Whether you are looking for just the essentials, are limited on time, or have a media preference we have a learning path for you to begin your education about guns and gun violence through a distinctly Christian lens.
Pastor James Atwood, who passed away in 2020, called gun violence the most important theological issue for the American church. He is rooted in the belief that all humans are created in the image of God and from Mark 12:28-34 where Jesus says the most important commandment is to love God and love your neighbor. Atwood says you cannot love God and not love your neighbor, they are fundamentally connected. Collateral Damage is a prophetic call for the church to get involved and not remain silent when 40,000 fellow image bearers are being killed each year while hundreds of thousands more are psychologically and emotionally damaged from the effects of gun violence.
SUMMARY: Based on the book (which we also recommend) with the same name Beating Guns centers on RAW tools founder Michael Martin and activist Shane Claiborne and their 2018 protest that attempted to deliver a garden tool to Pennsylvania senator Pat Toomey in hopes of him supporting legislation to ban assault rifles.
In a moving sermon pastor James Atwood draws a straight line between how many Christians viewed slavery before the Civil War to how many Christians currently view and react to gun violence. He says many Christians say gun violence has nothing to do with ethics, it has nothing to do with morality, and nothing to do with spirituality. That gun violence is a political issue and we should just stay out of it. Atwood forcefully calls out those statements as a failure to love our neighbors and treat everyone in the Image of God. Additionally he points out that in Mark 12 Jesus points out that to love God is to love our neighbor. We cannot love God without loving our neighbor. Atwood ends the sermon with six spiritual, moral, and ethical reasons why Christians need to speak up and act to stop gun violence.
In a moving 27-minutes Quiet No More tells the story of reverend Sharon Risher's process of dealing with her anger and her journey to forgiveness. In 2015 she lost three family members after a white supremacist murdered nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Despite the statistics being almost a decade old, this practical, informative 15-page preventative gun violence guide created by the Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office in 2010 features how to advocate for public policies to prevent gun violence, Christian views on violence and self-defense, and how to write to your government officials to lobby for change.
As humans, most of the time we want complex issues to be solved easily. For instance, if individuals with guns are targeting churches, then members of churches should carry guns to counteract the threat. While on the surface that may seem like the logical thing to do, and certainly a good portion of Americans would agree, as Christians we must consider what the Bible has to say. In Whom Shall I Fear? author and pastor Rosalind C. Hughes doesn't say whether a church should hire armed security or not, but invites the reader to take a step back and answer the question, "What is the church and what is its mission" before deciding how to deal with the violent culture we live in.
Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence narrates the personal stories of trauma physicians, police, and shooting survivors of all ages, genders, and races as they grapple with the effects of gun violence from the West Coast to the East Coast.
In his characteristic passionate, engaging style activist Shane Claiborne frames gun violence as a pro-life issue for Christians.
One is a minister and one is a mother. Both are Christians. The Armor of Light chronicles the journey of pastor Rob Schenck and mother Lucy McBath from being silent about gun violence to devoting their lives to talking about gun violence within and outside of the church.