The most popular sign on gun stores these days seems to be “Salesman of the Month: Obama.” People are buying guns now, afraid that they’ll not be able to do so later.
The rhetoric is ever more strident. “I’ll give up my gun when they pry it from my cold dead fingers” is a model of sobriety compared to “I came into this world kicking and screaming and covered in someone else’s blood, and I have no problem going out the same way.”
I was a conscientious objector 40+ years ago, and I’ve never fully changed my mind. But I never could justify the kind of pacifism that says police shouldn’t be violent, or that one is not allowed to defend one’s home violently against intruders — even by deadly force. I don’t think it’s wicked to keep my cards close to my vest on whether my home is “protected by Smith & Wesson.”
And yet I must ask what a Christian is to do as a Christian.
I serve Matins every Sunday morning. Part of Matins commemorates Saints from the Synaxarion for that day. I don’t know how many times we’ve commemorated, say, “Patriarch Tikhon, who was slain by the atheists in the year 1917,” or “Saint Blaise, who was beheaded by the Governor Agricolus.” I have yet to chant the praises of “St. Rambo, who, when the atheists came for him, slew them.” Not once.
I suppose I could glower “I’m no Saint. Go ahead and make my day.” But I want to be a Saint (even if nobody but God knows it). Every Christian should want that.
Even if I never had to shoot anyone, buying the hardware and ammunition, going to the firing range, shooting at human figures, cleaning the gun, dreaming of a better gun, rehearsing how to get to the gun to shoot someone if surprised — those things mark the soul in and of themselves, even apart from the time they take from more edifying passtimes.
I think I know which way I’m leaning on whether to “buy while you still can.”
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