Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Heroes and Heroines Who Don't Drink Alcohol

by Elva Cobb Martin

Why would I want the heroes and heroines in my inspirational novels to be non-drinkers or convert to non-drinkers?

A key verse of scripture that has led me to this conviction is Proverbs 20:1
"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."
This verse strongly warns about inherent dangers associated with drinking alcohol.

The key phrase is "whosoever is deceived (by fermented wine, beer, liquor) is not wise." I do want main characters who are wise or who become wiser, as they grow. On the other hand, my villains might partake and be shown suffering many of the consequences. I believe I owe this contrast to my readers.

Here and elsewhere in this book of wisdom, Proverbs warns about a variety of personal and social evil consequences associated with drinking alcoholic beverages. The following notes are listed in my Life in the Spirit Study Bible published by Zondervan.

  • As a "mocker" it leads to a decreased capacity for self-control, a weakening of inhibitions and a disdaining of prudent behavior and righteous values.
  • As "raging" it contributes to disturbances, conflicts and violence in families and society.  
  • It is also associated with inefficiency, poverty, and injustice. Rulers are advised not to drink alcohol since it can affect their decisions.
In our contemporary world in such nations as the United States, the drinking of alcohol is a factor in more than 50% of all fatal car crashes, 75% of all crimes committed, and more than 30% of all murders. It is also implicated as a factor in sexual immorality, pregnancy outside of marriage and high divorce rates. As Christian writers we can show some of these very conflicts.

Abstinence helps guarantee avoidance of the pitfalls associated with drinking so why not inspire readers and the next generation to choose the better way?

Here is a scene from my contemporary wip Summer of Deception showing one way I dealt with alcohol involving my hero and heroine. The novel is set on a Charleston Tea Plantation.
The h/h, Luke and Rachel, are at a party on a yacht in the Charleston Harbor owned by friends Archer and his sister Morgan. Luke is with Morgan, Rachel is with Archer.

       Archer balled his fist and pressed Luke on the shoulder. “Boy, am I thirsty after that carriage ride through history. What are you drinking, old man?”
     “A Devil’s Triangle,” Luke answered, swirling his glass and staring straight at Archer. “Minus the devil.”
     Rachel glanced at Luke, but he had turned back to Morgan. They were the most striking couple in the room. Something about Morgan  leaning close to him annoyed Rachel.
     “Luke’s still walking his teetotaler plank, I see.” Archer’s voice brought Rachel back to face him. “I’m going to have a Wild Affair, what would you like, most beautiful lady in the room?”
      Rachel had never heard of the drinks mentioned but assumed they included alcohol. “Coke—or ginger ale, please.”   
      “Oh, no, another teetotaler in the house?” Morgan  bemoaned with a mock grimace.
        Luke regarded Rachel. He motioned toward the black bartender. “This guy’s been trained on Barbados, and he’s famous for his fruit and berry concoctions. You don’t want to settle for a soda, not here,  Rachel. At least try my drink—you can get it minus the alcohol.”
        So that’s what Luke had meant.
       “Okay, I’ll take a Devil’s Triangle—minus the devil.” The bartender handed Rachel a tall glass. She took a sip and delighted in the rich strawberry-lemon fruit drink with a touch of mint.

How do you treat alcohol in your novels? Leave a comment and please share this blog if you have time. Thanks for stopping by.

Elva Cobb Martin