What About the Dangers of Smoking?

https://youtu.be/NWm6PUGpfVU 

The Johnny Smoke anti-smoking PSA played on TV during the 60s has been upstaged by the Opioid Crisis. The old folk song asks “Where have all the flowers gone?” I ask, where have all the anti-smoking public service announcements gone? Except for ads selling stop smoking products, there are no such efforts to alert people about the dangers of smoking. 

“We need to figure this out,” declares all the kings horses and all the king’s men in addressing the State Opioid Crisis, led by Pennsylvania governor Big Bad Wolf, in an attempt to put broken people back together again. 

levittownnow.com/2018/01/10/state-opioid-crisis-disaster-declaration-we-need-to-figure-this-out/ 

Although the poison from legal cigarettes acts more slowly than that of illegal drugs, it is still a destructive force in society. In the early 70s, my physical education/health instructor in college told us he’d like to go down south and burn down all the tobacco fields. “Don’t tell your parents I’m really going to do this,”, he said and explained he was just trying to make a point about how dangerous smoking is to your health. Early December, 2017, I lost someone very dear to me as a result of smoking. 

Like illegal drugs, which have additives such as fentanyl and morphine, cigarettes also have toxic additives. The government evidently does not have a problem with cigarette additives, which make cancer sticks more addictive. Jesus said that the love of money is the root of evil. Allegedly to curb smoking, the government jacked up taxes on cigarettes. The tobacco industry, and its partner in crime the government, are no better than drug pushers, whom they say they want to push out. More tax money in the government coffers!  https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/index.htm 

Although not to the extent as the case with street drugs, cigarette smoking burns a hole through people’s pockets, including those who don’t have much money. In the homeless community in Bucks County, PA, some people would put smokes before food. Talk about idolatry!  

And by incessantly declaring that drug addiction is a disease, the government and its cohorts keep their tax payer funded jobs and clinics in business. Everything in modern thinking today is a disorder – substance abuse disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (psychobabble for perfectionism) – ad infinitum, ad nauseam.  

I’ve met alcoholics and drug addicts who have overcome their addiction but cannot kick cigarettes!  

Like illegal drugs, cigarette smoking has become a god of this age. Johnny Smoke is an evangelist for the apostate church “Sister Nicotine and The Holy Smokes.” And of course, like liberal churches, which adds to scripture, the tobacco industry adds junk to tobacco.  

The first line in Allen Ginsburg’s Beat poem, Howl, in essence a huge run on sentence, captures this age: “I see the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness…” 

 

Judgementalism and Drugs

Judge not, that ye be not judged.

  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

The Bible clearly speaks against being judgmental. We are all sinners in need of God’s grace and mercy. I try to follow God’s mandate. Recently, I realized why God commands that we not judge others.

In my unofficial ministry to the homeless in Bucks County, PA, I’ve ministered to people with drug and alcohol problems and tried to get some of them into Christian rehab. One night, at the Veteran’s Memorial behind the Levittown library, as I was hanging out by myself at the memorial about midnight, a young guy who had left a local recovery house drifted in.  We talked at length, he thanked me for talking with him about his problem and he went on his way.

Recently, someone I suspected was using drugs reluctantly admitted to it for fear I would condemn her. I told her I do not condemn her but urged her to get clean.

When people condemn drug addicts, treat them like lepers, it contributes to them wanting to give up. They already know they are outcasts. Addicts need acceptance as human beings and encouragement.

Jesus did not condemn the woman at the well, who, seeing herself as an outcast, went to draw water from the well when nobody else was around. After Jesus gently uncovered her sin, He told her “I don’t condemn you” and to “go and sin no more.”

We should not condemn drug addicts, but we should gently admonish them and address their problem and treat it as sin. The campaign in places such as Bucks County PA to remove the stigma of addiction needs to be explained. Like Jesus, we don’t judge drug addicts but we should not give them a free pass for what they are doing.

Stigma defined: a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.

“the stigma of having gone to prison will always be with me”· “debt has lost its stigma and is now a part of everyday life”

synonyms: shame · disgrace · dishonor · stain · taint · blot · blot on one’s escutcheon · blemish · brand · mark · slur · smirch

Decades ago, I didn’t follow up on a possibility of being a counselor at a methadone center where I worked part time during my early college years. At my meeting with a counselor who tried to interest me in counseling at the center, he showed me materials that pitched not telling clients that they are in their situation because of something they did wrong. The idea of sin and pastors who preach in the tradition in which I was brought up about the total depravity of man was dismissed.

Drug addiction is a choice, a sinful one. For sure, it seems to addicts that the addiction is out of control and their lives have become unmanageable. The only way to overcome addiction, as someone in Bucks County, PA recently did, was surrender to Jesus. We can’t handle such problems on our own but need God to take control of our life.

Drugs are not the only addiction. There’s food, power, money and many more.

I’ve been reading the book Narcotics Anonymous. I read that projecting events where that things don’t pan out the way the addict wants and consequently gets bummed out is common to addicts. I am not a substance abuser but I do the same thing!

In a one on one counseling center with a pastor, he admonished me to let God take control of my life – to give problems to Him.

We can have victory in the war on drug abuse not by calling it a disease, and relieving users of accountability, but by showing people Jesus in our lives and partnering with them in their journey to recovery.

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20

The Pastor and The Shrink

In an episode of the old Soupy Sales Show, a man knocked on Soupy’s door and exclaimed “Hey buddy, you have to help me; my wife thinks she’s a tree!” Soupy replied “Why don’t you take her to a psychiatrist?”  As the man pulls a tree past the door, he says “come on, dear.” 

The conventional wisdom today is that when people have problems, the talisman to resolve them is the shrink. Have a problem, take it to the shrink.  

“Mental illness” is a misnomer perpetrated by secular psychologists. “Organic malfunctions affecting the brain that are caused by brain damage, tumors, gene inheritance, glandular or chemical disorders validly may be termed mental illnesses. But at the same time a vast number of other human problems have been classified as mental illnesses for which there is no evidence that they have been engendered by disease or illness at all,” wrote Biblical Counseling Movement founder Jay E Adams.  In his seminal book, Competent To Counsel, Dr. Adams challenged churches’ practice palming off people with problems to secular psychiatry and psychology. 

https://www.allaboutworldview.org/christian-psychology-and-mental-illness-faq.htm 

Back in 1931, an American businessman with a major problem with the bottle was treated by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung for a year and stopped the problem drinking. It wasn’t long before he relapsed. When he came back to Dr. Jung, this shrink told him that he was a nearly hopeless case and advised the businessman that his only hope might be a spiritual conversion with a religious group. He did. After attending meetings of The Oxford Group and having convinced the root of his problem was sin, he fully recovered. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Alcoholics_Anonymous 

The Oxford Group 

Originally a movement called “A First Century Christian Fellowship”, the group was founded by a Lutheran minister who had had a born-again conversion in 1908 in a chapel in Keswick, England. Dr. Bachman, the minister, summed up the group’s philosophy: 

  • All people are sinners 
  • All sinners can be changed 
  • Confession is a prerequisite to change 
  • The change can access God directly 
  • Miracles are again possible 
  • The change must change others 

The Oxford Group preached that addictions are a result of sin, and that confessing sin, asking God’s forgiveness is what will enable people to overcome their addictions. Addictions such as alcohol and drugs are not a disease, a problem that we just “catch” but are a matter of choice. Only God can allow addicts to gain control of uncontrollable lives. 

Besides the legal dope that harms “patients” dished out by shrinks that causes physical harm and masks the root of the problem, the lack of absolute truth and conviction of sin replaced by psychobabble prevents people from overcoming their problems.  

It was broken people who went to groups in the vein of The Oxford group that help reform, again, churches that became institutional, just a shell that had little fidelity to scripture, dead to the word of God.  

Without absolutes, it might be considered normal by today’s standards to believe you are a tree. 

The god of This Age

“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” – 2 Corinthians 4:4

Recently, Pennsylvania renewed the opioid disaster crisis declaration. levittownnow.com/2018/04/04/governor-extends-opioid-disaster-declaration/ 

A declaration? All the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put humpty dumpty back together again.

How do we resolve the opioid crisis?

The first step is to get to the root of the problem. It is not a disease, which conventional wisdom, broadcast all over the place, says it is. As Hitler said, tell a lie enough times and people will start believing it. Drug addiction is sin, besetting sin.

Opioid and other addictions are a matter of idolatry, the worship of false gods. We worship false gods by not accepting, worshipping what God graciously gives us, but trying to find satisfaction outside of the kingdom of God. Habitually overindulging in food, even something as innocuous as cupcakes is an example of this.

Wanting to have someone of the opposite sex as a mate to share your life with is good. But when you expect that a mate will give you something that only God can give you, then he or she becomes an idol, a false God. Also, God must be put first and God must be in the relationship, as are Godly principles, such as considering the other person more important than yourself – putting your spouse first.

One of the false Gods, drug abuse promises satisfaction, but delivers nothing but misery, and eventually an early death.  As Paul Revere and the Raiders sang in Kicks:

Girl, you thought you found the answer
On that magic carpet ride last night
But when you wake up in the mornin
The world still gets you uptight
Well, there’s nothin’ that you ain’t tried
To fill the emptiness inside
When you come back down, girl
Still ain’t feelin’ right

And don’t it seem like
Kicks just keep gettin’ harder to find
And all your kicks ain’t bringin’ you peace of mind
Before you find out it’s too late, girl
You better get straight
No, but not with kicks you just need help, girl

Well you think you’re gonna find yourself

A little piece of paradise

But it ain’t happened yet, so girl, you better think twice

Don’t you see no matter what you do

You’ll never run away from you

And if you keep on runnin‘ you’ll have to pay the price

https://youtu.be/IP8G4clUJBY

Looking for satisfaction (which Mic Jagger sang he could not get) in all the wrong places – through drugs, makes you broke, lose your home, fosters prostitution, and alienates people. The drug user becomes very lonely – creates a self-imposed solitary confinement even in a crowd.

King David, after committing the sin of adultery, found himself in the pit of despair, into a great depression:

When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.…  -Psalm 32: 3,4

But when he confessed his sin to God, David was restored, healed:

Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me–now let me rejoice. –Psalm 51:8

Likewise, drug addicts can become clean, healed, restored to the way God made them by turning to God. Recently, a drug addict in Bucks County, PA who had abused drugs off and on for years, who became homeless for a season, who was headed for destruction, responded to God’s call and is now clean. Consequently, she is getting her life together, is more peaceful, and is a much more likeable person.