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Update Newsletters
16 September 2009 Issue

1. Activist Feedback

2. Reflection on the Lectionary: The Source of Violence

3. Upcoming Activist Opportunities

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

1. Activist Feedback

Celia, who leafleted at Women of Faith in Anaheim, CA, writes:

This was my first time leafleting and I was a little nervous, but it went pretty well. I coordinated with other volunteers, and I decided to attempt to get the lunch crowd and showed up at the event at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday. Once lunch started there was a large crowd that exited the building, and I was able to pass out approximately 100 pamphlets. While many people passed right by me (and one person even rolled their eyes and said, "Christians aren't vegetarians" as she passed), most people were polite and some even approached me on their own and asked for pamphlets. There was even one attendant who asked for multiple pamphlets because she wanted to share the information with her co-workers and family. Furthermore, a few people who didn't take pamphlets from me said that they had already received a pamphlet the day before – a credit to my fellow volunteers! There was also one attendant who said that she had read the pamphlet the day before and started a vegetarian diet that very evening.

2. Reflection on the Lectionary

James 3:13-4:3
The Source of Violence

September 20

This passage includes the following: For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity. And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

What causes wars, and what causes fightings among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members? You desire and do not have; so you kill. And you covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and wage war.

James astutely recognizes that coveting is the source of conflict, fighting, and killing. It is natural for us to desire what other people possess, because it is by observing other people that we come to recognize which objects are “desirable.” However, “desirable” objects invariably become scarce, and indeed their scarcity is an attraction, because ownership of scarce commodities confers communal status and a personal sense of self-esteem.

Competition for scarce commodities (which are not necessarily physical – they can include awards and other forms of cultural recognition) engenders conflict. How are conflicts resolved? As discussed in my book Guided by the Faith of Christ, scapegoating marginal members of the community frequently prevents communities from being torn apart. The scapegoat(s), blamed for rising tensions, are killed or expelled. While scapegoating is often efficient and effective at maintaining the larger community, it is not acceptable because it is unjust. In addition, scapegoats need to be found repeatedly, because scapegoating only reduces the immediate consequences of coveting and does nothing to address the underlying problem.

For several reasons, including the anti-scapegoating message of Christianity, we find less scapegoating of people today. Nonetheless, scapegoating of animals continues unabated. The act of killing or eating animals provides a sense of superiority over nature. This can give a sense of dominance over those “bestial” aspects of human nature of which many people are ashamed, including anger, violence, and illicit sexual desire. Various caricatures of animals as stupid, ugly, sexually promiscuous, etc. misrepresent animals’ true nature while giving excuses for abuse at the hands of humanity.

James recognized that we will only harvest peace when we make peace, and that means peace with all of God’s Creation. Indeed, many of the greatest threats to humanity, including climate change, pollution, and depletion of scarce resources, relate to humanity’s disrespect for God’s earth. James described the nature of “wisdom from above,” and this wisdom should guide us, not the covetous passions that we are otherwise inclined to follow.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

3. Upcoming Activist Opportunities

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

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 TX El Paso TABLE Veggie Fare

9/27 OH Marion Creation Festival: The Tour

9/26 CA Modesto Social Justice Youth Leadership Conference

9/26 MA Boston World Wide Views on Global Warming-Harvard

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

10/4 KS Dodge City Creation Festival: The Tour

10/4 IN Anderson Jeremy Camp Speaking Louder Than Before

10/8 MD Frederick Creation Festival: The Tour

10/9 SC Simpsonville Third Day Family Picnic

10/10 GA Alpharetta Jars Of Clay Christian Rock Concert

10/11 FL Panama City Creation Festival: The Tour

10/16-18 CA Burbank Healthy Lifestyle Expo

10/16 NY Rochester Creation Festival: The Tour

10/16-17 MN St. Paul Women of Faith Conference

10/24 FL Orlando TABLE Central Florida Veg Fest

10/24-25 AZ Scottsdale St. Francis Festival 2009

10/29 CA San Bernardino Creation Festival: The Tour

10/31 MA Boston 14th Annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival

10/30-31 OK Oklahoma City Women of Faith Conference

10/31 AZ Phoenix Creation Festival: The Tour

11/7 MT Kalispell Creation Festival: The Tour

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

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

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

Judgment, Tolerance, and Liberty

Your question and comments are welcome

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