Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

The inaugural editorial of the Nicotine Theological Journal (January 1997) took a few fun swipes at teetotalers and scolds (including Al Gore), who admittedly, in the words of Garrison Keillor, “live longer, but they live dumber.”  “The sun,” the editors quoted C.S. Lewis as saying, “looks down on nothing half so good as a household laughing together over a meal, or two friends talking over a pint of beer, or a man alone reading a book that interests him.”  They appropriated this sentiment as “Reformed wisdom” about the “simplicity and depth of creature comforts” (Hear, hear!) and announced that they would consider joining the likes of the Christian Coalition only after that body began proposing laws to protect such comforts.

Alas, coeditors John R. Muether and D.G. Hart—librarians at the Reformed Theological and Westminster Theological seminaries, respectively—also cautioned that their eight-page quarterly “is not a Reformed version of Cigar Aficionado.”  They would not devote pages to “cultivating yuppie trappings,” though each and every issue does feature a brief “Second Hand Smoke” reflection on the “virtues and delights” of consuming tobacco and alcohol, reprinted from such authors as John Updike and Michael Kelly.

Rather, the NTJ promised to be a theological...

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