Why This Christian Will Never Own a Gun

Sign the petition: Christians Standing Together Against Gun Violence.

Photo by twak on flickr

As a Christian and a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA) I often struggle with Scripture and how God intends for me to live in the world. Jesus and our faith demands of us to make difficult decisions in life that often stand firmly against our own upbringing, our own wants and, at times, our friends and family.

I believe that, today, the question of gun ownership and fighting gun violence is one of those times.

Trust me, I do not wade into the topic of guns lightly. After posting on this topic here and here, I am fully aware of the passion with which people approach this issue and the subsequent conversations about it. While some would say it would be wiser and even safer to avoid such engagement, I disagree. For if I, as a Christian, cannot find a way to engage in healthy and helpful conversations with those  who disagree with me, Christian or not, then, I am abdicating my responsibility to live the kind of life that I believe God hopes for me to live in the world.

Still, I know that there will be some immediate reactions by many who might react to any opinion that seems anti-gun, so let me try to pre-empt some of the obvious pushback that is likely to be directed my way.  I have no delusions that commentors will, in fact, read this blog before commenting, but for those of you who do and are interested in fruitful conversation, know this . . .

  • When I say that I will never own a gun because of my Christian faith, that does not mean that I am saying that you are not a Christian if you do.
  • I do understand that there is a difference between owning a rifle for hunting and owning a handgun for self-defense. And while I would never own either, my Christian sensibilities are not as challenged by those who have grown up in a culture of hunting as by those who advocate widespread handgun availability.
  • This is not about the 2nd Amendment or gun control, but rather a public expression of how my faith informs the way I chose to live in the world.  There is a time and place for conversations about civil engagement and faith, but in this post, my primary authority is not the US Constitution, but my faith in Jesus Christ and God’s unfolding reality as told through the Bible.

Gun ownership, gun violence and gun control are obviously not new debates in our nation. At the same time, I do think that the ideological, philosophical and theological foundations that give structure to the arguments about guns in our culture are beginning to manifest themselves in ways that are tearing apart the social and cultural understandings that have brought this country together for a very long time. In the name of free speech, we are experiencing a rise of violent political rhetoric; in the defense of freedom, personal interactions are increasingly tinged with violent posturing; and  recent shootings – mass or otherwise – are creating a fatigue that further normalizes gun violence in our culture.

As a Christian, a pastor, a father, a citizen of the United States and member of the larger global community, this is not an acceptable reality, nor does this align with the many ways in which I believe Christ calls us to live. There is much in the teachings of Christ that offer me pause, but in the case of guns, any way I look at the questions of owning a gun and the risks involved to the larger community, it is abundantly clear to me why I will never own a gun.

I first begin with my place in the greater community. I choose not to own a gun and provide an opportunity for the violence that so often accompanies guns because this is how I would hope others would be in the world. Yes, many will label me a fool and accuse me of creating an atmosphere of inviting gun violence into my life, but when it comes to faith, my actions, while defying logic to many in the world, is an expression of my deep commitment to God.

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:36-40

Secondly, nowhere in Scripture does Jesus give us permission to solve our problems, respond to aggression or even defend ourselves with violence. In word and in deed, we are often called to fight injustice and violence with words and actions that are distinctly NOT violent, even in self-defense. Turning the other cheek, defending with a swordstoning of the prostitute, etc, Jesus reminds us of other powerful ways to respond to those who would chose to goad us into violent conflict. Yes, we do those things out of self-survival and self-defense, and justified by society or not, viewed through a lens of the Christian faith violence of any kind cannot be justified.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:17-21

People may call this approach to faith and life absurd, weak or out of touch, but this is where my Christian faith leads me to stand and I consider this posture of non-violence in word and deed, to be one of power, transformation and graciousness. Again, because this is where my faith leads me, does not mean that I think any less of those who decide that gun ownership aligns with their faith, only that I have chosen differently.

I believe is that at some point, people of faith must stand side-by-side speaking together to let the world and one another know that there is a different way to live and respond to that which may threaten us . . . and it is one that does not involve guns, so if you would like to add your name to a “petition” is support of church leaders everywhere who are engaged in importnat work against gun violence, please sign sign and share This Petition:  Christians Standing Together Against Gun Violence.

  • jack burton

    Blair, I have a number of firearms that I’ve had for decades and have sent many of thousand of bullets through them. The dealers obviously and willfully sold be defective guns because not a single one of the has ever “killed” a single thing. I have all my receipts still. Do you think it is too late to take them back and ask for my money returned?

    BTW, if my sister uses her gun to hold a person at bay who is breaking into her home, and it turns out that he is a serial rapist who has harmed many women in the community, how does this not quality as “contributing positively to the life of a community.”

    http://www.keepandbeararms.com/information/XcIBViewItem.asp?ID=2057

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/breyeschow/ Bruce Reyes-Chow

    Not sure that this commenter is interested in dialogue, but I will choose to leave this comment as an example of how I hope us NOT engage with one another.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/breyeschow/ Bruce Reyes-Chow

    Not sure why you would make such an assumption. Difference of opinion does not mean one over the other. That is your reading, not my writing, in fact I say at the very beginning that my choice does not create judgement of another Christian. I think we can live in a world where we disagree, find common solutions and not resort of unfounded accusations. Plus we can do this with grace, passion and humility. So to answer your question, i do NOT thing they are any less serious about their religion and faith.

  • jack burton

    Those sneaky little human emotions tend to disagree often with what we “think” or “believe” we should be feeling. :-)

  • jack burton

    Sarah… why do you “think ending a life is always wrong”? I ask that out of real lack of understanding on my part about that kind of mindset. I can understand that ending a life should not be done lightly, or without reservation, or callously, or brutally, or for kicks, or for shallow reasons, or for when not necessary, but “always wrong” seems so far to the side of the scale that it lacks, for me, reasonableness. Help me out here.

    For a real life example we can turn to the New Life Church shooting in Colorado.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Colorado_YWAM_and_New_Life_shootings

    A social deviant deranged person came into the church, shooting and killing multiple people. A church member, Jeanne Assam, who was legally carrying a handgun and who had approached the pastor that morning and asked if she could provide security because the shooter was known to be in the area, fired her weapon at the shooter, wounding him enough so that the other people were able to escape. Her pastor credits her with saving “over 100 lives.”

    Assam did not kill the shooter, he took his own life with his firearm. However, her bullets could have just as easily killed him as wound him. It was the merest happenstance he was not killed by her, if they had been in a slightly different place. Do you feel she was “wrong” in stopping the shooter by firing at him to kill him? Do you consider the 100 lives she potentially saved as a less-than-acceptable trade-off for the life of the shooter?

    Because we are dealing with a real situation here then “could haves, should haves, and would haves” really have no place. We cannot change reality to reflect our desires, and say that she should have sprayed him with pepper spray, or that maybe a bunch of guys could have jumped on him or in a better world he would not have had a gun in the first place. What happened, happened.

    Was Assam “wrong” in shooting at the shooter with her firearm?

  • Heidi

    Bruce, I think the “turn the other cheek” passage is often mis-exegeted as being about violence when in reality it IS a cultural thing, and needs to be viewed in that way. Note that it is specifically the “right” cheek which is hit first–that is an important detail (too often missed) because in order to hit someone on the right cheek, one must use one’s left hand. The left hand is the dirty or “unspeakable” hand because it is the one used to attend to personal hygiene relative to bodily functions–whereas the right hand is the one that is allowed into the communal food bowl. This is/was a strict custom in the desert Middle East, which is why cutting the right hand off of a thief was/is such a damning punishment–it condemns the thief to a life cut off from the community, since he can’t sit at table and eat with them.
    Jesus is telling His followers here that they should tolerate all sorts of filth and insults from people–He is not encouraging them to tolerate violence per se!

  • Heidi

    This was exactly the question my clergy father faced at the outset of WWII. He had one brother in the military and one who was a conscientious objector, and he was in seminary himself when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He told me many times that he wrestled with the problem of whether or not he would shoot if an armed threat to his family (then only my mother, but they had hopes of having us all one day) were marching up the driveway. He said that he realized that he would shoot to defend those he loved–and that if that was his answer, he could not become a CO (which was what his mother wanted him to do). He did not end up going to fight–at the time, new seminary grads were encouraged to take churches to free up older pastors to be military chaplains) but that mental struggle helped to shape the man he was, and the Christians he raised us to be.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Morrothmor Thomas Muir

    I understand you comments, and I will pray your never put into a situation where need one or have to be protected by one.

  • Heidi

    Um…feeding a hungry family?? Growing up, oftentimes we would have gone hungry had it not been for the combined efforts of my mother’s garden and my dad’s gun, which not only brought home meat but also defended the garden!

  • Heidi

    Thank you, Ben, for your perspective. You sound much like my devout Christian friends who “pack.”

  • Heidi

    Like others, I commend you, Bruce, for not making this a “divide” issue among those of faith. That said, I also disagree with some of your premises.
    As another poster mentioned, being armed with a weapon of self-defense was clearly not the issue to Jesus–why else would Peter have carried a sword in the first place? If we were all armed, we would actually reduce violence, if statistics such as the crime rates in Switzerland are any example. Using a gun in self-defense is an absolute last resort, but it is a step that rarely needs to be made in a culture where guns are the norm. In the case of Peter and the sword in Gethsemane, I would suspect that he was not the only one “packing”–it was part of the Judaic culture. What WAS at issue was that Jesus needed to go on trial and be killed as a step of His atoning sacrifice and His ultimate victory.
    I would also draw attention to the 23rd Psalm, in which the writer states, “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” The staff was a shepherd’s crook for bringing wayward sheep back onto the path, but the rod was a weapon of defense, not only for the shepherd but for the flock. Ken Bailey once told me what kind of tree is used in the Middle East, and I’ve forgotten the species–but in short, the “rod” is a sapling tree with a dried root ball on it, often with a molded metal end nailed in place over the root ball to give even more “clout” to it. Anyone who threatened the sheep was clouted with the rod–be it a lion or a thief–and knowing that the shepherd would defend the sheep in such a way was a comfort to the sheep!
    Although “Thou shalt not kill” is our standard and ideal, we live in a broken world. We must certainly carefully consider when we need to allow ourselves to be killed without retaliation to make a statement about our faith–but I think there is also a place in a broken world for simply preventing the waste of mindless destruction of life by being willing to defend life that is being attacked by violent forms of it, be they human or otherwise. Sometimes there are no answers that are right in a broken world–when a crazed gunman opens fire in a theater, for instance, we are already faced with a broken situation with no right answers. Would it not have been an act of love for neighbor if somebody who was “packing” had been able to take down the gunman after the first few shots were fired, thus preserving lives and preventing much suffering and heartache? Furthermore, not all wounds must kill–the people who I know who “pack” practice sufficiently to be able to shoot first to wound and prevent further destruction, and would only aim to kill in the most extreme of circumstances. Quite frankly, I feel loved, safe and “comforted” like the sheep in the 23rd Psalm when they are around.
    I personally do not own a handgun–but it is not because of any ideology. It is because I am not adept at using them. I grew up in a hunting culture and own a rifle and a shotgun. But given the way the secular world has gotten out of control, I would not rule out the possibility of undergoing the handgun training that I deem necessary to responsible handgun ownership.
    The Rev. Heidi Smith

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/breyeschow/ Bruce Reyes-Chow

    Here is an interesting interpretations. There are others like it. http://www.biblestudy.org/question/why-did-jesus-tell-disciples-to-buy-swords.html

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/breyeschow/ Bruce Reyes-Chow

    I think we may differ on the understanding of grateful. When anyone dies, I do not believe anyone should be grateful. Relived maybe, but grateful never.

  • jack burton

    Bruce… to be consistent you’re going to have to be willing to forgo the protection of the police and other defenders of the innocent. If it is immoral and against your Christian beliefs to pull that trigger yourself, how can you possibly morally ask another to pull it in your name or for your sake? When the downstairs glass window breaks at 3:30 in the morning are you willing to demand of the 911 operator that she tell the responding police officers to leave their guns in the squad car before them come investigate?

  • Ben

    Not true at all my friend. I have fired many thousands of rounds and I have never done so at a person. I hunt, shoot trap/skeet/sporting clays, and target shoot on top of training to use my guns defensively. Firearms may be more efficient at killing than a hammer, but both are still just tools in the hands of an operator.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/breyeschow/ Bruce Reyes-Chow

    Barry – Thanks for commenting. I think you raise a very important issue with all of the blogging and commenting. You make assumptions about me that I never state. Now i am not saying that I might vote in particular ways, but I was very clear to say this THIS post was not about the second amendment, litmus testing Christians, etc, only how THIS person of faith found his way to this position. Would it be just as fair for me to assume by your comments that you would support same sex marriage because it is about free choice that does not impinge on your status if you are in a male/female marriage or that you are pro-choice. I have absolutely no idea, but I do think it is unhelpful in our larger society when we make choose to engage issues based on things not even said.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/breyeschow/ Bruce Reyes-Chow

    I think you lift up a good passage to wrestle with. What do you think about this interpretation? http://www.biblestudy.org/question/why-did-jesus-tell-disciples-to-buy-swords.html

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/breyeschow/ Bruce Reyes-Chow

    I will go ahead and agree with you on this. I am nowhere near consistent with my faith and my life. Good golly, that is a long list of ways you could point that out. Still, as all people of faith do, we do our best to make good choices in life that are grounding in the ways we feel that God is calling us. In this case, as I say in the post, this is not about litmus testing christians, but about THIS Christian’s reasons for holding such an opinion. I am very careful not to condemn other for making different choices . . . the whole stoning of the prostitute passage comes to mind. All the same, thanks for commenting.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/breyeschow/ Bruce Reyes-Chow

    Roy. Agreed and I do want to point out that this was not about anyone else’s choices, but how i have come to mine. I think the assumptions about people who hold my position are interesting in themselves, so I might disagree with the conclusions you draw. All the same, thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/breyeschow/ Bruce Reyes-Chow

    I agree and actually I never say that it was. Only and example that we are NOT called to respond to this form of aggression with violence. I will acknowledge that a difficulty when talking about scripture is trying not to bring ones one interpretation in and lay it over another persons’. I chose to not exegete those passages knowing that many would jump to conclusions about my interpretation. There is not much I can do about that. Thank for commenting though.

  • http://www.mycultlife.com My Cult Life

    That makes sense. At the time I left my cult, my parents said to sue them for wages lost (I wasn’t paid for 70+ hours of work each week) and I refused, believing they wouldn’t ever purposefully hurt me. I would’ve probably done the same thing unless someone talked me out of it.

    I tried a Catholic church for awhile…it was definitely easier for me to handle but nothing quite stuck. So I just didn’t force it. I grew up in a conservative area where many of the churches are fundamentalist, but even in this area I now live, I find myself so relieved I can sleep in on Sunday mornings. Or just wake up early and have coffee. There’s something really restrictive about even my “quiet” time back then. For example, now, I’ll go sit at the beach and attempt to meditate and it’s a lot easier (finally) not to be wrought with guilty thoughts about myself. I was constantly plagued by what I did wrong, even when I was a very pious young woman. It’s so strange. I doubt I’ll ever fully make sense of it.

  • http://stitchinguptheseams.wordpress.com/ Stitching Seams

    They asked me if I wanted to report him, and I said no (believing that’s what I ought to have done). It was a non-religious community college.

    I haven’t on-purpose read my Bible in quite some time. I’ve also stopped going to church. Panic attacks ensue when I do, though church seems to be easier nowadays, depending on the church. I live in a liberal state, but the most conservative part of that state, so finding a church that isn’t fundamentalist in some way is rather difficult.

  • http://www.mycultlife.com My Cult Life

    Perhaps I read it wrong…Thanks for clarifying/sharing the rest.

    So, the school never reported him to the police? Was this a religious university?

    To your point of interpreting the Bible literally based on your upbringing, I have a really similar problem and I’m sure countless others do. In my case, I stopped reading the Bible “until it could become less painful”. For me, that day never came and I’ve refrained from reading it, listening to similar music as I used to, going to church, etc. I found it was all very triggering for me and remained so until recently.

  • http://stitchinguptheseams.wordpress.com/ Stitching Seams

    I guess I wasn’t as clear as I thought I was. When I said I was in tears in the dean of students office because of the “turn the other cheek” conviction I had, I assumed that people would understand that the belief was psychologically damaging to me.

    Rather than take further time to explain, I’ve written about my assault here:
    http://stitchinguptheseams.wordpress.com/2011/05/26/sculpture/ and mental, emotional, and physical repercussions here:
    http://stitchinguptheseams.wordpress.com/2011/05/26/o-god-the-aftermath/ Long story short, I was told he would be suspended for one semester – if that actually happened, it was during the “summer semester.” The assault occurred in the spring of 2006, and he was back that same fall. I had to see him 3-4 days a week, passing in hallways.

    I, too, have heard many people advocate that women in particular remain in abusive relationships. I disagree wholeheartedly.

    A big portion of my problems with interpreting the Bible lie in my upbringing and how I was taught to interpet the Bible. It’s difficult (bordering on impossible) for me to read things in any other way than literal. So to me at the time, turn the other cheek and love your enemy literally meant to me that I could not do anything in my defense (never mind that I physically could not).

  • http://www.mycultlife.com My Cult Life

    This helps clarify…I don’t think it’s victim-blaming so much as a misunderstanding.

  • http://www.mycultlife.com My Cult Life

    With all due respect, I think it’s not so much a personal attack as it is an inability to understand your argument. You are, of course, entitled to utmost respect, but we are in a discussion where we need to be able to understand other sides and opinions.

    I think what’s unclear (and perhaps frustrating) is that your comments make it sound as if you would feel morally obligated to lay there and not defend yourself if an assault happened again (of any type). I think there should be a distinction between having a physical response that causes paralysis and having a feeling of being compelled by the bible to lie there and “take it” because it’s your duty.

    Here’s why I have a hard time understand this…it becomes cloudy when you bring other sexual violence and domestic violence into the picture. Some people use this to defend abusers, like a pastors wife I once knew. She told me that my mom should “be a better wife” and “submit” when my father was hitting her. I simply think that’s irresponsible and very, very wrong.

    I do sympathize with you, though, as I understand from your comments you’re still working through these thoughts and emotions. I think most of us just wish to protect you. :)
    Was there a conviction from the school from your abuser?

  • http://twitter.com/MommyMergent Susie Shaefer

    This might be one of the most thoughtful questions I’ve ever seen in the context of gun rights/gun control conversations. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/megateer Megan Dosher

    Thank you, Bruce, for this well-stated post on your view on gun ownership that is based on your faith. I, too, come to this conclusion based on my own grounding in Christian faith and understanding. I can see how others, including many of the other commenters, can come to other conclusions, I simply, and respectfully, disagree with them. I have lived in large cities, the suburbs, small towns and the country. In none of these places have I ever felt the need to own a gun. This is not to say that I don’t understand why others in those exact same places may come to other conclusions, but that my hermeneutic on this issue does not arise simply from my geography, nor lifestyle. Instead of considering gun ownership, I prefer to be vigilant in other ways – to be smart about my surroundings and situations around me, to employ door locks, and to know my neighbors. I find that simply by paying attention to what is going on around me helps me be a better Christian, as well as increase my safety – I can see when a child is wandering from a parent, or a person is clearly lost or distressed. Whether offering up a helping hand, or simply praying, paying attention becomes not just about me, but about others first.

    Some may think I am naive, but I have lived on my own as an adult, single woman for a while now, and I have rarely felt in danger, at home, or far abroad. And I will continue to stand on the belief that guns are not for me, especially based on my experience of faith in the world.

  • SeanSorrentino

    Jesus said that you should “turn the other cheek.” Let’s look at the circumstances. If someone smacks you on the cheek, it’s not a deadly force assault. It’s more of an insult. You should bear the insult and not respond with violence.
    You are absolutely not obligated to accept physical harm. If you are attacked with force, you have every legal and moral right to use reasonable force to protect yourself. If you are attacked with enough force that you reasonably fear death, serious bodily injury, or sexual assault, you may use deadly force.
    It’s not ideal. Ideal would be him leaving you alone in the first place. But the rest of us would prefer that you were alive to feel bad about killing a rapist than take the chance that he would murder you after.
    Peace is not the absence of violence. Peace is the presence of justice. Is it “just” for you to be raped and forced to bear it rather than defend yourself? Is it “just” for you to be killed rather than risk the life of your attacker? NO!
    It is unfair of you to put your husband in the position of being your protector. You are refusing to protect yourself, putting him at risk. He is your other half. Whatever is done to you is done to him. When you are cut, he bleeds. You need to take a hard look at the things you were taught and decide if your husband doesn’t deserve a wife who will do what is necessary to come home to him alive and unharmed. If you can’t defend yourself for you, defend yourself for him.

  • Sarah Moon

    I can’t even believe how horrible this comment is. Victim-blaming while throwing your own privilege of having the means to defend yourself in a situation in her face. Get over yourself, man.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/breyeschow/ Bruce Reyes-Chow

    What I really hope to say – but as you read the comments, people will read what they want – is that self-defense is natural, even justified by society and culture, but I have a hard time doing the same in response to my faith. Would I defend with whatever was around, yes for sure. Not having a gun, tho, does limit the possibilities of actually killing someone: a bat, kicks to the head, etc.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/breyeschow/ Bruce Reyes-Chow

    Thanks. Yeah, the hypothetical game is a losing endeavor. It is also really interesting that, while I say this is my position and in fact do not judge Christians, hunters, etc. for their choices, people still make it about them. Ah well, wrestling with this stuff out in the open is better than not doing it at all.

  • Sarah Moon

    Amen Bram! American meritocracy at it’s finest…

  • Sarah Moon

    Have you read Shane Claiborne’s “Jesus for President?” I really love how he breaks down the “turn the other cheek” passage as a way of asserting your humanity against oppressors, rather than as a way of passively submitting to abuse. I think I’ve blogged about it before but I might have to do it again.

    Alright, now I’m gonna go say some things to this Rlee person. WOW.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/breyeschow/ Bruce Reyes-Chow

    No.

  • Sarah Moon

    I agree. I’m a pacifist too, and very strongly so. I don’t believe in killing in any way. However, I escaped from an abusive relationship by punching him in the face. He was hurting me really badly and was so much bigger than me I couldn’t have non-violently escaped. I used to feel guilty for acting violently, but now I don’t. I think ending a life is always wrong, but when someone in power is using their power to abuse someone who’s not in power, I would caution against taking a legalistic approach to pacifism by saying that the person being abused cannot use some degree of force to escape. I think Jesus would say, to a person being abused, “Neither do I condemn you.” Our Christianity, even our pacifist ideas that stem from it, should never work to empower oppressors and hurt the abused.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Taco-Picasso/100002634900174 Taco Picasso

    A blow on the cheek is in the nature of an insult, not an injury. Jesus did not say that if someone breaks your right arm to turn and let him break your left arm also.

  • http://notes-from-off-center.com/ Andrew Tatusko

    Thank you for citing the Orthodox position. The Patriarchs following the long legacy of the saints and early church fathers forbid violence for violence. It is a calling of askesis when violence is enacted upon us. To pray for those who persecute us. That being said, if I saw my children physically beaten in front of me and could put down the person doing so, I would. I grieve that this is my position and would hope that grace would overcome violence. Indeed there are numerous cases where prayer has stopped violence and defeated evil before any act of violence takes place. That is the first option to protect myself and my kids. However, I cannot in good faith say that I would not do whatever is necessary to protect my children.

  • http://twitter.com/graceishuman Grace

    This is an astoundingly callous and ignorant response to someone who has just shared her experience of sexual assault with you and all of us. I’m truly glad that you were there to defend your mother and able to do so, but to see that as a reason to pat yourself on the back and to sneer at survivors who have had a different experience is contemptible. Have some respect.

  • http://profiles.google.com/exnuke591 Roy Black

    Fortunately you have the right to make that decision for yourself. I think it is a bad choice and encourages crime but it is nobody’s right to force THEIR choice on you. My objection to the Brady Bunch dupes is that they wish to FORCE THEIR CHOICE on me and they are quite willing to do so at Gun Point as long as they don’t have to touch the icky thing and can pay someone else with my money to do it for them. It makes them “uncomfortable” to see someone with a gun because they have willfully rendered themselves helpless and the sight of a gun forces them to realize that fact.

  • Blair

    Except a hammer has alternative life giving uses, namely to hit nails. It is not primarily intended to kill. So it is with the other items listed: knife-cooking, baseball bat-playing, rocks-building, fists-too many to list. All of these objects have the possibility of contributing positively to the life of a community. Guns on the other hand have no other purpose than to kill.

  • bramc777@hotmail.com

    Not old enough. Go back to the first 3 centuries and speak again…

  • brambonius

    God helps those who help themselves has nothing to do with the bible, and might be Americanism, but it’s pure herey…

  • brambonius

    this is what the native Christians of Syria say about arming people…http://paxchristiusa.org/2012/08/18/reflection-patriarch-gregorios-iii-blessed-are-the-peacemakers/

  • E. Zach Lee-Wright

    Even the Amish own guns, including handguns. Do you think they are not serious about their religion?

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/breyeschow/ Bruce Reyes-Chow

    Walk – Thanks for commenting. You are def correct, that is why I made sure to list those three “disclaimers” at the beginning. My choosing to not own a gun, is not really about my judgement of others, their faith or their context. My greatest hope in this post was to exhibit a tone of honesty and grace that would hopefully inspire thoughtful discussion. From the tone of some of the comments, it’s about 50/50 and i think you for being part of the grace-filled 50 :-)

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/breyeschow/ Bruce Reyes-Chow

    Thanks you for extended the kind of disagreement that I truly believe that we have to have. Can we not disagree even on Scripture and still be gracious and human with one another? I than you for showing that, yes, indeed we can.

  • http://stitchinguptheseams.wordpress.com/ Stitching Seams

    You have absolutely zero comprehension of what I was saying. At all. I did my utmost to respond to you with respect, and your reply is absolutely laden with not only disrespect but mocking contempt. Your demonstrated heartlessness astounds me.

    Yes, by being physically and physiologically unable to fight back during my assault, I “chose” to be a physical martyr. Get in line with the multitude of people who tell me that I ought to take blame for what happened to me. I’ll repeat what I have already said in this thread: I was physically restrained and could not fight back. Could not. To put a finer point on it, someone had to literally come and physically pry his arms and fingers off of me.
    If you took the time to actually read my original comment, you’d understand that I am CONFLICTED. Which means that I have not come to a conclusion, which means that pacifism AND fighting back have equal sway in my mind, precisely because of what happened to me that day among many other occurrences. I was asking the author for clarification, for input. If pacifism is always right in every circumstance, I need to be convinced. By virtue of needing to be convinced, that means I remain UNCONVINCED that pacifism is always the answer.

    I never mentioned the environment. Red herring.

    I did address free will, saying that no one has been claiming to try to enforce control over someone else’s free will. Frankly, this is also a red herring and has no bearing on the discussion.

    There is so much I want to say, but there is only so much victim-blaming, mockery, and disdain I can take, particularly from someone I would normally expect to have the compassion of the Lord we both claim to love and serve. I understand that this is a subject about which you are very passionate. I only hope that your passion does not obscure or become more important to you than the people you address.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/breyeschow/ Bruce Reyes-Chow

    If people are honest do you not think that EVERYONE proof texts to some extend. Pretty much any position on any topic can be supported by Scripture, and then we each must decide upon what we build our faith. I am okay with that as I believe that some who disagree with me to keep woman silent, for instance.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/breyeschow/ Bruce Reyes-Chow

    And I commit to being gracious even when it is not extended back to me. Def difficult sometimes for sure..


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