I’m a ‘fan’ (fully devoted believer & follower) of God. A fan of Guinness. And a fan of history. So when I heard about a book that combined all 3 of those, I was intrigued, especially because it is often assumed that it is impossible for the first 2 (God & Guinness) to be associated at all, a development that seems to have originated with the Temperance Movement of the late 19th century, a subject I’ve written about in some detail HERE.
The book is called, The Search For God & Guinness – a Biography of a Beer That Changed The World,” by Stephen Mansfield. It begins with a series of anecdotes relating specifically to Arthur Guinness, the man that started the Guinness brewery in 1759, & also about the beer he created. It reveals a man (& a company,) committed to God & people. As I go through the book, I may blog some of the stuff that jumps out at me. So far, I’m really impressed at the values & priorities lived out by Arthur Guinness. He vividly illustrated by the way that he lived, worked, & cared for people that ‘the Church’ is not a building; it is a way of life – the Jesus way – loving God & people. He left behind a legacy & a lifetime of evidence that testified of that fact.
I’ve found it a fascinating read from the get-go. My favorite thing so far is from Mansfield’s exploration of the history of beer, & especially how it is tied to a familiar & significant part of the beginning of the United States of America. He cites a couple of primary sources, (meaning that the sources were written by actual Pilgrims who were eyewitnesses to the events recorded. If you’re interested, the sources are: Mourt’s Relation & Of Plymouth Plantation.)
The sources record the first interaction between the occupants of the Mayflower & the Native Americans, a couple of guys that we’ve learned about since Kindergarten, Samoset & Squanto. What I’d never heard about was the details of their first interchange.
In March of 1621 – the Pilgrims, worried about a lack of shelter from the brutal New England weather, as well as waning foodstuffs & a rapidly depleting beer supply, made their way ashore & began the process of establishing their colony. Here’s an excerpt from the book:
On March 16…a tall muscular native strode out from the trees & began to approach. The Pilgrims quickly took their muskets in hand. They were startled, for the man coming toward them was an unsettling sight. He was nearly naked – “Stark naked,” they later said – with only a strand of leather about his waist & fringe about as wide as a man’s hand covering his private parts. he carried a bow & 2 arrows & the Pilgrims noticed that his hair was long in the back but shaved at the front of his head. They had seen nothing like that in England.
As starling as this Indian was to the Pilgrims, it was what happened next that shocked them most of all. The man neared, paused, & then shouted “Welcome!” in clear, perfect English. And then, more astonishing still, he asked – again, flawlessly in the Pilgrims’ own tongue- if they had some beer.
As much as I love historical-ness, I believe I would have paid even better attention if that information had been included in the educational process.