Monthly Archives: August 2017

Anticipating the 2021 Nazarene General Assembly Debate on the Use of Intoxicants

One of the interesting discussions from the 2017 General Assembly was in the Christian Action committee about resolution CA-710 regarding the Use of Intoxicants.

Living (apparently) under a rock in Flint, Michigan, I didn’t think resolution CA-710 brought to us from the good people of the Nebraska and Mid-Atlantic Districts would wet anyone’s whistle (so to speak).  In Flint, we don’t drink the water and as Nazarenes we don’t drink the spirits (except for the Nazarenes that drink and don’t tell).  But much to by surprise, the committee voted in favor of social drinking. It wasn’t close.

When the matter came to the floor of the assembly (I believe) General Superintendent Warrick, informed the delegation that there was a proposal for a study on the use of the intoxicants, so resolution CA-710 was referred to the General Superintendents. Our drinking discussion was put off for four years.

Then last week, a study published in JMAA Psychiatry stated that 1 in 8 Americans have an alcohol problem. One in eight!  Moreover, the article stated that the population segment that is seeing the biggest increase in alcohol abuse is not those “gotta-have-a-beer” millennials who we are trying to stop from leaving our churches, but senior citizens.  African Americans and women also saw dramatic increases in alcohol abuse in the last ten years.

My question is this:  Will we take this latest study into account when the discussion heats up at GA2021?  Will we continue our historic stance on the side of those that struggle with alcohol (which apparently is growing every day) or will we say (as I heard in the committee debate): 1) Our people (especially millennials) are already drinking; and 2) If it was good enough for Jesus it should be good enough for us (that is an over-simplification of the debate, but that was mostly the point).

Shouldn’t a holiness church side with the 1/8th of our society that struggle with alcohol abuse?  If not us, who will?  Can’t we honestly and simply say, Jesus drank wine and having a beer at a ballgame isn’t going to send anyone to hell.  But given what we know about the devastating effects alcohol has on society, whether that is in the form of the growing number who daily struggle with addiction, the deadly mix of alcohol and automobiles and the vast majority of domestic violence circumstances that are fueled by liquor, as a group we still choose to say “thanks but no thanks” to the use of intoxicants.

Just my two cents.

Christ’s love compels us to stand up against hate

This little article is designed to be a lighthearted, 500 (or less) word essay to help bring a little hope and joy to your week.  We read enough bad news. This blog is designed to be a breath of fresh air.  Not too heavy.  Not too controversial.  A little scripture.  A little humor. Everybody’s happy.

But then along comes a week when neo-Nazis are in the news and White Supremacists are spewing their hate. It’s been ugly.

I want to write happy thoughts, but my sad heart is breaking for America.

I want us to sing happy songs, but the dirge in my soul is too overwhelming.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (a guy who stood up to the Nazis and who was executed for his stand two weeks before the end of WWII) said:  Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.

My dad fought the Nazis.  My uncle was captured and tortured by them in WWII. The men and women from “the greatest generation” knew that evil must be actively and forcefully opposed.  For them it was in Germany. For us (I can’t believe I’m writing this) it sometimes raises its repulsive head in America.

Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians are for us as we see injustice, sin and hatred:  For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all (2 Corinthians 5:14). Christ’s love compels us to speak, to love, and to practice hospitality.  Christ’s love compels us in our stand against hatred.  Christ’s love compels us to action and not show indifference.  Christ’s love compels us to pray and keep praying until His Kingdom comes in America (and throughout earth) as it is in heaven!