We were standing outside a restaurant early one evening looking for a place to eat. I went to NY thinking that I was going to eat some authentic food from many different cultures. Boy, was I in for a shock. We were standing in front of this restaurant and the only question that seemed to matter was whether the restaurant sold alcohol or not. I couldn’t believe it. I was not surprised that that was the question of the evening, but I was still amazed that there was a hesitancy about going into the restaurant. They resisted. They could not be in the same building where alcohol was sold.
I told them that I didn’t drive over 800 miles to eat at McDonalds. I was not about to eat at some chain on my first and potentially only trip to New York City. Well, we ate at Wendy’s. It was sad. Welcome to my world. I could not reconcile that kind of interpretation from Scripture. It made no sense to me. It was a preference that was amazingly inconsistent. And I was being self-righteous about the whole thing.
There was angst in my soul regarding my religion. This was an early sign that I was a misfit among my brothers. This was part of a continuum of evidences that told me that I was a fish out of my element. Unfortunately I didn’t know there was any other place to go. There were no options for me except for the option in which I existed.
The inconsistencies were all over the map. We could watch a football game played by godless people who promote hedonism and a low to no view of the local church that was shown on a TV that is owned by a godless corporation. The TV network is similarly godless and has done as much to promote godlessness in our culture as anything else. We buy gasoline from godless corporations and just about every other association we have has some connection to paganism. It is the world in which we live. However, somebody said that alcohol is worse than these other things and therefore we can be inconsistent as long as we believe there are degrees of sin, paganism, compromise, etc. The bible would not support this position, but depending on the group you are talking to you would find yourself in situations where you have crossed somebody’s artificial line of asceticism. It could be tricky for the novice, but once you get in and learn the ropes you knew where to step and not step. You also learned body language, the art of observation and question asking to quickly assess a situation to know if you have crossed the line or were about to. For me I was about at the end of caring for this kind of artificial, superficial religion. I was peeking over the fence and these brothers in NYC were a great help in this process.
They didn’t have the luxury to created ascetic practices. They were tyring to survive.