Last week I posted an article about guns in America. One person responded, “That is a completely crazy position.”
I know it is crazy. But that is the response people often get when they first propose to, say, run for office, or launch a business, or circumnavigate the globe. Or when a person suggests that the earth revolves around the sun, that our planet is 15 billion years old, or that we don’t need wires and cables to connect telephones.
There are lots of crazy positions out there, some being imagined for the first time today in some small shop, study, or studio. Fifty years ago, this week, how many people gathered in upstate New York for a music festival a few months after a skeptic said “that is a crazy idea” upon hearing somebody said, “why don’t we host a three-day rock concert?”
Giving up guns is like giving up cigarettes, or sweets, or alcohol, or sex, or social media. For some, it is the gateway into a new life: a healthier, happier life; for others, it is silly: “You want me to what?!?”
Giving up something is one way to assert your own identity, your own purpose in life, your own future. It is a way of saying, “This is who I was meant to be, and I am taking this one small step in that new direction.”
People of faith call this practice: surrender. It is at the core of every significant religion in the world. People give up one day of work and call it a sabbath, a day of rest, a holy day. People give up some of their money and call it a tithe, an offering, alms. People give up retribution and call it grace, mercy, forgiveness.
God calls some people to give up their guns. Not everybody: security personnel, soldiers, and such—they need their weapons, and we need for them to have their weapons and know how to use them when the need arises.
Millions of people have given up their guns. Not all would trace that decision to a Voice calling them to surrender something good for something grand. But God moves and speaks in mysterious ways, and the gospel says that every good and perfect gift comes from God…in one way or another. I always give God the glory for things like this, even if others don’t.
Surrendering is a spiritual act and cannot be coerced by church, state, or culture. Passing laws and expanding regulations (while necessary for other reasons) are powerless in pulling people into an act of surrender.
Just imaging what might happen if hundreds, thousands, even millions of American people sensed a call from God to surrender their weapons and to do it for the good of the whole people, for the common good.
Fewer people would buy guns, which just might convince Walmart and Amazon to quit selling guns, just might convince FedEX to stop transporting guns, just might force into bankruptcy the small gun shop in Los Vegas that sold the assault rifle to Santino Legan just days before he opened fire at a public festival in Gilroy Garlic, California killing three and injuring 15 people.
Maybe gun manufacturers stock would tank and membership in gun organizations would fall. Maybe there would be fewer guns in American and fewer of our family and friends killed by guns.
Maybe irritated shoppers standing in line would solve their differences the old-fashioned way, shouting and cussing, and then go home.
Maybe more people would respond to road rage the way we used to—honking the horn and flipping the bird—and then drive on down the road to whatever meeting they have on their to-do list that day.
Maybe more people would make it to work and make it home at night to have dinner with the family and watch a little baseball. Maybe more of our neighbors would live and love and grow and celebrate life and die at age 79 rather than at age 19.
There are almost 400 million guns in America. That is too many. We want fewer guns in fewer places. If some Christian people, just those who sense a call from God to exit out of the American gun culture, would surrender their guns and lay them on the altar of the common good, who knows what miracle the Lord God might do.
copyright2019 Dwight A. Moody