What’s something that you wish knew more about? Why? Consider a specific topic, broad area of study, skillset, etc.
This Sunday, we began our series Why, where we’re diving into questions submitted by the E3 community. This week’s questions were: “Why can’t I drink before noon on Sunday?” & “Are Christians allowed to drink alcohol?”
Begin by reflecting on your relationship with alcohol (past, present, & future).
In your experience, what was the messaging concerning alcohol consumption in the church? Were you taught that it was appropriate or inappropriate for Christians?
What’s been your relationship with alcohol or other substances? Have they played a role in your life? Do they play a role in your life now?
Next, read Romans 14:13-23. Here, Paul provides a nuanced ethical perspective in discussing whether Christians should or shouldn’t adhere to Kosher restrictions, arguing that:
- No food or drink is “unclean” or morally inappropriate to consume in & of itself.
- However, anything becomes inappropriate if it’s unhealthy for us personally OR leads us to harm someone else.
- Thus, whether or not we partake in something should be determined by our spiritual maturity & relationship to it. This means that, at times, something may be sinful for one person, but not another.
Altogether, Christians should make ethical choices based upon intentionally weighing their own conscience & the impact of their choices on others before acting in love according to their specific context.
How does this present a framework for decision-making that’s more nuanced & healthier than a standardized, legalistic list of rules?
How might Paul’s vision of ethics help us navigate the question of alcohol consumption? What would it look like to apply it to this specific topic?
Close by reflecting on how Paul’s teaching may speak into our lives right now.
Can you identify a behavior, habit, relationship, or pattern in your life that, deep down, you know isn’t fully healthy for you or that’s inhibiting your growth? What does your conscience say about this part of your life & how is it impacting the people around you?
How might you apply Paul’s teaching or the Christ story to this part of your life? What could be one, small step that you could take to start getting help in this part of your life?
Close by praying together for what you’ve discussed &, if necessary, remind people that they can always reach out to the pastoral staff to talk. We are always here as a space of non-judgment for those who need it.
Coming Out of the Hole
Take time to reflect on the Sunday sermon & how this week’s teaching might speak into your daily life.
- Read Romans 14.
- What’s your present relationship with alcohol? Is it healthy? Unhealthy? Non-existent?
- If you do drink, then take a moment to reflect on its role in your life. What impact does it have on your internal world? How about your relationships?
- Based on your previous answers, reflect on where alcohol consumption fits within what Paul’s describing in Romans 14.
Journal, reflect, & pray on how God might be speaking to you through each week’s teaching. Share your experience with your growth group next week!
New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton
Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen
Falling Upward by Richard Rohr
Coming Up This Week:*
Sunday, January 21st: Join us next Sunday for week 2 of our series Why, where we’ll be answering YOUR questions on faith & spirituality!
* Please see mye3.org for details.