what do we want to be known for?

jesus and gun picture

today is the march synchroblog, centered on guns & God.  yikes, it’s a tricky topic with so many strong emotions, but i have faith that we can have a kind and respectful conversation. it’s a way to practice listening and let others be where they are at without feeling the need to convince differently. i have written several very clear-here’s-where-i-stand-today synchroblog posts in the past on issues of health care reform & immigration & marriage equality as part of past synchroblogs.  i have shared openly about the paradoxical conflict i feel about abortion, where it’s so much harder to take one side or the other because of the complexity of the issue.

my feelings about guns are similar. while i have strong feelings against personal guns (except for hunting or sport), i do believe in people’s rights to have one. i do not think stricter gun control laws will necessarily keep guns out of the hands of the bad guys, but i think it might help them not be quite so easily accessible. i also understand that many feel passionately about being able to protect themselves or their families (i do struggle with having guns to protect our “stuff”, that just feels extra jacked-up to me as christ-followers). i am not a pure pacifist and believe that unfortunately, because of human nature’s bent toward power, we have to have a military.

but for jose and i, we have made a conscious decision not to have guns in our home.

they do not make me feel safer. in fact, it feels just the opposite.

while there are countless angles on the issue of guns & God, here’s what rises to the surface for me whenever i think about it:   i don’t think christians & guns should be so intimately connected. 

so much of the passion about guns seems to involve fear–fear of the other, fear of the government.  didn’t Jesus invite us over and over again to be not afraid?

it’s also wild to me, really, how passionate some christians are about certain topics that i find hard to see as Jesus’ top concerns.

it really makes me wonder about much more than guns.

do we want to be known as people who tirelessly fight to keep guns in their houses or would we rather be known as people who tirelessly help the homeless find housing?

do we want to be known as people who picket abortion clinics and yell online about it or people who care for the mothers who decide to raise their babies or place them with a family who can?

do we want to be known as people who take up arms & throw stones or people who heal wounds and stand between the stone-throwers and the ones about to be stoned?

do we want to be known as people who point out sin and spend countless hours & millions of dollars fighting against homosexuality or  people who freely, wildly, and passionately love people’s hearts no matter what.

do we want to be known as people who don’t value women properly and keep them stuck, oppressed, silenced or people who set women free to be all they were created to be?

do we want to be known as people who hold on to things tightly, with clenched fists and tight grips or people who hold things loosely, with open hands and light touches?

do we want to be known as people who bully or people who stand up for the one being bullied?

do we want to be known as people of fear or people of faith?

of course i do not think that any of these are either/or.  life is far more of a paradox.  and i’m certainly not saying that if we believe in guns that we aren’t also doing these things.  

but i use this strong language to make a point when it comes to this issue of guns and God.

do we really want to be known for this?

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other bloggers writing about this today (i’ll post more links as they come in):