Baptists, Beer, and Guilt

I ended the Lord’s Day yesterday with a prayer over my Black ‘n Tan: Dear God, creator of the universe, how is it you took the time to grant us a drink of such beauty and taste as the mixture of stout and lager? We are unworthy of such a beverage.

And therein lies a tale. I am not a drinker to excess, unless one defines “excess” to mean “ever” having a drink. I’m usually lucky to reach a total of three beers and a single dram of whisky a week (except on vacation, but that’s vacation, when we all need to loosen up…). But here’s the thing about drinking on the Sabbath: I felt the slightest twinge of guilt for such heathenish enjoyment of the fruit of the hops.

Then I thought yet again: I did, after, all, use the occasion of having a single beer to give thanks to the One who made that beer possible. Being a Puritan, Baptist-division, however, does have its baggage. And that baggage includes Guilt, with a capital “G.” “Have fun, fellas, but not too much.” And most definitely regret having it.

Me, I chalk up my enjoyment of beer, along with my enjoyment of many other wordly things, to my sinful nature. Since I also preach against the evils of gambling (I do not gamble), I also feel guilty about being a certain kind of hypocrite, at least in the eyes of certain secular family members who will go nameless in order to protect their feelings. How can you preach against one kind of sin, gambling, yet wax lyrical about the qualities of a good single-malt Scotch?

Guilty as charged. Aye, there’s that G-word again. Best I can say in my defence is that if an indulgence is a product of God’s creation, as against the creation of men, then it’s acceptable in moderation. Beer and whisky, in moderation, are most definitely a product of God’s creation. Gambling, in which there is nothing intrinsic involved, is purely the creation of sinful man.
Let’s try a different tack. Jesus most certainly drank wine when He was reclining at table, as they say. It would have been the beverage of choice in the Middle East in the First Century, and, with apologies to my misled Baptist and Methodist brothers and sisters, the cup offered by Jesus at the Last Supper for certain wasn’t grape juice.

In stark contrast, we have heathen Romans gambling over His garments, in fulfillment of prophecy, but think on what side of morality those gamblers sat: Matthew 27:35 — And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots.

Finally, I always have the repentance dodge: when I sin, which is often, I always repent of that sin. It’s a good thing that Jesus is full of mercy and pity, and will take me as I am. Assuming that God has chosen me and caused me to choose Jesus as my savior. At least that is my hope, and prayer.

In the meantime, I will enjoy my occasional drink, thanking the Creator each and every time. And then wondering if God really is the Author of the drink, or was it Satan…

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