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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

What happened to drinking?

Alcoholics of the world unite! We are now officially in the drunk-zone. The metamorphose is complete.
There is more Bud Light sold these days than Budweiser.

Here's why I find this fact significant:
1) People no longer drink for taste. (It is debatable if they ever have, but if you've ever had a Bud Light it is pretty clear that no one drinks it because they like the taste.)

Annheuser-Busch (the company that sells Budweiser and Bud Light) believes 40% of young people have only had light beers; that is, they've never even had a Budwesier. They've only had Bud Light (or one of its light beer competitors)

Here's why I find this belief significant:
1) Young people drink to get drunk, and perhaps only exclusively for that reason. For most youth, it's either Bud Light, shots, or water. For young drinkers, if you are going to drink it is to get drunk, and if you are not going to get drunk, then you don't drink at all. Social drinking is dead for this generation. One beer, one cocktail, one glass of wine (and not all at once) is unheard of it seems for young drinkers these days. (I am willing to be wrong on this assertion, and to be honest, I kind of hope I am.)

This is a problem for Christian congregations. Christian congregations that practice the Eucharist (Holy Communion, Lord's Supper, Sacrament of the Altar, whatever you call it) with wine are going against the trend. What I mean is this: we don't drink wine (blood of Christ) to get drunk. And because we don't drink to get drunk most young people will not understand the important connection Communion makes between God and humanity.

Wine, as a human-processed product, is about connecting us with the God who not only gives us grapes, but gives us the talent to turn those grapes into wine. (This is the main reason why I don't like juice as a substitute for wine in Holy Communion. Any animal can eat a crushed grape, but only humans can put it in a bottle and wait until it is wine. Remember: Holy Communion is about the God-HUMAN relationship, not the God-Ungulate or the God- Bird relationship or some such thing.)

If alcohol is primarily used only to abuse it, how does a local congregation claim that wine has a power to restore, heal, forgive, and mold people into what God has created for them? I think this is the main reason why congregations that have wine in communion also tend not to have young people in their congregation. Young people don't understand why you would drink wine not to get drunk? Congregational leaders who provide a compelling answer to that question will see more young people at the altar. Most young people at the bars I meet don't dislike their local congregations, they just do not understand them; of course, by then, they're often half-way through a third pitcher of Bud Light.

May your tables be full, and your conversations be true.

1 comment:

John Power said...

Hey Scott, maybe a litle behind the curve hear but it's great to see you Prairie Table Ministries continuing down in the "southern" plains (too close to the Mason-Dixon line for me but that's a whole other discussion). Only thing I would challenge you about is that CLEARLY Scotch is superior to bourbon. Say Hi to Chris for us!

John Power