Its been just under a year since RAWtools officially started. One can expect controversy when stepping into the conversation on guns. While our background is rooted in the Anabaptist tradition, we certainly do not limit our vision to the Anabaptist envelope. In fact, most of our events have taken place with other denominations and faith groups. It has been a wonderful experience to work with such a diverse and gifted group of people.
RAWtools has also received much criticism from a diverse and gifted group of people. I do not say that tongue in cheek. We need to recognize the diversity of the people that are involved in the complex issues that surround gun violence and related topics, and be respectful to each other, no matter how far off the wagon we think the other is. I say this because you should know RAWtools will be responding to some of these conversations and it will be from that Anabaptist perspective.
Since we turn guns into garden tools, with the intent that they create food, flower, or the like; we often get responses similar to, “Why not sell the gun and use that money to feed the poor (instead of grow food for people)?” This was especially true when a Colorado Springs man gave us his AK47, all his extra magazines, and his ammunition. One could value that donation at nearly $1,000. Or a “nice pair of skis and boots,” as the donor said.
We don’t sell the gun because we are making a faith statement. We don’t want to reintroduce it to the market, anyway. We can make at least 5-6 tools from the metal of that gun. Those tools will be sold/auctioned to help us make more tools and faith statements.
So is the value of the faith statement worth more than the value of the gun? We believe it to be so. In the Gospel of Luke there is a story in chapter 7, verses 36-50, that talks about Jesus being anointed with expensive ointment. In the story, Simon objects to this waste of ointment, that its value could have been put to better use. Jesus then forgives the woman of her sins because of her act of faith, effectively saying that her statement of faith was far more valuable than the ointment ever could have been. If you have ever experienced forgiveness, as the grantor and/or the grantee, you know its value is priceless. So not only was the statement valuable to Jesus, Jesus returned grace with grace, and forgave her of her sins.
We’re of the mindset that our world could use a little more grace than it does guns. Others believe the same thing, like the man who bought a tool at auction, made from the AK-47 mentioned above, for $650, as a gift for his son-who is about to have his own children. That family practices peace, and passes it on. That $650 went to Mennonite Central Committee, who will also pass the peace.
The Gun control debate has many voices. Some want more guns – bigger and better guns. Some want more laws, of bigger and grander scope. You can probably guess how we feel about more guns. And we’re based in Colorado. We know a little bit about what’s happening in the legislative sector of this conversation. It has its own tag in the blogosphere.
So we are offering our faith statement, from a perspective rooted in the Anabaptist faith, in the midst of legislative action as well as a demand for more guns, hoping and praying, that we can all just anoint each other with abundant grace, and eat our veggies.