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Update Newsletters
23 September 2009 Issue

1. Activist Feedback

2. Reflection on the Lectionary: Who Should Cast Out Demons?

3. This Week’s Sermon by Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

1. Activist Feedback

Joe, who tabled at the Festival of Faith and Culture at Belleville, IL, writes:

The CVA had a table at the Festival of Faith and Culture at Shrine of Our Lady of Snows, a Catholic church run by Oblates priests. The responses were overwhelming except for few comments. I had 19 sign-ups as new CVA members. I was able to speak to many priests and sisters, and they really appreciated what we are doing. The essay “Christianity and vegetarianism” by Fr. John Dear answered all a lot of questions about being a Christian and a vegetarian.

One group of college kids came by and they laughed at our bumper sticker “Eden was vegan.” I told them yes that is the truth. Some became interested and took our booklets. Brett helped me, and he enjoyed talking to people, and he provided good insights about Christianity and vegetarianism and also how to lead a healthy life by going vegan and using oil very sparingly.

Upcoming Activist Opportunities

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 TX El Paso TABLE Veggie Fare

9/26 CA Modesto Social Justice Youth Leadership Conference

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

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 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

10/4 MA Lexington MA Energy Savings Fair for Homes & Businesses

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

10/24 FL Orlando TABLE Central Florida Veg Fest

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

10/29 CA San Bernardino Creation Festival: The Tour

10/31 MA Boston TABLE 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/  

2. Reflection on the Lectionary: Who Should Cast Out Demons?

Mark 9:38-50

Sept. 27

This passage begins, “John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us.’ But Jesus said, ’Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is for us. . .’”

Jesus endorsed those who participated in his ministry, even if they were not orthodox followers of his movement. Nevertheless, Christianity has been marred by sectarian conflict. There have been countless wars among people who claim to be followers of Christ but cannot countenance each other’s views on ritual or theology, even though the differences are usually relatively minor. Similarly, Christians have frequently found themselves at war with people of other faiths who share similar core values as Christians. Many of these non-Christians also aim to “cast out demons” in the name of God. Indeed, Jesus seemed to endorse anyone who did good works, saying, “For he that is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:40). Outside observers have great difficulty understanding why similarly minded religious groups are often in conflict. Why are people of faith so frequently intolerant of differing views?

Perhaps one reason relates to the problem that the components of “faith” are, by definition, things about which we cannot have scientific proof. We want certainty about the great existential questions – Where did I come from? Why am I here? What happens to me after I die? Since many people find science’s answers inadequate, they turn to religious faith for guidance. I admire many people with great faith who commit their lives to the answers that religion provides, as long as those answers relate to compassion. However, certainty is a state of mind and not necessarily a state of knowledge, and I think we must humbly accept that there is great mystery about our existence.

I think that non-believers have a point when they assert that the very articles of faith about which people want certainty are among the most tenuous. To my reading, applying this passage from Mark to today’s pluralistic world, we should support those who follow Jesus’ ways by doing good works, even if the faith that inspires them differs from our own. I have no quarrel with anyone who is strong in faith, as long as that faith encourages compassion. We run into problems when people, in an attempt to “defend” their faith, find it necessary to disparage or even destroy other people’s religious traditions.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

3. This Week’s Sermon by Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

Standing in the Gap
http://www.all-creatures.org/sermons97/s23sep90.html  .

Your question and comments are welcome

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