Monday, August 30, 2010

Decisions, Decisions...!

This weekend I took part in two Catholic ministry activities. (As I stated before, I am actively trying to find people who share my beliefs this semester, so bear with me and please give your honest opinions!) I first went to mass with a *new* friend from the group. We handed out fliers to new college students who may be interested in joining the ministry club (which was no one...unfortunate, I know!) and a few hours later, I carpooled over to a barbecue.

It was so nice to get away from campus for an evening! The adult supervisor of the club cooked us dinner and we had a nice time hanging out as friends. There was zero "fellowship", which I was disappointed by (at the Protestant group, they do dinners like these, but it's usually bible based/faith related...and that's what I am thirsting for!!), but none the less, I was enjoying myself and making friends outside of my normal group of friends.

The ministry kids all went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic over the summer and I was just itching to hear about it. I was shocked that all I was hearing were stories about their drunken escapades. What about the charity? The volunteer work? The families? The children? The spiritual growth? I was just dumbfounded, but I let it slide.

I know I am different...I don't like to drink. Not only because the taste is horrific, but it is an expensive hobby, and I see the damage it does to unassuming souls. I don't condemn the activity altogether though. The Bible encourages moderate drinking: Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and frequent illnesses. -1 Timothy 5:23
However, I don't support the act of drinking to get drunk...which is the obsession across college campuses. I thought the obsession would die out in the religious clubs, but it is just as prevalent in the Catholic ministry as any frat house at my college. (Though I am almost 99% positive the Protestant group does not partake in drinking/party activities. They purposefully made weekend trips to give us an alternative, which I do appreciate!)

They were excited to be able to invite me to their private party in a few weeks, and I was so grateful to have been accepted in so quickly again (I had to skip the meetings in the spring for a science lab). So I logged on facebook and saw the's a party completely centered around a drinking competition. I don't know what to do. I know I am not comfortable drinking, they assured me I don't have to drink at all, just come. But am I compromising my values and my faith by participating? I can't get the scriptures out of my head that blatantly warn against drunkenness:

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
-Ephesians 5:18

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,
idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. -Galatians 5:19-21

I so badly want to build friendships around my Catholic faith, but I don't feel I click so well with this particular group (again...I know I posted about my disappointment here last fall too). I tell them I don't drink and it's like "you will someday". No I won't...maybe for health benefits and in very limited quantities, but never as a means of "entertainment".

But at the same time, are my standards too high? Am I now just taking pieces of scripture far too literally/seriously? Should I just go to the party and make friends? I just keep staring at the facebook invite and I simply cannot decide.

All suggestions welcome!
Much love,


caraboska said...

I think that Paul goes even further in his letters and tells us that there are certain people with whom we should not even be eating. Sexually immoral persons and... drunkards. He says that of course he is not referring here to unbelievers - because in order to avoid all such people including unbelievers, we would have to leave this world entirely. But the standard is higher once we are talking about people who identify as Christians. Since drunkenness figures on that list, the answer is very clear: admonish them once privately - for the Bible says in so many words, 'Do not be drunk with wine, but instead be filled with the Holy Spirit' (Ephesians 5) - then take others with you and admonish them again, if that doesn't work, go to the Church about it and treat them as pagans and tax collectors (see Matthew 18). Do not even eat with them. And if the Church tolerates or condones that kind of behavior, consider not attending that church anymore either.

MissFifi said...

The only thing that matters is if you are not comfortable with drinking or being around drinking, then you need to find a new group. You are still on the path for peers who share your beliefs and you should not settle just because they are of the same faith. I have Christian/non-Christian friends who drink, do not drink and I drink. Yes, some people do just like to drink, in my twenties we did do a lot of it, but in the context of Religious studies and retreats? I don't think that is too solid and it gives a sort of mixed signal. Sure having some wine with a meal is nice idea, getting tanked at a Ministry event? That is a bit much. I wish you luck as you continue to carve out your path.