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What Would Jesus Say to the NRA? by Shane Claiborne

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I personally am not a religious person. I believe in the life force that is this universe, not a human personified deity residing in the sky. I was raised Catholic but I have rejected a good deal of the churches teachings. 

However, Shane Claiborne is one of the few Christians I truly admire. I also believe he's one of the few who is actually living and breathing Christs teachings. So much so that he hangs out with the prostitutes and drug addicts, and convicts of Philadelphia and is the leader of The Simple Way. His is a message of unconditional love. Especially for those who hurt us the most. I read his book Jesus For President and it was a very good book. This is an article he wrote.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shane-claiborne/what-would-jesus-say-to-the-nra_b_2360543.html


What does the birth of the baby Jesus 2,000 years ago have to offer the violent, troubled world we live in? Or what would Jesus say to the NRA?

I want to suggest: a lot. A whole lot.

Jesus entered the world from a posture of absolute vulnerability -- as an unarmed, innocent child during a time of tremendous violence. The Bible speaks of a terrible massacre as Jesus was born, an unspeakable act of violence as King Herod slaughters children throughout the land hoping to kill Jesus (which the church remembers annually as the massacre of the Holy Innocents).

Perhaps the original Christmas was marked more with agony and grief like that in Connecticut than with the glitz and glamour of the shopping malls and Christmas parades. For just as Mary and Joseph celebrated their newborn baby, there were plenty of other moms and dads in utter agony because their kids had just been killed.

From his birth in the manger as a homeless refugee until his brutal execution on the Roman cross, Jesus was very familiar with violence. Emmanuel means "God with us." Jesus' coming to earth is all about a God who leaves the comfort of heaven to join the suffering on earth. The fact that Christians throughout the world regularly identify with a victim of violence -- and a nonviolent, grace-filled, forgiving victim -- is perhaps one of the most fundamentally life-altering and world-changing assumptions of the Christian faith. Or it should be.

So what does that have to do with the NRA? Underneath the rhetoric of the gun-control debate this Christmas is a nagging question: Are more guns the solution to our gun problem?

Everything in Jesus' world, just as in ours, contends that we must use violence to protect the innocent from violence, which is the very thing Jesus came to help us un-learn through his nonviolent life and death on the cross. Surely, we think, if God were to come to earth, he should at least come with a bodyguard -- if not an entire entourage of armed soldiers and secret service folk. But Jesus comes unarmed. Surely, we think, if God were about to be killed he would bust out a can of butt-kicking wrath; but Jesus looks into the eyes of those about to kill him and says, "Father forgive them." The Bible goes so far to say that the wisdom of God makes no sense to the logic of this world, in fact it may even seem like "foolishness" (or at least utopian idealism).

When soldiers come to arrest and execute Jesus, one of his closest friends defensively picks up a sword to protect him. Jesus' response is stunning: He scolds his own disciple and heals the wounded persecutor. It was a tough and very counter-intuitive lesson: "The one who picks up the sword dies by the sword ... there is another way."

That lesson that Jesus taught his disciple is as relevant to us, and the NRA, as it was the early movement of Christians in the first century. Violence will not rid the world of violence. You do not use swords to get rid of swords or guns to get rid of guns. There is another way.

Many Christians have begun to speak of Jesus as an interruption to the "myth of redemptive violence," the assumption that we can use violence to get rid of violence or that we can destroy a life to save a life. The myth of redemptive violence has many ugly faces. It teaches us that we can kill those who kill to show that killing is wrong. It teaches us to live by the law of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" a law that Jesus firmly spun on its head, saying, "You've heard it said 'an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth ... but I tell you..." There is another way. Killing to show that killing is wrong is like trying to teach holiness by fornication. The cure is as bad as the disease.

At one point Jesus even weeps over the violent world he lived in, lamenting that "they did not know the things that would lead to peace." The fact that Jesus carried a cross rather than a sword has something relevant and redemptive to offer our violent-possessed world. After all, the Bible has a lot to say about loving enemies, and "Thou shalt not kill," but doesn't even mention the right to bear arms.

So let's imagine. What would Jesus say to our nation, where these are things are true:

  • 10,000 people die from gun-related homicides each year, that's one Sandy Hook massacre a day, every day
  • There are nearly 90 guns for every 100 people
  • There are more than 51,000 licensed gunshops (and 30,000 supermarkets)
  • Guns that can shoot 100 rounds a minute, and are only designed to kill, are still legal
  • Other than auto accidents, gun violence is the leading cause of death of young people (under 20)
  • $20,000 a second is spent on war

There is a reason we talk about "Peace on Earth" so much around Christmas. There is a reason why we talk about Jesus as the "Prince of Peace." He consistently taught that we can disarm violence without mirroring it, and that we can rid the world of evil without becoming the evil we abhor. So let us recommit ourselves to Peace this Christmas season and new year -- in honor of Jesus, and in honor of the holy innocents.

by on Dec. 28, 2012 at 4:06 PM
Replies (21-30):
Bookwormy
by Platinum Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 9:31 AM
1 mom liked this
But everyone knows guns don't protect people, people protect people.


Quoting yourspecialkid:

 


Quoting Bookwormy:


 I'm not Christian so I don't really care what Jesus would tell anyone, but I think that if I am wrong, & Jesus really was/is the son of G-d, you are likely off base.  If I am wrong I'm guessing Shane Claiborne is on the money & you don't like that, do you?  Bummer for you I guess.


Do you believe is Jesus?  If not, don't let Mr. Claiborne get under your skin.  If you do, you might consider the hypocricy of Christianity & fighting violence with violence.


 


Quoting yourspecialkid:


 Jesus would tell Shane not to judge others.  Especially based on the actions of a few.


 


 


 


 You don't know what the NRA is really about do you?  It isn't about war.  It is about protecting what the Constitution promises.  It is about allowing people to protect themselves, their family and their property and choosing to use a firearm to do so.  The NRA is about insuring hunters and the tables they put meat on.  It is about hobbyists, collectors and historians.


I can't help but wonder what you would do if your family was threatened....would you just have everyone line up to be killed or would you fight back?  Protection of self and family may be violent, but it is necessary violence.


 


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yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 9:35 AM
1 mom liked this

 

Quoting lga1965:

 

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 Jesus would tell Shane not to judge others.  Especially based on the actions of a few.

 

 You know what Jesus would tell him? How arrogant of you. And conceited. And manipulative, trying to excuse the many gun owners ,of which you are one. YOU don't know what Jesus would say about Shane. I don't either so I won't even guess.  But,there are some valuable things in this piece.

 LOL!  Did you even read what you wrote before you posted it?  You are telling me that I don't know what Jesus would say...tell me I am conceited and manipulative for doing so.........yet you have no issue with Shane thinking he knows what Jesus would say.  And THAT makes you a hypocrite.

 

yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 9:38 AM

 

Quoting Bookwormy:

But everyone knows guns don't protect people, people protect people.


Quoting yourspecialkid:

 


Quoting Bookwormy:


 I'm not Christian so I don't really care what Jesus would tell anyone, but I think that if I am wrong, & Jesus really was/is the son of G-d, you are likely off base.  If I am wrong I'm guessing Shane Claiborne is on the money & you don't like that, do you?  Bummer for you I guess.


Do you believe is Jesus?  If not, don't let Mr. Claiborne get under your skin.  If you do, you might consider the hypocricy of Christianity & fighting violence with violence.


 


Quoting yourspecialkid:


 Jesus would tell Shane not to judge others.  Especially based on the actions of a few.


 


 


 


 You don't know what the NRA is really about do you?  It isn't about war.  It is about protecting what the Constitution promises.  It is about allowing people to protect themselves, their family and their property and choosing to use a firearm to do so.  The NRA is about insuring hunters and the tables they put meat on.  It is about hobbyists, collectors and historians.


I can't help but wonder what you would do if your family was threatened....would you just have everyone line up to be killed or would you fight back?  Protection of self and family may be violent, but it is necessary violence.


 


 

Whatever.  I don't have the time or inclination to deal with a smarty pants today.

 

mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 9:47 AM
1 mom liked this

I love this article - and I find it sad that most christians don't really follow the teachings of Jesus if more did the world would be a better place.

Sisteract
by Whoopie on Jan. 25, 2013 at 9:52 AM

I often wonder about the words (and IRL, actions) of some of those who claim to be devoted followers of JC. It's as if some have totally missed the message- totally. Listening and thinking are far more important than talking about it.

Quoting mehamil1:

It's hard to confront that. Jesus went willingly to his death. He healed one of the men who took him away. He gave himself up, knowing that's what had to be done. He said that everything he did, we could also do. But what he did is very hard. Those who call themselves Christians and yet hold tightly to their guns...I don't think they take Jesus seriously. They don't believe what he actually said/did. 

The great question is NOT "Do you believe Jesus to be the son of God?" but "When I was hungry, did you feed me? When I was cold, did you give me warmth? When I was in prison, did you visit me? When I was poor, did you help me?" - Those are the standards set out by Jesus Christ. It's not just a matter of belief in Jesus, but also your actions that are as close his actions as possible. One of those actions is laying down that weapon. That is what made him a radical. 

Quoting Bookwormy:

 I'm not Christian so I don't really care what Jesus would tell anyone, but I think that if I am wrong, & Jesus really was/is the son of G-d, you are likely off base.  If I am wrong I'm guessing Shane Claiborne is on the money & you don't like that, do you?  Bummer for you I guess.

Do you believe is Jesus?  If not, don't let Mr. Claiborne get under your skin.  If you do, you might consider the hypocricy of Christianity & fighting violence with violence.

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 Jesus would tell Shane not to judge others.  Especially based on the actions of a few.


mehamil1
by Platinum Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 10:35 AM
1 mom liked this

In my own experience, which was a Catholic upbringing, people tend to follow the words and teachings of St. Paul. And in my own humble opinion, St. Paul was a judgemental prick. A lot of the time at odds with what Jesus said/did. 

St. Paul is easier to follow. Jesus is difficult. 

Quoting Sisteract:

I often wonder about the words (and IRL, actions) of some of those who claim to be devoted followers of JC. It's as if some have totally missed the message- totally. Listening and thinking are far more important than talking about it.

Quoting mehamil1:

It's hard to confront that. Jesus went willingly to his death. He healed one of the men who took him away. He gave himself up, knowing that's what had to be done. He said that everything he did, we could also do. But what he did is very hard. Those who call themselves Christians and yet hold tightly to their guns...I don't think they take Jesus seriously. They don't believe what he actually said/did. 

The great question is NOT "Do you believe Jesus to be the son of God?" but "When I was hungry, did you feed me? When I was cold, did you give me warmth? When I was in prison, did you visit me? When I was poor, did you help me?" - Those are the standards set out by Jesus Christ. It's not just a matter of belief in Jesus, but also your actions that are as close his actions as possible. One of those actions is laying down that weapon. That is what made him a radical. 

Quoting Bookwormy:

 I'm not Christian so I don't really care what Jesus would tell anyone, but I think that if I am wrong, & Jesus really was/is the son of G-d, you are likely off base.  If I am wrong I'm guessing Shane Claiborne is on the money & you don't like that, do you?  Bummer for you I guess.

Do you believe is Jesus?  If not, don't let Mr. Claiborne get under your skin.  If you do, you might consider the hypocricy of Christianity & fighting violence with violence.

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 Jesus would tell Shane not to judge others.  Especially based on the actions of a few.

mehamil1
by Platinum Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 10:38 AM

I think the NRA (the people who run it, not the actual members) is a front for gun manufacturers. But that's just me. 

Quoting yourspecialkid:
Quoting Bookwormy:

 I'm not Christian so I don't really care what Jesus would tell anyone, but I think that if I am wrong, & Jesus really was/is the son of G-d, you are likely off base.  If I am wrong I'm guessing Shane Claiborne is on the money & you don't like that, do you?  Bummer for you I guess.

Do you believe is Jesus?  If not, don't let Mr. Claiborne get under your skin.  If you do, you might consider the hypocricy of Christianity & fighting violence with violence.

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 Jesus would tell Shane not to judge others.  Especially based on the actions of a few.

 You don't know what the NRA is really about do you?  It isn't about war.  It is about protecting what the Constitution promises.  It is about allowing people to protect themselves, their family and their property and choosing to use a firearm to do so.  The NRA is about insuring hunters and the tables they put meat on.  It is about hobbyists, collectors and historians.

I can't help but wonder what you would do if your family was threatened....would you just have everyone line up to be killed or would you fight back?  Protection of self and family may be violent, but it is necessary violence.

Sisteract
by Whoopie on Jan. 25, 2013 at 10:44 AM
2 moms liked this

I also find it interesting that in Christianity the holy grail of promises is that of everlasting life with the savior- Why fear the most coveted goal?

Makes no sense.


Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Jan. 25, 2013 at 2:57 PM

The only conclusion I can come to is that the constitution needs a major overhaul. Many people in the country cling to it as if it has its very own life source and is, in itself an American Deity.

IMO some people don't want to discuss what's reasonable or what, as citizens, they are willing to accept. These people only want what's coming to them as provided 'to them' within the constitution.

More guns and bigger guns do not deter people with guns. That's true enough. Eradicating guns will only be possible if gun manufacturers come under scrutiny by our own gov't and/or the gov't makes owning guns completely illegal.

Why does my neighbor or fellow citizen care if I own guns legally? Are those people frightened I will go bat shit insane and kill a bunch of people? Really? Or, is it about control and fear? I cannot control who acquires a weapon legally or illegally. I can be proactive and diligent in teaching my children how to react in a violent scenario involving guns as well as teach them that guns can kill people and that guns are not toys.

I can't even begin to wrap my mind around a viable solution that would make all sides happy.

I cannot begin to even give consideration to the NRA or to JC regarding guns.

Billiejeens
by Gold Member on Jan. 25, 2013 at 3:05 PM

 

You tend to think everyone is a puppet or a puppeteer.

Quoting mehamil1:

I think the NRA (the people who run it, not the actual members) is a front for gun manufacturers. But that's just me. 

Quoting yourspecialkid:
Quoting Bookwormy:

 I'm not Christian so I don't really care what Jesus would tell anyone, but I think that if I am wrong, & Jesus really was/is the son of G-d, you are likely off base.  If I am wrong I'm guessing Shane Claiborne is on the money & you don't like that, do you?  Bummer for you I guess.

Do you believe is Jesus?  If not, don't let Mr. Claiborne get under your skin.  If you do, you might consider the hypocricy of Christianity & fighting violence with violence.

Quoting yourspecialkid:

 Jesus would tell Shane not to judge others.  Especially based on the actions of a few.

 You don't know what the NRA is really about do you?  It isn't about war.  It is about protecting what the Constitution promises.  It is about allowing people to protect themselves, their family and their property and choosing to use a firearm to do so.  The NRA is about insuring hunters and the tables they put meat on.  It is about hobbyists, collectors and historians.

I can't help but wonder what you would do if your family was threatened....would you just have everyone line up to be killed or would you fight back?  Protection of self and family may be violent, but it is necessary violence.


 

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