbed the depths of depravity by drinking sake! But that wasn't all, he had - horror of horrors - even been known to mow his lawns on Sundays!
It was a bit like watching a Monty Python episode with a bunch of zombies for company, none of whom seemed to see any humour in the situation. I kept looking around to see if anyone was finding these revelations as ludicrous as I was. Nope, not a soul.
Growing up Lutheran, one of the few benefits was a relatively healthy attitude to alcohol. The pastor dabbled in wine-making in the manse - not great wine I gather, but being too young myself to drink at the time I could only rely on the testimony of other congregants. I do know that the blue stocking brigade in town were greatly incredulous. A high school mate who had ties with the Adventist church breathlessly passed on the scandalous information to me. He wasn't telling me anything I didn't know, and I couldn't quite work out what the problem was. After all, Luther himself was fond of his mug of good Wittenberg ale.
So Jim West is running true to form when he raises a pious eyebrow over this church sign. Beer and hymns? Why not? I doubt the hymn context would permit overindulgence at Christ Our Savior, and the quality of singing would probably be enhanced. And if Jim had bothered to check their website he'd have found that it is all in a good cause.
We also have monthly focus of food collection for the Lutheran Social Services Food Bank and provide a monthly meal for Clare House. We have a recycling center with the motto, “Bring Your Garbage to Church, what can’t be recycled can be forgiven.” And a couple times a year we offer a fundraising event for Lutheran Social Services called “Beer & Hymns” which is pretty much just what it sounds like.I confess to having a few cold ones tucked away in the fridge, with no sense of guilt whatsoever. Enjoying a social beer, or relaxing after work with a moderate pint is no sin.
Unless, maybe, you're a Baptist.
As the American joke goes: Jews don't recognize Jesus as Messiah, Protestants don't recognize the Pope, and Baptists don't recognize each other at the liquor store.ReplyDelete
I'd be grateful if the diversity of Baptists could be recognized. There are some that are far, far from Jim West either in th direction of fundamentalism or in the direction of liberal theology and/or alcohol consumption, :-)ReplyDelete
You're kidding, right?Delete
I guess it depends what you mean by "diversity". Maybe Baptists are "diverse" in the same sense WCG members were "diverse", but from an outsider's perspective this is diversity within a very narrow range of belief.
Maybe this is exactly what the UCG needed in its "Why were you born?" campaign.ReplyDelete
I well remember a remark a WCG minister once made. He had been raised in a religious group that frowned upon all use of alcohol, and he said that when he became a member of WCG he had to learn how to enjoy a good beer. That was a puzzling remark. I wondered what beer had to do with religion. Later I found out that such fondness for alcohol in the church went right to the top of the food chain.ReplyDelete
Yes, the entire WCG was fueled by booze and run by a bunch of alcoholics.Delete
I don't know what the head of Grace Communion International (former WCG) does when he visits other cities, but when he visited our fair city in the Midwestern USA a year or so ago, the main thing he wanted to do (and did) was to go out on a beer-tasting spree with a few of the willing adult male members here.ReplyDelete
Probably visiting Winston-Salem, North Carolina, or Havana, Cuba and going on a cigarette or cigar tasting tour would have raised more eyebrows amongst readers. Beer-tasting is just confirmation that some elements of Joe's personality have remained consistent over the years. Any evidence to suggest that he crossed the line in his consumption of the beer?Delete