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The Future of Pot

The Future of Pot Michigan changed forever this past election day. Recreational use of marijuana was made legal and there's no going back. But just because something is legal doesn't mean it's good for you. As your pastor my counsel is to abstain from using this product and beware of the proven, irreversible damage it does to the brains of children and youth. The Bible contains no statement about recreational drug use. God's word does set the direction of our service to care for the health and welfare of our neighbors. Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” That means to protect your neighbor from those things that might cause them physical, emotional, spiritual and economic harm. Marijuana is not a harmless substance by any means. The gospel declares that our bodies belong to God. “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you. You are not your own for you were bought with a price. So glorify God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Keeping our bodies healthy and morally pure is our faith response to Jesus Christ. Those who use recreational drugs are openly expressing doubts about the meaning of life and the moral order of life—at the least this undercuts the faith witness of someone who claims to have found the fulfillment of life in Jesus Christ. The Corinthians had a saying to justify their pleasure seeking choices about food, drink and sex, “All things are lawful for me.” (1 Corinthians 6:12) Paul's rejoinder to this licentious attitude was this, “but not all things are helpful...I will not be dominated by anything.” I believe marijuana is one of those things that can come to dominate your life. The United Methodist church has long opposed the use of recreational marijuana. Now that it is legal in Michigan, its important to take note that we as Methodists have committed to be different than the world around us. Here is the official statement of our church: Like alcohol and tobacco, marijuana is frequently a precursor to the use of other drugs. The active ingredient is THC, which affects the user by temporarily producing feelings of euphoria or relaxation. An altered sense of body image and bouts of exaggerated laughter are commonly reported. However, studies reveal that marijuana impairs short-term memory, altering sense of time and reducing the ability to perform tasks requiring concentration, swift reactions, and coordination. Some countries permit the use of marijuana in medicines. Recently, some states in the United States have passed legislation permitting the medical use of marijuana. Some studies indicate circumstances in which marijuana can have an important palliative medicinal effect unavailable through other means. The medical use of any drug, however, should not be seen as encouraging recreational use of it. We urge all persons to abstain from all use of marijuana, unless it has been legally prescribed in a form appropriate for treating a particular medical condition. We can't make choices for our fellow citizens. We can only respect their freedom to do what is legal. Yet being Christian isn't about fitting in to what the world approves. Being a Christian is about pursing a very distinctive life—one that respects the human body, glorifies God and cares for our neighbors. Join me in abstaining from marijuana and teaching our children to abstain from it. Join me in pursing a healthy life that doesn't require altered states of consciousness because we already have abundant life in Christ! Connect, Grow, Serve Pastor Tom Anderson

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