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Beating Guns: Hope for People Who Are Weary of Violence

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  182 ratings  ·  41 reviews
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. With less than 5% of the world's population, the people of the US own nearly half the world's guns. America also holds the record for the most gun deaths--homicide, suicide, and accidental gun ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 5th 2019 by Brazos Press
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Clif Hostetler
Jul 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: current-events
Coauthor Mike Martin is the founder and Executive Director of RAWtools Inc. an organization that partners with communities in an effort to repurpose weapons for productive lifelong purpose. In other words they beat guns into garden tools. It can be a meaningful gesture for persons donating guns that have been used in ways that devastated their family's life (e.g. guns used in suicide).

In this book Mike Martin is joined by activist and best-selling author Shane Claiborne to describe the

Shane Clairborne, Christian activist and motivational speaker, and Michael Martin, former Mennonite pastor and founder of, a company that turns donated weapons into gardening tools, wrote this book about the work they do together. Tired of gun violence in America, the two are traveling the country and speaking out about it. With respect to gun violence, they remind us, we are is not where we want to be as a country.

Research shows that most Americans already agree with them. Why are
Loring Wirbel
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
From the outset, it's important to realize that the two authors of Beating Guns (Shane Claiborne of The Simple Way and Michael Martin of RAWtools), are radical Christian pacifists. They rely on an assumption of the universal applicability of scripture, and of Gandhian teachings of nonviolence. Nevertheless, the authors go to great lengths dissecting with empathy why a person would want to own guns, and why the misapplication of anger and fear might cause a person to amass guns with the ...more
Joel Mitchell
Jan 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I come from a denominational background (American Evangelical/Baptist) where it is not uncommon for people to treat the broadest possible interpretation of the Second Amendment (right to bear arms) with practically the same devotion as any of the basic tenets of the faith. Attempts to discuss gun violence are met with, “It’s not a gun problem. It’s a heart problem” or some similar slogan. Over my last eight years as a pastor I have grown increasingly troubled by the gun culture I see among ...more
Richard Propes
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There's no question I'm part of the target audience for this book co-written by Shane Claiborne and Mike Martin. I'm a pacifist. I'm a Christian. I'm already a "fan," and that feels like a weird word with Claiborne, of Claiborne. I've been an activist in the area of domestic violence and sexual violence for many years and I identify with the sort of radical approach taken by Martin, who started RAWTools, and Claiborne, who started an intentional community called The Simple Way and has become ...more
Luke Keck
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Though a bit redundant and overly-reliant on "Christianese" in parts, the value of this book's insights cannot be overstated. I found myself shocked and saddened by many parts of this book, yet I came away with a greater understanding of why guns are so deeply embedded in American culture, and why the problems are so difficult to overcome. Even with that, though, it renewed my commitment to wanting to create a better world, and work to rid society of violence and reliance on guns to solve ...more
Jeremy Shulse
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
While many of the books approaching this subject are highly politically charged, this book does a fantastic job at getting to the heart of the matter. Both Shane Claiborne and Mike Martin have talked and lived extensively in this space, it is overwhelming how much this book was informed by what seems like thousands of voices. There is story upon story of how gun violence affects us and who all is impacted. It is jammed with research, amazing thought-leadership and perspectives that I had not ...more
Aarik Danielsen
May 09, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a really worthwhile read. Drawing on the Old Testament prophets, Claiborne calls us to imagine a different way of interacting with guns, then to live out that imagination. The writing here gets a little repetitive, which keeps me from giving it a higher score. It would have been all the more powerful as a tighter book, maybe 50-75 pgs. shorter. But the ideas here, and the call to holy imagination, are invaluable.
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such an important read, I couldn’t put it down! Share this book with all your friends!
Shelby Clarke
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I want to preface this post with the following facts: I grew up in Texas, my grandfather was a member of the NRA, and I’ve never held a gun in my life. Beating Guns is a collaborative book written by Shane Claiborne and Michael Martin. Mike attends our church here in Colorado Springs & founded RAWtools.
Shane & Mike's new book feels like a timely read, having just finished I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening), the early chapters ask the reader to leave behind what they think they know
Zack Tewksbury
Dec 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Provides a good general overview of the history and present reality of gun violence in America, backed up by good use of statistics where necessary, but comes across as very surface-level. The primary strength of this book is in its incredibly non-aggressive tone; I would be comfortable handing this book to an evangelical friend or family member who is suspicious of increased restrictions on guns, but probably wouldn't bother to recommend it to anyone who is already in favor.
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the book about gun violence for Christians and responsible citizens who want to do the right thing. To their credit the authors do not demonize either side and discuss the problem in a civilized and intelligent manner. They respond to all the accusations and fears of gun lovers with powerful arguments. They remember the victims of gun violence but do not name those who caused the violence. They wisely compare the second amendment to the sermon on the mount, which is a comparison every ...more
Beating Guns: Hope for People Who Are Weary of Violence by Shane Claiborne and Michael Martin

"In days to come
the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised up above the hills.
Peoples shall stream to it,
and many nations shall come and say:
'Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.'
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
Kathy Randall
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Jason Grant
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jason Blean
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
In a country with 300 million guns and 38 000 lives lost to them each year, it is encouraging to see someone speak with honesty and heart-felt commitment to radically changing that situation. Although Shane is an evangelical, he addresses the book to all: "If you own guns and want to see fewer people killed...If you've never even touched a gun and want to see fewer people killed...If you are a victim of violence, or have lost a loved one to murder...If you have hurt or killed someone, this book ...more
Ryan Lindsey
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reading Beating Guns was a beautiful experience, challenging, and frustrating experience.

This book lays out a strong case for Christian disarmament and “third-way” pacifism, and directly challenges the status quo of the high rates of Christian gun ownership in America. By touching on war capitalism, restorative justice, history, and studies on suicide/violent crime, the book surgically dissects and neutralizes the standard NRA-inspired talking points on guns, and the all-to-common American
Nick Rea
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hands-down one of the best books I've ever read. It's thought-provoking, subversive, powerful, inspiring, moving, and so many other adjectives... I can't recommend it enough to anyone and everyone. No matter where you find yourself in the thoughts/conversations dealing with violence, mental health and gun violence, this book is for you. This book is for all because we should all care about those affected by the violence that has plagued our society and the violence that has plagued our own ...more
Sara Pantazes
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I have read that addresses gun violence in the United States and I'm not sure I need to read another. It seems to cover it all - the history of guns in the US, how the influence of the "gun empire" has grown, the second amendment, historic and current cultural attitudes toward guns, Christian attitudes toward guns, and many, many statistics. Critically, the authors write from a Christian perspective, persistently asserting that the nonviolence of Jesus is incompatible with ...more
Andrea Bierly
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This one was timely for me in so many ways: 1. Gun violence seems to be a constant in our society and I'm sick of feeling helpless and refuse accept that this is why we're here. 2. Shane's passion for nonviolent mediation and his sincere belief that love is a super power made me want to dig into my bible again.

Some of the facts are tough to swallow and made me embarrassed because I had no idea. Once you are faced with the absurdity, I don't know how you can put the book down and go back to
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
I approached this text with an open mind. I found that the safest methodology. (view spoiler)

I didn't find that very uplifting, overall, but to each his or her own.

Maybe you will like it. (view spoiler)
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Maybe more 3.5- super interesting historical notes and the list of names at the end of each chapter was deeply moving for me. This comes from a deeply Christian perspective so it may not be for you if you don’t believe in the Bible. But even if you don’t, there’s some solid statistics and crazy town examples- many but not all of them I’d heard before from work with Everytown, but nice to have them all in one place!
Jessica ☕ Rodrigues
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-nonfiction, arc
I'm struggling to find the right word to describe this book. Gut-wrenching, for sure, but also hopeful.

The first half of the book was a rather dry, but well-sourced, history of the American gun industry and was a helpful prologue for explaining how, eight years after the events at Sandy Hook, there have been no significant changes to gun laws.

As a Christian, the second half of the book was profound for me, but would be equally so coming from other faith backgrounds (or none at all.) It exhorts
Devon Dundee
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Martin and Claiborne lay out statistics, policy alternatives, and detailed histories to document and persuasively condemn America’s apathy toward gun violence. Their efforts are rooted in the prophetic aspiration within the Bible to beat “swords into iron plows” and “spears into pruning tools.” They slowly build their case, laying out evidence of exactly how armed and lethal America has become. I found the history and emergence of the gun industry the strongest chapter in the book.
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-books
Please everyone read this. I wanted to quote almost every line from this book. The amount of research AND compassion that went into this book just make it shine. There is a deep respect for people that is evident and a deep call towards people to strive to be better that is inspiring. This is one worth buying and highlighting.
Andy Springer
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
We need a vision of a world that could be. We need an imagination for a world that could be. We need this book.

Claiborne and Martin present a compelling picture for the world as it could and should be, the world as God intended. This new world requires boldness, conviction and a commitment to confronting out own thoughts and ideas that need to be changed.
Alli Sullivan
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Shane and Michael for articulating so well the absurdities of Americans and their guns...or more specifically the NRA. I recommend to anyone that needs a stirring towards/within Jesus’ third way. I felt both upset and hopeful reading through this book.
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is excellent! It addresses the role of race and the role of toxic masculinity as well as understanding the head and heart issues surrounding gun violence! So glad to have it published and to have read it!
Slade Hogan
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Claiborne and Martin make a great argument against guns. There is no need for us to own weapons of such violence. They show the need to disarm both biblically and statistically. It is hard to argue with them. Everyone, whether pro or anti-gun, should read this book.
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Shane Claiborne is a prominent speaker, activist, and best-selling author. Shane worked with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, and founded The Simple Way in Philadelphia. He heads up Red Letter Christians, a movement of folks who are committed to living "as if Jesus meant the things he said." Shane is a champion for grace which has led him to jail advocating for the homeless, and to places like Iraq and ...more
“For some folks, the second ammendment is as holy as the great commandment, so it warrants a closer look. But it is important to note from the outset that, for those of us who consider ourselves Christians, the final authority for life is not the Constitution. It's the Bible. It's Jesus.” 0 likes
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