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27 July 2010 Issue

1. Book Review

2. Commentary on the Lectionary – Colossians 3:11 (August 1): Child Abuse

3. Activist Opportunities

4. From This Month’s Issue of The Peaceable Table

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

If you love Jesus, work for justice. Anyone can honk. – Bumper sticker (cited in Can Homophobia Be Cured? By Bruce Hilton)

1. Book Review

Sue Cross. On The Menu: Animal Welfare, $13.99.

This thorough book looks at virtually all the kinds of animals that humans eat – which includes just about every nonhuman creature on earth – and discusses the nature of those animals. From insects to farmed mammals, Cross explores the anatomy, physiology, and social make-up of a wide range of animals. In particular, she provides evidence for their ability to feel pain and suffer. Further, Cross shows that the way animals are raised for food cause in modern factory farms is particularly miserable for many creatures. This book provides readers with factual information that can counter claims that capturing, growing, and killing animals – particularly “lower” animals such as crustaceans – raises no serious moral issues.

For more information, go to www.onthemenu-animalwelfare.co.uk.

2. Commentary on the Lectionary – Colossians 3:11 (August 1): Child Abuse

This passage ends with the writer of Colossians stating, “Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.”

I think Christ being “in all” is an important observation. All living things have the spark of life, which I believe comes from God. We all play a part in the universal drama of life, and I believe we all have a purpose. To kill or wound God’s creatures unnecessarily (and almost all harm to God’s creatures in developed countries is unnecessary) undermines their role in God’s mysterious plan.

Why do so many Christians, who should reflect God’s love and compassion, endorse violence, destructiveness, and killing? I think nearly all children have a natural affinity to animals, but our animal-exploiting, violent culture teaches its children early on that they must repress those feelings or risk being alienated from family, friends, and the community-at-large. Children are forced to eat animals “or you won’t get your dessert,” forced to hunt or be taunted as a “sissy,” and forced to relinquish to the slaughterhouses animals they have loved and nurtured since infancy. These children are being abused, just as children who are taught to despise children of different ethnicities are being abused.

In stifling children’s natural empathy with animals, our culture demonstrates that it values the prerogative to abuse animals more than it values the well-being of its children. Parents and others often believe that their actions are in the best interests of the children, but the consequences of the abuse are clear and profound. For the animals, the consequences are disastrous, because each successive generation, taught to be callous, torments untold billions of animals. For people, the abuse has at least two major consequences. First, it severs ties with a large part of the animal world. Most humans are enemies of countless creatures who could and should be our friends. People who directly or indirectly harm animals might act friendly toward animals, but those who harm animals must recognize at some level of consciousness that they are not true friends of animals.

Second, by teaching children to join the larger culture in abusing animals, children develop contempt for animals – otherwise they would have difficulty victimizing the animals. This contempt involves generating caricatures of animals or seeing animals as unfeeling objects. Victimizers want to see themselves as fundamentally different from their victims, but we are animals. To the degree that we consider nonhuman beings as fundamentally different from ourselves, we deny a part of our own natures. The problem is that such repression causes anxiety, because the repressed truth threatens to surface at any time. Repressed knowledge invariably manifests itself, but in perverse ways. We generally despise in others what we aim to repress in ourselves, such as powerful, unwanted sexual or violent desires. As we project those parts of our psyches that we don’t want onto other individuals, we create caricatures that misrepresent who they really are. When a person commits a violent act, people often remark that the offender “acted like an animal.” Yet gratuitous violence is a distinctly human trait, while animals kill to eat, and they generally cease fighting among themselves when one shows submission.

In summary, humanity’s desires to victimize other individuals is a major reason that we feel anxious, alienated, and disconnected from other beings, particularly animals, and from ourselves. We cannot be at peace with ourselves or with the world as long as we directly or indirectly harm other individuals.

If Christ is “in all,” then it seems to follow that our entire being is a reflection of Christ. Just as Jesus was genuinely tempted in the desert, we have choices about which desires we gratify. When we choose not to gratify certain desires that can separate us from God, we should not do so by denying that those desires exist or by blaming other individuals for those desires. Rather, we should acknowledge our potentially harmful desires as part of what it means to be human in a fallen world. We should prayerfully seek the strength to live righteously and offer thanks for the opportunity to serve God both dutifully and joyously.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

3. Activist Opportunities

Upcoming Outreach Opportunities  

08/2 OH Columbus Jeremy Camp Christian Rock Concert

08/4-7 NH Gilford Soulfest Christian RockFestival

08/5-7 TX Midland Rock The Desert Festival 2010

08/5 TX Dallas Sleeping Giant Christian Rock Concert

08/6-8 IL Decatur Decatur Celebration Street Festival

08/7 MA Agawam Jeremy Camp Christian Rock Concert

08/7 IL Marion Francesc Battisteli Christian Concert

08/7 TN Fayetteville Stellar Kart Christian Rock Concert

08/8 NY Binghamton Jars of Clay Christian Rock Concert

08/9 FL Jacksonville Sleeping Giant Christian Rock Concert

08/13 MD Towson Sleeping Giant Christian Rock Concert

08/14 OH Dayton Sleeping Giant Christian Rock Concert

08/14 IL Peoria Heights Francesca Battistela Christian Concert

08/14 MT Great Falls Addison Road Christian Rock Concert

08/15 CO Denver Faith Day with Jeremy Camp at Coor's Field

08/17 MO St. Louis Sleeping Giant Christian Rock Concert

08/20-21 TX Dallas Women of Faith Conference

08/21 VA Fairfax DC Fest Christian Rock Festival

08/28 WA Vancouver Fish Fest Christian Rock Fest

09/2 MN St Paul Minnesota State Fair MercyMe, Jeremy Camp Christian Concert

09/4 TX San Angelo Unite & Conquer Festival

09/4-5 NJ Frenchtown TABLE Revelation Generation Music Fest

09/10 FL Orlando Jars of Clay Christian Rock Concert

09/12 PA Philadelphia TABLE GreenFest Philly

09/24-26 IL Rosemont Chicago Harvest Festival

10/2 FL Tampa TABLE Tampa Bay Veg Fest

10/2-3 CA San Francisco TABLE World Vegetarian Festival

10/23 FL Tampa TABLE Central Florida VegFest

11/6 FL Jacksonville TABLE Northeast Florida Veg Fest

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. From This Month’s Issue of The Peaceable Table

* The Editorial, “Rise, Peter, Kill and Eat,” deals with the Biblical story of the apostle Peter’s vision of a sheet full of animals, suspended by its four corners, descending from heaven, while a voice utters the words of the title. Christians who oppose vegetarianism may cite this story to make their case, but Robert Ellwood has some critical questions for them.

* A NewsNote give us the good news that a law has been passed in Ireland to ban a 150-year-old stag hunt.

* In this month’s Glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom we see an orphaned grizzly bear cub who was adopted by a naturalist. Now an 800-pound giant, he has become a member of the family.

* In one of the Book Reviews we are invited to meet the challenges posed by The Horse Boy, an account of the healing of the author’s autistic son through participation in a shamanic ritual which included a reindeer “sacrifice.”

* Our Pioneer for July is Wulfstan, a medieval churchman who combined administrative and political skill with great compassion for humans and animals alike--compassion that motivated him, in a flash of insight, to vow to eat no flesh.

* While our Recipe editor, Angela Suarez, is on vacation this month, nutritionist-activist Jennifer Raymond is providing recipes. One of them, for African Bean Soup, uses ingredients that are both familiar to us and characteristic of the cuisine of that continent.

To read this issue, go to on http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue67.html.

Submissions and suggestions are invited for the August-September issue, which will appear in two months.

Toward the Peaceable Kingdom on Earth,
Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor

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

Danial, God’s Man in the Field (Part II)


Your question and comments are welcome

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