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CVA Weekly Newsletter
March 28, 2012

  1.  Activist Feedback
  2. Should We Attend Meat-Eating Churches?
  3. This week’s sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
  4. Car for a Cause

1. Activist Feedback

Trisha, who leafleted at Winter Jam in Nashville on March 11, writes:

I found a fellow Christian vegetarian in Nashville to leaflet with me! We arrived at 4 pm, one hour before the doors opened. There was already a huge crowd because a local Christian radio DJ was there outside doing a pre-concert rally. Jenni and I covered the lines at the 2 entrances with leaflets and then circulated through the huge crowd in front of the DJ’s tent. Jenni being college student was better able to respond to the younger people and I to the parents, youth leaders and "older" people. I found the best way to get a response was to ask the question on the front of the leaflet out loud "Would Jesus eat Meat Today?"

In less than 2 hours we had distributed 1200 leaflets, then picked up the ones that had been thrown on the ground and on top of the trash cans and re-distributed them. It was a positive experience for both of us, and I did notice that more people said they were vegetarians/vegans than in past years!

2. Should We Attend Meat-Eating Churches?

For those of us who regard factory farming as fundamentally sinful and the act of harming any innocent individual as wrong, it is a real dilemma whether to contribute our time, energy, and money to church communities that endorse consuming animal products. In general, our choice of a church community reflects, among other things, our values and our religious convictions. I will offer some reasons against and for belonging to a church community that promotes consuming animal products.

Some of the arguments against are quite obvious. We have limited time, energy, and financial resources. Why dedicate a significant portion of resources to institutions that participate in and even promote profoundly cruelty to living, feeling beings? We might be disinclined to judge those who “know not what they do,” but facts about the evils of factory farming are readily available to anyone with access to the Internet. Further, the animal protection movement is widespread and vocal, and it takes a determined effort for people to remain ignorant.

Though many of us believe that the arguments for a plant-based diet are overwhelming, it is possible for people of good faith to disagree. However, I think it is difficult to countenance a church community that refuses to discuss animal and/or dietary issues. An essential component of following Christ is an honest and thorough exploration of how our actions impact other individuals.

Are there good reasons to consider joining or remaining with an animal-unfriendly church? I think so. For one thing, we all need community, and a church community can be a source of emotional and spiritual support, even if we disagree with most church members when it comes to animal issues. The spiritual journey is often a difficult one, particularly for people struggling with physical or emotional issues, and faith communities can provide support when people feel that God has abandoned them.

We can learn and grow in many ways from omnivorous Christians, and we can also offer our own witness to encourage our faith communities to move toward more animal-friendly living. Often, this must be done carefully, and it should always be done respectfully, but with persistence we can make a difference, as long as the church leadership doesn’t stand in the way. Such discipleship might not make us very popular. Our opinions might even become the subjects of ridicule, but Jesus wasn’t out to win any popularity contests, either.

Next week, I will begin an exploration of the nature of faith, starting with the faith of Paul.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

3. This week’s sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

From Darkness and Death to Light and Life

4. Car for a Cause

Jason writes:

As someone who understands the suffering of countless animals in the world, you understand the importance of protecting the innocent. I have put my blood, sweat and tears into making my car just right and that is why I have decided to auction the car and give every penny to the non-profit New Harvest. Over the next forty years, we will need to produce the same amount of food we have produced over the last eight thousand years and we won't be able to do it without some smart solutions. This solution would do more for the environment than if the entire world traded their cars for bicycles, could prevent rather than cause heart attacks and would be able to feed a hungry world.

Please take a look and help spread the word. Anything you can do to help:
www.carforacause.org <http://www.carforacause.org>

[Editor’s note: New Harvest sponsors research into the development of in vitro meat.]  

Your question and comments are welcome

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