Lessons from Lent: On Sex, Alcohol and the CDC



Recently my pastor shared a passage from Barbara Cawthorne Crafton in the book, Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter. Crafton starts her essay saying:

We didn’t even know what moderation was. What it felt like. We didn’t just work: we inhaled our jobs, sucked them in, became them. Stayed late, brought work home – it was never enough, though, no matter how much time we put in.

She goes on, weaving a picture of lack of moderation, and then says:

We felt that it was important to be good to ourselves, and that this meant that it was dangerous to tell ourselves no. About anything, ever. Repression of one’s desires was an unhealthy thing. I work hard, we told ourselves. I deserve a little treat. We treated ourselves every day.

During Lent, Christians claim boldly that it is not dangerous to tell ourselves no, but it is the utmost of spiritual practices. We willingly give up our “needs” to focus on something beyond ourselves.

That’s why the response to the CDC’s recommendation for women of child bearing years to not drink alcohol if they might become pregnant (so, any woman sexually active), is so alarming.

I saw many of my Christian friends condemning this recommendation because it infringed on their rights.

These Christians agreed with the reaction from the media, most having responses similar to what the L.A. Times said, “…[a woman is] a potential fetal incubator — a fact you should be aware of, and planning around, at all times.”

I shouldn’t be surprised as more and more often nowadays Christians get offended by the thought of giving up alcohol. We desire it so we deserve it as something our freedom in Christ grants us. Jesus drank wine, right?

And we’re in a cultural Christian climate where, while still promoting sexual abstinence for the unmarried, pastors claim having more marital sex is the thing to do.

So, just like from the quote above, Christians think “it [is] dangerous to tell ourselves no.” But if we don’t tell ourselves no, we miss out on what the Lenten season tries to bring about—that telling ourselves “no” actually brings about peace, clarity and focus.

Photo by kimerydavis

  1. Dr. Scott Shiffer
  2. Mark Boone
  3. Renea McKenzie