Sunday, June 18, 2006

"A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" was sung where first?

Growing up, I was acutely aware of the dangers and evils of alcohol. My father, on top of being heavily epileptic, downsized and virtually unemployable as a result of the new economies of the late '80s and early'90s (that is, with nothing more than a GED) drove himself further and further away from reality under the influence. Without the histrionics and drama so prevalent in blogger-world (and sometimes within myself), his abuse of the spirits nearly destroyed our family and left scars on each of his five children. Although my father would quit drinking heavy alcohol before I finished high school and would move south with the rest of my family and eventually - with the help of 12-step programs and a believing and supporting community - be clean and sober, I swore off all alcohol.

I partly resisted out of fear, and partly out of common sense, and partly out of those emotional and visceral responses the very smell of alcohol imparted on me. The fear is that I tend to have what some might call an addictive personality, as well as a bit of a bull-headed way about me - much like my father, but without the intensity and the booze to bring it to fruition. The common sense is that alcohol just costs a lot. A lot of family needs were spent on my father's habits (of Old Style as well as comic books, btw). In addition, instead of seeking resolutions, many people I've noticed drink to escape their problems, not a healthy thing to do in the least. And then there was this annoying habit with a few of my better friends of talking about alcohol every time they consummed it. Probably the most boring thing I could ever imagine. I'd rather have my teeth filed down (which they need to be, by the by, since I wrestled with a preteen this afternoon and severely chipped my top and front two biters. Looks worse than it feels, but it sure is embarrassing). I stopped hanging out with them at bars, or really anytime they drank.

But all of that said, I am getting along in age. And I don't have a theological conflict with drinking itself (and neither did Jesus, St. Paul, David, or Martin Luther from what I can gather) but rather with the abuse of it. So, I've had some sips these last few months - with friends. Still most of the time I go to the bars I ask for orange juice. But I wonder if my first-ever bottle of la cerveza on Friday would get me expelled from the Southern Baptist Convention. That is, if I would ever became a member. Wasp Jerky has news that the SBC (the largest Protestant denomination in the US, with a stranglehold in my parents' current town and really, most of the rest of the South) has made a resolution condemning not just alcoholic abuse, but any and all use of alcohol.

It's nice to know that such movements are cyclical. Another ten years or so and they may be able to illegalize the selling, buying and consumption of alcoholic beverages - again.

All that's left to say is: Cheers to them.

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