Jesus Turned Water Into Wine and Now You Can, Too!

cocktails

Did you hear about this news story?

A couple days ago I came across a news piece talking about a new FDA approved powdered alcohol called Palcohol. Of course, good Christian folk were upset.

What about the kids? What about the potential for abusing this product? You can drink it and get drunk or you can snort it like drugs! (kudos to Fox News for that spiffy white board in the news segment – way to go all out, guys).

But, alas, it turns out that everyone got hyped up for nothing.

The product is not a close to market-release as we were initially led to believe. USAToday followed up about palcohol.

So we can turn off the rage machine. Kids won’t be getting drunk from nor snorting powdered booze.

But it doesn’t really matter what form the substance comes in. People who will abuse it are going to abuse it. We’re quick to hop on the “ban the substance!” bandwagon because some people might go too far.

But isn’t that true in every area of life?

– Some people will go too far with eating (that thing we call gluttony) but we don’t ban food.
– Some people will go too far with sexuality but we don’t ban marriage.
– Some people will go too far with…

You see, everything that God made has the potential to be corrupted. It doesn’t matter if it’s powdered, liquid, visual, aural…whatever! Humanity has the ability to corrupt and abuse anything. Just because something is corruptible doesn’t make it evil. Food, beer, movies, music – you name it. The Bible doesn’t condemn these things. But everything taken to corruptible excess can lead to sin.

We should be more concerned about being in right standing before God and raising our kids (as best we can) to do the same. Let God be the judge of peoples’ hearts, and give others the freedom to enjoy their Vodka Kool-Aid (or whatever they’re gonna call it). 🙂

***UPDATE***

A friend who knows more of the science than I do told me:

Alcohol is a solvent similar to water with the three states of solid, liquid and gas like all matter (there is of course plasma, but unimportant here). However, powdering something like this implies removing the water from it (the H20) and leaving the solid elements behind. This is possible with other foods, because there is a great deal of matter that is solid at room temperature to be left behind. Ethanol is CH3CH2OH. If you chemically broke it down and removed two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom from it and recombined the remainder, you are left with CH3CH–a form of butane! The only way to ‘powder’ alcohol would be to take it down into its solid state–which with alcohol is -173 deg. F. That would be a bit hard to package for the shelf.

Is this whole thing a gag? Thoughts?

***Update #2***

Seems “powdered alcohol” isn’t quite the correct term. See this great article from Time about the whole thing…

Related Post:
Christian Beer…I Mean Liberty

How Christians Cuss, Dad-Gummit!

Image courtesy of Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you have a sensitivity to coarse language you may want to skip this post…

So the other day I played a little game with some friends. I asked a group of people to help me come up with as many Christian swear alternatives as we could (those are words Christians use when we feel a need to swear but don’t feel comfortable using any of the words the world uses).

Keep in mind that Christians have different standards of what is or is not acceptable. But here is the list we came up with.

 

 

  1. **#%%#*#&#*
  2. FahrvergnĂĽgen
  3. mother frito
  4. Shazbot!
  5. CHEEZ IT!
  6.  Jeepers!
  7. Jinkies!
  8. Zoinks!
  9. cheese and crackers.
  10. “crumb” instead of “crap”, for the very conservative 🙂
  11. oh my word, oh my stars
  12. Gadzooks!
  13. crappydoodle
  14. Holy Canoli!
  15. Horse feathers!!
  16. Crapola
  17. oh my Gosh!
  18. Cat Hair
  19. Shut the front door!
  20. Well I’ll be dipped in buttermilk
  21. Ticked Off!
  22. Razz ma-tazz!
  23. Freak
  24. Frickin’
  25. Frickin’ A.
  26. Jumpin’ Jehosaphat!
  27. Good gravy
  28. D’OH!
  29. fudge ripple
  30. GOOD GOSH!
  31. FUZZY MUFFINS!
  32. son of a biscuit
  33. He’s full of shiitake mushrooms!
  34. Goshdarnit
  35. What the frick?
  36. sugar
  37. shoot.
  38. Crap
  39. fudge
  40. snap
  41. darn it
  42. good grief
  43. Goshdarnit
  44. Holy Schnike
  45. oy vey
  46. garbanzo
  47. crud
  48. durn
  49. darn
  50. poodledoo
  51. shut the front door
  52. fiddlesticks
  53. fiddledeedee
  54. Bob Saggett
  55. What in the blue bless?!
  56. Oh. My. Cow
  57. Jeez Louise
  58. Jesus, Mary & Joseph.
  59. Poodle-fruiter!
  60. dad-gummit!
  61. SUGAR MONKEY FUNKY BUTTS!
  62. gee whiz…
  63. ska-douche!
  64. Sugary pops
  65. Peas and Rice!
  66. Dag nab it!
  67. Fudge Buckets!
  68. That sucks!

Goodness! That’s a long list. Every once in a while I’ll get someone who asks me a question about what the Bible says about swearing/cursing/profanity. The truth is that the Bible doesn’t say a whole lot about it.

There are two verses in the Bible that most Christians use to justify a no-profanity position.

Exodus 20:7 – You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain…

Ephesians 4:29 – let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths.

While these are great verses, neither one is talking about profanity. In Exodus God is commanding the Israelites not to use his name lightly. There is a little bit of ambiguity here, because the Bible never says exactly what it means to take God’s name lightly. It could mean not to use the name casually. It could mean not to use the name to back up your promises (swear to God…). There is no general prohibition here on profanity.

The Ephesians verse seems compelling at a cursory look, but Paul isn’t talking about profanity. In Ephesians he’s talking about not lying, speaking truth, not sinning in our anger, and building people up. In the context of the passage it would seem that “unwholesome talk” is not profanity but is language that seeks to hurt or damage others. The Greek word can literally be translated as “trash.” It’s like Paul is saying, “Don’t engage in trash talk against each other. Use your words to build each other up.”

On top of the lack of biblical direction against foul language we run into the problem of the fluidity of language. That is to say, language changes. What words mean now could be very different from what they meant 300 years ago. So which culture and era do we use as the standard for acceptable and non-acceptable words?

I grew up in a conservative home, where there were very few acceptable alternatives for swearing. I have a very clear memory of the first time I EVER used the expression, “Man, that’s screwed up!” I felt like such a rebel. In our home “sucks” was not an acceptable word. horrified-faceBut I remember the first time my mother was so upset about something she declared, “Well that…that just SUCKS!” She doesn’t use it regularly, but she needed to express the depth of her emotion and used that phrase to do it.

In the end it is another case of Christian liberty. If God’s Spirit is convicting you and telling you not to use certain words – DON’T! If you have freedom in Christ to use certain words – FEEL FREE! We just need to make sure that we’re not imposing our freedom (or lack of freedom) on others.

In the end, it is always better to err on the side of caution. Even if I’m free to use words it doesn’t mean that I should flaunt my freedom in front of others. Out of respect for people I can choose to change my language to fit the circumstance.

That’s the Christian thing to do.

And it doesn’t suck.

How Bad Can I Be and Still Be a Christian?

 

Image courtesy of fotographic1980 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of fotographic1980 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We are masters at justifying our behavior. If we REALLY want something then we will find a way to convince our brains and our hearts that it is okay to do it. Those of us who are really slick and have a little bit of the Bible tucked away in our heads will bring up Scripture to justify our behavior.

The Apostle Paul once heard a report from the church in the city of Corinth that blew his mind. It seems that one of the church members had an affair with his father’s wife. The church was so proud of their liberty and freedom and openness. Paul was not proud. Instead, he wrote:

Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? (1 Corinthians 5:2)

I would guess that a good many of us have never tried to get frisky with our step mothers, there are other areas in our lives where we do what we want to do even when we know we shouldn’t be doing it.

Someone once talked to me about the two types of Christians: law-driven people and grace-driven people. When it comes to justifying our behavior we all suddenly turn into grace-driven Christians, promoting God’s grace above all else.

“God’s grace covers all.”

Paul had to fight this mentality from the church in Rome. His response:

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? (Romans 6:1-2)

Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big believer in God’s grace. If God were not gracious with us we’d all be toast. But we must walk that line between receiving grace and abusing grace.

Grace does not give us carte blanche to sin and willfully make unrighteous decisions. Grace does offer to catch us when we fall. Grace helps us get back on track. But as we grow in our faith and in our relationship with God, our new life should pull us away from the old behavior into a new way of doing things. It’s spiritual maturity. Paul continues:

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires….For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:11-14)

Remember when you fell in love for the first time? Most of us will go through a lot in order to change ourselves so that we can be the perfect partner for the one we love (many young people foolishly pretend to be something other than what they really are, and that will blow up later). The point is this – grace isn’t about abusing the freedom God has given us. It’s not a get out of jail free card to continue making evil choices. Grace should be drawing us in a closer relationship with God to the point where we WANT to be different.

It’s not about “How bad can I be and still be a Christian?”

It’s about “How much do I love Jesus, and what am I willing to do to belong to him?”

Related Posts:
Making Waves: Behaving Badly
Becoming a Better Me
Creating Life Change