Guns, “God Hates Fags,” and the Limits of Your Freedom

I own firearms. They are within a few feet of where I sit at this very moment. I’ve made no secret of that fact. They are shotguns, and I use them to hunt and shoot sporting clays.

They are empty, and the shells are kept in another part of the house. They are also secured with trigger locks and in a gun safe. Only I know where the keys to the locks and the safe are kept.

I’ve also fired an AR-15, many times. That’s the semi-automatic rifle that was used in last week’s massacre. I know the power of that weapon, and I’ve honestly had to discipline myself not to think about the damage that 3-11 rounds from that rifle would do to a 6- or 7-year old.

There is no reason to own a gun with this power. It is a military weapon. It is neither a hunting rifle, nor is it useful for personal protection. It is designed solely to kill many human beings quickly. Even gun-owners like me see no purpose in it:

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A Humanist Feminist on Homeschooling

Of course, someone took yesterday’s school shooting to comment on one of my homeschooling posts:

Today is 12-14- 2012 us homeschooled parents don’t seem that paranoid???? Seeing what happened in Conn??? Pray for the families

Fellow Patheos blogger Libby Anne knows a lot more about homeschooling than I do. Like me, she doesn’t like it, and for a lot of the same reasons, even though I’m a Christian theologian and she’s an atheist, humanist feminist. She has collected her posts on homeschooling on a page, which she introduces:

Homeschoolers are a diverse lot. Some homeschool for religious reasons, others for secular reasons. Some homeschooled children have a good deal of social interaction, others very little. Some get a first rate education, others suffer from educational neglect. Some use curricula and workbooks, others “unschool.” Some see homeschooling as a temporary option, others see it as a lifestyle.

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Beautiful Children

Out of respect for the families in Connecticut, I will delay the posting of this week’s answer to Questions That Haunt until tomorrow.

Instead of debating on blogs today, let’s all hug our loved ones.

And if you have any firearms in your possession, immediately unload them, and secure them with trigger locks and in gun cases.

The Future of Christianity

A lot of what I get to do is spend time thinking and writing about the future of Christianity — my preferred future, at least. And getting together with people who are interested in the same trajectories of Christianity is a big part of my life, too. Honestly, it’s the whole reason that Doug and I started The JoPa Group and produce events like Emergence Christianity: A National Gathering with Phyllis Tickle and Friends.

What I do with my part-time job at sparkhouse is distinct, but related. This fall, sparkhouse released Animate.Faith, a video-based congregational resource that opens conversations about some of the most intriguing and essential ideas of Christianity:

God | Faith Is a Quest
Brian McLaren

Religion | Spirituality is not Enough
Lillian Daniel

Jesus | The Revolution of Love
Mark Scandrette

Salvation | Abundant Life Now
Shane Hipps

Cross | Where God Is
Nadia Bolz-Weber

Bible | A Book Like No Other
Lauren Winner

Church | An Imperfect Family
Bruce Reyes-Chow

This week, we met with the talented group who will be developing the next course for us, Animate.Bible:

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