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The Spiritual High of Colorado’s 'Stoner Jesus Bible Study'

By Paul Gaita 12/16/15

Stoners 4 Jesus are smoking weed to feel reconnected with the Almighty.

marijuana leaf stylistic.jpg

A Bible study group in Colorado has incorporated the use of marijuana into their meetings, which members say has deepened their understanding of Scripture.

The Stoner Jesus Bible Study, based in the Arapahoe County municipality of Centennial, supports the use of marijuana both in and outside of their meetings; the study group is the brainchild of local resident Deb Button, who conceived the idea after consuming a marijuana edible in 2015 to alleviate migraine pain following the state’s legalization of marijuana the previous year.

The experience left her feeling “so connected to God” that she placed an ad on Craigslist seeking other pot enthusiasts with an interest in spirituality. The group soon added up to 20 members from a wide array of Christian denominations, all of whom were drawn by the group’s focus: “to share the love and wisdom with any seekers, alternative thinkers, or those already following his word.”

For some group members, the Stoner Jesus Bible Study offers a sense of community forged on principles culled from the Beatitudes, the eight blessings offered by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, as recounted in the Gospel of Matthew. As study Pastor Greg noted, the lessons of the Beatitudes emphasize followers to “be kind and loving and have mercy on other people; not to be judgmental, and that’s why we like the 4/20 crowd, because we are open-minded.”

For others, the study offers an alternative to the more conservative tenets of organized religion. “I feel that the people that we are connecting with are the people who are just like me,” said Button, who dropped out of her church several years prior to forming the study group after feeling disconnected to the congregation. “For whatever reason, they love God, love the word of Jesus, but are not big fans of the church.”

And for some members, the emphasis on marijuana has aided them in finding a spiritual foundation to break other addictions. “God is what got me through that,” said longtime member Mark Button. “Thanks to Him, I’ve been sober eight years. I don’t drink or do hard drugs anymore. I do smoke marijuana sometimes.”

The group members are aware that their approach has not found favor with other members of the Denver Christian community. A pastor associated with the group was expelled from the worship team at his church after his connection to the Stoner Jesus Bible Study was made public, and Deb Button expects that her group may generate conflict with the administration at her son’s conservative Christian school.

But the spiritual life she has forged with her group through marijuana use is worth the trouble, according to Button. “When I started using cannabis, I just felt very connected to God again,” she said. “I could feel all of the beauty that was in the world, and not see all the negative stuff.”

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites. 

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