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18 February 2007 Issue

1. CVA Activism

2. Book Review and Quiz

3. Christianity and Violence: Parable of the Lost Sheep

1. CVA Activism
Georgia writes: We found a Raw Food Store in Lansdale, PA called Arnolds Way www.arnoldsway.com and wanted to check it out since we noticed that one of the Meetup newsletters that we get mentioned that they have Meetup meetings.

We had a wonderful lunch there and met the owner and told him of CVA and gave him some booklets which he gladly set out on his front counter. He was so nice and I just wanted to let you know of his willingness to give out
the CVA booklets. Thanks again CVA for giving me this opportunity to feel I can be of help in this way.

Upcoming Leafleting Opportunities

3/1 TX Tyler Jeremy Camp Christian Concert
3/1 WA Vancouver Jars of Clay Christian Rock Concert
3/2 WA College Place Jars of Clay Christian Rock Concert
3/2 VA Norfolk Newsboys Go Tour Christian Concert
3/4 IA Dubuque TABLE 26th Annual Rural Ministry Conference
3/4 CO Colorado Springs Jeremy Camp Christian Concert

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. Book Review and Quiz
The Bloodless Revolution A Cultural History of Vegetarianism From 1600 to Modern Times By Tristram Stuart NORTON; 628 Pages; $29.95

Reviewed by Michael O'Donnell

In "Animal Liberation," the bible of the modern animal rights movement, philosopher Peter Singer bluntly claims that "[t]he attitudes toward animals of previous generations are no longer convincing because they draw on presuppositions -- religious, moral, metaphysical -- that are now obsolete."

Singer was referring to earlier rationales for eating meat, but the claim also implicitly dismisses the history of vegetarianism, which is fascinating and telling. Did you know, for instance, that many 17th century Britons abstained from meat in order to feel closer to Eden, where fruits and vegetables provided sustenance, and Adam and Eve interacted peacefully with animals?
Tristram Stuart, a precocious young British writer, has no doubt read "Animal Liberation." In fact, judging from his 65-page bibliography, he appears to have read just about every word ever written about vegetarianism.

His book, "The Bloodless Revolution" (a pun from an alternative name for the Glorious Revolution of 1688) is an intellectual history of vegetarianism in 17th and 18th century Europe, with nods to the years since. It is a
beautifully written work of impressive scholarship, perhaps the most erudite yet to appear on the subject of vegetarian history. Previous authors have sketched major vegetarian thinkers, but Stuart goes further, interacting extensively with primary-source materials, thoughtfully challenging the
conclusions of other scholars and bolstering his own credibility by outing a few closet meat eaters, such as Alexander Pope.

The rejection of meat has frequently been accompanied by political and social radicalism. Reformers such as Roger Crab in the 17th century and John Oswald in the 18th saw meat as a symbol of unjust luxury and renounced it in solidarity with the poor. Foes of the Catholic Church courted heresy by abjuring food from animals and extending their moral concern beyond the one anointed species. In the years after the French Revolution, students (many of them vegetarians) made their way across the English Channel in search of other barricades to storm; in response, the Crown resisted animal welfare laws as a form of "patriotic opposition to the onion-eating French and their radical allies in Britain."

Vegetarian thought certainly has had its share of characters, and in less able hands this history might come off as a series of maladjusted kooks whose radical ideas needn't be taken seriously. But the picture that emerges
from "The Bloodless Revolution" is a group of individuals troubled enough to take action against a practice -- the killing and eating of animals -- that unquestionably has profound moral implications. In an age in which a staggering 50 billion farm animals each year are reared in appalling conditions, slaughtered for our food and thoughtlessly consumed, any book that sets out an alternative is welcome. An excellent book that does so is

Michael O'Donnell is a writer and lawyer in Chicago.
The Book's publisher encouraged the CVA to offer a free book to the person who does the best on a quiz based on the book's content. Please send your answers to cva@christianveg.com. Answers will be posted in next week's e-newsletter.

1. True or False: Peter Singer is the leading animal rights philosopher.

2. True or False: Tom Regan has held that a "subject-of-a-life" has a right not to be used in a harmful manner.

3. True or False: Andrew Linzey has held that animal rights are grounded in "theos-rights", in which we have duties to animals because they belong to God.

4. True or False: Huntington Life Sciences is responsible for more than 75% of animal test on household products.

5. True or False: Descartes held that the liver was the seat of the soul.

6. True of False: The monster in Mary Wollstoneshaft Shelley's Frankenstein: or the modern Prometheus was a vegetarian

7. True or False: Malthus argued that populations grow arithmetically, while food supplies grow exponentially, resulting in stable populations as long as there is no outside interference.

8. True or False: Leo Tolstoy was a lifelong vegetarian.

3. Christianity and Violence: Parable of the Lost Sheep

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

A Girardian reading offers some interesting insights into the well-known parable of the lost sheep (Matthew 18:12-14; Luke 15:3-7). In the story, the shepherd leaves 99 sheep "in the wilderness" until he finds the one who was lost.

The "good shepherd" leaves an entire herd unattended in order to rescue one lost sheep. A Girardian reading suggests that this parable teaches that we should not scapegoat one individual in order to protect the rest of the community. If we renounced scapegoating, we would risk losing the unifying effects of scapegoating. Without scapegoating to restore peace and order during times of crisis, accusations, rivalries, and hostilities could escalate and envelope entire communities in violence. In other words, like the shepherd who risks the flock to save one sheep, Jesus encouraged us to risk communal destruction in order to avoid killing a single innocent scapegoat.(1) However, there can never be justice or reconciliation of God's Creation as long as there are innocent victims of human violence.

It is also remarkable that, in Luke's Gospel, the parable of the lost coin immediately follows the parable of the lost sheep and immediately precedes the parable of the prodigal son. All of these stories relate the importance of abandoning cultural norms and folk wisdom in favor of concern for the one in need. In all these stories, people extravagantly celebrate after finding and saving what was once lost. The woman who finds the lost coin celebrates with a party that may have exceeded the coin's worth. The father of the prodigal son disregards the traditional manner of fathers as proud, dignified, and erect, and he joyously runs to his son. In contrast, primal communities use rituals to celebrate the expulsion and/or killing of the one who has "gone astray," e.g., possessed by evil spirits.

In Luke's Gospel, Jesus explained the parable of the lost sheep: "Even so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance" (15:7). The Apostle Paul provided teachings that can help us understand this saying. After noting that sin invites God's grace, Paul asked, "Are we to continue to sin that grace may abound?" (Romans 6:1). Paul answered his question, "By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?" (Romans 6:2). Just as the 99 obedient sheep were unlikely to wander away themselves when the shepherd sought the missing sheep, those who have truly been reborn in Christ are unlikely to stray from the path of love, compassion, mercy, and righteousness after renouncing the community-unifying benefits of scapegoating. Rather than rejecting the "lost sheep" as deserving abandonment, Jesus' disciples would seek to reunite the "lost sheep" with the herd.

1. I am struck by parallels between the parable of the lost sheep and Genesis 18:24-33, in which Abraham asked God whether God would spare Sodom if there were 50 righteous people there. God answered that he would spare the city for the sake of the righteous ones, and Abraham repeatedly asked the question, each time reducing the number of righteous people until he asked a final time, "I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there." God said that he would save the city if there were only 10 righteous people. Then God departed, and, to my reading, the text indicates that Abraham did not dare to ask whether God would save an entire city of sinful people on behalf of a single righteous person. The reason, I think, is that the ancient Hebrews were unprepared to consider that God would totally reject the logic of sacrifice, which calls for sacrificing a few innocent individuals in order to eradicate the sinfulness of the larger community. Jesus rejected the notion that sacrificing even one individual for the rest of the community accords with God's desires.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

Your question and comments are welcome

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