The Spiritual Discipline of…Spirits

“‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.’ Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory…” -John 2.

My parents don’t drink alcohol. I think they used to at one point, but for years now they have hardly touched the stuff feigning allergies or other biological aversions to it. They did drink a little after the toast I made to my brother and new sister-in-law at their reception, but that was the first time I can recall seeing my dad have alcohol touch his lips in a long while. He kind of slumped over and had this glazed look in his eyes, as if he had 4-5 glasses already instead of literally ONE sip. They don’t like the taste or smell, I guess, but there are some cultural expectations, too, with my father a 1st Generation Korean pastor, that prevent them from partaking of it often.

Me, on the other hand…there is no doubt that a glass of wine or beer has literally carried me through a tough day, week, month. During my “evangelical” days I tried to stay away from it out of guilt, which didn’t always work especially in college, but when I turned 21 I took full advantage of the legality. For me, though, my affinity comes a little out of being a naturally tense, and stressed out creature. For me to truly relax and unwind, I need some outside help, so-to-speak, like Advil for a headache or good piece of chocolate for a certain time of the month. But, it’s not only a sedative and something to calm me down, it’s also a pleasurable experience. It’s truly a lovely thing – a nice glass of pinot or bordeaux, especially with a delicious dinner and interesting conversations. Wine pairs nicely with food…and I found, people.

But, I know I need to tread carefully here. It is too easy, as with any other addictive activities, to become out-of-control, and I’ve witnessed the effects of obsession, dependency, and the spiraling down of alcoholism in friends in the past. I’ve never really had an addictive personality, for instance, I tried smoking in my early 20’s but it never stuck. It is something for me to enjoy in moderation…which is the key…to almost everything. As one mom of a youth group kid said well, “Alcohol is a beverage to enjoy…” and not a solution or drug. I do love the familiar quote though…

“Beer is the proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” -Benjamin Franklin

The spiritual discipline of spirits is about opening up my spirit…

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