Every time this question is brought up in Christian circles, it always brings me back to me getting caught smoking the gaunga (let’s see how many different words for cannabis I can use) growing up. Like the time in high school when I “misplaced” one of my pipes on the kitchen counter (yeah, I guess I was pretty high?). I still remember my mom’s voice: “Ha, unbelievable! Look at this, it’s a weed pipe!” Maybe not a direct quote but something along those lines (sorry for my adolescent tirade, ma and pops).
That is just one of many experiences growing up and being a “frequent cannabis participant” (aka, pot head). Growing up Mormon, it wasn’t the best way of getting some education on the topic. Yes, now we can see from new research that cannabis isn’t the best for maturing brains . So, I guess the word of wisdom had its benefits when it comes to certain health hazards (I hate when Mormons are right…just kidding). Yes, I look back at it now and do agree with my parents. Smoking that much weed at that age probably wasn’t the best thing.
Yes, we all live and learn. Interesting enough, within the past couple decades, we have been seeing more and more positive research on cannabis use. We all can go through the back and forth on the pros and cons of using this plant along with other psychedelics, but we cannot deny the benefits being discovered. It has been a more prevalent topic in the last couple of years since more and more States have legalized it. From an economic and health standpoint, we cannot deny the new terrain we find ourselves in as a society with good old Whacky Tobaccy.
When it comes to the Jesus Tradition, we all are on a different path when it comes to encountering God. Yes, we all believe Jesus is the way, but how we walk that way with him is always going to differ from other jesus-people. The history in how Christianity has “dealt with” cannabis hasn’t been a productive one.
It’s not black and white. We can’t “War on Drugs” our way through this one. The results of marijuana use for some are lifesaving. To others, it’s the opposite. There is a whole spectrum of experiences when using this plant so we cannot just put it in a box and be done with it. Especially within Jesus circles. More and more are seeing benefits when collaborating with weed.
Take for example, the project founded by Craig Gross called, Christian Cannabis. This is an interactive Christian space where people who love Jesus are experiencing the divine in more authentic and meaningful ways due to cannabis use. In their site, they break down recreational, medicinal, and spiritual ways of participating with this plant and God. I love this amazing tidbit on the spiritual side of the isle from their site:
“Cannabis is expansive. It creates SPACE. That space reveals your conditioned beliefs. It disrupts your habitual thought patterns. It expands your awareness. It invites you into a space of unfamiliarity. A space of mystery. In that space and in your mystery, you find GOD.”
Love it! If someone is finding and experiencing this path with God, who are we to stop them? This has always been part of the trajectory of the Jesus Way. We all have our different spiritual tools when it comes to encountering God. Some use roseries, iconography, bibles, and others use Mary Jane (she’s my main thing…name that song).
Richard Rohr writes,
“All spiritual disciplines have one purpose: to get rid of illusions so we can be present.”
There you go. When we include anything in practicing our faith, the goal for us is always to be present with the divine experience of God and others. Yes, there are other things that come with faith, but I think we can all admit (maybe not) that this should be our focus. Love God and love others. We shouldn’t be surprised if others have different vantage points when pursuing this path.
Whatever the answer to this question is, it shouldn’t be a roadblock from coming together and participating in the way of Christ. We all should give each other the freedom and space to explore this faith for ourselves. Whatever side you land on when it comes to this topic, don’t let it be some type of judge-ometer. Maybe this can be another opportunity to unite in this faith instead of divide.