Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

13 March 2014 at 12:15

 

  In 2008, 17 in Finland, 35 in Australia, 39 in England and Wales, 60 in Spain, 194 in Germany, 200 in Canada, and 9484 were killed by guns in the USA… the argument that guns don’t kill people, people kill people is nonsensical and illogical when the U.S. has the type of under regulation that has led to the highest number of gun possession of any country in the world; gun deaths will soon overtake car fatalities. 

  As a Christian I say this because  I truly believe that the Church of Jesus Christ needs to embody a kingdom ethic when it comes to guns; on that note I’d like to include an article that’s timely and relevant:

“Kentucky Southern Baptists Draw Crowds With Gun Giveaways

by BLAKE FARMER

March 10, 2014 3:02 AM

 

A crowd of 1,300 talks guns, God and politics at a steak dinner and gun raffle at Lone Oak First Baptist Church in Paducah, Ky.i

A crowd of 1,300 talks guns, God and politics at a steak dinner and gun raffle at Lone Oak First Baptist Church in Paducah, Ky.

 

Blake Farmer/WPLN

It’s an hour before suppertime, and the line outside Lone Oak First Baptist Church in Paducah, Ky., is wrapped around the building. The people are waiting for more than a Bible sermon; there’s a raffle tonight. Twenty-five guns are up for grabs.

There’s nothing new about gun raffles in Kentucky, even at a church. Last year, there were 50 events like this one in the state. The Kentucky Baptist Convention says it’s a surefire way to get new people through church doors.

Sunday school teacher David Keele says everyone he knows has a gun. The church giveaways, he says, are a rallying point.

“We’re doing two things here. One, we’re going to talk about the Second Amendment to bear arms. But that isn’t the primary thing,” Keele says. “The primary thing is who Jesus is.”

Twenty-five guns were up for grabs at the event. Raffle winners must pass a background check to claim their prize.i

Twenty-five guns were up for grabs at the event. Raffle winners must pass a background check to claim their prize.

Blake Farmer/WPLN

Inside during the steak dinner, the church band ditched the hymnal for the evening and played “Mustang Sally” instead. These are not worship services. They’re meant to be unintimidating to nonbelievers, although it turns out most of the people here already go to church, if not this one.

In attendance is Tom Jackson, who’s not a particularly regular churchgoer. “I do believe in God and I do believe in living the way that he wants you to live, let’s put it like that,” he says.

Jackson says he believes in turning the other cheek, but also in the right to defend himself and his family how he sees fit. You can turn the other cheek, he says, only to a point.

“[If] somebody kicks your door down, means to hurt your wife, your kids, you — how do you turn the other cheek to that?” Jackson asks.

Drawing Controversy

The dinner drew 1,300 people, packed shoulder to shoulder, chowing down on steak and potatoes. On a stage full of elk heads and stuffed bears, Chuck McAlister gets everyone’s attention.

“I brought a gun with me tonight,” McAlister says. “I know that’s very controversial.”

McAlister is a self-described master storyteller and former host of an outdoor TV show. Southern Baptists in Kentucky recently hired him to be a full-time evangelist as denomination membership has declined.

And he welcomes the controversy; the best seats in the house are reserved for reporters. On stage, he cocks what he calls his most valuable gun.

“It’s a Browning Sweet 16. It’s my granddaddy’s bird gun,” McAlister says.

The family heirloom is the centerpiece of a sermon he’s preached in dozens of congregations now. He talks about scars left in the gun and scars left from sin. The former pastor talks about becoming a man and taking responsibility, and eventually gets around to discussing accepting Jesus Christ.

Along the way, McAlister gets in political jabs.

“There’s no government on the face of this earth that has the right to take this gun from me,” he says to thunderous applause.

In an interview, McAlister says he’s just meeting people where they are.”If simply offering them an opportunity to win a gun allows them to come into the doors of the church and to hear that the church has a message that’s relevant to their lives, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that,” he says.

But you don’t have to go too far outside the church walls to find questions about the event.

The Machaen family lives across the street from the Lone Oak church. On a recent winter day, Cesar Machaen is lobbing snowballs with his wife and three children. He hadn’t read the signs promoting a gun raffle.

“Real guns? I don’t know what to say,” says Machaen, who was raised Catholic. “You go to church for peace, not to kill or fight.”

Back at the raffle, the actual drawing comes after the altar call, so no one leaves early.

Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, reminds winners that they have to pass a background check before claiming their prize. He also explains that church money wasn’t used to buy the guns.

“These weren’t purchases,” Chitwood says. “These were donated.”

While deer rifles are the big draw here, there are Bibles available, too. They’re stacked up on tables by the stage. Some even come with waterproof pages and camo covers. Unlike the guns, the Bibles aren’t free — they’re for sale.”

Really? 😦

I don’t see it as God’s will that 82 to 84 people die every day as a result of gun violence. The current mass, underregulated availability of devices of violence perpetuates and enable such violence—it provides an opportunity for such violence to take root and blossom and bloom in our communities. 

God’s Kingdom is God’s re-creative movement to put this world back together again through the rescue provided through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection; through Jesus the Christ, God is restoring the world back to the way that He intended it to be at the beginning of Creation… before rebellion.

  Isaiah speaks of that movement and the type of ethic the Church of Jesus Christ is called and commissioned to embody, specifically when it comes to devices of violence: “beating their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks” is a specific prophetic utterance of the way things are supposed to be; are guns and what results from guns the way that things “are supposed to be?”

  The truth is that demanding such underregulation and availability of the types of nonessential, nonsensical, ridiculous devices of violence that allowed Sandy Hook to happen can be interpreted as selfish, indulgent, and gluttonous; these attitudes create the opportunity for death to reign in this country through cycles of violence, societal decay, and injustice. 

  It continues to feed the “principalities and powers of this world” and hold our neighbourhoods in bondage…for Christians (not to mention others) to blindly and dutifully insist upon underregulated gun rights is nothing short of selfishness…furthermore, the type of defense demonstrated by Christians of the 2nd Amendment—and American constitution itself—as this untouchable holy word is an idolatrous posture before “Empire America.” 

 Isn’t the Body of Christ called to align lives and submit to ONE Holy Word (?)…one which trumps and transcends the 2nd Amendment of the American Constitution at every turn. That Holy Word has said not a few things about devices of violence, attitudes of violence, and the results of those devices themselves.

  Honestly, I don’t seek to demonize or blame gun owners for America’s violence problem; nor am I completely opposed to some curtailed, regulated, limited ownership such as for hunting purposes. 

  Guns are not the root of the problem of violence in America; the human heart is that root…yet,that doesn’t mean  that we shouldn’t take an active stance and role in curbing the opportunities people have in fulfilling the desires brought about by certain attitudes.

  30,000 gun deaths per year in the USA. -30,000-; more than twice the population of the town in which I live… wiped off the map every year. 30,000.

Where there are more guns, there are more gun deaths. Guns are designed to kill.

In 2008, 17 in Finland, 35 in Australia, 39 in England and Wales, 60 in Spain, 194 in Germany, 200 in Canada, and 9484 were killed by guns in the USA.

   Once again, it isn’t God’s will that 82 to 84 people die every day as a result of gun violence, yet the nonsense of the Gun Empire is that guns don’t kill people and that the answer to gun violence is more guns…

  I’m re-reading the article that I included, and there’s a line that stands out…”

“We’re doing two things here. One, we’re going to talk about the Second Amendment to bear arms. But that isn’t the primary thing,” Keele says. “The primary thing is who Jesus is.” 

Shouldn’t following Jesus’s identity and direction be our ONLY direction…our everything? Remember WWJD? It’s that darn word Christian…it seems to translate as “Christ-like”…

 

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