The Unexpected Sea Change

Illustration for article titled The Unexpected Sea Change

I grew up in a Midwestern Christian family.

And that Christianity was very closely tied to the Holiness movement. It wasn’t strict enough where you couldn’t wear jeans or go to the movies. But if a man from church was seen smoking a cigarette in public, you better believe there was some speculation in the youth group about his soul.


Which is why, when I discovered that my best friend from church was smoking pot, it was a crushing blow.

Fifteen years later, my regional overseer told me that he uses CBD oil to help him manage anxiety


The cultural attitude toward marijuana use has changed drastically in the last decade. And the Church has not escaped it. Many voices within Christianity have even called for an end to the War on Drugs.

The sea change is massive, but it’s not entirely unexpected. Youth groups in the 2000s were filled with kids who smoked pot in secret. As they grew up and became leaders in their own churches, it’s expected that they would bring their permissible attitudes with them.


The younger generation has brought those attitudes to just about everything–gay marriage, social justice, economic policies...younger Christians even support legal abortion more than older generations.

But what is surprising is that support for marijuana legalization doesn’t fall quite so neatly along generational lines. Christians young and old have seen the damage done by the War on Drugs and realized that we can do better.


And while it might not be as unexpected to hear someone my own age suggest that marijuana might not actually be that bad, you guys, it’s a little more shocking to hear people my parents’ age suggest the same thing.

But through the last several years, the Church has been spending a lot of time looking inward, examining the old dogmas and challenging old interpretations. And while some members of the Church are still holding firmly to the old guard (just look at the current White House), by and large, Christians are letting go of old legalism and embracing a more grace-filled approach.


And even though I never expected that attitude to extend to marijuana, I’m sort of glad to see it happening.

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