I read a lot of Spire Christian Comics in my formative years. My parents didn’t grow up with comic books, so they were unfamiliar with the genre, but these were sold in Christian bookstores, so they must be okay, right?
In all honesty, some of the weren’t all that bad. We’re not talking about the horrors of Jack Chick tracts here, but rather something with a religious message that was on par with the kid-friendly comics of the day, like the Harvey comics or something similar. They weren’t the Carl Barks Scrooge McDuck books, but then again, what is?
One of the Christian comics I remember the most from those years was a graphic novel re-telling of The Gospel Blimp, a wonderful story about the follies of the modern church. Its plot is very simple. Our hero notices that his neighbor doesn’t go to church on Sunday, and so creates an elaborate scheme to evangelize his city. This plan culminates in a large blimp flying overhead, flashing out Christian messages all day long. Things inevitably go awry, and hero is downtrodden. His spirts are lifted up, however, when he sees the neighbor who inspired his efforts show up in church. The twist is, it wasn’t the blimp or any other grandiose scheme that brought his neighbor to church, it was another neighbor knocking on his door and inviting him to church that Sunday.
The Gospel Blimp was written long before the televangelist scandals of the 80’s, and should have served as a warning to the church that we had lost our way.
Should have. But it didn’t. The church was relying too much on watching someone else preach the gospel to us, and not enough time talking to our neighbors. We thought that donating $20 to build a prayer tower was going to heal our nation when we should have been healing the spiritual wounds of those around us.
Now pickup everything you just read, and plunk it down on top of today’s gun rights movement.
We believe that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, yet we rely on large, nationwide organizations to advance that right for us. We are proud of how we ourselves protect our homes and our loved ones, then we turn around and somehow think that posting memes on social media is “activism.” Just like the evangelical church in America back in the 80’s, we have lost our way. We’re lazy, and we’ve relying on someone else to do the dirty work of advancing our cause.
However, we don’t need a nation-wide gun rights group to secure our individual rights. We can do it ourselves.
But however will we accomplish this task, you say?
Glad you asked.
- You need to get involved in your local state-level gun rights group. Guns rights are advancing on a state level, with things like Constitutional Carry bills and the loosening of restrictions on suppressors and the (mostly symbolic) creation of “Second Amendment Sanctuaries.” Let’s keep it going.
- Reach out to your neighbors and take them shooting. Ammo is (slowly) coming back in stock, and 22 is still relatively cheap. Interest in firearms is at an all-time high. Even Rolling Stone is starting to notice this trend, so take advantage of that fact and take someone to the range.
- Get your friends and neighbors together and take a class. Learning something new by yourself can be scary. Having friends around helps calm you down, which means you’ll get more out the class than if you went a lot.
- The pandemic has resulted in a huge increase in home-schooling. This, in turn, means new opportunities to teach kids about gun safety. Home schools play by different rules than the public schools, and setting up a gun safety class is much easier to do when you can talk directly to the parents rather than a member of the teacher’s union.
The church in America learned a hard lesson in the 80’s. We placed our trust and faith in a few individuals with a nation-wide voice, and it hurt us when those people turned out to have feet (and a few other body parts) made of clay. A movement that is truly grassroots, however, will thrive no matter who is on the pulpit and speaking to the nation as a whole. Let’s build back better by starting with a solid foundation for our gun rights, a foundation that will last no matter what happens on a national scale.