One of the reasons why I ‘play’ with coffee is it provides an alternate to the culinary experience of alcohol. I began to go to a church that discouraged the use of alcohol. Rather than worry about what is discouraged, I chose to focus more intently on what is allowed.
When you join any organization, you should follow the ‘rules’ of that organization as long as it doesn’t conflict with higher priority rules (I.e. Bible ‘rules’ trump other ‘rules’). The Bible says that if you disagree with important doctrine, your job is not to change the organization, your job is to avoid that organization (Romans 16:17).
At the time, I was not persuaded in the Biblical requirement of no-alcohol that my Church taught. However, there was nothing biblically wrong with abstaining. I had no problem eliminating the consumption of alcohol from my life to comply with that ‘rule’. Where it got tricky was the fact that I sold alcohol in my family’s business. It was one thing for me to stop drinking to following a rule, its entirely different to limit my long term career path because I wanted to follow a particular leader.
To evaluate the doctrine, I searched for every reference of wine in the Bible. My initial search didn’t seem to indicate there was a Biblical prohibition on alcohol. People who disagree with this doctrine commonly point to Jesus turning water into wine. If Jesus gave people wine, how could selling wine be bad? It is a compelling counter-argument.
You can use your own google-kung-fu to evaluate both sides of the argument, here are the facts that helped me make a decision:
There are unambiguous verses that state that strong drink is bad. (Proverbs 31:4)
When Jesus turned water into wine, it does not specifically state that the wine was fermented. As we are conditioned to believe the alcohol is good, when they bring out the ‘good wine’ in the story, you are pre-conditioned to think about alcohol.
I believe other passages that seem to advocate alcohol use, are misunderstood. There is one Law for everyone, however different people have greater responsibilities within the Law. For example 1 Timothy 3:3 is not a code of conduct for existing deacons, rather I see this as a “pre-employment background check” that should be given to Church officers. After “employment”, a deacon should more closely follow God’s Law.
There are other examples that I can point to, but the bottom line is I was persuaded. I like to be passionate in what I do. If I don’t think a product is good and beneficial, I am not going to do a good job promoting it – in fact I don’t want to promote it. So why do something I don’t want to do?
It’s hard to strip something out of your life without filling that void with something else (Luke 11:24-26). Coffee was the answer. Rather than seek out micro-brews, I seek out independent coffee bars when I travel. I experiment with the preparation and serving of Coffee and Espresso drinks at home. And of course I began to roast coffee.
One of the best things I’ve learned is: Focus on what you can do, don’t worry about what you can’t do.