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Home > 2013 > November Online Only > When Pot Is Legal, What Do We Say?

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So what are you going to say when the issue gets personal? Should hip pastors spark a bowl with the lost to be "incarnational"? More importantly, are we ready to intelligently discuss recreational pot use with our youth, young adults, parents, and singles? Even more importantly, can we talk about it without oversimplification?

Gross oversimplification

When a pastor's advice on a moral issue fails, the usual culprit is oversimplification. I feel this keenly on the pot question, having fought on both sides. As a non-believing protester marching on Wisconsin's state capitol with a giant pot-leaf shaped Legalize it! sign, I saw dozens of otherwise law-abiding friends serve lengthy prison terms for buying, selling, and smoking pot. Now, as a pastor I see the destructive power of the substances that people use to medicate themselves. Now I'm learning to grow past oversimplification from either side.

Here are a few common oversimplifications, followed by the legitimate objections you'll encounter if you use them:

"Pot is bad for you, and our bodies are temples that we need to take care of."

So is alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and sugar. What in this world is not bad for you? Bus exhaust causes cancer, and according to California, so does everything else. My missionary friends in Nepal constantly fall seriously ill due to contaminated water, bacteria, chemicals, etc. Should they abandon their post? Super smog in China is killing thousands of people daily. Is it immoral to choose to live in a Chinese city? Should I avoid tap water to stay free from the chlorine and fluoride?

"Pot is worse than alcohol. You can't use it in moderation."

Worse specifically how? Certainly not according to any study (or basic, cursory glance) at the impact of either substances on our society at broad or individual levels. And what about using THC in a way that does not require smoking, such as vapor, brownies, or pills? What about using THC in small doses, equivalent to an IPA or glass of wine? Who measures intoxication? Is it a certain percentage? Is it a particular hindrance on one's capacity to function? Is it OK to drink two beers? Three? Is tolerance different for different people?

"Pot is never mentioned in the Bible, but wine is."

T-shirts and coffee are not in the Bible, either. Take off your shirt; throw away your mug!

"Pot is legal now, which means it is OK for Christians to use."

Is "OK to use" the Christian's measure of goodness? I could be an alcoholic, adulterous, deceitful, prescription-abusing, manipulative, hate-filled connoisseur of grotesque pornography and still be OK, legally and socially. Does the government's stamp of approval mean I should partake, or even can partake with moral uprightness? What about dope smoking is truly profitable for you and, more importantly, for your neighbor? What would Jesus smoke?

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Related Topics:CultureDrugsEthicsFutureLegal Issues
Posted: November 11, 2013

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Displaying 2–6 of 14 comments

One God apparel

November 22, 2013  2:03am

I think we're to quick to judge people, that see nothing wrong with smoking a plant that neither man or the devil created. Quick to give our opinion on what we think what is good or evil, Adam & Eve's sin was eating of the tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil. So even the knowledge of Good is evil. What we need to remind people is how much God Loves them, and how He sent his Son down to die a horrible death for all our sins, so we don't have to live in condemnation. We are the righteousness of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord & Savior. For how Christ is in Heaven, so are we made here on earth, made perfect through our High Priest Jesus Christ. Take the focus off Our wavering love & faith for God, and let us focus on Christ Love and Faith for us. His Love & Faith does not waver, he is perfect for us because we're not. Dwelling on Christ will guide each person to how we should live. Persecution comes from the religious not the world, Jesus proved that. My 2 cents, One God One Love Jesus

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Rick Dalbey

November 21, 2013  1:40pm

One more thing. I believe we are designed with a need for inebriation, to stand outside of ourselves, to feel joy, peace and happiness and get a little crazy. If people can't find that in Christianity, they will look for it in drugs, alcohol, addictive sports and thrill seeking. Jesus got so happy He leaped for joy, He exulted. It says in Nehemiah 8 "The joy of the Lord is our strength". The citizens of Jerusalem mistook the 120 disciple's behavior for drunkenness at Pentecost. No wonder 3000 got saved. They wanted what the disciples had. "Be not drunk with wine but be filled with the Holy Spirit." Who can blame drug users if they only see a joyless, sober expression of Christianity that's big on doctrine and light on experience. Psalms says "He who sits in the Heavens laughs". "In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." As the original Jesus People said when coming out of the drug culture, with all due respect, Jesus is the ultimate high!

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Rick Dalbey

November 20, 2013  6:34pm

Good questions. I'm 63 and I drink a glass of red wine with dinner every night for heart health. If there were no medical benefit and I drank just for the relaxation buzz, I doubt I would be so regular. Truthfully. I smoked pot at 18 and 19 before I was saved. Pot frequently made me irrationally paranoid and made my heart race, so I'm not that interested. I also remember it sucking away my motivation to go to work, I just wanted to kick back and relax. Yet I have friends that have smoked pot for 40 years and are successful businessmen. For me, I just intuitively sense a categorical difference in the character of the high. You feel drawn to eastern religious concepts, you're mellow and escapist. Writers tend to be alcoholics and yet have done great works despite alcoholism. Pot smokers don't seem to have the same motivation and accomplish little. This is especially true of teenagers whose brains are still forming. Plus I believe there's a higher correlation of Pot use with schizophrenia

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Fred Massie

November 15, 2013  11:27am

MORE ARTICLES PLEASE!!! This was very helpful and I am already trying to think through this vastly complex issue as it relates to Christians, and non-Christians. I understand a non-Christian can do anything they want. We can't expect them to have or care about, biblical morality, i.e. weaker brother etc. But, my big and as yet unanswered question is; Is it unwise or unhealthy for non-Christians? Is there a medical perspective? We have used the medical argument against smoking, whether Christian or not with great success. Smoking rates continue to decline. Is there a similar argument for pot? Is there medical evidence that even casual use will eventually give them lung cancer or some line of reasoning that has scientific merit?

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***

November 14, 2013  8:41am

Interesting, but I've asked the "Why" question to someone that even recognized they were in "bondage" to pot. While they knew their answer didn't line up with scripture or what Jesus would want for them, society and other factors encouraged their habit. You can always ask "why" but still need to be prepared that the answer might be blatant disregard for what the person (who uses) even deems as "right behavior."

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