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Update Newsletters
January 4, 2012

  1. Comment on Last Week’s Essay
  2. Essay: Does God Want Sacrifices? Part 2
  3. The December-January Issue of Peaceable Table Is Online
  4. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
  5. Upcoming Outreach Opportunities

1. Comment on Last Week’s Essay

Aiden McDowell writes:

This is a very balanced view of the matter, and perhaps the most intelligent defense that I've yet read or heard, that God doesn't really take delight in the idea of animal sacrifice. There is strong scriptural authority for the position; for example, Isaiah 1: 13-16. On the other hand, Jesus seemed never to have made an issue of it, in fact stating categorically that "what goes into a man does not defile a man . . ." His contemporaries made routine animal sacrifices at the temple, which must have been a veritable chamber of horrors. Surely he knew what was going on. Of course, even the Jewish temple pales into insignificance when compared with the factory farms (which didn't exist 2000 years ago), from which our animal products come nowadays. These are quite literally visions of hell. But what most disturbs me is that there are few, if any, Christian denominations that ever raise the issue. When I've questioned them about it, they offer a glib response, such as "Jesus ate meat, so why can't we?" Or, "we live in an imperfect world . . .," ignoring the strong exhortation of Jesus himself, that we must "be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect." Knowing what everyone knows today (or ought to know) about how our food is produced, and continuing to be a meat eater, is to live in denial. And it's hard for me to understand how any viable spirituality, whatever you choose to call it, can be compatible with, or based on, denial. Denial is, after all, a lie to oneself.

Then there is the whole matter of the necessity of a "blood sacrifice," which is emphasized in covenantal theology. And vegetables don't bleed. The Calvinist church which I used to attend emphasized it, and never once so much as raised the issue of the unspiritual effects not only of meat eating, but of viewing animals as objects of sacrifice. Christianity is obviously much in need of another reformation. But I don't see anyone coming forward to accomplish it.

2. Essay: Does God Want Sacrifices? Part 2

This is the second essay in a series exploring the question of why the Bible often describes animal sacrifices as activities with which God evidently approves. Last week, I suggested that animal sacrifices were a necessary step toward a world free of sacrificial violence. This week, I will consider the theory, held by many Christians today, that God approved of sacrifices but they are no longer necessary.

The biblical witness reflects a wide range of accounts, and I think people can select passages to support virtually any position on any ethical issue. Indeed, there are many passages in which God seems to insist on animal sacrifices. Further, many passages describe Jesus’ death as a sacrifice, though Christians differ on the purpose of this sacrifice. Many hold that the animal sacrifices of the Hebrew Scriptures and Jesus’ sacrificial death were meant to atone for sin by “balance the scales” of justice.

I find this theory problematic. It violates my fundamental sense of justice that innocent beings – whether non-human animals or Jesus – would be killed to atone for someone else’s sin. Indeed, I would not want to worship a God who demanded such injustice. I might choose to worship such a God out of fear of that God’s wrath, but I would not do so out of respect.

Some argue that sacrifices, particularly Jesus’ sacrifice, were necessary to atone not for specific sins but rather for innate human sinfulness. I will consider that theory next week. Then, I will offer a different theory for Jesus’ sacrifice which, perhaps, will lend insight into the reasons for animal sacrifices in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

3. The December-January Issue of Peaceable Table Is Online

Contents Include:

* A NewsNote describes recent experiments with rats showing that a rat with freedom of movement will repeatedly work to free a caged colleague, even when tempted away by chocolate chips. Afterwards, rescuer and rescued have a celebratory romp!

* David Whiting, an English emigrant to France whom we will feature as a Pioneer in the February, 2012 issue, offers his comments in a Letter on the anti-vegetarian measures currently being enacted there.

* Angela Suarez' delicious Pear and Almost Tart would be one of the first treats to disappear at a Christmas party, or be the perfect light dessert for a family dinner.

* Our December-January Pioneer, Diana Dunningham Chapotin, originally from New Zealand, describes the challenges she posed to her ovo-lacto vegetarian parents in her childhood when she would disrupt dinners or outings by pointing out the problems with consuming dairy and eggs. Now a vegan and activist living in France, she comments with touches of dry humor on the challenges she herself faces there.

To read this issue, go to http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue83.html

Good Will to All,
Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor

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

Our Unchanging God in a New Year 

5. Upcoming Outreach Opportunities

1/12 FL Orlando Winter Jam 2012 Tour Spectacular

1/13 FL Jacksonville Winter Jam 2012 Tour Spectacular

1/14 FL Tampa Winter Jam 2012 Tour Spectacular

1/14-15 AZ Phoenix Rage Music Festival 2012

1/15 GA Atlanta Winter Jam 2012 Tour Spectacular

1/21 OK Yukon The Hoppers Gospel

1/26 MS Biloxi The Rock and Worship Show

1/27 AL Huntsville The Rock and Worship Road Show

1/27-28 FL Miami Benny Hinn Miracle Crusade

1/28 IN Indianapolis The Rock and Worship Road Show

1/29 MN St. Paul The Rock and Worship Road Show

2/2 IL Hoffman Estates The Rock and Worship Road Show

2/2-3 AZ Phoenix Benny Hinn Miracle Crusade

2/3 MI Ypsilanti The Rock and Worship Road Show

2/4 WI Madison The Rock and Worship Road Show

2/9 TX Corpus Christi The Rock and Worship Road Show

3/8-9 NC Charlotte Benny Hinn Miracle Crusade

4/28-29 CT Hartford TABLE Connecticut Vegetarian & Healthy Living Festival

5/20 CA Van Nuys TABLE WorldFest 2012

International events:

1/29 CANADA Alberta Edmonton Third Day Christian Rock Concert

Contact Paris at christian_vegetarian@yahoo.com  if you can 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/

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