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Update Newsletters
21 January 2007 Issue

1. CVA Podcasts
2. CVA Sustaining Members
3. Letter from Member
4. CVA Activism
5. New Veg Recipe Sites
6. Christianity and Violence: Parables

1. CVA Podcasts
Thanks to the dedication of Kathy Vander Kaay, we are resuming podcasts, which can be viewed at http://www.all-creatures.org/cva/podcast/index.htm.
Thanks, Kathy!

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 the Take Heart! daily e-messages, which
include 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.

"I wish I had subscribed earlier." ~ Charlie, Wisconsin

3. Letter from Member
I want to thank you for the gift of your book [Good News for All Creation by Stephen Kaufman and Nathan Braun] which I received in yesterday's mail. I am very grateful to receive it, and you were most generous to send it. It is
a very impressive book, compassionate and yet bold, and full of extremely helpful resources. The section on "Interacting with Family & Friends" will be so useful!

Additionally, I have been very moved by the CVA's booklet "Honoring God's Creation." After reading it, as well as Fr. John Dear's booklet "Christianity & Vegetarianism," I knew that I could no longer support the meat, dairy, and egg industries. My decision was made right then and there, and I can joyfully say there's no looking back!

What I have learned I hope to share with others, and I plan on starting in my church. We have a strong leaning toward issues of peace and justice, and so I believe that the message of Christian vegetarianism/veganism--with all
of the reasons undergirding it--will really resonate. It's great to know the CVA is there as a resource, and I'm excited about introducing people to this wonderful organization. And so on that note, I want to say thank you for your important work and that of the CVA. It IS making a difference!

Sincerely,

Catherine

"He has put a new song in my mouth..." Psalm 40:3

4. CVA Activism
Vaughan writes: I wanted to let you know we had a very successful brochure distribution of "Honoring God's Creation" on Jan 14th at the Desoto, Mississippi Convention Center. This was for a large crowd that
gathered for the scheduled MS Southaven. "Winter Jam Tour". I estimate we distributed well over 1,200 brochures, thanks to our team's efforts.

I did encounter one large Marine type of guy who came running up to me fairly irate and confrontationally. He asked me if the info in the brochure "was biblical" and would "God want me to distribute it". Realizing I hadn't had a conversation directly with God about this, I explained my concerns about compassion and mercy regarding factory farming and the other multitude of problems excess meat eating manifests (health, ecology, etc). After about 4 minutes of  talking together, he shook my hand twice in a respectful manner before we parted. I'm confident he will read the contents in detail and learn valuable info by doing so. It was a pleasure to turn a potential confrontation into a sharing and learning experience.

We knew to get their early and it was to our benefit. There was a huge line of youngsters waiting to get in so we traversed the entire group. Getting the brochures gave them something to chew on while waiting in line
(pardon the pun).

Upcoming Events

1/28 CA San Jose Chris Tomlin Christian Rock Concert
1/29 NV Las Vegas Chris Tomlin Christian Rock Concert
1/30 CA Anaheim Northern & The Myriad Christian Concert
1/31 CO Colorado Springs Chris Tomlin Christian Rock Concert
2/1 KS Topeka CeCe Winans Christian Concert
2/2 IN Indianapolis Christian Booksellers Assoc. "Advance 2007" Conference
2/2 IL Belleville Sandi Patty Christian Concert
2/2 TX Grand Prairie Chris Tomlin Christian Rock Concert
2/3 KY Paducah CeCe Winans Christian Concert
2/3 TX Houston Chris Tomlin Christian Rock Concert
2/8 WI Milwaukee Chris Tomlin Christian Rock Concert
2/9 MO St. Louis Dare 2 Share: Game Day-Starfield and Superchic
2/9 MN St. Paul Chris Tomlin Christian Rock Concert
2/9 MO St. Louis Starfield Christian Rock Concert

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.

5. New Veg Recipe Sites
Brian writes: AllVegRecipes.com (organized by country) and www.VegRecipeBook.com (organized by food categories). Currently I am looking for quality recipes
for my sites from groups/individuals with interest in cooking and recipes. I would like to invite you and your group members to submit recipes, and each recipe can be submitted to both sites. Please note that all my recipe sites are free for everyone.

6. Christianity and Violence: Parables

[This series reflects my views and not "official" CVA positions.]

One of Christianity's distinctive features is that Jesus relied heavily on parables. Matthew's gospel relates, "All this Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed he said nothing to them without a parable. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: 'I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world'" (Matthew 13:34-35). However, parables lend themselves to diverse interpretations,
which is one reason that Christians hold such a wide range of theologies despite sharing a common text. Why, then, did Jesus rely so heavily on parables?

I suggest that reading the Bible through the lens of the scapegoating process yields an explanation. According to Girard, the scapegoating process is the foundation of human culture.

People raised in a culture founded on scapegoating cannot appreciate how the myths, rituals, and taboos
associated with scapegoating pervade all knowledge, including language itself. If Jesus had spoken directly and had tried to explain how everyone participates in scapegoating, he would have been ridiculed at best or, more likely, he would have been accused of demonic possession and killed. Indeed, this is why prophets have so commonly been killed - one of their principle prophetic insights has been to identify when people are scapegoating, and exposing scapegoating threatens social order and peace.

When prophets have claimed that their culture's "sacred" violence has been instigated by human desires and not ordained by the divine, the prophets have threatened the very fabric of society. They have raised doubts about the myths that have previously provided answers to critical questions, including the culture's origins, everyone's current purpose in life, and everyone's post-mortem destiny. Further, when prophets have revealed sacrificial, scapegoating violence as meaningless, they have undermined rituals that have helped generatecamaraderie and maintained communal cohesiveness. In addition, these rituals have given people a sense of control over the powerful forces of nature that can dominate their lives, including disease, drought, locust infestations, terrible storms, and earthquakes.

Finally, prophets have exposed as groundless the taboos (e.g., caste systems) that have seemed to provide peace and order. Losing confidence in their myths, rituals, and taboos would make people feel extremely vulnerable. So, those prophets who have proclaimed that God loves
Creation and does not want violence and destructiveness have often been dismissed as fools, shunned as insane, or killed as heretics.

False prophets who talk about the gods demanding sacrifices do not need to talk in parables, because the language of "sacred" violence is a language people have always understood. The only way to communicate the truth that God does not want scapegoating violence is elliptically. Jesus provided a wide range of stories with surprising endings and obtuse sayings. This would encourage people to think in new ways, without directly challenging their myths, rituals, and taboos. The passion accounts more clearly demonstrated the scandal of scapegoating violence, which has helped Christians recognize the parables as revealing "what has been hidden since the foundation of the world" (Matthew 13:35).

This understanding of parables seems to accord with a parallel passage in Mark: "With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything" (4:33-34).

While Mark describes the disciples as notoriously slow to understand Jesus' ministry, the disciples trusted and believed in Jesus. Consequently, unlike the rest of the
community, the disciples were ready to hear straightforward explanations of Jesus' teachings. In contrast, regarding his public teaching, Jesus explained, "This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah [6:9-10] which says: 'You shall indeed hear but never understand, and you shall indeed see but never
perceive. For this people's heart has grown dull, and their ears are heavy of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should perceive with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and
turn to me to heal them'" (Matthew 13:13-16). Those outside Jesus' circle were so unprepared for his message that they could only start to grasp Jesus' teachings when he used parables.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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