thoughts on alcohol...

So, I was chatting with John Smith this morning at St. martin's community God Squad celebration. Good times. We started to talk through the subtle differences between our communities (Salvos and St. Martin's). We have much more in common of course, rooted in the same Wesleyan theology and staunch supporters of holiness impacting tough places with light. One of the main differences is alcohol.
Now, John has a familiar take on this having come from a deeply religious home seeped in tradition and rules... alcohol was simply a pious, religious rule that kept the church people separate from the worldly people... from a missiology (thoughts on mission) base Alcohol abstinence can be a hindrance (at least that's his take). By separating ourselves from the world by abstinence he suggests that we can become holier than thou pious types that can't connect to people in culture... Our take of course is that Alcohol abstinence is about being called 'out of the world' in a Nazarite-type call to be different YET somehow we believe that our call is to the world at the same time. We believe that our message is one that is about purity lived out-loud without the religion but with the purity and impact of transformed lives being beacons of hope to those stuck in the grip of alcohol.
Is it possible?
well, i get the struggle. Sometimes it is awkward to be set apart in an extreme way like total abstinence... it can feel like we are so separate that we've lost touch with the people we are called to love... and it can lead to a seclusion or exclusion from real life that leaves us part of a holy club protected from the world but leaving little impact.
On the other hand, how can we remain pure or prophetic from the grip of excessive alcohol consumption and it's impact on the poor in society - how can we present the good news of transformation and freedom when we struggle ourselves with the same demons that assault the world... how do we proclaim the gospel with power if we are prisoners to the poison of culture and it's abuse?

I think there's still time for John to change his mind! ;-) But even if not - here's a strong Christian salute to a man who stands for Christ and serves the world with good news. I'd be thrilled to be more like him - cause he reminds me of Jesus.