I'm 21, which means as an Australian I've been of legal drinking age for more than three years. Being Australian too drinking is a common cultural ritual. Certainly no party seems to be complete without somebody on the drink making an ass of themselves. I've been to plenty of them, though by most standards I could not, even now be called a 'heavy drinker' or even a 'regular drinker'.
I'm also a Christian. Unless you come from a serious legalistic sect (interpret this as me thinking that is an incorrect view of my faith) drinking isn't against any Christian rule. Certainly as one of my Christian uni group leaders reminds us Jesus' first miracle was turning water to wine. However allowing yourself to become drunk is not loving, is not allowing you to present yourself in a Godly manner and therefore not such a good thing. As one of my non-Christian friends is always reminding me the golden rule is "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 7:12. When drunk the probability of not living up to that is very, VERY high.
This past week we were looking at Ephesians 4:17-24. Which in the NIV falls under a head entitled 'Instructions for Holy Living'. It ended with a discussion about how to avoid some of the major issues of our generation and university. The drinking culture in particular. 'What is your drinking plan to help you not go past the limit between acceptable and drunk and inappropriate?' To be honest I don't have a plan. I sort of just go with the flow - and yes that has ended as badly at times as it sounds like it would.
I've been thinking hard since that night? Why drink at all? Certainly you can be a Christian and drink or be a Christian and not. For me personally, do I need to drink? I don't think I do it for the right reasons, not sure I can give an example of what I would consider to be a 'right' reason for drinking. I drink because it is easy, because it is there, because my friends do it, it makes social situations easier and more entertaining. None of those reasons are for God, or even for myself. So why?
I've always been in the drinking camp because I don't believe in not drinking with the vicious intent of many non-drinkers. (If you don't think some non-drinkers have viciously negative opinions of drinking I've got a couple to introduce you too.) However, I think it is something I could realistically do. I've never drunk at Christian activities - despite many of those around me doing so - so why should I feel it acceptable to drink at non-Christian activities.
I know the alcohol to be entertaining. One of two drinks makes the pool flow more easily and the conversation loosen just the point of good smart conversations about the life, the universe and everything. However at the end of the night things have never stopped at that point. That point is a façade, an unsustainable façade. Towards the end it turns messy, things done are regretted or spoken of with joking shame.
I don't want to be ashamed of my actions like that. I'm not a Christian except when I drink but at times I think that is how I act.
Can I do it though? Stop drinking. I can't stop anything. I struggle with the deep founded belief to carry me through with self-deprivation practices. Should I do it is the question I need the answer to. I'm not at the point of saying yes to that just yet but I feel that it isn't far away. You know what? Coke and good company is more fun than any amount of alcohol (particularly a large amount of alcohol).