Open Air: Self Defence

My father was one of the most calm, compassionate and controlled men that I have ever come across. His advice was that, if attacked, you should “knock them down and beat them until they’re unconscious. You don’t want them getting up for another go.” I rather like that idea. I suspect I’m in a minority on here, however. In fact, I believe I can even now hear a few folk scribbling down notes for their next sermon, Sunday School lesson, sound bite or blog, or whatever form of pi-jaw they prefer.

Our American evangelical brethren might be more in sympathy with my father. I recently came across this interesting passage on the popular website.

As far as the Bible is concerned, the use of guns is a matter of personal conviction. There is nothing unspiritual about owning a gun or knowing how to use one. There is nothing wrong with protecting oneself or loved ones, even if it involves the use of weapons. We need not pretend there is never a need for guns, but pointing a gun at a person should always be a last resort. We should seek to neutralize threats without violence whenever possible.

So, how should a Christian view gun control? With the authority God has entrusted to it, the government has the right to allow or disallow gun ownership to whatever degree it deems right. We, as citizens, are called to submit to whatever gun control laws the government institutes. This is not, however, a statement on the wisdom of gun control. There are good reasons to allow law-abiding citizens to own guns. Ultimately, guns are not the problem. Sinful people are the problem.

Well, there you go. Of course, the situation is somewhat different in this country. The criminal fraternity seem to be able to get hold of all kinds of offensive weapons (“we got nukes, we got knives, sharp sticks…” - Hudson, “Aliens”), but these are off limits as far as the law-abiding citizen is concerned. A quick glance at Wikipedia reminds us of the following facts.

Concealed or open carry of any weapon is generally prohibited in Great Britain. The Prevention Of Crime Act 1953 defines an offensive weapon as “any article made or adapted for use for causing injury to the person, or intended by the person having it with him for such use by him or by some other person.” Self defence is no longer considered a legitimate reason for the granting of a Firearms Certificate in Great Britain. [Edited.]

Oh well, I’d better keep the HKVP9SK in its cabinet then, next to the G26.

In Ephesians 6.12, Paul reminds us that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” And then we have that passage so well beloved of popular preachers, the one that begins with “Therefore take up the whole armour of God…”

In the Open Air, I would say that our primary means of defence against attacks, spiritual or physical, lies in the prayers of God’s people. I don’t see how we could have gone on for so long without the prayer support of those faithful folk who bring us before the Lord, week after week. Without a doubt, they are the ones who do the hard work.

That said, I’m not keen on pious people telling us we ought always to turn the other cheek, in the same way that I dislike passing reprobates shouting out “You’re judging me! Don’t judge! The bible says don’t judge!” Texts, as so often, way out of context.

Anyway, for those of you who do venture out into the open air, and find yourselves subjected to what we might call verbal violence, allow me to offer you a selection of useful ripostes. Bear in mind, though, that sharp sayings - like guns, nukes, knives and sharp sticks - need to be handled with care. N.B. Charles Coburn’s cautionary tale, “Two Lovely Black Eyes.”

Atheist: “You’re an atheist, Sir? An atheist can’t find God for the same reason that a thief can’t find a policeman.”

Brains: “Come on, Sir, if brains were dynamite, you wouldn’t have enough to blow your ears off!”

Carer: “Could this gentleman’s carer please come and collect him?”

Charisma: “I see the charisma bypass has been a complete success!”

Disposition: “There’s a man with a nice, even disposition - miserable all the time!”

IQ: “Did IQ’s just drop sharply while I was away?”

Mollusc: “The intellect of a small mollusc.”

Mummy: “Does your mummy know you’re out all by yourself, sonny?”

Reincarnation: “Sir, you seem to be living proof of reincarnation - nobody could get so stupid in just one lifetime!”

Shoe Size: “Come on, Sir, be your age, not your shoe size!”

Trousers: “Glad to see you’ve kept your trousers on this time, Sir!”

TV: “You ought to be on television, Sir! Pity Jeremy Kyle’s gone off the air now.”

And, if you don’t wish to take any risks at all, you could always fall back on this one, courtesy of Spike Milligna, the well-known spelling mistake.

China: “Yes Sir, it’s always next door in China!”

Every blessing!