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CVA Weekly Newsletter
October 10, 2012

  1. Job and the Theodicy Problem, part 5

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

  3. The October Peaceable Table Is Now Online

1. Job and the Theodicy Problem, part 5
In previous essays, I’ve discussed how Job was treated unfairly by God, raising questions about God’s goodness. Despite Job’s experience and the experiences of countless human and nonhumans who are victims of natural or man-made disasters, I suggest that it is reasonable to believe that God cares about Creation.
In the Book of Job, God rewards Job’s faithfulness by restoring him with children and doubling his wealth. While few of us would be satisfied to have the children we have raised with love and affection replaced with other children, this makes sense in the context of that ancient culture, in which children were seen primarily as possessions who would care for elderly parents and carry on the family line. Therefore, it seems to me that the story shows God’s siding with Job, though we contemporary readers might find the compensation for Job’s losses to be insufficient.
I think there is a theme of concern for victims throughout the Bible, though there are troubling exceptions. There are many teachings in the Hebrew Scriptures about caring for those who are weak, orphaned, widowed, or otherwise vulnerable, particularly in the writings of the later prophets. Jesus’ ministry repeatedly calls for compassion rather than victimization, exemplified by his declaration, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:13, 12:7). However, the Hebrew Scriptures also describe divinely ordained slaughter of the peoples of Canaan, and I know of no easy way to reconcile these accounts of violence with the notion of a loving and merciful God.
On what grounds, then, can I say that God cares about Creation? I will offer more thoughts on this question next week.
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

2. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
Are Any Humans in the Bible Really Righteous?

3. The October Peaceable Table Is Now Online
Contents include:
* The Editor's Corner Guest Essay, one of the two special pieces mentioned above, is entitled "The Elephant Wake for a Human Being."  I would never have believed there could be such a thing, but there's no question that two separate families of elephants marched for many hours to meet for a wake for "elephant whisperer" Lawrence Anthony, who had saved their lives and their sanity.  This version of the story, by Rod Kirby, not only tells the story of the wake but quotes an account from Anthony himself describing how his relationship with the elephants began.
*  in an Unset Gem, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who was long in the power of a system run by people who had let evil take them over, wisely reminds us that it is not a matter of "evil people" over against "good people," but that the dividing line is within each human heart.
* On September 18 The New York Times featured a mini-debate between two nutrition experts, one (Colin Campbell) supporting and one (Nancy Rodriguez) opposing a vegan diet. Guess which one is funded (in part) by the meat and egg and dairy industries? See the NewsNotes. 
* Thanks to subscriber Gerald Niles, we have a short Pioneer essay on a little-known Italian Renaissance figure, Alvise Cornaro, a onetime-sick man who in his thirties adopted a vegetarian diet for health reasons, and lived healthily to nearly 100.
* The October My Pilgrimage story "Being a Vegan Kid" (the other special piece) is by one Ellen Green, an extraordinary teenager who has been vegan all her life.  In the first installment, written when she was twelve, she tells some of her clever comebacks to the bullies giving her a hard time (e.g., using the Jedi mind trick hand-wave gesture, she says "You do not want to say something stupid in a useless attempt to annoy me again . . . . You want to sit down and be quiet.")  In her second installment, written this fall just before going off to college at eighteen, she passes on some of the valuable things she has learned during the intervening years.  
* One of Angela Suarez' Recipes is an interesting and appealing variant on the "Cannellini (beans) and Butternut Squash" recipe she featured in an earlier column.  The other is a spiced treat guaranteed to please canine friends.
* The Young Readers' Review features the newest title by Carl Hiaason, author of Hoot (the film was reviewed in the June 2006 PT).  Chomp tells of the adventures of a father-son team of animal wranglers, together with the son's young friend who is in flight from her abusive father, working on a questionable reality TV show being made in the Everglades.
To read this issue, go to:
http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue91.html .

Don't hesitate to contact us with your comments on this issue and/or your suggestions for the next one.
Toward the Peaceable Kingdom,
Gracia Fay Ellwood
Editor, The Peaceable Table  

Your question and comments are welcome

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