Christian pot advocate, one of few or one of many?
In my life, I have had trials and pains, and adversity. I don’t think Im unique this way, as most people have these things in their lives. But when I was a young tattooed, rowdy youth I was highly agnostic. It seemed like I was always going at it alone, and for the most part I was. I grew up in Springville Utah, the mecca of Mormonism.
Most people know what Mormons are and if you don’t you can visit my other site http://behindzioncurtain.com
My story was typical of a lot of young Mormon kids, I started out rebelling a little and resisting the unnaturally rigid moral system. I grew my hair long when I was 8 years old. I fought my dad bitterly about this. He would often call me a “fagott” or a “little girl” due to my long locks. He wanted an ‘all American boy’ a ‘normal’ boy, not some hippy skateboarder who hated pro-sports. So he chided me a lot about my appearance in hopes to straighten me out. This is when I added black makeup and a bunch of tattoos to the mix, to stand up for who I was and to throw it back in my dads face that I would not let him control me. That ended shortly after age 12 because the following year I moved in with my granma after several fist fights with my dad. Eventually my parents would separate and that made life a little more depressing.
After age 15, I moved in with my cousin and her boyfriend. He was a self purported ‘skin head’ complete with dumb skin head tattoos and the shaved head, etc. We had a lot of fun, and this is when I was introduced to pot. I smoked pot regularly, and I was able to cope with teenage stress, and family stress, etc. I had horrible headaches back then, which I had been diagnosed as having migraines back then (I know now that they are cluster headaches). But back then, I didn’t need an excuse to smoke pot. It was illegal no matter what my excuse was. I smoked it for recreation, for stress, for pain, for whatever. I loved pot.
After several years of using pot, I started carrying it around with me every where, and I got arrested for possession a few times. I wasn’t caught selling, or growing, or anything else, just possession. By my 3rd arrest, I was still not going to let the system win and incarcerate me any longer, that is when I moved to Washington. I got off the bus with no money, not job and no home. I was 17 years old. But by this time I had already been couch surfing for a few years, so I was prepared I thought.
My first job in Seattle was something that I found in the U-District, gathering signatures for I-692, the MMJ initiative that passed in 1998.
I got paid some change for each signature, and I had a good time doing it. I got a lot of signatures, and I got enough money to feed me for a few weeks. Then the job ended, and I was off to find other ways to survive.
After several weeks of fending for myself, I was on Broadway in Seattle, and I met New Horizons Ministries. When I had met them, I had been studying Hinduism and Paganism for years, so I listened to what they had to say, unlike my friends who didn’t care or who acted offended.
They told me why they were working with this ministry, they were not paid, they were not making up half truth, and they seemed very sincere. They invited us to go to their ministry which at the time was on Summit Ave in Seattle, which wasn’t far from Broadway where I originally met them.
They fed 100s of kids every day who were homeless or inbetween, or abused at home or whatever. They just opened their doors and anyone under the age of 19 could be there for a morning and evening drop in. They gave cloths, offered laundry facilities, and even bus tokens, but best of all they gave good food and a listening ear.
I met a few people there that changed my life, and loved me unconditionally, and I was not used to that. Any other situation there was always unrealistic expectations that were required for getting love. But these people were so sweet, and sincere. Grandma Penny, Chris, Mary, Suzy, Ron, Rita and so many others. Just simply amazing folks!
So I started learning more about the Bible, and I wanted to be completely aware of what I claimed to not understand (by being all agnostic and all that). So I read the Bible at least twice. And I started asking some questions that were very important to me to know. Why does this happen, what about that in the bible, how about this, why would G-d do that. Lots and lots of questions, some sarcasm sometimes, and a lot of skepticism.
But for 2 years, I never called upon the Lord in my life. I had prayed, and pleaded, and hoped and wished, but to other forces in the Universe, never the Lord.
But after traveling Spokane and living with a girl. I found myself wanting to be better. I tried to get a job, but first I needed a car. So I asked some friends that lived in Deer Park not far from me, if I could buy their car. They had an old Audio 6000 in their driveway that had been there for years and never started. So I worked on it, got a battery (because my folks sent me some money, after pleading and begging for a while). Then I was on my way to Spokane, and the first thing that happens is that I slide off the road with the bald tires on the car, and end up in an icy ditch. I had no way out, and I flooded the car trying.
So I prayed, I asked Jesus for the strength, or the ability to get through this situation. To my surprise the paranoia of getting found driving without a license, or losing this car to impound all went away. I was able to think clearly. I sat in the car, and turned the key, it started to my amazement. So I tried to work out of the ditch. What I couldn’t do in 30 minutes before this, I was able to do very quickly now. Within less than a minute I was out, and on my way back to the house from where I got the car from. The tires were too bad to drive it. So I needed to work on that at a later time.
That car never started for me again for more context. But I was on the ‘heel toe express’ again. I was hitchhiking from Deer Park to Spokane. I was trying to get a job still, to fix the car, to keep the girl and to make something of my life.
This is when I met a young pastor named Nate, who was driving to Spokane from Chewelah. He and I talked about a few things, small talk. Then he told me what he does. I told him about how I had a prayer answered and how I had some questions. He gave me a story about how he had a similar life, and he was homeless as a teen too. He answered thousands of questions about the Bible for me, and about other things.
I went to his wedding, and spent a lot of time with him and his wife, it was a true blessing every time I hung out with them.
So I prayed, and asked G-d for direction. I was still homeless and I was going to City Gate ministries in Spokane. Mark Terrel the director spent some time with me. And I had received some guidance from the Bible (Romans 13) and I thought I should go home and spend my time on the warrants that were out for my arrest on possession charges in Utah. Put that behind me. Even though the charges were only misdemeanors and even though I couldn’t be extradited from Washington for them, I decided to also go home and make amends with people especially my family.
So I went home with some financial help from City Gate / Cup Of Cool Water ministries. I served another 6 months on top of months and months I had spent in jail previously for the same charges (before bailing out). Then I got out, and I had been convinced that pot was a drug, and I didn’t need it. So I lived a drug free life, no tobacco, no pot, nothing else besides and occasional beer or glass of wine. I wanted to be dedicated to the philosophy that I had dedicated myself to. I got baptized in the Provo river by Pastor Gene. And I served a few ministry callings, and I even spoke at a baptist conference in Salt Lake about teen suicide issues in Utah (because my brother Justin had committed suicide at age 16). Utah is the #1 state for teen suicides, and #1 for prescription drug use/abuse too, so I commented on my experiences with depression and prescriptions too.
I was very dedicated and I the new lifestyle fit me pretty good. Mind you, I was in a predominately LDS/Mormon state, and they are very anti-other Christian religions. Their doctrine is explicitly negative about other Christian groups in fact. So I was not a real popular person with my friends and family. I was after all very outspoken about things I disliked about the LDS culture and the LDS scriptures. So that was not a huge bonus in my social life. But I didn’t care, I was living a sincere life and I liked being able to enjoy the freedom of just being me, as I have always been.
After awhile I met my wife Kimberly. She was/is totally my type, she had the patchwork cloths, the long brown hair, and a big sack of weed in her pocket. Everything I loved about a woman when I was a non-Christian bachelor. She wasn’t a Christian believer, but she was going to church with her brother who she was staying with. She was curious. It worked out that after meeting her online, a month later I met her in person. It was love at first site, and I spent a lot of time with her. I broke up with my other girlfriend, and Kimi and I were engaged within 3 months. Within 6 months we were hitched at a groovy little wedding created by my wife, even the wedding dress and the brides maid’s dresses were made by my wife. She topped it off with a homemade, 3 tier wedding cake. She got baptized shortly after we moved to Colorado a year later. She was a believer, and she was determined to let G-d work in her life, so she quit using pot. She never used anything else, not even tobacco. But she was raised with some really cool parents so she was enlightened with a different prospective of the universe than most.
So now neither of us smoked pot, or partied, etc. Then we planned for and had a child. That kept us busy, and there was no time for partying, even if we wanted to. Which we didn’t.
A few years passes, I am working a full time job, and then I am running 3 technology companies that I had owned/operated for 5 years.
I started a graveyard shift, and my typical migraine type headaches increased, and then I started experiencing cluster headaches.
I tried everything. I had a prescription for midrin, imitrex, steroids (believe it or not). Nothing helped.
One day at one of my side jobs the manager of the jewelry store that I was installing point of sales equipment for offered me a free spliff as a tip for doing a good job. I told him it had been 7 years, but sure. I took it home and waited until I had another headache. When the headache came, I was ready. I fired up the spliff and within 30 seconds the headache was gone. I had no undesirable side effects, except for a noticeable increase in heart rate, and the munchies of course. But that wasn’t nearly as bad as some of the side effects of the prescriptions I was given.
Fast forward a year, I had been going to hempfest, and supporting Mark Emery with his battle against extradition to the US, and I had started xCannabis to share my experiences and opinions. ( I tend to do that with everything I believe in, which accounts for why I own over 30 websites).
I got my doctor recommend from a doctor in Spokane, and I now find pot to be spiritually and physically healing.
But now I am in a new sort of strange situation. I am a vocal, sometimes outspoken student of Jesus Christ. Its just my nature to be outspoken I guess. I was just as outspoken when I was agnostic. As a pot advocate and a Christian, I am in kind of a paradox. On one hand main stream Christianity doesn’t accept marijuana in any way shape or form. There are some Christian folks that do understand marijuana, but for the most part it is shunned. Not yet do most Christians now that cannabis was a main ingredient in the anointing oil of Moses.
On the other hand, there are people like Radical Russ Belville and other pot advocates who are very much offended by Christianity.
Read this article about Roger Christie/THC Ministry Hawaii: “The Church of Lighter Wallets”.
I don’t have a problem with Russ, and I advertise on that website. Russ knows my position and I know his. But this is the problem with Russ’ comments its not that it is Russ saying this, but it is a common feeling shared in many ‘alternative culture / counter-culture / progressive culture’ circles including marijuana law reform.
First I have to say that the flack Roger Christie is getting is undue. Russ believes that Roger Christie is selling his religion, and making it somehow necessary to pay him for being a cannabis minister. For the record this is not the case. I used the information that Roger Christie offered on his site to get ordained as a minister (the same as himself) for free from the Universal Life Church http://ulc.org/.
Roger doesn’t make the claim that his kits guarantee immunity from the law, just a legal defense (similar to MMJ), and he makes it clear that not everyone has been successful in using this as a defense. But what Roger is charging for are the materials that he produces. You can choose to get those resources from http://ulc.org/ also, which I did for free. I got a certificate in the mail with my credentials for no cost, not even shipping.
I don’t think it’s un-reasonable to ask for a donation to cover costs, and plus if people want to donate why should that be any different than Rick Steves asking for donations for PBS and giving in return a hemp backpack or something else? A donation for a prize… Same as other non-profits.
Anyway, the problem for me is that I find that a lot of relationships that I start get jaded shortly after having a conversation with someone about Jesus and faith. It’s like some people just don’t want to hear about it (even if they initiate the conversation to begin with, which happens a lot).
Here is why I think that Christians compliment the marijuana law reform movement.
First, if you look at Jesus. He is the ultimate civil rights activist. He acts peacefully, to demonstrate His resistance to the Roman and Jewish authorities, and He believes in His cause so much that He gives His life for it. After that, His message is spread to every corner of the world.
That is the way to stand up for something and make some change!
Second, you have to acknowledge that one of the most well know Christ disciples in the world Bob Marley (as well as Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, and most other reggae musicians) are directly responsible for much of the momentum in the marijuana law reform movement. Do you think ganja would be as well accepted or as fun without Bob Marley? Nope. And most of his music is about Jesus Christ.
I think I am one of many who believe in Christ and support marijuana law reform. But I think that its an opposite social situation where instead of people concealing their support for marijuana, some Christians in the law reform movement are very discreet about their spiritual beliefs.
My opinion is that you are not a true Christian if you are quiet about what you believe. That defies what the Lord taught to the core! You think if Jesus was quiet His message would have gotten around the world like it did?! What about the Great Commission?
This would be like saying “Im a pot advocate” but then never doing anything to bring awareness to marijuana law reform, etc..
Now I get the whole thing about “you can’t prove G-d”. I get that. But at the same time, some of these agnostic folks who are evolution theorists believe in some weird stuff too.
For example many of these believe the universe came in to existence and they assign the responsibility to the “big bang”. Or, they believe that human life bubbled out of some ooze by accident, with no design or reason.
First the big bang doesn’t explain where the matter came from, or where the bang came from.
Second, humans evolving from ooze? Prove that! Come on now, these are all just theories, not fact. Same with faith, right?
Anyway. I just wanted to let other Christians know, that you are not alone. If you toke and you’re a Christian, you have a brother who understands.
P.S. Here is another tidbit about marijuana legalization and when the movement really started.
It didn’t start with NORML, or MPP, or Jack Herer. It started with reggae, and very much with Robert Nesta Marley and The Wailers in the early 60’s.
NORML started in 1970, but Jesus praising Bob Marley was spreading the word about herb to the world way back in 1964.