Guns, government tyranny, and 1 Peter 2:13-17

In The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt traces the history of European anti-Semitism through its many decades stewing as an ideology that became normative. It was like a dormant ideological virus until the right social catalyst transformed it into genocide: the economic devastation and social upheaval of Eastern Europe after the first World War and then the Great Depression. I’m genuinely concerned that the escalating anti-government rhetoric within the US is functioning similarly as a viral ideology that will turn bloody given the right social catalyst. This question will offend some people, but I think it’s my duty to ask it. If you say you’re collecting guns to protect yourself from government tyranny and you call the current president a tyrant, at what point are you going to start shooting? Continue reading

Mr. Saturday Night Special

One of my favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd songs is “Mr. Saturday Night Special.” The US Senate’s decision to disregard the will of 92% of the US population today regarding mandatory background checks for gun sales makes it apropos to share the lyrics on my blog. I used to blast Lynyrd Skynyrd on my car stereo in tenth grade when I wore cowboy boots and a Texas Ranger belt buckle to school every day. It used to be okay for wannabe redneck teenage kids to listen to Southern rock songs that weren’t in line with the ideological orthodoxy of the NRA. That was before the crazies took over.

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Jesus inside the beltway: Glocalization and relationship-rooted causes

On the last day of our GBCS young clergy leadership forum, we learned the term “glocalization.” It’s actually not an affirmation of the activist world cliche that we should “think globally and act locally.” The problem is precisely that we too often think about activism in global terms instead of local ones. Activism that is understood in kingdom terms should always seek as localized a form as possible even if it occurs over a distance that is global. Let me explain. Continue reading

Jesus inside the beltway: Two no-brainer gun policies

Continuing to blog through what I’m learning at the General Board of Church and Society Young Clergy Leadership Forum. We’re listening to a presentation about gun violence from a group called Heeding God’s Call that is blowing my mind. A common argument in debates over guns is that gun crimes are committed with guns that are purchased illegally. Two kids in my former youth group are in jail now because of crimes involving black market guns. So how do black market guns get out on the street? I never asked that question before. Well, I just found out one major way: it’s called straw purchasing and it’s perfectly legal. Continue reading