Steve Ellison: Who Has Sorrow?

Saturday, June 3, 2017 - by Steve Ellison
Reading through Proverbs monthly for three consecutive months has been a blessing.  Proverbs 23:29-35 is a very appropriate passage for the church today.  Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.   Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly!  In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.
 Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging.  "They hit me," you will say, "but I'm not hurt! They beat me, but I don't feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?" (NIV)
I wish that the Bible contained a verse that says pointblank, straight out, that drinking alcohol is absolutely wrong, a sin against man, and a sin against God.  But it doesn’t.  I don’t know why it doesn’t.  I can only guess (please note my danger in guessing) that God intends our dealings with alcohol to somehow facilitate our growth.  Wine is used in many places in the Bible as symbolic of joy.   However, Proverbs 9, 20, 21, 23, Leviticus 10, Romans 14, etc. point out the dangers of drinking alcoholic beverages especially in excess.  My observations, as a public school teacher, pastor, food pantry worker, etc. lead me to the obvious conclusion that intoxicating agents (alcohol and other drugs) are a terrible blight on individuals and society.  Without a doubt, use of intoxicants leads to much crime.  Intoxicants are contributing factors in many burglaries, murders, car wrecks, child abuse cases, spousal abuse cases, accidental deaths, etc.  Addictive desire to purchase intoxicants leads many to a life of stealing.  Oftentimes they steal from people they know, family members, friends, co-workers, bosses, etc.  Thus they destroy relationships, ostracizing themselves from the only people who have a reasonable chance of helping them to deal with their real problem. As I think back over my lifetime, I do not remember ever seeing a situation where intoxicants were a blessing to anyone involved.  I do, however, recall multitudes of times where intoxicants were the direct cause of many tragedies.
Seven years ago, I visited a man in a local hospital who was many years younger than me.  He was in intensive care, close to death, unable to communicate, unable to eat. He had no injury or sickness other than that caused by excessive alcohol consumption. He was following in the footsteps of his father. Words of comfort to his mother and his daughter were impossible to find.   Preaching his funeral was a tough task. That same week, I met with another young father for a Bible study in an effort to mentor him. He arrived with the smell of beer on his breath and admitted to drinking prior to driving to the church. Confronting that situation was necessary but difficult.
What should I have said each week as the needy came into the food pantry, when it was obvious that their use of intoxicants had brought them to the lowest levels of poverty? What can I say to the man whose use of intoxicants in moderation is not a problem for him but leads his child to use in excess? It seems to me that Proverbs 23, etc. make it plain that a man or a woman ought to treat intoxicants as they would a poisonous snake.

Brainerd Presbyterian Church Hires Youth Ministries Director

Brainerd Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Presbyterian Church announces Henry Paris has accepted the opportunity to serve as BPC's full-time Youth Ministry director.  "His ?rst o?cial day is Aug. 1 and he has already begun to engage in activities with our youth group," officials said. Mr. Paris graduated from Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, in May 2018.  He ... (click for more)

Saint Paul A.M.E. Church Celebrates Its 129th Anniversary

St. Paul A.M.E. Church, 2514 Williams St. in Chattanooga, invites you to worship with them on the occasion of their 129th church anniversary.  The theme for this year's celebration is "On Christ the Solid Rock We Stand." The anniversary celebration begins on Saturday, July 28 with a musical event and culminates with Rev. Dan Scott of Baylor School, Chattanooga, speaking ... (click for more)

Person Killed, 2 Injured In Accident On Suck Creek Road Saturday Morning

Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office deputies and traffic investigators were on the scene of an accident that occurred at approximately  8:45 a.m.  near the 2100 block of Suck Creek Road. The accident involved two vehicles, a van and a car. Reports at this time are only preliminary, but two people sustained injuries and were transported by HCEMS to a local hospital. ... (click for more)

A Jury For 2nd Time Convicts Randall Reed Of Murdering 70-Year-Old Woman In 2011

A jury for the second time has convicted Randall Reed of first-degree murder in the 2011 death of 70-year-old Jane Stokes in East Ridge. The verdict was returned in the courtroom of Judge Tom Greenholtz’s on Friday. The earlier verdict had been thrown out by an appeals court. Reed testified in his own behalf. The victim was murdered in her home during a robbery in 2011. ... (click for more)

Just Recuse Yourself

Pam Fleenor, have you ever heard the terms “conflict of interest” or “appearance of impropriety”? It’s a foregone conclusion that Robin Smith will be victorious in Chancellor Fleenor’s courtroom. Here’s another term you may want to re-examine, recuse yourself.   Rusty Munger (click for more)

Not My University: Why I’m Not Okay With Mike Pence Coming To Lee University - And Response (6)

As a student of Lee University, who is well-aware of the Lee administration’s more conservative stance in politics, I am upset about Mike Pence visiting the university and being welcomed on our campus. Although I respect that Pence is in a position of authority as our nation’s Vice President, and that he likewise deserves the right to hold his own opinions in regards to the issues ... (click for more)