Beating Guns

April 11 7 pm Grand Rapids Community College, Student Center.

Free tickets, here

America, a country in which mass shootings have become almost commonplace, is better at protecting guns than protecting people, say Shane Claiborne and Mike Martin in their new book Beating Guns: Hope for People Who Are Weary of Violence. Holding the shameful record for most gun deaths at about 38,000 per year, it’s clear that this country is in the midst of an epidemic. Bestselling author and activist Claiborne, and Martin, a Mennonite pastor turned blacksmith, offer a Christian response to the crisis, transcending the rhetoric of “thoughts and prayers” with concrete ways to address the problem. “We have the audacity to believe that it is not the will of God for approximately 105 people to die from guns each day in the U.S.,” they say.

Inspired by the biblical prophets’ call to “beat swords into plowshares,” Claiborne and Martin will tour the country this spring with a forge and other blacksmithing tools. The Beating Guns Tour is a 90-minute event that will feature music, art, and stories of people impacted by gun violence, culminating with an invitation for the audience to take the hammer and transform a gun into garden tools. …Addressing the spiritual dimension of the problem, they point out that violence is not just about guns. As Christians who practice nonviolence, they believe “Christians can not carry a cross in one hand and a weapon in the other.” Rather, they “plot for peace,” engaging in the practice of de-escalation of everyday interaction. De-escalation of the small things helps keep the big events from happening.”

Tired of waiting for legislative action on common sense gun laws, Claiborne and Martin say “we will not wait on politicians to turn death into life.” The beauty of the prophets’ vision is that the people themselves transform their weapons: “Peace begins with the people of God, who refuse to kill and beat their weapons into farm tools. We will make violence extinct by refusing to kill.”

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