'What Kind of Gun Would Jesus Carry?' a real discussion starter

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Finally! I wholeheartedly agree with the Rev. N. Graham Standish ("What Kind of Gun Would Jesus Carry?" March 3 Forum) when he states that "in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings ... Christian voices have been awfully silent on the issue of guns," especially voices of those exercising ministry within Christian churches. He is to be commended for the wisdom and courage to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to bear on this critical issue.

I am not at all certain that it is clear that Jesus counseled his disciples "to carry a sword for self-protection while spreading the Gospel." (There is more than one way to understand what is being said in this passage in its overall context.) This reading is a literal understanding which Jesus himself appears to condemn with an abrupt, "Enough." In fact, when a disciple, shortly thereafter, uses a literal sword to meet violence, he is told that he should put the sword away, that all who take up the sword die by the sword. These comments take place during the ultimate teachable moment as Jesus himself encounters the violence that would lead to his death (and resurrection), during which he reminds his disciples that he, their master, is leaving them an example.

This, however, is not my point. As the Rev. Standish indicates, the issue is complex. It cannot be adequately addressed with brief commentary in a newspaper. He has done us a favor in publicly raising the question. The proper forum for discussion is within every Christian heart, within every Christian congregation, within every Christian sect or branch of Christianity. His courageous stance is a good beginning.

RICHARD SIGNORE
Mount Washington


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