Archive for January, 2012

Looking back on my life, I can identify several moments of helpless momentum. What I mean by a moment of ‘helpless momentum’ is a turning point when life picks up its pace in a frightening hurry. During these moments, the momentum is completely out of my hands… I’m helpless to the drastic velocity my life is gaining. All I can do is try to manage that velocity… I will either control it and experience some great changes in my life, or it will destroy me.

I experienced one of these moments when I left home for college. I deliberately chose a school that was 1,000 miles from everything and everyone I was familiar with because I knew I needed to experience something totally new. My mom, dad, and sister made that awful first drive with me from Dallas to the far northeastern corner of Tennessee. We landed at a tiny, liberal arts school named Milligan College that hid in the middle of a tiny, Appalachian town named Johnson City. The next day, after a quick lunch, my family left me in a Pizza Hut parking lot in the middle of that strange, mountainous city and drove home to Texas. I was completely alone in a foreign place. I literally knew no one. I barely even knew how to get from the Pizza Hut back to my campus. I was an eighteen-hour drive away from the comfort of my hometown, long-time friends, and family. A new phase of my life had begun, and something inside of me understood that it was going to be monumental. I was excited and hopeful, but I also felt wholly unprepared for what my future might hold.

Another one of these moments was when I first met Ali (whom I would eventually and miraculously convince to marry me). Our first, official date was a long drive through the mountains on a meandering, Tennessean highway. We shared stories, laughed until our stomachs hurt, and individually decided we wanted nothing more than to learn everything about each other. That night, as I dropped Ali off at her dorm, something inside of me understood that the rest of my life was going to look different because of that drive. Once again, I was excited and hopeful, but I also felt wholly unprepared to launch into a life-changing relationship.

Similarly, I think many of the men at Flatirons are currently experiencing moments of helpless momentum. I feel like we’re on the brink of something great. We’ve been challenged by our leaders to step up, take responsibility for our actions, and trust that our God can make us better men. I’ve been to The Man Event, The Trail, Theology on Tap, and I’ve hung out behind the guys’ resource table in the lobby on the weekend, and I’ve seen a vast number of men who are actually standing up to this challenge.

Like leaving home or beginning a committed relationship, it takes a brief, but seemingly insane amount of courage to face our own failures, let God break down our walls, and ask someone in the lobby, “How do I get more connected at Flatirons?” But like leaving home or beginning a committed relationship, that insane amount of courage can result in significant, wonderful changes further down the road. Likewise, we may feel excited and hopeful, but I also wonder if we’re not wholly unprepared for the amazing things God is about to accomplish through this church.

In short, the men of Flatirons were directly challenged to stand up and take responsibility for the maturity of this church. That was a challenge that created helpless momentum, but rather than letting that velocity destroy us, the men of Flatirons have controlled it and have taken responsibility for it, and I think we are going to see some incredible results because of our men’s responses. I feel honored and blessed to be a part of this movement, and I can’t wait to see where this momentum leads.

Ben

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From Scott:

Recently, I had a conversation with our college pastor, Jordan Terrell, and our Executive Pastor, Paul Brunner, as we were driving through Boulder. Strangely enough, our conversation turned to the use of marijuana. I have no idea why driving through Boulder would prompt a conversation like that (if you missed the sarcasm, you’ve never been to Boulder). Jordan was telling us that many college students tend to lead off a conversation by asking a simple question: “Do you smoke?” When they ask this question, they aren’t referring to the use of tobacco products. Instead, they are referring to weed. Jordan also told us that many college students have medical cards so they can legally buy weed at dispensaries.

As these dispensaries have popped up everywhere and more and more people are being prescribed marijuana, the issue of its morality has become complicated. What I mean is this: when it was illegal, it was easier to answer the question, “Is it okay to smoke weed?” The answer was simply, “No,” because it was illegal. In the same way, I would say it’s wrong for a seventeen-year-old to drink alcohol in this country because it’s illegal. In the same way, I would say it’s wrong to rob a bank. The Bible commands us to obey the laws of our land (Romans 13:1-7).

However, now that marijuana has been legalized to the extent that a doctor can prescribe it, the issue is more complex. First of all, I think we have to be honest about two things. One is that many people are abusing this system to simply get high, and many others are making money off of this. To that extent, abusing marijuana that is prescribed to you would be no different than abusing any other drug that a doctor prescribes to you. This would also violate scripture: we are commanded to honor God with our bodies as a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), which to be fair, calls into question constantly eating at any fast food joint, as well. I’m not going to spend a lot of time listing all the harmful effects of abusing marijuana, as those are well documented.

Secondly, we are commanded to be sober-minded (Titus 2:2), which refers to thinking clearly… which, in turn, means we are commanded to be SOBER. In other words, taking anything that alters your state of mind and leads to being intoxicated is sinful. So let’s be honest. Most of the people who have medical cards are taking advantage of a system that makes it easy to get high without the consequences of breaking the law. I realize that’s a broad statement, and it will probably anger a lot of people… the truth often has that effect.

There used to be a dispensary next door to one of my family member’s houses, and as we sat on the front porch, I got a front row seat to see what kind of “patients” this dispensary was serving. From a judgmental and stereotypical position, I have to admit that most of the people who walked in the door looked and acted like every other “stoner” I’ve known in my life. Likewise, the amount of customers who were obviously battling some sort of major injury or significant illness (such as cancer) paled in comparison to the young people with no apparent injury or illness. I recognize this is a very limited perspective. I’m just telling you that my gut says something is amiss.

At the same time, there are people who suffer legitimate medical conditions; conditions with symptoms that marijuana can help alleviate. There are people who legitimately use (not abuse) marijuana. These people don’t pursue an intoxicated state of mind, but rather a treatment for an injury or illness. It wouldn’t be sinful for a person who is prescribed marijuana by their doctor – for the sake of treating a legitimate medical issue – to use that prescription. It wouldn’t be any more sinful than taking any other drug prescribed by a doctor, whether it’s an anti-depressant, ADHD medication, or Advil.

I hope this gives a balanced and, most importantly, biblical perspective on the issue.

Scott.

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