A comment I posted on Josh’s blog in response to the question of whether it’s a good idea for little boys to play with toy guns:

I said several years ago, to far too little acclaim, that if it were possible to un-make guns, it would be an excellent thing to do.

The image of a child bowling over other kids on the playground because he’s full of the false machismo that toting a toy gun around taught him is not the image of what I want my boys to be.

We lose so much when we ditch the ascetic tradition. The desert fathers, men tough as nails who had learned to overcome the temptations of the flesh for the sake of the gospel, saw a very different, and much more cruciform version of what masculinity and conquering mean. It’s been there that I’ve been seeing very convincing arguments for the eschewing of violence lately.

There were things in the OT world that were gravely disordered. We know, in light of the cross, that things are not quite as they appeared then.

The Jews expected the conquest of the Messiah to be like the conquest of Joshua, but it was not. It was a whole new kind of conquest, not by violence, but through humility and service. That is our model for what conquest looks like.

Is there a time for physical violence for self-defense? Maybe. To the point of killing another human being? Possibly, though I’m quite dubious. But even if it is, is that the virtue we want our boys to major in?