Guest / Limited Access /

I am 30, I am an evangelical Christian, and I don't drink. Not because I have a problem with alcohol abuse, although I enjoy a good sobriety story as much as the next person. My narrative is a bit more jarring, coming across to fellow liberated evangelicals as a throwback to our not-too-distant conservative past. In a culture that encourages us to celebrate the good things of life—Instagramming an artfully arranged salad, tweeting about Pinot Noir, posting Facebook albums full of vacations—choosing not to drink carries a stigma of pietism, a whiff of refusing to party with Jesus. A faith built on meaningless acts of righteousness, of disdaining the world and its evil values.

In the pastor's home I grew up in, alcohol was a nonissue: not a drop in our house, only grape juice in the Communion cups. Save for my mother's relatives—who served as a warning, since most of them abused substances at some point—nobody I knew drank alcohol. I believed we were teetotalers, just like all other Christians. Then, when I was 17, I discovered a stash of wine coolers in a broken dryer in our garage. As it turns out, my parents liked to indulge now and then, but had kept it a secret from my siblings and me. I suddenly had to mentally rearrange everything I believed about alcohol. Wasn't it inherently evil? Didn't it lead to only bad things—sour breath, ruined relationships, cars full of teenagers careening out of control on the way to prom?

After I found them out, my parents began keeping a bottle of wine in the cupboard and some coconut rum on top of the fridge. And I began to see that having an occasional drink was a grown-up way of enjoying yourself. It became a signpost of the wider ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Subscriber Access Only
Are Pastors' Homes That Different?
Church and state rally to defend $700 million tax break.
RecommendedMy Toddler Survived Brain Cancer—Here’s What I Learned
My Toddler Survived Brain Cancer—Here’s What I Learned
7 things you should know, from a mom who’s been there
TrendingChristians Can Hold Their Bladders and Still Shop at Target
Christians Can Hold Their Bladders and Still Shop at Target
Consider the missional implications before you boycott.
Editor's PickCan People of Color Really Make Themselves at Home?
Can People of Color Really Make Themselves at Home?
There's a big difference between being a guest in a largely white organization and being able to "move the furniture."
Christianity Today
Why I Gave Up Alcohol
hide thisJune June

In the Magazine

June 2014

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.