Monday, October 5, 2009

The Search for God and Guinness

I read an interesting Thomas Nelson book this week. Guinness beer isn't the usual Christian book publishing company topic. In fact, there are many conservative Christians that would have big problems with the main idea presented in this book: God works through not only "specifically religious careers" but through all people, even beer entrepreneurs, who live their lives with great faith and eternal vision. I'm not one of those people who have a moral issue with alcohol. I think calling any moderate drinking a sin is similar to the Pharisees adding their own more extreme limits to the Sabbath laws and then making those added things equal to the original laws in their minds. This conflict within the religious world is touched on briefly throughout the book. Author Stephen Mansfield does a thorough job of bringing readers up to speed on the history of beer; how it probably began and evolved through the ages (my favorite section of the entire book.) He also tells the detailed story of Arthur Guinness and his family. There are a lot of good ideas presented in this book. I liked reading about how many members of the Guinness family were extremely generous Christians who really set the bar for businesses regarding ethics, generosity, and social justice. However, it lagged a little for me, as far as keeping my interest. Maybe there were just a few too many details for my liking. Although, one of the more interesting details I learned by reading this book (and I don't know HOW I never connected this before) is that the Guinness Book of World Records is also connected with this family/company. This book would be best for huge history buffs, which I am not really.

4 comments:

Lynn Leaming said...

Before I start I will confess that I have my own addiction to food that I struggle constantly with, so I am not throwing stones at drinkers. However...the difference to me is that my addiction affects no one but me. Alcohol destroys people and families and makes people make really poor decisions when under the influence. I know that everything is permissible in moderation, I wish the drunk driver that hit me would have known what moderation was. I wish my sister in law would have known that before she became an alcoholic and my mother's sister as well. I have a brother who controls his alcohol during the day but cannot get through a night without many drinks. So for me I cannot give money to the industry that is so destructive. I don't think it would help even if I knew they were doing "good" things with my money. To me it is the old "means doesn't justify the ends" adage. That being said, I always enjoy your book reviews because you read so many more books than I and it helps to expand my horizons.

Becky said...

In some ways it is true that a food addiction affects only you, but in some ways that is not true. Obesity in America costs tons of tax payer money to combat the illnesses that overeating can cause, especially in those with no insurance. An overweight parent may not be able to interact with or care for their children the best way because of the interference of food addiction. A lack of self-confidence or, something even worse, like depression caused from a poor self image because of a food addiction can badly affect all relationships a person has. And who is to say that harming oneself with alcohol addiction is more unhealthy to one's body than a food addiction. To me, those seem very similar. It is true that a drunk driver can do a lot of devastating damage behind the wheel of a car, I don't discount that. And everyone has the right to not support industry that they feel is or can be destructive. But what I think we do agree on, and what is an important point is that drinking alcohol, in itself, is not a sin. Though it may be unwise in some situations, and it can certainly lead to sin.

Lynn Leaming said...

Yes we do agree that drinking in moderation is not a sin. I think it comes under I Corinthians 6:12 "everything is permissible but evertyhing is not beneficial" While there is some evidence of moderate drinking helping with heart attacks (funny Paul said that and they are just now discovering it sceintfically)I am not sure what else about it would be considered beneficial? But as I already said, I don't always do what is beneficial for me personally either so I am not throwing any stones. I just find it interesting that for the most part we seem to stay away from the dialogue at all. Thanks for not doing that.

Becky said...

Yes, this can be a touchy subject that probably needs to be spoken about more freely. I appreciate your willingness to discuss it as well, Lynn.