Canada’s marijuana push:: A Question of the Inevitable

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The word inevitable is used quite often in the research and conversations that I’ve read regarding the push of the ruling Liberal Canadian government to legalize marijuana in our country. In fact it is also the word being used in many of the recent articles regarding the legalization of marijuana across states in the U.S. – Referring to those states who have not yet ruled in favour of this action.

When the word inevitable gets used, to describe the making of politically motivated law legal what was once illegal, it is often used to cut off the conversations and to push away good questions. It is designed to shut down consideration that there may be another or better way forward then the inevitable.

  inevitable
adjective
1.unable to be avoided, evaded, or escaped; certain; necessary:
       an inevitable conclusion.
2. sure to occur, happen, or come; unalterable:
The inevitable end of human life is death.
noun
3.that which is unavoidable.

Inevitable can shift us from asking the right questions.

What is being asked right now, in the Liberal government’s push to legalize, are the questions: How and where it should be sold? How does it get packaged? How much can be grown? What is the highest dose of active ingredient? Will our law enforcement have the right technology to measure if a person is illegally intoxicated?

So that the answers offered are in this vein:

“Canada will be the first G7 nation, in 2017, to legalize, regulate and restrict access to recreational cannabis,” says Brendan Kennedy, president of B.C.-based marijuana producer Tilray. “The eyes of the world are on Canada, and it’s extremely important for Canada to get this right.”
   “Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has mused about the possibility of having the provincial Crown liquor corporation in charge of selling recreational marijuana. But a federally appointed task force is recommending storefront and mail-order sales.”
– Global Mail article,  ALEXANDRA POSADZKI, TORONTO — The Canadian Press,                                            Published Monday, Dec. 26, 2016

OR in the vein of who we can trust to distribute and control rightly:

“When Environics Communications asked whether they trust companies in each sector to “do what is right for Canada, Canadians and our society,” survey respondents ranked marijuana dead last among roughly 20 sectors – giving it a lower trust rating than such sectors as pipelines, social media platforms, and pharmaceutical companies. Just 13 per cent of roughly 1,500 people gave marijuana companies a rating of five or higher on a seven-point trust scale.”
– SUSAN KRASHINSKY ROBERTSON – MARKETING REPORTER Special to The Globe and                                                                                                  Mail Published Wednesday, Mar. 29, 2017

So, according to the survey taken in this article we would trust our home improvement construction workers to the task of distribution and control more than the producers of cannabis? As a construction worker (my bi-vocational role) I find that amusing.

Right questions can lead us forward into the inevitable.

Although personally I don’t agree with all the recommended conclusions in Micheal Devillaer’s recent article , in the Globe and Mail, I do appreciate the critical questions he is asking in the face of the inevitable.

  “Has legalization of our other drug industries – alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceuticals – prevented harm from their misuse? Have these drug industries effectively balanced the pursuit of revenue with protection of public health? Has government regulation of drug industries been effective?”

The current decisions seem based solely, or mostly, on political favour and potential economic bounty – if the great hope for our current political agenda is equating the measure of success to a great in-filling of our coffers and an emptying of our jails, we are in trouble on this one. We certainly don’t have to go far to realize that is a ‘pipe dream’ behind an ill thought promise. Colorado is living that ‘dream’ even now. An article in the associated press describes the illusive nature of regulation, political favour and money-making in the legalization of pot.

Where ‘Inevitable’ just doesn’t cut it.

The ‘i- word’ getting used in the conversations with my wonderful, secular, hedonistic friends is expected. It takes listening, patience and continued asking of better questions to move forward to deeper conclusions. However in most conservative Christian circles this reply of “inevitable” speaks with a more sinister voice.
If your conclusions are simply, ‘”well it’s inevitable” when you are looking around at the increasingly secularized world you, and our churches, are in trouble. At best you don’t yet understand the redemptive intentions of God in the world. At worst you don’t care about the world.
  
 If you don’t care:
     What happens when our friends, our children, our grandchildren come face to face with liberalized secular values? Who do they turn to so they can learn to ask the right questions and wrestle through broken thinking until they come to hope filled answers? The pat answers of a seclutionist Christian are filled with hate, threat, and a joyless attempt to control. “Just say no” is not an answer to my heart that is driven by selfish passions and a rebellious lust. It’s an ill-fated attempt to cover up the deep brokenness of a heart that is always grasping in the dark for control. It is the white washing of a tomb to hide the real rot inside. It’s an unwillingness to weep for a world that we believe, without divine intervention, is headed to hell. ‘Don’t care’ responses are not evidence of a Christ filled and controlled heart. Isolationists prove only that they love themselves, are unmoved by Jesus’ gospel and hate the world He came to save.

 If you don’t understand:
 Then the answers are inadequate but not necessarily unloving or entirely ineffective. A young man I was working with a few years ago asked me, “What about me being a Christian and my marijuana use? Does God hate me? Won’t He accept me even though I can’t really function well without it?” My answer was lovingly inadequate, “Well you know, if you’re a Christian, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, right? The Bible tells us not to let anything master us. What do you think will happen if you keep being owned by this?” Truth spoken ineffectively. This young man no longer attends our church, or any church that I know of. He still wrestles with bigger issues and the struggle of substance use.

God’s great will for mankind is that he would find his joy in the very thing he is designed for, to glorify God. This overflows into the benchmarks of God’s work plan for mankind to 1) proclaim the glory of God, 2) to create cultures that demonstrate the glory of God and 3) to exercise the authority (function) of God’s glory. Because of our sin the ability and standing  for mankind to accomplish this is lost. Our greatest efforts and delights are hopelessly lost to grasping after smoke (Eccles. 2:10-11); We will never self-realize, either through our grasping at spirituality or self-medicating pleasure, into our true and greatest joy in life – the utter delight of our life’s purpose- to glorify God.

Understanding this greater narrative that is written over our world helps us ask the right questions. The better questions, to my friend, would have been questions of why and how, followed by a whole lot more listening. “Why are you Christian? How did the great love of God and the beauty of Christ’s sacrifice to make you His own child affect you when you first believed? Why do you NEED this substance? How have you come to the place where you don’t believe Jesus is really a lot of help in the midst of your pain, hurt and shame? Why is your belief that God might hate you for your brokenness or may not care about your drug use? “

The brokenness of the hearts behind the issue is why we must ask the right questions, both politically and personally. Here we discover that God is able to transform the inevitable.

Thanks for reading,

BRS

 

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Justin Trudeau is the Answer to Your Prayers

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Yesterday, October 19, 2015 marked a decisive day in Canada’s political landscape. Democracy was exercised across our great country in all ten provinces and 3 territories resulting in some unprecedented results. Approximately 17,410,656 people were engaged in voting, the highest voter turn out in more than a decade with more than 60% of eligible voters showing up to exercise their freedom to choose their leaders. This on the heels of a very long, according to Canadian standards, political campaign period, 78 days. Still, this resulted in a reportedly large numbers of first time voters (students, new citizens, etc.) and a strong turn out of aboriginal first nation communities making this federal election feel like democracy is alive and well in our country. Snap shot of the results

  But did we get what we were asking for? 

I think I am like the typical Canadian. I have an opinion, try to keep it politely to myself until directly asked then try to communicate with a calm cool nonchalantness and deep conviction on MY right opinion. I was asked several times through the election campaign who I will vote for (by both family, friends and acquaintances). I could tell that most of them, like me, were wearying from the constant berating of one party’s rhetoric against the other. The constant deflecting or the spin machines that so often deflect from the deeper issues that no politician would talk about. Mainly because in our politically correct, post modern culture they know they would be committing political suicide.

Then there are the morning after Facebook feeds,  WOW! I won’t write everything that surprised me by the Facebook feeds that I stream, except this one thing: I am struck with the incredible negative responses from my Conservative Christian voting feeds, not all but the majority. I recognize the sentiment, the feelings of frustration that no one wants to talk about issues that line up with the deeper truth of Biblical morals (not even the Conservatives). Or that whole parties are seeming to forbid any kind of conversation about these issues (abortion vs pro-life; euthanasia, actions to care for the poorest among us, etc). These frustrations, if I am not mistaken, have moved Christians in our country to pray for these elections, our party leaders, or local candidates more intentionally then perhaps a long time.
I think more Christians than usual were moved by this election to a biblical response when faced with the clash of our consciences and government. More than normally, I know I was pressed into prayer,  to hope and to clarify a vote, for the option that will cause us to live out of a peace and quietness that brings a freedom to both believe and preach the Goodnews of God, which is Jesus (I Timothy 2:1-7 kind of response).

But two questions in the aftermath, my fellow followers of Jesus:
1. Do you believe God answers the prayers of His Church?  It seems many of us don’t. Our response to God’s answer to our countries act of democratic vote is “DOOMSDAY!” We prayed, we hoped, we voted and now look what God’s given us for an answer… Justin Trudeau. You may, or may not, find this answer lacking – but it is God’s answer. If you don’t see it that way then I’d press this second question to you;

 2. Do you believe in the Sovereignty of God?  I see the God of both the Old and New Testament not as a passive or reactive God. I see God both giving his people the kings, rulers, emperors, ruling nations that they often deserve, or even don’t deserve. But however you look at it, you soon discover that God is always, and will forever be able to make, shape, direct both the heart of the rulers and the fate of the nations.

If we believe in these two simple Biblical understandings about the character of God- He answers the prayers of His people, and He is sovereign  then we need to understand, this morning when we woke up God has given us an answer in keeping with these two truths- the answer right now, that will shape both the people of God, and the Kingdom of God in our Country is Justin Trudeau, and the Liberal party.

To these truths then I think our first response needs to be prayers of thankfulness, trust, and enthusiasm to push in to be better, more engaged and hopeful citizens of Canada then we have ever been. For God is working out his grace through His Church in our Country as a response to the prayers and actions of His people.

Here’s a helpful response written by another Canadian Christian blogger – This demonstrates a trust in the Sovereignty of God and an engagement in the answers of God to His praying people. “Dear Prime Minster Trudeau” – thanks Aaron

“The King’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He will.” – Proverbs 21:1