This picture has been in my Facebook news feed for the past few weeks. I’ve seen it posted in clergy groups, by parishioners to their priest’s Facebook pages, by clergy themselves, and even a few Bishops have shared this picture.
Take a close look at it.
Because I did.
And it makes me angry.
Now, don’t mistake me for a stick in the mud- I get full well that this is a joke. Ha. Ha.
But I am really tired about the way that alcohol is used as a “joke” among Episcopalians. And it needs to stop. Because alcohol is no joke in the Episcopal tradition- and clergy especially should be mindful of what these jokes are saying about us and what they are saying to those we lead.
Because we are a tradition where alcohol is used and abused by many- and yet is also treated cavalierly by clergy and lay alike, creating an environment where people are enabled in their addiction and unhealthy dependence is even, in some circles, encouraged.
I am not saying that drinking alcohol is bad. Far from it. What I am saying is that joking about alcohol- and in the instance of the picture above, that clergy are drinking while not only WORKING but PROCLAIMING THE GOOD NEWS OF JESUS- is in poor taste. And gives the wrong impression. And just ick. And that we as a denomination need to be more mindful about our relationship with alcohol- how we talk about it, how we consume it, and how we think about it. We need to be mindful about the messages that we are putting out into the Kingdom- and the message that alcohol is a joking matter has no place in the Kingdom. And joking about something so serious only helps to keep those who need help in the shadows of their addiction- and we should be people of Light! We should be a people who encourage people to live into who Christ calls them to be, not enabling addiction or unhealthy relationships with alcohol OR cultivating environments in which darkness, secrets, and shame run rampant.
*In my quest to see if the artist of the above cartoon is an Episcopalian (his personal blog is down and Google failed me) I did see that he has criteria to use his work. I offer this link to his site to be in bounds for using this drawing.