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Back on the Plonk

Yesterday marked the end of a five month "fast" from alcohol. At this very moment I am enjoying my first beer, and it tastes good : )

It was a bit of a random idea, of all the vices that can trip up young christians, alcohol was not one of the ones that I had ever really struggled with. I have good boundaries and regularly enjoy a cold beer with my family and friends. But earlier this year I was had a moment of frustration. I realised that for all my zeal to be a committed disciple, it had being a long while since I had made a rash decision to "lay something down" as a physical sign of my desire to continue to grow and change as follower of Jesus. You know those wonderful moments at camp as a 16 year old where you completely go for it, so you dump your girlfriend or give a bunch of money or commit to something else a bit reckless just because you are so passionate about following Jesus? Those powerful times of "first love" with Jesus. Those times where it moves from good intentions to great (and sometimes strange) actions. Where that passion translates to something physical. So in a moment of frustration and righteous anger at my apathy and indifference I decided to stop drinking. I picked a random date and went for it. That was five months ago.

So has much changed in that time? Surprisingly yes. I wouldn't credit it directly to this decision, but I can honestly say there has being a depth and a development in my character in the last months. I really feel that God has honoured that desire to crank it up a notch or two. Which also means that it has being a tough couple of months, painful at times, I have had to have some conversations that required courage with those that mentor me, but the fruit has being good.

The two greatest times of temptation:
  1. On a surf trip with my dad earlier this year. After a long day of surfing, a big pub meal and some great super 14 rugby on the big screen, the lemon lime bitters didn't cut it. Repeated for two nights.
  2. At my friends - Tim and Emmas - wedding. I was sitting with Tims airforce squadron at the reception. A bunch of absolute legends, I had some great yarns and many laughs. But once they cottoned on to the fact I wasn't drinking, they made it their job to tempt me in every possible way. And with a large bar tab it was the one time I really wondered whether I would call it an early end to the fast. But I got there!! Just.
It has being interesting to observe the drinking culture of the world around me, especially the christian crew. Don't get me wrong, I love a good beer, a whisky every now and then. But I am pretty concerned how acceptable it seems to be to go and have too much to drink. I am not sure how to respond to this situation, particularly at my church with grace and truth. And I have a bunch of Achilles heals, I would want grace extended to those particular things. But it has raised some questions and concerns if I am honest.

One of the best discussions on this topic can be found HERE, I encourage you to read it and feedback your thoughts. (Particulary the comments by "servant" (Frank Ritchie) and the discussion that then develops).

And I would whole heartedly encourage you to "fast" something for an extended period of time as an act of devotion... we need more wild followers of Jesus who make weird and wonderful choices to honour their King.

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“Back on the Plonk”

  1. Blogger Andrew Says:

    Great post Sam (and the other one you linked to). The whole salt/light thing really is a challenge to me. What really worries me is that as Christians we seem to sometimes think that we are so 'free' that we can immerse ourselves in the culture around us... to the point I wonder if we are any different from it? Where is the salt/light? Are we called to be in the world but not of it?
    Don't get me wrong, I like the occasional beer, but not our drinking culture.
    PS. am i forgiven for missing the meeting yesterday? I feel so stupid!

  2. Blogger Tash Says:

    I'm in an alcohol fast at the moment - more to do with a health issue than anything else, and I so severely miss my red wine and whiskey - especially the first night cigar and whiskey circle we hosted for Marko...

    but - it's been interesting to observe people from a 'dry' perspective. nice post.

  3. Blogger Elliot Says:

    "...so you dump your girlfriend or give a bunch of money or commit to something else a bit reckless just because you are so passionate about following Jesus."

    You missed burning all your secular CD's in a fit of self-righteous rage.

  4. Blogger Sam Says:

    haha, yeah mate that was me as well. Out when my "Doors"" lps... though for some reason my rage cds were spared. Dont ask

  5. Blogger Nikki Says:

    I'm so on your concern boat, Sam. The drinking culture for christians, especially in our church is a surprisingly loose one. I have nothing against drinking, but I have everything against getting drunk. I wonder what it is that makes being drunk so appealing??

  6. Blogger muzik Says:

    Sam I am with you as well. The whole relationship between Salt/Light was amazing, I have never thought of it that way, a way of balance.

    You have to take in culture as well. Here in the states it's very taboo to be a Christian and drink or anything else for that matter. I went on a mission trip to England and found a culture similar to yours. People debating God etc... over a beer. I did not partake but found it interesting that something we American Christians see as taboo is pretty much the norm on the outside of our cultural bubble.

    I think it's all about moderation. 1 or 2 sure it is after all the persons choice, but drunkenness? No way. My dad was an is again an alcoholic. I have lost 3 friends to drunk driving. I'll pass on getting hammered.