Disarming the Pulpit

I think it is time we begin a discussion about disarming the pulpit.

Believe it or not, the pulpit has a lot of power.  Not only are sermons preached from their but often times, we pay more attention to what is said from the pulpit (announcements, mission moments, etc.) than we would if they were said from the floor or lectern.  For example, I could announce this Sunday in the bulletin that our youth will be giving free car washes after church (not really happening, this is just an example) and I’d be lucky if a few people saw it.  But if the Senior Pastor read the announcement from the bulletin while standing in the pulpit, everyone in worship would know that our youth will be giving free car washes after church (again, not really happening, this is just an example).

gun in bibleI don’t think we should remove this kind of power from the pulpit.  Having a place in the community where everyone (for the most part) is focused on the proclamation of the word of God is wonderful thing.  The disarming I am talking about is removing the desire to conceal (or open) carry firearms while leading worship or participating in a worship service.  I became more convinced of this after a pastor put out a call to arms in a social media rant over the legalization of same-sex marriage and Facebook conversation in a youth ministry group I am a part of.  Here is the original post:

Anyone on here have any experience dealing with concealed carry as a youth leader?

I have full support from our pastor and elders about me carrying my off duty handgun (I work full time as a peace officer and run our youth dept as a volunteer). I just started volunteering again after a 3 year break and now carry.

My problem: I am totally comfortable carrying but on youth nights or trips hanging out with students running around playing sports or whatever I find myself always worrying about it. Will someone see it will it fall out (I know it won’t but I worry lol). I don’t want to cause any distractions with it being accidentally seen but I also feel very passionately about having it and being prepared.

I have contemplated leaving it locked up in my car safe but then I am uncomfortable not having it close. I have thought about getting a safe to keep it put away but reachable in my office at the church but I don’t know. Let me know your thoughts and thanks guys.

Aside from this individuals only concern not being one of a theological nature, what troubled me most was that of the 20ish responses, only looked to Gospels and Christ’s ministry for guidance.  Here are my 2 favorite responses:

Ditch the concealed firearm and set up a sniper in the sound booth. It’s a win-win solution!

And,

If you aren’t sure about how your kids might feel about it, you should just hold a class at the church. Make it a series on a Sunday morning. Call it “Sniper Jesus” or something. Get creative. They could all get licensed to carry too! Help them understand why you NEED to have the gun with you at all times. You could use a passage like 1 Peter 3:15: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to shoot anyone who gives you reason too. But do this with gentleness and respect.” I think that’s what it says…

Anyways, Let them know that it’s your 2nd amendment right to own guns whether it makes them uncomfortable or not. Explain to them that accidents with guns NEVER HAPPEN with people who are properly trained and there is not legit reason for them to worry about getting shot in the face while playing hungry, hungry hippos lol. Besides Christians carrying weapons is part of our history.

The early church always carried weapons with them to worship. They never knew if their persecutors might turn up and feed them to the lions or turn them into candles so they were always prepared to fight back and take a life if there was a reason to.
If they still aren’t convinced just tell them it’s what Jesus wants. As an American, you’re sure of it.

jesus-got-a-gun_3pn00nI think part of the problem is guns are not specifically referenced in the Gospels or in the Epistles, I am sure the writers were thinking about our 2nd amendment right to bear arms but needed to cut something in the final editing.

So I found a few lines of scripture and I want you to imagine the word “sword” is replaced by “concealed hand gun” or just plain ol’ gun.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also. – Matthew 5.38-39

“Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” – Matthew 10.28

“Then Jesus said to him,“Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?”” – Matthew 26.52-54

“He said to them, “But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. ” – Luke 22.36

“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” ” – Romans 12.19

“For it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer.” – Romans 13.4

I know this won’t end the debate but I think it’s a good starting point that many are ignoring.  Our T.V.’s tell us daily that they (evil/darkness) are coming for us.  We hear of priests being killed during mass and we become afraid of what we cannot control.  But, part of being a disciple of Jesus Christ is knowing that we are not in control.  When we give our lives to Christ, we give ourselves to the work of God and it is in my opinion that the work of God does not include responding violence with violence.

faith4“The church occupies the space he has made so that the world may see what a people look like who are not determined by the destructive fantasy that we can secure our lives through violence.” ― Stanley Hauerwas, Without Apology: Sermons for Christ’s Church