Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Gospel of Addiction...



"I don't trust Christians who haven't been broken."
Jason Grey

"Livin' on the edge of night.  You know the sun won't go down slow.  You don't know which drug is right.  Can't decide which way you wanna go.  I feel the way you feel, 'Cause not so long ago
It had a hold on me.  I couldn't let it go.
It wouldn't set me free."

Neil Young, "No More."

"The agony of God is flowing from heaven on to all of the godlessness and idiocy of humanity who suppress the obvious by their stupidity...For since the beginning of creation up to this very moment, the very nature of God has been screaming forth from all that He has made, so that no one has any excuse...For even though their very hearts knew God, they turned their backs to Him...Therefore, God said, "Well, if that's what you really want, have at it." Sin took them to a whole new level of depravity and perversity.  They exchanged the beauty of YHWH for false gods who wish to kill them; such as politics, sports, money, sex, and drugs...lots and lots of drugs to kill the pain of the new reality.  And the Creator -- who is forever praised, wept and wept and wept."
Romans 1:18-25 (My edit)



If anyone ever writes a biography of me, 
it's going to to be one the the weirdest adventure story EVER.


I woke a little before 6AM to a phone call.  A former student/friend of mine was calling from the bus station in downtown Minneapolis.  Near as I can tell, he had walked out the hospital and now wanted a ride home.  Why was he in the hospital?  Drug use.

Last summer I had reconnected with this guy after more than a few years.  He had developed a heroin problem.  As I understand it, various Mexican cartels have been flooding the Twin Cities wealthier areas with cheap, excellent quality heroin to create a ready market.

Earlier this week, he had contacted me and wanted a ride to a detox center.  He was on something called Ketamine, which I was later told is used as a horse tranquilizer.  I didn't take him to the detox center, but I did pick him up from it on Tuesday.  Obviously, it didn't last very long.



I understand addiction.  Many, many years ago I had an anxiety breakdown of sorts.  I liked the first one so much, I had another one 6 months later.  Up until that time, I had to self-medicate to get to sleep.  I had wound myself up so tight over worries, cares and all sorts of things that didn't matter, that my bolt finally popped.  I spent over two years on the therapist's couch. (While I would prefer not to repeat it, it turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me.  Ooh, I'm not exactly recommending this idea to any readers, either.)

Anyhoo, so I understand addiction.  But I still can't wrap my head around the truly evil shit that is out there now.  I've been told that meth contains battery acid and bleach.  Delicious!  Let me put that in my mouth.  Horse tranquilizers?  I've been told that it produces the most amazing hallucinations...while you sit motionless on the floor and drool on yourself.  Heroin?  As I understand, it fools your body into thinking you need it just like you do air.

Thankfully, I am still quite cowardly around needles.

I know myself well.  I know my level of curiosity.  I am truly thankful that ecstasy and raves were not around when I was in H.S. and college.

____________________


My friend had a lady friend with him.  While they both denied being high, they obviously were.  Addicts lie.  They have to.  I got an earful of many varying stories from him.

I took them both to breakfast.  
It was interesting.


Neil Young - 02 - No More - 1989 by DumpsDailyDump


So why do I put myself in these situations?  

When I was younger, I was often an arrogant jerk...especially when it came to following Jesus.  I remember taking a class on drugs and alcohol in college and thinking, "Disease?  That's stupid.  It's not like you walk out the door in the winter and catch alcoholism."  What did I know?


Here is a truism; Jesus has never, ever given up on me.  If I were him, I probably would have and should have.  But he hasn't.  Perhaps stubbornness is another divine attribute.  At any rate, if he is the one I want to follow into the kingdom, then he is the model I must follow.

So I enter these situations...to see what HE will do.

I am no longer shocked or offended by what I see around me.  Should I be surprised by what sin can and will do in this world?  I simply no longer have the energy or interest in getting all worked up over the things I have little control over.  It's much easier for me to just show up and see what the resurrected  Christ will do. (And it's almost never what I expect.)



When I was younger, at any sign of trouble, I wanted to "Save" that person, people, that situation.  I think that is a nobel impulse to have.  But it's a mistaken one.  I can't really save anyone.  Only Jesus can.

Many Christians think that they have to "BE" witnesses to the world.  We need to "BE" salt and light.  This assumes that God needs a bit of help, because he can't do it on his own.  If that is the case, then this God is in serious trouble.  I think that the response of Jesus is to tell us simply to "Be."

Jesus declared "you ARE" my witnesses.  You ARE salt and light."  It's all grace.  There is no working, no "On and Off" switch.  Jesus declares it.  Just be.

The God of the bible needs nothing from us.  He can spread the Gospel all on his own, and does so.  The God of the bible needs nothing from us, but he invites us in on the action because it is the ultimate thrill ride.  He wants us to partner with him so that we can see what he is already doing.  That's what it is in a nutshell.  And at the end of the age, it's all that really matters.  It's about the relationship.

____________________

Jason Grey said that he doesn't trust Christians who haven't been broken.  I understand what he means. Grace is cheap and mercy is easy when you don't need it.  Most people, Christians included, spend a good deal of their life thinking they don't need it.

When I was younger, I was very secure in my faith.  Faith is easy...and simplistic, when everything is hunky-dory.  It isn't until you run smack dab into the reality of this fallen world in one form or another that you realize what a desperate situation we are all in.  I call that "God's Boot Camp."  Once you've experienced that, you tend to see the world and people a bit differently.

We tend to live this illusion that we are all we need.  I am more and more convinced that this is exactly why God allows terrible things to happen to us.  The original sin was wanting to be like God.  We still want to be God-like, but we're not.  The horrible things that come our way are there to remind us of that.

____________________


"Makarios" = Blessed, happy, to have the favor of God extended to.


Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their schools and churches, preaching the good news, and healing all of the horrible things that people suffered from.  News about him spread all over the place, and people came from everywhere with all of their problems.  Massive crowds of Jews and non-jews, very, very religious people, skeptics, agnostics, pagans, clean and unclean people followed him.

Now when he saw this mishmash of humanity, he hiked up the side of a mountain and had a seat.  His students came to him, and he began to teach them and all the others, saying;


"I have an announcement.

Congratulations...to the worthless, the thieves and whores, to the nobodies, to the addicted, to those who can't stay away from certain web-sites, to those who couldn't tell the truth if their life depended on it.  And to those who fail at everything they try, and fall flat on their face every morning.  Congratulations, because you're the ones I want.  I pick YOU...and all that God is, and everything he has, is all yours.

Congratulations...to those in pain, those who suffer, those who's eyes are burned red from tears.  I will comfort you, and everything bad will come un-true.

Congratulations...to the ignored, the little person that no one pays attention to, to those who never got off the bench, went to the prom, and were laughed at by the other kids.  The Revolutionary and the Entrepreneur who build this world don't understand.  Private property is an illusion.  It ALL belongs to me.  I can give it to whom ever I choose, and I choose YOU.  They will just hand you the keys.

Congratulations...to those who are soaked in sin, those starving for a taste of righteousness, whose mouth burns for an ice, cold glass of redemption and eternal second chances.  I have a feast prepared for you.


Congratulations to all of you, because God is on your side."

And the people said, "Wow, that really is good news."
Matt. 4:23-5:6. (My edit)



Now my car smells like cigarettes and aged socks, but I am extremely curious to see what Jesus is going to do in my friend's situation.


Peace

Joe




No comments:

Post a Comment