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Update Newsletters
9 July 2006 Issue

1. Idea for Getting Our Message Into Churches

2. Sustaining CVA Membership

3. Leafleting Feedback

4. HSUS Pain and Distress Report

5. Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence: "I desire mercy and not sacrifice."

1. An Ideas for Getting Our Message Into Churches
Leia writes: Churches are obsessed with BBQs. Host a vegetarian BBQ and invite churches. Have pamphlets ready and live by example!

2. CVA Sustaining Membership
The CVA offers Sustaining Membership to those paying our $25 annual subscription. In addition to the weekly e-newsletter available to all members, Sustaining Members receive daily messages that consist of inspirational comments, biblical commentary, health tips, an advice column, and recipes.

To become a Sustaining Member, go to our membership page, and fill out the form, which will take you to the dues-paying section. Or, you can send a check to CVA, PO Box 201791, Cleveland, OH 44120. Donations to the CVA are tax-deductible.

3. Leafleting Feedback
Carol, who leafleted at a Joyce Meyers Conference in Dallas on June 8, writes: This was a great venue - most of the women (and a few men there) were very receptive to the vegetarian leaflet and appreciative of the recipes. Some people provided great feedback though and only one person confronted me by saying that the Bible says that we should eat meat. It was a very friendly, positive environment to leaflet overall.

To find out about all upcoming leafleting and tabling opportunities in your area, join the CVA Calendar Group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group.christian_vegetarian/. Read the home page, and then join. You will then be able to log in anytime to identify upcoming events in your region. Contact Paris at christian_vegetarian@yahoo.com if you might be able to help.

4. HSUS Pain and Distress Report
The Humane Society of the United States offers, free of charge, the quarterly Pain and Distress Report. Go to http://www.hsus.org/animals_in_research/pain_distress/  to subscribe and review past issues.

5. Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence: “I Desire Mercy and Not Sacrifice”

[This series reflects my views and not "official" CVA positions. It is being archived at http://www.christianveg.com/violence_view.htm.]

Did Jesus condone sacred violence? While earlier writings in the Hebrew Scriptures described instructions from God concerning human and animal sacrifices, the later prophets condemned animal sacrifices. (See parts 19 & 23.) Jesus echoed Hosea 6:6 when he said, “Go and learn what this means ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mt 9:13). In this passage, Jesus defended his eating with tax collectors and sinners, whom the people despised. The people scapegoated these people by ostracizing them, but Jesus had compassion for them.

Jesus expanded on this theme in Mt 12:5-7. In response to the priests criticizing his disciples for plucking heads of grain on the Sabbath in order to eat, he said, “…have you not read in the law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.” Though Jesus was evidently referring specifically to his “guiltless” disciples, I think that Jesus was providing a more profound teaching.

First, righteousness is not determined by temple practices, and a principle function of the temple was to perform animal sacrifices. Second, if people were merciful, they would not engage in “sacred” violence. Consequently they would not condemn the guiltless, which is what happens whenever they become embroiled in scapegoating. Significantly, animals were the guiltless victims of the sacrificial cult in Jesus’ time. It is noteworthy that, in disrupting the animal sacrifices in the Temple, Jesus liberated the animals as well as turned over the money-changers’ tables (John 2:15).

Next week, we will explore Paul’s letter to the Romans, in which he said, “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (12:1).

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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