Listening without Fixing


One of my favorite authors currently is Parker J. Palmer. If you are not familiar with his work, I highly recommend him to you. In his book “A Hidden Wholeness, the Journey toward an Undivided Life,” in Chapter 7, he contends that:

We should stop trying to fix people.

When we listen with the intent to fix, what presents itself initially as caring, actually may be our “shadow-side” saying something like this:

 

  • If you take my advice you will surely solve your problem.
  • If you take my advice and fail to solve your problem, you did not try hard enough.
  • If you do not take my advice, and you do not solve your problem, I did the best I could.

 

And no matter what the outcome, I no longer need to worry about you or your problem. When we listen with the intent to fix, what initially seems like caring, is really a way for us to keep the other at arms length, and distance ourself from their problem.

I concurr with much of what Palmer says. Many of us love to be answer-givers and honestly love the sound of our own voice. But often it is not what people really want or even what they really need. This was never more apparent to me than when my house burned down, and again now in the wake of my divorce. My friend Eddie modeled this as he physically stood beside me as my house was burning to the ground. He stood there silently, without saying a word, with smoke and emotion circling my head. I did not want anyone trying to make sense of it all in that moment. Not that there wasn’t things that could have been said, he just didn’t feel the need to say them. His silence spoke volumes to me. And inside the space of that vacuum without words, I was cured of answer-giving.

The common cry of our culture is that “no one understands me, no one really listens to me.”

And if you work with teenagers, or are a parent of one, you know how especially true this is for them. A few years ago I was sitting with a friend who was battling depression, and he was expressing how I was one of the few people who actually still took his calls anymore. How tragic! Not that he was battling depression, but that nobody was willing to walk with him in his pain. I responded by saying something like: “Of course! You are one of my favorite people. I may not have the answers, but I will always listen to you.”

Early in my journey, I would have tried to fix him. Now instead of giving answers, I try ask questions. Not to feed my curiousity, but to clarify their own thoughts. More than anything I try to just be present. To be someone who will walk with them in their pain. And if you beleive in God, and I do, Scripture says He is our “ever present help in our time of need,” and “a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Often times, well-meaning Christians feel they need to be the voice of God for people. But that’s rarely the case. In fact, when God wants to speak, he generally does not have any problems communicating. And when you presume to speak for the God of the Universe, you better be damn careful what you say. Perhaps instead of presuming to speak for Him, we would represent Him best by simply being present with people in their pain.

The Jews have something in their culture called “sitting-shiva.” Shiva is a seven-day mourning period that occurs after the death of a loved one, often an immediate family member. People come and “sit-shiva” with the bereaved, often times sitting low to the ground, or even on the ground itself, to identify with the person’s suffering. Visitors do not ring the doorbell, do not speak, do not even greet the bereaved; they simply sit with them. They only speak when the bereaved initiates conversation, and often it is to simply share stories of the one who has passed.

Our culture could use a large dose of “sitting-shiva” with people in a culture of pain. It is the one of the few things in our culture that we have in common.

 

 

We have not all experienced the same pain…. but we have all experienced deep pain.

 

As people we would do well to learn to listen again; really listen. And to resist the temptation to fix people, but instead to simply journey with people in their pain.

In a culture of answer-givers, be the one friend who really listens.

Star Wars…. the saga continues 


Having seen Rogue One 3 times this week I thought I would share my thoughts (without spoiling it).

1. It is the best written movie in the series. The plotline and the acting are superb. Forrest Whittaker does a killer job in his role as well as all the lead characters.

2. They finally got the sidekick humor right. C-3po was alright, Jar-Jar was a bust, but this new droid K2 is actually funny.

3. I love the way the writers tied the movie into the rest of the series without being over the top obvious about it, cameos by Wookies and things like that. They actually dumbed down some of the tech to make it fit in the rest of the Star Wars universe. It felt rooted in the series, like it belonged.

4. The future of movies and digitizing characters is here. Video games and movies will eventually be seamless. We may never have to say goodbye to some of our favorite heros from this point on in our culture. I’ll bet we even see Elvis return someday… 

So, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, go see it over the holidays with your family. I enjoyed the big sound and the color of the RPX and IMAX (3D) over the regular version. I don’t think I’d pay for 3D again, but definitely RPX. Star Wars has become part of the continuing saga of all of our lives, going back to almost everyone’s childhood, and it brings our family together for another chapter in our personal journeys.

Enjoy!

~Mark

Witness to an Adventure


BakerRailroadGrade

Michael had it written all over his face. He was done. Ninety minutes into our four-day hike, he was whipped. Michael was not really an athletic kid, a tad overweight and sweating profusely. He was wearing blue jeans and seemingly unprepared to climb a mountain. As an at-risk high schooler on our 12-day adventure called Leadership Pursuits, Michael already had accomplished way more than he probably dreamt he could. He’d gone whitewater rafting and kayaking. He belayed off a rock face, ridden horses, built a campground, and now was on a four-day ascent to the summit of Mt. Adams, a 12,280-foot volcano in Southwest Washington, adjacent to the infamous Mt. St. Helens; and he was ready to quit.

Greg Johnson, the trip leader and our most seasoned mountaineer in Youth Dynamics Adventures, pulled the group of 12 into the shade of some old-growth cedars for a short break and went over to Michael to assess the situation. Michael plopped his 60-pound pack onto the ground and collapsed in a heap onto a log. After we had rested for 10 or 15 minutes, we needed to get back on the trail, but we had a decision to make. Should we continue on with Michael or without him? It was to be a four-day hike to the summit and back. We really only had two options: Either we could pull one of our leaders off the trail, and he and Michael could sit in the parking lot and wait four days for us to return, or we could try as a team to get Michael through the next several days. We let the team decide. They rallied. The team wanted to help Michael complete the journey to the summit and back.

Greg immediately began to rummage through Michael’s pack. He discovered a family-size Bible, some blue jeans, some other heavy items he wouldn’t need, and promptly buried them. (We retrieved them on the way back.) Other members of the group volunteered to take some of his other gear so Michael’s pack would be lighter. Would it be enough? Would he last the day? Would he last four days? Only time would tell.

Our little caravan started back on the trail with me in the lead, followed by six high school boys, with three leaders interspersed, and Greg planted directly behind Michael bringing up the rear. What followed was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. From one pit stop to the next, Greg was right there with Michael chirping in his ear. “You can do this. It’s just around this next bend.” Or, “Let’s make it to that big tree. Just 10 more minutes, then we can rest.” Sometimes Greg would encourage Michael; other times he was stern with him, prodding him forward. Step by step, Michael walked up that mountain. We hiked through the trees in the morning; beautiful forests of pine, cedar, Douglas fir and blue spruce. We emerged through the tree line just after lunch. We were encouraged, spirits were high. Then we encountered a section of the mountain that might as well be Mordor. Straight out of Lord of the Rings, it is a large field of lava rock, and it is brutal. Michael persevered and made it to our campsite above the lava rock at the base of mountain’s face. We spent the night at the snow line with our tents pitched mostly on rocks.

We took most of the evening and the entire next day with lessons about life and leadership and how God fits into the whole picture. We also spent a significant amount of time in snow school, learning how to climb safely in the snow with boots and crampons, how to properly use our ice axes, and most importantly how to stop ourselves if we fell, while not stabbing ourselves with our axes in the process!

The morning of the third day, we awoke early for a mountain ascent, leaving at 2 a.m. so we could summit and climb back down before the snow got soft and dangerous in the afternoon sun. We set out with our headlamps in the dark of the early morning, climbing in a line, one after the other, in a zig-zag pattern up the steep face of Mt. Adams. The face itself is about 1,500 feet of vertical, and it feels as if it’s straight up. Each step was taken carefully, with our ice axes in our uphill hands, planting them firmly in the snow, then scraping out a level foothold before taking our next step—then repeating the process. After three or four hours of climbing, we reached the top of the face, exhausted, coming to grips with the reality that we had only reached a false summit. False because if we hadn’t known better, we would have thought it was the summit while we were climbing only to reach the top and realize the summit was still beyond us, and we couldn’t see it from where we were climbing. While we waited for Michael and Greg to join us, we enjoyed a snack and took in the expansive view of the mountains below us as the sun had risen during our ascent. After a good rest, the team was eager to take on the final push. We set out on a free for all, traversing horizontally across a ½-mile flat field of snow and reconvened at the base for a final ascent of the last couple hundred feet of vertical. The team decided to wait and let Michael lead the team up from here. As we made the final push, here was Michael, the kid I thought was going to quit an hour into our hike, leading the team to the top. As he reached the summit first, a wide smile came across his face as he jumped up and down and shouted at the top of his lungs. It was in all aspects a pinnacle moment in his life. He had accomplished something well beyond what he believed he could do, something no one ever would be able to take away from him, and learned some things about himself that no doubt will stay with him for the rest of his life.

I have witnessed moments such as this again and again with teenagers while climbing mountains, whitewater rafting or rock climbing. The medium really doesn’t matter as long as the elements are the same. Take someone outside his or her comfort zone, include challenge and some risk, create an environment where he or she must exercise faith and dig down inside him or herself to accomplish something that previously seemed impossible, while a team of people surround and support the person. It’s an amazing thing to watch.

~Mark

Originally Published in YouthWorker Journal, March/April 2016

Legacy.


Herbert, Caleb, Shane, Scammell and Moder

Cameron’s Wedding – Spring 2015, 20 years of NLCC youth ministry representing!

20 years ago I had just stepped into the biggest job of my life. Even though I had 9 years of youth ministry under my belt, it had all been at small churches of under 300 in size. Somehow, I had landed the best job in the region, working for Bruce Miles, a leader’s leader, whom everybody in my tribe wanted to work for. Bruce had planted a new church in N. Idaho that just exploded with growth. It’s first Sunday saw multiple services and over 400 in attendance. By the time I joined the staff, 3 1/2 yrs later, the church had 1800 people coming each weekend, and I was to be their first full time youth worker.

I got to build a program from the ground up. There were only 5 full time pastors in our entire church at the time, and we worked our asses off to try to keep up with growth. Our boys were 3 yrs and 6 months old at the time, I had no concept of how much the people I would do life with over the next 5 years would impact me and my boys for the rest of my life. This is my 30th year of working with teenagers, and I value every place I have worked, but those 5 years and the relationships we built there continue to be many of the most valuable relationships I have today.

During those 5 years we saw thousands of teenagers come through our youth ministry. I took Polaroids of every kid and used them as flashcards to help me remember names. I spent a ton of time with students, going to lunch at school every Tuesday, sitting on the bleachers at games, playing video games in their homes, having breakfast at Granny’s Pantry every Saturday morning, going on trips together…. so many great memories.

The picture above is from my son Cameron’s wedding a few months ago. It was held at that church, which he stayed at long after I moved away. The men in that photo represent 20 years of continuous youth ministry at New Life and were all involved with me during those 5 years I was there.

A few years ago, I was privileged to speak at a city wide youth rally back in town, a rally I first gave birth to years before. It was standing room only, full of teenagers and youth groups from all over the city… and I recognized at least 6 youth pastors who had been in my youth group as kids themselves.

In the moment, I never knew what kind of impact I was having on those teens, and I’ll bet they don’t remember a single sermon I preached. I see youth workers today and I wonder what kind of legacy they’re leaving. Are they just providing programming during the week? Or are they vested in the lives of their students? I heard Jeanie Mayo once say “The one who spends the most time with a teenager, wins.”

So many youth workers only stay in their role for a couple years before they get chewed up or burned out. It’s hard, I get it. And I know that my career field has topped out and is in decline. It’s sad really, because as much as the world has changed since I started in youth ministry with my ClipArt Books and my Overhead Projector; some things never change…

Teenagers need loving, caring adults in their world, who don’t leave. 

If you do that, you will find, unexpectedly, that they will give back to you much more than you ever thought possible. All of those teenagers are in their early 30s now… and I talk to many of them every month. And when we see each other, it’s so rewarding… they are now the age I was when I first met them in middle school. Most of them have families and are still in church and soon, middle schoolers of their own 🙂 Our conversations flow easily, as we process life and pain and faith. And it’s so very rewarding. I can’t imagine my life without them.

This pic was taken for a feature that Campus Life Magazine did on our youth ministry "The Student Body"... there's another one out there somewhere with me with bleach blonde hair haha! Oh the 90s.... :)

Summer time youth group on the Rathdrum Prairie. c. 1998

~Mark

2014 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,500 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

My Top 5 Thanksgiving Memories


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Some of my Thanksgiving Memories:

1. Turkey bowl flag football games with teenagers and frozen gamehens.

2. Turkey Bowling with large birds, bowling pins and angry church custodians.

3. Tossing “butt-rolls” to my kids at the Thanksgiving table, (with corresponding screams).

4. Stabbing my brother’s hand with a fork during the Thanksgiving meal prayer, knowing he’d get in trouble if he made a noise.

5. Snowboarding at Silver Mt., with 2 ft of fresh pow, then coming home and eating turkey.

Today will be the first Thanksgiving that both our boys are not here with us… so thankful for the past but a new season of life is here. Enjoy your memories, but refuse to live in the past! Make new memories today!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

-Mark

“Finding Faith in the Dark” – When the story of your life takes a turn you didn’t plan


I just finished reading Laurie Polich Short’s new book “Finding Faith in the Dark.” It was a quick, enjoyable, encouraging read. The premise of the book is this… many Christians live life quoting Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” And from that we somehow draw the conclusion that “our plans” and “God’s plans” are one in the same, or at the very least, that everything is going to work out in amazing ways, “beyond what we can hope or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20)

And it doesn’t. Eventually life collides with our faith, as our hopes and dreams are confronted by harsh reality. At least for most people. And as a career youth worker, this single point of pop-theology is the knock-out blow to the faith of many young adults who grow up in the church. We preach that God is good, we teach that we are his children, we more than infer that God the Father only wants to give good gifts to his children. But life rarely works that way. And when something bad eventually happens, it creates a crisis of faith that many young adults simply don’t survive and they walk away from the church, many times on God himself.

Laurie does a great job of chronicling story after story of people who’s lives didn’t go according to plan, and pain was introduced to their lives through no fault of their own. She also includes her own very personal journey through pain and disappointment to eventual resolution.

Her conclusion is this. Your plans are not his plans, your ways are not His ways and although life may not turn out the way your originally thought, God is faithful to journey with us through our pain. And the place He leads us is good, albeit not the way we would draw it up.

I would especially recommend this book to anyone you know who finds themselves somewhere in the journey of pain and disillusionment… which is all of us at some point, right?

Sorry it took so long for me to read this Laurie. Great job. It’s been a privilege to journey with you as a friend for the past 10 years of your story.

And there’s a lot more story still to be written…
“Stay in the Journey my friend.”

~Mark

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Press On


Mt. Baker, WA - Railroad Grade

My Mt. Baker summit climb with teens from YD Adventures in August 2014

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:12-14

“Press on.” Keep going. It’s what you tell students who are struggling on a long hike. It’s what you tell your friend who is going through a hard time. It’s what the Apostle Paul tells us he is doing here in his letter to the church at Phillipi. Paul has accomplished some significant things at this point in his life. He is under house arrest in Rome. It’s been almost 30 years since his conversion on the Road to Damascus. He’s traveled around the Middle East several times planting churches and encouraging believers. He’s written 10 books of the New Testament by now. At almost 60, Paul is an old man for his day, and he is unaware that it’s actually only a few more years until he is beheaded during Nero’s reign.

But he’s not content. He is not stopping now. He has not arrived yet. The finish line is still a ways off in his mind. The beginning of the race is important, but the race is almost meaningless if you don’t finish. When I read his famous line, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,” I automatically think of the pain he has had to go through to get to this point. The shipwreck he survived, the three times he’s been rocked and left for dead. “Forget about the pain, let’s finish strong,” is the first thing I imagine him saying to me. But it’s not just about the pain and the memory of it, that has the potential to hold him back. It’s also the victories he has already seen, the miracles he’s watched firsthand, and the growth of the church from its infancy to its expansion from just a few handful of believers to likely tens of thousands of Christ-followers in cities scattered around the Mediterranean from Jerusalem to Rome. But victories can be just as debilitating as pain. “I’ve done enough already,” “I’ve accomplished more than I ever thought I would”; these thoughts can be the quicksand that prevents you from moving forward. Have you ever seen someone do this? It’s so sad to watch unfold.

In my 49 years, I have seen God do some amazing things, and conversely have slogged through some very painful times. Your personal history is no different. You have experienced both highs and lows. I imagine that right now there are people reading this who are at both ends of the spectrum; some who are experiencing some miracle of God currently, and others who are walking through a very difficult stretch of trail. I don’t know where you are at this moment, but wherever you find yourself, Paul’s message is the same: “Press on.”  But look carefully at what Paul says in Corinthians. We are just not pressing on in our own power. It’s not us, pulling up our bootstraps and moving ahead.

2 Cor 4:7-12 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

This is God’s work. He’s doing something in you. Be encouraged.

Press in and press on.

~Mark

October 2014

Leader: Conflict is an Opportunity?


 

Aaggghhh!

For the last time… Do your homework!

I used to be afraid of conflict.

I didn’t often show it, but in the middle of a conflict I could feel actually feel the blood leaving my extremities and running to my core. My arms would get cold and clammy as the conversation progressed. I was a leader, how in the world could a leader be afraid of conflict?

Leader, if you are a “people-pleaser” or if you believe that conflict is ungodly, you will find it difficult to lead.

Eventually, I learned not to avoid conflict as a leader and to deal with it sooner than later, because in simple practical terms, things only got worse if I ignored it. And at some point, I’d have to deal with it, and there’d be more of a mess to clean up at that point. So, reluctantly I learned not to avoid conflict, but it was many years before I became comfortable with conflict, even looked forward to it.

A few years ago I was in a meeting where a two of my leaders were working their way through a deep rift. It was tense; pointed questions were being asked, and honest, difficult statements were being made. I saw it as a beautiful picture of two mature believers dealing with a deep wound between them. But as I looked around the room at my other leaders, one of them was bent over, standing with his head down, almost rocking back and forth. You could tell he was not comfortable with conflict at all, his body almost had a physical aversion to it.

While people may not always show it, I’ve discovered that many Christians believe that conflict is wrong, that somehow conflict is ungodly. I do not believe this at all. Jesus was involved in many conflicts with people. In fact, often times Jesus even initiated the conflict!

As a young leader, I worked for a Pastor who was insecure, and who led from a place of fear. Intimidation was his go-to card to try to keep control. He bull-dozed all conflict into the ground. It was his way of avoiding conflict. Conversely, several years later, I got the opportunity to work for a leader’s leader, Bruce Miles. He led from a position of strength and confidence. Bruce didn’t run from conflict, in fact we used to joke that he went looking for it! Not to squash it, but Bruce saw it for what it was, an opportunity.

As a CEO I have leaned to see conflict from Bruce’s point of view. Here is how I view conflict now.

1. Conflict is normal.

In a marriage, in business, in a church, it is normal for there to be conflict and misunderstandings between people, even between Godly people, even people in love.

The Apostles Peter and Paul had rifts that had to be worked through. Were they not mature believers? Why should we be any different?

 

2. Conflict is an opportunity to build loyalty with the rest of your team.

If you don’t deal with conflict, it won’t go away. In fact, it will get worse. And eventually it will create a culture in your organization of not dealing with stuff. This will be like ingesting poison into the health of your organization. Good leaders will not stay in a culture that does not deal with its stuff. If bad employees or bad volunteers are allowed to operate unchecked and unconfronted when they run afoul of the rules, it will eventually run off your good ones who are trying to do it right but feel no support from the top.

3. Conflict is an opportunity to reinforce the culture you are trying to create.

People have different ideas of how things should be done. You need to have a clear vision of the culture God has called you to create. Conflict is an opportunity for you to shape their thinking to the culture you desire. I remember a time where an angry older lady called the church to give Pastor Bruce a piece of her mind. “We don’t sing hymns anymore!” Bruce didn’t get defensive, (yes we do?) or insecure (we’ll do better!), but instead, he calmly explained how he too loved hymns, and often sang them by himself in his car, but that God had called this church to reach the unchurched, and how unchurched folks didn’t relate to hymns at all. He then lovingly explained to her that she would continue to be frustrated attending our church and that there were many other fantastic churches in the area who loved to sing hymns. “In fact, would you mind if I called my friend Pastor Bob and gave him your number? You would love his church. He’s a fantastic pastor and I know they love hymns” I had never seen leadership like this. And it wasn’t a case of “don’t let the door hit you, where the good Lord split you.” Bruce in that moment, really was caring for her pastorally. He knew who he was and what God had called his church to become. And it wasn’t congruent with who this lady was or wanted to be. I saw him do this time and time again with congregation members, volunteers and staff. Without malice or angst, out of strength of conviction and a caring heart, Pastor Bruce would explain the culture God had called him to create. And while people didn’t always agree, they appreciated the clarity and would either change their behavior or leave. Ultimately, there was very little conflict in what became a mega-church that reached thousands of unchurched folks, because division found no place to fester or take root.

Lastly,
4. Conflict is an opportunity to show your commitment to the relationship.

I have a friend who says “I don’t know how much you care about me until we’ve had a fight.” It took me a long time to understand this. But, conflict is bound to happen, it’s how you handle it that shows your character and your commitment to the relationship. Will it break the relationship when we fight, or is this relationship worth fighting for? As a youth pastor, I had angry parents call frequently, now in my non-profit its an angry donor that occasionally calls. I don’t fear these calls anymore. I relish them, because I know that it’s a rare opportunity to strengthen the relationship. In fact, it may be the exact opportunity I’ve been praying for, and a chance to show them my heart.

And if we can’t resolve it, at least there is a mutual understanding between us, and a sense that perhaps God has called us to separate things.

And either way, that’s okay.

~Mark

Will you toke up now? Retail Pot stores open today in Washington State


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Today is the day that many have been waiting for. Pot is now legal and available in Washington State. Two stores opened this morning in my city of Bellingham. (6 more have been granted licenses for my town of 80,000 residents, and a total of 300 will eventually pepper the entire State. The laws in Washington governing pot are similar to alcohol’s open container laws. You can’t smoke in public, on the sidewalk or in your car, however you can light up on your property in plain view of the rest of the world. You can carry up to 1 ounce and anyone over 21 from any state can purchase pot from a retail store here, but once you transport it into another state obviously you are bound by the pot laws of that state. Be prepared to pay more for your pot though, and maybe a lot more. Cost will likely be several times higher that what it costs on the street currently. According to the Price of Weed.com, high quality pot is an average of $232 per ounce in Washington. Some retail pot stores in WA will be charging $25/gram or $700 per ounce (28 grams/ounce)!! If you’re under 21 you’re not supposed to be able to even go into a store or purchase pot or smoke it, and hopefully that will be enforced.

As a guy who’s spent his entire life working with teenagers I’m more than curious how this will impact our teens. It’s not like teens have had any lack of access to pot before it was legalized today, and that black market pot will certainly continue to be available and still be lots cheaper too.

What will be harder to judge will be the long term impact of legalizing this drug on society, and how it’s acceptance will change our culture. As a Christ follower it will be interesting to see how the Church and Christian attitudes will morph and change towards pot as well.

A few in the church already feel it’s God’s plant and He created it for our use. Other’s feel it’s okay to use, but only to relieve chronic or terminal pain. In general, most Christians today are against pot and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. But over time, a new generation will rise up, one that’s only known it as legal, and my guess is that the Church’s attitude towards pot will eventually mirror it’s attitude towards alcohol; outwardly discouraged by the devout, but used by many in the privacy of their own homes. An “everything in moderation” attitude will settle in.

What no one can predict is how this will trickle down into the fabric of our society, and the butterfly effect that will take place. As a lifetime youthworker, I’ll be watching it closely from the inside and praying that it doesn’t fall into the hands of more teenagers, doesn’t create more addicts, and doesn’t dumb down our society any further. God knows we can’t afford that, no matter how much tax revenue it generates.

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