I'm going to tell you a secret because I know we are BFFs and you won't repeat it.
I drank wine. I know!
A while back some folks at work suggested a glass of wine before bed time to ease my insomnia. It didn't work and it tasted gross. I'm not sure the Mr. purchased me a quality wine as it came in a six pack. Then a few weeks ago, I was given a bottle of pomegranate wine as a gift for my nomination during nurse's week. Oh dear, does no one believe that I don't drink?
Let me give you some idea of what I mean by I don't drink. That means, having been born in 1967, I have never ever ever never ever had a drink. I was on a 45 year streak. This was fascinating to the people at work. Not because they necessarily wanted to see me get liquored up (well, there is this one maintenance guy but we won't talk about him.) They just couldn't understand why. Why I was literally going 48 hours without sleep and yet dug my heels in about sipping a few ounces of wine. Why I was taking over 100 mg of Benadryl within four hours trying to rest and yet drew the line at alcohol.
So I looked them in the eye and explained, "I'm on a forty five year streak!"
And they looked at me with love and admiration and said, "But why?"
And then I looked at them and said, "Well, because you are all going to hell."
Stated aloud, it seemed quite ridiculous.
So I brought home my pomegranate wine (you have to admit that sounds tasty.) Then we sat around and discussed at length whether pomegranate wine was likely to A. taste better than that stuff the Mr. bought and B. was likely to send us to hell. The conclusion was yes and no.
So we googled how to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew because possession of a corkscrew is proof you're holding hands with the devil. Then we opened that bottle up using a screw and pliers because that's classy and yet not evil.
Then we poured that wine into champagne flutes because that's what the Mr. bought during his previous foray into helping me sleep. Then we googled how to drink wine.
Then we swirled it and admired the viscosity and held it up to the light and discussed woody overtones and hints of fruit on the tongue and poetry on the uvula.
Then we took our flutes of pomegranate wine outside and sat around the fire in the breezy twilight and drank it.
And then we went to hell.
Wait, no, that's not right. So far the earth has not opened up and swallowed us.
Of course, the other explanation is that we don't want to become drunks. So far we're ok on that as well.
Then again, we don't want to get in a car and kill an entire family innocently driving their mini van down the road. All minivans remains safe as of this writing.
The wine, pomegranate or otherwise, does not help me sleep. It did teach me a lesson. In the waters of my spirit, there are shallows where one runs aground and goes no where.
The no alcohol rule had its moment. The moment was when I lacked the discipline and maturity to deal with it. When I was underage and it was illegal. But it is a rule, it is legality. We Olde Time Christians can tend to love our rules. After all, that old time religion is good enough for me. It proves we are set apart, in but not of. Oh be careful little ears and eyes and mouth and feet...
We are sometimes afraid of our freedom in Christ. Yes, you can indeed drink alcohol. But you are not allowed to know of someone in need and not help. That is the new rule.
We'd rather skip the wine and look the other way sometimes.
Oh be careful little rules because they can breed judgementalism and change set apart to set above. They can be sticking points in conversations that ultimately do nothing to express the grace and joy of Christ in us.
I'd no sooner advise you to start drinking than I would to start over-eating. Or being lazy or having a flat screen television when children don't have enough to eat in Africa. Don't do any of that. Actually, it might be better if you had a glass of wine, lost some weight, started exercising and sponsored a child.
Our individual personal convictions will be different as Jesus seeks a relationship that is one to one, not one to some.
As for me, I've had a secret love of O'Doull's for quite some time.
And I cannot promise to never again have a sip of wine around the fire with people I love.
And ok, I'll admit it, I've looked at vineyards on Michigan.org and thought I might just take a day trip.
And Jesus loves me just as much as he did before I broke my 45 year streak.