UP IN SMOKE OR TO TOKE OR NOT TO TOKE?

I’m getting an education in marijuana on my trip through the West, especially from California and Colorado.

Considered a felony by the federal government, cannabis use for medical purposes is allowed (and heavily regulated) in these two states.

It’s weird to pick up one of those free, independent newspapers and find an entire supplement dedicated to the “dispensaries” and to weed in general.

Our host in Colorado Springs was very kind to offer us good stuff as we relaxed on her deck overlooking the mountains, the very mountains that were up in smoke a couple weeks ago.

I say offered because neither Becky nor I partook. Getting high has never appealed to us. To be honest, though, it was much harder to resist a similar offer from a dude during a U2 concert.

For Becky’s part, it might have been the first time anyone ever offered her weed, being the All-American, conservative gal. The scenario still cracks me up.

Speaking of conservatives, our host, whom I’ll call June, made it known she thinks James Dobson is “out of his mind.”

I didn’t press why, but being a part of the very strong progressive underground of Colorado Springs, I assume she meant his penchant for melding Christian conviction with Republicanism.

The Republicans, of course, according to her, simply want the pot issue “to go away.” Hence, the continuous shifting floor of regulations on sales and use. The Democrats, I’m guessing, are the party of Big Rock Doobie Mountain.

I spent a couple hours chatting with June, mostly asking questions and responding to hers, thus avoiding political talk and my often-maligned vocation as pastor. I also cleared up my distance from many things evangelical by sticking to the person of Jesus when she asked me about my faith, etc.

So, I didn’t have the heart to tell her that a big part of our pilgrimage to Colorado Springs was Focus on the Family’s headquarters to visit the Radio Drama division, (Odyssey, Whit’s End, etc.)!

She told me just about anyone can get a “prescription” for pot. She found the drug a godsend during three months of chemotherapy a few years back. I have to say, I’m grateful for her sake for that mercy.

But the fact is, most marijuana smokers just like to get high. I know that much from sitting at the feet of Cheech & Chong in the 70’s.

I mean, really: Apart from the conservative and liberal voting bloc wars, vilifications and judgments of fellow human beings, what good is marijuana?

I tried to light-up a conversation with June about such a topic, but it dissipated. She, being an obvious toker, wouldn’t entertain any negative effects from pot.

She reminded me that most Americans are pretty good at destroying themselves through crappy food, alcohol and couch dwelling. Uh, yea. She’s right.

Pot people do tend to be outdoors-y, in tune with health and socially conscientious. If there is research demonstrating a wasting of brain cells from pot, June isn’t having any of it.

The cynic in me says, OK, greatThe more other people smoke pot, the more I can be productive in the wake of their diminished abilities.

But that’s not necessarily true or kind of me to say. It’s the kind of things anti-pot people say because they can’t abide the thought of others enjoying a buzz.

Christians can not condemn the use of pot simply because it’s illegal or because it’s “not conservative.” And we can’t judge people who use it who feel the need to get mellow because they don’t know the calming presence of the Holy Spirit.

I need to think about what’s best in light of God’s creation and his redemption of the world through Jesus Christ. He came to give humankind abundant life. He came to lead us to love God and neighbor.

If pressed, I couldn’t tell you what I think is the best policy about pot. Yea, my sense is its use makes people dopey and can’t possibly be a good habit.

And yet, in PA, casino gambling is “acceptable,” as is pornography and gluttony and addictive tobacco.  We live in a culture of many “rights” that are simply self-destructive and family destructive.

Is marijuana the worst thing out there? I kind of doubt it. At the same time, it seems like a royal waste of time, money and human ingenuity.

This was a ramble on my part. Sorry. The uncontrolled substance of caffeine is barely doing its job. Give me some feedback, people.