Just two weeks after the Parkland School Shooting my friend Mary Duren invited four people to contribute to a discussion on the right to bear arms. The traffic on his posts was poor. It seems the news cycle had passed.
If you don’t seize the moment within 24-hours, or maybe 48-hours, you miss the modern attention span.
Maybe Hauerwas and Willimon Are Right
No one would accuse me of being part of the Hauerwasian Mafia. The designation is often a caricature of those who have found Stanley Hauerwas their theological muse. Later this week some friends will gather to talk about what it means to live out of a different narrative. While their book, Resident Aliens, may be nearly 30 years old, the central call to think about life through the Gospel Story is as pertinent today as then (1989).
One of the sources of conflict over guns and gun legislation is the controlling narrative. Even more, when one narrative, the Gospel, is conflated with another, U.S. Citizenship, you must be prepared for friendly fire. The complexity of how these issues are discussed is often created by trying to walk contradictory visions.
If we must choose, Hauerwas and Willimon consider the ethics of Jesus to take priority.
Keeping the Issue Alive
No matter when or where a mass shooting takes place, it is hard to argue that it fades from memory as we wonder what is going to happen in Syria, North Korea, or any other hot spot in the world. That reality often keeps an issue from being fully addressed and better ideas emerging.
What do we do?
Amy Butler plans to keep the issue alive by putting on another Gods and Guns event. This time the aim will be to reach further than New York City and broader than young people. Everyone will be invited.
Conversation Is Better Than Conflagration
Amy Butler, in this episode, tells the story of an odd friendship. When she took up her position on God and Guns fueling the first conference, she tells of receiving an email from someone who strongly disagrees with her position. Rather than shut him out, shout louder or respond dismissively, they became friends. Neither has been persuaded from their respective positions. But they have maintained communication in order to understand an challenge each other. They remain in conversation.
Unfortunately, there are not enough of these illustrations, at least noted publicly.
Most often, particularly in churches, friends divide up, stop talking, block each other from social media and even leave a church over the issue. When this happens it is clear one narrative takes precedence over the other. The Gospel loses.
Maybe this episode will spur you to a conversation rather than a conflagration.
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