« Where No Flowers Grow | Main | Help Wanted - Which Mobile Phone Network? »

19 January 2010



Harrumph! Speaking as a proud(well, not really) former drunk weegie I hereby challenge your false dichotomy! Also - although I don't for a minute deny the social harm done by buckie-drinking (I'm from da hood , afterall) - surely evangelicals should just as just as scathing as excessive middle-class drinking? Unless one wants to argue that St.Paul denounced excessive drinking primarily *for* the social harm, which would odd (analogous to saying that the *primary* Christian objection to extramarital sex is STDs etc?). Hmm. I myself have been prey to the kind of snobbery that regards drinking *decent* booze (well, Jack Daniels and Absolut) means one is a step-above bucky/superlager swilling types, but surely that's far more liable to be indicative of the kind of self-delusion that mind-altering substances can produce, and which the faithful should be wary of?

Hadn't realised that Buckie had as much caffeine as 8 cans of coke! Really missed a trick in my drinking days.

At the very least, great to see the SEC in the press for the *second day in a row*! :-)

Andrew T

Whilst "Buckie" may be the tipple of choice for today's problem drinker a little bit of West of Scotland history that might be of interest is that its predecessor as top demon drink was "Lanlick", (sorry if that is not the correct spelling!), which was a South African strong wine that fell from grace as a result of the boycott of that country's goods in the early 80's. It even got a mention in one of the Glasgow detective "Laidlaw" novels when a bottle was laced with poison to do in a "jakey". So it does not really matter if the monks cut back production as something else will only take its place.

ED... (who blogs at Sincere Ignorance and Conscientious Stupidity)

The glass bottles are also a menace. They were asked to change it, but declined, on the basis that it would spoil the taste. Hmmm.


And we can keep guns on the street because people will just use knives instead.

I think the issue that you miss is one of social responsibility. Is it right to be the one supplying the ammo?

It used to be El Dorado that folk drank where I grew up

Andrew T

But, Billy, one cannot eradicate alcoholic drink from society completely any more than we can completely rid the streets of guns and knives which, unlike alcohol, are bought illegally, (and I don't mean butter and steak knives here!!!). You mention El Dorado which I too am familiar with from my mis-spent youth, it or something like it will simply step into the void if Buckfast is somehow removed from the scene. What is really needed is the curbing of the demand for products to fuel excessive drinking which is the responsibility of society as a whole rather than one individual producer.


One may not be able to eradicte it (assuming we would want to), but one can say "I'm not going to give it to you!"

Imagine that you give someone a loaded gun and they shoot someone, have you helped them shoot someone?
If you don't give someone a gun, but they get one elsewhere and shoot someone, who is responsible for facilitating the shooting? You or the supplier?

fr dougal

It is a question of ethics in part: is it morally acceptable for the Church (or part of it) to fund itself through socially destructive/morally dubious means? Most Churches have an ethical investement policy avoiding booze, gambling, pornography and armnaments industries. Should any monks bee producing and mass marketing a drink that is so closely linked to social harm and violence?

Of course something else will replace it: Lanliq, LD, QC, Thunderbird and White Lightning have all had their moments. But they might not have the "Christian" connection of Buckie.

I was a rose wine drinker myself!


Also, surely that causing others to stumble passage is so often misused? St.Silasites (for example) might drink like fish (not saying they - all! - do) but if someone who had a an alcohol problem relapsed then the moral culpability would surely lie with themselves. *I* go to pubs and don't drink but it would be very selfish of me to expect friends (even Christian ones) to be similarly abstemious. I'm trying to cut down on caffeine too (no, really) but I would expect others to avoid espresso in my presence! One could, in fact, argue that seeing the nonsense people spout when they've drank too much might be an actual *aid* to sobriety!


"I wonder what else the Church says and does that causes others to stumble? (see 1 Corinthians 8:9)" - I do like my wine but laugh at some Christians rather po-face attitude... but I agree with Ryan's point about excessive middle-class drinking not being any better!
Also, I say this tongue in cheek and I hope you will publish this comment but I have a fundy ex-brethern (that bit explains everything) friend who was very "offended" when I showed her your blog complete with your profile pic with beer bottle in hand!


Ahh, but I might have just taken that off some poor soul, hence my happiness at seeing his deliverance!


Well, Ryan, you and I know the truth of that comment.

I do think we need to be careful about alcohol, and try to make sure both that we don't give licence to excess or encourage others to do something destructive with it. Alcohol in itself is not the problem - we are.


Indeed. Do you think (given recent government pronouncements) that excessive middle-class etc drinking *is* as problematic from a Christian ethical perspective, or is drinking that manifestly doesn't lead to Buckie-style violence etc less wrong or sinful irrespective of the harm being done to the individual drinker? It sounds like liberal sophistry to say that what Paul meant by drunkenness isn't as 'self-evidently obvious' as we'd like to think but presumably Paul was more getting at a ungodly altering of perception rather than (say) a particular level of units. After all, surely most churches would go along (as they should) with AA's disease model when it comes to actual alcoholism.

NB - I don't know why, but I only tend to get email notifications when *you* reply! Not complaining - it's kinda excitingly ex cathedra! :-)


Ah, and I suppose the shades indicate you heroically delivering some poor soul from the sin (or at least vice) of vanity? ;-)


Talking of booze, I was amused to read that the most recent Faith Seek Understanding group was discussing The Shack (!)at your local boozer on Friday (!!). Did you make an appearance? Didn't go myself, although I'm curious if you get such things as evangelical drinking games (don't know all the words to Shine, Jesus, Shine - 2 shots tequila! etc) ;-)


Rose as in pink, John? Am shocked! ;-)

Did you guys hear about the US armaments manufacturer that has (get this) been caught selling bible gun sights? http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8474268.stm Appalling, but I dare say they'd appeal to Sarah Palin fans.

As for the drunken behaviour of the fellow referred to in this thread's post : do you not remember, David, when you said that the guy who heckled +Gene Robinson in England was acting biblically? Hopefully now you agree that disrupting any kind of divine worship (for theological, alcoholic, or any other) is bad manners at best! You'll never catch me heckling at (e.g.) Deeper, irrespective of what nonsense gets spouted ;-).


>>>it's not that Buckfast is in itself bad.

Hmm, is that the voice of experience? ;-) Is it just me, or is anyone curious if any glasgow (or Coatbridge!) churches have endevoured to use buckfast in Communion services. It is, technically, 'wine' (made by monks no less!) and one can easily conceive of a visionary priest thinking that the 'Bucky Eucharist' might be a good way to get punters in.


Well, in fairness, I can remember people complaining when the QM changed pint, spirit etc glasses from glass to plastic. Drinking out of plastic seems like the sort of thing that people will tolerate at festivals, but that feels a bit kiddyish and patronising elsewhere. At least the buckfast makers are admitting that people do chug it out the bottle rather than, say, enjoying a few glasses over a leisurely dinner of pheasant.

In fairness to the drunk brother referred to above, surely one can conceive of St.Silas (type) people having a problem with 'reformed' 'junkie-neds' like (e.g.) Stevie Boyle - giving up the booze doesn't suddenly make working class glasweigans* Wildean wits who chat inoffensively in Received Pronunciation!

(*not* "weegie" please - as it's a pejorative and reductionist term largely used by teuchtars and other effetely grating pretentious zoomers ;-))


It's actually this coming Friday, and I might put in an appearance. No drinking games.......


Glad to hear some reference to the specific problem with Buckfast as raised in the aforementioned Buckfast Code.

That, drop for drop it contains more caffeine than red bull, and it is considered (in yatubeye land) a mark of prowess to be able to drink two 75cl bottles in under 40 seconds.

Quite apart from the impressive alcohol content, 150cl red bull in under a minute would have me wired to the moon for about two days and totally not responsible for my actions!

If you then put a wee ned in front of me and a glass bottle in my hand... Well, if you added in the alcohol I'm pretty sure I'd feel invincible and justified in providing more filming material for the programme. And I'm not generally surrounded by similarly wired people who think it's funny, and par for the course to "get boatled"

The "wine" itself is the tip of the iceberg. It contains two very addictive substances in high concentrations, comes wrapped in a weapon and provides the excuse.

I was surprised that the programme didn't mention another reason for its popularity. When I was a teenager, strawberry Concorde was the drink of choice, primarily because it had a screw top, and we didn't have a corkscrew. Put it in plastic bottles, take out the caffeine, add a child-proof cap and you'll halve the work of a&e and the police.

The distributors aren't truly delusional enough to think they're being picked on - they're making a fat profit. And money is god.

Andrew T

Could be the perfect venue, Ryan, as I'm sure a stiff drink could be needed after reading that book!

fr dougal

Of course Rose as in pink! In my heyday, it was pink gin in pref to G & T :-)!

Disrupting worship may be "biblical" but so is stoning adulterers to death and whilst that may be (wrongly) condoned in darkest Africa, it is an absolute affront to sensible civilised good manners. Graciousness and courtesy to those you disagree with ought to be the sine qua none of Anglican theological debate. Sadly, we sometimes see the opposite in partibus infidelibus. Perhaps if ++Rowan were to tell the likes of ++Akinola sometimes that they may have a theological point but the're just plain b****y rude, the world would be a happier place!

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Books - GadgetVicar is trying to finish:

GadgetVicar serves with:

  • Scottish Anglican Network
    A network in Scotland of Anglican churches and individuals who follow Jesus and are enthusiastic for Him to be known in our communities.
  • St Thomas' Church, Edinburgh
    A welcoming community of people in the West of Edinburgh who follow Jesus and who long for others to join them on that journey.
    Helping faithful Anglicans in the British Isles and Europe to proclaim the Gospel to the nations.
  • Tearfund
    A Christian charity passionate about ending poverty. I serve on the Scottish Advisory Group.