“Is it against God to use marijuana in a recreational use?”

If you’ve ever attended a church service, has that question ever been posed to you during the actual service? I’m guessing no, but that question was asked to me during the last Online Campus service. I thought it was great, and I was glad the individual felt the freedom, and safety, to ask it.

When pitching the Online Campus originally, one of the things I said was the Millennial Generation feels their online presence is a more authentic representation of them than who they are offline. They can be who they are with less inhibition. Some would say this could be bad, but you can also get sincere questions like the one I was asked.

Someone who is new to church will probably be hesitant to ask a question like that, in person, because of the stereotype of the church being judgmental. Online, there is a bit more freedom because you’re not in person. Plus, your id is a chat handle as your id, it doesn’t have to be your name.

When the question was asked, I was actually answering a live prayer request from someone else. I started answering the question, using Romans 13 as a reference to say that one should respect the laws of the land. The questioner responded by asking, “What if its legal where I am?”

For almost twenty-five minutes, this was the topic of discussion during the service. What pleased me was seeing other people in the chat not come down hard on this individual. People started sharing their own stories as it related to addictive/unhealthy substances. The questioner shared more of their story, their past use of harder drugs, they struggle to get clean, and as they shared seemingly everyone else in the chat rallied to support them. It was cool to be a part of and witness.

At one point, I wondered if I should try and steer the conversation back to the topic of the service. I did try and ask a few questions relating to the service, but it didn’t matter. And why should it? There was something marvelous happening in the chat. Random, anonymous people loving and supporting another anonymous individual who was struggling with addiction.

I followed up with the individual after the service, and this past week. I’m hoping to connect with them again this Sunday. What will happen? I don’t know, but it was awesome to see ministry take place in such a way. To see a life experience hope and community when there hadn’t been much of either before then.

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