I got a Tweet from David Porter who runs the always fantastic and astoundingly prolific blog http://www.boomerinthepew.com/ which if you don't follow you're totally missing out and I feel sorry for you. The subject was briefly about cigars which we are getting for Tony for his 18th birthday tomorrow. Laurie and I had just talked about my own lack of topics to blog on and it struck me that I may actually have something edifying to say about smoking, leisure and Christianity.
I started smoking cigars when I was 15 because I was eccentric (good thing that phase ended!) I moved on the cigarettes which I smoked much and often until either the age of 20 or 21 (those years are hazy for other reasons.) I quit when I was coming down with yet another in a seemingly endless series of bronchial infections. I quit because I was tired of getting sick so often and because, to my delight, I realized that were I to quit smoking I would have way more money for books and music.
Laurie and I have a cigar once or twice a year. For a time I smoked a pipe when Laurie and I were first married but getting tobacco became another chore and I never really adopted it as a habit.
I like smoking. I like how it looks. I like how it feels. I like taking a few moments away from whatever else is going on. There is a zen to smoking. Sometimes I will smell someone who is smoking and still, all of these years later, it makes me kind of want to smoke. But honestly I don't think about it very often anymore. And I think that's rather the point for me.
All of these years later I still miss smoking. It was a great pleasure. As Laurie says, cigarettes have given smoking a bad rap as an occasional cigar or pipe is really no worse for you than going to a campfire. I think I look good with a pipe or a cigar. But I have a hard time imagining doing it habitually ever again. Even if we were in the black at all times.
I have no problem with the concept of Christians smoking (my brother recalls one church in Wisconsin where they had ashtrays in the armrests of the pews) any more than having ice cream or listening to popular or otherwise less than sanctified music or reading non-religious specific works. Clearly I have no problem with any of these things although I can already imagine the scathing comment my mother is probably cooking up for me saying so. Smoking was probably one of the things in my life that I did that most grieved my mother. For that I am very sorry.
As one who has a difficult time stating a specific opinion, I think I can say here and now that I am decidedly smoking neutral.
I may have arrived at deeper profundities on this topic, but I find that, rather than nicotine, I am presently being called out a slave to two canines who are demanding their basic rights to use the yard for unclean purposes. Which brings me to my point. We all serve something be it our desires, be it our obligations. The Gospel provides access to serving God which is the function that we were created to fill.
Okay. Gotta go. Es muss sein.