Positioned for Blessing
Unity between animal rights groups and environmental groups was once rare, but they are finally coming together in ever increasing numbers. When it comes to eliminating the precepts of ignorance, God says, “One will chase a thousand but two will chase ten thousand.”
For 13 years, Margaret Henke, chair of California’s Orange County Interfaith Coalition for the Environment (www.ocice.org) has ceaselessly labored to protect everything, She focuses on places like Newport Beach’s estuary providing an ecological nursery for some of the most endangered shorebirds in the world. Even the distant mountains of West Virginia which are being absolutely destroyed for their under burden of coal has not escaped her attention (God bless you Margaret). In conjunction with her co-chair Sherri Loveland, Margaret has helped make the OCICE a place of understanding and cooperation with Orange County People for Animals (OCPA) founded by Rev. Ava Parks. Ava, during her presidency, attained to international prominence. I once was blessed enough to do a joint radio interview with her on the very subject of co-working between animal rights and environmental groups.
Margaret Henke is currently working with Julie Meskell representing the OCPA. They and their membership also cooperate in their annual conference which attracts a steadily increasing flow of newcomers. Last year, through the efforts of Julie Meskell, the conference featured not only vegetarian meals, but vegan.
For far too long environmental and animals rights groups have not greatly understood one another or cooperated. Margaret suggested that the interfaith component has had a lot to do with facilitating that coming together. If we cannot agree on protecting life and the environment, and honoring Spirit what else is there that interfaith communities share as absolutes? If we leave out the spiritual component there is no reason or rhyme why we should be working together in unity. To have groups looking at various issues is one thing but only by cooperating with Spirit and divine instructions can we guarantee the continuum of life for every creature for ever more.
The Apostle Peter, on the day of Pentecost, spoke of our need for the divine message to be received with gladness. Scripture follows his oratory with “and with many other words did Peter testify and exhort saying, ‘save yourself from this untoward generation.’” Acts 2:40 The word untoward means “warped and parched.” As fallen humanity, we are mentally warped and spiritually parched. Satan does not care what bandwagon we are on because he knows, that as Jesus taught, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”
What inspired this message today was a documentary I watched early this morning about fisherman in the Philippines, the environmental disaster they are creating, and the horrendous solution that is being applied to the problem. Here is the story. A few years ago these Pilipino fishermen caught a few fish more than their families could eat and sold them to businesses that would furnish them to customers in Asia. As the demand for these fish increased, over fishing on one of the healthiest coral reefs in the world caused the fish population to drastically decrease. Many fishermen were forced into poverty and moved to the inner cities to survive, but others now being tempted by even higher prices for the few remaining fish resorted to new fishing techniques. They went from fishing these ecological sensitive reefs with hook and line to spreading cyanide onto the coral formations causing stunning and death to their prey and bringing death to those waters. When coral reefs die the entire complex web of life dies with them. No creature is excluded from potential harm and demise. But that’s not the end of the story.
In a grass roots response, environmental groups of mainly young people, sprung up to replace the now lucrative but diminishing fishing operations, which although illegal were functioning without government intervention. The solution these new environmental groups have been introducing is a hog raising industry where very large pigs are kept in very small pens, often in complexes of very small adjoining pens where their hogs are raised for slaughter.
While I honor the willingness to help and their enthusiasm for a resolution, this sad documentary (which was not intended to be so) shows the inability of fallen man to come up with trading one problem for another. Just seeing one hog slaughtered would change most people from a carnivore to an animal rights activist. They don’t go gently into that dark night!
Without depending on spiritual input from the Creator, all our twisted fallen human ideas can result in little more than unintended consequences. John 15:5 As we approach the end of this age, for example, the scripture speaks of nations reeling from perplexity. Luke 21:25 All of God’s answers are gentle, peaceable and tempered by love and kindness and most of all they are simple. While scientists mull over dangerous and difficult theories on how to control carbon dioxide emissions God gave us the simple solution: keeping much of our planet covered with flourishing forests and greenery and of course cutting down on those emissions wherever possible. I see trees as men walking…and planting them like Johnny Appleseed!
Back to my point, environmentalists often have no idea what enormous suffering God’s creatures experience frequently and many animal rights activists never take into account how much suffering animals experience because of environmental degradation and destruction. When the two sides of the same coin can work together “what we have here is a blessing.” Instead of bad conclusions because we didn’t have all the premises on the table we actually can come up with simple solutions that even a child can understand and particularly a child of God, for we “desire the sincere milk of the word that we may grow thereby.” 1Peter 2:2
By speaking the truth in love to one another we grow up into Christ in all things. Eph 4:15b The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation has opened the door to this wonderful convergence as others are beginning to do around the planet. The great Psalmist penned these words. “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity…for there the Lord commanded the blessing even life for ever more.” Psalms 133
We will hear, “Well done you good and faithful servants,” when we allow the sacred words to be the light unto our path. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by food alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” He added, “My words are spirit and they are life.” What a wonderful thing we have available to us: when we welcome the Anointed One into our life He indwells our spirit and not our soul (mind, emotion and will), but we must allow Him to indwell both our spirit and soul. This is where all transformation takes place and God’s great desire is that we would be not only continually inspired, but transformed.
Fallen man is often forced to choose between two evils. God be thanked the sons of God are not forced to choose that dilemma. Our only choice is whether we do things our fallen human way or listen to His still small voice and walk together to where the two streams of animal rights and environmentalism flow together to become the voice of many waters. See Rev 14:2