Archive for category Prohibition
Overheard during choir practice:
“As long as you continue to sin by playing in that rock band you cannot sing in the choir. It’s your choice, not ours.”
Overheard in church on any Sunday morning:
“Do you SEE what she’s wearing? How disrespectful! She looks like a tramp. Thank God she sits in the back.”
Overheard in a toy store during the Christmas shopping season:
“Whaddya mean that’s the last Super Barbi? Look, you idiotic clerk! ! I stood in line 3 hours for that @#$&* damn doll!”
Overheard in a restaurant:
“I said I wanted my dressing on the side. Take this salad back and get me another one. Oh, by the way. I have a coupon.”
Overheard one afternoon in a bank:
“I’m sorry you’ve been laid off, sir. But that’s not our problem. If you can’t make your payment by the end of business today we will be forced to take legal action.”
Overheard at a neighborhood association meeting:
“Children are not allowed to play in the street and we don’t want the liability of playgrounds. If you have kids then you should’ve moved somewhere else.”
Overheard at a White House cabinet meeting:
“We estimate that there will be some civilian casualties. But we feel these are acceptable losses in light of our national interests.”
Overheard on the television:
“I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans…I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are — were recipients of the judgment of God for that..”
“AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharaoh’s charioteers …
Overheard at an insurance company claims meeting:
“Hey look at this. According to these medical records the claimant had a prescription for blood pressure medicine back in the eighties. Since he never told us about it we have a legal excuse to refuse his claim.”
Overheard one day during rush hour:
You moron! Get your fat a** outa my way!”
Overheard in the human resources department of a garment factory:
“Look. We need to hire more people. Some of the current employees are getting over 35 hours and benefits kick in at 38. We can’t afford that. Let ’em fight for shifts.”
Overheard in a Christian Book Store:
“No ma’am. We don’t carry any Catholic books. That’s not a religion, that’s a cult.”
Overheard in a rock-and-roll bar:
“Yeah, I think Geddy Lee has it all over Jon Anderson, too. Hey, can I buy you another beer?”
Perceptions. Brent and Buddy have been talking about them on their blogs. It seems that a lot of Christians perceive some places, activities and even people as being more ‘sinful’ than others: Bars, nightclubs, R-rated movies, rock and roll concerts….God forbid if you should belong to a rock and roll band that plays in bars! But why should Christians avoid these places and people? Is it about the demon rum? Bad language? The animal sensuality of the rock and roll rhythm? Is it because places like bars and concerts are full of ‘sinners’, so obviously engaged in ‘sinful’ behavior that we might be led astray?
I wonder if these are really representative of the ‘world’ that Christians should have no part of. Perhaps, while the Church was distracted by other ‘sinners’, it missed how much an integral part of the ‘world’ it has become.
That’s right. It has been reported that Jesus of Nazareth, at a wedding in Cana, did knowingly and willfully provide alcoholic beverages to children UNDER THE AGE OF 21!!!!
As reported by the Jerusalem Examiner:
It was alleged that the bride herself was only around 13 or 14 years of age, and although the groom sported a full beard he wasn’t a day over 18. This did not deter Jesus and his mother Mary (listed as an accomplice) from providing double the amount of wine intended for the feast, which some say was a deliberate intent to encourage ‘binge’ drinking.
The Palestine chapter of MADD is asking that Jesus be brought up on charges but it is believed that the local Roman magistrate will dismiss the complaint as being a tad hysterical. No evidence can be found that Jesus actually purchased any wine near the time of the wedding.
Last week a 17 year old Judean boy was injured when his camel tossed him into the side of a date palm just two blocks from the site of the wedding. Centurions on the scene suspected that he had been drinking and he was given a breath test. Failing this (the camel fainted), he was ordered to gargle with lemon juice, vinegar and mint. His wife and four children suffered only minor injuries.
The instances of wine induced camel and donkey accidents among young people in the region around Jerusalem is said to be on the rise. New legislation is in the works to make it illegal for camels and donkeys to consume alcohol.
Seriously though. Recently a large group of university deans and presidents have asked that the legal drinking age be lowered, under the assumption that this will help reduce alcohol abuse on campus. Their arguments actually make a lot of sense.
But the only argument I need is this one: if you are old enough to get married, old enough to vote and old enough to die for your country then you are old enough to drink. I know 50 year olds who shouldn’t be allowed near a bottle of Bud – age does not always equate with maturity or the lack there of.
Europeans, who have don’t have the Puritanical baggage we are saddled with, don’t have this problem with teen alcohol abuse. They never made alcohol into a forbidden and, therefor, very attractive taboo. Their coming of age parties are not built around getting ‘wasted’ because to the European kid it’s just another…food.
Anyway, Jesus didn’t have a problem sharing a glass of wine or two with young people. Not that it makes any difference to me. I was more than happy to allow my 19 year old daughter to enjoy a Mike’s Hard Lemonade on our family beach picnic the other day. Quite civilized, really, if not quite legal.
Tonight I will once again sally forth into the fray, exposing myself to debauchery, drunkenness, sacrilegious song and other temptations of the flesh. I just hope I have a good time.
There was a period not too long ago, just after I had my conversion experience, when I was a bit unsure as to how a Christian should behave. I think my confusion was due to where my spiritual home was at the time; a fairly conservative Methodist church (pretty hard to find these days). Confronting the challenges of Methodism’s fading Puritanism along with the ‘old time religious’ habits of my congregation, I felt like my lifestyle might be inconsistent with someone who claimed to be born again. So I faked it. I was a chimera – the owner of separate personality characteristics- some reserved for my church, some for those who knew me to be a Christian and some for those who did not know me at all.
I’ve talked about this at other times and places so I don’t want to bore anyone with the details. Suffice it to say, I was masquerading as what I thought a Christian was supposed to look like. I am embarrassed to tell of some of the silly things I did. For example; when friends from church would visit we would hide the wine, the wine glasses and the corkscrew, lest anyone get the ‘right’ idea. I began to think of myself as a clean cup with a permanently stained bowl.
You can imagine my relief when I found out that I need not become a 21st century disciple of Carrie Nation in order to be a “good Christian”. I remember the pivotal point as an enjoyable evening spent having cocktails with another Christian couple while listening to live music at a local…(gasp!)….bar. No lightning bolts fell from the sky and it was not the slippery slope to hedonism that I’d heard about. (Or more likely what I thought I had heard.) That was a few years ago and since then I have grown in my faith and, losing some of these hang-ups, learned how to enjoy life in the process. I’ve also had more opportunity, through the casual acquaintance of people I’ve met in “secular” venues, to talk about Jesus.
A friend from work has a band, a classic rock- heavy metal type band that will be playing near my home tonight. He’s had a fairly difficult time of it lately. About a year ago he had his own ‘conversion’ experience and, like so many of us, went through some significant lifestyle changes. The partying he once enjoyed has fallen by the wayside, with the smokin’ and the drinkin’ that go along with it. He’s had some influence on the band as they no longer play music that employ lyrics of a violent or overly sexual nature and any song that even hints of insulting God has been kicked off the play list.
Yet the people of his church are telling him that he is sinful and the Bible is very clear in its condemnation of bars, bands and beer. In the process they use terms such as; sinners, fornicators, profane, drunkards, depraved, sluts and whores. I guess I should take offense, since these epithets are also directed towards people like me and my wife, since we will be in attendance this evening. But that doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is that these words, these bigoted thoughts, are being directed at anyone at all. None of the patrons at these clubs and bars are known to his congregation yet they have been conveniently labeled and filed away under the heading “unsaved”.
It is also disappointing that, when confronted with a man in their midst, who has grown closer to God through Jesus, they demand an immediate and visible change in his habits and appearances. This change needn’t be something that mimics Christ, who was also labeled as a glutton and drunkard as well as someone who consorted with prostitutes and the unclean. He need only mimic those in his congregation, becoming a born again chameleon. To avoid being preyed upon it may be necessary for him take on their colors, blending in with the ecclesiastical scenery. To his credit, he refuses to be this type of hypocrite and suffers even more scorn and derision.
I wonder how many other Christian chameleons are out there. For those of you who find yourselves in this type of scenario, weary of always having to be ‘on’, censoring your speech and playing at being holy, I heartily recommend coming in from the cold. The company is warm and the beer is cold.
For the past couple of weeks in class the kids and I have been learning how to bake bread. Although I have spent over half my life working with all kinds of food I have shied away from baking. It looked just too complicated, all those different steps involved, all the precise temperatures and measurements. I’ve always been a lazy cook and baking just looked like too much work.
Well, I was happy to find out just how easy it is to make good bread. Like most anything else, all you really need is the right equipment, good ingredients and the patience to learn from your mistakes. The first couple of attempts at making a good German rye would have looked more at home stacked next to a Howitzer instead of inside a wicker basket. The Italian bread turned out pretty good the first time we pulled it from the oven and today we finally produced what is an excellent, chewy and very flavorful seeded two pound rye.
It’s so cool to see how the yeast takes the dough and turns it into something that is literally alive and breathing–before you sacrifice it to the ovens. There are some other foods that serve as hosts for these or other little creatures, resulting in some delicious eating. Cheeses are the most common, some of them sporting visible molds. Then there are the fermented meats and cabbages – sauerkraut, kimchee, some pickles; but many of these are ‘acquired tastes’. But everyone loves bread.
Of course alcoholic beverages are also made by little living organisms as they encounter and thrive upon the natural harvest of the earth. Fermentation in its various forms is responsible for all the beer, wine, whiskeys, vodkas, rums, cordials and fortified drinks that are made. Some of them will even display the telltale effervescence of their active work.
I guess that it is possible that Jesus did not intentionally choose to use bread and wine for the Eucharist. After all, these two ingredients were common staples of the Palestinian people. It was pretty much a given that these two items would be found on the table. Wine was often cut with water, to enhance the dubious qualities of both the water and the wine, but good wine (like Jesus was famous for) was usually served at special occasions. Although we often hear of Jewish unleavened bread, risen dough was also baked and consumed. There were other foods served at the Last Supper, but Jesus used only these two to remind us of his living sacrifice.
I don’t think it was any accident that Jesus turned to bread and wine when looking for a metaphor for his death and resurrection. It’s also no accident that these two foods were served at Jewish holidays. Both bread and wine are the two naturally occurring miracles of the food world. Left alone, both crushed wheat and crushed grapes will invite in living creatures that change both hosts into bread and wine. This is why moistened flour will eventually start to rise on it’s own as it receives the yeast floating in through the kitchen window. Grapes (and many other fruits) will always ferment – in fact, grape juice is more of an ‘artificial’ beverage than Pepsi. Man must work hard to prevent grape juice from turning into wine.
Wheat, crushed, mixed with water and in communion with live yeast grows to become a bread ready to be baked. Grapes, crushed, it’s juices communing with live yeast, turns to wine ready to be drunk. Both bread, wine and yeast work together to become so much more than the sum of their parts. Perhaps we are like the yeast, encountering Christ’s blood and broken body, being taken in and then taking him in to ourselves, we work together with others to raise up his Church. Broken bread and poured out wine, shared by those who remember Jesus as the creator of grass and vines, giving himself to be broken and poured out for our sins – this is what we know as Communion.
What a great gift. Wouldn’t it be nice if, the next time we shared communion, that we served some really good, fresh baked bread? And maybe some good, inexpensive red jug wine? Instead of paper wafers, little cubes of Wonder Bread, Welches grape juice and Christian Brother’s Cream Sherry? Something maybe a bit more aesthetic, a bit more authentic, maybe a bit more…tasty? Instead of little medicine cups perhaps we could try intinction or -what the heck?!- take a risk and share the cup! (We can always offer grape juice for those who cannot or would prefer not to partake of wine.) Perhaps bringing wine back into some Protestant services would cause too much arguing – I don’t know. But there is no reason not to serve some good bread. Jesus chose food for a reason. He probably enjoyed good food. I don’t think it would be too hard for us to give the elements of this meal the respect that they deserve.
And now that I can bake…..