Feb 022011
Authors: Emily Johnson

Pot isn’t going away in Colorado.

Pastor Ryan Couch of Missio Dei Church acknowledges that fact and hopes to encourage his Christian community to take an in-depth look at the current state of marijuana use in America and the church.

“It’s typical for churches to react to current cultural topics when it’s too late,” Couch said. “Rather than taking a contemporary approach to controversial social issues, they tend to bury the reality of them.”

Couch has provided a platform for the community to discuss a variety of topics that are sometimes unsettling or confusing for Christians in today’s world. On the first Wednesday of every month, Couch and other members of Missio Dei host “Theology Pub,” where relevant cultural topics are discussed from a Christian point of view.

Normally the meetings are held at Mulligan’s Pub, but last night’s session, “Should Pot Be Legal?” met on campus at Johnson Hall.

Facilitated by Couch and Missio Dei church members, Dominick Adamo and Jason Laurie,the meeting heated up in no time.

“The concept here is not to come up with some sort of dogmatic rule to adhere by,” Laurie said. “It’s just to discuss the issue. Pot isn’t going away.”

Acknowledging the social use of marijuana is more controversial than medicinal use, it’s possible that in the near future, pot could be legal to use recreationally. Opening the floor to the public, Laurie asked how people felt about that.

“Jesus probably smoked pot,” one woman said.

There were others who took a more serious tone about it, citing scripture verses about sobriety, temptation and sin.
“Christians should be living a holy life,” said one man. “I don’t think Christ would be smoking pot.”

When someone in the crowd brought up the use of scripture to advocate the use of marijuana — referring to Genesis 1:29, where God gives humankind all seed-bearing plants –– panel member, Jason Laurie, warned of relying on Bible verses.

“Well, God made arsenic, but we shouldn’t necessarily be smoking that,” he said laughing. “So using that scripture to the extreme is probably not the best way to justify it.”

Tyler Howell, a Christian member of the audience, had a problem with marijuana use, but not recreational alcohol use.

“I can have a beer, and I can drive home. I don’t enter an altered state,” he said. “I don’t think that there are different levels of high.”

He continued saying he believed either a person is high — an altered state — or not. He said he didn’t think God would approve of that altered state for recreation.

This brought on a heated discussion about what is sober and what isn’t. There came no clear answer.

“The topic is intimidating,” Couch said. “I can understand why pastors won’t touch this.”

Couch said he likes to speak directly about these controversial topics in hopes that it will lead to other discussions about the Gospel and issues of identity.

“It’s not cut and dry,” he said. “We can worship pot, alcohol or food. These things aren’t bad in of themselves — anything can be an idol. What we’re ultimately striving for is identity in our Creator.”

As the discussion wound around topics about using painkillers to treat pain or drinking a glass of wine to relax at night, to marijuana being a gateway drug and its use leading to sin, Laurie offered a concluding idea.

“It seems like it might be an issue of intent.”

The conversation among the crowd steered back to questions of sobriety, responsibility and identity.
Couch offered a general wrap-up to the idea.

“It defines you when you loose control of yourself and your relationship with God,” he said. “Or if you leads you into sin.”

Staff writer Emily Johnson can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:54 pm

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