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3 September 2009 Issue

1. Activist Feedback
2. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
3. Perspective on the Lectionary: On Faith and Works
4. Book Review Opportunity

1. Activist Feedback

Shirley, who tabled with David at Soulfest in New Hampshire, writes: The past three years, the Christian Vegetarian Association and Save A Dog have shared a booth at this four-day Christian music festival. This was our best year yet as we were able to hand out vegan food samples. There were many positive comments, such as, “This is the best food at the entire festival” and, “I became vegetarian ever since visiting your booth last year.” Dave’s chocolate chip cookies were a big hit. He converted his grandmother’s recipe and used Earth Balance butter and Ener-G Egg Replacer. We also served vegan corn chowder and crunchy Asian salad, and we offered recipes for all the items. Most encouraging were the dozens of people who stopped by to thank us for being there and to tell us that Christians needed to hear our message. Though we were exhausted from all the cooking and lugging of food, by the end of the festival we had made some good friends and were feeling very blessed.

2. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

Being a Living and Holy Sacrifice Acceptable to God

3. Perspective on the Lectionary: On Faith and Works

September 6, 2009

James 2:1-17

This passage includes, "What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed, and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead."

Many people seem to hold that merely confessing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savoir is the key to salvation and eternal bliss. If this were the case, only a fool would reject such an easy ticket to paradise. As James makes clearer, those who claim to have faith but don't show compassion and mercy don't really have faith at all. Those with genuine faith are inspired to address the needs of the world. Indeed, Jesus prayed for God's will to be done "on earth as in heaven," and he repeatedly ministered to those in need.

There are many ways our works can manifest our faith, and I think a very important one is our choice of what to eat. Because of modern animal agriculture's harmfulness to God's animals, God's earth, and the world's poor and hungry people, our food choices have profound implications. Currently, most Christians prefer to indulge their taste preferences than to eat in a way that is mindful of God's Creation, and, in this respect, they manifest "faith" without works.

Does salvation ultimately depend on diet? I am convinced that the Bible's teachings point to a plant-based diet for Christians today, but I don't think the Bible categorically condemns the consumption of any particular foods. Though it appears that a person's state of salvation cannot be ascertained merely by observing a person's eating habits, it is not my role to determine whether or not other people are saved. My charge as a Christian is to live faithfully, which calls me to a plant-based diet as well as a host of other choices aimed at manifesting the love, compassion, and mercy of Jesus Christ.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

4. Book Review Opportunity

Don LePan, who recently completed Animals: A Novel, provides the following synopsis:

Tammy kept losing jobs—at the checkout counter, as a hospital cleaner, and now with the before-and-after-school program. But what worried her most was Sam, her youngest. From the time he was very young it had been clear that something was wrong with Sam, seriously wrong. And though they didn’t often speak of it, the whole family could certainly see it. “He’s pathetic,” Sam’s sister Letitia would sneer to her friends, “pathetic.” Tammy never felt that way herself, not for a moment. But what was she to do?—that was the question. Animals follows Sam on the extraordinary odyssey that begins with Tammy’s decision. Central to the narrative of his progress are the Stinson family—above all Naomi Stinson, a young girl who develops a special feeling for the strange creature, Sam.

Animals is set in an indeterminate future in which virtually all the species that humans have for millennia used as food have become extinct; the world it creates is at once eerily foreign and disturbingly familiar. In the sharp-edged poignancy of the ethical questions it poses, in the strikingly innovative narrative techniques it employs, and above all, in the remarkable power of the story it tells, Animals is, quite simply, unique.

Please contact cva@christianveg.org if you are interested in reviewing this book .

Your question and comments are welcome

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