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Update Newsletters
4 June 2006 Issue

1. CVA Materials Make Great Father’s Day gifts.

2. An Inconvenient Truth

3. Getting into the Churches

4. Report on Conference

5. Leafleting Feedback

6. Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence - Abundance Versus Scarcity

1. CVA Materials Make Great Father’s Day gifts.
We have t-shirts, sweatshirts, books, coffee mugs, and other items at www.christianveg.com/materials.htm.

2. An Inconvenient Truth
This powerful documentary should help alert people to the growing disaster that will likely accompany global warming. Unfortunately, the movie neglects to mention moving towards a plant-based diet among their many suggestions to reduce carbon and methane emission. So, we need to connect the dots! One option is to distribute CVA literature, but our booklet Honoring God’s Creation does not dedicate much space to global warming (which is one of many terrible consequences of modern animal agriculture).

An excellent alterative is to order free postcards from FARM (http://www.farmusa.org/lit_request.htm), particularly the one on the bottom right “Stop Global Warming . . . One Bite at a Time”.

To find out when the movie will open at your local theater, go to http://www.climatecrisis.net/findatheater/ait_theatersbystate.pdf  

3. Getting into the Churches
It has been a struggle getting our messages into churches. In particular, we have found that pastors often resist having their congregations exposed to animal issues in general and vegetarianism in particular. We’re looking for stories of how people got animal-friendly messages into their churches and suggestions for how might best approach churches. Please send suggestions and comments to cva@christianveg.com. Thank you.

4. Report on Conference
The Christian Concern for All God's Creatures Conference held on Saturday, June 3 went well. Featured speakers were Rev. Frank Hoffman, Dr. Stephen Kaufman, Deborah Jones, Judy Carman, and Jan Fredericks. The presentations were well received and there was an excellent exchange of ideas, including thoughts on strategies for putting animal issues on the Christian radar screen. There was a sense of unity and fellowship that, unfortunately, can be hard for vegetarians to find in many of our churches, which often seem so resistant to even discussing animal issues. Many thanks to Jan Fredericks for organizing this valuable event.

5. Leafleting Feedback
Mare, who leafleting with Rick at the TAIT Concert in St. Charles, MO, writes: Rick and I spent 1 1/2 hours passing out all 600 leaflets. We distributed them prior to the concert to a very receptive crowd. I offered the pamphlets by saying "Free literature" or "Free Lit" and always saying "Thank-You" when they accepted. One man said he didn't want one when he saw what it was but I gave one to his son. The man told his son to return it to me but I countered by saying "He has a mind of his own, let him decide." The boy took it and looked at it and the man didn't say anything else. I thought it went very well and hopefully the material will positively affect those who read it.

Upcoming Events

6/8 TX - Dallas Joyce Meyers Conference
6/9 MI - Gaylord Casting Crowns Big Ticket Festival
6/9 NY - Rochester Women of Faith Conference
6/10 IN - South Bend Casting Crowns Christian Rock Concert
6/10 MN - Minneapolis Benny Hinn Ministries Youth Service
6/17CA - Del Mar CeCe Winans Christian Music Concert
6/23-24 GA - Atlanta Women of Faith Conference

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.

6. Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence - Abundance Versus Scarcity

[This series reflects my views and not "official" CVA positions. It is being archived at http://www.christianveg.com/violence_view.htm.]

Our culture, grounded in individualism and laissez-faire capitalism, teaches that we should regard life as a struggle to obtain scarce resources. Competition for scarce resources often resembles, a zero sum game – every bit more that one person gets is roughly that amount less available to everyone else. There seem to be analogies in nature, where food and other necessities are limited, and animals struggle to survive and reproduce.

Jesus taught that God provides enough for everyone. He said, “Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!” (Luke 12:24) Was Jesus betraying ignorance of basic biological facts, which should have been obvious to even a casual observer? I don’t think so. What he was trying to show was that God cares for all God’s Creation. Does this mean that everyone has enough? Everyday experience would have taught the disciples that both people and animals sometimes go hungry or even die from deprivation. However, acquisitive mimetic desire encourages us to want as much as possible, particularly scarce things, worsening the scarcity.

I think Jesus was trying to teach what is essential to having loving relationships with each other and with the world at large. Our fear of physical discomfort and death entices us to hoard essential resources. Jesus taught that this is putting our priorities in the wrong place. Jesus said to his disciples, “do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.” (Luke 12:22b-23) Similarly, Jesus said, “For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Mark 8:36)

I think that our faith teaches that, while material resources may be limited, God’s love is not. God cares for all creation, though everyday experience tells us that some will suffer deprivation. I think that the faith of Christ (see essay 81) is that, eventually, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) All Creation will one day be reconciled and restored to a perfectly harmonious existence as existed in Eden (Isaiah 11:6-9).

The worldview of love sees abundance in Creation. Love engenders trust and sharing, and Jesus taught that sharing helps everyone meet their most essential needs, just as there was miraculously enough to feed the 5000 after a “lad” came forward to share his food (John 6:9).

Other passages take up this theme. Jesus said, “Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15) Then, Jesus told the parable of the Rich Fool, who hoarded possessions. God, who said that these possessions are temporary and unfulfilling, rebuked the man (Luke 12:16-21). The Hebrew Scriptures also express this wisdom. For example, the prophet Isaiah wrote, “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?” (55:2)

God is the source of life, which God provides abundantly. However, human acquisitive mimetic desire often frustrates God’s desires. Because humans want to have more than their neighbors, everyone seeks the same things, which generates scarcities. The way of love sees abundance in the world and encourages sharing. This is the way that Jesus taught, and he said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) This image of God is one who celebrates life, not death. To commune with such a God does not require or even desire blood sacrifices. It is sufficient to pray earnestly and to follow Jesus, who said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the light” (John 14:6).

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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