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#thisonesforyou

May 18, 2012 Leave a comment

As you can see at first glance, this episode clearly could qualify as an #HTFTS. It is not. This is a guest episode. Who is it written by? You. The #hashheads have this one. What is your topic? #Hashtagfairytales…or whatever the hell you want (#excusemyfrench). Friends, I want you to tell me what to do now? As I’ve always said, I write to entertain you, I want to know what you want, but moreso I want to know what’s on your mind.

So, in the comment section tell me: #whatnext? Should I go fiction? Theology? Sports Entertainment? YouTube? Should I just focus on the already existing Cut Down Podcast (posted every Friday [#shamelessplug] available on iTunes)? What should I do? The internet is your oyster! Or just type “Wuss up.” Tell me what you’re thinking. This is an opinion piece…only the opinion isn’t mine. Because to all my readers, #thisonesforyou!

(I want you entertained. What do you want to see? And what do you want to talk about?)

#thankyouforsmoking

November 4, 2011 2 comments

I don’t know how you got to this land of #Hashtagfairytales. I mean you specifically this specific time. Maybe you found a mysterious black business card, maybe you found a pen, maybe a Google search led you here, or maybe it was Twitter or Facebook. If you did get here via the Tweeters, you’ll notice I usually write the promo based on Episode number. Well, I got to thinking, every good Episodic program has a short series from time to time; a string of to be continued episodes with the same story arc. They may each be stand alone episodes as well, but they fit into a larger series. Dallas had “Who shot JR,” The Simpsons had “Who shot Mr. Burns,” The OJ Trial had “Who stabbed Nicole Brown Simpson,” even Oprah had “Oprah’s Favorite Things.” It’s about time #Hashtagfairytales joined those ranks.

But what could we have a series on? Do I have to shoot someone to secure the success of this a series (I certainly hope not, I’m not one for big messes to clean)? Can I just give away lots of expensive crap? (Hint: Nope. #nonprofitindustryemployee) I know exactly what I’ll do…at least for the first series: My opinion on a few small, but hot button issues. Note that I did not say current events. I grew up in a traditional Holiness Pentecostal Christian household and because of this I have had the opportunity to see a great deal of opinionated discussion (to put it politely) on many issues. There are people who have said that all kinds of things are wrong and sinful, while I haven’t seen much Biblical proof to back up those claims. My friends, In typical Judge Mills Lane fashion, I am going to tackle a few of these issues in a series that I am calling: #illallowit.

Allow me to note a few things first: I do not intend to tackle all issues that are disagreed upon within Christian communities; I’m just not that cocky. I do not claim to cover any issue comprehensively; there are too many points and I’m too forgetful. I do not claim to be faultless in my claims; I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be wrong again. This series will have a Christian tilt; I’m a Christian. I do not represent any organization or denomination in my statements; I represent ONLY Jacob C. Howard. I am not married to any of these opinions; they may change one day…they may change soon. They are just my opinions based on my years of Biblical study and living life in the world I inhabit; I’m not a prophet.

Having said that my loyal #hashheads, let’s jump in! I grew up in a world where smoking #tobacco was a sin. Real Christians—the holy people of God do not use #tobacco products; they do not smoke cigarettes, cigars, or pipes; they do not dip snuff. Black and white. That’s just the way it is. I have/had one main problem with this black and white way of looking at this particular issue: The Bible doesn’t say not to smoke #tobacco. It doesn’t address the issue at all. Does that mean that Christians ought not have an opinion about it? Certainly not. Does this mean that #tobacco does not stand on some level as a moral issue? No, I believe that #tobacco does have some moral implications, but a cut and dry issue it is not.

Let me say this for those who are questioning my salvation already: this episode is not in order to justify myself or anything I have done. I have never directly partaken in any #tobacco use. I cannot assert that I have never smoked second hand as I have been around smokers many different times, but I have never smoked or chewed #tobacco in my life. I have no vested interest in #tobacco use; I do not own stock in Philip Morris, I only wish to start a discussion. Now, on with the show.

Some have fought against #tobacco use because the Bible says that “the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit” (I Corinthians 6:19-20) and as such we ought to not abuse it by using #tobacco. The argument is that we are harming our body and this is a sin because that is where the Holy Spirit must reside, and if we are damaging that we are disallowing the Holy Spirit to take residence. I have two problems with that: the first is that this is a bit of a misrepresentation. Let’s take an example, smoking #tobacco via cigarettes puts people at a high risk for lung cancer—this is a scientific fact—if a person were to get lung cancer, does this mean that the Holy Spirit cannot reside within them because of a cancer? If we use this argument against smoking cigarettes we have to assume that we are ruining a literal residence that someone is living in. I believe that the body IS a temple but not a literal one, I don’t think that lung cancer would force a bodily eviction of the Holy Spirit. I don’t think that a literal spirit is attempting to fly around in my lungs and pancreas and I need to stay away from smoking because if I don’t this Spirit—who is a he for some reason by the way—will have a coughing fit and have to go.

But let us put aside that reason for now. The second problem that I have with that argument is that it’s kind of hypocritical. It says that we are harming our bodies and that is a sin. But I ask you, how many churches will denounce smoking as ruining the temple of the Holy Spirit and then have a fundraising dinner with a main course of fried foods? I mean I have never smoked, but I am fat; why is it that it’s bad to smoke because you are destroying a temple, but you can eat tons of greasy foods and it is of no spiritual consequence? I grew up being told that #tobacco is a bit of a taboo but deep fried catfish is dinner. If one body damaging substance is sinful, all of them have to be; and I am sure that no church—especially no Pentecostal church—is willing to denounce fried chicken, tamales, or potato salad as sinful. To quote the very apropos movie #thankyouforsmoking, “I don’t have an MD or a law degree.” but I think I am safe in this theory.

So where is the moral issue that I promised? Right here. Am I saying that #tobacco is completely ok and ought not be regulated? No. #Tobacco can be the root of one of the biggest sins that I can name: idolatry. It is no secret that #tobacco contains a substance called nicotine which is what causes people to become addicted. Addiction is in itself a moral issue is it not? How can one say that they are putting God first when their focus is on the thing to which they are addicted? Now, I understand that addiction is a struggle and I do not wish to take addiction insensitively or lightly; addiction is difficult and does not feature an on/off switch. But this is yet the dilemma. This is the moral issue.

I do believe that a cigar for celebration is ok; I think a pipe for relaxation is permissible, but I cannot stand for smoking a pack of Marlboros every day. I believe that this is allowing something between oneself and God and is a deterrent to the relationship. Does that mean someone who is addicted to smoking is #hellbound? Not in my opinion, but I think that addiction hinders from “fixing our eyes upon Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)

What do you think about #tobacco use?

(Sorry if it got a little preachy, my hope is to be anything but arrogant. I am simply starting the discussion and have nothing to start with but my own opinion; your turn.)