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8 Feb 2009 Issue

1. Commentary: What is the Bible’s Diet?
2. View from Inside a Battery Cage
3. Activist Feedback
4. February Issue of The Peaceable Table
5. Today’s Sermon

1. Commentary: What Is the Bible’s Diet?

Food is a major theme throughout the Bible, and the diverse stories and pronouncements seem to give contradictory messages about what kinds of foods we should eat. Should we be vegan as prescribed in Genesis 1:29-30 and Isaiah 11:6-9? Should we adhere to the kosher restrictions articulated in Deuteronomy 14 and Leviticus 11? Are all foods acceptable, as indicated in Genesis 9 and Peter’s dream in Acts 10?

Genesis 1 and Isaiah 11 describe ideal states – at the beginning of time and at the end of time – in which no individual hurts another. We should seek to live according to this ideal, even if we can’t avoid causing some harm in this imperfect, “fallen” world. Genesis 9 describes a very imperfect man, Noah, trying to live in a world in which plant foods have been devastated by the Flood. He was given permission to eat, but this in no way is an imperative to us. Indeed, the Bible has many examples in which God gives people permission to do undesirable things. 1 Samuel 8 describes God giving the Hebrews the king they request, even though God has warned that the king will by a tyrant. Even more to the point is Matthew 19:8, in which Jesus says, “for your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” Similarly, from the beginning killing and eating animals was not so, but humanity’s hardness of heart was evidently responsible for God’s giving humanity permission to eat animals.

Regarding Acts 10, I refer people to www.christianveg.org/hgc-replies.htm , where we discuss how this story is about welcoming Gentiles to the Christian faith and not about diet.

While there are different instructions about diet, relating in large part to different circumstances in which those instructions were given, the Christian call to mercy and compassion is, in my opinion, unequivocal. There is no mercy or compassion in factory farming, and nearly all animal agriculture involves exploitation and/or abuse.

The price we pay for failing to heed the Bible’s call to minimize harm to God’s animals and God’s earth is huge. We know that the Western diet contributes greatly to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, certain cancers and other diseases. Though we are to care for our bodies, the “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19), most Christians suffer the same diseases as their non-Christian brethren who share the unhealthy diet that most Christians eat. We often pray for God’s healing, yet so many Christians put toxic foods in their bodies – foods heavily laden with saturated fats, hormones, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria and foods lacking fiber, phytonutrients, and the many other healthful components of plant foods. How does God respond? Evidently, God is pleased to let people suffer the consequences of their own poor choices.

The growing environmental crisis is a consequence of humanity’s placing its own desires above the needs of God’s Creation. And among the most harmful activities has been animal agriculture, which contributes greatly to global warming, pollution, and depletion of scarce, non-renewal resources.

Many people are concerned about violence, but it appears that the principle concern is not violence per se but rather violence directed toward them and those they love. While most people would prefer that farmed animals not suffer so much, few people care enough about the extreme violence of factory farming to simply choose to eat other foods. Well, we reap what we sow, and if we as a society sow violence, we will reap violence.

Jesus prayed “Thy will be done, on earth as in heaven,” and Revelation 21:4 reminds us that in heaven there is no killing. It is a mockery of faith to claim that, because God has given us permission to fail to live up to this ideal, we should abandon this ideal altogether.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.
CVA chair

2. View from Inside a Battery Cage


3. Activist Feedback

Alice in Fargo, ND writes: I wanted to give you positive feedback from my recent attendance at an ELCA hunger retreat held at a bible camp near Alexandria, MN. It is an annual retreat that members from churches in MN, ND, SD attend, and the principle presenters are representatives from Lutheran World Hunger, Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Settlement, Lutheran Coalition for Public Policy, and then the ecumenical organizations, Bread for the World and Church World Service. This year, I was able to put up the Christian Vegetarian Association display and had CVA booklets at the table, as well as Compassion Over Killing’s Sustainable Eating brochure. I gave a 15 minute presentation at the end of the 2 day event, and showed Nonviolence United’s vegan DVD, which is wonderful. Ihad a few minutes to talk about how a vegan diet fits with everything they had been advocating for: reduce world hunger, stop global warming, have “Intentional Living.” I gently pointed out that many churches/denominations were beginning to have discussions and movements that supported a vegan/vegetarian diet, and that so far, the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) had none that I could discern from their website. I hoped that this is something that they would consider. In small group discussions, I heard some positive remarks from a few members who had read the display/booklet. I was also pleased that at the concluding lunch, the meal was almost completely vegan, except for some hardboiled eggs for the salad bar and ranch dressing. And the pastor used Genesis 1:29 as his short blessing of the food. So, I think it went well. Thank you for having the resources that are so helpful, such as the display and the booklets.  

Upcoming Leafleting Opportunities

2/13 PA, Hershey Salvador Christian Rock Concert

2/13 SC, Greenville Winter Jam Christian Rock Fest

2/13-14 TX, Houston Revolve Tour for Teen Age Girls

2/14 FL, Jacksonville Winter Jam Christian Rock Fest

2/14 NM, Albuquerque Seventh Day Slumber Christian Rock

2/15 AL, Mobile Winter Jam Christian Rock Fest

2/16 OK, Mooreland Seventh Day Slumber Christian Rock

2/19 MD, Frederick Newsboys Christian Rock Concert

2/19 MO, St. Louis Our Lady of Snows

2/20 SC, Columbia Winter Jam Christian Rock Fest

2/20 MD, Salisbury Newsboys Christian Rock Concert

2/20-21 CO, Denver Revolve Tour for Teen Girls

2/21 NC, Greensboro Winter Jam Christian Rock Fest

2/21 VA, Woodbridge Newsboys Christian Rock Concert

2/22 VA, Norfolk Winter Jam Christian Rock Fest

2/22 PA, Williamsport Newsboys Christian Rock Concert

2/23 NJ, Wildwood Newsboys Christian Rock Concert

2/26 FL, Jacksonville Seventh Day Slumber Christian Rock

2/26 FL, Jacksonville The Afters Christian Rock Concert

2/28 FL, Plant City Third Day Christian Rock Concert

2/28 CO, Denver Revolve Tour for Teen Girls

3/1 PA, Bethlehem Newsboys Christian Rock Concert

3/6 TX, Longview Newsboys Christian Rock Concert

3/7 TX, Dallas Fort Worth Newsboys Christian Rock

3/7 TX, Brownfield Seventh Day Slumber Christian Rock

3/13-14 MO, Kansas City Women of Faith Conference

3/21-22 WA, Seattle TABLE Vegfest 2009

3/28-29 WA, Seattle Green Festival

4/17 GA, Atlanta TABLE EarthDay at Georgia Tech

4/18 TN, Nashville TABLE Earth Day

4/28 TN, Knoxville TABLE EarthFest 2009 FREE

4/19 CA, San Diego TABLE EarthFair 2009

4/23 TN, Nashville 39th Annual GMA Dove Awards

4/26 MO, St. Louis TABLE Earth Day Festival

International Events

4/25 CAN Ontario Peterborough Green Expo

Contact Paris at christian_vegetarian@yahoo.com  if you can to help. 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/ 

4. February Issue of The Peaceable Table

Contents include:

* The Editorial, "See It My Way," uses concepts from the martial art aikido to suggest ways that we who are committed to liberation, love and peace can respond to attacks from supporters of the status quo.

* The Book Review deals with Karen Dawn's Thanking the Monkey, whose reader-friendly text tells the painful truth, yet has many appealing pictures and cartoons that keep one turning the pages.

* The Glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom gives a link to the video of the remarkable friendship of Tara and Bella at the Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary.

* The Film Reviewed is The Tale of Despereaux, an animated fairytale featuring a brave mouse.

* The Recipe for Gluten Free Brownies will be welcomed enthusiastically by all the sweet-toothed, whether gluten-intolerant or otherwise.

* The February Pioneer is philosopher Peter Singer, perhaps the single most important person in the opening-up of the animal issue in the US in the mid-1970s.

We encourage letters of comment, essays, and suggestions for future topics.

To read this issue, go to http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue51.html

Toward the Peaceable Kingdom,
Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor

5. Today’s Sermon

Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman’s weekly sermon offering:

How Strong Is Our Love? How Strong Is Our Faith? http://www.all-creatures.org/sermons97/s9feb92.html .

Your question and comments are welcome

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