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Christians Who Drink Beer

3 January 2010

Historians will look back on the years 2000-20 someday and call it the Second Age of Muscular Christianity.  Quote me on it.  Let me unpack at least one aspect of this phenomenon: beer-drinking Christian men.

A decade ago a seminarian explained to me how there are three types of PKs (pastors’ kids) in the world: PK-A, the obedient child, PK-B, the outright rebellious child, and PK-C, the child who knows how to be rebellious but chooses to live mostly (mostly) within the bounds of the PK-A lifestyle, that is, Christians Who Drink Beer.  For him the mark of cultural engagement and anti-legalistic assertion involved whether or not one went to the pub.  The coincidence is almost too uncanny: the same rule is now applying to the other PKs, Promise Keepers.

Now in 2010 the pattern seems to true, especially for Protestant men.  Former “nice boys” and Promise Keepers attendees, they now look to buck the restraint associated with Victorian morality and fundamentalistic codes.  The new Muscular Christians are showing their rough side… by throwing down a couple of cold ones.  Preferably stouts.  For instance, hipster pastor Mark Driscoll writes in Radical Reformission how light beer is a sin – a claim that could be taken figuratively until one considers that he helps to sponsor a brewing club at Mars Hill Church in Seattle.   Meanwhile, John Eldredge, a light beer hater himself, encourages men to disregard legalistic conventions and follow their wild heart (or stomach?).  Attempts to follow this injunction in the beer department have led to some funny results.

Not that Muscular Christians encourage drunkenness.  They do not.  Rather, a more regal form of hold-your-liquor masculinity applies here.  Don’t drink too much.  And no matter how much beer you imbibe, don’t let it compromise your self-will.  Remember, we’re PK-Cs here.

One final example.  A friend who works for Campus Crusade in Utah tells me that drinking beer has become a standard way for Evangelical men to distinguish themselves from the Mormons.  The teetotalling LDS guys don’t dare assert themselves that way, and pretty much have the squeaky-clean masculine archetype all tied up.  Which leaves wide open a handy, malty lacuna for Protestants. 

Being set apart has never been such a happy ordeal.

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6 comments

  1. I prefer to buck the restraint associated with Victorian morality and fundamentalistic codes by looking at bikini clad co-eds jello wrestle and experience an occasional wardrobe malfunction.


  2. I agree that drinking isn’t sinful, but drunkenness is.

    I have known and seen so many Christian men rely on the social atmosphere of bars/clubs and of drinking to be their mark that makes them a “cool” “socially adjusted” christian. These men that I know personally have all, without exception, fallen away from God and consistently twist scripture to justify their backsliding.

    The pastor of the Bible Study where I was saved as a teenager has followed this route. He is now routinely drunk and profane.

    IMHO: using the bar social scene/alcohol is an extremely unwise and dangerous way to set yourself apart as a Christian.

    I guess the mantra I would encourage men looking to make their mark and have social influence is “Use Good Judgment” and to ask them “How much is your self image worth to you? Is the image you’re portraying worth Christ dying for?”

    Just my two cents!
    Jeff
    Visit me at:
    http://www.mybowsandarrows.wordpress.com


  3. Hoisting a frosty stein doesn’t really set one apart…it actually just makes us look more like the world. The nonbelievers we’re drinking beside don’t see a man of God who’s identifying with them…all they see is another barfly, even if in reality nothing could be further from the truth. Make no mistake, those with a need for salvation are watching us…and their perception is reality to them.

    As a lifelong teetotaling servant of Christ, I can personally testify that this stance has raised [i]far[/i] more eyebrows amongst non-Christians than the reverse. It blows their minds, and has been used of God to provide me plenty of inroads to share the truth that makes men free!

    It’s sad that abstinence of any form (booze, cigs, fornication, drugs, etc.) is seen as Victorian or oppressive. Sadly, this attitude has begun to seep into the body of Christ. I have actually heard Christians say they need a drink “to relax them”, which to me is a form of bondage. And if we ourselves are in bondage, how then can we be used to bring freedom to others?

    When Paul spoke of becoming all things to all men, I doubt that embracing the world’s vices was intended for inclusion on that list. For the Christian, alcohol intake in and of itself might not be sinful. The conceit that it can never come back to bite you, however, may very well be.


  4. Thanks for your responses, Jeff and Carnivore D (and even Mark, who in a roundabout way explains why Christian men struggle to find some kind of rough edge). As Jesus himself was criticized for drinking alcohol (Mt 11:19), I am perfectly willing to concede that Christians may do the same. But I resonate with your concerns on the level that there are a number of men who seek to justify their drinking on all sorts of dubious spiritual levels: “Because I can’t evangelize without it,” “Because it makes me culturally relevant,” “Because it’s part of a healthy spiritual life.” Is that really it? And is it really worth flirting with drunkenness?

    To restate my thesis, many Protestant men are trying to reestablish themselves as muscular vis-a-vis a Victorian standard that would uphold self-control and spiritual sensitivity as some of the highest Christian ideals. But if teetotaling was a dubious mark of masculinity in years past, then drinking beer today is equally doubtful. Each one would want to marry one side of liberty/restraint to the Christian life, which seems rather arbitrary to me. One’s sense of masculine confidence is more likely the key issue.

    That, and that drinking a Guinness with fish and chips is an unmatchable experience.


  5. As a Christian and a retired painter/drywall man for over 45 yrs. I have two hobbies. Producing ceramic and brewing home made beer at home. I give away most.These i started two years ago. I started a brewers club with a few men and we now have 103 members. This took 1 year, Cristian and non.. I never attend bars or just watering holes but a visit to a real micro brewery is a treat. Moderation is my standard. Eating habits will do the real harm. It is called glutany.


  6. At 79 this coming Nov. 18 2015, I find myself still brewing some wine and beer. Over 8 yrs. I still have no problems with this. I taste and use my brewing at home. Once in awhile I eat out and combine a brew with my meal. There are people that should not drink. God created the formula and brewed Himself, at least once. The church needs to take another look at gluttony and it’s dangers. I attend a church every Sunday but I am not a real church person. You better read the scriptures and try to enjoy your life, help others do the same, while you are above ground. Enjoy a good brew. Make your own. Google ‘ The health Benefits of Beer :. Moderation is the key. homebrewer7@gmail.com



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