Wednesday, June 14, 2006

All Fall Short Of The Glory Of God

Those of us who favor social justice interpretations of the Bible have long suspected it, but now it's official: Jesus Christ himself has been declared unsuitable for leadership in the Southern Baptist Convention.
Wednesday, the SBC unofficially barred members who drink alcohol from serving as trustees or members of any SBC entity.

The ban, part of a larger anti-alcohol resolution that was easily approved by delegates, was proposed by Jim Richards, executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. While stopping short of officially preventing drinkers from serving, it "urges" that no one be elected or appointed to SBC offices if that person is "a user of alcohol."

"Use of alcohol as a beverage can and does impede the message of Jesus Christ" that Southern Baptists are trying to spread, Richards said.
Also impeding the message of Jesus Christ, John the Evangelist:
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you."

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast." So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now." This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory.
My Significant Otter, who has suffered through a great deal more contact with Southern Baptists than I have, made me aware of tortured chains of reasoning which attempt to demonstrate that the "wine" referred to in the Bible was so weak that it was essentially just grape juice. And I guess I can see that reading of the Cana story. You know how it is, at weddings. They serve the good nonalcoholic grape juice first, and then when people have drunk gallons of the good stuff they bring out the weak grape juice, because, um, their palates have been so dulled by the hearty grape flavor that they don't notice the difference.