Grateful to have gotten a pre-release copy of Beating Guns: Hope For People Who Are Weary of Violence, but wish I would have gotten around to reading and reviewing it sooner. Read this book! If you haven’t already pre-ordered, reserve your copy today via Amazon or another bookseller. Beating Guns will be officially released on Tuesday, March 5.
In the tradition of Irresistible Revolution and Becoming an Answer to Our Prayers, Beating Guns claims for our day Isaiah’s prophetic vision of weapons being beaten into “plows” and “pruning hooks.” Wielding historical and cultural analysis, Jesus-centered biblical exegesis and community-based nonviolent activism, authors Claiborne and Martin identify our fear-based, marketing-fueled idolatry of guns and violence and forge a practical vision of a more peace-full nation. I highly recommend this book!
How did we get here? Why do we live in a day of live-shooter school drills, gun “accidents,” mass shooting victim lists, veteran suicides, and a body politic held hostage by gun rights extremists? Beating Guns pounds out the answers, statistic by statistic, episode by episode, fact by fact. Along the way, Beating Guns exposes the violence and dehumanization in American history and debunks the myths of redemptive violence surrounding the Old West, cowboys, vigilantes, armies of one, and the U.S. military.
It calls for common-sense regulation of the as-of-now un-regulated gun industry, a re-prioritization of national economic priorities, and a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, yes. It reclaims the teaching and parables of Jesus and early Christianity’s nonviolent imperative, yes. But Claiborne and Martin also dream of voluntary local weapons collection centers and exhort ordinary citizens not to wait for politicians to end our gun-fed cycle of violence.
Isaiah’s vision of a de-weaponized reality can only come about one day at a time and one gun-turned-plow at a time. The heroes of Beating Guns don’t save the day by killing the bad guy. They save the day by loving their enemies, forgiving those who killed their loved ones, turning firearms used in suicides and suicide attempts into garden tools, and responding to violence with nonviolence. We desperately need these kinds of heroes: people like Laurie Works, Sharletta Evans, Kay Pranis, Terri Roberts, Benjamin Corey, Larry Wright and Daniel Berrigan. May more of us find the courage and conviction to join their number!