Righteous Wealth Works Wonders, God Fearing Beer Drinking #5

As the saying goes, a man becomes the company he keeps.

Just the same, a company becomes the culture they create.

Whatever is regularly affecting the lives of its workers becomes an indication of what type of noble accomplishments the company will make. The Guinness culture changed the lives of its workers, helped eradicate the poverty in Dublin and served as a model for other companies on how to care for their employees.   The culture of faith, kindness and generosity at Guinness taught men how seek ways to serve their fellow men and turn harshness to joy.

Dublin Famine sculpture
Dublin Famine sculpture

In 1990, Dublin was overcrowded and starvation and disease was rampant. It was the point in time that the culture propagated by Guinness moved out to the streets of Dublin and allowed men to serve the streets of a city that was dying. Guinness was able to demonstrate what good their righteous wealth can do.

Dublin was rife with filth and disease.  It had become a cesspool, people were living in squalor, sickness and had all the vices known to man.  It had the highest rates of contagious diseases and the highest death rate in all of Europe.  There was an epidemic of smallpox, measles, scarlet fever, typhus, whooping cough, diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid fever and tuberculosis. These diseases were spreading at an unprecedented rate.  Most of the misery and sickness was caused by the overcrowding which came about by the hordes of immigrants swarming to Dublin in 1840’s to escape troubled lives in their own land. So the poor, weak and sick people were all corralled into the city of Dublin.  A majority of the agony, pain and sickness was self-induced.  These people in Dublin that were extremely overcrowded regularly dumped their sewage into the same river that served as their source of drinking water.

There was also the revered Irish tradition of waking the dead and this played a major role in spreading the diseases around.  (This was the process of laying out the body of a departed relative in the house where they lived and died. All of the family and quite a few of the deceased one’s neighbors and friends would gather at the house. The body was usually laid out in the parlor of the house or living room. There would be lots of food and plenty of drink to be consumed. People would come and socialize and remember the departed person’s life. This wasn’t a time for tears to say the least, it was quite a party and hardly resembled a funeral. It was the traditional Irish way of celebrating one’s life and ensuring that they had a good send off. A proper Irish Wake was pretty wild in the old customs of that period.)  It was common for the body of a loved one to lay for as many as four nights.  The mourners exposed themselves to whatever it was that killed the deceased. One historian called Dublin, “A city of the damned.”

Doctor John Lumsden had just become the chief medical officer at the Guinness brewery.  He was an extraordinary man, devoted Christian with a calling that would allow Guinness to effect the lives of thousands, change Dublin for the good and break new ground in corporate social responsibility.  Doctor Lumsden wanted to serve his fellow man and alleviate suffering in Dublin. He figured out that if he could change the housing and living conditions he could really make a difference. He talked the Guinness board of directors into letting him visit every home of the workers and their relatives. This was 2,287 employees and 7,343 dependents.  The board supported him and they found that over 35 percent of the homes were actually inhabitable. The descriptions were wrenching and I encourage you to get Mansfield’s book to read the details.Mansfield It was much worse than you can think as a modern citizen.  The Doctor outlined a large list of goals and tasks to eradicate the squalor.

The Guinness board convened on 1901 and eagerly followed the Doctors recommendations. What an amazing benevolent move for the Guinness firm.  They absolutely adopted the vision that Doctor Lumsden put before them and approved the funding although they knew the cost was enormous. It is an amazing show of the desire that Guinness had to fulfill a legacy of compassion and generosity. The result of the labor, compassion and expense was that Guinness acquired a reputation of caring for its employees that was second to none. The company earned that reputation in the city that was named the deadliest city in Europe.

Doctor Lumsden

For his work in all he did to serve society, Dr. Lumsden was knighted by King George V, which was very well deserved.

Doctor Lumsden had the vision, but he could have never done it alone.  He needed the strength of a culture of social concern, love of mankind and generosity.  He needed a vehicle, wise and wealthy men to stand in battle with him and help him save human lives. That is what Guinness gave to him. That is what Guinness and the doctor gave to the people of Dublin.  That is just one small example of what kind of good righteous wealth can do.

If you missed the last post you can jump back there and read it by clicking on the Mansfield book.

Come back for the next post when we learn about the Guinnesses for God.  In fact you can CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE NEXT POST.

Till then, may the Lord richly bless you,

The Tubthumper

Beer Brewing and God Fearing Beer Drinking – God and Guinness #4

Moving to Dublin

Guinness Ad-St James
This is a continuation of what has become my summary of Stephen Mansfield’s book; The Search for God and Guinness. A biography of the beer that changed the world.

To go back and read the last post click HERE.
It was 1759 when Arthur Guinness moved to Dublin. That was the very same year the first president of the United States got married to a girl named Martha. He was thirty-four years old at the time. Arthur moved to an old brewery located in the western part of Dublin called St. James Gate. It was a brilliant move given the intention of the government to link Dublin with the River Shannon and Limerick which would put the end of the canal right at his doorstep. Another amazing thing he did was to negotiate a low nine-thousand-year lease. Have you ever heard of someone with a nine-thousand-year lease? Twenty years later in 1779 his beer was so good and his reputation so intact that Guinness was named the official beer maker for Dublin Castle which was the British Governments headquarters for Ireland.
Arthur married Olivia Whitmore on July 17, 1761. Olivia was young, wealthy and an absolutely beautiful woman. She put Arthur into contact with the Dublin society and raised them to a status he could never have done alone. Arthur and Olivia would go on to have ten children. They had six boys and four girls. This set up a long dynasty of the Guinness family of beer makers. By the time Arthur Guinness passed away in 1803 the little brewery he started would become the largest business in all of Ireland.
It is not just the beer he made however, that makes the grand story. It is the story of how he knew that making his beer was a calling and a purpose given to him by God. He knew it was his calling to do good in the world through his occupation.
Let us take a look at who was a godly influence on Arthur’s life.
When the old Gaelic society collapsed and the change to Protestant Ascendancy occurred Ireland was ruled by a small representation of English Protestants. As Arthur rose up in the Dublin society he was a protestant that was outspoken toward anti-Catholic laws and he often challenged the ruling class traditions whenever morality was the basis. He was brought up with values from his parents and he was also influenced heavily by John Wesley. Wesley preached at the church that Arthur attended. It was St. Patrick’s Cathedral and was loaded with the calloused souls of wealthy attendees. Arthur had the opportunity to meet Wesley often through the contacts of his wife’s family and the parties which both he and Wesley attended. It is said that Wesley was unimpressed with Arthur Guinness or with the church as he called it a fledgling evangelical church over in Ireland. There is no way to know the degree of connection between John Wesley and Arthur Guinness but what became clear is the degree that Arthur lived out the values of Wesley. One of these values was that the gaining of wealth was to allow the Christian man to “give all he can to those in need.” Arthur lived that value by the way he treated his workers and contacts. Another project Arthur took on confirmed his faith and also his desire to do good. Arthur Guinness was the founder of the first Sunday schools in Ireland. He did this while it offended the Roman Catholics and others and this speaks volumes about his devotion to the Sunday school movement and to fulfill his calling to do good in the world. None of this would have been possible without his success and skill at brewing beer. Many causes he supported went on to great success. The Sunday schools were all over Ireland, Mead hospital which he supported was a great success and other good causes he supported were thriving.
When Arthur Guinness passed away on January 23, 1803 his children would go on to lead the Guinness Brewery to newfound heights. The causes Arthur supported of caring for the less fortunate for the greater glory of God would be carried on by the family. His beer making skills still carry on as well with over ten million pints a day of Guinness stout consumed around the world. Guinness St James Gate
Come back for the next post on more of what the Guinness culture has done for the world and to the glory of God.

May God bless your day,

The Tubthumper



BeerAs I begin writing this blog entry I remember a very humorous television session. I think it was on the Ellen Degenerate show. There was a live call with a 90 something old lady and out of the blue (live) she said, “Well Ellen, I love Jesus but I love beer too.” It put people into stitches, me included. But hey, there is some seriousness to her lament
I will be writing many words about beer and the makers of beer. It will likely be 20,000 words or more and I hope you will stay with me. I hope you will be as intrigued as I.
This began as a thought to write about Arthur Guinness and how he used his beer brewing business for the cause of Christ in Ireland. Once I get into the Guiness story you may want to consider it a primer on a best selling book by Stephen Mansfield, “The search for God and Guinness.” Before I do that I must give you some background on the history of beer and it’s relation to Christianity. I think you will be surprised and amazed. If not anything else you will be the benefactor of a wonderful history lesson.
My disclaimer is this: Do not use my writing as an excuse to become intoxicated and drunken with beer or wine. I am not providing any justification or permission to drink. Drunkenness is sinful and bad for society as a whole. “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” (Ephesians 5:18) My purpose is to open the eyes of everyone to a great story of how God uses the wealth of men and the things of men for his purpose. “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” (1 Corinthians 1:27) If you stay with me until the end you will see this clearly.

If you have followed my blog you already know I am not stranger to controversial issues. So it shouldn’t surprise you I am taking this one on. I read Christian magazines and blogs continuously and often the subject of drinking comes up. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen writers take on the question of whether or not Christians should be drinking alcoholic beverages. It is not my purpose to take on that particular question today. I will give you my opinion however, regarding the subject of beer and then move on with my topic.
I do not believe it is a sin to have a pint of stout (beer) once in awhile with your meal at a restaurant or at home with your family. I do believe it is a sin to over indulge in it and become drunk. I believe drunkenness is a sin and that is what the Bible addresses. “Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:10) I can point to over 100 verses within God’s word on this subject and all point to abuse and drunkenness. With that said, my position is that if you have trouble with self control then you should definitely abstain and avoid it at all cost. As a friend of mine says, “I am weak-willed and easily led.” If that’s you then be forewarned and do not partake. Secondly as a Christian, I would never do anything to cause a brother to stumble. What that means is to never have anything present or be doing anything among any brethren that could cause them to sin. We want to be sure we are of the same mind. “It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.” (Romans 14:21)
So just to be clear, it is not the beer that is the problem. It is the abuse that is the problem. I can’t put it into any better perspective than one of our great reformers and forefathers that also drank beer. Martin Luther wrote, “Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women?” Yes, Martin Luther had a love of beer too. I won’t bother to call for a vote among men as to whether to abolish the beer and wine or to abolish the women. It might be a close vote.

Let’s begin the history trail of beer. You might be stunned, as I was to find that beer played a humongous role throughout the centuries within Christianity.
The Pilgrims
Let’s start with the Pilgrims and the Mayflower back in 1621 when they landed at Plymouth. They were standing guard because they knew natives were watching them. It must have been unbelievable to them when one native walked out of the woods and approached them. The native was almost naked with just a small loin cloth covering his private parts as he shouted “Welcome!” in clear English. They must have been even more surprised when this native asked them if they have any beer. Wow! He asked for beer! That’s right, you won”t find it in the grade school textbooks that one of the first of communications with this native was about beer. But it was. You can find it yourself within, ‘Mourt’s Relation’ and ‘Of Plymouth Plantation’ which are two primary sources for information on the story of the Pilgrims. So don’t just take my word for it. The native’s name was Samoset and he mastered the English language traveling with English ships up and down the coast of New England. Not only did he learn the language but he also developed a keen taste for English beer. When the Mayflower left the shores of England John Alden saw to it that it was loaded heavy with more than enough beer to make the trip. As it turned out the supply was running low when they landed and to them it was a dangerous threat. For the Pilgrims beer was more than a refreshing drink on a hot day. They believed it had great medicinal quality and like most people then were afraid to drink the water and instead drank beer. It was believed all the water was unsafe but beer was pure and healthy. They didn’t understand yet that the boiling of the beer along with the alcohol that kills the germs was what made it consumable and could also do the same for water.♦
We need to keep in mind that the Pilgrims represented Godly people. They risked their lives for religious freedom. The risk they took which caused death and sickness hardly explained enough was a religious and spiritual, not a political agenda; moral and theological principles were involved, and from their perspective, there could be no compromise. That is why they boarded the Mayflower.
Visiting the first paragraph of the Mayflower Pact we see, “In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwriten, by the loyall subjects of our dread soveraigne Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britaine, Franc, and Ireland king, defender of the faith, etc.”

These were godly men that were also committed to beer production and consumption.
Join me for the next segment on the beer story among Christians. You will be glad you followed along…     To jump to part 2 just click the glass of beer… Guiness glass

May your day be filled with God’s blessing,

The Tubthumper


Stephen Mansfield, In Search for God and Guinness (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009) p 4-5.