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Saturday Evangelism: Venice Beach

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Traditionally, when visiting Venice Beach, we stop at two places: the outdoor beer garden and the Kush Clubhouse, a “legal” pot dispensary. We still may preach at the beer garden (where I got splashed by a patron previously) but the Kush Clubhouse got shut down.

I like to think that it was the result of our preaching.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of people who need to hear the Gospel proclaimed. If you’d like to join us for a very weird day, meet us at Hope Chapel at noon to carpool this Saturday.

20 Comments

  1. Venice! Now that is a place that could benefit from some street preachin’.

    Vaya con Dios, Steve.

  2. Jim,

    One of our evangelists stopped in and asked the “Doctor” if he could get a prescription of pot for his sore elbow. The Doctor asured him that it would be no problem.

    Of course, he didn’t get the prescription.

  3. This is an example of “false dilemma”. So-called “medical marijuana” is not regulated, so it has no guarantees of purity and consistency. It can be laced with PCP or be “cut”. These so-called doctors are just there to help people get high.

    The false dilemma comes in because of the “pot or nothing” attitude of the proponents. There are other medications available for medical conditions, things that are actually more effective. But the marijuana enthusiasts do not want you to know about those things. An interesting discussion is here, look for the free MP3: http://www.vcyamerica.org/blog/2011/06/02/medical-use-of-marijuana

  4. Get used to it Steve, there’s no real reason to keep pot illegal in this country. Congressmen Frank and Paul have introduced legislation to end federal enforcement of policing pot and re prioritizing our police to more important things like solving/stopping murder, rape, theft…. and harassing fundies (just kidding). With states in desperate need of money and trying to cut spending, it makes sense to stop policing, incarcerating, and banning a substance that is less harmful to you than cigarettes and alcohol.

  5. Jim, I’m very glad to see that you are starting to acknowledge a Creator. Very good. You are growing. Yes, of course God made made marijuana. And poppies for heroin and little green apples and the rain in Minneapolis in the summertime.

    The point of my comment is that there are scores of red-eyed twenty-somethings peddling the pot to whomever would want a fix. If someone needed a real prescription for a real problem I am not opposed to that. Real doctors, though, would need to be the prescribers.

    And Jim, you have called me a jerk many times. Tell me, do you believe that this furthers your cause for atheism? Would someone reading this blog see your comments and be persuaded to not believe in God because of your gracious example? I don’t mind you calling my actions “jerky” as others have, I understand where they are coming from; what I don’t understand is your continued anger and animosity toward me. I’ve only treated you with respect. Anyway, it does help the Christian or the fence-sitter to see what lies in the heart of your particular brand of atheism.

    This is why I allow your offensive comments.

    Thank you.

  6. Amen Steve!

    And here is yet another example where the Atheists moral compass is ever shifting. Some say it’s ok, others are not so sure.

    Morality again is left up to the individual to decide what they think is right and wrong. Right now it’s marijuana – why stop there? Why not make heroin legal too? I mean where do you draw the line?
    And if you DO draw a lilne I would say why?
    Where do you get that sense of right and wrong? Evolution put that there?
    Hmm…

  7. I don’t think street preaching shut down the Kush Clubhouse. I think the PoPo* did.

    Dr. Kush is still around and thriving. He set up shop directly across the way from Muscle Beach in Venice, close to Jody Maroni’s.

    You will know when you are getting close because people will be handing out business cards for Dr. Kush. Also the smell of people taking their “medicine” is carried along on the breeze for all to enjoy.

    I hope that the E-Team has a fruitful and trouble free day. Hopefully any would be hecklers will be too mellowed out on wacky tobacky to get up in anyone’s grill.

    Please give Harry Perry a gospel tract I want to see that dude roller skating on streets paved with gold.

    *Factoid: the term Po-Po originated in the Venice Beach area due to bicycle police officers wearing the letter PO on their shirts. Since they patrolled in teams of two, the letters spelled out PO PO, hence Po-Po.

  8. Dennis, I am not a big fan of insulting people, as I just mentioned above. However, in your case….

    Steve shows examples of Atheists being rude to warn of the consequences of Atheism; if I had a blog promoting science, reason and logic, I would use you as an example of the consequences of fundamentalism.

    Note that I did not say ‘consequences of Christianity’, because that would be a lie. You are not alone in your mindset but you are a particular kind of fundamentalists who plainly admit, right here, that he does not care 1 second about others’ views and how they can assess the morality of certain actions. You prefer to mock and ask fake questions. (Possibly because you read so many questions from non-fundamentalists that you cannot answer?)

    Look at what you just asked: ‘where do you draw the line?’ and then, right after, you ask ‘Where do you get that sense of right and wrong?’. This only shows that you are not interested in the potential answers to the first question or that you are incapable of processing the answers given to you already. You are either a very ignorant person (wilfully), or a very dishonest person who is lying to our faces. Your call!

    And just for the record, when you say “here is yet another example where the Atheists moral compass is ever shifting. Some say it’s ok, others are not so sure.” You are making an absurd claim. It has nothing to do with Atheism, it has to do with the fact that people have different views on… ANYTHING! We have a word for that, wait, what is it again… oh right! It’s called reality! Welcome to the real world! Make yourself at home, you might not like it, but it’s real and you can learn stuff from it. Again, your call…

  9. There is a great National Geographic Channel documentary called “Drugged: High on Marijuana”. It re-airs Saturday July 23 at 8:00 pm. I found it very interesting. Also, in the documentary a man goes into see the Kush Dr. in Venice Beach and he gets his RX filled and even sits down at a pot bar to have a bong hit of the house specialities.

  10. Dennis wrote:

    Where do you get that sense of right and wrong? Evolution put that there?
    Hmm…

    Oh, I don’t know, Dennis… maybe you could LOOK THIS UP?

    I know, I know, crazy thought… research.

  11. Dennis wrote:

    And here is yet another example where the Atheists moral compass is ever shifting.

    Sigh.

    Let me try this again, this time bolded:

    The word “atheist” describes what I am not; it doesn’t describe what I am

    Get it?

  12. @ Dennis

    Why do you ascribe an ‘ever shifting moral compass’ to atheists? Didn’t Christianity change its mind on slavery, or do you still endorse slavery as it was practiced and endorsed by 19th century slaveholders at the time?

  13. Hugo please explain how any drug use is “wrong” in your worldview?

    You guys just refuse to see that you keep moving the bar as needed.

    What is right and wrong is all relative and whatever is considered politically correct at the time. Used to be homosexual marriage was illegal – now it is being pushed to be legal.

    And all I am saying – my only point is this:
    Christians can read in the Holy Bible what God says is right and wrong and obey it. You (and other non-believers) just fall back to what you personally decide is morrally right and wrong.

    It’s really not a hard point I am making here.
    We answer to God.
    Who do you answer to?

  14. Hugo,

    So you would say that the fundamental teaching of the Bible are ‘damaging to society’. Even when they these fundamental teaching included the Ten Commandments. I’m sure you heard these before: thou shall not lie, steal, murder and (the one we are so guilty of) thou shall have no other gods before me.

    Your statement presupposes a moral society. This is a Christian virtue. Please explain how an atheist can so quickly abandon his worldview.

  15. Denis:
    Hugo please explain how any drug use is “wrong” in your worldview?
    You don’t care; why do you ask?
    No matter what I answer, you’ll say…

    You guys just refuse to see that you keep moving the bar as needed.

    What is right and wrong is all relative and whatever is considered politically correct at the time.

    Yes, I personally consider that my morality is relative. I like to say ‘everything is relative’ actually. There is very little which is absolute in this world. There are very few situations where I will say: ‘yes, that is definitely and always moral/immoral’.

    I could thus go on and explain to you how I make judgment in certain common cases. However, this can lead to a long philosophical discussion which we know does not go very far with you…

    Used to be homosexual marriage was illegal – now it is being pushed to be legal.

    It is a good example of shifting ideas yes. However, that’s an example applied at the society level, not individuals. I am not aware of a lot of people who changed their mind regarding this issue… The only ones who “changed” their mind did not really change it, they had just not consider it being even possible let’s say, 20 or 30 years ago.

    Now, when asked, they just agree that it makes sense for two adult to be allowed to marry each other if they want to, so they don’t really care. People who are passionate about gay marriage have been either for or against since the very first moment they thought about it.

    And all I am saying – my only point is this:
    Christians can read in the Holy Bible what God says is right and wrong and obey it. You (and other non-believers) just fall back to what you personally decide is morrally right and wrong.

    It’s really not a hard point I am making here.
    We answer to God.
    Who do you answer to?

    I find that line of reasoning to be highly dishonest; however, to be fair, I don’t think you or any other fundamentalists do it on purpose. Unlike you, I understand that you have good intentions, and only want to come as close as you can to being a moral person who agrees with this idea of perfect judgment and perfect morality put in place by a perfect God.

    My problem with this is that I don’t think you can read the Bible and simply follow what God says. The Bible was written by fallible people like you and I, and their views on the world was inaccurate and their morality set up in a very different context. Ultimately, they were doing the same as what we do now: falling back to what they personally decide is morally right or wrong. We all do that.

    You say you answer to God but I don’t believe this God exists, and you assert that we should all believe, without providing evidence or good reasons to. Your “good” reasons fall into 2 categories:
    1) The consequences of believing are good for you; your life being better and your actions being less sinful/evil/bad/immoral.
    2) The ultimate consequence of accepting God yields eternal bliss in Heaven and/or avoiding eternal punishment in Hell.

    These reasons are not good for me because they do not, in any way, provide me with a single reason to believe that any of this is actually true. I believe you when you say that it’s true for you. I believe every single person who had a religious experience. I believe every single early Christians who died for their faith. I believe all (or at least most) of these people are not lying. They really believe what they believe.

    It just does not make it more reliable. Humans are easily deceived… even eye witnesses account are proved again and again to be unreliable, so I am never going to be convinced by a book written over centuries by different people concerning claims that cannot be tested or falsified. Yes religion helps a lot of people to find guiding principles; but I don’t see a big difference between the fundamentalist trying to please God and the kid trying to be good in order to get gifts from Santa. Both have good intentions, both yield good results, but the consequences are obviously not an indication of the truth of the belief that led to the results.

    To answer your question finally… I answer to myself and others. If I do something bad, I know it, but other might not even see it as being bad. We all have a conscience; a sense of what’s right or wrong, but it’s not absolute. You will not agree but I even think that being an Atheist makes me a person who is more willing to act responsibly and morally. The thing is that when you don’t believe in God, the judge is right there, in your face, each time you look at a mirror. If I did something I consider bad, no one will forgive me. I will feel guilty and will want to do anything I can to correct the situation. My judge is extremely severe and will never forget nor completely forgive. I can only learn from my mistakes and try to be better the next time. If I hurt someone it’s going to be to them that I will confess and apologize to, not some entity that promised me eternal life.

  16. Richard:
    Hugo,
    So you would say that the fundamental teaching of the Bible are ‘damaging to society’.

    Perhaps I was not clear enough, and you oversimplify the issue. It’s not the ‘teachings of the Bible’, as a whole that are damaging society, be it fundamental or not. I don’t see things as being all white or all black, remember?

    The Bible can be used for good or bad. There are so many types of literature included, so many good advices along terrible actions… Anyone can take what they want from it. Yes there are general principles that are consistent throughout, but what they are exactly is still up for debate.

    The problem I see with the fundamental teaching of the Bible in particular is that it is a type of teaching that leads people to reject modern knowledge of the world learned through the scientific method, and isolate believers in a ‘us versus them’ mindset where others are all evil simply because they disagree with the idea of a perfect Christian Creator God.

    Even when they these fundamental teaching included the Ten Commandments. I’m sure you heard these before: thou shall not lie, steal, murder and (the one we are so guilty of) thou shall have no other gods before me.

    Yes of course, I was raised Christian and anyway I think you have to live with your head far in the sand not to know anything about this, at least in North America… I don’t see the point though. I don’t need the Bible to teach me the commandments that are not purely religious, like stealing, lying and murdering, and I don’t care about the commandments that concern the Christian God, like ‘you should not have any other God’ since I don’t think this God exists.

    Your statement presupposes a moral society. This is a Christian virtue. Please explain how an atheist can so quickly abandon his worldview.

    Not sure what you mean here… I think that yes, I do presuppose a moral society, in the sense that we, humans, all have a certain sense of morality that was passed down to us by our ancestors. Animals also have one but a very primitive form of it. This tells us that there must be some evolutionary benefits to being a moral being. It is not a requirement though. We are so complex nowadays that our inner animalistic nature is irrelevant to the conversation. We get most of our morals from our parents when we grow up and that’s what matters.

    The point is that we live together, share a common reality, and all need to adjust to it. Some don’t actually, we call them psychopath. Others try to fit into a fixed reality described in a book, we call them fundamentalists. Most people just do the best they, we simply call them humans.

  17. Soldier for Jesus wrote:

    “So-called “medical marijuana” is not regulated, so it has no guarantees of purity and consistency. It can be laced with PCP or be “cut”

    This makes no sense for two reasons:

    1. PCP is quite a bit more expensive and quite a bit less accessible than marijuana. Why would someone put something expensive (PCP) into something a lot less expensive (marijuana), and sell it for the lower price?

    2. That would pretty much guarantee a loss of “customers”. It’s not like that wouldn’t be immediately noticeable.

    Also, please explain how someone would “cut” marijuana. That makes no sense to me.

    • With pot pouri man, or parsley… or they just wouldn’t.

      • Not that I would know, but parsley and pot pouri look very different from marijuana.

        I’ve just always heard these worries about “cutting” the marijuana, and it’s simply never made sense to me.

  18. So what happened in Venice Beach? I wish I could have been there to witness some good old school street preachin’ but I had other things that I had to attend to.

    I hope someone took some videos.

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