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Thread: The Church that Drinks Together-In our town, refusing to drink alcohol may be a bigger stumbling blo

  1. #1

    The Church that Drinks Together-In our town, refusing to drink alcohol may be a bigger stumbling blo

    Troutdale, Oregon, sits between the winery town of Hood River and the unofficial beer capital of the country, Portland, Oregon. It is here we are building a new church.

    Our new building has been in construction for more than 5 years. With only a couple dozen people investing time and money over the years, it's been a slow slog. But this year we hope (at last!) to move out of our small rental space and open the doors to our new building. We've always been about community outreach. It is the reason we built the new 48,000 square foot building. Through all the financial hardships, frustrations, building permits—and constant organizing of volunteer work teams to pour concrete, install roofs, hang doors, and paint walls—the motivation has remained the same: to use this building to reach our unchurched town nestled in the most unchurched state.

    One of the most anticipated rooms in the new building is the "café." This room was designed to be an intimate space where groups can meet on any given weeknight to sip some coffee, discuss apologetics, listen to performances, sing worship songs, and hold Bible studies. I know it's silly but I dream about the café becoming something akin to Lewis' and Tolkien's famous Rabbit Room—the room located in the back of The Eagle and Child pub, where Lewis and friends drank ales, smoked pipes, and worked out theologies. Pipe smoking indoors is no longer an option in public buildings, but the question about whether to drink alcohol is one our church must now address.

    Beer country

    People here don't have a favorite beer; they have favorite breweries, or even favorite sections of the city for drinking beer. Portland is constantly being named and renamed America's Number One Beer City. In Portland, breweries seem to outnumber gas stations. In 2014 Oregon produced 585,000 barrels of beer. Our state leads the U.S. in the percentage of dollars spent on craft beer.

    Micro-brewing and large-scale brewing are ubiquitous. It's in the culture, part of our shared identity. From the super hoppy IPAs to the unfiltered wheat beers and the popular chocolate stouts, beer is to Portland what wings are to Buffalo, or BBQ is to everyone south of the Mason-Dixon line.

    It always amazes me how drastically the weather changes when you travel just east of Portland. The infamous rains dry up once you cross the Cascade Mountains. Just 30 miles east of Portland the land becomes dry and sunny, a perfect climate for grapes. Hood River and Southeast Washington are full of vineyards. To our southwest lies a large region famous for wines, the Willamette Valley. Oregon wine grapes are now our most valuable fruit crop, valued at $128 million. Our state bottles about 3 million cases of wine annually, shipping 64 percent of it out of state.

    In this context, perhaps it's no surprise that, in our small congregation, we have people with wine memberships and people who work at wineries. Some members brew their own beer. We also have members who do not drink and consider abstaining a good way for Christians to set ourselves apart from the culture; to live differently for the sake of Christ. After all, they reason, Jesus called us to be counter-cultural. As the new building gets ready to open, our church leadership has stated that we will allow alcohol to be served in the fellowship hall. Without this concession, no one would book the facility for weddings—and we need weddings to help pay the bills. But those of us in leadership have not yet tackled the larger question: will we allow alcohol in other parts of the church...

    http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/...0FXhsgMI3POUqf

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    FresnoJoe (09-28-2015)

  3. #2
    "Drinking was once an affront in evangelical circles. The sight of a drinking Christian could have even unbelievers crying, “Hypocrite!” Those days are behind us. Now, it is often those who refuse to imbibe who are in danger of being a stumbling block."

    "The church that is stridently dry can now actually hurt the Christian image, at least in our part of the country."

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    FresnoJoe (09-28-2015)

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    "...In our town, a dry church is a stumbling block for the outsiders. They see a dry church as fitting a Christian caricature: that Christians are backward, intolerant, legalistic, and starchy. We need to think about whom is actually being served when we make policies stating that alcohol is off-limits at church. I suspect these policies exist to appease older, conservative members of the congregation rather than because they help the church flourish."

    Ooookay. I scanned the article but didn't catch what type of church this is...do you know the denomination?

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    FresnoJoe (09-28-2015)

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    Senior Member Colonel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuego View Post
    "Drinking was once an affront in evangelical circles. The sight of a drinking Christian could have even unbelievers crying, “Hypocrite!” Those days are behind us. Now, it is often those who refuse to imbibe who are in danger of being a stumbling block."

    "The church that is stridently dry can now actually hurt the Christian image, at least in our part of the country."
    At some time in the US and in Northern Europe, people tended to drink heavily or nothing at all. Trying to keep up with drinking just half of what the founding fathers did at their parties (there is proof by way of a detailed bill from one of those parties) would literally have killed most of the posters here. The times have changed.

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    FresnoJoe (09-28-2015)

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    Resident Chocolate Monster Lista's Avatar
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    I think a church as a public edifice should not allow alcohol. Paul said not to do it if it would cause your brother to sin. We never know who is going to walk through the doors of a church. You may have a former alcoholic, a struggling alcoholic, or someone who finds alcohol an anathema. Best to avoid that issue.

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    FresnoJoe (09-28-2015)

  11. #6
    Well, we know that Welch's grape juice will not be the beverage of choice in their communion services.

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    FresnoJoe (09-28-2015)

  13. #7
    This is just weird. If they want to have a "pub" don't do it in the church.

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    FresnoJoe (09-28-2015)

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    Don't Ban me Bro! John's Avatar
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    The cannabis crowd will be next.

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    FresnoJoe (09-28-2015)

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    Senior Member Colonel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lista View Post
    I think a church as a public edifice should not allow alcohol. Paul said not to do it if it would cause your brother to sin. We never know who is going to walk through the doors of a church. You may have a former alcoholic, a struggling alcoholic, or someone who finds alcohol an anathema. Best to avoid that issue.
    I agree. Sipping in church is still a problem in relation to those. What one does elsewhere is a personal matter and judgment call in relation to each situation, what one does when one congregates as a church is a bit different.

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    FresnoJoe (09-28-2015)

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