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A Wine Whine

Reason 4 Billion that the United Methodist Church ought to shake the dust of legalism from its feet and allow us to use wine: Grape juice does not keep very long. If your only option at the store is a quart of grape juice and you only need enough to serve yourself and an older couple, you wind up wasting a lot of juice.

I’m not even suggesting that we reject grape juice for our monthly communion services. What I would like is some leeway to use wine at my discretion. If I pop open a bottle of merlot, it’ll keep for quite some time and I can use it for a lot of different things: drinking and cooking jump into my head immediately.

I wonder if a deeper treatment is necessary in order to bring this discussion back to the table – one that seriously looks at the reasons for excluding wine?

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  1. May 20, 2008 at 10:20 am

    I didn’t know wine was excluded. Like you, I think churches should have some discretion on being able to choose which one is used depending on circumstances. Of course, there’s a preschool at our church, so we can always use grape juice. Is the grape juice in the Book of Discipline?

  2. anonymous
    May 20, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    wine only lasts 48 hours once the bottle is open

  3. Matthew Johnson
    May 20, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    You know, Gary, this might be one of those things that I’ve long heard but never actually seen. I can’t find anything in the Discipline, but the Book of Worship says that we use grape juice to express pastoral concern for recovering alcoholics, enables the participation of children and youth, and supports the church’s witness of abstinence. The Social Principles speak to abstinence of alcohol so I guess that’s where we get that.

    I’m not asking to reject our pastoral concerns for alcoholics, but it seems to me that the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican church care just as much about recovering alcoholics as the UMC yet they still serve wine. This is early 20th century legalism and that’s all it is.

  4. Matthew Johnson
    May 20, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    There’s a hundred internet sites that show how you can keep wine fresh for a week or longer. Besides, which am I more likely to finish off within three days, a bottle of grape juice or a bottle of wine? Wine, hands down.

    I’m not going to get in the habit of leaving anonymous comments up. This will be the one and only I allow.

  5. June 1, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Wasn’t there something passed by General Conference in 2004 that allowed for use of wine in ecumenical services or something along those lines?

  6. Tim Melton
    June 7, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Wow? You can’t use wine for communion in the UMC? I had no idea. Didn’t Jesus use wine? I guess He was way out of line huh?

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