Pot: A Political or Spiritual Issue?

Ellis was sitting in my office, not because he wanted to but he had been caught by his mom smoking a joint in their backyard. Mom, frustrated, thought maybe I was a guy who could slap some Jesus on him, hoping her son would have some remorse and turn from his wicked ways. I was honored that his mom trusted me, and I was pretty sure Ellis didn’t want to hear anything I had to say.

“Ellis, I’ve had a few conversations about pot, but I’m smart enough to know that you are you and not to be assumed or judged by anyone else I know who smokes marijuana. What’s your story?”

“Tim, pot is no big deal. Everybody has tried it, it’s more accessible than alcohol. No wonder, it isn’t popular because it sucks, the buzz is cool and it’s not like it has the same addictive qualities as harder drugs. Why does anybody care about it? Harmless, right?”

“Well, Ellis, whether or not it’s harmless is yours to decide.”

“Tim, I imagine you don’t now, but have you ever smoked pot?”

“Nice try bud, but we are not going there. You can’t use my life to condone something or tune me out if you think I haven’t tried it. I will tell you this; in my day, potheads were looked down upon, seen as pathetic and certainly not popular. That’s not the case anymore. Kids who smoke come from every demographic, every click, every social group, every extra-curricular group, and every faith group. Weed is not just accepted, but popular among many, many, many of the next generation. Kids tell me everybody enjoys pot and in every avenue available from joints to pipes, bongs to vape and pen to edibles.”

“That’s true.”

“Ellis, how did you start?”

“I started with my friends; it kind of became our social thing. But listen, my friends are important to me and when we get together we smoke. It’s one of our activities like gaming or watching movies and I’m not leaving my friends. Mom says I should, but I don’t know why she worries. I have it under control.”

So, Ellis, do you only smoke with your friends?”

“That’s how I started but sometimes I smoke alone, especially if I’m bored. Life is uninteresting without it. And, truthfully, I’m more creative with it. It enhances my senses and makes me. . .better! Hey, God made it, right? And it also makes life better! If have to go to do something mundane like go to the store; going to the store high is a ton more interesting! I can drive high. It doesn’t affect me much and no one will know. I’m totally good with being weed invisible. I’ve been high at church and I bet you didn’t know!”

“Honestly, yeah! You were goofy for a good 15 minutes then totally zoned out.” I watched Ellis try not to laugh. “Hey Ellis, pot is not condoned by everyone (including your mom,) how do you hide your smoking?”

“Ok, don’t get mad or anything, but I’m great at deception. I can tell my parents, straight up, whatever they want to hear. I carry eye drops and breath mints and change smelly clothes when I have to. I can act normal and I have hiding places for paraphilia. They will never find it.”

“I believe you, Ellis, but how do you afford it? You don’t even have a job.”

“Tim, I know you are cool with confidentiality and all, but let’s just say my parents are really careless with money around the house. I can put together some cash when I need to and my friends, well we help each other out.”

“Ellis, I wonder, where is the line when pot becomes habitual? Personally, I believe I could line up 10 guys from any graduating class, knowing that each has tried marijuana, and predict that one will lose the battle with pot. It’s like one in ten has the allergy that keeps them from getting past it. Don’t you know kids who are obsessed with weed to the point it is detrimental?”

“For sure! I know plenty who are pure addicted, but not me! I could quit anytime but I don’t see the point. I admit, I have a routine for smoking, and I find myself thinking about it, anticipating it, and working to make sure I have the opportunity to smoke it. I get edgy without the routine, but my mom is like that with her Dr. Pepper! And it seems like I need it just a little bit to help me with my anxiety. What? You want me to take Zoloft instead? Everyone knows marijuana has medicinal properties. The buzz is cool but what I really need is the anxiety blocker. It also helps me sleep. It helps me be more relaxed in social settings. Like, I can’t deal with my family without it. It helps take the edge off when I walk in the door.”

“Ellis, how often do you smoke now?

“I used to only smoke weekends, but now I enjoy it most days. And a few times I’ve lit up a couple times if a particular day is stressful. Life gets crazy like that. It’s like I kind of need it, but I’m not addicted to it.”

“Then what is addiction. . .other than needing it?”

“Look, Tim, for some, it might limit their potential and I have seen it destroy other kids who can’t quit. But it’s not like I can’t handle it! I get my business done and I could quit if I want to but I don’t need to quit. And some of my friend’s parents smoke and they have companies with big responsibilities and are highly successful. I’m like that. Besides, if I get too chill and lose motivation, I take Adderall to get me on track at school. I mean, mom thinks I’m not living up to my potential and that might be a bit true but school is pointless, and when it matters I can step up. Mom and I just disagree about what matters!”

“Tim! It’s legal in Colorado! They get it! I just happen to live in a State with old conservatives in power who have outdated value systems. Everyone in the younger generation is fine with it and someday it will be fine here, too. I just live in the wrong place at the wrong time; I should not be penalized for that.”

“Ellis, let me tell you my concern. First and foremost, I’m not as worried with the chemicals in pot as I am with the line of thinking that goes with smoking it. I call it: ‘Screw-it.’

When a kid knows pot is illegal and yet, still smokes. . . ‘Screw-it.’ When he knows he could be arrested but still ‘Screw-it.’ When he might be drug tested for sports or work, but ‘Screw-it.’ When he knows his parents would be heartbroken, yet. . . ‘Screw-it.’

“Ellis, have you felt this in you? ‘Screw-it’ grows. This is the same villain that creeps in when a major test is in the morning but a guy can smoke, chill and ‘Screw-it.’ Getting high would be a lot more entertaining than the ton of things he needs to do, consequently ‘Screw-it.’ When life is chaotic, ‘Screw-it.’ When life is boring, ‘Screw-it.’ My relationships at home suck, ‘Screw-it.’ My peer relationships are messed up, ‘Screw-it.’ It’s like a whole new level of apathy, life avoidance and laziness cranked up times ten. ‘Screw-it’ becomes the path to self-medication through pot. Pot can become an answer in any situation that completely avoids every situation. Ellis, in case I lost you. Pause. Rewind. Repeat. Pot can become an answer in any situation that completely avoids every situation.”

“Ellis, you have reason to be careful. Sometimes, somedays, a guy looks at a history with pot and goes, ‘I didn’t die. I got this.’ And the fear of other once held boundaries fades away. In fact, boundaries in all areas lose their value. It’s not fun unless it’s over the top. If pot is illegal and it’s no big deal, then he’s curious about other illegal drugs. The high from them might be better, bigger, cooler. The gateway is open. He probably shouldn’t try something harder, but, ‘Screw-it.’

“Can you see that in you, Ellis, even a little bit? No one, absolutely no one, suspects they might be the one in ten that loses a part of life to pot. Even the unfortunate, allergic one in ten will still deny that pot is a negative thing in his life. No one understands how much of their motivation to achieve is thwarted by ‘Screw-it’ until they are free from its power.”

“So, Tim, are you telling me you don’t think pot should be legalized? You know the US House of Representatives is good with making it legal on a national level. Unfortunately, the Senate is the problem.”

“Ellis, is marijuana a political issue? I think it should be. We live in a “do what you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody” society. We value our freedom to screw up more than we desire to create a society that protects people from screwing up. Eventually, this screwing up causes a great deal of harm. I’m willing to make sacrifices in my own life if it means protecting others. That opinion does not make me communist. I’m all for freedom. I simply choose to live for a greater good beyond just me, even if that means living with boundaries.”

“Tim, you are obviously Republican. Whatever. Are you also gonna tell me Jesus hates pot? He certainly had a thing for turning water into wine so he obviously likes a good party!”

“Ellis, that’s called distorting Scripture for your own benefit. But it is still a good question. Is pot a spiritual issue? Well, I think it should be. God is ultimately concerned with our capacity to love. And pot has the capacity to thwart love. Lying and deception is selfish, not loving. Choosing a chemical to deal with life’s challenges is selfish, not self-love. Being lazy with responsibility is selfish and not self-love. Anything to harm our lungs, our bodies, is selfish and not self-love. Hang on son, I’m going to quote some Bible to you. Hey, you are the one who brought up Scripture!”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20  “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which  you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.”

“Ellis, you are a great kid and like every Christian on this earth, you have to determine what love looks like in your life. You have to be mature enough to perceive the difference between selfish human desires and your divine loving purpose. You may determine that marijuana is not a part of that scenario. You may feel that divine love is never thwarted when you smoke. Be smart enough to question your potential justifications. That’s not a guilt trip. That’s my honest interpretation of what it means to be faithful.”

“Ellis, you know this but hear it anyway. I love you. I enjoy you. I deeply value our relationship. I don’t judge you. I don’t condemn or condone. My role in your life is, and always has been, to get in your head and make you think. My goal is to challenge and inspire. Right now, on this issue, you are only listening to the voices of your friends and what pot is telling you when you are high. You have tuned out your mom and I get that. So, thanks. Thank you for letting me in. Thank you for honesty, vulnerability and trusting me. Know that you are heard, and still deeply loved.

“Ellis, because I love you, I worry for you. I have seen other young men who lost Fmotivation and consequently suffered a lowered self-esteem as a result. I know you have problems, everybody does. But I’m scared you are self-medicating your issues instead of dealing with them. I am concerned because other boys found out that pot isolated them and built a wall between them and their folks. I have seen so many guys become pot-heads but deny it. And I’ve witnessed too many lives devastated when this became a gateway to other drugs. And I just don’t want to see it in you.

“Now, do something for me. Pretend that we are talking 20 years from now. Your son is seated beside you. What do you hope for him? How will you protect him? Will he watch you smoke? Will you provide it for him? Will you be afraid of his choices? Tell me, when he crosses your boundaries, when he deceives you, when he thinks you don’t understand him and he shuts you out, when he doesn’t live up to his potential. . .for whatever reason, what will you say?”

“Umm. . .

In the opening welcome and introduction to this website, I shared the Scripture that inspired this online adventure, I Tim 6:20. This text is also the origination of the name; “Sacred Chatter.” However, my intent is not to be a singular voice. I invite your voice to be a part of the “chat” and I base this on another of my favorite Scriptures: Hebrews 10:24. “And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds.” I am considering how I can provoke love and good deeds in places beyond where I live. This is my attempt to enter into a Hebrews 10 conversation with you over social media.digitally. Now, I am interested in your feedback. Consider what provoking you can provide with your own Sacred Chatter.

What’s important to you? What really matters?

Add your voice in Sacred Chatter.

Love is ours to provoke. Good deeds are ours to sew.

That the wisdom of Hebrews 10 may flourish and grow.

Email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, they’re potential mediums for the Hebrews 10 plan.

Receive weekly podcast + blog updates in your inbox!

Receive weekly podcast + blog updates in your inbox!