From the monthly archives: February 2015

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'February 2015'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

Marijuana, Addiction and the Church, Part II: The Nature of Addiction and the Essence of the Christian Life


 


In the second installment of this three-part series, Pastor Aaron Ritter addresses the nature of addiction and its ability to compete with God as the “ordering” factor in our lives. Click here to read the first installment.


We started this series asking whether it’s permissible or not for Christians to use marijuana now that it’s legal in Colorado. But we quickly saw how that question leads to much broader questions about the nature of addiction. Why are certain substances or experiences able to exercise such control over us, and why do potentially addictive substances or experiences challenge our consciences, even if they are legal? That’s what we’re going to try to look at here.

Before moving forward, we need to address an objection in the minds of some, namely that marijuana isn’t that addictive. It’s said that we can’t put marijuana in the same category as the more illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin, and some argue it’s not even comparable to alcohol. In response, let me make a couple quick comments.

First, people who study these kinds of things claim that marijuana is indeed addictive, especially given certain criteria such as age of initial use and frequency of use. But secondly, we should recognize that there is a spectrum of addictive power, ranging from heroin on one end to Pinterest on the other. The higher end of the spectrum is usually associated with some very powerful chemistry that dramatically influences its users, but as I’ll argue below, addiction is typically much more than chemistry.

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The Source of Your Unhappiness Might Be Your Pursuit of Happiness


 


Personal happiness has always been a core value (if not an obsession) in America. The pursuit of happiness is codified in our Declaration of Independence as an inalienable right and is praised and explored in popular culture. In 2006, Will Smith starred in the deeply resonating movie, The Pursuit of Happyness. And just last year, singer-songwriter/rapper Pharrell Williams struck a palpable cultural chord with his hit single, “Happy.”


Simple happiness is perhaps the most universal and elemental desire of the human heart. It’s a seemingly humble desire, and yet it is defined in a thousand different ways, encompassing such broad concepts as peace, health, wealth, security, love, freedom, relationship, accomplishment, significance and transcendence. Despite our fervent pursuit, however, it has proven to be a most elusive quarry.

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Sinners, Sufferers, Saints: When Body Image Is Everything, Beauty Still Matters


 


This is the fourth installment in our series on mental health and the church. Click here for the introduction and check out the previous entries on depression and anxiety. Vanessa Felhauer, MA, NCC is a member of Summitview's Counseling ministry.


“Beauty is the battlefield where God and Satan contend with each other for the hearts of men.” – Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

I had a really difficult time approaching this post. I’ve read a lot on this topic. I’ve taken specialized classes in counseling people with eating disorders. And I know what the Bible says about beauty, my body and how God views me. But I still struggle with this.

I dislike my body. I wear a size that I know is considerably smaller than what is “average” for the typical American woman, and I still look in the mirror most mornings and feel fat. And I know that I am not alone in this struggle.

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Movies, They're Awesome! The Best and the Worst from 2014, Plus Oscars Picks


 


Anthony Alvarado lists the best and worst movies of 2014, along with his hopes for who takes home some hardware at the Oscars this Sunday. Grab a bucket of overpriced popcorn and enjoy the show!


Outside of great fiction books, film is the art form that most hits my soul. I love film. Over the last several years, I've been learning to view film as art and not merely as entertainment. It's been a process of learning how to connect with movies, view them (or not) with discernment and appreciate increasing nuances within the art form. I don't want to be simply entertained and go into a vegetative state when watching movies (or TV). I want to be moved to worship or to conviction. I want to understand God, myself or our world better. Therefore, in evaluating the best films of 2014, I used the following criteria:

• With what truths of the Bible or the gospel did the film pierce me?
• What was the quality of the acting and the story?
• What was the experience of watching it? Did I feel what the characters were feeling?
• Were there memorable moments that particularly stirred my soul? (This is a lower priority because there might be a great moment in a bad film.)

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Marijuana, Addiction and the Church, Part I: Our Motivations Matter More Than the Law


 


In the first installment of this three-part series, Pastor Aaron Ritter explains that our questions about the “morality” of substances such as marijuana don’t go deep enough.


Now that it’s legal for recreational use in Colorado, is it still wrong for Christians to use marijuana?

What if state and federal laws conflict? Who gets to decide? Is it a matter of conscience that’s up to the individual?

As laws change, so do our questions. But even though this particular question is a relatively new and trendy one, it’s part of a family of questions that's pretty timeless — questions about the interplay between man’s law and God’s law, and between freedom and conscience.

Today, we live in a culture obsessed with defining the limits of our freedom. Tell me exactly what I can and can't do, and if there's something that can be moved from one column to the other, I want to hear about it.

As Christians, we know that the Bible sets certain boundaries, but it's also true that there are lots of contemporary issues that the Bible just doesn't address directly. Each generation has its own issues that previous generations never had to deal with, and apparently the writers of the Bible weren't deeply concerned about the pros and cons of smoking weed.

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