Methodists: Drinking Still a Touchy Topic

By McCleskey, Clayton | The Christian Century, April 19, 2011 | Go to article overview

Methodists: Drinking Still a Touchy Topic


McCleskey, Clayton, The Christian Century


Pastor James Howell knew he had a problem on his hands when several teenagers arrived at a church dance drunk and had to be taken from the church by ambulance to be treated for alcohol poisoning. Starting in 2009, he urged his flock at Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, to give up drinking for Lent and donate the money they would have spent on booze to a "spirit fund."

To date, Myers Park has raised more than $34,000 for local substance abuse programs, and seven parishioners have sought treatment for alcoholism.

"It isn't that alcohol in and of itself is bad; Jesus drank wine," Howell said. "We emphasize the role it plays in our lives." Part of that discussion, Howell and others have found, involves acknowledging a fact that some Methodists prefer not to talk about: some Methodists drink--even if many don't like to admit it.

From teetotaling Baptists to Episcopalians who uncork champagne in the parish hall, alcohol use can be tricky for religious groups to deal with--especially during holy periods or holidays.

There are no rules on alcohol for Catholics during Lent, although Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are mandatory days of penance and abstinence. Muslims--those who drink alcohol at all--are called to abstain from it during Ramadan. But to celebrate Purim, Jews are encouraged to drink--and for many Christians Christmas Eve includes spiked eggnog.

Unlike prohibition-minded Mormons or Catholics who belly up to the bar on St. Patrick's Day, Methodists--the nation's second-largest Protestant denomination- took a more ambiguous stance. Now the denomination's General Board of Church and Society is following Howell's lead and is pushing a churchwide Alcohol Free Lent campaign.

The 7.8-million-member UMC has long had a love/hate relationship with alcohol. For decades the denomination--at least officially--strongly supported temperance. The father and son who founded the Welch's grape juice company were not only good Methodists but also savvy businessmen who saw a huge market in pushing juice for communion to temperance-minded churches.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In the years since, Methodists have trended toward a more liberal stance. While the UMC still encourages abstinence, in 2008 the church's Social Principles were revised to allow for "judicious use with deliberate and intentional restraint, with scripture as a guide."

The result has been a somewhat uneasy relationship between Methodists and the bottle.

"We are very uncomfortable acknowledging that Methodists drink," said Cynthia Abrams, a minister who works on alcohol, addictions and health-care issues for the Washington-based social policy agency. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Methodists: Drinking Still a Touchy Topic
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.