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CVA Weekly Newsletter
February 23, 2012

  1. Activist Feedback
  2. Essay: The Importance of Monotheism
  3. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

1. Activist Feedback
Jennifer, with Jen and Jen’s son Hung (12), leafleted at the Women of Faith event on February 18 in Billings, MT. She writes:
When we got there, there was a long lineup. We started leafleting right away to people were in line. After a while there was no queue, we had to scatter to approach people from different directions. When our booklets were about to run out, I found booklets on top of the garbage bin, and some even threw them in the garbage bin. So I collected the discarded booklets and we finished them all in an hour.
We always approached people with "do you want a brochure," and many took it. Some looked at the title and refused, and I always smiled at the person with a "thank you". It's okay to say no, but it's not okay to dump it in the trash, because it has Jesus' name on it! Overall, it was successful, considering it's Montana and some of the conference attendees told us they are ranchers.
All the 300 booklets found their way to people who now get to face the factory farming facts and thought provoking questions each of them need to answer.
With God's Love,

Upcoming Outreach Opportunities
3/1       ID Boise           The Rock and Worship Road Show
3/2       OR Portland        The Rock and Worship Road Show
3/2-3         OK Tulsa           Extraordinary Women Conference
3/2-3         TX San Antonio          Acquire The Fire Youth Conference
3/3       WA Seattle              The Rock and Worship Road Show
3/3       WA Spokane              The Rock and Worship Road Show
3/3       NY Rochester       Women of Faith Dream On For Teen Girls!
3/3       LA Shreveport      Women of Faith One Day
3/8-9         NC Charlotte       Benny Hinn Miracle Crusade
3/9       CA San Diego       The Rock and Worship Road Show
3/9-10    IN Muncie               Acquire The Fire Youth Conference
3/10      FL Tampa           TABLE Bark in the Park
3/10      CA Sacramento      The Rock and Worship Road Show
3/10          WI Milwaukee       Women of Faith Dream On For Teen Girls!
3/11      CA Fresno               The Rock and Worship Road Show
6/23      VA Richmond             TABLE Richmond Vegetarian Festival
3/15-17   NC Winston-Salem        Joyce Meyers Ministries Conference
3/16-17   SC Greenville      Extraordinary Women Conference
3/16-17   OK Tulsa           Acquire The Fire Youth Conference
3/17      FL Miami           Women of Faith One Day
3/17      PA Pittsburgh      Women of Faith Dream On For Teen Girls!
3/23-24   NC Greensboro      Acquire the Fire Youth Conference
3/23-24   CA San Diego       Acquire the Fire Youth Conference
3/24      IN Indianapolis         Women of Faith Dream On For Teen Girls
3/24      NV Las Vegas       Women of Faith One Day Conference
3/30-31   MO Cape Girardeau Extraordinary Women Conference
3/31      TX Austin               Women of Faith Dream on For Teen Girls
3/31      KS Wichita              Women of Faith One Day
3/31      MD Baltimore       Women of Faith One Day
3/31      TX Austin               TABLE Texas Veg Fest
4/22      CA San Diego       TABLE EarthWorks' EarthFair 2012
4/22      MO St. Louis       TABLE Earth Day Festival
4/28-29   CT Hartford             TABLE Connecticut Vegetarian & Healthy
                                    Living Festival
5/20      CA Van Nuys        TABLE WorldFest 2012

2. Essay: The Importance of Monotheism
The First Commandment mandates that the Hebrews were to worship only one God, which was a radical departure from the polytheism that characterized other ancient religions. For one thing, monotheism made it more difficult for the ancient Hebrews to project their own desires and conflicts onto God. People believing in polytheism could envision their own rivalries and conflicts as having parallels in the rivalries and conflicts among the gods. With only one God, it was harder for the ancient Hebrews to defend bitter rivalries or vengeful sentiments by pointing to analogous squabbles among deities.
The ancient Hebrews’ monotheistic outlook did not guarantee an end to scapegoating, however, because they still saw God as multifaceted. God could still be angry and jealous, as well as loving and compassionate. Consequently, the ancient Hebrews feared God’s anger just as they took comfort in God’s general sentiment of love and concern for the Hebrew people.
Despite numerous regressions, the Bible gradually reveals an image of God as loving all creation, from the early Hebrew accounts of God’s concern for the “chosen people,” to the later prophets who often described God’s concern for all victims, to the New Testament stories about Jesus reflecting a God of boundless love. Benefiting from the Judeo-Christian revelation, and perhaps aided by the Holy Spirit, today we have opportunities for a broader understanding of God’s love than did most people in the past. It is possible that future generations will have an even greater grasp of God’s love.
People have always tended to envision their gods in anthropomorphic terms. In other words, people have created gods in their own image, believing that their gods have human attributes and human desires. In contrast, I think that monotheism favors seeing God as having only one essence. Perhaps one reason that the ancient Hebrews were repeatedly drawn to worship pagan gods was that they had difficulty seeing God as having but one essence. Polytheism makes it easier to regard the gods as having diverse and conflicting attributes and desires, because each god can manifest a distinctive personality trait. However, I think the common practice of seeing God as a single person somewhat misses the point of monotheism, because this view permits people to regard God as having many personality traits. Such a god somewhat resembles polytheistic deities, with the varied personalities of polytheistic gods melded into the multiple attributes of one deity.
Belief in multiple gods or in one God with multiple personality traits can facilitate scapegoating, because there are no absolute standards to guide values and behavior. People may pick and choose among a range of deities or divine attributes to admire and worship. One day, people can admire a god known for compassion and mercy, and they may attend to the needs of weak and vulnerable individuals. The next day, agitated by a crisis, the people can convince each other that they should admire a god known for wrathful vengeance, and proceed to scapegoat those same weak and vulnerable individuals. Monotheism undermines, but does not eliminate, such fickleness.
Next week, I will reflect on what might be the single essence of God in a truly monotheistic faith.
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

 3. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
Learning to See the True Intent of Man’s Heart (Part V) 

Your question and comments are welcome

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