Holy Smoke

Unveiling the Controversy

In a quiet suburban neighborhood, a new couple named Linda and Jason have just moved in next door. They are friendly, warm-hearted individuals who quickly become your friends. In one of your conversations, they reveal their Christian faith and express their desire to find a local church to attend. You seize the opportunity to invite them to your own church and enthusiastically explain the various programs and events it offers. They agree to accompany you to a Q&A program hosted by the pastor later that evening. Little did you know that this evening would be the start of a thought-provoking journey.

As you, Linda, Jason, and other attendees gather for the pastor's Q&A program, an unexpected question arises from a young man in the audience. He inquires about what the pastor does differently from other churches to attract a larger crowd. To everyone's astonishment, the pastor responds that he doesn't target Christians but rather seeks to engage those who don't attend church, specifically those who "smell like weed." He admits to growing marijuana in the church as a means to catch the attention of weed smokers. The room falls silent, and you exchange uncomfortable glances with your friends.

The Awkward Ride Home

After the program, you, Linda, and Jason head home in silence. The atmosphere in the car is palpably awkward, and you can't help but wonder how they perceive the pastor's response. In an attempt to break the tension, you decide to play some Christian songs, but the unease lingers. As you finally arrive home, Jason thanks you for the invitation, but Linda, with a touch of sarcasm, asks who your weed supplier is.

Linda's comment leaves you pondering about the complex situation. Your initial response would be to reassure her that you don't have a weed supplier and clarify any misconceptions. However, the bigger question looms: Is the pastor's approach of using weed to attract people to the church morally right?

The pastor's strategy raises several ethical and practical concerns. Firstly, attempting to draw individuals to church by offering weed as a lure raises questions about the authenticity of their attendance. People may come to the church for all the wrong reasons, primarily seeking marijuana rather than spiritual enlightenment. If the pastor were to cease growing weed, some attendees might even stop coming, further highlighting the problematic nature of this approach.

Moreover, it's crucial to consider the legality of such actions, as laws surrounding marijuana cultivation and usage vary greatly across different countries and regions. In some places, including the author's country, both growing and using marijuana are strictly prohibited, carrying heavy penalties for those found in violation of these laws. The potential legal ramifications for the church and its members must not be underestimated.

Scriptural Perspective

From a spiritual standpoint, using weed as a means to attract people to the church contradicts the core principles of Christianity. The Christian faith teaches that individuals should seek a relationship with Christ, turning to the church for guidance, support, and spiritual growth. Associating the church with the use of drugs blurs the lines between faith and temptation, making it difficult for individuals to discern their true motivations for attending.

So, what does the Bible say about drug use? While the Bible does not explicitly mention marijuana or other specific drugs, it does offer guidance on how Christians should live their lives. In various passages, it encourages sobriety, self-control, and avoiding behaviors that can lead to harm or addiction. For instance, Ephesians 5:18 advises, "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit." This verse emphasizes the importance of staying clear-headed and spiritually focused.

In conclusion, the use of weed to attract people to a church raises ethical, legal, and spiritual concerns. Such an approach undermines the true purpose of attending a church, potentially violates the law, and contradicts the teachings of Christianity. It is essential to find more authentic and morally sound ways to share the message of Christ with others.

Questions to Ponder:

  1. How would you have reacted if you were in Linda and Jason's shoes when the pastor revealed his strategy?
  2. Do you believe the pastor's approach is a genuine way to spread the message of Christianity, or does it compromise the faith's integrity?
  3. How should churches attract new members without resorting to controversial tactics?
  4. Should churches adapt their strategies to reach out to different demographics, or should they adhere to traditional methods?
  5. What role does legality play in determining the appropriateness of the pastor's actions, considering the varying laws on marijuana worldwide?