Hesston College marked as national tour stop for event focused on peaceful resolutions to gun violence

Beating Guns tour

Social justice activist, speaker and author, Shane Claiborne, and Mennonite pastor turned blacksmith, Mike Martin, will make Hesston College one of their stops on the 37-city “Beating Guns” tour at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 21, at Hesston Mennonite Church on the Hesston College campus.

Inspired by the biblical prophets’ call to “beat swords into plowshares,” the free 90-minute event weaves music, art and stories of people impacted by gun violence, culminating with an invitation for the audience to take the hammer and transform a gun into garden tools.

Those planning to attend the event, which is being presented by Hesston College’s Melva Kauffman Lecture Series, are asked to register for free.

The national Beating Guns Tour is born from Claiborne and Martin’s commentary and offer of hope through their book, Beating Guns: Hope for People Who are Weary of Violence, which will be published March 5. Claiborne and Martin offer a Christian response to the gun violence crisis, transcending the rhetoric of “thoughts and prayers” with concrete ways to address the problem.

Claiborne and Martin build their case with a revealing overview of the history of guns and gun marketing in America, alarming statistics, and stories of devastated lives and restorative justice. They debunk common myths and offer ideas for common sense change.

Beating Guns will be available through major booksellers. The duo have also launched the Disarming Network to help people connect with safe spaces to disable guns according to Federal ATF guidelines.

Claiborne is a prominent speaker, activist and best-selling author. He 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.” His books include Jesus for President, Executing Grace, Red Letter Revolution, and his classic The Irresistible Revolution. He has been featured in a number of films including Another World Is Possible and Ordinary Radicals.

Martin is the founder and executive director of RAWtools, which partners with communities in an effort to repurpose weapons for creative and productive uses. A former Mennonite pastor, Mike learned to blacksmith in order to turn guns into garden tools and is passionate about connecting people to nonviolent skills like restorative justice and conflict mediation. He is trained for restorative justice facilitation and encourages everyone to explore how they can connect to similar efforts in their community. Mike is licensed for specialized ministry in Mountain States Mennonite Conference of Mennonite Church USA. He blogs at RAWtools.org.