This past weekend I took some of my seminary students to the “Beating Guns” tour where Shane Claiborne and Michael Martin led us in a powerful liturgy filled with statistics and singing, rap music and poetry, Scripture, stories, images, and fire. One of the aims of the worship event is to transcend the gun debate in America. One side says, “guns are the problem, and we must reduce the number of weapons,” and the other side says, “humans are the problem, and we just need to change hearts.”
We gathered in the nearly-200-year-old Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Nashville. The church is not only the oldest Episcopal church in the city, it is also the cathedral parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee. The Very Reverend Timothy Kimbrough welcomed us. And he reminded us that the first building of the church, located several blocks away at Sixth and Spring Streets, was built with the labors of enslaved people in the 1830s.
The rise of guns and rise of white supremacy came at the same time. To have this worship ritual at this house of worship was going to do spiritual and theological work on several levels.