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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Let's imagine a creative future with God and each other together. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Guns, Freedom, and the cross of Christ

I own guns. Enough of them so that I cover my whole immediate family with the national average. Since neither my wife or daughters use my guns--only one has ever even held one--it is safe to say they are "my" guns.

I once stayed at a friend's house. As he was giving me a quick tour I noticed there was a gun in every room. Living out in the country as he does, the ones by the doors seemed useful, but a bedroom loft? What gives with all the guns, I asked?

Well, my gun room is being remodeled, so I store them in unused corners. OK, I muse...really? Yeah, plus I figure anyone who comes into this house will know how to use a gun safely, so, what's the damage? I stare in utter amazment at a well-used .260 Browning. You mean, it's loaded too? Of course, what's the sense of having a gun if it's empty? There's no round in the chambers though, so make sure you cock it.

I do understand that not everyone is comfortable staying in such accomodations. And I do appreciate the multitude of friends I have who do not worry too much about whether I am liberal or not, even though I hunt and have guns. To be honest, many of my non-gun-owning friends are curious about and appreciative of guns, much as they would be if I took up stamp collecting or butterflies. Most people who don't own guns see them as potential death instruments, and most people who own guns see them as guarantors of freedom. And that is why "gun control" will always divide the USA.

Regardless of the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, having a gun to protect yourself seems to work for most people. Crimes against women are the first things to decrease the minute you let women carry a gun, or even let would-be assaulters think they carry a gun. (interestingly, everyone knows that to be so statistically verifiable as to be a truism.) So whether the USA, your home or office, or even your car is being threatened you have the freedom to defend yourself, and a gun is the surest way we have of making a statement about that protection without having to actually use it. So when someone tries to control guns, it is seen by many as trying to take away freedom. And what politician, especially these days, wants to be seen as taking away your freedom? No matter how reasonable the argument, you can't take away someone's freedom just because a congresswoman got shot by someone with a gun. Freedom is dangerous on many levels, not the least of which is that some people don't want you to be free.

But I don't own guns for my sense of freedom. I own guns to kill creatures I eat. Simple as that. My guns are used for hunting, and they are locked away whenever I am not hunting or practing with them. My sense of freedom does not come from me being able to own a comes from something more profound. My freedom comes from love, specifically a love from God that dies (irony of ironies) so that I can live. The cross is the story of that love.

Because I believe in freedom, I will never try to take away someone's freedom by taking away their symbol of it...but I will always challenge people to find freedom in something other than fear, other than arrogance, other than find freedom in love, to find freedom in God.

May your tables be full, and your conversations be true.

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