Fear and Faith

I have long believed that Americans have a fundamental right to bear arms.  Whatever kind of arms they think that is, from a Swiss Army pocketknife to a can of mace to a high-powered, military-issue rifle.  If it makes you feel protected, the constitution says you should be able to use it.

My dad is a lifetime member of the NRA.  He’s probably given them enough money that Ella and I are also lifetime members.  He loves hunting and shooting more than just about anything else. 

He has a safe full of guns, a cabinet full of guns, and thousands of bullets.  He owns rifles, historic revolvers, shotguns, and a high-caliber air gun that he uses to shoot blue jays.  He has slept with a loaded pistol pretty much as long as I can remember.  And yet, my dad is the most fearful person I know.  He won’t spend the night away from home because he is afraid that something will happen that is out of his control.  He won’t have a debit card because he is afraid someone will steal his identity.  No matter how much he loves me and his beautiful Ella, he will never see the country where she was born, or the place that I live (and love) because of fear.

I love my dad dearly, and he raised me to have a faith and a conscience and to live a good life, but I’ve decided he’s wrong.  I have a choice between faith and fear.  A belief in the teachings of Jesus gives me that choice.

I’ve changed my mind.  Not because of Newtown, although it put me in the mindset where I was open to change.  I changed it because I was blasted with the truth of a faded poster outside of the Quaker Meeting House in Poole yesterday.

In Fear, ARM.  In Faith, DIS-ARM.

Maybe that statement doesn’t shake you to your core.  It shook me.   It felt like a shot in the heart. 

I felt the still small voice that guides me saying the words of Peter’s first letter: “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, ARM yourselves in the same attitude.”  And the words of Paul to the Ephesians: “Put on the full armor of God... the breastplate of righteousness, being girded with truth, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Are we as Christians, living in fear behind the shield of a Constitutional amendment?  Are you, like my dad, sleeping with a gun under your pillow, literally or figuratively? 

If you live in fear, go ahead, arm yourself with metal.  When you die, whether at the hands of a home intruder or a terrorist or a corrupt government or cancer or a heart attack or old age, that gun is not going to protect you.  

I’ve never been shot, and no one’s taken the life of my child, but I’ve known pain.  True, terrible, awful pain and anguish.  That gun is not going to protect you from pain, either.

If it could bring those 20 children back, I would give up my Second Amendment rights.  I would give up my First Amendment rights as well.  If it would save the life of even one child, I would give up all my rights to liberty and property and even happiness.  Every right given to me by the constitution, I would sacrifice.  I don’t know many parents who wouldn’t give up their own life for their child in a moment.  Five adults gave up their lives a few days ago to protect the lives of children that weren't even their own.  

Christian brothers and sisters, what are "natural" rights when we have faith?  Jesus doesn’t say:  “Accumulate whatever goods you can that will protect you.  You don’t need me.”  Jesus says, point-blank to our hearts, in all four Gospels: “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it.”

Not to mention the stores of blessings that he has given those who DON’T have the rights and freedoms that Americans have.  Where has the church exploded despite persecution?  The former Soviet Union.  China.  The Middle East.  Africa.  The church grows when people are suffering and their rights taken away.  Isn’t the ultimate goal of Christians not to protect ourselves but to save others?

Christians have been a part so many movements that have made America and the world a better place.  The abolition of slavery, the treatment of leprosy and other tropical diseases, the civil rights movement.  Why are we the ones who are so resistant to any change when it comes to guns? 

What is so precious that the full armour of God cannot protect?

Can we be the ones who move from fear to faith?  


  1. This the best comment I've read so far on this issue. Thank you.

  2. awesome blog - i would like to hear more of the arguments justifying the right to bear arms - after Friday I cant think of any but to be honest I was anti before.


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