to humans, to animals, to our environment, to our economy, to our education, to our finances, and to our health
By: Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman
I Go to Church to Find Peace; Instead I Find Annoyance and Anger
When people find themselves becoming annoyed and angry in church, instead of finding peace, there is something terribly wrong with the church. The church is to be a sanctuary where people can believe in the hope of a better tomorrow, where there is no war or strife or pain or suffering or corruption. It should be a place where people seek to live in the heavenly will of God, and leave their sins behind.
But alas, far too many churches choose to live in the sins and corruption of this world, and ignore the peacemaking teachings of Jesus. Such is the case that Janet told us about:
The ONLY reason I was going to church is because otherwise my father won't go to church. He needs to be more spiritual and I want to support him. That being said, I live in a very rural area where there are more cattle than people and hunting is very common. My church leader talks about meat non-stop making it very hard to sit there.
More than 1/2 of all the sermons have something to do with consuming flesh. My sister (who is a born again vegetarian), won't even go to church there anymore. Every church get-together centers on meat exclusively. It makes me CRAZY! They wonder why I refuse to participate in things and take it personal, but all my concerns go nowhere with them.
Anyway, I have given the pastor literature and even a DVD made by CVA. Frank's in it......:) The very next week after giving him the stuff, he mentions during service that our church is having a "hunting getaway weekend" where about 10 of our members go hunting for elk (or I'm sure whatever other helpless animal happens to cross their path). He joked that whatever they kill they'll share with all of us. It really, really made my blood boil. Umm, this is church right? What happened to compassion?
The last thing we do before service is over is we all come across the isles and hold hands as we have a last prayer. You will never guess what the prayer consisted of.......
He actually said "Lord, protect them as they go on this hunt and ensure that they bring back plenty of food for our congregation. Protect them so they don't get hurt or misguided".
I was so angry. In church...the cuss words flying around my head... I let my hands drop and left in the middle of the prayer. I absolutely refuse to pray for that! And I have not since been back.
My daughter still has her youth groups there and still they refuse to acknowledge or understand her vegetarianism. No one has to buy their own burgers at the ole' church cook out except for my daughter. They think my daughter and I think we're better then everyone else, when all we want is to live in kindness like Jesus would want. It is they who are arrogant to think things revolve around them as they deliberately cause cruelty and indifference in the world that desperately needs love.
There are other churches around here but they are basically the same. I need so much to find a kind church. Some place where I can be at peace. I want to go and worship my God with people who love the same thing. Life. That shouldn't be as hard as it is. Going to church is a real burden to my soul and that is exactly the opposite of what it should be. I should find happiness there and instead I find annoyance and anger.
Churches need to wake up to the fact that they are causing millions of people, like Janet, to suffer, and leave the church. They need to listen to their own words as they recite the Lord's Prayer. It is time for the church to live in the heavenly will or our Father here on earth, just as it is in heaven, where there is no mourning of pain or death (Revelation 21:4).
It's time for the church to take a stand against the inflicting of pain and suffering upon animals, and the people who care about them.
It's time for the church to end their silence and acquiescence to the physical violence inflicted upon animals, and the emotional violence that this inflicts upon humans.
The intent of this series is to wake up and encourage the Church to greater works of love and compassion (John 14:12). It is not to condemn the Church, in general, or any individual, any more than Jesus condemned the woman caught in adultery. Jesus said to her, "...go your way. From now on sin no more." (John 8:11) And this is our message to the Church: Recognize our sins of the past and go forth seeking to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48), correcting the sins of the past, for that is the only way we can truly show the world that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, might, and mind, including the whole of creation, which includes our neighbors whom we are to love as ourselves.
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