August 13, 2017

"Being an elevationist [the term they’ve coined for the theology of the new {marijuana-based} church] means being an explorer."

"Our spiritual journey is one of self-discovery, not one of dogma. We believe there is no one-path solution to life’s big questions. This is simply a supportive place for each one of us to find a pathway to our own spirituality, whatever that may be.... There are as many pathways to being an elevationist as there are elevationists."

Says Lee Molloy, quoted in "Holy smoke! The church of cannabis/As congregations dwindle, a new religion is lighting up Denver, Colorado. Aaron Millar joins the ‘elevationists’ of the International Church of Cannabis who worship the weed" (The Guardian).

Don't miss the photograph at the link of the beautifully painted interior of the 113-year-old church building that Lee and others were going to convert into apartments. But with marijuana legalized in Colorado: “We started having these stupid, fantastical conversations. What if we kept it as a church?” And "the International Church of Cannabis opened its doors with its own chapel, theology and video game arcade."

The idea of a church of marijuana is old.
But, in fact, cannabis use has long been part of religion, from ancient Chinese shamans to modern-day Rastafarians: inducing altered states of consciousness has been a cornerstone of belief since time immemorial. And even without drugs, whether it’s spinning Sufi dancers or drumming voodoo priests, or even just simple prayer or meditation, taking the mind to a higher plane has always been a road to the divine, whatever you may conceive that to be.
Many years ago, I based a Constitutional Law exam on a case I'd read about, where people had formed a church around marijuana use with the hope of being able to argue that they were entitled under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to an exemption from the federal criminal law. I seem to remember the name of the religion as "Our Church," but that might just have been the name I came up with for the exam.

Elevationists is a good name, referring to getting high. (The Anglicans have dibs on High Church.)

The key thing here isn't that they've thought of a new religion (or are screwing around with the idea of religion).  This is a story about real estate, interior design, and art.

50 comments:

YoungHegelian said...

Don't miss the photograph at the link of the beautifully painted interior of the 113-year-old church building

That church!

"Brothers & sisters, let us stand & sing our processional hymn for today, found on page 14 in your hymnal, 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'".

Angel-Dyne said...

That congregation looks like it has a problem controlling the munchies.

Earnest Prole said...

A couple of weeks ago in California:

“An alleged dispute at a Rastafarian church in Yuba County led to a shootout Tuesday morning as two sheriff’s deputies exchanged gunfire with a suspect inside a Dobbins-area home. The suspect was killed. The deputies suffered bullet wounds but are expected to recover.”

“The man had been staying either on the church property or nearby and was tending the marijuana in exchange for room and board and nominal wages.”

mockturtle said...

I think the Coptics beat them to it.

Birkel said...

So a church that will make federal enforcement efforts nearly impossible if the attendees can prove they remembered to attend services regularly?

I can see a problem or two.

The Bergall said...

Me thinks they are smoking something..........

pacwest said...

Some of you smoke pot to reach the true potential of your spiritual being. Some of you smoke it just to get high. Either way it is a dollar in my pocket.

n.n said...

No principles of morality. No religion. No logical description of faith. Tradition, certainly. It's a cult where people mount puff the hallucinating dragon to fly over the rainbow.

Rae said...

Their only commandment: "Whatever, man."

Feste said...

~
Credit they brought in the current paint king of theriomorphism (Poe's "Masque of the Red Death" would be jealous) to muck out the corral of the once “classic church,” and beautiful as the new murals are, how long before the new church enforces the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, or, non-dogmatically coaxes their indoor smoking huddled masses to inhale ultra-deeply, and hold, hold, hold their breath for the full, 100% passout Headbannger Duration, trapping all the tar inside their lungs, saving the new muralistic pretties from a hazy, yellowistic, tinged fate of smoke-over-time?

Feste said...

... or to be understated about it, check out Obama on the back wall ...

mockturtle said...

Their only commandment: "Whatever, man."

:-)

LordSomber said...

Don't forget Navel Gazing.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Church of the Bread and Wine? I think I'm missing the point. They're not worshipping the sacraments in churches, they're using the sacraments to get closer to God.

Etienne said...

I smell a tax fraud.

There's nothing more boring than listening to a bunch of whacked-out people discussing spirituality and finding themselves.

mockturtle said...

At my college eating house Christmas party, I gave a girl a pig's tail that looked like a penis enough to fool her for a second. Now I'd be arrested, but she laughed after falling to the floor in dismay.

Let Catholics correct me if I'm wrong but I think they do worship the bread and wine because they believe them to be the literal body and blood of Christ.

madAsHell said...

Our Sister of Perpetual Self-Medicating Indulgence.

dda6ga dda6ga said...

Money, just Money

Ignorance is Bliss said...

There are as many pathways to being an elevationist as there are elevationists.

I don't think it's so much that there are many pathways. I think it is more that the path is broad, and the gate is wide that leads to being an elevationist.

Jersey Fled said...

The end times are truly upon us.

Paddy O said...

Creed on cults.

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Is that their lord and savior Obama pictured on the wall?

rehajm said...

Apparently the answer is smoke weed, not 42

Marc Puckett said...

Mockturtle, The Church teaches us that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, deserving of the true worship that is God's alone; but obviously the forms of bread and wine remain. Truly, really changed, ('transubstantiated', the one substance of Christ has replaced the substances of bread and wine, in theological jargon-- the Orthodox share our belief in 'truly, really changed' and so forth, although they don't commonly use the Thomist 'transubstantiation' explanation), and not just during the Mass or at Communion or in our minds or 'spiritually' (some form of some of that the Lutherans and some Anglicans and others believe).

It does stagger the imagination that anyone serious can call that lot of paint-splashing a 'staggering work of art'; the Guardian is full of such amusements, though.

buwaya said...

There are and have been worse religions. Much worse.

"There's nothing more boring than listening to a bunch of whacked-out people discussing spirituality and finding themselves."

I think that's what that lot is going to be.
But boring is just boring.

Roughcoat said...

Jesus wept.

buwaya said...

If it was alcohol they were worshiping, we would be talking of Bacchantes and, well, I don't think we want ladies in ecstatic frenzies going off to the hills at night to practice strange rites. Especially not the sort of ladies who would be inclined to this.

Laslo may or may not have an opinion here.

buwaya said...

"Jesus wept."

Jesus weeps now.
There is so much to weep about.
This case though is pretty minor.
Just more pagans.

Roughcoat said...


There are and have been worse religions. Much worse.

The cult of Huitzilopochtli gets my vote.

bagoh20 said...

I would suggest "The Church of Smallness".

Fernandinande said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fernandinande said...

buwaya said...
There are and have been worse religions. Much worse.


Well, yeah, Mr. Obvious, most other religions were far, far worse and currently they are not any less lame than this one.

Fernandinande said...

Medieval Cathedrals Used to Be Full of Brilliant Colors

mockturtle said...

Marc Puckett explains: Mockturtle, The Church teaches us that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, deserving of the true worship that is God's alone; but obviously the forms of bread and wine remain. Truly, really changed, ('transubstantiated', the one substance of Christ has replaced the substances of bread and wine, in theological jargon-- the Orthodox share our belief in 'truly, really changed' and so forth, although they don't commonly use the Thomist 'transubstantiation' explanation), and not just during the Mass or at Communion or in our minds or 'spiritually' (some form of some of that the Lutherans and some Anglicans and others believe).

So, shorter version: Yes, they do. ;-)

Sebastian said...

Worshipping the weed is just another way to worship the self.

buwaya said...

"Medieval Cathedrals Used to Be Full of Brilliant Colors"

Not just medieval ones. The world is full of dark stone Catholic churches in the Romanesque or Rococo styles. These were not originally dark either. There are museums full of Catholic religious art, wood, stone, metal, that is now tastefully in a polished, patinaed darkness. But these were originally all brightly painted.

YoungHegelian said...

@Fernandinande, BP,

And not just those Medievals, either. Those elegant Greco-Roman sculptures, now considered the height of classical elegant & simplicity in their bare white marble, were originally painted in garish colors. Time has worn off the pigment & left only the stone. Heck, some of the nudes even had pubic hair painted in.

Feste said...

~
I worship the church of Edward Bernays introducing the polytheism of whatever-sells and herding American consumer rational markets into irrational consent through misleading advertising - but, I can’t quite get the trickle down effects worked out for our soon, shovel-ready infrastructure projects, nor for our massive tax reform platform, so I’m content to worship the consumer assumption that Brilliance will work out these petty details on the smokin’-fly.

Marc Puckett said...

Mockturtle, Yes, I'm generally tl;dr, no use denying it. :-) But of course from our point of view we don't "worship the bread and wine" (that would be gross idolatry) because, when the 'worshipping' kicks in, we believe that it is no longer bread and wine but the Body and Blood of the Lord.

mockturtle said...

Marc, I guess I appreciate the distinction. Even Luther, IIRC, believed in transubstantiation. My personal view--and the view of most Protestants--is that the bread and wine are symbolic of the body and blood of Christ and are taken in memory of his sacrifice.

gspencer said...

Psalm 7:17,

"I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;

I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High"

Especially the high part.

Lewis Wetzel said...

Luther:
"Fire and iron, two different substances, are so mingled in red-hot iron that every part of it is both fire and iron. Why may not the glorious body of Christ much more be in every part of the substance of the bread?"

Bill said...

I used to live up the hill from The Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church in San Francisco.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

You can reach a higher level of consciousness, if not a higher plane of perception, with a dark roast coffee. Hold the cream, sugar, and other forms of adulteration.

Earnest Prole said...

The police were merely following the first rule of law enforcement:

Make sure when your shift is over, you go home alive.

mockturtle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bad Lieutenant said...

First rule of blogging, make your apologias for police negligence on the right post.

Kevin said...

U2 already wrote the theme song:

High, higher than the sun
You shoot me from a gun
I need you to elevate me here,
At the corner of your lips
As the orbit of your hips
Eclipse, you elevate my soul

I've lost all self-control
Been living like a mole
Now going down, excavation
I and I in the sky
You make me feel like I can fly
So high, elevation

A star lit up like a cigar
Strung out like a guitar
Maybe you could educate my mind
Explain all these controls
I can't sing but I've got soul
The goal is elevation

Unknown said...



https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170809073246.htm

from a google search for effects of smoking:

"Fewer than 10 percent of lifelong smokers will get lung cancer. Fewer yet will contract the long list of other cancers, such as throat or mouth cancers. In the game of risk, you're more likely to have a condom break than to get cancer from smoking" (and not all lung cancers are fatal).

Hard to boil it down to make a direct comparison, but hypertension hits about 1/3 of population, and about 2% (roughly 20 per 1,000) die from it. I wonder where the breakpoint lies -- what risk is acceptable?

I'm not advocating smoking, just wondering if somehow the case against MJ is stronger than people think.