Published March 23, 2008

Just a brief hello – or should I say, Hi – to those visitors who …

Aunderstand what 420 is

Bwake and bake and spend time at this site

Cis for cookie, that’s good enough for meeeee!

You are welcome here.

Yes, I am a Christian – though I have surely spent my share of time as a joker, smoker and midnight toker. In fact, some of the best times I’ve ever had have been in the company of those who also partake of this brand of self-medication.

Though the church has too often demonized us ‘hippies’ – never stopping to look any further than the outside of the dish – there is at least one other person of faith who understands the ultimate irony here.

In his book BLUE LIKE JAZZ, Christian author, Donald Miller, details the strange month he and another Christian colleague spent living among a bunch of stoners:

“When my friend Paul and I lived in the woods, we lived with hippies. Well, sort of hippies. They certainly smoked a lot of pot. They drank a lot of beer. And man, did they love each other, sometimes too much, perhaps, too physically, you know, but nonetheless they loved; they accepted and cherished everybody, even the ones who judged them because they were hippies. It was odd living with hippies at first, but I enjoyed it after a while.”

“They were not the traveling hippies, the ‘live off the land and other people’ hippies. They were formally educated, most of them from New York studying at NYU, getting their masters in literature, headed off to law school, that sort of thing. We would sit around talk about literature and each other, and I couldn’t tell the difference between the books they were talking about and their lives, they were just that cool. I liked them very much because they were interested in me. When I was with the hippies I did not feel judged, I felt loved. To them I was an endless well of stories and perspectives and grand literary views. It felt so wonderful to be in their presence, like I was special.”

“I have never experienced a group of people who loved each other more. All of them are tucked so neatly into my memory now, and I recall our evenings at camp or in the meadow or in the caves in my mind like a favorite film. I pull them out when I need to be reminded about goodness, about purity and kindness.”

“So much of what I know about getting along with people, I learned from the hippies. They were magical in community. People were drawn to them. They asked me what I loved, what I hated, how I felt about this and that, what sort of music made me angry, what sort of music made me sad. They asked me what I daydreamed about, what I wrote about, where my favorite places in the world were. They asked me about high school and college and my travels around America. They loved me like a good novel, like an art film, and this is how I felt when I was with them, like a person John Irving would write. I cannot tell you how quickly these people, these pot-smoking hippies disarmed me.”

“Because I grew up in the safe cocoon of Big-Christianity, I came to believe that anything outside the church was filled with darkness and unlove. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined there were, outside the church, people so purely lovely as the ones I met in the woods.”

“This did not confuse me so much as it surprised me. Until this point, the majority of my friends had been Christians. I was amazed to find, outside the church, genuine affection being shared, affection that seemed, well, authentic in comparison to the sort of love I had known within the church. I was even more amazed when I realized I preferred, in fact, the company of the hippies to the company of Christians. It isn’t that I didn’t love my Christian friends or that they didn’t love me, it was just that there was something different about my hippie friends; something, I don’t know, more real, more true. I realize that is a provocative statement, but I only felt I could be myself around them, and I could not be myself around my Christian friends.”

“I stayed in the woods a month. I wanted to stay longer. I had learned more about people, about community and happiness and contentment by living in the woods than I had in a lifetime of studying these ideas philosophically. I had discovered life outside the church, and I liked it. As I said, I preferred it.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. I’ve made the attempt – starting with an post called CHURCHIANITY – a rant.  I’ve been meaning to follow up on that, and I think the only thing that’s stopped me is my intense struggle to speak the truth in love when addressing the topic. I get so fired up and pissed off, I lose half my audience (the church half). But, perhaps I will give it another try soon.

I understand what Miller is talking about better than many. As a Christian with a propensity for self-medicating herbally, I’ve often felt it is much easier to be around my ‘hippie’ friends than my Christian friends. For the record, I haven’t found a church I feel comfortable in for a very long time. Because in church, there are rules of conduct, codes of behavior, taboo questions, and if you break any of them, you can’t be in the club anymore. Never mind the hidden motivations of the heart (damaged or otherwise), say the wrong thing, broach the wrong topic, admit to having a passion for anything secular (gasp!) and you’re out on your ass.

This ought not be! Jesus hung with broken people. The sick and hurting, the ragamuffins, the emotionally wounded. Churches are not supposed to be country clubs for the healthy and wealthy, or those who follow the “rules” so stringently they are intolerable to be around. They are supposed to be hospitals for the sick. And by shunning those souls who self-medicate in a manner a little different (and everyone self-medicates in some fashion), we are breaking the most fundamental rule of Christianity there is.

When even a Christian author notes that Jesus’ command to “love one another” was more readily found amongst a bunch of hippies in the woods, than within his church, something is profoundly wrong. Something to think about.

Bottom line: stoners be welcome here, mon.

Enjoy the 420 song set below.