Thanks to Rev. Jim Burklo, writer for Progressive Christianity, for creating/inspiring this Great Idea!

Burklo’s article features a poem, circulated days after the mass shooting Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX, which depicted America as a gun. Burklo disagrees and sees churches as key players in changing the public narrative – both within our borders and without.

He shares two specific ways congregations can play a role in changing both the culture and the politics around gun sales and ownership.

First, Burklo mentions signage: both the signs outside of individual homes and the signs outside of churches. He suggests replacing household security system signs with signs that emphasize the safety of our home, neighborhoods, and schools based on relationships, such as, “This property protected by wonderful neighbors”; or “Our neighborhood is safe because we know each other.”; and school signs that say, “Our school is safe because we take care of each other.” (would this go a long way in our local high school!!!).

He also suggests congregations that use outdoor signage could contribute to this effort with signs such as, “Want a Safe Community? Love Your Neighbor!” This, too, would be a refreshing sign in my own community where our regular LinkedIn messaging is all about who had a break in and what the local drug addicts are doing today – with little regard for how we might actually love these neighbors into rehab, safe housing, and sustainable livelihoods.

Burklo further suggests conversations about guns that are cordial, even humorous, and more light-hearted. His ‘ask questions’ approach is aimed at both learning from those with different opinions, and lessening any sense of threat or combativeness – modeling the peace we seek.

Read the whole article here.

In what others ways might your congregation and households participate in reshaping our culture and politics to create a truly more safe environment by reducing gun violence?

Some exciting approaches include:

  • initiate a neighborhood gun buy-back program and turn guns into garden tools, by partnering with RawTools;
  • join Everytown for Gun Safety to learn from, participate in, and develop your own evidence-based solutions to gun violence in your context;
  • engage youth and adults in Courageous Conversations around Gun Violence;
  • peruse our Gun Violence & Control lib guide for additional organizations, publications, and online tools for furthering the conversation and engaging your community and legislators

Let us know if we can help by developing a cohort of congregations interested in pooling resources around gun control, connect you with additional resources for the conversation and action, or help you inspire your leadership and/or congregation that the topic is worthwhile in your context! Email anytime at theministrylab@unitedseminary.edu.