Fear, Firearms, and Faith

Are we so attached to this world that we are willing to come to church locked and loaded? For many, yes. The topic after Sunday’s massacre is not tighter gun laws or banning assault rifles. Instead, the topic has moved to arming worshipers with deadly weapons. The place to build our faith wants to become the OK Corral. The building that teaches within its walls to lay our lives down for Christ wants its people to protect to the death for this world. My goodness, America. What have we done to the Body of Christ? 

After the Las Vegas shooting, a Mississippi church had two AR-15 rifles they were raffling off. Never in a million years would I ever think this is witnessing the Good News delivered by the Prince of Peace! I’m pretty sure this would’ve been a table flipped over had it been at the Temple. It’s perplexing to me that a church would be raffling off any gun, much less one that is commonly used in mass shootings and war. America is fascinated by gun ownership and self-protection that they have been willing to spill this over onto church grounds. Gun ownership and living in fear are antithetical to Christian witness. This whole thought process makes me wonder how much thought has even gone into this. 

I am not anti-gun. I am for common sense gun laws. It’s common sense to me that guns don’t belong in places of worship. The church has no business in the gun business. It should be focused on bringing peace, healing, service, hope, and Jesus to the world. It’s light should be the light of Christ. Church should teach us to be packing less heat and stockpiling more hope. The church, in many ways, has boasted itself about being counter-cultural. Well, it seems pretty cultural that America is addicted to their 2nd Amendment and its loose interpretations. How do they counter it? Not by raffling off assault weapons. 

Let me be clear, this is not all churches in America. There are plenty of churches that want nothing to do with guns in the sanctuary. I personally do not believe that I would ever catch sight of a gun in my church. In fact, if I ever did and it wasn’t properly addressed, I’d revoke my membership. There are plenty of clergy out here preaching walking on water and trusting in God and His promise for an eternal life. They are doing their best to present hope in these crazy times. It’s just that fear propaganda being passed around by the media and even some preachers seems to have the main stage. We have to push back from this. Maybe instead of just pointing fingers and telling these fear builders to be quiet we should be shining our light so bright that it brings hope to even the most crotchety person you know. We could actually become faith builders by living out radical love and faith. 

To me, that’s what the church is supposed to be. It isn’t just a building with four walls, power points, and worship traditions. A church is supposed to be part of The Church. It is supposed to be a beacon of light that shows us community, diversity, hope, and love. It’s not just some place where thoughts and prayers go to die. Thoughts and prayers go to God and He responds. We listen, act, and move forward with faith in His commands and callings. So let’s get to it. Let’s cloak ourselves in the Armor of God and get radical! See your neighbor’s fears, address them, and bring hope to their hearts. It’s so crazy, it just might work. What have we got to lose?

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