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Update Newsletters
16 July 2006 Issue

1. Proposed Bumper Sticker

2. Leafleting Feedback

3. Getting Our Message Into Churches

4. The Peaceable Table

5. Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence: Romans 12:1 and 6:23

1. Proposed Bumper Sticker
We’re thinking of printing a new bumper sticker entitled “Eden Was Vegan,” and we’d like feedback. Please let us know at cva@christianveg.com if you think you would like to order the bumper sticker imaged at http://www.christianveg.com/edenwas.htm.

2. Leafleting Feedback
Rick, Vince, Sarah, Albany, Onui, Julia, Michael, and others leafleted and tabled at the Rainbow National Gathering in Routt National Forest near Steamboat Springs, CO. They distributed 1500 CVA Honoring God's Creation booklets as well as approximately an additional 2000 booklets, pamphlets and cards from other veggie organizations including Vegan Outreach, PETA, Farm Sanctuary, FARM (Farm Animal Reform Movement) and the local Colorado group HEALTH (Humans, Earth, Animals living together in Harmony). Thanks to all the groups contributing literature to help make this event successful and special thanks to Ann of HEALTH for her considerable efforts to help make this endeavor possible.

This was the first time for a CVA presence at Rainbow and we received overwhelming positive feedback for participating. It demonstrates the power of leafleting with roughly 25 CVA booklets distributed from leafleting for every one distributed by tabling.

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.

3. Getting Our Message Into Churches
Sue Riley writes: I will soon be showing the video "Honoring God's Creation" to my cell group (Bible Study group) of 5-8 women. This is a new group which started by having a flyer in our church bulletin that a new cell group ( Bible Study group). This created more response for forming a cell group than any other time in the history of our church trying to form new cell groups.

I started attending this cell group a few weeks ago and mentioned to some members one on one that I was vegetarian. Then, during a recent cell group, one of the other ladies told the others that I was vegetarian and we discussed it a lot including the part about animal suffering. They were hungry for the info and then I mentioned that I would like to show them a video call "Honoring God's Creation" and they were so open to it and enthusiastically asked me to show it the next time we meet. Two of the ladies in particular told me how much they admire the fact that I am vegetarian and wish that they could be veg also.

4. The July issue of The Peaceable Table is now available
* The editorial "God Has Given Them Joy" is a reply to the defenders of the status quo who hold that animal life in nature is virtually nothing but violence anyway, so that for humans to kill animals is only participating in "the way things are."

* Reviews include Jonathan Balcombe's important new book The Pleasurable Kingdom, giving much evidence of gratifications and pleasures in animal life, and An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore's documentary film on global warming.

* The Recipes column includes a tasty recipe for penne pasta with ricotta "cheeze.".

You can read this issue here: http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue23.html 

5. Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence -  Romans 12:1 and 6:23
[This series reflects my views and not "official" CVA positions. It is being archived at http://www.christianveg.com/violence_view.htm.]

Paul wrote to the Romans, “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (12:1). The age of sacrifice had ended, and Paul wrote that we are to dedicate ourselves completely, including our bodies, to God.

This passage, I think, helps us form a better understand Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Many people interpret this, I think incorrectly, as indicating that, as a consequence of sin, God demands death either of the sinner or a sacrificial substitute (and the ultimate sacrifice was Jesus).

Since Romans 12:1 points to self-sacrifice, I do not think we should read Romans 6:23 as indicating that God desires that we sacrifice other individuals to substitute for ourselves. Indeed, Romans 6:23 does not say that God desires death at all. I think the passage is making a simple and valid observation: Sinfulness leads to death. When we model our desires on each other and fall into rivalries, we are on a path that leads inexorably to death – the victims being either those who find themselves in conflict or, commonly, one or more scapegoats who the community blames for growing hostility. Girard has noted that, universally, primal cultures have ritualized sacrifice.

Typically, they re-enact the cultural crisis that generated the “need” for sacrifice, and then they kill or expel one or more victims in communal rituals that recreate the sense of camaraderie that originally unified the community. While we like to think that our culture does not engage in sacrificial violence, no culture recognizes its own scapegoating – to do so would eliminate the unifying power of scapegoating. In addition, like scapegoating, violence is almost always invisible to the perpetrators, and those who participate in violence typically describe it as, for example, “justice” or “necessity.” I think that, as long as people have eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear (Mark 8:18), Christ’s revelation that God is about love and not about death will remain incomplete in this world.

Next week, we will explore The Letter to the Hebrews, which I think has often been misunderstood as a text that endorses sacrificial violence.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

Your question and comments are welcome

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