Let me back up a bit. Earlier this week we were told that the Discovery Channel would be filming at my place of employment (JCB) for a new show that will air this summer. The producers of the show wanted to give a glimpse of the JCB employees in a more casual setting to supplement the factory footage. In order to do this, we were all invited (and highly encouraged) to go to a particular restaurant after work on Friday.
Most people don't want to go to a restaurant after work at the end of the week. In order to get more folks to come, JCB offered to pick up the tab. In other words: FREE BEER!
This put me in an odd spot. I desire to live out my Christian faith amongst my fellow employees. No problem there. The difficulty is that I don't drink alcohol. Mainly it's because I like it too much. It is far easier for me to not drink at all than drink a few beers (there are a few other reasons why I don't drink, but this is not the post for that discussion. Let me just say that drinking alcohol is not sinful; drunkenness is).
If I didn't go to the restaurant at all it would look bad. If I did go, I'd have to be around others drinking. I decided to go. Everyone else had all sorts of beer (which I admit looked pretty good to me) while I drank a Coke. I just told others that I needed to not drink because, as I said above, I like it too much. I made a point of not standing in judgment of others as they drank. We all talked and hung out. The Discovery people wandered around asking questions. I ended up strategically leaving just before the camera crew arrived at our table to ask questions.
As all this was happening I was reminded about one thing I don't like about alcohol. After most people get a few beers into their systems their mouths begin to get loose. Among this non-Christian crowd the language and topics gradually became, well, cruder.
My desire in all this was to show folks that a Christian could be part of something like that and still act like a Christian. I'm referring to acting godly (I hope) while others did not - at least in speech. I hope I succeeded in some manner. If I didn't like alcohol so much I might have had a beer or two. Maybe this would have been a good thing to show the other people that I am, in fact, a real person.
This was a difficult situation. I'm not sure I handled it well. I'm glad I went to the restaurant. I'm not sure after that. It was odd.
Have you been in situations like this where you feel conflicted? What have you done?