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Have you heard about Indiana’s Church of Cannabis?

They smoke marijuana together, celebrate the plant with songs and find their calling while stoned.

Stephanie Wang reported that, “The First Church of Cannabis filed a lawsuit Wednesday (July 8) against the state of Indiana, challenging state laws on possession and use of marijuana as infringing upon religious beliefs.

‘We are taking legal action today to ensure love has no barriers in our land,’ said Bill Levin, Church of Cannabis founder, in front of the Indiana Statehouse.”

The Church of Cannabis contends that for its members, called “Cannaterians,” cannabis is a religious sacrament that “brings us closer to ourselves and others. It is our fountain of health, our love, curing us from illness and depression,” according to the lawsuit filed in Marion Circuit Court.

And the world has a few other interesting churches looking to be approved.

In Argentina there is Sunday worship for the legend of football (soccer) Diego Maradona. If you visit Iglesia Maradoniana, or connect with one of their followers (1 million worldwide) you would kneel in front of  D10S; which is a word which fuses 10 (diez en Español) which is Maradona’s t-shirt number, and dios which is the Spanish word for God.

You could also join Jediism (Believers of the Force). A religion inspired by George Lucas’s ‘Star Wars’, Jediism was founded by Daniel Jones and his brother Barney in 2008. There have been incidents when Jedis have been evicted from public places for refusing to take off their hood including the founder, Daniel which led to the beginning of a campaign for Jedi rights. The Jedis believe that the ‘Force’ is a reality and that morality is an innate quality of human beings.

Tom Cruise and John Travolta would say that Scientology is the one to join. According to the Church doctrine’s ‘Operating Thetan Level III’, Xenu was the evil dictator of the Galactic Confederacy which existed 75 million years ago. According to its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, Xenu brought billions of people to earth, grouped them up near volcanoes and proceeded to drop hydrogen bombs on them. The souls of the dead people then had to watch a “three-D, super colossal motion picture” which gave them false memories of Jesus, the crucifixion and all major world religions. These souls apparently now negatively affect everyone who has not had them removed by the Church.

There are many more.

The church of cannabis is just the new “do they really believe that?” religion in the world. Many have come before them and many will come after. But honestly, how much of our own Judeo-Christian belief could fall under that same category?

For example, there is nothing I love more than to talk to God (the Heavenly Father who is also the creator and judge of all living things).

I truly enjoy singing love songs to Jesus (the Jewish carpenter who was crucified and rose from the dead 2,000 years ago).

I also believe to be full of the Holy Spirit (who empowers me to do supernatural things) (and is the third person of God) (and came upon Jesus as a dove).

We take communion; and with it we remind ourselves that there is no salvation unless we eat Jesus’ body and drink his blood.

We read Bible stories about Moses parting the Red Sea and Jonah inside the big fish.

Heaven and hell. Angels and demons. The virgin birth and fire on the apostle’s heads.

If Christianity was not as popular (or as intertwined with our western culture) would we not be considered as crazy as the Weed Worshipers?

The good thing we have going for us is that religions are fads that come and go. Some have remained for years and others for centuries. But Judeo-Christian values go back… way back.

And it’s not like it’s the best religion because it’s the oldest religion. It’s more that it has remained because it was not dependent on religion but on human beings who encounter the divine Christ. Broken people who heard the voice, who supernaturally believed the words, who experienced God’s love first-hand.

I believe the craziness of our story because I have met the author. And I found Him to be good, and real, and here.

However, the more we treat Christianity as a religion, even the superior religion, the more people will look elsewhere.

[bctt tweet=”The Revelation of God is the Abolition of Religion. -Karl Barth”]

The world is hungry for legitimate encounters, for authentic sensations and for deep truth. And if the difference between us and everyone else is “we own morality and y’all are going to hell” then it’s likely that they will smoke weed and worship Maradona and join Tom Cruise.

According to estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world (atheism being one of them). That’s four thousand two hundred ways, to try and fail. Each religion is the result of man-made-effort, deviated revelations and self-righteous glorification.

It’s the same pursuit that brought divided tongues at the tower of Babel in Genesis 11. They said in one voice “Let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves.”

It’s foundation of all religion: let us work, let us get to heaven, let us find identity.

Unfortunately, Christians have spent a lot of energy trying to work hard so they can get to heaven while trying to figure out who they are.

And everyone else is doing the same (just with different names, different deities, different ways).

The good news of Jesus is that we don’t need works, or aliens, or weed, or bombs, or church programs.

We need Him, to be Him, for us.

And He’s already done it perfectly.

If you remember the story of the temptation, Satan did not tempt Jesus to do bad things, he tempted Jesus to do good things (so that through those good things, He could control Himself, God and the world).

Jesus did not fall into the temptation of trying to take over because it was “good” or because He was “right”… He shared His story and His invitation by serving the lost (not by proving everyone else wrong).

The problem with our “change the world” rhetoric is that it is too often a thinly veiled grasp for power and a quest for dominance—things that are antithetical to the way Jesus calls his disciples to live.” Brian Zahnd

So I’m done with mocking other religions. I want to share the story of Jesus (with the church of cannabis, with the church of weirdos, with the church of agnostics and with the church of Christ.)

Because it’s in the Gospel where pot-heads, religious jerks, sexy ladies and hippie Buddhists can find the Friend of Sinners and be changed forever.

Jesus is the one who came to work for us, so we could get to heaven and truly discover who we are. 

In this nation everyone has the freedom to worship as they see fit. Let us move from the agenda of being the overpowering religion and let’s get into servant relationships.

That’s the way of Jesus. That’s the way of the cross.

And there’s no weed that can compete with that.

Peace. 

I am one of the growing number of people whose lives have been touched by the irreligious spirituality of the rabbi from Nazareth. At the same time, I am deeply saddened and sometimes angered by the variety of ways his teaching and example have been codified, conceptualized, and institutionalized by a religion that bears his name but all too often misses his message.

Bruxy Cavey in The End of Religion: Encountering the Subversive Spirituality of Jesus – The book I’m currently reading… So good.

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