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Update Newsletters
11 February 2007 Issue

1. New Podcast
2. Leafleting Feedback
3. Letter from Fr. Peter Mihalic
4. Christianity and Violence: Parable of the Ten Talents

1.  New Podcast
There is a new podcast of an interview with Chris and Kathy Vander Kaay in which they discuss Christianity and vegetarianism:

2. Leafleting Feedback
Rick in at Dare 2 Care in St. Louis writes: I leafleting 90 minutes and spent an additional hour driving, parking and walking. The young crowd was receptive and I handed out 550 HGC booklets today on my birthday!

Two men attempted to stop me, the first identified himself as the "shepherd" of the kids and didn't want them reading what I had. He was a bit hostile and threatened to call the police. I politely pointed out to him that I was on a public sidewalk and he eventually walked away. Later another man who appeared to be Scottrade security told me that they did not allow this on their private property. I stood my ground with him as well, again responding that I was on the public sidewalk. He then told me that I also could not impede the flow of foot traffic and I responded that I was hardly doing that and would make sure be careful to that I did not. I stayed there until the people outside became quite sparse.

Upcoming Leafleting Opportunities Include:

2/23 SC Columbia Jeremy Camp Winter Jam
2/23 WV Charleston Newsboys Go Tour Christian Concert
2/24 CAN BC Surrey Jars of Clay Christian Rock Concert
2/24 TN Knoxville Jeremy Camp Winter Jam
2/24 TX Wichita Falls Moody-Growing a Marriage Conference
2/24 PA Williamsport Newsboys Christian Rock Concert
2/25 TN Nashville Steven Curtis Chapman Winter Jam
3/1 TX Tyler Jeremy Camp Christian Concert
3/1 WA Vancouver Jars of Clay Christian Rock Concert
3/2 WA College Place Jars of Clay Christian Rock Concert
3/2 VA Norfolk Newsboys Go Tour Christian Concert
3/4 IA Dubuque TABLE 26th Annual Rural Ministry Conference
3/4 CO Colorado Springs Jeremy Camp Christian 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.

3. Article by Fr. Peter Mihalic
[to be published in his Diocesan Newspaper, "The Universe Bulletin"]

Fran Lebowitz once quipped, "Food is an important part of a balanced diet." What we eat is also is part of a balanced life. We eat to live and live to eat. And what we consume says a lot about who we are. We are far more health conscious today than ever before. Ecological concerns have questioned the mass production of some foods and products through factory farming. Not only animal activists, but even church leaders including Pope Benedict XVI and popes before him have had their say about our need to consume with a conscience. Therefore many today for different reasons have embraced a change in their eating habits.

Change is very difficult when it touches aspects of our lives that are so common and ingrained. Today losing weight is not the only reason for avoiding some foods and consuming others. I myself am a vegetarian (no meat, little dairy), leaning at present toward becoming vegan (no meat or dairy of any kind) for many reasons.

From my experience people have a difficult time understanding this, though they eventually seem to accept it and respect it.

Some, however, do feel threatened by the change. They seem to concur with Sir Robert Hutchison who said, "Vegetarianism is harmless enough, though it is apt to fill a man with wind and self-righteousness." I certainly do not intend to be self-righteous and will always be accused of having a little too much wind. But at the same time I feel obligated to see a picture of this world wider than what is on my plate.

Respecting the issues at hand, I feel the personal need to adjust my intake of food, not to mention the purchasing of certain products. The question then becomes what should I consume. Luckily, we live in a society that provides a wonderful array of choices, some of which are far healthier and more in tune with issues of ecology and justice than others.

4. Christianity and Violence  - Parable of the Ten Talents

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

Many people find the parable of the ten talents (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke19:11-26) among the most paradoxical. The master castigates the servant who buried the one talent with which he was entrusted, rather than risk losing it in an investment. Then, Jesus explains, "For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away" (Matthew 25:29).

Some people have claimed that the master represents God, and consequently the parable shows the importance of hard work and pursuit of capital gain.

One argument against this is that this parable, unlike many others, does not begin, "The kingdom of heaven is like . .."

James Alison has argued that the servant's error was not the lack of yield, but rather how he expected his master to treat him.(1) The servant explains, "Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground" (Matthew 25:24-25.

Luke makes things more clear, writing that the master says, "I will condemn you out of your own mouth, you wicked servant!" (Luke 19:22). According to this interpretation, the servant's expectation is like the person who believes God is harsh and judgmental. Such a person readily engages in scapegoating, because such a person believes that God wants to punish evildoers. On the other hand, those who believe in a gracious, loving God will find that their loving actions reap bounteous rewards. To those who have this faith, more will be given. Those who do not have this faith will lose what little they have.

Many people try to hoard resources in an effort to protect themselves against the vicissitudes of life. In doing so, they increase the very scarcities that promote mimetic rivalries and conflicts. They are acting like the servant who fears a wrathful God and takes preventive measures, which ultimately proves to be self-destructive. Those who have faith in God's abundant love live modestly, share with those in need, and try to ensure that there is enough for everyone.

The Bible teaches that such people are already well-endowed with faith and will prosper spiritually, (Matthew 6:19-21, 24-34; Luke 16:10-13), though they will not necessarily prosper financially.

1. Alison, James. Raising Abel: The Recovery of the Eschatological Imagination. New York: Crossroad Publishing Co, 1996.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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