My little vices: part 1

I can’t trust you unless I can have a drink with you. And if you have ever said “there is nothing funny about ______”, I will not like you.

This isn’t always or even entirely true, but they are my guidelines of friendship.

Everyone has their little vices. These are not problems that consume you. These are those little things that you enjoy. Its the contraband of community, and the sins of society. My favorites are Smoking, Drinking, Doubting, Believing, and Horrible Jokes.

The smoking and drinking usually go hand in hand: One for each each of my hands. I enjoy smoking a good pipe filled with Mountain Mocha or Vanilla Cavendish tobacco. There’s a warm earthy breath as it is pulled in, and the beautiful dance of insubstantial shapes as it is blown out. It is a practice that can bring focus to the mind, or mindless peace, depending on which you desire or which takes hold of you.

A good draw of a pipe allows you time to think; drawing in to yourself; preventing you from speaking; forcing you to consider your next words. The exhale is your intention to put your words into the air or to sit in silence as you continue to contemplate your next breath.  It makes you shut up for once, and allows the others to speak. In and out goes the rhythm and each person is in their own tempo. The smoke itself is your breathe and life, finally in a physical form and yet, still untouchable. You can see it, wave your hand through it, even smell it. Its so real you can feel the warmth, but so ethereal that you can’t hope to grasp it in your hand.

And alcohol tastes good. Some of the time.

Alcohol serves two purposes: as an Aesthetic: good for taste, and as a Lubricant: good for stripping away the inhibitions.

Most people can understand drinking something that tastes good. If you like chocolate milkshakes, you drink chocolate milkshakes. If you like a rum and coke, you drink a rum and coke. I imagine that most conservative Christians that do drink, would choose never to drink to excess, but what defines excess? Buzzed? Alcohol poisoning? I tend to vote for the latter, but to each their own. Why would I want to drink alcohol to become intoxicated? Because it allows you to let your guard down. It strips away the inhibitions of hiding who you really are, and what you really believe, and lets them breathe.

Some people are angry drunks. Some people are sobbing drunks. I even know a few racist drunks. These are the things they keep bottled up, and now its out of the bottle. Its the problems they are struggling with behind the curtain. Except the liquor just tore down the curtain. No one commits suicide because they got drunk and then randomly did it. Its been there all along, it was just finally allowed to emerge. No one beats their spouse because they got drunk. It was already in their heart. The alcohol doesn’t make you do anything. It just allows the choice to act not to be such a struggle anymore. They become what they’ve been hiding.

The truth is, people get honest when they’re drunk. I’ve had deeper and more theologically engaging conversations in bars than I have ever had in Churches, because the ability to be honest is in the bar, not in the Church. Not only is the atmosphere conducive to being able to speak, but the alcohol, should you consume it, acts as a lubricant to speaking in tongues of honesty, prophesying upon the truth of your own life, and the laying on of hands to comfort another in hard times.

You and I have shared a sin. What some might call a sin at least. Because of this, we’ve gone outside the Law and given each other grace. We’ve broken bread and drank together. In the act of drinking, you’ve told me that you are broken, and when I slam my shot glass down, I’ve said, “Yeah. Me too”. Then, we have had a communion. We’ve built our community without the limitations of pretending to be perfect; we are comfortable enough to make fools of ourselves, and know that we are not condemned by one another.

I’ve heard of a group that meets downtown. They get together, late on Sunday morning, sing some songs, drink, and then have a speaker get up and talk about his experience in life. For the most part, the songs are Christian, the speaker is Christian, and his experience is related to Christ. The reason I want to find this Church, is because they all meet in a bar for a reason. The reason isn’t good alcohol, its good community. If you set foot in there, you have already told everyone that you know they all drink and that you don’t condemn those who drink. Which probably means you don’t condemn those who smoke, or have tattoos, or who aren’t even Christians. You don’t even have to drink alcohol, you just have to be there. Heck, I’ll do a shot of water if it means that we can talk honestly.

There was one time, I was drinking with a bunch of my friends at Bible College. So, my favorite thing to do to drunk Bible College students is ask them questions about theology. The results are great, and needs to become a YouTube series at some point. Here’s a snippet of what went down, verbatim.

Question:  Do you believe in heaven or hell?

Student 1: When you start in, you need to go back to creation. I can prove it! You need to believe in the atoms possible spontaneously crashing, or believe that God is of a multitude of Gods. I don’t remember, I can’t prove it. Do you think there’s evil in the world because of man’s choice? Because of this there is multitude of what I believe. I can prove it. Based on the knowledge of certain interpretation, even though that’s not the right word of bones. Carbon dating, that’s it. People bury them and dig them up, and its proven wrong. An carbon dating is inaccurate. I don’t know if that’s really true if it were true. But I was home schooled, so I don’t think, really…Also, there is not really science for carbon dating and science. I love to go back with aetheisms to go back to Creation, because then you can’t prove anything. There is more proof of probability of proof because there is more probability. Do you believe that there was nothing? Because that’s what there was, except God, there was God, because he’s different, because he doesn’t matter. He’s outside of matter and time and stuff. He’s there, he’s there. I think in relation to probability that things created out of nothing is God, God is more probable. There is possible a more force that is that we are outside of a God. Like Agnostics, in which we are going to think in a god, in which we have to choose to believe in that umptenth Gods. But you can’t prove in anything!

Student 2:  Can’t we just fall in love with the mystery of Christ and love and shit. Have faith in the mystery of Christ!!!

Afterwards, while still not entirely sober one of them talked about how frustrated he was that he was disappointed that he could not explain himself while he was intoxicated. He told me that he wished he had the capacity to tell the gospel, even if he was drunk. In a weird way, I think it would be a good thing to be capable of, but I think the second man nailed what the first was trying to do: He made it simple; He didn’t over complicate his answers, and he didn’t try to explain himself. That’s what made his answers great, as well as comically-delivered genius.

P.S.-Part 2 to follow soon.

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