May 29, 2005


"In Portland, getting around is a breeze. And it's easy to find limitless recreation, fabulous dining and flourishing culture. And, oh yes - the nation's largest variety of local microbrews...." So began a recent email I received from the denominational "home office" in Indianapolis, about our upcoming General Assembly in Portland, Oregon; and my first thought was, wow, my denomination, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) ---"Disciples" for short--- must be the only Christian denomination that promotes its General Assembly by emphasizing beer.

Not that I think that there's anything wrong with that. In fact, I believe that had beer been readily available 2,000 years ago, Jesus and his disciples might very well have enjoyed a good ale at the Last Supper instead of the wine that that they had. Jesus seemed to have had nothing against an occasional good drink, having turned water into wine at a wedding in Cana, and giving wine a special significance at the Last Supper.

In my congregation, we celebrate the Last Supper every Sunday. True, we do use grape juice in church instead of wine. Most Protestants do. I'm told this is because during Prohibition---even though churches were allowed to still use wine for sacramental occasions---one particular minister campaigned to have churches switch to grape juice in support of the new law. That minister, Rev. Welch, had a little side business, and to this day, in many church refrigerators (including mine), you still find Welch's grape juice.

Now let me make a confession: I don't really like beer, despite all that I've just said. But last night, I willingly gave it a try. My wife and I went out to a new restaurant, BJ's Restaurant & Brewery. She ordered some beer that had the word "harvest" in the title, and I asked if I could take a sip. All I can say is that beer is weird stuff. At first I didn't know if I liked it or not. It had so many different flavors all at once. Out of curiosity, I took a few more sips, and then ordered a 5 oz. "taster" size of a different beer. But that second beer was more bitter, and I didn't like it at all. I took a few more sips of my wife's beer, and then decided that it's hopeless; I'll never be a beer drinker.

Maybe in two months, when we're in Portland, I'll try again. I don't know that I'll write about those beer-drinking experiences on my blog, since our denominational magazine will be linking to my blog for people who want to keep up with what's going on at the Assembly.

Then again, maybe I will. After all, we are "Disciples."


mark said...

Us Lutherans are big fans of our beer, as well.
At most social functions at my seminary, we have three kegs: dark beer, light beer, and root beer.
We justify it by saying that in a few short years we'll be thrust out into the real world, where everyone will be watching our slightest moves. This way we get most of it out of our system before then... Rationalization is possibly the best defense mechanism, ever.

PPB said...

I'm not much of a beer drinker myself, although I enjoy being at the casual types of functions where it is served.

I didn't realize you are a disciple. I have loads of disciples friends...I'm sure we could do the 2 degrees of seperation thing pretty easily.

Danny said...

Mark, your comments about the three kegs at seminary functions reminded me of my seminary buddy Tim, who always said that after graduation, he wanted to open a pub and name it "Schleiermacher's."

News Muse said...

About the Disciples' General Assembly bloggers: one of them agreed to blog only on the condition that I buy him a beer...