“Perceptions of ‘guns’ and Christianity” Guns and Faith: A Two Part Series

Addressing a concealed topic…

I was recently asked about “recognizing when to, and not to, (also who to) speak openly about gun ownership in a religious setting”.

This can be a challenging hardship for one of faith. I have found that many people do not know their own Scriptures. They hold on to traditions of thought very strongly, revealing a Scripture that speaks otherwise will have little effect other than to upset such individuals.

For individuals of said mindset, there is little you can do to alter their view or perspective until a horrendous event adjusts their perspective. Trying to get into a rational argument with such an individual will simply put them off. If you sense that someone falls into that demographic. It’s best to just let the topic drift and move onto other discussions.

That said, do not expect all church goers to hold to the interpretation that “guns are evil”. Many hunters and church goers across America, are the same people. Strangely, I’ve actually found many pastors to be much more friendly to firearms than their congregations.

We used to attend a predominantly black/urban church. I invited our pastor out shooting. He had a blast. He was prior military. He even expressed surprise at how much fun he had going out shooting. (It’s a lot more fun when you’re not trying to qualify or shooting at the beck and call of a drill sargeant.)

About a year later I lightly touched upon firearms while with my pastor and another pastor within the denomination. The other pastor mentioned he really liked shooting the 40S&W. Next thing I know, I’m chatting about guns with two pastors. Turns out the other pastor actually owned a 40S&W.

Often, the men are much more open to firearms, but usually give their wives as the reason for not owning one. This is a cultural gap that is not exclusive to the church. Women have not been given as much opportunity in our culture to utilize and embrace firearms. Often their only familiarity with firearms are the news reports talking about how another young kid has been killed by another human being (er, I mean gun). If there is a nut to crack in the church to open the acceptability of firearms; it is with the mothers in the church. Mind you, this is far from universal. Sarah Palin is not the only pro-gun church going mother. Trust me…

So how do we come out of the closet as gun owners?

A couple of suggestions I have for this. First off, be knowledgeful. Be able to provide every man (or woman) an answer. Why do you own? Why do you carry?

Second, be responsible…be safe…be polite! People are much less afraid of knowing you own a gun if you are always polite, respectful – the type holding the door open for everyone at church and taking out the trash. A gun in the hands of a “good man” is far less frightening.

Third, consider being involved in a shooting sport. Be it hunting, trap or competitive shooting. It is a lot easier to start up a dialog on guns when you can mention a recreational aspect to your ownership. It’s easier for me to tell everyone at a church event, “I’ve got to leave. Got league tonight.” And let them ask “Oh, what sort of league, bowling?” And politely respond “No, actually it’s a shooting league. Competitive pistol target shooting. It’s a lot of fun. We all have a great time.”

You just started the conversation off from a “playful” spectrum, rather than the nitty gritty. You’re already ahead of the ball, and can start to gauge reactions. Get a sense for who is offended, who is polite about it, or who’s ears and eyes perked up with interest at the mere mention of such a thing.

Rest assured, you’re going to get the individual who simply “hates guns”. It’ll be from a more emotional spectrum. You might even be able to provide some reasons for your gun ownership that they can accept. But for themselves, they’ll declare “I still hate guns”. That’s okay, let them be…. “pray for them” 😉

Have your answers, be able to provide them. But don’t try to win an argument. Doing that will back them into a corner. That’s not our goal as gun owners.

Lastly, be evangelistic, offer to take them out shooting. Maybe that’s too far. Especially for someone who dislikes firearms. Instead, offer to teach them how to check and disarm a firearm. Explaining it’s good knowledge, even if they don’t like guns, to at least know how to disarm them and make sure they’re safe. Just in case one is ever found or brought to them. The mere act of seeing them mechanically can help to lessen fear. Changing the perspective of a gun from a “symbol of death” to merely a “tool”.

Who knows…maybe you’ll find a handful of closet gun owners, and next men’s fellowship finds itself at the local range.

See the next post for some expository on Scriptures and self-defense.

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Published in: on February 16, 2011 at 11:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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