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Update Newsletters
30 April 2006 Issue

1. Activism Feedback

2. Brief Announcements

  • Ener-G Egg Replacer
  • Talk at Beverly Farms, MA
  • Attn: St. Louis CVA members
  • Upcoming Animal Activism Conferences

3. Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence: Faith in the Living God

1.  Activism Feedback
The CVA had tables at 12 Earth Day events. Carol Sullivan, tabling at College Station, TX,writes:
Thanks again for the opportunity to table at the College Station Earth Day event. The weather was beautiful and there were many people. Liza made salsa and did a great job of talking with the people. We probably talked extensively with over 500 people and they took almost all of our literature … some people were already vegetarian and many people seemed very interested in becoming vegetarian. The people especially liked the recipes in the back of the leaflet. My hope is that CVA will continue to use this venue because it is healthy event in a culturally beef-eating area - the college students could be especially educated as they make new life decisions/habits.

I (Steve Kaufman) leafleted at a Gaithers concert in Cleveland with Betsy, her two oldest boys (ages 9 and 7) and her aunt Barbara. We distributed 1100 booklets to a largely receptive and uniformly respectful crowd. My approach was to smile, say good evening, and ask, "Would you like information about kindness to animals, including some healthy and tasty recipes?"

Upcoming Events:

NY Syracuse Gaithers Homecoming Tour, May 5, 2006
AL Birmingham Acquire the Fire Christian Youth Conference, May 5-6, 2006
PA Pittsburgh Acquire the Fire Christian Youth Conference, May 5-6, 2006
Ontario-London Gaithers Homecoming Tour, May 6, 2006
OH Columbus Joel Osteen Conference, May 11, 2006
CA Davis - Table - Whole Earth Festival, May 12-14, 2006
IL Chicago Gaithers Homecoming Tour, May 13, 2006
MT Billings Benny Hinn Domestic Crusade, May 13, 2006
TN Gatlinburg Gaithers Homecoming Tour, May 25-28, 2006
CAN Edmonton Alberta Tell the World Youth Conference 2006, May 26-28, 2006
CA Concord Table-KidFest 20,000 expected! May 27-29, 2006

To find out about all upcoming leafleting and tabling opportunities in your area, join the CVA Calendar Group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group.christian_vegetarian/. Read the home page, and then join. You will then be able to log in anytime to identify upcoming events in your region. Contact Paris at christian_vegetarian@yahoo.com if you might be able to help.

2.  Brief Announcements

A.  Ener-G Egg Replacer
This is a helpful alternative to eggs in baking: http://www.ener-g.com/store/detail.aspx?sn=MilkAndEggSubstitutes&id=97&cat=8.

B.  Talk in Beverly Farms, MA
Bruce Conrad will be doing a talk on Christian Vegetarianism at his church (North Shore Community Baptist Church in Beverly Farms, MA, www.nscbc.org) on Saturday, June 3, at 8:30am, for a men's group (Men's First Praise). Good luck, Bruce!

C.  Attn: St. Louis CVA Members
Joe Stephens is looking to coordinate activities among St. Louis-area CVA members. To join his e-list, go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CVASTL.

D.  Upcoming Animal Activism Conferences include: Taking Action for Animals 9/2-9/5 in Washington, D.C. www.takingactionforanimals.org. Speakers will include Mutts cartoonist Patrick McDonnell, Animal Liberation author Peter Singer, Sara Amundson, Gene Bauston, Holly Hazard, Michael Markanian, Wayne Pacelle, Michelle Thew, and many more.

The North American Vegetarian Society Summerfest http://vegetariansummerfest.org in Johnstown, PA from 7/5-7/9 features great vegan food and a very congenial social environment. There are myriad lectures on health, nutrition, exercise, animal welfare, and other topics, featuring Dan Piraro (cartoonist of Bizarro and vegetarian activist), Dr. T. Colin Campbell, the mad cowboy himself Howard Lymon, and many others.

3. Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence: Faith in the Living God

[This series reflects my views and not "official" CVA positions.]

Many people think that the core of Christian faith involves believing that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah predicted by the prophets. I think Rev. James Antal* was correct when he said that faith also involves experiencing oneself as a child of God. We have been taught how to do this by Jesus Christ, who was tempted in every way just like us and showed us how to live reconciled with one another in the absence of scapegoating. Experiencing ourselves as children of God invariably encourages works that reflect one’s reverence for God, the loving parent. How could those who experience themselves as children of God, upon learning about the inherent cruelties of factory farming and upon learning that God takes delight in all God creation, continue to eat the products of factory farming simply for taste?

We live in a fallen world of pain, suffering, and death. Clearly, a God who loves the world would not be satisfied with the current state of affairs. This is why Jesus chose to heal an invalid man on the Sabbath, explaining to critics, “My Father is working still, and I am working.” John (5:17) By healing on the Sabbath, Jesus dramatized that the work of Creation was not completed. This, I think, is why Jesus prayed for the coming of God’s kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

If one has faith in a living, working God, one loses faith in the inevitability of things, which includes both the belief that human progress is impossible (as some despair) and that human progress is inevitable (as defenders of many of our environmentally unsustainable activities, such as factory farming tell us). More to the point of this essay series, faith in a living God eradicates faith in the sacredness of the social order. People have always established boundaries, such as racial, ethnic, and class boundaries, over and against other people (see essays 6 & 7). They have regarded these social strata as sacred – ordained by the divine. However, a living God repeatedly disrupts rigid social boundaries. This is why Jesus repeatedly showed greatest interest in his community’s outcasts – women, people with disabilities, tax collectors, etc. This was indeed scandalous, and Jesus remarked, “blessed is he who takes no offense at me.” (Matthew 11:6) after healing blind, lame, leprous, deaf, and dead people and after preaching to poor people.

The opposite of taking offense is having faith. In order to have faith, one must accept the possibility of offense; otherwise, faith is vacuous. This, I think, was the message encapsulated in the story of the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:22-28). As a Canaanite, she was despised by the Jews, and after she asked Jesus to heal her daughter, Jesus compared her to a dog. She persisted in her request, showing that she was not offended, and Jesus, impressed by her faith, healed her daughter.

We have faith in Christ not because the living Christ is scientifically proven. If it were, it would not be faith. We have faith because, in the face of a world of obvious suffering, decay, and death, we still believe in God’s power to heal and, ultimately, to redeem Creation.

Next week, I will offer further reflections on Christian Faith

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

Your question and comments are welcome

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