If you’ve ever headed out to Mexico, you may have heard the advice, “Don’t drink the water.” It’s been said so often that it’s become something of a joke—although, as I understand it, it’s pretty good advice. Ever hear of Montezuma’s revenge?
You may have heard similar warmings in other avenues of life. For example: If you’re a member of a cult (or a somewhat shaky religious denomination), you may have heard someone say, “Don’t drink the Kool Aid.” This, of course, is a direct result of Jim Jones and his poisoning of nine hundred plus people back in 1978. Cyanide laced refreshment turns out to be far less than refreshing.
Now, there’s cause for a new warning. This one is for church members who may have occasion to graze at potluck dinners. We used to call these “tureen dinners” back in my hometown. I never questioned what a tureen might be, but maybe I should have.
The new recommendation goes like this. “Don’t eat the cookies.” Yes. You read that correctly. “Don’t eat the cookies.” This comes to me with great consternation. Having been a clergy type for almost forty years, I’ve attended more than a few of these gatherings. I’ll tell you without reservation that there were times when the only things I could get past my nose were the cookies. Now, I’m supposed to avoid them altogether.
What brought all this about? Funny you should ask. I was just reading an article on the subject, so please allow me to elucidate.
Back in 2017, a seventy-four-year-old man was accused of getting an entire congregation high on Mary Jane cookies. If you’ve ever seen the flick, I Love You, Alice B. Toklas, you know what that is. In the movie, the brownies were the culprit. They were baked with marijuana as one of the main ingredients. If you need a culinary way to get high, apparently this is a pleasant way to do it.
A Spiritual High
The man in question apparently laced his homemade cookies with THC (the active ingredient in pot). There is some question as to whether he brought said delectables to the church by accident or on purpose. There is no question, however, as to where they originated. He fully admitted to that deed.
I’ve heard of a worshipful high and even a spiritual high. This latest high, though, takes the cake (or the cookies). Being high on life can often get supplanted by other means, but it occurs to me that we may want to leave those processes outside the four walls of the church dining hall. On the other hand, there is something to be said for being real. This seventy-four-year-old was definitely being real. Still, he probably should have been a little more forthcoming to his fellow congregants about his choice of spices (or herbs, as it were).
Turning water into wine is one thing. Turning Christians into junkies is quite another. Please leave the means of deliverance up to the Messiah, sir.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]