"As he struggled to realize his dream of opening a Parkville gun shop, Rob Shiflett turned to the figure he considers top gun: God himself.
"His prayers answered, Shiflett, a self-described born-again Christian, decided to return the favor. The Army veteran named the Harford Road gun shop he opened in August Christian Soldier."
". . . Shiflett, 37, is standing his ground, arguing that modern spiritual warfare calls for contemporary weaponry. "`I'm a Christian and I'm a soldier. I though Christian Soldier would be a good name,' said Shiflett. . . . By the door, two plastic boxes held religious tracts for his customers. `Iwas asking God to get this business started. How could I turn my back on Him?' he said."
. . . "He runs his shop on a variable schedule, to accommodate his hours on his other job as a Baltimore County paramedic.
"He said that before deciding on the name for his shop, he consulted his pastor at Central Baptist Church of Essex. `I didn't want to offend anybody,' he said.
"He remembered seeing trucks on the highway emblazoned with the initials of a company called Guaranteed Overnight Delivery, G.O.D. `I always saw that, and I was offended. I thought I didn't want to be in that guy's shoes come Judgememt Day,' he said, adding he chose something he thought not to be sacreligious. `I mentioned [Christian Soldier] to my pastor, and he said, "Hey, I think that's a great name."'"
He "saw a "for rent" sign next to a Fraternal Order of Police lodge and decided to take a look. His daughter accompanied him.
"`It turned out it was owned by my daughter's Sunday school teacher from Central Baptist,' he said. `What's weird is she was praying for a Christian to rent the place, and I was praying for a place to go. So it all worked out.'
"Shiflett said he had religious inspiration in naming his shop and that the repsonse has been overwhelmingly positive, butacknowledges getting three or four complaints from people who haveseen the shop's name on the window flanked by two Christian symbols of fish and have come into the shop to give him a piece of their gospel.
"`One lady came in and she said, "I don't think Jesus would have approved of guns,"' Shiflett said. He responded with the Gospel story of Jesus clearing the money changers from the temple in Jeruslem. `I said, "If he had a pistol at his side, he probably would have shot a few rounds in the air."'"
"The name has caused some confusion. `I had one person who thought it was a Christian book store. She called me and asked if Isold Bibles.,' he said. `Another thought it was a Christian karateschool. There was a kid who saw the fish on the front and thought it was a fish store.'"
"Shiflett said, ``I think I'm finding certain Christians prefer to buy from me because I am a Christian, even if my prices aren't the lowest,' he said.
"But the business is nonsectarian. One of his best customers is an atheist.
"`He doesn't believe in God,' Shiflett said, `but he say she can trust me because I'm a Christian.'"