What kind of fun?

April 6, 2009

by Pastor Steve Thorson, Evangelical Lutheran Church, Cokato

The Dassel-Cokato pastors met with Patty Sterner March 25. Patty is a DC school employee and track coach who lost a stepdaughter to alcohol poisoning.

Ever since the loss of her stepdaughter, she has been working to raise everyone’s awareness of the dangers of drunkenness. You might have read about her in the June 16, 2008 issue of the Enterprise-Dispatch newspaper.

Drunkenness is no joke. It is not a “rite of passage” that lets you know you are an adult.

Drunkenness is a killer. We all know we shouldn’t drive drunk. But doing anything while being under the influence of drugs or alcohol puts us at risk – it also encourages others to use alcohol and other chemicals to get high, putting them at risk also.

Many adults would never drive drunk, but often care for children when “under the influence.” It doesn’t make sense.

If we have a tendency to use alcohol or other drugs to the point where our inhibitions are lowered, it’s too much. When our judgment is impaired, we are dangerous people.

Having fun, however, is so important. We all need to take time off to relax, to laugh, to play, to do crazy, fun things, to “chill.” God wants us to have overflowing joy, something my younger son experienced this week at the International House of Prayer.

The Holy Spirit can, and does fill us with his influence, which can make us silly and a lot of fun. The first time the Holy Spirit came down in the Bible, book of Acts, chapter 2, those who received the Spirit were so happy that people thought they were drunk. In Ephesians 5:18, we read something that seems to say the same: Do not be drunk, instead, be filled with the spirit.

We need to teach our children, and our youth, by our example, that good fun, crazy fun, is an important part of the Christian life. But we don’t need chemicals or alcohol to loosen us up.

Let’s just live in God’s grace. Let the music play! Dance! Sing! Love! Live life to the full! Have a beer if that isn’t a problem for you, or those you are around. But be aware of all those who are in danger of using to the point of being under the influence. When you start to feel it, it’s time to stop.

Patty Sterner is convinced that peer pressure is the way to get things changed. And that begins with you and me. She has a PowerPoint presentation she’d be glad to loan out. If you want something online, go to www.gordie.org.

When I let Patty know I was going to publicize this, she said: “Thanks again for getting people talking – it’s important that adults bring up the conversation. Kids’ drinking habits nowadays are labeled a phenomena, the binge drinking and the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) levels are so very high that most parents who did drink as a teen and think they know what their kids are doing – really don’t. The whole situation is very sad. But all of us working on it will help bring about change. Thanks for helping!”

Thank you, Patty, for all you’ve done. And thanks to all in our community who promote good fun for all.