I’m reading my way through James Atwood’s book, America and Its Guns: A Theological Expose. Someone pointed me in the direction of this article from Deeper Story, a blog that has already been a blessing to me.
A couple of weeks ago on Instagram, someone posted a church bulletin. Right next to announcements for kids’ church programs was a class on gun ownership, specifically featuring information on carrying concealed weapons. As far as I could tell from the picture, the class was being held at church.
Right. Because Jesus died to give you the right to carry a concealed weapon. Can I get an amen for an ammo clip with your altar call? How about a semi-automatic rifle with today’s Gospel message? And all the people said….what the Hell?
No, literally. It’s a hellish proposition for houses of worship to condone, sponsor and promote gun ownership rights. Because, sure. As Americans we have the right to bear arms. Fine. OK. Yes, yes. Bill of Rights, etc etc. But as Christians? No. The right to bear arms is not what Christianity is about.
You wanna celebrate, promote and fight for gun ownership? Fine. OK. Go get happy about your gun rights OUTSIDE of church.
The house of God is a place of worship. It is a place for prayer. It is a place for peace. Bringing weapons into a house of prayer is desecration!
Have we really come so far away from the idea of sacred space that our churches are no longer quiet places for holy reflection but rather multi-purpose rooms fit for every conceivable activity? What’s next? Church-sponosred gun shows?
Have we forgotten how enraged Jesus became when the moneychangers sat near the Temple? Do we really believe we are somehow exempt from His wrath when we misuse His house of worship?
I know this sounds crazy but I’m pretty sure Jesus DOESN’T CARE if we’re American.
And maintaining our right to bear concealed weapons is NOT high on His to-do list.
In fact, if we’re gonna get real: Jesus didn’t even use a weapon in self-defense. When Peter tried to defend Jesus from being arrested, He told Peter to put away his sword. And then, Jesus healed the wound Peter caused.
St. Paul tells us that the “weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4). We are Christians. We don’t pull down strongholds with physical weapons but with spiritual ones. We don’t brandish weapons that are governed by mere human nature but we fight through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, if you want to own guns, collect guns, shoot guns and fight for gun ownership–go ahead and do that as an American.
Just don’t bring Jesus into it.
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