Friday, May 13, 2005

An interesting Anglican (and Catholic) cultural difference

Even before I became a confirmed Anglican I discovered there are definitely church cultural differences when it comes to alcohol. At Denton Bible, the rule among us youth leaders was abstinence from alcohol. The pastor, Tommy Nelson, often avoided drinking anything at public gatherings so no one would think he was drinking anything fortified. There was freedom for most people to drink, but leaders were expected not to.

Not so at my new church. I knew I wasn’t at Denton Bible anymore when I first visited the rector’s home and he offered me a beer. Apparently the same thing may happen if you visit the Pope.

In fact, among Anglicans, I think I’ve discovered the more “Catholic” the parish, the more the alcohol flows. At post-service refreshments at an Anglo-Catholic parish (that will remain nameless because I don’t want teetotalers descending upon it), I was going over to what I thought was a lemonade dispenser. When I got there, I saw a makeshift sign – “margaritas.”

Although I don’t know if I’m ever going to have a margarita at church, I like the difference. I’ve decided to lighten up and drink infrequently. (And I still rarely have more than one drink. I weigh less then 160 and alcohol affects me rather quickly. Plus I don’t have a readily available designated driver.) I do appreciate good wine or a good beer. And it’s nice relaxing and talking over wine with church friends.

I’m still a bit concerned about the influence on kids. But drinking lightly and responsibly may be just as good or better an example than making alcohol forbidden fruit. And it’s better that kids see light drinking than furtive or irresponsible drinking.

In any case, it’s quite a cultural difference from my previous churches.

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