Once again, I know this is surprising, but from time to time I get hate mail…

This time it was in the form of a YouTube exchange. I preached a message recently on alcohol, specifically on whether or not it is a sin to drink. I knew when we posted that one online that it was likely to generate some interesting conversation. And sure enough…

“I find it humorous that some people focus on alcohol problems but completely ignore the gluttony problem in most of the people that attend church. Even your church. How many obese people sit in your church? Could they fast for 40 days and nights? The answer is yes. Most Americans are 8 lbs overweight and can fast 40 days without any medical problems whatsoever. The obese ones can last a year without food. Pull plank out of eye and proceed brother.”

The comment was (of course) from someone with a fake name and profile picture. Specifically, he (or she, or it, or they, or zee, who knows these days?) goes by the handle “Mr. Prios.” The profile picture is a cat. But not just any cat, the world-famous Grumpy Cat. I can only surmise that Mr. Prios wants the thrill of recognition without the responsibility of, well, responsibility.

Anyway, despite Mr. Prios’ obvious diversionary tactic, trying to shift the conversation from alcohol to gluttony, I nonetheless answered his question in the following manner.

“Very few. And since you brought it up, not me, I am okay pointing out that if you look at me in this video or in pictures, it will be clear to you that I work out hard and regularly, eat carefully, and most of my people do as well. I preach and teach it.”

As you can see, though he did not answer so much as a single point of my entire message on alcohol, I actually did very cordially answer his entire question about gluttony. And, had he simply scrolled down three or four videos, he could have actually seen several of me lifting weights, and my answers to his questions would have been backed up with indisputable visual evidence of my claims. Nonetheless, Mr. Prios was not to be dissuaded or persuaded.

“@Pastor Bo Wagner I was not talking about you, I was talking about MOST Americans. Most of us are 8 lbs overweight and many are obese. I find humor in the fact that many fellow Christians miss this and preach against alcohol while the gluttons sit in the pews among us. Do you teach fasting? You should. It is not in the bible by accident.”

Now, to begin with, he very specifically WAS talking about both me and my members. Here, again, are a few of the direct quotes from his first post. “Even your church.” “How many obese people sit in your church?” “Pull plank out of eye and proceed brother.”

If he was not talking about me, whose eye exactly am I supposed to be pulling a plank out of, and who is pastoring my “your church?”

But there is something even more telling than that to consider, namely yet another attempted diversion from the subject of alcohol, this time into whether or not I teach fasting. Again, the message was on alcohol; so why is he intent on shifting the subject first to gluttony, and then when that does not work to fasting? Normally I end conversations when dealing with someone whose thought process is as organized as a pinball bouncing around a cheap machine, but I decided to politely try once more with Mr. Prios.

“@MrPrios1 yes, I do. But even this still misses the point that if a person’s response to “activity A is wrong” is “well what about activity B?” then one has just stipulated to the fact that he or she knows they should not be doing activity A, and is trying to justify doing it anyway.
Have a blessed evening.”

So, to recap thus far, I preached a message on alcohol. Mr. Prios first tried to divert the subject to gluttony, and then when that did not work tried to divert it to fasting. I, in kindness, answered the fasting question and then pointed out the fallacy of his diversionary tactics. Alas, “diverters gonna divert…”

“@Pastor Bo Wagner Drinking to get drunk is a sin, drinking a glass of wine or a beer with a meal is not. Eating is not a sin but when you eat just to eat that is gluttony and that is a sin. The evidence is right in front of us, there are many men, women, and children that are well over their normal ranges. . To ignore that is hypocrisy. But if you talked about that I am sure you would lose a few in your congregation. Tell me I am wrong.”

Step one from Mr. Prios: divert the subject from alcohol to gluttony. Step two from Mr. Prios: divert the subject from alcohol to fasting. Step three from Mr. Prios: when confronted with that continued diversion, divert yet again to another subject, this time, hypocrisy…

And so I chose at that point to follow the direction of Proverbs 14:7, “Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.” I sent Mr. Prios a very kind farewell note, knowing good and well that he would carp back yet again, and also knowing that I was going to use his foolishness here to help instruct others. Here was my farewell:

“@MrPrios1 telling you much of anything does not seem to be very effective, so I shall refrain on that subject, and simply reiterate the fact that your continued flight to “gluttony is a sin” is nothing more than an acknowledgment that you wish to divert the subject. The message is thorough, and I will let it speak for itself after this. If you wish to respond again you are welcome to do so, but I trust you will understand if I do not spend any more time on the conversation.
Have a blessed evening.”

Did Mr. Prios respond? Yes. Did he disappoint? No. In fact, he fulfilled my wildest expectations in grand fashion. Behold:

“ @Pastor Bo Wagner That is fine with me, I am used to pastors avoiding truths in uncomfortable subjects. This mask-wearing pandemic was another such example. 99 percent of the pastors shut down their churches without any proof this was a real pandemic. And I knew some of them. Have a good night.”

Yep, you read that right: masks, church shutdowns, and I am a hypocrite pastor who “avoids truths in uncomfortable subjects.” Sigh…

True to my word, I did not bother to respond to Mr. Prios and tell him that he got that part just as wrong as all the rest in our case. Why interrupt a man who is so happy and content in his ignorance? I would actually deeply respect anyone who had the character to show his name and face and debate the subject from Scripture with no attempted diversions, even if he vehemently disagreed with me. But this? Anonymous, diversionary, snarky, and basically calling my church members lazy and obese? Nope, that will not garner an ounce of respect from me.

Now, there are some things I believe can be safely surmised about Mr. Prios, and please follow along as I demonstrate my sleuthing skills. Mr. Prios is single, and likely lives with only a parakeet or two. You see, the last bit of tripe about masks/churches shutting down tells me he is a conservative. As such, no liberal woman would ever deign to be with him. And yet the fact that he uses an alias and a cat picture to hide behind as he insults people online means that he tends toward cowardice, and conservative women do not easily tolerate cowardice in men. And since he also clearly craves attention, he would not have a cat, as he would have to face spurning there as well (As any cat owner already knows), nor would a dog be likely to stay home for a person who is so snotty and arrogant. Parakeets, though, can be kept in cages, and can only communicate that they are hungry by happy-sounding chirps.

But the main thing we can surmise is that Mr. Prios drinks, and knows that it is wrong, and wants to justify it. That is why he never even bothered to try and defend it until I pointed out that he wasn’t trying to defend it. And that is actually the main point of all of this. Alcohol is still just as wicked as it was when Solomon said “Don’t even look at it when it is red (fermented). It is still just as dangerous as it was when he said, “whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”

And no amount of diversionary tactics will ever change that, Mr. Prios.

Pastor Bo Wagner can be reached by email at 2knowhim@cbc-web.org, and his books and audio files are available by clicking the “Store” link above.

Feature photo by Pastor Bo Wagner