Sunday, October 09, 2005

Bad Wine Is Profane

So in John Chapter 2 - the "Water into Wine" Gospel - the bouncer stops Jesus and his entourage, because they didn't bring any wine. Jesus was a bit miffed that his Mom forget to pack the wine. He turns 6 pitchers of water into wine. Good stuff, at that.

Not a whole lot of messy ingredients involved in this wine. Water, just add Jesus.

Catholic Law - Canon Law - has the doctrine of Transubstantiation to deal with. (More on that little doctrine, later.) What wine is worthy of representing the blood of the savior in this weekly part of the Mass?

Canon Law - Part I, Title II, Chapter 1, Article III, lays down the law about communion wine (also altar wine, or sacramental wine):

Can. 924

1. The most holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist must be celebrated in bread, and in wine to which a small quantity of water is to be added.

2. The bread must be wheaten only, and recently made, so that there is no danger of corruption.

3. The wine must be natural, made from grapes of the vine, and not corrupt.

Canon Law came long after Jesus. Would Jesus agree that wine must be natural, from grapes, and pure/not corrupt? I think he'd be OK with it.

924 is a sound canon. Not every winemaker can be the King of Kings, so making natural pure juice is a good back-up rule for mere mortals.

St. Paul chimed in, too. In his First Letter to the Corinthians - part of which you hear at every wedding! - he wrote:

"Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord." I Corinthians 11:27
"Profaning the body and blood of the Lord?" Wow. I thought bad wine just made for a worse hangover.

So drink good wine, or you will profane the Lord, and yourself (according to I Corinthians 11:29).

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Did Jesus Prefer Colt 45 Malt Liquor, Or Michelob Ultra?

So, what would Jesus drink while watching the Dodgers get beat again? Maybe it depends upon what church he identifies himself with. So let's look at the stats. My guess is Jesus would be more likely to prefer a Colt 45 if he were Black Protestant, than, say, if he were Centrist Mainline Protestant.

Here is a breakdown of the religious affiliation of the US population, according to a Pew Research study from 2004 (4000 sample size):

% figures reflect percent of US population identifying themselves in the stated religious affiliation:

Evangelical Protestant 26.3%, as follows:
Traditionalist Evangelical 12.6%
Centrist Evangelical 10.8%
Modernist Evangelical 2.9%

Mainline Protestant 16.0%, as follows:
Traditionalist Mainline 4.3%
Centrist Mainline 7.0%
Modernist Mainline 4.7%

Latino Protestants 2.8%

Black Protestants 9.6%

Catholic 17.5%, as follows:
Traditionalist Catholic 4.4%
Centrist Catholic 8.1%
Modernist Catholic 5.0%

Latino Catholic 4.5%

Other Christian 2.7%

Other Faiths 2.7%

Jewish 1.9%

Unaffiliated 16.0%, as follows:
Unaffiliated Believers 5.3%
Secular 7.5%
Atheist, Agnostic 3.2%


How "important" is religion? This, from a scientific poll in 2002:

"How important would you say religion is in your life? Is it..."

very important - 64%
somewhat important - 23%
somewhat unimportant - 6%
very unimportant - 7%
DK/NA/refused - 0%

Breaking that down - same study > money where the mouth is:

"Aside from weddings and funerals, how often do you attend religious services?"

Once a Week or More: 47%, as follows
more than once a week - 20%
once a week - 27%

Once a Month or More: 62%, as follows:
more than once a week - 20%
once a week - 27%
once or twice a month - 15%

A few times a year - 18%

Seldom or Never - 20%

DK/NA/refused - 1%

Yeah, I Know It's a BYOB. Try This Parker 98-Pointer

No one has really ever nailed John Chapter 2 - the "Water into Wine" Gospel..

Basically, Jesus and his entourage attend (read: "crash") a party in Cana. (Wedding Crashers is not a modern practice.) It's a BYOB. Mary isn't able to bluff her way past the bouncer, so Jesus has to step up. He is not entirely happy about that - his big day for miracles has not yet come. But alas, he steps up. Mary tells the slaves to fetch some bottles, and Jesus pulls a Jedi mind trick and turns the water to 6 pitchers of wine, which the bouncer takes to the boss.

The party boss grabs the knuckleheaded groom, and says, "You're not supposed to save the good stuff for last, moron! People are drunk already, they know not what they drink! This stuff is great."

It's unclear if Jesus made a 7th bottle of "reserve."

Anyway, it's in John 2, the only source of the Water into Wine story (although John 4 reiterates it):

1And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.
3And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
4Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
5His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
6And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
7Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
8And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
9When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
10And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
11This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.