Saturday, March 21, 2015

This week's lesson (March 21-27): women and wine

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. -- Titus 2:3, NIV
"It's ridiculous to spend a whole Sabbath School lesson just talking about alcohol."
NO.  About one out of every six American adults has a drinking program; that's why alcohol-abuse is the third-leading cause of preventable death in this country, killing roughly 88,000 Americans every year -- in fact, it's responsible for roughly one-tenth of the deaths for working-age adults (ages 20-64 years). If that's not worth talking about, then what is?

"The Bible doesn't condemn alcohol -- just drunkenness."
SO WHAT? Roughly half the college students who drink are binge-drinking (i.e five or more drinks in two hours for men; four or more drinks in two hours for women) -- and as Baby Boomers age, they're taking their bad habits with them. What's more, perhaps a third of the senior citizens who drink may be putting their health at risk by doing so. Even if the Bible "only" condemns drunkenness, in other words, a lot of us still need to hear what it says.

"But they say moderate drinking is good for you."
MAYBE.  A recent British study suggests moderate drinking (i.e. no more than two drinks per day for men, and one drink per day for women) may benefit women over the age of 65 -- maybe . . . but there doesn't seem to be much evidence for health benefits to younger women, or to men of any age. Then too, even "moderate" drinking is too much for diabetics, pregnant or nursing women, people who've suffered Traumatic Brain Injury, anyone who's currently driving a car or operating heavy equipment . . .

"Americans are such Puritans when it comes to alcohol -- they don't have this problem in Europe."
HA! Actually, the Puritans drank like fish, downing the equivalent of three beers every day. As for Europe . . . back in 2007, one-in-three German adults binge-drank every day.  Britain's rate of binge-drinking is almost double that of this country.  And even in France this is a growing problem -- in fact, one-fifth of French 17-year-olds are now getting drunk at least three times a month.

"But talking about alcohol-abuse sounds so judgmental."
TRUE . . . but think of it as a family issue. Alcohol-abuse costs American families about $93 billion in lost wages and income every year -- more than the government spends on food stamps. And while the link between poverty and alcohol-abuse is complicated, it seems clear that, when alcohol-abuse becomes a problem, the poor don't have as much in the way of resources to make things better. If we really care about "the least of these," in other words, then maybe it's worth spending a Sabbath School lesson on this?

No comments: