by Bob Schwartz
Above is one of the photos taken by Dorothea Lange for the Farm Services Administration during the Depression. Shot in 1937, it is captioned “The cotton sharecropper’s unit is one mule and the land he can cultivate with a one-horse plow. Greene County, Georgia.”
The plow is a thing that made America what it is. Whether pushed by hand, or pulled by an animal or an engine, it embodies the hard work that helps bring food from the earth to feed a family or a nation, especially during hard times.
The gun is also a thing that made America what it is. Unlike the plow, about which there is little controversy, guns have played an equivocal role, sometimes for good, sometimes not.
There is no constitutional amendment about plows.
There is no biblical passage about guns.
There is, as is often pointed out, a very famous biblical verse about plows. And about pruning hooks. And about their value relative to swords and spears.
Isaiah seems certain that plows and pruning hooks are good. He seems less enthusiastic about the downside of swords, spears and, presumably, guns.
Nothing absolute or definitive, no unconditional endorsement of pacifism or non-violence, unless maybe you are someone who takes the Bible seriously or even literally. Just a little something to think about.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.