Beer and the Bible – Embracing Cultural Diversity
Beer and the Bible.
You are probably wondering why I titled this post Beer and the Bible. Or maybe you want to find out what’s my take on what the Bible says about beer. So, should Christians drink beer? Well, I am sorry to disappoint you but that is not the goal of this article. Instead, I want to tell you about my encounter with beer and the Bible and why some of my experiences in California have made me rethink some of my beliefs which are largely influenced by my Kenyan heritage. This post is all about dealing with culture shock abroad and embracing diversity.
A few days ago, I received an email from church and it had an image written “Beer and the Bible.” I was shocked, you should have seen my face at that moment. My eyes popped, my back straightened up and I was on high alert. I checked again to confirm that I read that right. Then I checked the sender’s email address. The address was correct, the logo was clear, it was not an accident. The church (currently, my local church) had sent me that email.
I’m a Kenyan girl, who grew up in one of the most rural places in the country and went to a very ‘religious’ church with strict doctrines to follow. I was socialized to believe that alcohol was not even worth a mention among believers, leave alone in the church. Except for Bible verses, beer and bible are not words I get to hear in one sentence. So when I see a title like Beer and the Bible from a church, it definitely gets my attention.
I wanted to find out what all this was about, so I quickly clicked on a link and it opened up a video. It turns out the email was an invitation to join small groups where you can connect and interact with other believers based on the common interests that you have. There are 100s of small groups including the dog walkers- for dog lovers who want to fellowship as they walk their dogs, Coffee and Conversations, Couples Pursuing Revival, Coloring with Care- who will be coloring the words of Jesus and mailing them to others (how cool is this?) and of course, Beer and the Bible among others.
Beer and Bible is a group of men wanting to know how to better know and apply the Bible to their lives as they enjoy great beer. That’s right. If you are like me and this sounds super strange, it is okay to have that look on your face for a moment. Here are people who can enjoy great beer and study the Bible -at the same time.
Just in case you are wondering, I will not be joining the Beer and Bible group because first I’m proud to be a woman and second I don’t enjoy beer, not even the ‘great’ ones do it for me. I’m most definitely going to join one of the groups focused on the issues that I’m interested in. I’m just so glad there are enough to choose from and it is easy to find one that fits into my schedule and takes care of the fact that I got a child that needs to be taken care of in an affordable way. (I miss how easy childcare was in Kenya)
The point of all this is neither to encourage you to start drinking as you read your Bible nor is it to bash the Beer and Bible, small group. This just gave me food for thought and I was actually impressed that the church can be so accommodating (I can’t seem to find the perfect word for it, but this will do for now) to people with such diverse cultures. It is wonderful when the church takes care of everyone right at their level of faith and allow them to grow. Somehow we all feel at home in the church, unified by the one thing we all have in common. We are in pursuit of the savior. And if your excuse for not having a relationship with God has been the fact that you drink, your excuse has just expired.
I have realized that our cultures may be different but we are also very similar. We are all pursuing greater success in life. In our own unique ways, we are all seeking spiritual, mental and physical wellness regardless of where you are in the world. When I meet with other mothers from different parts of the world, we all talk about the same struggles. We are all looking out for our children, striving to become better mothers, better wives and the best versions of ourselves. As many as our differences may be, there is always something that we have in common.
I have decided to open myself up to learn from others about their cultures and the underlying reasons why they do what they do. This has also forced me to ask myself tough questions and examine the basis of my own beliefs. With every surprise, I get to see life from a new perspective.
I’m becoming accommodating of other people’s beliefs without changing my core beliefs. As I examine the basis of my beliefs I also get to strengthen those beliefs that are well rooted and stand by them even more strongly. At the same time, I’m weaning off some beliefs that I had picked up without thought or basis. All in all, acknowledging and embracing the diversity in culture and focusing on what brings us together rather than what divides us has allowed me to learn from others. With learning there is growth.
Have you encountered any experiences that made you question your beliefs? How do you deal with cultural diversity? Leave me a comment below and let me know I am not alone in this 😀
PS. I’m not advocating for drunkenness/ alcoholism in any way.