Jesus and Cigarettes

I recently read a couple of interesting statistics about cigarette smoking. (Don’t worry guys. This post is in no way shape or form a commentary on smoking or nicotine addiction. I’m just using these statistics to make a point. So whether you smoke or not, please stick with me for a sec).  The first observation is this: More people know about the dangers of smoking today, than ever before in history. I don’t think anyone would argue with that. The second observation was this: more people smoke, today, than ever before in history. No one would argue with that statement either. 

So the obvious question would have to be: If people know more about the dangers of smoking, then why in the world do more people smoke today than ever in the history of smoking?

World famous writer and sociologist Malcolm Gladwell says this: For a huge percentage of people, the initial attraction to smoking is actually the danger associated with it.  The fact that the whole world is telling people not to smoke is actually the very reason people often start. The element of danger is the “tipping point”. 

I don’t know if you guys have figured it out yet, but this concept applies to much more than smoking. I would go as far to say that Rock’ N’ Roll isn’t even about music. It’s about danger too. It represents everything unpredictable, unexpected, and unrestrained.  At least it’s supposed to.  (These days I guess the appearance of these qualities is more common than the real thing, but you get my point.) People are attracted to it because of the danger.

All this led me to another conclusion. Jesus isn’t exactly so safe himself…

He might spit in your eyes (Mark 8:23), he might call you a dog (Matt 15:26), he may ask you to do things that you can’t do (Matt 14:29), he might bring 120 gallons of wine to a party where people have been drinking all day (John 2), he may lead you to open sea in a storm (Mark 4:37), he might change your life then ask you not to tell any one (Luke 8:56), he and his friends might get arrested (John 18:12), he might offend your friends (John 6:66), he might insult the “righteous” people (Matt 23:27), he might let guilty people off the hook (John 8:10-11), he might offend his own family members (Luke 8:19-21, 14:26), he might hang out with people you don’t like (Luke 19:7), he might start a riot (John 2:15), he might use toilet speak to support a spiritual principle (Mark 7:20), he might tell you that what you’ve believed your whole life is wrong (John 3), he might use offensive language at the dinner table (Luke 11).

The way I see it, Jesus is anything but safe, but he’s never boring… And isn’t that what we really want? 

  1. Matthew said:

    great post. I love your intensity, realness, and refreshing boldness both in your music and in your words.

  2. Wow. That was totally amazing John. I totally agree. I have struggled with nicotene addiction for a long time and have probably beat myself up over it way more than God. This really spoke to me thanks for sharing it! : )A.J.

  3. This is an incredibly powerful entry. The truth behind what you’ve just said is thought provoking and empowering. It gives me personally, and hopefully others too, even more ammunition and steady ground. To put it simply, I like it.

  4. As C.S. Lewis once wrote:”Safe? Who said anything about safe? Of course He is not safe. But He is good”

  5. “Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘course He isn’t safe. But He is good.” C. S. Lewis

  6. matthew said:

    What brand did Jesus smoke?…Camels?

    • Luke said:

      American Spirits is my guess.

  7. Very cool! Reminds me: where's my sense of danger?

  8. thanks for the reminder…and putting all that together….it's like, woah, yeah, Jesus did that and that and that…and then a click happens in my head. 🙂

  9. jndk said:

    i could smoke a cig after reading that.

  10. Lindsey said:

    I freaking love it. But I'm not going to pick up smoking. What a great blog…I just happened upon it, I think I'll delve a little deeper now! Nice to meet you sir.

  11. Lindsey! You seriously took my comment! Anyway, John, good stuff. I just stumbled upon you from a friend who linked you. Enjoyed your thoughts and music.

  12. Hi John Mark,I go to Campbellsville University and have heard you perform multiple times. Me and my husband own all your CDs. I just wanted you to know that I heard the David Crowder cover of your song today and I was so excited! "How He Loves" is a beautiful song and I can't wait for more people to hear it and be touched by it!

  13. So true; I think well meaning spiritual leaders have tried to paint a picture of a secure God (which bears much truth) because they feel that is what people need from Jesus, security. It comes either by painting a picture of “hell” then offering the secure-Jesus, or by offering Jesus as the safety net for life’s difficulties. Again, though grounded in truth I fear the secure God is not totally accurate. Just look at the majority our congregational worship songs, Gods love… God’s a strong tower… Gods our refuge… God’s all we need… why are such phrases so popular? Many songs allude to safety, reliability, predictability… but what if God wasn’t so safe? What if He wasn’t as predictable as an algebra formula? Would we actually love Him more then? I think so… I would. Just read about how God took Neb’s reason from him in Daniel 4, God took someone’s free-will away… violated what I’ve often thought a “human-right-before-God”… that’s not safe or predictable… God’s not safe… but, it only makes His other “safe” attributes shine brighter. (Sorry about the mega-reply! Got me thinking…)

  14. now thats an amazing and well made point. by the way, we sang your song at the Desperation Conference in Colorado Springs Co (performed by desperation band and kari jobe) and it changed my life.thank you.

  15. now thats an amazing and well made point. by the way, we sang your song at the Desperation Conference in Colorado Springs Co (performed by desperation band and kari jobe) and it changed my life.thank you.

  16. Christy said:

    So true! I’m currently reading The Barbarian Way by Erwin Raphael McManus for the 2nd time. Great stuff! Christianty has tried to put Jesus in a neat little package tied with a bow. Wrong! He was a Barbarian, we are meant to be Barbarians. If this doesn’t make sense just check out his book, true enlightenment.

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