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Update Newsletters
19 November 2006 Issue

1. Leafleting Feedback

2. Letter to the Editor

3. November Issue of The Peaceable Table

4. Christianity and Violence: Spiritual Healing – The Invalid Man

1. Leafleting Feedback
Anne, leafleting in Toronto, writes: Wow! I'm back in Ottawa and what an amazing experience I've had! Just Give Me Jesus was a two day event at The Air Canada Centre in Toronto. I met up with two other CVA representatives John and Antoine.

We had almost two boxes of leaflets [600 total] to hand out between us. Within an hour my leaflets had all gone. There were times when I couldn’t hand them out fast enough! John and Antoine found people as willing to take the literature as I had.

All for Him,

Anne

Jan Fredericks, leafleting at Third Day Christian Rock in East Rutherford, NJ, writes: I used the whole box you sent. I had some interesting comments - Larry, gave me a ticket to see the concert. I went in to see most of the bands, the alter call, worship and some of Autumn Blaze. I also met some Sisters in their white habits and talked with them outside. They were in the worship team praising the Lord. It was good to have fellowship with the people I met. It was quite a night. I encouraged a lot of people and youth to share the booklets with their pastor and/or church and many said they would.

2. Letter to the Editor
Deming Headlight 11/3/06

Mr. Insko believes that if we stopped killing animals, they would multiple out-of-control. Yet, animal populations existed in a balance for eons before humankind entered the picture, thanks to natural predators. We don't have to harm animals, and we certainly don't have to force them to endure the endless pain and misery of the modern factory farm.

Mr. Insko wonders "why our creator put all those animals on earth, if not for human use." According to the Bible, all creation as vegetarian (Genesis 1:29-30), so the Bible teaches that animals were not created for human use. Perhaps God is glorified by the rich diversity of life and by the beauty of each individual creature. I wonder whether this is a possibility that Mr. Insko can grasp.

Stephen Kaufman, M.D.,

chair, Christian Vegetarian Association
www.christianveg.com 

3. November Issue of The Peaceable Table
This issue includes an article about Thanksgiving, that feast of carnivorism and overeating. The editorial considers what it means to celebrate a feast of abundant life--for all. Newsnotes includes a report of an experiment in which three elephants were offered an elephant-sized mirror to check themselves out. Which they did. . . . The Reviews section includes one on the animal-friendly animated film Open Season, which has, happily, been very successful. This month's Pilgrimage recounts the story of the Myers family's move to nonviolent eating

You can read this issue online at http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue26.html 

Love to all beings,
Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor

4. Christianity and Violence: Spiritual Healing – The Invalid Man
[This series reflects my views and not "official" CVA positions. It is being archived at http://www.christianveg.com/violence_view.htm.]

John chapter 5 describes Jesus healing a man who has been an invalid for 38 years. The man was among “a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed” (John 5:2) who were at a pool “by the Sheep Gate” (John 5:2), which was the gate through which the sheep destined for sacrifice passed. I agree with Gil Bailey that the juxtaposition of these people and the Sheep Gate was not accidental.1 Ascribing guilt to those with infirmities is a kind of scapegoating, since people regarded infirmity as a sign that the infirmed person or an ancestor had sinned.

What I find most remarkable about this story is the scene in the temple subsequent to Jesus’ healing. Jesus found the former invalid there and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you” (John 5:14). The man evidently planned to make a sacrifice in the temple, presumably to thank God for his good fortune and to reduce the risk that he would once again receive God’s wrath in the form of an infirmity. However, Jesus said, “Sin no more”. What was the man’s sin? I do not think the man’s sin was related to his previous infirmity, because Jesus said that the man blind from birth (John chapter 9) was not blind on account of his own sin or that of his parents. While disease can be a consequence of sin (e.g., gluttony), the notion of disease as divine punishment for sin seems to run counter to the image of God as loving and forgiving. Furthermore, if those with diseases and infirmities were suffering the consequences of divine punishment, then the Son’s healing would, in effect, be undermining the will of the Father.

I think that we may ascertain the man’s sin by noting what the man was doing – participating in sacrifice. Therefore, I think the “sin” to which Jesus referred was sacrifice itself. The man’s experience of God’s power through Jesus should have provided faith in God’s love and goodness; he should not have needed to kill innocent animals in order to satisfy God.

Sacrifice as a means to approach God or to thank God shows a lack of faith in God’s love. Consequently, Jesus warned the man to cease sacrificing, lest something worse befall him. That something is having one’s life grounded on the lie that we can curry God’s favor by sacrificing innocent victims. Wholeness is much more about living with integrity than about being able to walk. Therefore, the story describes how, after this meeting with Jesus in the temple, the man told everyone how Jesus had healed him (John 5:15). Formerly disabled, the man was now truly whole, both physically and spiritually.

1. Bailie, Gil. The Gospel of John [audiotape series]. Glen Ellen, CA: The Cornerstone Forum, undated.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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