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Update Newsletters
27 August 2006 Issue

1. Addendum
2. Leafleting Opportunities
3. Getting Our Message into Churches
4. Christianity and Violence

1. Addendum: Regarding the study on the benefits of a plant-based diet for diabetes control mentioned last week, the source of the study and report was Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine www.pcrm.org.

2. Leafleting Opportunities

A. Feedback: On Sunday 20 August 2006 I stood outside for and hour in front of the Asheville Civic Center and passed out leaflets about the Christian Vegetarian Association. Things went so well I only had but two people resist what I was doing; I expected a lot more than that. In fact, my brother and I ran out of CVA booklets! It was a hit!

I got to explain to people about why the CVA exists and what our mission is in life; it was a most gratifying experience. To anyone who wants to feel important and used by God, I have one thing to say: Pass out leaflets for CVA!!! The only time I've ever felt better was when I lead my friend to Christ...Not much can top the feeling that another animal is being saved.

Thank you for letting me be a part of this and, please, alert me of future opportunities to pass out leaflets at musical events, etc.

In His Love,
Jessica Blalock

B. Upcoming Events
9/1 MO Kansas City: Rock the Light Festival Casting Crowns
9/1 MA Boston: An Evening with Joel Olsteen
9/1-3 SD Sioux Falls: LifeLight Festival-Huge! Free!
9/8-9 WI: Milwaukee Promise Keepers
9/8 AZ Phoenix: An Evening with Joel Olsteen
9/8 WA Seattle: Gaithers Homecoming Tour
9/9 OR Portland: Gaithers Homecoming Tour
9/9 UT Logan: Time Out for Women Christian Conference
9/9 NY Albany: Time Out for Women Christian Conference
9/10 OH Galloway: ShoutFest Christian Concert Series
9/15-16 MI Grand Rapids: Promise Keepers
9/15 ID Boise: Time Out for Couples Christian Conference
9/17 KY Paducah: ShoutFest Christian Concert Series
9/21 MN Minneapolis: The Gathering Women with Ministry in Focus Conference
9/23-24 KY Louisville: Promise Keepers
9/30 NC Charlottesville: Vegetarian Festival - TABLE

C. 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.

3. Getting Our Message into Churches

Lucas Patterson writes: I've been a Seventh-day Adventist my entire life and we're considered a pretty conservative church. I guarantee you Adventists are more open to the vegetarian message than almost any other church. Statistically, more than a third of all Adventists are already vegetarians. Adventists don't eat unclean meats (pork, shellfish, etc.) as mentioned in the Old Testament, and taking the next step -- eating no meat at all -- doesn't represent that big of a commitment or change. We have a very strong health message and that's the reason so many Adventists are vegetarians ... because our body is the temple of God. We're all the time doing vegetarian cooking classes and potlucks at my church have always been exclusively meat-free. So if I were going to start with any church in terms of spreading the CVA message, I'd start with Adventists.

4. Christianity and Violence

114. Atonement Theology, part 1: Leading Theories*
[This series reflects my views and not "official" CVA positions. It is being archived at http://www.christianveg.com/violence_view.htm.]

Jesus’ death was a scandal to early Christians. If he were really the son of God who could work miracles, why did he allow himself to be humiliated, tortured, and murdered? Why did he not walk away from the cross? How could the son of God be executed like a common criminal? Christians, in struggling with these questions, have proposed various atonement theories that suggest that Jesus died to atone for human misdeeds.

As the next essays will show, currently popular atonement theologies have problematic theological, sociological, and political implications. I will then describe J. Denny Weaver’s formulation for atonement theology, which I find very compelling, in part because it is consistent with the notion that God is all about love and mercy and not about violence and scapegoating.

Christus Victor (Christ the victor) was the predominant atonement theology of the early church, and it has taken two forms. In the ransom version, the devil once held human souls in captivity. God ransomed the release of human souls by offering up Jesus as ransom payment, and Jesus’ death appeared to be a victory for evil. However, God had deceived the devil, and in raising Jesus from the dead, there was victory for Jesus and humanity.

Another Christus Victor theology has depicted a cosmic battle in which Jesus was killed during the battle between God and the devil. The resurrection constituted a victory for God and definitely placed God as ruler of the Universe.

These Christus Victor images are not very popular today. The ransom theory posits that the devil has the power and authority to demand a ransom of God, which, critics have argued, belittles God. Similarly, the cosmic battle theory uncomfortably depicts the devil with power commensurate with that of God. Next week, we will turn to atonement theories that are far more popular today, which remove the devil from the drama. Please keep in mind the Christus Victor image, however, because the atonement theology that Weaver proposes includes a substantially modified notion of Christus Victor.

* The upcoming series of essays on atonement theologies has been heavily informed by J. Denny Weaver’s article “Violence in Christian Theology” Cross Currents July 2001.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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