It’s that time of the year again, where Americans celebrate the 1/64th Irish blood in their veins with song, corned beef, and Guinness. So unless you find yourself in a Baptist, Pentecostal, or dry household, beer will likely be on tap.
In my own experience, I grew up in a dry household. Even though it was a dry household, I never received the impression that our family had a condemning view towards alcohol. With the exceptions of going to a San Diego Padres game and having the classic hammered fan yelling chants at the opposing team or spilling gross Miller or Bud Lite on us, I was never really exposed to it. In fact, I never thought too much about it until years later.
I recall in my recent Church History classes that it seemed as if the American Church (in all its iterations) developed a negative view of alcohol in the last century. It came about through the Progressive movement of the Late Nineteenth to Early Twentieth Century, where many people (including churches and Christians) tried to use the State to implement an ideal nation. Without getting into the politics of it all, it seems like that perception has never quite fully disappeared.
However, compare this American perspective with the Irish Christians of the olden days like St Brigid above. They were a different breed of Christians, a little bit lighter than the developing Roman Catholic Church. While there were deeply Trinitarian in their theology, they also saw God in the wild (but not in the pantheistic understanding). They were frequently seen as an ancient group that had a love of nature, since it reminded them of God’s goodness. They also loved stories, and they saw the connection between the secular and sacred. And to make the large leap into the future, the love of stories is usually connected with the pub and a hearty ale.
For those who are being shaped by the Word of Christ, I want to make clear statements that drunkenness, not necessarily drinking, is condemned in Scripture. So if you find yourself with a green beer in your hand this weekend, I hope you consume it responsibly. And with St. Brigid, raise a pint of ale to the King of Kings in preparation for the return of the King of Kings! Raise your Guinness, knowing that one day we will raise a glass with “Heaven’s family, drinking it through all eternity.”