Even my family wonders how I can combine the gun world with Christianity but there is no conflict. Firearms are tools to me, objects of mechanical wizardry that can be admired, collected, utilized and sold. They do not equate to instruments of the devil. Owning one does not make me a murderer. Guns do not equal murder. There are many that believe that the only practical purpose for gun ownership is to kill. That is a shame because it’s not true. That may be indicative to the only reason they may want one but not me. It is equal to a golf club, tennis racket or baseball in my hands.

I have used my involvement in firearms and the gun world to witness, preach and testify about the grace, love, mercy and compassion of God. This strange platform has got me into areas; I would never be on my own.

I get down on myself often because of my inadequacies and rarely for my talents. In comparison to peers in ministry, I don’t have the theological background yet, the family pedigree of those in the church or a desire to become like that. I know that I am called by God. The rest I am clueless on. I know what he ordains he supports. I have come this far by faith. I could have gone farther but I held myself back by choosing to pursuit the lust of the flesh, the lust of my eyes and having a pride for life.

I was called into ministry at the age of nine but I didn’t really know what that meant. I was baptized in the doctrine of the African American Baptist church and lived my life like most kids of the sixties.

Looking back forty years I can see that I never quite fit in. I am an oddball of sorts. When God touches you, you will never fit in. The Bible calls it “set apart”. To be in the world but not of the world is no fun in a natural way.

Psalm 4:3-But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself:
the LORD will hear when I call unto him.

Even now, I have a online ministry with about forty people scattered coast to coast that appreciate daily inspirational and encouragement sent to them Monday through Friday to their cell phones or desktops, prayers and correspondence from In The Wilderness Ministries. (http://www.itwm.org/)
Then there is my church, (another story altogether) constrained by conceit, tradition and victimization. There I am a convenience to some, a Godsend to others and someone to hold the spot until a real pastor comes. I work as diligently as I can, preparing for ordination in the New Year to either be called as their pastor or prepared to move on. I am a lover of blues guitar, oil painting, computer graphics and writing. It doesn’t fit together so neatly. So like always I have to go at it alone. Being a little odd, is not a prerequisite of ministry it just seems to be par for the course.

The expectations of a minister today are changing. Since acknowledging my calling I have been at war with the world. Sometimes I am at war with myself. When I was a child, ministers were respected, and truly reverend. Now they are held in contempt, suspected of hiding some dark secret or scoffed at for being money hungry, televangelistic pimps in alligator shoes. To some they are entertainers, motivational speakers, fundraisers and doctrinal dictators. Prognosticators and charlatans, snake oil salesman and grifters that stand behind a pulpit we have the nerve to call Holy.

It’s a rough time to call yourself a preacher. If you are Catholic you are assumed to be a pedophile. If you are of color, then you must be a Muslim imam, or a Pentecostal foot stomping, handclapping, aisle dancing, tongue talking zealot. I don’t have a “whoop”, my sermons come per assignment and I am there to preach Jesus Christ crucified, edify and educate someone in earshot and nothing less. Sometimes I stutter, and for some pray too short. But I am real.

I remember when I told my father, who at the time was like the Tony Soprano™ of Tidewater whom didn’t raise me, that I was going into the ministry, he said, “preachin’, that’s a good racket”. His words hurt more than he knew. This is not a racket to me.

I am not in this for the money, for the fame, but for the opportunity to do nothing except preach the Gospel, share the good news, and help people understand that God is the best thing that ever happened to them. Even if I am at the gun range when I do.

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