Pastor Mark’s Blog

GOD AND MAMMON

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”  (Matt 6:24)

In our Western affluent culture you don’t hear too many pastors preaching on this verse. It is among what I would call an ‘untouchable sin’… meaning that pastors won’t touch it because it is so widespread they fear offending the guilty.  There are several of these untouchable sins in our culture, like gluttony for example.  We may hear sermons railing against the evils of ‘drunkenness’ but almost never on its biblical companion ‘gluttony’.  Why not?  Too close to home!  Overeating is as much a part of our culture as breathing.  Not to mention the fact that many of my contemporaries would have no personal credibility on the issue … if you know what I mean.

Mammon is an Aramaic word, that I believe Jesus carefully choose for this verse, because of its specific meaning.  It does not mean ‘money’ per se but would be better translated ‘riches’ or ‘wealth’.  However the translators choose not to translate it at all since it really means more than that.  It is a personification of wealth to the level of something you could actually worship.  The best example we have in English language is when someone would accuse another of “worshipping the almighty dollar”.  They don’t worship it in the traditional sense, but because they have allowed wealth to get such a powerful hold over them, money has become the master and they have become the slave.  We all know people like this.  The desire for greater wealth and possessions seems to drive every decision and nothing is too big a price to pay to achieve more.  They sacrifice their marriages and families, friends and employees, and often eventually their morals and ideals.  Bernie Madoff comes to mind.  He defrauded every person he ever met out of some $65 billion in the world’s largest Ponzi scheme.  In 2009 he was sentenced to 150 years in prison for his efforts.  The good news is that he is eligible for early release in 2139 and can spend some of the money he hid abroad… assuming he lives to 201.

Madoff is an extreme secular example of course, but there was a story coming out of South Korea last month that should alarm us all.  David Yonggi Cho the pastor of the Yoido Full Gospel, the world’s largest church, was sentenced to 3 years in jail for his part in embezzling $12 million from his congregation.  Cho, 79 founded the church 56 years ago in Seoul, South Korea and today boasts some 800,000+ members.  Over the last couple of years 28 of his elders have been accusing the iconic pastor of misappropriating close to $500 million from the church.  The allegations include privatizing church assets, borrowing money for other projects and not returning it, and electing to pay himself a $18 million severance package when he officially stepped down as senior pastor.  Last year at this time the 28 elders were all expelled from the church for not withdrawing the allegations.  Last month the Korean court agreed with Cho’s accusers on at least one count; that of selling the church shares of a stock for 4 times their actual value.  Cho claimed his miscreant son Hee-jun Cho, the church’s former CEO, had him sign to approve the purchase but he neglected to read the 1000 page document.  The court did not accept the ignorance plea but in the end gave the senior Cho a lenient 5 year suspended sentence and required that he repay $4.6 million.  Meanwhile Junior got sent up the creek for 3 years.  Cho’s defense was weak in that Hee-jun has a bad track record of 4 failed marriages, affairs with national celebrities and has already served prison time for similar crimes.  These facts alone proved that, at the very least, David Cho used extremely poor judgment in trusting his son.  It still doesn’t explain the whereabouts of the other millions of dollars the elders claim is missing. The story is far more complicated than I care to take time to explain but you can get most of the sordid details from this news report.  http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/611326.html

When the news broke I read in sheer disbelief at astounding amounts of money involved in this scandal. I had an opportunity to meet Cho briefly once at a conference and heard him preach in person. I have read many of his books and it is impossible not to admire what the man has accomplished in the church world. The whole thing is very disappointing. This wasn’t a mistaken entry in his automobile mileage expense… it was millions and millions of dollars that belongs to God ultimately and not the church, and certainly not him and his family. Power corrupts, but apparently so does mammon.

The untouchable sin of mammon in the church today is most insidious because instead of preaching against it, we often hear preaching in favour of it.  In the Western church we have taken the American dream and woven it seamlessly into the gospel.  We take the scriptures that deal with prosperity and elevate them to a disproportional level.

“The blessing of the Lord makes one rich and He adds no sorrow to it. (Prov 10:22)

“Beloved I pray that you would prosper and be in good health just as your soul prospers” (3 John 1:2 ) 

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Cor 8:9) 

All true and valuable promises of God, if kept in the proper context of their counterbalances like:

“A faithful man will abound with blessings, But he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.”  (Prov 28:20)  

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10:25)

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.”  (1 Tim 6:9)

Scripture presents money as both a blessing and a curse.  It is a blessing when restricted to a means to an end… to buy food and shelter, pay the bills, advance the Kingdom of God and care for the poor.  It is a curse when it becomes an end to itself.  When it turns into the ‘love of money’ the desire for the things of this world begins to consume us so that we no longer have money, money has us.  We in North America have become accustomed to listening to some highly gifted and articulate preachers with oratory skills that surpass any speakers in any field, secular or otherwise.  They have built mega-churches, written best-selling books and in the process have amassed enormous sums of money.  Some of them have adopted lavish lifestyles, living in gated mansions, driving Rolls Royces and flying Lear jets.  What message does that send the faithful?  How about, that you can serve both God and Mammon?

This is supposed to be the home of one of your favourite female preachers.  Which one belongs to her?  Apparently, all of them.  I wouldn’t know for certain as I have not been invited for tea.

This is reported to be the home of the man sometimes known as the Prophet of Prosperity.

A 34 year old preacher was shocked when he was criticized for building this 16,000 square foot home.  His initial defense was, “It’s not that great a house.”

I realize that it is easy to criticize when you are in a place where you do not have to deal with the burden of great wealth.  Fortunately there are still good examples out there of preachers that actually figured out that you cannot serve both God and Mammon.  When Rick Warren pastor of Saddleback Church in California wrote The Purpose Driven Life he was surprised that it became the second best-selling non-fiction book in history next to the bible itself.  Instantly he was a multimillionaire and needed to figure out what to do with the money.  He started a charitable foundation with a focus of helping some of the biggest social problems on earth including poverty and AIDS.  He gives over 90% of his income away, lives in the same house as before and drives a 12 year old truck.  He also paid back his salary for the first 25 years and works as a volunteer pastor now since he really doesn’t need the additional income.  The contrast to many other uber-successful preachers was significant enough that Forbes (the money magazine of the rich and famous) ran an article on it.  http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertlaura/2013/03/21/pastor-rick-warren-is-practicing-what-he-preaches-and-getting-ready-for-retirement/

The interesting thing about mammon is that you do not need a lot of it for it to get a hold of us.  The love of money is never restricted to the rich.  I have seen 10 year olds that have already fallen prey and have developed a greedy spirit.  They then go through life as takers and not givers.  The antidote to greed is generosity.  If we cannot give it away when we have a little… we will never be able to give it away when we have a lot.  You simply cannot serve both God and Mammon.

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GEE WHIZ

A few weeks ago a friend told me a story about having a craving for a Cheez Whiz sandwich.  He went to the fridge found the jar, made and ate the sandwich. Later he asked his wife how long she thought the jar had been sitting in the fridge.  He checked the label and it said; Best before May 2009.  It was 4 1/2 years old, – still looked perfect and tasted delicious.  How does a jar of cheese stay fresh for 4 1/2 years?  I buy a block of cheddar and in a week it is so moldy I have to throw it out.  After only a few seconds online I discovered a story in a National Post article about Dean Southworth.  He worked for Kraft and had developed Cheez Whiz for them in the 1950′s.  Now retired and living in Florida he bought himself a jar and made a sandwich. Unlike my friend he however almost gagged and said the stuff tasted like axle grease.  I guess my friend has a poorly developed palate when it comes to fine cheeses.  He contacted Kraft and demanded to know what they had done to his cheese.  Long story short, they had taken a key ingredient out of Cheez Whiz… it no longer contains…wait for it… it no longer contains cheese.  Another friend that works for Safeway told me they don’t even refrigerate the stuff at the store and it will sometimes sit in the warehouse for 6 months before it even goes on the shelf.  Question: If you take the cheese out of Cheez Whiz, what do you have left?  … just whiz!

The bible mentions food, diet, farming and farming practices hundreds of times in scripture. Why?  Because God created the human body and he knows exactly how best to feed it. Unfortunately most Christians have discarded the dietary teachings of the Old Testament claiming that they were abolished in the New Testament.  I would not disagree that we not bound by Jewish dietary law, but for the life of me I do not see how Jesus dying on the cross makes pork or shellfish somehow healthy.  He also abolished the 10 Commandments, but last time I checked He still frowns on murder and adultery.

I am one of the few preachers today that preachers on diet, exercise, farming practices, the food supply etc.  I actually see them as moral issues. When was the last time you heard some preach about the sin of gluttony?  We go on and on about drugs, drinking, smoking, sexuality etc. but no one will touch gluttony with a 10 foot pole… I can think of a great joke here, but it would come across as just plain mean. Frankly, I am less concerned about the sin than I am about the consequences.  Heart disease, diabetes, bad backs and joints are just a few of the eventualities of obesity.  We often pray for people for healing for things that I know could be resolved by diet and exercise.  Gluttony was considered one of the 7 deadly sins in the middle ages and is no less deadly today.

But this is only half the picture.  I have become increasingly alarmed by what is happening to our food supply.  Even if you try to eat healthy, most of the time you don’t even know what you are eating.  Many things on the shelves no longer resemble food.  Who would have thought  that Cheez Whiz wasn’t actually made out of cheese?   The grocery store shelves are literally stacked from one end to the other with processed type foods.  Any nutritional value is long gone and they are loaded instead with salts, sugars and scary sounding preservatives like acesulfame-K, butylated hydroxyanisole, butylated hydrozyttoluene, potassium bromate, sodium sulfite, sodium dioxide and the list goes on and on. None of these ingredients are foods and most are either poisonous or carcinogenic. They are in almost every packaged food on the shelf. Then there are the hydrogenated vegetable oils which again are in almost everything which, like Cheez Whiz, are basically vegetable based plastics. This is one of the reasons why they do not spoil in the cupboard.  I also have a 4 1/2 year old jar of axle grease in the garage that has not gone bad either, but I would never spread it on a piece of bread (or bread-like slice).

In a recent sermon on our Christian responsibility to care of our environment WATCH HERE I took a swipe at the biotech industry and their GMO (genetically modified organisms) crops.  Specifically I referred to Monsanto’s Roundup Ready canola. It is a transgenically engineered crop that has had a gene from a bacteria inserted into it so as to make it resistant to the non-selective herbicide Round Up (also made by Monsanto). My point was that man has crossed over a line into the realm of playing God.  Bio-tech companies are creating new forms of life that do not exist in nature.

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth” (Gen 1:11 ). God’s system of re-creation to continually replenish the earth revolves around the ingenious law of sowing and reaping. God created all the species necessary for man to live on the earth and every one of them reproduces after its kind… until recently when man decided he could improve on God’s design. Man just does not have a very good track record when it comes to messing with nature. We have been destroying the rain forest, the ozone layer, possibly the polar ice caps (depending on what you think about global warming), polluting the rivers and streams. It is hard to see how when it comes to nature we are making real improvement.  God said that on the Day of Judgment He “should destroy those who destroy the earth.”  (Rev 11:18) I do not think we should be taking this warning lightly. We really have no idea how GMOs will alter the food supply. The majority of canola (where we get our cooking oil and margarine) in Canada is GM. We also do not know what eating transgentics will do to our health or if it will affect our own DNA.

After the sermon aired I got a slew of mail from farmers and agricultural people telling me that I had no business using the pulpit to talk about such matters. They told me to stick to the gospel and theology and  leave agriculture to the professionals and farmers who feed the world. They were mostly polite, but clearly dismissive that I was ignorant and uninformed on the subject. Most people do not realize that I am an Agriculture grad from the University of Manitoba. I was also a personal acquaintance of the late Baldur Stefansson who developed the low erucic acid rapeseed that became canola. I spent many years in the industry as both a producer and grain buyer. Even though I am no longer involved in the agricultural industry I have followed the progression of the Ag and Bio-tech industries and have both written and spoken about it for years. I left the Ag industry years ago because I felt producers were going to become slaves to growing powerful Agri-biz machine. I feel my fears are being realized today. I do not own their stocks out of principle, and as a health conscious (to a bit of an extreme) individual I just want to know what is in my food before I eat it. As mentioned earlier I believe what many of us eat is actually killing us. In our home we TRY to eat organic, fresh and natural. It is very difficult in that things are omitted on the labels. The fact that these bio-genetic giants refuse to be forthcoming is my bone of contention. Monsanto says right on their website that they oppose the labeling of GMO foods. They are also on record of spending multiple millions of dollars to oppose it. If they are proud of their accomplishments then why do they go to so much trouble to hide them?

If the science of all this is not of interest to you skip this paragraph.

GMO proponents argue that once canola is processed into the oil it no longer retains the GM traits of the modified canola. This is not true and and I got accused of misleading my listeners when I said that our margarine was GM. If anyone is guilty of misleading the public, it is them not me. I have read several peer reviewed studies on the subject. The myth of DNA-free GM oil continues to persist even though the ability to detect the DNA in the oil has been around since 2010. I am aware that there many researchers that would not support that claim, but there are others that have proven exactly the opposite. One example of several is “Determination of DNA Traces in Rapeseed Oil” by Hellebrand, Nagy and Mörsel.  They concluded that “DNA fragments were successfully identified in samples of cold press oil, as well as in the samples of the refined oil.” Even if the foreign DNA was not detectable within the canola oil it does not change the fact that it was still produced by a trans-genetically modified organism. In my sermon I was careful not to use scare tactics such as citing the (largely dismissed) Seralini study where rats feed GM corn died cancerous deaths. Nevertheless, the fact that such possibilities could exist should at least give us pause. That GM foods are not required to be labeled also tells me that the biotech lobby has way too much influence. I would love to think that the motivation behind this is the altruistic desire to feed the world, but in reality I know it is the billions of dollars the biotech industry makes by manipulating nature. This kind of money can buy any research it wants… and any government for that matter.  One of the other mis-truths of the biotech industry has been that inserting new genetic material into a plant is really no different than this process of plant selection which plant breeders have been doing almost since the beginning of agriculture. Not so. Transgenics cannot happen in nature.  Some are now saying mutated plant genes are equivalent to transgenics, but again, the gene is still from that plant, not from another species! I am concerned in my heart that genetic engineering (including cloning) will end up being a catastrophic mistake.

To me what is going on with the food supply is a spiritual and moral issue that I believe is well within my scope to talk about.  I guess my biggest concern about my sermon that day was for the farmers who have little choice but to move forward with the latest technological advancements. I could see how my words could have been offensive to them. They are just doing their job and trying to feed the world and GM crops are both increasing the food supply and their ability to make money. But I feel even worse that they are being held hostage to a growing multi-national bio-tech industry that MAY not have honorable intentions.  Gee whiz… we live in such strange days.

 

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WHAT WOULDN’T JESUS DO?

In a recent message I made fun of Donald Trump’s hair and how most of us see him differently than he sees himself. I implied that he seems to think he is quite awesome, but we see him more like this;

We then all had a good laugh at The Donald’s expense and I went on with my sermon that made a point related to my subject. The particular message was all about not thinking more highly of our self than we ought, and that pride is the one disease that makes everybody sick but the one who has it. I almost always use a contemporary example in every sermon to illustrate my point. Poor (read rich) Donald is just such an easy target I couldn’t resist. When the sermon aired I received a very irate email from a viewer. He was shocked that I would make fun of Mr Trump. I get lots of complaints from viewers but honestly I did not see this one coming. I mean, let’s face it, Trump paints a target on his chest. He is just so ridiculous you can’t really take him seriously. He craves the spotlight and loves attention. He has essentially created his own Truman Show and cast himself as the leading character. He has done everything but name it the Trumpman Show. If you live your life out loud on television for the world to gawk at you, you have to expect a few pot shots from the cheap seats. He is a caricature that invites ribbing.

The TV viewer who sent me the email demanded that I apologize ‘on air’ to Mr Trump.  To me it would be like feeling bad for making fun of Donald Duck and publicly apologizing. Donald (the Duck) is not waiting for my apology and I am quite certain neither is Donald (the Trump). However, I actually did see the viewer’s point. Trump is still human, has feelings, and besides what has he ever done to me? I don’t even know him. If I did, we might be great friends. As a television personality myself, I am probably more like him than I am willing to admit. The biggest difference is he has more money… but I have way better hair.

At any rate I was feeling a little bad that I had picked on the poor defenseless Donald… then my critic played the WWJD card.  “Would Jesus make fun of Donald Trump?  Don’t you know that Jesus loves Mr Trump and would never make a joke at his expense?”  Okay sorry, but I am so sick of hearing WWJD as the singular criterion to judge what is right or wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I think contemplating what Jesus would do in our ‘own’ situations is a helpful practice that can often keep us on the right track. But nowadays it has become a club to smack ‘others’ with.  We remind others what they shouldn’t do, by telling them what Jesus wouldn’t do. The gross misuse of the expression has become the sanctified way to criticize the behaviour of other Christians.  We have changed WWJD from What WOULD Jesus do?  (as a personal guiding principle) to What WOULDN’T Jesus do?  (as a condemnation of others)  I continually hear the words from my critics; “Jesus would never do that!” Are we sure about that? Do we really know what Jesus wouldn’t do?

There is ample evidence to determine what Jesus would do in a given situation… forgive a sinner, love an enemy, or bless a persecutor. Once you get into what Jesus wouldn’t do, you are into serious speculation. For example, would Jesus go water skiing?  Of course not, Jesus walks on water. Taken to the inferred conclusion; if Jesus wouldn’t water ski, then neither should you! And perhaps you lack faith if you aren’t prepared to walk on it. Would Jesus go to a football game? We have no evidence of Jesus taking an interest in sports of any kind. There go your weekends!

Would Jesus go on a Caribbean holiday?   Absolutely not! Jesus never spent a single moment pursuing worldly pleasure. The only recreation He ever had was retreating for long extended times of prayer and fasting in remote places.  So for your next holiday, check Expedia.ca for deserted mountain getaways without indoor plumbing. Would Jesus get married?  Uh Oh, I am too late on this one. Would Jesus buy a house?  This one is even clearer.  Birds have nests, foxes have holes but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest His head.”  Time to sell the house, give all the money to the poor and move into the homeless shelter. The possibilities of what Jesus ‘wouldn’t do’ just go on and on. The church would be a interesting place indeed if it only contained homeless, single, sandal wearing, unemployed carpenters that speak in parables.

By now I am sure I have aggravated at least a few people who would say, “Those examples are just silly, those things were not part of what Jesus came to do.”  Exactly!  Now we are getting somewhere. So, when my critics say, “Jesus would never tell a joke like that”.  I say, “Of course He wouldn’t. He didn’t tell any jokes at all”. (Pity, I think he would have been hilarious and He had lots of material with those screw-up disciples. But, I suspect He couldn’t risk the simpleminded among us not recognizing His sarcasm. So instead He stuck to the script most of the time.) Secondly, I like to remind them, “Yeah, I know, but I’m not Jesus”. And I am not joking. We are not meant to be just like Jesus in all things. That could get you into more trouble than you bargained for.

What I am really trying to say is we cannot use WWJD to dismiss the actions of others as invalid. Last week I wrote a blog on Rob Ford and Justin Trudeau and their respective bad examples of drug use. I was immediately met with the predictable, “Would Jesus criticize a political leader?” The answer once again is ‘No’. That was not something Jesus did. Christ came with a very limited scope of ministry. He came as a Messiah to reconcile man to God not to reform His culture. As I have already pointed out, there were many things He did not do as they were not pertinent to His cause. Just because Jesus didn’t do something, doesn’t necessarily mean He wouldn’t,   

What Jesus did or didn’t do, in of itself, does not always determine whether it is right or wrong for us to do it. John the Baptist received higher praise from Jesus than any other person in history. Yet, he was beheaded for criticizing his political leaders (namely, King Herod). In the Old Testament the role of a prophet very often included criticism of political leaders. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Micah… they all challenged the bad behaviour of the kings of the earth. In the history of Christianity, the church has always been the force for righteousness, calling out right and wrong. Jesus never spoke a single word against slavery, yet fortunately Christian men and women did not mistake that as a mandate not to so themselves. Notables like William Wilberforce and Abraham Lincoln and many others devoted their lives to the abolition of slavery and today it is illegal in every nation of the world. Thankfully, they didn’t have people pointing at their WWJD bracelets and telling them that Jesus wouldn’t do that. Instead they went ahead in their God given roles and changed the world. Yes, we should all strive for the character of Jesus. No argument there. However, we need understand that God calls each of us a unique role in advancing His Kingdom, which will unquestionably differ from Jesus earthly ministry.

Part of my calling is to challenge the broken values of a fallen culture on things like, drugs, divorce, sexuality, abortion, materialism, etc. Is that what Jesus did? Nope. Is it biblical? Yup, and I am more than aware that it will provoke disagreement and sometimes anger. In my mind I succeed when I get Christians thinking and talking about the tough questions. If we are not careful, WWJD can be misused as an excuse to do nothing and to judge those that are trying to do something. That would be a far greater evil. Edmund Burke a British Christian MP in the 1700′s once said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

 

 

 

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THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK

I have never really paid much attention to the career of Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford.  He just always seemed like one of those old school, small town, blow hard politicians that existed back in the 60′s.  The Dukes of Hazzard’s Boss Hogg comes to mind.

These days he has been hard to ignore. Media from around the world have descended on Toronto and the story is running virtually everywhere.  Media loves a spectacle and Ford is not disappointing.  You know, the “Man bites dog” kind of news.  I don’t even know if he has been a good mayor, maybe he has been, but that is not the point any more.  He is now a complete train wreck after publicly admitting he smoked crack cocaine and having being seen in a video with known gang members.  He has become the man people love to hate.   The late night comedians are having a hay day with the story and I realize it is too easy to take ‘pot’ shots at the Mayor.  That is not my intent here.

There is a part of this story that I think everybody is missing; the Trudeau connection.  On the surface the two men could  not be more different.  Ford is the extra-large, red nose, hard drinking conservative and Justin Trudeau is the sensitive, metro-sexual socialist with the Alberto VO5 hairdo.  There is no love lost between the two.  On the now famous video showing Ford smoking crack cocaine, he calls Trudeau “a fag”.  Who even uses words like that today?  Is he still in grade 8?  The ever concerned Justin seems quite willing to forgive and has said publicly that he hopes Ford gets the help he needs.  Hmmm… sounds like the ‘pot’ calling the ‘kettle’ black to me.

When Ford finally admitted that he actually did smoke crack, he added that he can’t remember when because it was probably during one of his “drunken stupors”.  So now everyone wants Ford to resign because smoking crack is illegal and a bad example for a political leader.  Wait a minute!  Isn’t smoking marijuana just as illegal in Canada.  Yet Justin Trudeau has repeatedly admitted that he has smoked pot 5 or 6 times.  Nobody is calling for his resignation.  Nobody is suggesting that they hope he gets the help he needs.  Why the double standard?  Is it because Ford is a big unlikable lout and Trudeau is just so adorable with the winning smile and refined trust fund pedigree?  Yes, I understand that crack is likely a more dangerous drug than marijuana.  So what?  Kidnapping is a slightly lessor offence than murder but they are both illegal.

Honestly, Trudeau of all people should know better.  His mother, Margaret Trudeau was a drug addict.  Her drug of choice?  Marijuana.  She readily admitted that the mental illnesses that she struggled with were directly connected to her use of pot.  This is what she told the Vancouver Sun, “Marijuana can trigger psychosis,” and she continued. “Every time I was hospitalized it was preceded by heavy use of marijuana. I miss it. It is a daily struggle. If it’s around, I just don’t stay around.”

I am perplexed that no one is connecting the dots of the Rob Ford story to the Justin Trudeau story.  Last week Trudeau was in Manitoba (instead of the House of Commons where he has one of the worst absentee records of any Member of Parliament).  He was speaking at the Sioux Valley school which is one of our province’s Native reservations.   In response to a question Trudeau explained his plans to legalize marijuana, ostensibly as a better way to win the war on drugs.  Apparently the best way to win a war… is to surrender.  The students responded to Trudeau’s comments with raucous applause.  Easily the single biggest problem with native youth today is drug and alcohol abuse.  What was Trudeau thinking?  What kind of a message is this for the already troubled young people of our nation?  They aren’t even old enough to vote.  In fact many of them were Elementary age students.

If we are going to dump on Rob Ford for his bad behavior and poor example, then to avoid a glaring double standard we need to afford Justin Trudeau the same kind of grief.  As far as I am concerned they are just two peas in a pot… or something like that.  Huh, I seem to be… losing my concentration… it’s all chill bro. Yo dude, is there any pizza left over there…

Further thoughts November 21, 2013:

Just to be clear we are not talking politics here, I am not trying to influence how people vote.  We are talking about the law, illegal drugs and the bad example of politicians (who by definition make the laws) who use them and promote their use.

I am aware that there is a growing segment of the population that supports the legalization of marijuana.  And from some of the posts below, they think there is nothing harmful about smoking a little pot.  Marijuana is a powerful drug that alters ones state of being.  It is often categorized as a stimulant, depressant, as well as a hallucinogenic. Not exactly the state of mind befitting of any political leader.  It can hardly be compared to a Tim Horton’s double double.  At the very least it is a psychoactive drug which aside from the desired euphoria users are after, it can cause a decrease in short-term memory, impaired motor skills, and and feelings of paranoia or anxiety.

Most people including many Christians are not aware that the word for sorcery in scripture is the word ‘pharmakeia’ where we get our English word pharmaceutical. The sorcerers in bible times would use various drug potions to induce an altered state of mind.  They understood that drugs were the gateway to the spiritual world.  This kind of sorcery was strictly forbidden in the Old Testament as well as the New (Mic 5:12, Rev 9:21).  The fact that there are Christians that support Trudeau’s position on legalizing pot is disturbing.  No bible believing Christian should ever be using or supporting the use of pot.

Secondly, one needs to look beyond the use of pot to the supply side.  More often than not, every time you smoke a joint you are contributing to the vast, violent illegal enterprise of the drug industry.  For example, we can no longer take mission trips to the border cities of Mexico which we have been doing for 25 years.  The drug cartels have taken over these cities and they have become some of the most violent places on earth.  We have several churches we work with in Matamoras, Mexico but we have not been there for 3 years as it it just too dangerous.  The last time we were about to go we cancelled the trip as 155 people were killed in one day just before we left.  It is a myth that legalizing pot will end the illegal drug trade.  It will just increase the demand for the product.  Don’t think for a minute that once legalized all pot will come from government sanctioned grow ops.  Once it is out on the street it is impossible to tell where it came from.  (Having the government in the recreational drug business is a whole other discussion in itself)  Nobody ever  stops to think about from where and how their  drug of choice came and that they are complicit in a long chain of illegal, violent and corrupt activity.

For those who wish to participate in this debate your thoughts are welcome, but let’s move on from the ad hominem comments that I am ignorant or uninformed on the subject.   Feel free to disagree with me, but ignorant I am not.

 

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