Cannabis and Church Leadership: a comment

Thanks to Greg for his comment on the Cannabis Question. The original scan hit from our “dispatches from the future” is pasted below Greg’s comment.
Greg Borchert, Guest Writer. Greg is a health enthusiast, business owner, and executive search professional.


On the marijuana question, I think those who are uninformed tend to lump it all together.  First, pot in some forms is an effective medication.  You have to separate recreational pot use from medical pot use.


Would you dismiss an Elder who was taking pot medically to control chemotherapy nausea?  Would you dismiss an Elder who was orally ingesting cannabis medication to handle chronic pain?
The insanity of our pharmaceutical culture is that people are fine taking dangerous prescription drugs, often with negative side effects and at great financial cost, but not OK with various natural forms of medication.
When I crashed my bike last August and broke my acetabular, requiring major surgery and now two six inch screws in my pelvis, I was on powerful painkillers.  That was necessary in the hospital but I wanted to wean myself from them as quickly as possible.  The doctors sent me home with 240 30mg Oxycontin, a smaller number of Oxycodone, and two or three other medications.  They expected that I would be taking this crap for months.
The Oxycontin was certainly effective for pain, but it also meant cold sweats, waking up in the middle of the night with damp bedding, hallucinations of sorts, active dream states while awake, and an inability to be mentally sharp at work.
I immediately established my own tapering schedule as you can’t just stop taking these things all at once. I worked my way completely off all of them 10 days after hospital discharge, and then switched to a strong Indica cannabis hybrid to help me sleep and adjust to the pain.
Since I live in Colorado, this was of course legal and readily available.  The cannabis was very effective.  I slept well, no cold sweats, and woke up the next day comparatively clear headed.  I did this cannabis treatment for another 10 days and then quit all treatment completely and got back to my normal life.
The surgeon told me that I would be in a wheelchair for 10 to 12 weeks minimally, and in rehabilitative therapy for another 4 to 8 weeks. I was out of the wheelchair and walking 4 weeks after surgery, and the physical therapist assigned to me stopped seeing me 2 weeks later because I could already do her full routines.
The biggest health problem in our culture is that people don’t think for themselves. They don’t take care of their health, don’t eat right, don’t exercise, and delegate the most critical aspects of their lives to medical practitioners who at best have only partial answers.


So, would a congregation dismiss me as Elder because I do what I need to do to take care of my health?  I think that’s the real question.
Also, again, people who aren’t very knowledgeable about cannabis should be aware that it’s extremely varied in effect.  Sativa cannabis strains are entirely different than Indica cannabis strains.  The problem with grouping it all together is that a little bit of Sativa might be like a glass of wine, and a little bit of Indica might be like a pint of Everclear…grain alcohol. One might be intellectually stimulating and energizing, and the other knock you on your butt and put you to sleep.

What we have in this era of hybridization is an extremely varied mix. There are strains now that have very little THC and no euphoric effects but high cannabinoid content and high pain effectiveness.


So, it’s dangerous to lump it all together.
I think much of the problem is that pharmaceutical companies don’t want people to self-medicate. They want to sell us drugs.  There are currently scores of different medical trials around the world using various cannabis-based substances. There are two pharmaceutical drugs on the market right now where the active ingredient is a form of cannabis. As soon as a big pharmaceutical company can sell it to us, it’s all OK.
I personally separate this though from recreational drug use.  I think implementing cannabis use into religious worship would be completely off the mark.  I would question why anyone thinks that’s a good idea. I also think that someone whose life is out of control because of any form of substance abuse, whether prescribed or not, might need some guidance and help with treatment and healing.  If I was a Head Elder I would first honestly evaluate the situation and see how I could help.
And here’s the ORIGINAL SCAN HIT to which Greg replied.


CANNABIS. Majority of key swing-state voters support legal weed. In a recent session with Pastors I asked them to imagine a world in which Pot had the same social status as wine. Would the use of cannabis in their minds disqualify an elder from service?

To take things a bit further, I was recently chatting with a friend of mine, Gene, who works with college students. In our conversation I told him that I imagine that within 5 years, we’ll see a church incorporate cannabis into its worship experience. It could be a new church launch or it could be an established church. Either way, it will make having church in a nightclub or pub seem like the good old days when morality still meant something.

What do you think?

“Anthropocene” may become an official unit of Geologic Time

The early readers of my book, MAKERS OF FIRE, will be familiar with the term, Anthropocene, which means the “era of age of man.” It has been an informal designation until now. This Friday in Berlin a task force will meet to consider making Anthropocene official. (Thanks to Michael McManus for the find)

“The Anthropocene Working Group assembles in Berlin on Friday, an interdisciplinary body of scientists and humanists working under the umbrella of the International Commission on Stratigraphy and “tasked with developing a proposal for the formal ratification of the Anthropocene as an official unit amending the Geological Time Scale“.

From the Independent


Three Crucial Issues

One of the keys to understanding social change is to keep your finger on the pulse of culture. In my book, Makers of Fire (November 2014), I call this the fuel of the triangle of combustion. Let’s put this in the form of a question:

Where are the trigger points that are shaping the narratives of faith and culture?

Over the next year, I want to focus on several cultural issues that are shaping the narrative of both faith and culture. Here are three of these issues.


There are more singles today than ever. Divorce rates are high. (So high, for example, in Montreal that, in anticipation of a likely divorce, newly married couples must pay an additional administrative fee to legally change the bride’s name to her new married name). The acceptance of Gay marriage is changing the meaning and usage of the word marriage.

Young urban affluents write about the negative economic impact of having children. Others express concern over how bearing children taxes the environment. Still others write about killing their children to reduce their carbon footprint. Recently one young lady even filmed her abortion to show that it was no big deal.

In the future children may be incubated within artificial wombs, raised by nanny-bots, and live out their lives in a world of fewer children.

Tech magazines write about porn as if it were a normal and acceptable aspect of society. The rise of sensitive robots points to a potential future of unprecedented human-machine relationships. We will see a rise in the legal commercial sex industry around the globe.

Needless to say, mindsets are changing.
We often acknowledge how things are changing, but do we stop to consider how we are changing.. and being changed?

What is the future of marriage? What is the future of sex? What is the future of the family? What is the future of children?

How might followers of Christ understand the changes that are underway in light of their story? To draw upon biblical imagery, where is the spirit hovering upon the face of the deep, upon the chaos of our present moment?

the spirituality of leading from the future
Preorder your copy…


For millions of years before the rise of humans, living things experienced suffering, pain, and death. Multiple species of humans walked on Earth before the emergence of modern humans. New knowledge of this kind shakes the underpinnings of many who read the Bible as a chronological history.

The rise of Islam brings to the forefront billions of people who believe that God wrote a book. And millions of Christians feel the same way about the Bible that Muslims feel about the Qu’ran.

At the same time, are we hearing rumblings that some western Christ followers will want to distance themselves from both fundamentalist Muslims and Christians? Meanwhile, a conservative and fundamentalist Christianity rises in the developing world and promises to be the global religion of the future.

What might be the future relationship of the Christ following faith to its scripture? Is the Bible a divine book? Or is this bibliolatry? Is the Bible only human literature? Or is this blasphemy?


In his book, The Post-American World, Fareed Zakariah argued that The United States is no longer the epicenter of global culture. Where might global culture be going? In another book, The Next One Hundred Years, George Friedman argues that the United States will remain the center of the world for the next 100 years.

Where might current trends of immigration, an aging population, and military prowess be leading us? What might North America look like towards the end of the 21st century and how might that impact what we do today?

These are three critical issues (among many) which will require answers from us in the very near future. They represent some of the trigger points that are shaping our cultural narrative. Where do the cultural narratives and faith narratives merge and where do they diverge? How can followers of Christ, regardless of geography, frame a Christ following mission for the next century and beyond? What does 21st century discipleship look like in light of massive cultural changes? As cultures change and paradigms shift, where is our own story taking us? How can we respond to the competing narratives around us and tell the story of Christ (and where faith is taking the world) in a compelling way?

I hope these questions primed the pump of your imagination. They have mine.

Join Alex McManus, author of Makers of Fire, for IMN 2015 in Orlando, Fl on Feb 2-6. He will discuss, during the Master Class Certificate sessions, the skills necessary to understand and navigate these kinds of rapid cultural changes through the analogy of Making Fire.

IMN 2015

Strategic Leadership (February 3-5)
Human Capacity Mentor (February 3-5)
Master Class Cultural Architect Certificate (February 2-6)

Preorder MAKERS OF FIRE: the spirituality of leading from the future