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"ATLANTA (AP) — Ashley Smith, the woman who says she persuaded suspected courthouse gunman Brian Nichols to release her by talking about her faith, discloses in a new book that she gave him methamphetamine during the hostage ordeal.

In her book, "Unlikely Angel," released Tuesday, Smith says Nichols had her bound on her bed with masking tape and an extension cord. She says he asked for marijuana, but she did not have any, and she dug into her illegal stash of crystal meth instead...

During the ordeal, Smith says, she pulled out Rick Warren's book "The Purpose-Driven Life" and read to Nichols a chapter called "Using What God Gave Me" to gain his trust. Nichols later released her, and she called 911 and told authorities where to find him."

Click here for the full story.

QUESTIONS: Does this hostage's use of drugs or her captors use of drugs negate her claim that God intervened to free her? Does God use "sin" to bring about virtue? Can both drugs and deity be active in a person's life at the same time? Could it be that this "God" character this woman speaks of is some sort of nickname given to her dealer? Like "Big Joey" or "The Ice Cream Man".


Blogger Nick said...

I don't believe drug use necessarily negates that claim, though it's probably convenient for a lot of Christians to believe so. We're all a bowl of mixed nuts. Sinner and saint. Pious and rough around the edges. God uses it. Not sure how.

Blogger Aunt B said...

Well, shoot, if your god can make a great king out of an adulterer and a holy mother out of an unmarried pregnant teenager, he can make a hero out of a drug addict.

I've got to say that I actually find the fact that she uses drugs to make this more meaningful to me. I mean, she has an escape, a way of dealing with her problems--however screwed up that is--and yet, when the chips were down, who did she put her faith in?

Sometimes real transformation comes not from someone who's already achieved it showing you how it's done, but from someone who really hopes that it can happen sharing her hope with you.

Blogger Dave Haupert said...

Does it really say it was an illegal stash of crystal meth? I ask because methamphetamine is a legally prescribed narcotic used for chronic pain. Just want to be sure- I tried to check the link but it gave a missing article page.

Blogger lovelib said...

aunt b, I really enjoyed reading your response. We recently moved to south alabama (hopefully not for long!) and my husband and I work in a church here. Christians here seem to have one idea about what a believer looks like. (white, middle class, straight, republican ect...) They seem totally out of touch with the actual examples we have in the Bible of real people who believed only through God's grace and not their own righteousness. I'm not advocating we all go out and pick ourselves up some meth, but I think Jesus shows up in the most unlikely of places...that is why grace is grace. Grace can come through even when there are sinners and even where there is sin... in fact, without sin...how can there be grace?

Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Link fixed.

Blogger Jason...aka Farky said...


Constantly...or I hope so.

Trickier...maybe not if your mind is altered to a state where belief in a deity becomes impossible.

Yes, but that's one cocky dealer.

More importantly, where's the bibliography?

Blogger Amy said...

Obviouly God was at work in more than one person's life here. I almost admire her courage in telling the truth, despite the fact that I'm sure there will be some backlash from the Christian community.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm yeah, that's a good but sad point Aim.

Blogger GrovesFan said...

I know that God can and DOES use evil for His good and glory. As long as God is the one getting the glory for this use of evil (the drugs) and not Rick Warren or the lady involved in the first place, then so be it. While I don't agree with her drug use if it is indeed illicit, if God chose to use that circumstance to show Himself, then who are we to argue or judge?


Anonymous Mike Harris said...

Some great questions here, Shaun. I'm a big believer that God is actively moving through this world in search of people who are far from Him. I think its a given that God works in mysterious ways, and certainly in ways our limited minds cannot comprehend. Jesus never used a person's sin as an excuse not to engage in their life. Neither did he let the person believe that it was OK to continue down the road they were on. I'm not sure this response answers any of your questions--in fact it may be begging more questions.

I enjoyed reading your blog, and getting a glimpse into your heart.

Mike Harris

Blogger Rica said...

I'm not sure what to think... well, except for maybe the fact that that is kind of disappointing. I mean, I guess God can use anything in any circumstance, but why meth? It's all kind of confusing...

Anonymous anna said...

just goes to show how God works in questinable and wonderful ways.

Anonymous kris said...

I don't know that we should be so disappointed. I don't know a ton about the story, but maybe she was a recent convert, who had been part of a "purpose group" and had been impacted by the book. Maybe she hadn't yet had time for God to change all of her evil ways, and it was convienient for her that particular day. It never claimed she was an adict, either. Not that most people stash up meth for a rainy day, but we should be careful what we assume.

Blogger Amy said...

hi Rica,

I appreciate your honesty too. I guess we just have to step back and think about how God constantly uses flawed people...people with serious issues, etc. to accomplish His purposes. For that I am thankful.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

we're all sinners, whether it's drugs or little white lies. but Christ came to save us "while we were yet sinners," not after we cleaned up our act. Grace is a truly amazing gift. i'm already grimacing from the judgmental backlash that she's probably going to get from the "christian" community. we all fall short. all that matters is that, if she has accepted Christ into her life, that means that when God looks at her, he sees Jesus, not meth.

Anonymous Cpt. Crayon said...

Despite our failures, God still moves and works. But we should not aim for the lesser way.

Anonymous Matt said...

what i really don't get...

she claims that she told the guy that drugs are bad, and she used a scar on her stomach as an example. in that example (at the end of the article), she says she heard a voice saying, "Let go (of the wheel) and let God."

so, was it the drugged mind, or was it God that said that? what was the point of that quote in the article at all? that quote isn't exactly what i'd call a conclusion...there's no explanation as to how the quote ties to the situation (or example).

it makes sense that she would say that drugs induced her crash, but if she's trying to use her faith to gain the guy's trust, isn't it detrimental to say that her faith was a part of the reason she crashed (ie. adding the "God" part)?
this story just confused me in general. maybe it's just me, but the article was all over the place, and the end was a bit dangly (and this was an AP article!!!).

-Matt (no opinion yet..just confusion)

Anonymous Randall said...

Shaun, thanks for posting the article. I like the story much better now. It looks much more like real life, and it reveals so much more about God and less about the hostage/hero.

Moses was a murderer, and God made great use of him.

Anonymous Kris said...

Matt, that form of article is called a "pyramid" style, where you write the most important information and at the beginning and the least important at the end. It's used mostly for news articles, so that's why they closed with that, not because it was significant and supposed to leave an impact, but because it was part of the story that those who read through the whole thing might have been interested to know. Although I don't know why.

Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Hmm. Didn't know that. Thanks for the journalism lesson.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay so, what if we looked at it like this. the same guy shows up at our house, ties us up and says that instead of pot, he says that he really needs some porn and asks if can you give him a magazine. and you or I say, well i dont have a mag, since i gave that up years ago, but i have a computer and i can show you were to find it. but, its really bad for you...ect....here is the "purpose driven life"

maybee this woman really that different than me.

i am amazed everytime i play, lead worship, teach a bible study or unexpectadly talk to someone about Christ and his love, that God is able to use this wounded sack of inconsistency like me. I guess thats where real joy is found. realizing that Gods love moves inspite of the sins in my past and present and the filthy rags of self-righteousness. we are all made from the same slime of the earth into something beautiful.

i guess what i am wondering is are we shocked that the purpose driven life and meth. were found in the same home or are we stunned that she gave him the meth.

i guess this womans ordeal kind of makes me wince because it is a little too real and not so Christain fairytail-ish

Also, far as David and Moses, God also uses un-repentant sinners to fulfill his plan. He used Judas and Ceasar...

Great post-



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