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Update Newsletters
9 September 2009 Issue

1. Activist Feedback

2. Reflection on the Lectionary: “Who Do You Say That I Am?”

3. The Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

4. Upcoming Activist Opportunities

5. The September Issue of Vegetarian Friends Is Now Online

6. Research Project – Quick and Easy Vegan Survey

1. Activist Feedback

Jessica, who leafleted with Yvonne and Charles at a Joel Osteen event in Portland, OR on Aug. 30, writes: It was the first time we gave out CVA booklets and the response was pretty good.

Shortly before we were done, a woman returned the CVA booklet saying she didn't want it if it contained information about going vegetarian. I told her we were trying to educate people about factory farming. "What's factory farming?" she asked. After I described how animals are treated, she said she'd have to start eating just fish. I told her that I've been vegetarian for over 20 yrs and it's not necessary to eat fish - or any animal products - to be healthy. Then she asked if I knew of any vegetarian restaurants. I gave her a local veg dining guide that I had on hand, a GCFE, and a flyer for the Portland VegFest. She was glad to get the information.

We were surprised and happy to learn that two of the other leafleters (Christian info, not veg-related) were vegan! They weren't even together. What are the chances?

2. Reflection on the Lectionary: “Who Do You Say That I Am?”

Mark 8:27-38 (Sept. 13)

This passage includes Jesus asking his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” The Gospels frequently describe Jesus asking others who he is, but he was reluctant to describe himself. I think Jesus’ question nicely encapsulates what religion in general (and Christianity in particular) should aim to accomplish. Religion, as a response to the mysteries of life, should inspire us to ask questions and seek answers. Once a religion gives definitive answers, it encourages believers to close their hearts and minds to new knowledge and new insights. As the world changes, such close-mindedness can make ancient religions less relevant and even potentially harmful.

The world Jesus inhabited was, in many respects, very different from ours. For one thing, modern technologies have greatly increased the capacity of small numbers of people to harm huge numbers of humans and animals. Weapons of mass destruction imperil humanity, and factory farming (made possible by industrial mechanization and by antibiotics that prevent stressed animals from dying from infections) permits a handful of farmers to cause unimaginable pain and suffering to many thousands of animals.

What would Jesus do about this? Jesus could only address directly the social conditions of his day, but we can derive reasonable conclusions based on his sayings and teachings. We have elaborated on this theme previously, but briefly the Gospels stress Jesus’ concern for those who were weak, vulnerable, and victimized. Can we as Christian vegetarians know with absolute certainty that Jesus would see today’s relentlessly abused factory-farmed animals as “the least among us,” and respond with love, compassion, and mercy? Since we’re dealing with a hypothetic situation, my answer is no, we cannot. But recalling that Jesus asked “who do you say that I am?” a reasonable answer is that Jesus was the sort of person who would not be a party to such cruelty. Such an answer involves applying the principles of his ministry, which will then guide us to make a faithful response to the issues and challenges facing us in a world that has changed greatly in 2000 years.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

3. The Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

Do We Love Each Other Enough to Correct Each Other?

4. Upcoming Activist Opportunities

9/11-12 TX Waco Just Give Me Jesus Angel Ministries

9/11-12 PA Harrisburg Men at the Cross

9/11 FL Orlando Fireflight Christian Rock Concert

9/11 CA Anaheim Women of Faith Conference

9/11 FL Lake Buena Vista Night of Joy

9/12 CA San Francisco Power to the Peaceful Festival

9/12 CA Chula Vista Switchfoot Christian Rock Concert

9/12 WI Green Bay Shawn McDonald Christian Concert

9/12 MA Springfield Kutless Fall Quest 2009

9/12 IL Belleville TABLE Festival of Faith and Cultures

9/12 PA Warren Oceans In Love Christian Concert

9/16-19 TN Nashville 2009 AACC Grace and Truth World Conference

9/16 OH Akron Kutless Christian Rock Concert

9/17 MO Springfield B. Reith Christian Concert

9/17 KS Wichita Creation Festival: The Tour

9/18 NH Keene Oceans In Love Christian Concert

9/19 MO St Louis Praise-A-Palooza With Jeremy Camp

9/18-19 PA Philadelphia Women of Faith Conference

9/18-19 MO St Louis TABLE Kirkwood Green Festival

9/19 NY Albany TABLE NY's Capital Region Vegetarian Expo

9/19 NC Charlotte Christian Music Day

9/19 VA Lynchburg SEABIRD Christian Rock Concert

9/19 TX Longview B. Reith Christian Concert

9/19 AR Jonesboro I Am Terrified Christian Concert

9/19 AL Brookwood Desire the Fire Kutless Christian Rock Concert

9/20 IN North Webster Run Kid Run Christian Rock Concert

9/21 OK Oklahoma City Fireflight Christian Rock Concert

9/23-26 MA Boston Natural Products Expo East

9/25 TN Bristol Jeremy Camp Speaking Louder Than Before Tour

9/25 OH Cincinnati Run Kid Run The Confessions

9/25 CO Denver Women of Faith Conference

9/26 MO Excelsior Springs Creation Festival: The Tour

9/26 FL Avon Park TABLE Christian Arts Festival

9/26-27 TX El Paso TABLE Veggie Fare

9/27 OH Marion Creation Festival: The Tour

10/2-3 MI Grand Rapids Hearts at Home Conference

10/2-3 AZ Phoenix Women of Faith Conference

10/3-4 CA San Francisco TABLE World Vegetarian Festival

10/3 MN St. Paul Honoring Billy Graham HUGE

10/3 KS Salina Creation Festival: The Tour

10/3 IN Evansville Jeremy Camp Speaking Louder Than Before Tour

10/4 KS Dodge City Creation Festival: The Tour

10/4 IN Anderson Jeremy Camp Speaking Louder Than Before Tour

10/8 MD Frederick Creation Festival: The Tour

10/9 SC Simpsonville Third Day Family Picnic

10/16-18 CA Burbank Healthy Lifestyle Expo

10/24 FL Orlando TABLE Central Florida Veg Fest

10/24-25 AZ Scottsdale St.Francis Festival 2009 & Blessing of the Animals

10/31 MA Boston TABLE Boston Vegetarian Food Festival

11/7-9 WI Milwaukee Call To Action 2008 National Conference

11/13-14 MN St Paul The Christian Community Fair    

5. The September Issue of Vegetarian Friends Is Now Online

Contents Include:

* The Editorial by Robert Ellwood looks into some of the foundational causes--especially poor diet-- of the health-care crisis in the US.

* We hear of a close friendship between an orangutan and a dog in one of the Glimpses of the Peaceable Kingdom.

* One of the Book Reviews reports on SCAT by Carl Hiaasen, an eco-novel for young people telling of the adventures of two middle-school friends and an endangered Florida panther.

* The Poetry selection, a fragment by Sappho, invokes the Evening Star to bring the young ones safely home.

To read this issue, go to http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue57.html.

Submissions are always welcome, especially for the "Pioneer" and "My Pilgrimage" columns.

In Friendship to all,
Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor

6. Research Project – Quick and Easy Vegan Survey

If you are vegan and live in the USA, please help me with my research! My goal is to get at least 10,000 responses. The survey will be open until I reach my goal. I believe 10,000 is an optimal sample size.

I am a PhD student in Critical Food Geographies at UC Davis. I am also the author of the upcoming book "Sistah Vegan: Black female vegans on food, identity, health, and society."

You can find my works at www.sistahveganproject.com and www.breezeharper.com

I am trying to map the racial/ethnic identifications of vegans in the USA. This research will eventually be part of a book I am working on. The survey is 5 questions long and will literally take 1 minute. I appreciate your time.

You can email me at breezeharper@gmail.com  if you have questions.


Your question and comments are welcome

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