Is it easier to turn the other cheek while packing heat? Like the Vedas, Torah and Quran, the New Testament’s verdict on violence and self-defense is a moving target.
Jesus commanded his disciples to sell their cloaks and buy swords (Luke 22:36), while Paul describes Christian weapons as not earthly nor physical (2 Corinthians 10:4). Despite the ambiguity, white evangelical Christians distinguish themselves in the U.S. as disproportionately gun-owning and carrying. Michael Grigoni is researching the theological reasons for this trend. Nearing completion of his dissertation at Duke University, his findings are far from the typical tropes of Second Amendment zeal.
Rather than simply interview and observe Christian gun owners in North Carolina, Grigoni joined their ranks by making himself part of the study. After taking a concealed carry course with a religious bent, he brought a handgun home. Granted, it took more than just “It’s for school” to reach agreement with his wife over this portion of the research methodology. With two kids to consider, the young parents picked an out-of-reach spot for the gun safe and moved furniture to accommodate. Grigoni leans into these experiences to map the ways firearms reconfigure home and community — revealing the figurative and literal recoil that compel a readied stance.
Host Frank Stasio follows Grigoni as he examines his family’s difficult relationship with unwavering Christianity. The doctoral candidate also discusses how thousands of hours practicing the Dobro and lap steel guitar provide him insight to guns’ visceral appeal.