Methodist Minute

Posted by: Richenda at Wednesday August 26, 2009 in

Oh, man! Has it really been two months since I’ve posted to my blog? Lame! This is serious problem, because if I can’t keep my blog up during the summer, I don’t have a hope of doing so once school begins.

And even as I sit here I realize I have nothing interesting or newsy to offer you.

Seriously not good.

I do have something.

It’s a ‘history nugget,’ a story told to me by one of my Methodist instructors, name withheld for the moment… :)

Methodism has always been supportive of the temperance movement. Women have long been a force in Methodism and women Methodists were among the first to identify problems caused by alcoholism and organize to do something about it.

Alcohol and drink, in fact, were monstrous. Whisky and the like were considered a “hell-born evil.” (See William Link page 33. I recommend you read some of the rhetoric on this, lol.) As a consequence, Methodists celebrate communion with grape juice instead of wine. The idea is that by using grape juice, everyone can share communion, even those struggling to deal with alcohol addiction.

Anyway, this ran so deep that Methodist clergy (and members, as well) were themselves asked to swear to abstain from drinking alcohol, ever. Some were happy to make this promise! Others? Not so much. And for years the Methodist Book of Discipline (book of governing rules and principles) outright forbade use of alcohol by clergy all together.

The day the language of the discipline changed from forbidding the use of alcohol to just condemning it, there were probably a number of celebrations across Methodism. In particular, the Methodist students at Yale Divinity School ordered a keg of beer and had a party on the school steps that included a ceremonial burning of the page in the Discipline that prior to that had kept them from doing exactly as they were doing at that moment.

Thus ends my ‘Methodist Minute.’ lol.

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