Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Who Needs Gun Control?

If you listened to NPR this morning, you heard on the national news that there was a stabbing in Pittsburgh last evening. Around 5pm, a man ran from Penn Ave into a Target store in East Liberty- waving a long kitchen knife. He was chased by two men whom he had been in an altercation with on the street, and he ran inside the store where he grabbed a 16 year old girl who was in a checkout line with her family. He stood at the top of the steps holding the girl by her hair and stabbing her repeatedly in the back and arms while yelling "I will keep stabbing her!". Three men jumped on him and for their efforts were slashed in the face and hands. One man finally took out the attacker with a baseball bat and police have him in custody.

The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, a witness reports.

This Target store is a half mile from my house and was where I was headed at 530 last evening to grab a bag of charcoal and liners for the Diaper Genie. I saw all the ambulances and was rerouted down Highland Ave.

In my neighborhood, if we make the news it starts with "Another shooting in East Liberty...". In the year we have lived here, we have seen guns take the lives of too many kids and seen the stuffed animal memorial on too many curbs. It is heartbreaking and makes the pandering about gun control and Second Amendment rights hard to sympathize with. Some arguments I have heard are that if we "take their guns, they will still find ways to kill each other" and "mentally unstable people won't be stopped by gun control".

Here's the thing, though. That mentally unstable man who had the knife DIDN'T KILL ANYONE. He sure tried, but it didn't happen. Imagine for one moment what would have happened if he would have run into that Target and had a gun in his hand. How many people would he have shot before the bravest guy took out his knees with a baseball bat? Would that guy have gotten close enough to use the bat before the 16 year old girl died because he had a gun rather than a knife?

If I had been in that Target with Knox and Pursy my odds of being able to protect them from one man with one knife are much greater than trying to protect them against one man with a gun. Desperation and a loaded gun would have made him a mass murderer. The 16 year old is being treated at Children's Hospital and the two men who saved her life are in local hospitals. Alive. The man with the knife is alive and will be in jail, held accountable for his acts of violence.

Please tell me one more time why tighter gun control is a problem for you. Please, I am listening. Just know I probably won't be listening objectively.


  1. very well said Christy.....and it seems so clear what should happen. i agree wholeheartedly with you. xoxo

  2. 1. The "tighter gun control" to eliminate the kinds of violence you're talking about is unconstitutional. You'd have to get handguns (far and away the most common guns used) off the street. There is no constitutional way to do that.

    2. Getting handguns off the street would be impossible, even if it weren't unconstitutional. Too many hundreds of millions of guns owned by too many tens of millions of people who don't want to give them up.

    3. What you're left with, then, is the sad reality that you can't have the world we're looking for. Any constitutional, practicable "tighter gun control" we implement would be essentially symbolic gestures that wouldn't get us closer to the world we want.

    4. Those symbolic gestures have a downside. I won't spam the details here, but I would recommend three links for further information.

    One is a note on my FB page about self-defense (https://www.facebook.com/#!/notes/david-j-lohnes/in-the-wake-of-sandy-hook-/10151247713364107).
    The next is a great article by Sam Harris (http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-riddle-of-the-gun).
    The other is a less great but still very good article by an experienced firearms safety instructor (http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/an-opinion-on-gun-control/).

    If you have time for only one, read the Sam Harris article.

    1. *Long response to my dear and loved relative, David.* (just so others of you know that we can debate but still be friends. :)

      I read the Sam Harris blog post. It is smart and he makes some great points. He is one of the few gun owners that I have read acknowledge the possible ambiguity of the Second Amendment. But here is where I have a hard time taking his opinions at face value. He is a civilian gun owner who believes that owning and carrying a firearm should come with responsibility. Thus he goes to a shooting range to work on his skill and keeps his guns safe from his children with proper gun storage. From his experience he believes that everyone is capable of recognizing this responsibility. He mentioned the shooting in the movie theatre in Aurora and made the comment "Even in the case of the Aurora shooting, it is not ludicrous to suppose that everyone might have been better off had a well-trained person with a gun been at the scene. The liberal commentariat seems to have no awareness of what “well-trained” signifies. It happens to include an understanding of what to do and what not to do when the danger of shooting innocent bystanders exists."

      My problem with this filter of his that he is speaking through is that he assumes that everyone else in the theatre should trust that a person with a concealed weapon is well trained and would be calm and collected enough to do more good than harm. In a dark movie theatre, would he have been the one person able to see the shooter and take him out? It is asking quite a bit of me to not push for tighter gun control- even on handguns, which Harris says is impossible- when even he acknowledges that in situations of extreme stress, humans act irrationally or not at all.

  3. #2
    I understand that gun control for handguns is unconstitutional. But the constitution has been amended 27 times because we found that our society had changed enough to make some laws unworkable. The research correlating the number of guns in circulation and the trend of gun crime is not convincing. Particularly to someone who has experiential knowledge. You can give me facts and figures and I will read them, but if my experience with guns in my neighborhood would suggest that having more guns does not mean safer streets I probably won't believe that not doing anything because the constitution protects gun ownership of civilians is the way to go.

    As for his ideas about guns for self defense, I will probably make some enemies here but I wonder where the justification for shooting someone if they are a threat to you comes from. I don't own a gun because I didn't grow up in a home where my Dad owned one, so it never occurred to me to learn to shoot them or have one for protection. As an adult now with children, I would have the opportunity to protect my family with a gun if I chose. But if someone broke into my home, whether to take my stuff or hurt my family, am I "allowed" to shoot him?? And we could debate using a gun to disable vs. kill but pointing a gun at someone sends one message. I can kill you. I am a Christian woman, am I "allowed" to take someone's life because they are a threat to me? And God knows every parent in the unthinkable situation where someone was hurting their child is capable of murder. But is that right? I have a baseball bat that I keep under my bed. You might laugh, but knowing it is there helps me sleep at night. I don't feel vulnerable. And if I were up against an intruder with a gun, my bat would be useless. But so would a gun in my hand if I believe that I don't have the right to kill someone, regardless of what their intentions are. At least in the right situation I could maim someone well enough to disable them. It is a terrible thing to even think about and I pray to God that I am never in a situation where my children are in that kind of danger, but when speaking about self defense the question at least needs to be raised "As a Christian, am I ever in any circumstance able to make the decision to take a life?". I would argue that if you are pro-life, you are not.

  4. Thanks for the thoughtful response.

    Regarding the right to self defense, we're headed towards deep philosophical waters, but I believe that as a society we must take the position that rights inhere in the individual. The Christian may object to that statement and argue that rights are conferred by God and subject to his conditions, but without theocracy, that position cannot form the basis of a social contract. The liberal may object and say rights inhere in the community. I would counter that the community has legitimacy as a governing force only insofar as it represents a consensus of individuals, which by their consensus as individuals confer governing legitimacy on the community actions.

    Having said that, I would take the position that individual autonomy is the fundamental moral right. As a Christian I would say autonomy is subject to God to stand or fall at His Word, and as a citizen, I would say autonomy is subject to Law to stand or fall by its judgements, but that even so, autonomy is the fundamental right and indeed the fundamental fact.

    But unlike God, the Law which bounds individual autonomy is itself subject to a higher principle--the principle of individual autonomy. That is to say that, although an individual's autonomy is bounded by the Law, laws themselves are subject to evaluation based on how well they serve the Individual's right to free action. When the founders said the purpose of government is to secure rights, they were right. Community actions that do not work towards securing the rights of individuals are suspect.

    So, the question that is left is the balance between the rights of a community of individuals to act collectively and the rights of a minority of dissenting individuals to maintain their autonomy. Those two forces are often in tension, and balance can be difficult. But the guiding principle is clear: the social contract depends upon a shared respect for our equal rights as individuals.

    Within that context, it *cannot be immoral* for an individual to meet offensive lethal force with defensive lethal force.

    As a Christian, you may conclude that using lethal defensive force *would* be immoral (and you might be right), and you might privately determine to love your enemies and meet violence with peace; and that determination would be commendable. But it would be a private determination. For you to try to legislate against the right of others to make a different choice in similar circumstance would be immoral.

    And I think the urge to do so crumbles on inspection. What you propose is to strip law-abiding individuals of the necessary tools to defend their autonomy; that is, you propose to strike at the very heart of the social contract--respect for individual autonomy.

    Your reason for doing so?


    Either fear for the safety of you and yours or well-intentioned fear for the safety of others.

    But we don't live in the world we wish for. The world we live in is "red in tooth and claw" and always will be. To forefully disarm your fellow citizens in the face of *this* world simply on the basis of your own fear cannot be anything better than misguided (at best).

    The social contract is a two-edged sword. We gain the benefits of collaborative work and mutual defense. But we also make ourselves vulnerable to the choices of others--others whose autonomy we are obligated to respect. If they make destructive choices, we can rightly react. But to act preemptively is to pass judgement beforehand.

    And the judgement you pass you pass on all, irrespective of actual guilt.
    Out of fear, you condemn all.

  5. I cannot argue either for or against. I do know that in any given circumstance, I am not free nor do I wish to kill anyone, even if they are a threat. I am inclined to think that more laws will be of little consequence, or worse yet as has been proven in places like Australia, if we form tighter laws then all hell will break loose. I do know that one day the LORD will take it all into His own hands and will judge between nations and on that day WE WILL CHOOSE to beat all of the weapons into far more useful tools...like shovels and scissors. (my own paraphrase of Isaiah 2:4) Looking forward to a day where that is possible and doing what I can to make the world like that now. I just do not think that adding laws will do it...at all. Love you, Cris

  6. !!!! And immediately after writing this I came upon this piece. Well worth the read: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christandpopculture/2013/03/notes-from-the-margins-swords-into-plowshares-ak47s-into-shovels/

  7. Christy, just a comment about being a Christian and taking a life. God sent His people into battle on numerous occasions because someone was threatening them. Many people died at the hands of the Israelites. God did not punish them for killing someone. So is it possible that while murdering someone is wrong, defending yourself, even to the point of someone else's death, might be permitted?

    1. I think I would be scared to directly apply Old Testament examples to modern life. We could defend quite a few immoral acts by using support from a time in history very different from ours. A time when the Israelites lived in a theocracy. God directly gave them laws to follow. I won't pretend to know the theological explanation for the God sanctioned wars (and killing) in the Old Testament, but I do know that God was speaking directly to the Israelites so there was so question that what they were doing was "right". God was choosing who to save and who to let go, which is His right as God. I just don't believe that a human being has the same right to decide when another person should live or die. This is why I am anti-death penalty as well. God speaking directly is very different from a human jury coming to a consensus.

  8. @David- Your response is thoughtful. Re: Christy's point about non-violence. I definitely think she was commenting on the Christian's "right" to violence and bearing arms. It's a conversation that we have a lot in our house and with other Christian friends who stridently defend their *civil right to bear arms and to kill anyone who threatens their life or (even more troubling) property. That deeply concerns her(us). I would argue that Christian's position on "gun rights" is much more informed by their identification as Americans rather than their identification as Christians. Those two identifications are always dangerously conflated.

    Now, you are right that we need to figure out how to work out our Christian ethic in a pluralistic/secular society. However, the argument that people have the right to protection must also be considered against the rights of the kids in our neighborhood (my kids) to live in safety and security in their homes, neighborhoods, and schools. The exact same object (guns) takes on very different symbolic meaning in different contexts. Rural/suburban America=freedom, individual rights. Urban America= Death. They are different contexts. But, all I wish is that gun rights advocates have a sober moment and recognize that their strident defense of gun rights is a strident assault (at least symbolic and maybe real) against the peace and security of my neighborhood.

    The argument that you make about it being impossible to get hand guns off of the streets is a different question. Its a public policy question. But, we need to first figure what the moral issue is before we can say that there is no public policy solution. I think people jump to "There is no public policy answer" because they don't want to first deal with the moral issue. I think that is an easy out and doesn't let people come face to face with the moral issue of unfettered access to guns. But, back to the public policy question. You say its impossible, I'd say "Can't we try a couple of things and see what might work in our context?" I don't know, I'm not a gun policy expert and neither are you. ***Aside point, we should note that it is completely impossible to know what would work in a public policy sense since the NRA's lobbying efforts have made it impossible to secure any public policy research dollars related to guns..at least from the CDC. Doesn't that seem problematic?**** We say that we can't policy solutions but we cannot ever study them...that's a tough position to be in. The NRA wins that one, I guess.

    Anyway, tough issues.

  9. I agree with Dave - although I cannot state it as eloquently. And there are many, so very many, people who object to more strict gun laws. My husband is one of them. He is one of those guys that has his concealed carry, who know all the laws, and obeys them religiously, has every gun safely locked away, etc. and we do live in the suburbs. But I do not think that living in the burbs vs the city makes one less able to think intelligently about gun control. I know my husbands views would be the same wherever he lived and he would be happy to walk you to the grocery store while he is carrying. I am not the kind of person who lives in fear of the bad things that could happen because I have faith in a God who is all powerful and all knowing and He is in control of this world, but having someone who knows how to safely and effectively disable a bad guy with you is a blessing. And regarding the question of whether a Christian should shoot to kill, here's my 2 cents. I will not ever do it. I know my husband would if he was defending others. I do believe that God has called some people to be protectors and that it is their job to save other people's lives by subduing a violent criminal.
    To me it seems that we have a systemic problem of violent crime coming from violent people. I know you have heard this before, but I'll say it anyway, because it really is true. Gun control is not going to change the tendency of sinful violent people to commit violent crimes. If they really want a gun, they will find one, illegally. The problem is not going to get better without the intervention of God. Sinful people do sinful things. May not change until Jesus comes back. But maybe if we pray, God will show us a little taste of what He really wants life to be like for all of us!

  10. @anonymous- A couple of responses.

    1. "But I do not think that living in the burbs vs the city makes one less able to think intelligently about gun control"- My point wasn't that suburbanites can't speak to this issue intelligently. I just think it would be helpful to have everyone recognize the narrative from which they are working; recognizing that what works well in some contexts has important and potentially very negative implications in others. What I mean is that guns are instruments of protection in safer neighborhoods (ironic, no?) but instruments of death in more criminally active neighborhoods. So, having unfettered access to hand guns in the 'burbs is a "good" thing but it's terrible in the city. So, what GIVES rights in some contexts TAKES them away in other contexts. However, groups like the NRA seem to be pretty myopic, unable to recognize the full implications of their strident efforts to "protect rights".

    With that being said, is there not a way to protect your husbands' right to concealed carry but protect the rights of our kids to be safe in their homes, neighborhoods and schools? Why does it have to be all or nothing? What if I told you that I don't want to take your husband's guns? Would you then let us do what we need to do to restrict access to guns where we are? The NRA would say no. Why?

    2. "Gun control is not going change the tendency of sinful violent people to commit violent crimes".- True. But if we have sensible gun control, we might be able to prevent them from killing 20 people at a time. I think that's Christy's entire point.

    3. "If they really want a gun, they will find one, illegally."- That's rather defeatist. Can't we try to think of some ways to make that more difficult? I don't know what the public policy answer is but maybe there is one. We certainly can't get it perfect, but can't we do something? Let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    4. "The problem is not going to get better without the intervention of God"- How does God intervene in this world? Through people, institutions, and authorities, which in this case that would take the form of sound public policy. That's Christians working as Christians or non-Christians functioning under common grace. What other "intervention" would we be waiting for?

    5. "Sinful people do sinful things"- Isn't that actually a defense of gun control? Since sinful people will do sinful things, maybe we should not provide them with the opportunity to kill dozens of people at once.

    6. "May not change until Jesus comes back. But maybe if we pray, God will show us a little taste of what He really wants life to be like for all of us!"- Agreed, true Shalom will only come when Christ returns and reigns physically as King. But, let's not be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good. In the meantime before Christ returns, are we not called to be agents of Shalom here and now? Those little tastes of the ultimate reality come from God working through his people (his agents of Shalom) and others (common grace) to make things a little better; a foretaste of things to come. Those foretastes don't come magically, they come through God's people and others doing redemptive work.

    Wouldn't it be great for Christians stand up and have some answers to this gun problem that are physical and not merely spiritual?...or an answer that isn't "Just give more people more guns"? Or an answer that is not Christian bunker-ism?. Or worse yet an answer that implicitly supports organizations, people and institutions that make it nearly impossible to make things better (like the NRA)?

  11. Your perspective, Grant, especially as communicated in points 3, 4, and 6 above, resonates with me. We want Peace, and we want to be agents of it. And we want to be practically effective, able to see past the the default political ideologies or loyalties with which we were raised or that are popular in our circle.

    Here are some additional thoughts on the issue:

    1) Many urban areas already do a lot "to restrict access to guns where we are." Some of the urban warzones you describe already have some of the strictest gun laws on the books. Chicago and DC come to mind. In those places, the "tighter gun control" Christy suggests is already in force--and completely ineffective. Gun-control advocates argue that urban restrictions fail in part because guns can be easily acquired elsewhere and brought into the cities. That argues against a regional or partial approach. Again, Chicago/DC-style gun control simply hasn't worked in those places.

    2) Many gun-control advocates strike me as unwilling to get their hands dirty, but very happy for someone else to do the dirty work. They want armed police keeping them safe. They're glad the cops are there to shoot bad guys. But they don't want to learn how to take up arms themselves. I don't mean this as a personal knock against you or Christy, and I know there are exceptions, but this is the sense I get. In my experience, many gun-control advocates have miniminal experience with guns and a high gun ick-factor. But from a Christian perspective, I'm not comfortable with viewing certain kinds of work as painful necessities that somebody needs to do as long as it's not me. Cleaning public toilets is gross, but it needs to be done, and I should be willing to do it. Having an armed security presence in society is an unpleasant necessity in the fallen world we inhabit. I should not be unwilling to step up, and the fact is that, regardless of others, I (and you) in fact have the capacity to be a well-trained, intelligent, gun-owner who could be a public asset in our neighborhoods. I'm not advocating vigilantism. I'm just saying, regardless of who else is in the theater, WE have the capacity to be the right kind of gun owner. We should not be unwilling.

    3)There are more threats to peace than just criminals and madmen. Tyranny is a threat to peace. Societal breakdown is a threat to peace. What I'm getting at here, is that initiatives to increase gun control are being driven with a very specific and narrow threat to peace in view. And while increased gun control might be successful at reducing the danger from that particular threat, it might at the same time increase the danger from other threats. You guys were in New Orelans. What did Katrina show? One thing it showed is that there's a very thin line between civilization and chaos, and all it really takes to bring chaos is an exteded power outage. In such circumstances as that, when public services break down, the kind of thoughtful, well-trained, compassionate, but committed armed citizen I described above is even more useful to his or her community. My point is, our gun policy should be developed with a view towards as many situations as possible, not simply as a reaction to one.

    In sum, you are right when you say "tough issues." These are very difficult issues, and I don't claim to have all the answers. But I'm very leery of unintended consequences. So much of the garbage (both literal and metaphorical) that America has dumped on the world in the last 100 years has been the unintended fruit of well-intentioned decisions by Americans just like you and me.

    More gun control may be necessary. But if it is, let's make sure we think through *all* the possible outcomes.

  12. Oh, and I didn't say it before, but I meant to: Christy, your point about Sam Harris's filter is a great one. My brother Wes made the same point to me once when we were visiting a gun store here in SC. Gun advocates can be just as pie-in-the-sky as gun-control advocates.

  13. David- Good points.

    Wish I had more time to write more but a very quick response to #2. I agree that for many liberals, guns have an ick-factor. They weren't exposed to guns and they just don't like them. I grew up with guns, enjoy shooting them, and have no problem with guns for hunting.

    For me, it's not an "ick" issue its a moral issue; it's about having guns for self-defense. I believe that having a gun for self defense carries with it the explicit fact that you are willing to use it to take a life. Given my theological inclinations, I reject the notion that we can take human life under any circumstances...war, capital punishment, abortion, etc. So, I believe that even having a gun for self-defense for Christians is immoral. ***I totally respect everyone's right to disagree with me on this one.***

    I KNOW I KNOW! Before I get steamrolled with a million arguments as to why I am wrong. I know that this position raises a TON of problems and inconsistencies. I've heard all of the "what-ifs"...like the Nazi's, terrorists, someone attacking my kids/wife, someone getting mugged, etc. My only response is "I just don't know about those circumstances". I haven't really figured out all of the implications of Christian non-violence. I also know that this position implicitly makes me unable to protect innocent people in certain circumstances, and that deeply troubles and vexes me. But, I really don't think in any circumstance are Christians permitted to kill. So, because I can't kill, I can't have a gun for self-defense which carries the implicit threat that I am willing to kill someone.

    I am now preparing myself for a ton of vitriol sent my way from the blogosphere....

  14. Hey Grant, quick question for you to address when you have time:

    Feeling as you do about the taking of human life, do you feel comfortable as a Christian citizen supporting armed military and police forces? Are you comfortable supporting them financially? Do you feel comfortable voting for political representatives who fund and sanction them?

    I don't vote for pro-choice politicians because I cannot support abortion.

    If you believe that the taking of life is sin, how can you support the taking of life by others who are acting on your behalf and in your interest? Or do you not support it?

  15. This is a question we are asked often as we formulate our pacifist views. I will let Grant answer, but as y'all are having this back and forth on my blog I reserve the right to give my thoughts. There is no trump card that will satisfy the ethic, cultural, political and spiritual sides of the gun debate. As Christians, we can't even come to a united conclusion about the best way to bring in the kingdom. But we sure as hell try. The continual debate is good.

  16. Christy! I meant no patriarchalism, nor did I mean to imply that you're not party to the discussion. This IS your fabulous blog. Allow me to amend the beginning of my last:

    "Hey Grant and Christy, quick question for you . . ."

    1. I will let Grant include our views on patriarchy in his answer as well. :) No worries about editing anything. I truly am enjoying this conversation- reading and partaking. It is not often that two sides speak with such respect and desire to understand first. Love it.

  17. @David-

    Those are really good questions; ones that I am still wrestling with. My views on Christianity and non-violence have been evolving over time. I honestly woke up one day to realize that I had become a pretty committed Christian pacifist. So, I am not sure I understand all of the implications of that just yet. I am in a long journey of trying to read widely on these issues.

    I have firmly decided a few things in that regard: 1) We won't have guns for self-defense in our house because I (personally) could not in good conscious implicitly threaten through the possession of a gun to take someone's life. 2) I am on a mini-mission to encourage Christians to think more broadly about "pro-life" issues and think hard about our reflexive support of gun rights, the military, capital punishment, etc. Basically, thinking about what it means to truly be a "pro-life" Christian.

    An unsatisfying answer I'm sure...I'm unsatisfied with it but that's all I got.

  18. Grant and Christy, what follows is first and formeost a question. I haven't come to any conclusion. On the basis of speculation (since I've very little knowledge of what you actually believe on the issue), I'm raising a possibility for you to consider. I'm not taking a stand. This is not a rebuke. So then . . .

    It occurs to me that your approach to the issue of Christians killing sounds strikingly . . . Fundamentalist. Whether it's Phelps and gays or Bob Jones and music or Paisley's Free Presbyterians and headcoverings and alchohol or many independent fundamental baptists and skirts on women, my nose is picking up some similarities:

    1) Adopting a Scriptural position that is both uncompromising and outside the mainstream.
    2) Adopting a Scriptural position that is (definitely in the cases above, only presumably in your case) based on certain key passages which are read a certain way and given a great deal of weight without necessarily being smoothly integrated into the larger Scriptural whole from Genesis to Revelation.
    3) Secondary separation from related objects: Avoiding not just the forbidden act (gay sex, drunkenness, immodesty, etc.), but also the implicit threat of the act that might be communicated by association with a physical object (a male earring or certain haircut, a beer, a modern pair of pants) that in some cases is related to the act or the lifestyle adopted by those who practice the act.
    4) Adopting the pet issue as an issue which needs to be sounded abroad in the church (to a greater or lesser degree) and as an issue which will be a defining mark of one's approach to the Christian walk.
    5) A willingness (or perhaps desire) to look past the inconsitencies or logical difficulties inherent in the position.

    Please don't take what I say the wrong way. I'm not finger pointing. Far from it. I'm simply struck by the parallels. Have you ever thought of them? Am I just imagining things?

    As a recovering fundamentalist, I definitely see red flags whenever any group of Christians starts to focus heavily on or be defined by the seriousness of it's approach to a particular sin. In my experience, such issue-focused Christianity usually goes off the rails at some point, in part I presume because it's trying to deal with the problem by spending a lot of energy thinking about the problem, rather than about the Solution to All Problems.

    What do you think? Am I full of soup?

  19. Oh, and I would definitely say I see the same thing in some cases on the other side of the issue: Christian Lethal Self-Defense Fundamentalists.

  20. Wow...no one has ever accused me of being a fundamentalist before or more precisely (which I think you are more precisely saying) holding fundamentalist views. So, I am about to give a half-baked response. But, with that being said, I think that the five points here really overstate anything that I have said in this forum. And makes some assumptions about my opinions on this issue.

    So, a couple of thoughts:

    1. I'm not sure what I said to indicate that I am uncompromising on my position. I freely admitted that I am not so sure about these issues and I am working through them. And I am certainly willing to hold open the possibility that I am wrong here. Also, the views may be outside of the contemporary evangelical mainstream but there is a long enough tradition of Christian non-violence in the history of the church that this is not a particularly weird position.
    2. I actually think that Christian non-violence is perfectly in line with the progressive, narrative arc of biblical theology. In fact, I don't think I could find ANY proof texts to support my particular position. I think I am actually largely informed by a sort of redemptive-movement hermeneutic ushered in by the new ethic of the gospel and consistent with the Genesis-Revelation arc.
    3. I get this point but I am not anti-GUN in a christian sense(am in a public policy sense). It's not the object it's the ethic. If I had a gun in the house , I would ONLY use it for self-defense. Then, I must hold the absolute and implicit assumption that I would use it to kill. I have no other reason to have a gun. If I got into hunting, I would buy guns but refuse to use them to kill an intruder. So, it's not about the object that's sinful it's the fact that the exclusive purpose would be toward sin. So, in my case the object is indistinguishable from the act, since it would have no other purpose for me.
    4. When did I ever suggest that this was a defining mark of one's walk? I know a ton of great men who completely disagree with me but I am in fellowship with. It is an issue that I think the church is pretty blind to and may need to think harder about. I also see consumerism, loss of our liturgical history, loss of the sacramental life, an over emphasis on cognition in formation. I think that these are important issues but I've never said anything about them being a defining mark of the Christian walk.
    5. There is a huge difference between working through issues and "looking past inconsistencies and logical fallacies". I merely said that I see the potential inconsistencies and I am still working through my position. But with that being said, Christ has asked us to do more troubling things than be logically inconsistent. So, I am not sure why that is so important. Some things are paradoxes. Like, How can one be non-violent but also protect the innocent. Those seem to be two things implicitly held in tension in the New Testament and I am thinking hard about.

    I wonder if, given where you came from, fundamentalism for you is a bogey-man. You've so trained your yourself to be on watch that you are now seeing it everywhere; finding shadows of fundamentalism in strange places. or maybe you are just picking up on my latent fundamenalism before I am...I don't know. My bogey-man is "dualism". Any time someone speak in a certain way about heaven, spirituality, Sunday school, praise and worship, communion; I accuse them of being dualistic.

  21. Below is the link to an episode of 'Freakinomics,' an economic podcast and book speaking to 'the hidden side of everything.' This episode specifically speaks about gun policy. It opened my eyes a little to what has been done/is being done and what seems to work or not work, ie. gun buybacks. This does not speak to the morality of the issue but was interesting to me, someone who knows little on the facts of the issue but is interested in learning more to create a better-educated stance.