Young believers, believers of color, and those passionately pursuing freedom and justice are on the frontlines of the most significant issues of our day. We have an appetite for fresh spaces and content that grapple with how our faith can engage the world and shape the future of the church. There is a hunger for honesty, equity, freedom and justice in our faith communities, our world and the media we consume.

There are currently around 500 million guns in America, and more than 81.4 million Americans are gun owners. The average owner possesses at least five firearms, and according to PRRI’s 2022 Social Networks Survey, 54% of white Evangelical Protestants and 45% of white mainline Protestants keep guns in their homes.

Simultaneously:

  • Firearms are now the leading cause of death for American children and teenagers.
  • An average of one Native American commits suicide with a gun every six days.
  • Women in the U.S. are 16 times more likely to be shot and killed than women in other developed nations.
  • Black Americans are ten times more likely than white Americans to die by gun homicide.
  • Each year, over 10,300 victims of hate crimes are assaulted, threatened or intimidated by guns.
  • LGBTQIA+ hate crimes are on the rise, with half of victims killed by firearms.

Gun violence is a public health crisis. Our most vulnerable are suffering and thoughtful Christians across the country now sit at a crossroads.

As founders of [GOSPEL], we are creators, conveners, and campaigners, committed to bringing measurable social change to our country. We are a Black and Korean sibling(esque) duo who met while working on a Massachusetts Senate campaign, and bonded in the belly of white, wealthy, conservative Evangelical spaces. We are believers of color,  and frustrated Evangelical outsiders seeking more for the American Christian church. 

Several years ago, we spent time with Native American activist and former pastor, Mark Charles, who insightfully described a central challenge for our work: “One of the things the Western church does not train people to do is tell the truth.”

Christian pulpits rarely tell the truth about our complicity in cultural ills, the necessity of our lament, the truth-telling required of the people of God, and our responsibility to change, restore, and repair on behalf of all our brothers and sisters. 

In February 2022, we traveled to the Standing Rock Reservation to discover how Nationalism and White Supremacy have infected the American Christian Church. The result was our short film “Are We There YET,” which unpacks the origin story of American Christian nationalism and explores what it might take for the church to repair the historical damage it’s caused. 

Weeks after we returned home, the Uvalde School Shooting forced us to connect the dots.  Some of the same historical narratives we learned about on the road now seemed to lay the foundation for the Nation’s gun epidemic. Despite the blood in our streets and carnage in our land, Evangelical Christians continue to champion gun ownership and proliferation, believing we have a “God-given right” to own as many firearms as possible. 

Even after the March 2023 Nashville Covenant School shooting, the silence within Christian churches and leadership circles was deafening. No one seemed willing to confront the sizable Christian investment in America’s gun industry. 

 Days after the May 2023 Allen, Texas mall shooting, we set off on a listening tour across the country. Armed with only backpacks and an audio recorder, we talked with Christians across generations at airports, churches, restaurants and offices in Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Austin. Exhausted but invigorated, we returned home with clarity: Enough with thoughts and prayers. It is time for Christians to act. 

Listening to believers across the country has helped us consider how we live for and learn from each other as children of God. We are convinced that God is extending three invitations to the contemporary American Christian church: truth-telling, oneness, and action. 

If lived into, these invitations position the body of Christ to take the lead on exploring the racial and ethnic fears behind gun consumption, exposing the Christian nationalism that often fuels the devaluing of others, and unmasking the ways “othering” can lead to targeted hate crimes with weapons. 

We are now heading back out on the road to Nashville, Los Angeles, Denver, Washington, D.C., and Boston to shoot the feature documentary “SUNDAY DINNER.” In the film, we’ll commemorate the first Anniversary of the Covenant School Shooting by hosting “family dinners” for strangers and friends across the country – creating safe spaces to discuss both the relationship between Christians and guns, and also the future of the church. In each of these cities, we will bring together six strangers for dinner –   curating diverse tables with folks across race, gender, generation and denomination. 

In the Church, we love assigning titles, roles, and stature – but it’s actually everyday Christians who will decide the future of the church and what faith-driven engagement looks like in our country. It’s up to us to become the change we want to see. “SUNDAY DINNER” presents an opportunity to identify, gather and mobilize those looking for a new way forward for the American Christian church. 

Through [GOSPEL]’s creative work and ecclesial organizing, we are committed to helping the church step into a faith that disowns supremacy, disrupts inequity, disavows empire, and, instead, champions liberation for all. 

There is more than enough room for all of us at the table. We hope you will join us.  

Editor’s Note: If you want to apply to be a dinner guest at one of the Sunday Dinners mentioned above, click here

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