DAY 16: How ENGAGE Fosters Genuine Dialogue

We continue our reflection on God’s call to us through the ELCA’s “60-Day Journey Toward Justice in a Culture of Gun Violence.”

DAY 16: How ENGAGE Fosters Genuine Dialogue

Pitting people who own guns against those who do not, or people of different political
perspectives and affiliations against one another, is not the intent or desire of our church as it
works to end gun violence. In fact, we need each other’s wisdom, spiritual gifts, diverse
viewpoints, concerns, and help to make meaningful progress in reducing gun violence across our
nation. Our congregations can be the safe, welcoming, respectful places where we gather under
God’s grace and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to be honest with each other, have difficult
conversations, care for one another, learn from each other, discern how best to be faithful to the
Word of God, and embrace each other as brothers and sisters in Christ called to do God’s work
in the world together.

ENGAGE: Lutherans for Gun Violence Prevention is a public-witness committee on gun
violence prevention, established by the Saint Paul Area Synod to meditate, educate, and advocate
on gun-violence prevention in the nonviolent spirit of Jesus. It’s a good example of how
Lutherans—people who own guns and those who do not—can be represented, respected, and
welcomed in pursuit of preventing gun violence.

“We represent diverse backgrounds and interests,” the committee explains. “Our mission is to
unite, not divide, and we want to encourage a balanced approach to gun violence prevention and
gun safety. Both gun-owners and non-gun owners are represented, respected, and welcomed.
ENGAGE respects and affirms gun ownership rights for hunting, sport and personal protection.
ENGAGE also recognizes how gun violence threatens and destroys life. As people of God, we
confess our brokenness and affirm efforts to reduce gun violence, pursue justice, love our
neighbors, be peacemakers, protect the vulnerable and trust in Christ Jesus.”

You can find resources for reducing gun violence, facilitating discussions and action, links to
other organizations, and suggestions for getting involved on the ENGAGE website.