Clash of the Titans XLVI: The Drinking Age

08/31/2007, 12:00 pm -- by | 2 Comments

In this corner, saying we should lower the drinking age, is Job!

And in this corner, arguing to keep it at 21, is Tom!

I’ve never had a drink of alcohol in my life. I had it in my mouth once by accident — I was toasting a friend at his wedding and was told it was sparkling cider. I spat it into a bush. This status of complete restraint might seem to make me incapable of making an argument about the drinking age in America, but I disagree; as the kid outside the fishbowl, tapping the glass, I may look oblong and distorted by the refraction, but everything in the tank is clear to me.

And as that boy, I support getting a cute “no fishing” sign, buying a few more colorful rocks, and lowering the drinking age for the guppies.

If you don’t think alcohol is more of a threat to America — physically, mentally, emotionally and socially — than terrorism, then you’re reading this at Miller:30 anyway. It is the fuel for the engine of sin, rending this nation apart with almost surgical precision, through crumbling marriages, sexual hubris, and enough wrecked vehicles and bodies to drive an IED to, well, drink. Bars are our temples, Friday nights the new Sabbath, and the tithe given to this liquid and its orbital vices far in excess of 10%. Alcohol is an immovably entrenched American religion, with zealots of greater number and passion than our own. I can only hope to somehow alleviate alcohol’s oppression and shocking effects.

As I think about this drug, I am most immediately aware of the sheer irresponsibility accompanying its use. Current federal law requires an American to be 21 before imbibing an alcoholic beverage and making a fool of themselves at Jeff’s party — by then, the drinker can vote for 3 years, die for his country for 4, and may be graduating from college (or if Steve Maxon, finishing his doctorate), having babies, and living on his own. This sheer amount of societal load (and expectancy) implies an almost-certain furtive use of alcohol before age 21. This use is best defined as rebellion, usually accompanied by reckless behavior and the instilling of certain attitudes that will forever accompany the use of spirits.

My argument follows a simple equation. (The vast amount of alcohol in our country + its glamorization + the legal restraints on its use) x (Ample access to it anyway) = Almost-universal illegal use, overwhelmingly without parental knowledge or supervision. The parental relationship has always served as the tonic to societal malfeasance, and in light of the immense destruction alcohol causes our country, we must strengthen this relationship.

I would lower the drinking age to 17, and the purchasing age to 18. This would require parental knowledge of its use, with proper instructions and expectations. Perhaps it would even produce an unsettling amount of introspection after seeing its effects on our youth, with a small mirroring effect on an adult’s own use. With a problem as powerful as potent potables, we need to flush the enemy out of the shadows and away from punk kids who meet behind the old mall on Saturdays to share a fifth. As with most societal problems, we need to return the responsibility to parents, rather than relying on a law that tries to do the parenting while neutering a parent’s ability in the same stroke.

Theories abound regarding the benefits of lowering the drinking age in the United States. Proponents laud continental European nations where drinking ages effectively do not exist, yet cultural expectations toward alcohol seem vastly more healthy than America. They cite increased parental involvement with newly legal teen drinkers, leading to a much-needed steadying hand while the youths negotiate difficult terrain. Finally comes the oft and proudly cried, “If you can die for your country, you ought to be able to drink a beer there!” However, these arguments fail to ring true for me.

Nations such as Spain, Portugal, and France are often put forward as the new model for dealing with alcohol in the United States. These Romance- language speaking nations have relatively lax policies toward youth and alcohol, and manage to enjoy low rates of alcoholism and alcohol- influenced crime and death.

However, to claim these laudable statistics came about only because of early exposure of youths to alcohol is ludicrous. England, a country with a long-standing legal drinking age of 18, is widely renowned for the binge-drinking propensities of its young people, at home and abroad. The culture of Iberia and its environs seems steeped in alcohol, and that’s the secret to the apparent lack of youth fascination with it there.

But in the domains of the Anglo-Saxon, a more Puritan view of alcohol has lent it an aura of mystique youths are incapable of escaping. Lowering the drinking age will not result in an overnight change to our nation’s culture, nor a reversal of alcohol’s taboo status.

Claiming that lowering the drinking age will encourage parents to take an active role in teaching their children the proper way to approach alcohol is similarly ridiculous. How can we expect a nation of parents, who through ignorance or apathy ignore the illegal drinking of their children, to step up and oversee their legal drinking? Parenting must be left to the parents, I’ll agree with that every time, but when the life at stake could be an innocent, I’ll let society trump the average parent every time.

Arguing that youths are able to join the armed forces at 17, but must wait four long years to drink legally, seems like disjointed logic. Taking up arms to defend one’s country is a very important responsibility, yet absolutely zero well-founded medical studies have shown military training to have an adverse affect on the development of a teenager’s brain. The miracle that is the millions of electrical connections which together form the seat of our cognition is not fully understood, but what is understood are the facts that the brain continues to evolve well into the twenties, and that it is absolutely, unquestionably and negatively affected by alcohol use.

We are a nation founded on freedoms. But sometimes the greater good to society of decreasing brain damage in the upcoming generation outweighs Junior’s right to tap the Rockies after prom.


Sin No More

08/31/2007, 9:30 am -- by | No Comments

Jeremiah 9:1 — “O, that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people.”

Sin looks most despicable on the heels of a perfect day, and Tuesday was a perfect day. Driving to Atlanta to pick up our son and his wife for a visit, the sky was a brilliant blue with towering pillars of white on the horizon, looking, as my wife noted, “like some futuristic city in the clouds.” A whole week with them began with a family meal of fajitas, shared with our daughter and son-in-law, then was supposed to culminate in a late evening of catching up over pizza. When I went to order the food, I found a desperate voice mail I had missed by forgetting to take my cell phone to Atlanta.

I made the call back, apologizing for being out of reach, then excused myself to visit a home in turmoil. The contrast was striking, leaving a long-awaited joyful reunion to arrive in a place of unspeakable despair and unfathomable anger. A wife has fallen, a husband is so angry he can’t speak. She cannot even look up, her eyes filled with tears, while he can’t even bring himself to look her way.

She looks so lost, and he looks so shattered; in love, yet separated by an impossible gulf of sin.

Outside on the porch he described the confrontation that confirmed his worst fears. “That’s when I lost it. I mean, I really lost it! But I never touched her. I wasn’t raised that way.” Of course I knew before he spoke that he never touched her; I know how his father, a pastor, raised him. He’s a good friend.

But I know her even better, ever since she knocked a cup of hot coffee onto my lap, just 5 years old at a Bible study I was teaching. Her parents were horrified and she — like now — was terrified. This will be a lot harder to fix than that was. All I could do was listen, let them know that there was hope even though they couldn’t see it now, and offer our help.

As I was leaving he said, “I did something really mean to her, but I don’t regret it.”

“I took her Bible, laid it on the coffee table in front of her, and told her to look up all the verses on adultery and read them.”

It’s not until I was back home that I wondered if she actually did read them. If so, she found Jesus saying to the crowd around the adulterous woman, “Let he that is without sin among you cast the first stone.” Then she read that after they all left, He directed his gaze at her and said, “Hath no man condemned you? Then neither do I, go and sin no more.”

Oh Lord, if it were only that simple.

Joke of the Day, 8/31/07

08/31/2007, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

A priest, a rabbi and a minister walk into a bar.

The bartender says, “What is this, a joke?”

The World’s Highest Website, 11.8 miles worth!
A cool video from a Belgian comic duo
The Human Brain Cloud, a ‘game’ that shows the interconnections between words and concepts

An Out-of-Context Excerpt From a Chick Tract

08/30/2007, 3:30 pm -- by | 1 Comment

©1984-2007 Chick Publications, Inc. Reprinted without permission as fair use (parody).


Bweinh! Answers Your Questions

08/30/2007, 1:15 pm -- by | 5 Comments

This week marks the end of our sixth full month at, and over those months, you (our wonderful visitors) have seen fit to grace us with your presence tens of thousands of times. Many of you simply type in the name of our site, or perhaps click a bookmark in your browser — but there are others who find us every day at the end of a search string. It is to this last group that I devote this post.

I’ve been keeping track of some of the questions that brought you to our site and I have some answers for you!

What is the name of the man that talks at the front of the church?
Good question, good question! That man is Zed’rokh, Destroyer of Worlds, of course!

Unless you mean the man everyone else can see too, in which case it’s Rev. Johnston, and he’s asked me to remind you the restraining order is still fully in effect. Back pew, please. Cashiers’ checks only.

Can you fail Navy boot camp and what happens?
Another great question. Unfortunately, you can fail Navy boot camp. Remember our friend Job Tate and those updates he was giving us from his trip through boot camp last month? He talked about a bunch of people who flunked out because of physical or mental weakness. Yeah, it’s sad, but it can happen.

Oh, what happens to them after they fail? I’m not quite sure. I’d ask Job, but — as you’ve seen — he’s been kind of absent ever since he went to the second-level boot camp, you know, where they run the really thorough background checks to make sure you’re not joining the military to help your tiny little state secede, uh, from the inside and whatnot, learning all our secrets.

Huh. Wonder what happened to him…

Can I still get a job even though I’m on probation?
I’m glad you asked! The answer is absolutely!! There are plenty of employers willing to take a risk on a young man or woman who simply got caught up with the wrong crowd fighting at the mall, made a small mistake out on the highway, or maybe shoplifted from the local Piggly Wiggly. It’s not the end of the world to wind up on probation; just look at what Tom has made of his life!

How do you pronounce Shaalan?
Just like it’s spelled, and slowly. “Suh – hah – all – ay – ah – hall – lah – la – an – nuh.”

Remember to keep the emphasis on the A.

Ballet boot sleeping blog?
Yes, master Zed’rokh…message received…plan underway…transmission complete…

Ask Bweinh! Poll — Favorite Insect

08/30/2007, 11:45 am -- by | 2 Comments

This Ask Bweinh! poll is sponsored by the letter D and the number 4.

To go along with our least favorite insect poll, here are our very favorite bugs!

Rank Insect Points
1. Praying Mantis 23
2. Ladybug 17
3. Butterfly 15
4. Ant 12
5-6 (tie) Grasshoppers; Walking Stick (Stick Insect) 11
7. Honeybee 8
8. Dung Beetle 7
9-11 (tie) Cicada; Lightning Bug; Dragonfly 5
Other Cricket; Rhinoceros Beetle; Caterpillar; Carpenter Ant; Carpenter’s Assistant Ant; Giant Water Beetle; Doodlebug 1-3

Chick. Tract. Answer.

08/30/2007, 10:15 am -- by | 3 Comments

What lies ahead in this tract??

If you picked “A baby is sacrificed to Satan,” you’re a winner!!

©1984-2007 Chick Publications, Inc. Reprinted without permission as fair use (parody).

Quote of the Day, 8/30/07

08/30/2007, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

“I doubt whether the world holds for anyone a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice cream.” — H. Broun

Exodus Playoffs — Round 2

08/29/2007, 5:00 pm -- by | No Comments

Here are the matches in the next round of the Exodus band name playoffs!





God’s Will, Without A Machete

08/29/2007, 3:45 pm -- by | No Comments

“When [the people of Ephesus] asked [Paul] to spend more time with them, he declined. But as he left, he promised, ‘I will come back if it is God’s will'” (Acts 18:20-21).

I used to look at God’s will as a path, and it was my duty to hack my way through the jungle of choices with a machete to find it. It was terrifying because I thought there was one right way, yet I had so many choices in front of me, particularly for college. I worried that I was serving myself, missing the signs, and ruining God’s plan for my life by going to this school instead of that, or majoring in writing rather than, say, religion. But when I read Paul’s declaration in Acts, I was struck with how calm and assured he sounded. From that simple sentence, one could sense Paul’s certainty that God would reveal the proper path in due time, without a machete.

How did Paul achieve such a profound trust in God, though? Well, as a Pharisee, he studied the Torah and respected writings on it for years and years. The Word of God was part of his very being, even more so because of his revelation of Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. He had seen the Truth, he had suffered for it, and so he rarely doubted it.

When I was deciding what to do with my life, I doubted, and often. I wanted to write, but I was sure God wanted me in missions, and I just knew God couldn’t use my writing in missions. After all, why would He let me do what I found enjoyable? (It sounds ludicrous, I know, but this is really what I believed.) I finally came to the conclusion that I had to major in theology and go on to seminary. To some, this may sound fantastic. To me, it was a death sentence.

My pastor watched me go through the agony of making this decision and others, then sat me down and gave me some guidance that I will forever be thankful for. Among the verses he showed me were Psalm 37:4 and Isaiah 30:21 — “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart,” and “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.'”

He explained that God’s will isn’t a question where we figure out the one right choice. God doesn’t turn our lives into a daily search for a needle in the haystack. What He wants is devotion. If I delight in the Lord, if I devote myself to Him, I will want His will. There’s a big difference between committing to go somewhere for God and committing to be God’s person, no matter where you go.

Paul was God’s person no matter where he went. When he was in prison with Silas, they sang praises and prayed to God. When he was being arrested, he told the mob shouting for his death about the glory of Jesus’ sacrifice and how they too could be saved. Paul realized that when he traveled from city to city, he had to keep moving as God led him.

Even though the people of Ephesus begged him to stay (and I think he probably wanted to stay a little, too, given the poor reception he’d been receiving in other cities), he said, “Only if God wants me to.” Paul laid down his desires at God’s feet and made God’s desires his own. Paul leaned on God’s understanding and allowed God to direct his paths. And as a result, more people joined the church every single day.

Depending on God is not easy. Wanting His will is not always a party. For some, that has meant forfeit of their very lives, or the lives of loved ones. But just as in Paul’s case, what will come of it is a fantastic harvest of souls, the price of which we cannot comprehend.

Battle of the Bands XXIV

08/29/2007, 2:30 pm -- by | 3 Comments

Here’s our first batch from Romans!


Bible Discussion — Romans 1

08/29/2007, 1:00 pm -- by | No Comments

This week, looks at our first chapter from the New Testament, Romans 1.

Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50

Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40

Welcome to our first trip to the New Testament! After a few months working our way through Genesis and Exodus, we’re postponing Leviticus for a while and skipping a few hundred pages forward. Selfishly, I feel much more comfortable in the doctrinal books of the New Testament than I do in the narrative books of the Old, and I’m curious to see how this format and these people handle this very different part of the Word!

Christianity would have remained an obscure sect of Judaism without the brilliant Pharisee we call Paul. He alone grasped the scope of what had to change. Jesus did not come to reform Judaism but replace it. The Book of Romans articulates that fact better than any other book in the Bible.

Debate is mentioned among the unrighteousness of 1:28. I wonder why that is?

The Holy Spirit is here called the Spirit of Holiness. No wonder he is so rarely comfortable around us.

Paul opens his letter with a tone that seems like he felt he owed them apologies or explanations — sorry I couldn’t come see you, I mean I really wanted to, you have to know that, but I just couldn’t. I’m sure you understand. But I’ve been praying for you a lot, God as my witness.

In 1:7, Paul writes, “To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints.” I don’t think he means there are only a handful destined to sainthood. All believers are loved by God and all are called to be saints.

The first four verses of the letter are an amazingly concise restatement and preview of the following sixteen chapters. Paul declares himself to be both a slave of Christ and an authoritative apostle. He tells us that the Gospel fulfilled Old Testament prophecy, identifies Jesus as both the Son of God and the seed of David, then closes by referencing the Holy Spirit, holiness, and the resurrection from the dead. Wow.

Josh: Without Excuse
Tom: Natural Affection
David: The Barbarians
Steve: Both of You
Djere: Birds and Animals and Reptiles

Continued here!


08/29/2007, 11:29 am -- by | No Comments

Looking for family-friendly fun and excitement? Looking to eat deep-fried Snickers bars? Looking to blow through too much money?

If the answer to any of those questions is “maybe,” the Great New York State Fair is for you!

As recently as Sunday, I was at the Great New York State Fair with Karen, official girlfriend of Djere.

We went to the fair to have a good time, but apparently we missed the memorandum that Sunday was ‘Treat Your Unborn Baby to Second-hand Smoke and Alcohol’ Day.

We saw dozens of pregnant women lighting up and pounding beer.

Words inadequately express how angry that made me.

Seriously, if you want to become a drain on our national resources, purposely giving yourself lung cancer and liver cancer, keep on smoking and drinking. In fact, that’s probably where that baby of yours came from. But once you get yourself knocked up after the Kenny Chesney/Taylor Swift concert, things have to change.


    Reasons being a no-good redneck hick is bad for your unborn baby’s health

  1. If all pregnant women in the United States stopped smoking, there would be an estimated 11 percent reduction in stillbirths and a 5 percent reduction in newborn deaths.
  2. Both nicotine and carbon monoxide are believed to play a role in causing adverse pregnancy outcomes.
  3. Smoking nearly doubles a woman’s risk of having a low-birthweight baby
  4. No level of alcohol use during pregnancy has been proven safe.
  5. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause a number of birth defects, ranging from mild to severe. These include mental retardation; learning, emotional and behavioral problems; and defects involving the heart, face and other organs.

Please, for the love of all that’s good and holy, do your best to discourage this type of irresponsible behavior! Boycott country music! Boycott cigarette companies! Boycott pregnancy! Slap pregnant women you see smoking!

Have I mentioned boycotting country music!


Joke of the Day, 8/29/07

08/29/2007, 7:00 am -- by | No Comments

What’s the difference between toilet paper and a shower curtain?

So you’re the one!

Chick. Tract. Excerpt.

08/28/2007, 3:00 pm -- by | 2 Comments

©1984-2007 Chick Publications, Inc. Reprinted without permission as fair use (parody).


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