The Rev. Jim Atwood, a retired Presbyterian minister, gun owner and author of “America and Its Gun: A Theological Expose,” spoke at Davidson College a day after the U.S. Senate defeated a gun control measure to strengthen background checks.

In spite of that defeat, Atwood still believes “America’s gun empire is doomed.” He said believes the country is on the verge of a spiritual awakening and social movement that will curb the 84 gun deaths per day and “break an absolute trust in guns, which easily morphs into idolatry.”

After an introduction by his granddaughter, Roxana Boyd, a Davidson College senior doing an independent study on gun control, Atwood talked about kairos, the Greek word meaning "the right moment." He said he sees the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary as a tipping point for America. He has heard an increase in conversations about gun violence, “even in the church.” And he cited one poll showing 90 percent of Americans in favor of stronger background checks.

Asked why gun control became such a passion, Atwood choked up recalling the time a charter member of his church died of a gunshot wound, inflicted by a teenager who was looking for cash.


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Grieving the Boston bombings

Dr. Mike Moses

Varying reactions to the Boston bombings reminded me of the way people grieve after the death of a loved one – differently.

During funerals, I often counsel that, in the immediate aftermath of a loss, you don't need to fixate on whether or not they are grieving “properly.” Grieve however you grieve. Some are overwhelmed with sadness, while others seem too happy too quickly. I also tell people to give others the grace to grieve their own way.

The same holds true for a national loss.

But after the immediate grief that follows a national or international tragedy, I encourage people to think about Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:34: “Do not worry about tomorrow...for today has enough trouble of its own.”

After an incident like the Boston bombings, if you find yourself returning to yesterday’s media stories over and over, take a break. Don't relivethe events, and don’t allow your children to do so either. Because of the 24/7 news cycle, we can allow ourselves to be perpetually traumatized.

Also, while it is good to be in touch with the trouble in other parts of the nation or world, don’t do so at the neglect of today’s troubles next door or in your own home. We can be tempted to over-grieve far-away trouble as a way of not acting on the trouble close by.


Dr. Mike Moses is lead pastor at Lake Forest Church in Huntersville. This excerpt was adapted from his blog, which can be found at