Beating Guns: Hope for People Who Are Weary of Violence

Beating Guns: Hope for People Who Are Weary of Violence

by Shane Claiborne, Michael Martin


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Parkland. Las Vegas. Dallas. Orlando. San Bernardino. Paris. Charleston. Sutherland Springs. Newtown. These cities are now known for the people who were shot and killed in them. More Americans have died from guns in the US in the last fifty years than in all the wars in American history. With less than 5% of the world's population, the people of the US own nearly half the world's guns. America also has the most annual gun deaths—homicide, suicide, and accidental gun deaths—at 105 per day, or more than 38,000 per year. Some people say it's a heart problem. Others say it's a gun problem. The authors of Beating Guns believe it's both.

This book is for people who believe the world doesn't have to be this way. Inspired by the prophetic image of beating swords into plows, Beating Guns provides a provocative look at gun violence in America and offers a clarion call to change our hearts regarding one of the most significant moral issues of our time. Bestselling author, speaker, and activist Shane Claiborne and Michael Martin show why Christians should be concerned about gun violence and how they can be part of the solution. The authors transcend stale rhetoric and old debates about gun control to offer a creative and productive response. Full-color images show how guns are being turned into tools and musical instruments across the nation. Charts, tables, and facts convey the mind-boggling realities of gun violence in America, but as the authors make clear, there is a story behind every statistic. Beating Guns allows victims and perpetrators of gun violence to tell their own compelling stories, offering hope for change and helping us reimagine the world as one that turns from death to life, where swords become plows and guns are turned into garden tools.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781587434136
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/05/2019
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 185,827
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Shane Claiborne is a bestselling author, renowned activist, and sought-after speaker, and is a self-proclaimed "recovering sinner." He writes and speaks around the world about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus, and is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including The Irresistible Revolution, Jesus for President, and Executing Grace. Claiborne is the visionary founder of The Simple Way in Philadelphia and president of Red Letter Christians. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Christianity Today, Esquire, and SPIN and on Fox News, NPR, and CNN. He did graduate work at Princeton Seminary and received an honorary doctorate from Eastern University. Claiborne lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter (@shaneclaiborne), on Facebook (ShaneClaiborne), and at

Michael Martin is founder and executive director of RAWtools Inc. and blogs at RAWtools turns guns into garden tools (and other lovely things), resourcing communities with nonviolent confrontation skills in an effort to turn stories of violence into stories of creation. RAWtools has been featured in the New York Times and on Inside Edition and NPR. Martin previously served as a youth and young adult pastor in the Mennonite church and lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Table of Contents

Note to the Reader
Introduction: Whispers of Another World
1. Turning Weapons into Farm Tools (and Other Lovely Things)
2. The Mess We Find Ourselves In
3. Gun History 101
4. The Gun Empire
5. Do Black Guns Matter?
Consider This: Gallery of the Absurd
6. Mythbusting
7. Kids and Guns
8. Another Dark Secret
9. Dudes and Their Guns
10. The Second Amendment and the Sermon on the Mount
Consider This: Laying It All Out There
11. In Guns We Trust
12. Exorcising Demons
13. Christians with Guns
14. Unlearning Violence
Consider This: Matthew 5
15. The Third Way of Jesus
16. Love Casteth Out Fear (and Fear Casteth Out Love)
17. Commonsense Change
18. Reimagining the World

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Beating Guns: Hope for People Who Are Weary of Violence 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Devon Dundee More than 1 year ago
This book is an incredible, faith-based look at the issue of gun violence in our country today. The authors use facts, stories, common sense, and their Christian convictions to form a realistic, practical approach to combatting violence in our society. They call all of us to take part in the prophets’ vision of God’s people beating weapons into tools of peace. We would all do well to heed Shane and Michael’s words in this book, apply them, and use them to make the world a better place.
KathyRandallBryant More than 1 year ago
Shane and Mike have partnered together to call an end to the gun violence in the United States of America. They state in the introduction that “this book is not about demonizing gun owners” and it isn’t. I think a gun owner would be able to read this book and see themselves honored and their voice heard. The authors do a very careful balancing act of pointing to the violence of the proliferation of guns in America, without ever blaming individuals for owning guns. Over the course of eighteen chapters (and three “Consider This” sections where some of the facts are condensed from the main body of the book), Beating Guns journeys from the current situation, the history of gun manufacturing in America and abroad, racial histories, myths, suicides, masculinity as it is tied to gun ownership, and the Second Amendment. Knowing that community healing can best happen after lament, in each chapter is a Memorial to the Lost, a written account of a mass shooting with the specific guns used in the attack and the names of those who died. The second half of the book is the call for change, for a turn from the violence of mass proliferation of guns, and Shane and Mike place this call deep in scripture. They clearly wrote this with a deep biblical literacy and often point to Jesus and Martin Luther King, Jr. as they address the violence of the fear that surrounds us. They tell stories about people who have turned their guns into garden tools, and stories about their neighborhoods and families as they have changed. They quote current activists, women and men and children whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence and who have been healed by the liberation from fear of gun violence. From Nobel Peace prize winner, Mairead Maguire, “Of course we were scared. But being scared is different from fear. Being scared is perfectly normal. Fear is when when let being scared stop us from what love requires of us.” They support the popular bible verse “perfect love drives out fear” (1 john 4:18) with deep exegetical work into why we are afraid and how the fear we have has affected us, and invite the reader to the love that brings hope and freedom. We need this hard conversation. This is a good book to begin the conversation beyond giving our thoughts and prayers. I received a free Advance Reading Copy in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions are my own.
TBell502 More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book if you are a person concerned about gun violence in America, especially if you are Christian. This book is NOT a democratic or republican argument for gun policy. It is a Christian moral reflection of America’s growing epidemic of gun violence. It explores our unique American problem of gun though historical, political, and empirical analysis to convincingly claim that gun violence is a problem we can democratically solve. And through Christian Scripture and theology a problem we as Christians have a moral responsibility to solve. The authors do a great job of avoiding the partisan political absolutism that dominates and limits the real possibilities for reducing gun violence by scapegoating and blaming the other side of the aisle by focusing on the issue of gun violence and its victims. By centering their work on the issue and its victims, Claiborne and Martin make a justifiable and convicting call that we all have a responsibility to ending gun violence. And once I finished it I found myself wanting to jump up, join in, and get to work! Enough talking and deliberating. It’s time to pick up our guns, turn them into plowshares, and begin harvesting food for peace and life. I left feeling hopeful and inspired, not what I normally feel after engaging the tenuous issue of gun violence.