Magic Dragons – Oct 2018

As I was musing about the upcoming legalization of marijuana for recreational use, my mind drifted to a song that was thought for some time to be linked to it: “Puff, the Magic Dragon.” The co-authors of the song say that it is not about smoking pot but rather a simple children’s fantasy song … and I have no reason to doubt them. According to Wikipedia, as early as 1964 people were making connections between the song and cannabis use. It seemed like a place for a mental springboard for my musing this month (though, again, it was not the intent of the authors of the song).

Puff – it seems we are always looking for an easy answer. It seems more and more people don’t want to bother worrying about or trying to address issues that can be solved with a pill or a puff. The use of drugs and alcohol to combat stress and emotional difficulty has been on the rise in North America. While there are clinical reasons to correct chemical imbalances, people may instead choose numbing and covering their struggles rather than dealing with the anger, strife, fear, etc. As life gets difficult, people can turn to numbing substances to escape reality (one report noted that “one-in-five men in the Russian Federation die due to alcohol-related causes, compared with 6.2 percent of all men globally”).

Magic – it seems to promise more than it delivers. Ok, I am not one of those who don’t believe in going to the doctor or in not using medication (sorry for the double-negative). The Apostle Paul even tells Timothy to drink some wine for medicinal purposes (1 Tim. 5:23). What I mean by “magic” is similar to “puff” in that people can look to pot (or other substances) to somehow be the silver bullet that slays all your problems. The concept of magic is of a supernatural force in action outside of God and this is what I believe many who will smoke marijuana outside of clearly limited medicinal versions (with very little to no THC) engage in to some degree.

Dragon – it seems harmless in the eyes of many but that cute dragon can bite your head off. On a purely anecdotal level, I have smelt more pot being smoked in the last few months than at any time before in my life. Many claim that it doesn’t dull the senses or pose any health risk but even the Canadian government still posts documents about the risks. If there was no impairment, then there would be no need for regulations concerning driving under its influence. Then there is the concern of it being a gateway drug to other substance abuse and the ramifications of that. We are supposed to remain sober-minded lest the dragon get us (1 Pet. 5:8; cf. Rev. 12:9).

The government and people of Canada do not dictate the morality of Christ’s Church. Just because something is legalized does not mean that it is good or appropriate for Christians. If Canada legalized prostitution, the church would not therefore say it was ok to engage in (especially since it’s prohibited in the Bible). The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC, with whom our church is affiliated) stance concerning mood altering drugs and alcohol is to abstain except in the case of medical prescription. Medical prescription in this way is for helping the person to think rightly. Paul wrote that he would not let anything control him (1 Cor. 6:12) and that leaders especially must avoid being addicted to or affected by a mood altering substance (1 Tim. 3:3; Tit. 1:7). While we recognize that church attendees and members may be working towards abstinence from alcohol, cigarettes, or other legal but addictive substances, we will be calling our church leaders to a higher standard. We most certainly caution against the recreational use of marijuana and warn against puffing the magic dragon.

Journeying with you,

Pastor Merril


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