Back in the mid-60’s the fad which developed among college students was “doing drugs.” This infatuation with mind-altering substances became a large part of the popular music scene with psychedelic lyrics (“I tripped on a cloud and fell eight miles high; I tore my mind on the jagged sky”) and colorful groups (Strawberry Alarm Clock, who woke everyone up with “Incense and Peppermints”).
The Association came along with “Along Comes Mary” (“now my empty cup is as sweet as the punch”). “Mary” and “Mary Jane” were designations for marijuana in those days, but now young people are referring to it as “dank,” “bo,” “chronic,” and “hemp,” according to “The New Pot Culture” by Monika Guttman in last Sunday’s (2-18-96) USA WEEKEND (4).
And, sadly, the use of marijuana has sharply increased during the past four years. Reader’s Digest credited Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign (in part) with the sharp decline in young people’s use of the drug (February 73). According to the information presented in USA Weekend the number of high school seniors smoking pot declined from 50% in 1979 to 22% in 1992; since that time the number has risen dramatically to 34.7% (5). Something is terribly wrong for the number of users to increase so rapidly in such a short period of time.
One reason for this change may be society’s deemphasis of the subject. Reader’s Digest cites several factors. “In 1989, 518 drug stories were aired on the evening news of the three major networks. By 1994, there were just 78. The number of PDFA spots is down 20 percent since 1990.” And many of those ads are aired at times when young people are not watching (75).
Furthermore, drugs seem to be more acceptable in the entertainment media. According to USA Weekend, approval of marijuana has been suggested on Roseanne , in movies such as How To Make An American Quilt, and once again in the realm of popular music. In fact, a recent CD entitled Hempilation, was released specifically to earn money for marijuana decriminalization (5), a cause which even some misguided conservatives (and liberals such as former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders-RD 74) champion. There are also some potthemed hats and T-shirts that one may find young people starting to wear.
Keep Off the GrassToday’s adults who survived “hippie-hood” may not be too alarmed about this resurgent craze, but they should be because the primary psychoactive chemical (THC) of today’s marijuana has doubled in potency during the past ten years (USA 5). The ease of obtaining the drug should strike fear into most people.
Becoming commonplace are “Phillies blunts,” which are cigars which have been hollowed out and refilled with marijuana. “The nicotine helps increase the high” (4). But consider the following information carefully. Marijuana is currently this nation’s largest cash crop (6). Furthermore, many teens who were interviewed for the USA article said that the average time it would take them to find and buy pot was three minutes (6-7). A Seattle teenager confided to Reader’s Digest that “Weed is as common as school lunch” (72).
EffectsThe effects of smoking marijuana are detrimental to both the individual and society. Let’s begin with the latter. Many who desire either to legalize or decriminalize marijuana have cited “the European model” as a system that works. According to the February Reader’s Digest ,”Dutch adolescent marijuana use, for example, nearly tripled between 1984 and 1992, while the flow of drugs into bordering countries has grown. At the same time the Netherlands is ranked No. 1 in Europe for forcible assaults, up 65 percent since 1985″ (74). Similar unsavory results have been Zurich, Switzerland’s reward. “Today, Switzerland is left with Europe’s highest percapita rate of drug addiction and second highest rate of HIV infection” (75).
The personal effects on the individual user are well known. USA Weekend states them succinctly: “Marijuana reduces coordination; slows reflexes; interferes with the ability to measure distance, speed and time; and disrupts concentration in short term memory. A marijuana smoker is exposed to six times as many carcinogens as a tobacco smoker” (5).
Another danger of marijuana is that (as a “gateway” drug) it leads its devotees to experiment with drugs even more dangerous than it is, as some users admit: “Pot makes you lazy. I don’t like to do schoolwork,” a former 3.5 average student admitted. “A lot of people move on to acid” (Reader’s Digest 71-72). Parents need to be aware of this revived threat against young people and caution them not to be deceived by it.
Many enjoy the high and think they are more lucid when stoned, possessing greater insights. The following letter was written to Ann Landers several years ago–before I began documenting articles properly. The misspellings and errors were on the part of the letter writer. It serves to demonstrate how marijuana affects the brain.
Dear Ann Landers:
Your letter against pot last week was a joke. If you dryed up creeps want kids to believe you, who don’t you tell the truth? I like my hair long. It looks fine. I have yet to see a single letter in your column to tell the GOOD things about pot. Why is that? Because you are a bunch of fuddy-dudies who are scare us kids to death. Well, it won’t work. Most of us know more about pot than our parents and teachers put together. Getting turned on by Jesus is definately. I’m a 16 year-old girl who lives in a medium-size midwestern town. I have been smoking pot at least once a day for two years. It hasn’t hurt me at all. In fax it has done me a lot of good. Not only is pot-smoking fun but it has expanded my conscientiousness and opened my eyes to the beaties of the world and unquestionable. This proves the police are pigs.
Grass has not dulled my mind. It has sharpen it. My think is clearer than it ever was. I am more aware things I never noticed before. Objicts that used to look small look large, especially when I. When I smoke, I see mental imagines in color instead of black and white. I used to be too shy to speak up in a crowd. Now I am a brilliant conversationist. I get stoned but I am 100 percent lucid. I am express my inmost feelings brilliantly. Feet can be friends. When I finish this letter it will be a mastpiece.
If you fail to print it, I will know you are a Communist. In Russia they print only one side of the story. The side they want people to believe. I’ll be watch and waiting. –The Truth Will Win
Most of us recognize that we are living in an age in which people do not want to bear the consequences of their actions. Two recent examples appearing in Ann Landers’ advice column serve to highlight the situation. The first letter under consideration is from a professional stripper; the second proceeds from an irate mother without natural affection toward her offspring. Both women stand guilty of refusing to acknowledge that they are the cause of their own problems.
Stripper StandardsThe letter from the stripper complains about her colleagues who might become involved with one of the guys after a performance at a stag party. She proudly states: “When I entertain at a bachelor party, I explain the rules up front: no touching, no dirty language, no photos or videos, and no making dates for later. I do my number and give them their money’s worth, and there are no encores” (October 8, 1995).
Apparently, it does not occur to this woman why she needs to have such rules in her line of “work.” Would a female physician, interior decorator, shop owner, university professor, or secretary feel the need to give instructions like these to those with whom she works?
The reason that she senses the need for such restrictions is that her line of work is immoral, and immorality begets immorality. Let’s face it. People do not think of a stripper as a wholesome member of the community. They think that anyone who would seductively remove her clothes in the presence of a group of men would likely be susceptible to a few other lewd suggestions.
How can a woman who is giving men their “money’s worth” possibly be so naive as to think that one or two of them might wish her to go a step further? Her job is to move in such a way as to excite those present to lustful thoughts. And what does she expect in return: pure speech and nobility of soul? Sure. Maybe when she completes her “act,” they can all sit in a circle and participate in a discussion of Aristotle’s Poetics.
In trying to attach dignity to her “work,” she points out that strippers are not “porno queens” or “hookers”; they are housewives, college graduates, medical students, and dental assistants. So what does that really prove–except that if “the price is right,” some women will do anything?
Can you imagine a woman coming home and informing her husband that she applied for a job as a stripper? No self-respecting man would allow his wife to be ogled by a degenerate public. And no godly woman would consider such a “profession.” After her “performance,” how does she know that she has not inspired one of the men present to rape an innocent woman or his girl friend? What guarantee does she have that he might not stalk her? Without question, she has opened the door to or contributed to sleazy, immoral behavior.
To defend herself (and soothe her conscience) she writes: “Those who think stripping is obscene should go to the beach and check out the latest swimwear. They’ll see four inches of fabric held together with a string.” Isn’t that like saying, “Because others are immoral, I have the right to be, also”? “The state hosts lotteries and allows riverboat gambling; therefore, it’s all right for me to host a high stakes poker game.” Two immoralities doth not a virtue make.
She is correct, of course, that swimsuits are immodest. Even if a Christian were not wearing one comparable to the above description, he or she certainly does not need to be in a place where other people are. Donning a swimsuit with six inches of material (instead of four) is scarcely an improvement. Immodesty has never been successfully defended by members of the church (those in the world admit they are designed for lustful purposes); they just participate in such shameful activities anyway. [By the way, open-minded Ann Landers commented: “You have acquitted yourself admirably. The Sisterhood should be proud.” We doubt the Lord shall “acquit” her on the day of judgment, and godly sisters thoroughly reject her rationale.]
The Outraged MotherOn January 16th of this year, a woman wrote to protest that her parents had discovered and met with the daughter she had given up for adoption several years previously. Notice the selfishness drip from the page as she complains about her parents initiating the search for their granddaughter (her child): “I am still trying to sort out what this may mean and to what extent it will disrupt my life. I am angry and upset that the search took place against my wishes, and I feel that my right to privacy was violated.” Now wait a second. Who gave birth to the child? Why did she give her up for adoption? Was the child the result of this woman’s actions (passions)? If so, she put her daughter out of sight for years. Why? Because she is a reminder of her immorality?
Apparently, this “mother” has her life arranged into a tidy package which precludes flesh and blood concerns. Her life is being disrupted. Aww. Lady, you’re the one that gave birth. Your daughter didn’t ask you to conceive her. Her feelings and those of your parents apparently do not count. In fact, nobody’s does but yours.
Her cold, compassionless attitude continues: “I don’t wish to be included in any family gatherings from now on. Nor do I want any information about me given to the ‘new’ family member.” Sounds like a spoiled child, doesn’t she? She also does not want to know anything about her daughter. It’s only January (the date of her letter), but this woman could easily win “the most calloused mother-of-the-year” award.
Sadly, Ann agrees with her. She denounces state laws which aid in the discovery of family members and adds: “The great Justice Louis D. Brandeis suggested we pay more attention to ‘the freedom to be left alone.'” Oh, really? So we should be free to fornicate or commit adultery, bring an innocent life into the world, adopt her out, and then claim PRIVACY?!!
Sorry, but this woman deserves no sympathy. And with her unmerciful and uncharitable attitude, it is doubtful she will receive either in the judgment.
Why is it that people think they have a right to behave any way they desire to, ruin other lives, or create lives, and then bear no responsibility for their actions? God holds a different philosophy. He will have people give an account of the things done in their bodies, whether it be good or bad (2Cor. 5:10). There will be nothing “private” on the day of judgment; all will be brought to light. No laws of mankind will be substantial enough to prevent it, either. Why don’t we face up to our actions now and take responsibility? Let’s humbly acknowledge our sins, live righteously, and use our Christian influence in a positive way.
Periodically, over a few weeks’ time, Parade Magazine has published responses of young people to the question, “Do you believe in God?” Much of the thinking has been quite superficial and insubstantial, whether the person believed or disbelieved. The truly disturbing thing about many of the responses is that created beings seem to think they have the right to sit in judgment on the Creator.
Consider what an 18-year-old girl from Riverdale, New Jersey, writes. “I was taught that God was the Almighty and was good, but the past few months have set me straight. There is no God. At least not the God everyone is talking about. If He/She was real, then there wouldn’t be so much disease, death, hurt and heartbreak in the world.
In December, one of my friends lost her mother. In January, a friend was killed on his way to school. In April, a friend of the family lost his long battle with AIDS. And in May, one of my best friends also lost her mother. What God would do this to anyone? None that I know of or believe in.” [This scathing denunciation of God appeared on page 23 of the October 15th, 1995, issue.]
What an outburst of unrighteous indignation! Her philosophy of God may be summarized as follows: 1) God does not run the world the way I think He/She should; 2) Therefore, God does not exist. How arrogant for one merely eighteen years of age to think that she has disproved God’s existence based on so few observations. Those who have watched their loved ones be killed in Nazi death camps (with much greater reason to doubt God’s benevolence) have emerged with a strong faith in God while she has barely become acquainted with life’s tragedies.
She is obviously even less acquainted with the Word of God, to which one goes to find reality and truth. A study of some fundamental matters might be of some help to those who feel as this young girl does. Some crucial doctrines follow.
God Is AlmightyThe Scriptures affirm this truth in a number of passages, but it is the inference some draw from this fact that is erroneous. Many think that since God is Almighty, He will control everything that happens, but such is not the case–yet. When God created man, He gave us “free will.” We may choose to obey or disobey Him. If we choose the latter option, many evil things will result. Suppose, despite all of the warnings against the dangers of drinking and driving someone goes ahead and does so. If he loses control of the vehicle and crashes into a tree and is killed, whose fault is it? If God prohibits harm, there is no free will; if He allows free will, tragedies will abound. God does not stop people from bearing the consequences of their actions.
God Is GoodGod created a perfect world in which man could dwell, but we exercised our free will in a negative way and allowed sin to enter Paradise. Man could not be man without this possibility. We either must be robots, programmed to always do right, or we can enjoy freedom (recognizing that such a privilege means we bear the consequences of our actions). Unfortunately, when a person chooses to sin, innocent people usually suffer, also. The drinking driver, for example, may not simply hit a tree and kill himself; he may suddenly swerve across the center line and kill a family of innocent people. Does God cease to be good because He does not intervene in the natural course of daily events?
Certainly, we are tempted to think so–especially if the victims were our family. But God cannot be blamed for man’s decisions. The person who acted irresponsibly is the one who is at fault. God is doubly good in that He not only created us–He recreates all who obey the gospel. He allowed Jesus to die on the cross for our sins so that we could be redeemed from the consequences of our own actions. Accepting the salvation He offers through repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38) enables us to triumph even over death.
Why Disease?God’s gender, despite the feminist influence, is not a mystery. The student of the Bible realizes that God is not He/She, but He. We pray to “our Father” (Matt. 6:9). The female respondent needs to spend some time in the Book to learn about the One she apparently hates so much.
Why do disease, death, hurt, and heartbreak dominate this world? There is an answer for each of these things–SIN!! God did not sin; man sins. Because we have chosen to disregard God’s commandments and principles, all these things plague us. Why does AIDS exist, for example? Did it come about by mankind being morally pure? No, it developed because of man’s perversions of sex–the practice of bestiality, homosexuality, fornication, and adultery. All of these are denied in the Holy Scriptures as violations of God’s holy law, but mankind has repeatedly rejected these teachings because he would rather satisfy unlawful lusts. As is usually the case with sin, innocent people have suffered for a no more sinister reason than that they needed a blood transfusion (through which they contacted the AIDS virus). But most contracted and suffer from AIDS because they chose to disregard the warnings, just as cigarette smokers indulge themselves–although they are fully aware of the suffering they will one day face.
Man’s dilemma is that he wants to sin without facing the consequences of his actions. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to his Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Gal. 6:7-8). We tell children that fire burns. If they choose to handle it, they will suffer for their poor judgment. God likewise warns against what will burn us spiritually. If we choose to ignore the truth, does that make God evil?
“What God Would Do This To Anyone?”This statement is biased enough to be laughable. The youth who wrote it apparently pictures God as a capricious individual who takes delight in finding unsuspecting souls to inflict with pain. God is a God of comfort (2 Cor. 1:3-4) and a help (Ps. 46:1). Satan is the adversary (Job 1-2). No reason is assigned for the loss of either friend’s mother, nor is it explained why a student was killed on the way to school. But without knowing the details, there can be no doubt that the cause was sin. Somewhere Satan is laughing at all the hurt which people experience; he probably doubles over and rolls in the aisles when mankind then tries to pin the blame on God instead of him and themselves. Do we mistakenly think that if everything always went well, everyone would love and serve God? What happened in the garden of Eden disproves that faulty notion. Many live tragedy-free lives and do not believe in God. Why not concentrate on the things that God has done for us and ask ourselves, “Why has God done all this for me?”
Selected (With Additions by Gary W. Summers)
Did you know there are different types of Christians described in the Bible? There are the strong and the weak (Rom. 15:1); the spiritual and the carnal (1 Cor. 3:1); the hot and the cold (Rev. 3:15); and the stable and the unstable (Eph. 4:14-16). There are still others to add to the list. Following are a few more that you may have run into.
There is the fictional Christian. This individual is a Christian only in his own mind and by his own definition. He seldom attends, never contributes, and has forgotten how to work. His loftiest goal is to maintain his name on the church roll. Not too many of these are found in the New Testament since it deals with fact not fiction. Jesus said, “He that is not with Me is against Me; and He that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad” (Matt. 12:30). One is either in or out. Some who are out may regard themselves as in, but that is self-delusional. Jesus once asked, “And why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). One cannot disregard the Lord’s will regarding worship and service and be considered a Christian, unless it’s a fiction story.
There is the frictional Christian. Whether intentionally or not, this person rubs everyone the wrong way. Is it the abrasive personality that causes this reaction, or is it the fact that he or she does not think before speaking? A healthy dose of love, thoughtfulness, and kindness would go a long way in effecting a cure (Eph. 4:32).
There is the fractional Christian. These kind of people attend a fraction of the time although no one would be able to predict when. They expect everyone to stand up and cheer when they bless the congregation with their presence. The fractional Christian is a part-time disciple (which is a contradiction in terms). They probably can talk a good case of Christianity (1 John 3:16). Religion is something they leave at the building as soon as they depart. The Lord has a fraction of their hearts, their bodies, and their pocketbooks. The remainder of their hearts is “possessed” by the devil.
There is the factional Christian. This individual thrives on strife and just loves to stir things up! He is a sower, not of the word of God (Luke 8:11), but of discord among brethren (Pr. 6:19). Does he think that the Lord’s church is a human institution in which opinions may be exalted and politics may be engaged in? If something is done that is not his idea, he doesn’t like it. It will not be enough that he refuses to participate in whatever he finds objectionable; he will try to make sure that no one else can enjoy the activity, either. To add weight to his criticism, he will most likely trot out a Scripture for support (though it is misapplied). If left unchecked, he will discourage many church members. And if he does not get his way, others can still expect to hear murmuring and complaining from his lips. This type of person has been known to round up as many fictional and fractional brothers as he can to attend the business meeting and vote with him. Eventually there may be a split, but division is all right with him–he got his way.
There is the functional Christian. He has obeyed from the heart the gospel of Christ and has been truly converted (Rom. 6:17-18). Everything he has, is, or ever will be belongs to God. And he functions the way God designed him. He (or she) is a conscientious husband, wife, mother, father, son, or daughter. This person makes the finest citizen in the community. Best of all, the functional Christian glorifies his Lord by putting His cause first and overcoming all obstacles. He is personally devoted to his own spiritual improvement. Although perhaps not in some spectacular way, he is nevertheless evangelistic (Rom. 1:14, Matt. 28:18-20). In short, he functions as a Christian ought to function.
Should a Christian be interested in studying the word of God? Should a Christian desire to meet with other brethren to worship God? Should a Christian be concerned about those still lost in sin? Should a Christian stand for truth and oppose error? Should a Christian protest the evils of society and praise that which is good? Should a Christian give generously to the local congregation to support its work? Yes, and the functional Christians does all of these things, and more.
There is the dysfunctional Christian. Just as the news reports physical families that can be described this way, so would God’s spiritual family be this way–if everyone were like this person. He (or she) does not relate to others in the body very well, judging by their absence from the activities that the rest of the members engage in. Of course, not everyone can participate in everything (although couples in their seventies have gone bowling with the younger set). But these folk do not ever seem to be involved in anything. They are either too busy, or they don’t care much for their brothers and sisters (1 Cor. 12:12-27, Eph. 4:16). These inexplicable people may be consistent attenders, good givers, and helpful in many ways, but they do not appear to enjoy the family relationship Christ designed for there to be in the church, which is unfortunate, since brotherhood is an integral and vital part of Christianity.
There is the unctional Christian. No, that’s not a misprint, though it may be unfamiliar (but then we need more words in the English language). According to the dictionary, the second definition of unction is: “an ointment or oil, salve.” The one after that is: “something that serves to soothe or restore; a balm.” Oh, how we need unctional brethren–someone who can speak a soothing word to those distressed, hurting, or grieving. Barnabas was called the son of consolation (KJV), exhortation (ASV), encouragement (NKJ), and comfort (The New Testament in Basic English). How refreshing it is for someone to utter an uplifting thought instead of a complaint, a kind word instead of a snide comment. We all need this kind of support. Of the seven types of Christians described in this article, which category fits YOU?