Saturday, February 28, 2015

Getting over the delusion

Getting over the delusion that our kids are immune from drugs at a Christian college and even our own church!

               The delusional thinking by parents, pastors, and educators needs to stop, immediately. What is this delusional thinking I’m referring to?  The drug and alcohol epidemic that is running ramped throughout the United States is somehow not affecting our young people and their friends. The attached link above shows us that even conservative, highly respected Christian colleges can and most often do have and drug and alcohol problem.

               The difference between non-Christian Colleges and generally Christian colleges are the rules. However, in many kids’ minds, rules are meant to be BROKEN and alcohol and drugs are no exception.

               The drug epidemic has evolved over the years and the goal of using drugs remains the same: to get high, buzzed, and feel good. However, the results in many cases are just the opposite as the students at the Wesleyan College have found out.  The synthetic drug also known as MDMA is in high demand especially among College students. The drug is generally referred to as: “Ecstasy or, more recently, as Molly. It is a synthetic psychoactive drug that has similarities to both the stimulant amphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. It produces feelings of increased energy, euphoria, emotional warmth and empathy toward others, and distortions in sensory and time perception.”[1]

               As an Alcohol and Drug Counselor for over 23 years, I have worked with a number of MDMA users, and have found that the drug, despite the perception in the community, movies, and other settings has the same negative impact on individuals.  When discussing drugs use I ask all my clients/patients the four same questions:

1. Has the drug had a negative impact on your finances?  Include the money you spend for the product, the medical expenses for recovery, legal fees, etc.

2. Has the drug caused you legal issues? Have you been arrested, or narrowly escaped out the back door when the cop’s arrived?

3. Has the drug caused you problems with your family and friends?  This could include not showing up for family or planned functions with friends because of using or recovering from a recent use.  Family and friends continue to express concern about the use of alcohol or drugs.

4. Are you experiencing problems either physically or mentally?  There is a lot of research that alcohol and drugs have a negative impact on the body. Depending on the drug, it could affect the heart, lungs, blood pressure, liver, kidneys, and every organ in the body in some way. There is also evidence that the alcohol and drugs have a major effect on the brain, the mood, depression, anxiety, cognitive function, perception, and the neurological development of individual.

Parents, pastors, educators, and student support groups, let’s not be like the ostrich, the big bird that sticks his head in the sand and believes that problems don’t exist. The reality is that the problem is “TOO REAL” and young people are getting hurt, sick, and dying!

While the student is told and chooses to believe the Ecstasy/Molly’s will help improve their party experience, others are told it will help them focus and study.  Some are seeking a great buzz and others are seeking a sexual stimulant. Whatever the reason for using this drug the outcome is always destructive.  

The following is a partial list of some of the major effects:

Sharp increase in body temperature
Good probability of liver, kidney, and heart failure
Increase motor activity
Increase heart rate
Muscle tension
Muscle cramps
Blurred vision

This drug is synthetic and frequently manufactured in abandoned warehouses, barns, and even bathtubs in your neighborhood.  You don’t who made it, their degree of cleanliness, what ingredients were used, or what safety precautions they took.  The only thing you know is it is DEADLY!
My challenge to parents, pastors, educators, and friends is to please stop ignoring the problem of addiction.  Take the challenge to:

Learn what drugs the kids you know are using.

Ask questions
Become informed
Get them help
Hold people accountable for their use
Hold the school accountable for providing education and treatment for addictions.

[1] National Institute on Drug Abuse. MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly) Retrieved from on February 24, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Valentine’s Day

            St. Valentine’s Day is a day of celebration throughout the United States and many other countries, as well as a part of the traditional worship of many denominations throughout the world today. Over the years I have read many accounts of who Saint Valentine was, what he accomplished, how he died as a martyr for his beliefs, and how we ended up with religious and secular holiday’s honoring him.

            One those noted and recorded traditions is that in the 4th century A.D.   Valentine was a Priest, that felt loving and healthy relationships where essentials to one’s wellbeing.  Tradition talks of Priest Valentine preforming marriages for soldiers in the Roman Army that by decree of the Emperor Claudius where forbidden to marry. There is no record of such a degree.  However, this has remained the focus of the story. He also performed weddings for the persecuted Christian throughout the region that where denied the right to marry in the church due to their beliefs.  Sadly, the legends and myths of this man of God have overshadowed the truth and reality of who he was.

            Today Valentine’s Day is a holiday that makes millions (if not billions) for businesses around the world from, cookies, candies, cards, teddy bears, and hundreds of other items.  The fact there is word Saint in front of his name is lost, with most people not even realizing the importance of the religious connection of this day.

            Maybe it is time we return to traditional roots of St. Valentine’s Day.  As I read the legends, myths, and historical accounts I see three things that stand out to me about the man and this concept of love and his ministryHe had a compassion and love for the Lord he served, and encouraged others to share their love and faith about Christ not only with their loved ones, but with friends around the world.

  1. He had a strong sense of traditional marriage, to the point that if the legends are correct he would defy the very law of the land and preform traditional Christian weddings for Men and Women that government deemed inappropriate.  
  2. He would stand upon the conviction of the scripture that marriage was between a man and women, and be willing to be persecuted and martyrd for his conviction.
  3.  He would have disagreed with what St. Valentine’s Day has become the holiday of mega-money. However, he would have most likely been pleased that the tradition of expressing love and kindness for someone you love has continued throughout history. Of course he would tell us we should do that every day.
For me in 1986 Valentine’s Day took on a very special meeting, that is the day I said I LOVE YOU and I DO to a very special lady, which has remained my Valentine/Sweetheart and Best Friend for 29 years.  So I thank St. Valentine for his contribution to my life, and for the example he set in establishing the values, teaching, and understanding of LOVE within the context of marriage.

Reflecting on scripture!

            As I read this morning from Mark 2: 1 – 12; I felt a special sense of urgency.   I was reflecting on the types of people we en...