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Update Newsletters
16 December 2009 Issue

1. Activist Feedback

2. Commentary on the Lectionary: The Meaning of Jesus’ Death

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

4. New York Times editorial: Animal, Vegetable, Miserable

Please include the CVA in your annual donations. On a budget of about $25,000/yr, we have a vibrant and effective ministry, including the distribution of about 150,000 booklets to Christians at concerts, revivals and other events; an Internet ministry; and a part-time staff that answers a broad range of questions for Christians throughout the world. Those contributing $25 annual Sustaining Member dues receive the daily Take Heart! e-note.

To donate, go to the bottom of www.christianveg.org/materials.htm 
or send a check to:
CVA, PO Box 201791, Cleveland,OH 44120

Thank you.

1. Activist Feedback

Jan, who leafleted at a Women of Faith conference in Sacramento, writes:

I just wanted to report a splendid weekend of leafleting. I handed out at least 300 booklets. The Women of Faith event at Arco Arena was extraordinary and I wished there had been more than just me doing the work. Next year, I'll remember to recruit some help. Most of the women were gracious in accepting the booklets, although a few returned them to me after they opened the first page. I suppose they were still in denial or didn't want to face the horrible truth about factory farmed animals. I heard a couple of people guess that I was "one of those Jehovah's Witnesses." I reassured them that the booklets were nondenominational and contained information on how we can protect God's creation.

Today, I attended the 2:00 pm performance of “Procession of Carols” at Sacred Heart Church in midtown Sacramento. As the final carol began, I slipped out and stationed myself just outside the front doors on public property to pass out booklets as people left the church. Here, again, the take rate was excellent and similar to the Women of Faith event. I enjoyed the glorious sounds of Christmas and helped animals all at the same time. There's another concert next weekend at a different church and I think I'll try the same tactic.

Upcoming Activist Opportunities    

12/20 AZ Phoenix Toby Mac Christian Concert

12/27 NY Rochester Starfield Christian Rock Concert

12/27-29 MO Branson Xtreme Winter Christian Rock Festival

12/27-1/2 TN Gatlinburg Xtreme Winter Christian Rock Festival

12/28 NY Rochester Starfield Christian Rock Concert 2

12/28 LA Shreveport Kutless Christian Rock Concert

12/29 IN Indianapolis Starfield Christian Rock Concert

12/29-31 TN Pigeon Forge Xtreme Winter Christian Rock Festival

12/31 WI Watertown Bread of Stone Christian Rock New Years

12/31 PA East Earl The Hoppers Gospel New Years Eve Concert

1/7 AL Mobile The Hoppers Gospel Concert

1/8 MD Ocean City Starfield Christian Rock Concert

1/8 TN Chattanooga HUGE Christian Winter Jam

1/9 OH Cincinnati Kutless Christian Rock Concert

1/9 NC Fayetteville HUGE Christian Winter Jam

1/9 KS Iola Hoppers Gospel Concert

1/9 MD Ocean City Starfield Christian Rock concert

1/10 NC Charlotte HUGE Christian Winter Jam

1/13 MD Annapolis Jars of Clay Christian Rock Concert

1/14 VA Alexandria Jars of Clay Christian Rock Concert

1/14 TX Wellington Kutless Christian Rock Concert

1/15 NY New York Jars of Clay Christian Rock Concert

1/15 FL Jacksonville Winter Jam 2010

1/15 FL Jacksonville NewSong Christian Rock Concert

1/16 FL Tampa NewSong Christian Rock Concert

1/16 MA Foxboro Jars of Clay Christian Rock Concert

1/16 FL Tampa Winter Jam 2010

1/17 GA Duluth Winter Jam 2010

1/17 GA Duluth NewSong Christian Rock Concert

1/21 TX San Antonio Centennial Leadership Summit

1/21-22 TX San Antonio Fire Conference Benny Hinn

1/22 MO St. Charles Winter Jam 2010

1/23 TX San Antonio Miracle Service Benny Hinn

1/23 OK Yukon Hoppers Gospel Concert

1/23 IL Champaign Winter Jam 2010

1/24 IA Des Moines Winter Jam 2010

1/27 AL Boaz NewSong Christian Rock Concert

1/28 CA San Jose Catholic Charities Centennial Leadership Summit       

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. Commentary on the Lectionary: The Meaning of Jesus’ Death

December 20, Hebrews 10:1-10

I will offer some thoughts about Jesus’ self-sacrifice that might differ from what some people are taught in church. Though many churches present a single explanation for Jesus’ death as true and unequivocal, scholars have shown that for 2000 years Christians have offered a wide range of theories in an effort to understand how God could allow Jesus to be murdered. Initially, Jesus’ followers were ridiculed: If Jesus were the Son of God, why was he humiliated, tortured, and killed? If Jesus had divine powers, why did he not simply come down from the cross? Over the ensuing two millennia, there have been a range of “atonement theories” that have aimed to understand the theological implications of Jesus’ death.

Many people see Jesus’ death as a demand from God for a perfect sacrifice needed to atone for humanity’s sinfulness. This theory raises several difficulties. Among them, first, it suggests that the torture and murder of an innocent person was the will of God. It is hard to reconcile this theory with the notion of God as good and just. Second, while it understandable that people would want to make sacrifices to God – animal, human, and other sacrifices have been nearly universal throughout human history, evidently motivated in part by a feeling of inadequacy in the face of God or the gods – it is not clear why the all-powerful, all-knowing God of the Judeo-Christian tradition would need any sacrifices. Third, the crucifixion story describes people and authorities calling for the execution of an innocent person. Normally, we would deplore such actions, but this atonement theory suggests that the participants in Jesus’ execution were actually doing the will of God. Fourth, if Jesus’ death constituted God-directed violence for “justice,” this could readily serve as a model for people to claim, falsely, that their scapegoating and victimization was “justice” “in the name of God.”

I think we gain some insight from the passage in which Christ said, “Thou [God] hast neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (Hebrews 10:8). Christ has said that God has never desired sacrifices. Yet this week’s reading concludes, “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (10:10). I think Jesus offered his own body as a self-sacrifice, choosing to be a victim of the scapegoating mob and thereby showing that scapegoating is both unjust and universal. As long as people sacrificed innocent individuals to atone for their own sins, there would never be peace and justice. The only way people could recognize that they have participated and continue to participate in scapegoating violence was for a clearly innocent individual to be a willing victim – a resistant victim would be condemned as “guilty,” because the victim’s struggle to avoid harm would be seen as “provoking” and “violent.” Indeed, the mob at Jesus’ execution started to recognize that they had participated in a murder, “beating their breasts” as they left the scene (Luke 23:48).

A crucial lesson is that we all participate in Jesus’ crucifixion when we harm other individuals, and indeed Jesus said, “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). Once we recognize that desires such as self-indulgence, self-justification, and vengeance can blind us to truth and justice, we can start to recognize the temptations that pull us toward scapegoating violence, and we can resist those temptations. And, we can avoid the tragic mistake made by generations of Christians to scapegoat Jews for Jesus’ death. When we identify scapegoating as a perennial curse that has caused massive pain and misery to humans and nonhumans alike, we start to make it possible for Jesus’ self-sacrifice to be the final sacrifice.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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

Why Do Christmas Trees Dry up and Die? http://www.all-creatures.org/sermons97/s16dec90.html 

4. New York Times editorial: Animal, Vegetable, Miserable


Your question and comments are welcome

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