Jesus and fermented grapes

The Grapes of GalileeThe business section of any newspaper should contain a religion story every now and then. An ad for Grapes of Galilee Wine in Catholic Digest caught the attention of Los Angeles Times staff writer Alana Semuels, who put together a short, quippy article that covers all the necessary bases when one is writing about Christians and alcohol:

Some denominations might think that the Grapes of Galilee isn't kosher. "Jesus chased people out of the temple for selling products in God's name," said Ed Stetzer, director of LifeWay Research, an arm of the teetotaling Southern Baptist Convention. "He did not put his name on the label to pump up sales."

Beyond that, by marketing wine with Jesus' image, "you're associating Jesus with getting drunk and people don't necessarily want to be doing that," said Mara Einstein, author of "Brands of Faith: Marketing Religion in a Commercial Age."

And appropriately for the sake of thoroughness, the article concludes with this point, quoting Pini Haroz, a Georgia-based wine importer:

"If he ate grapes or made wine," Haroz said, "it must have been from these vines."

After all, Jesus' first miracle was turning water into wine.

This is a nice little story that shows an awareness of religious issues and a willingness to step out and explore ideas on both sides.

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