Sunday, October 01, 2006

Christians and Pubs

WARNING - this post may say more about me than it does about anything else. If you're a Christian, think about it and if you disagree with me, work out why and say so. If you're not a Christian, feel free to read on with an interested curiosity...

I can understand people who aren't Christians going to pubs. I can understand wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of life, to unwind and relax, to lose a few inhibitions, to have a good time, maybe meet someone nice, etc. I don't have a problem with that - I think that for many people (but not neccesarily everyone) it's a sensible thing to do. Of course, I think it's far better if those people realise that actually Jesus is the only one who can really satisfy them, but that's a different matter.

I can understand Christians going to pubs too, if they're going with non-Christians or they want to meet non-Christians there or something. If you're spending time with people, it's usually fine to go where they go. Pubs are often a decent place to talk. There's nothing inherently wrong with them. If Jesus was in 21st century England the way he was in 1st century Israel, then I'm pretty sure he'd go to pubs. That's cool, I don't have a problem with it.

And when Christians go to pubs, I can understand them having a few drinks. Sure, alcohol was part of God's creation - the Bible says some good things about it. Not about getting drunk, but there's nothing wrong with a drink or two. Unless you're a recovering alcoholic, or you're trying to support a recovering alcholic, or you find it really hard to cope in pubs or something, when it's probably a bad idea to go.

What I can't really understand is one specific situation, which seems quite common, in England at least. That's Christians going to the pub with other Christians, not to meet people who aren't Christians or anything.

I've been trying to understand that, and here are some possible reasons I've come up with:

  • It's a good place to sit and chat. Well, maybe it is. But there are lots of other places that are much better. Coffee shops, for example. Or ice cream cafes. Or people's houses. (Kudos to the person who suggested I organise a trip to one of the local ice cream cafes here!)
  • It's easier to get to know people after a few drinks. Well, not really. Sure, drinks can relax inhibitions, which means you can talk more freely about stuff you'd usually have issues with. So I guess maybe pubs could be useful in counselling people or something. But normally, if we've got inhibitions which make it more difficult for us to get on with other Christians, then that's a problem, and we should be sorting it out. We shouldn't need alcohol to get over it.
  • It's just harmless fun. Quite possibly. I honestly can't see how Christians enjoy pubs more than coffee shops (for example). If this is you, care to explain?

What's worse, all too often over the years, I've seen Christians drink too much in pubs and act in ways that don't especially point out to people how amazing Jesus is. We shouldn't need to escape from our lives - if our lives are that bad, then we should focus more on God and how amazing he is.

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