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Update Newsletters
4 March 2007 Issue

1. United Church of Christ Features the CVA

2. New Animal Advocacy Video

3. New Podcast

4. CVA Activism

5. Commentary on Diet and Hunger

6. Christianity and Violence: "I Have Not Come to Bring Peace, but a Sword"

1. United Church of Christ Features the CVA
The UCC Social Justice Network page features the CV A http://churchesofchristsocialjusticenetwork.blogspot.com/ 

2. New Animal Advocacy Video
7 Minutes of Reality, produced by Action for Animals is a very graphic depiction of what people do to animals on farms, in labs, and elsewhere. It is very disturbing is not required viewing for animal advocates. I think that those who participate directly or indirectly in activities that harm God's creatures should be aware of what happens far from public view. It can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/v/GeGy6DC583c.

3. New Podcast
Chris and Kathy Vander Kaay have produced another CVA podcast, available at . It features an interview with Chris and Kathy. To listen, go to http://www.all-creatures.org/cva/podcast/index.htm and link to the itunes podcast subscription page.

4. CVA Activism
Christian, leafleting at Steven Curtis Chapman concert in Roanoke, VA, writes: My dad and I took all 300 hundred of the leaflets and distributed every one of them! We arrived at the civic center, one hour before the concert. Hundreds of people were lined up outside of the doors and it was pretty cold out there!

I took one side of the building while my dad took the other side. I would go up to people and just ask if they were interested in learning about the Christian Vegetarian Society (adding that there were Biblical reasons as to why it is a good idea to consider vegetarianism). A few people were hesitant, a few yelled, "We like our meat!" a few seemed as if they really were interested.

My dad and I were soon just handing them out saying, "Here is some interesting material to read!" At that point, we were getting the last minute crowd that came swarming up from the parking lot. Many people would come up to me and say, "Could I have one too?"
So, all things considered; it was a pretty good crowd. Thank you for the great experience, and please let me know when I can do another event in Virginia!

Upcoming Leafleting Opportunities

3/16 IN Indianapolis Gaithers Homecoming Tour
3/16 NY Rochester Worship Revolution Delirious
3/17 OH Dayton Gaithers Homecoming Tour
3/17 NY Utica Worship Revolution Delirious

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. Commentary on Diet and Hunger
According to the Encyclopedia of Health (Marshall Cavendish, 2003) for every 10 acres somebody uses to raise an animal to graze on, two people can be fed. With the same amount of land someone can grow wheat to feed 24 people, and soybeans to feed sixty. This means, as Frances Moore Lappé wrote in Diet for a Small Planet, land is being wasted.

From an economical standpoint alone, our use of natural resources could be used far more effectively. When we have such a discrepancy in amount of land we use, and the people that land helps to sustain, we have to consider what implications are inherent by raising animals for slaughter. We have to consider what this does to the balance, balance for everybody. If we have so much land, and people have to work to farm this land, and only so much is produced from such land, people have to consider.

What happens when only so many can eat from the production thereof? Martin Luther King said, we are in a network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. So when we have some people who are struggling to find the means to feed themselves daily in some areas of the world, we Americans have an essential responsibility to step back and consider what food we consume.
For, this food not only impacts our lives, but the rest of the global village as well.

Brett Luster

6. Christianity and Violence - "I Have Not Come to Bring Peace, but a Sword"
[This series reflects my views and not "official" CVA positions. It is being archived at http://www.christianveg.org/violence_view.htm.]

While the Parable of the Prodigal Son features familial reconciliation, Jesus said, "Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:34-37).

How would Jesus' ministry divide families? It would not result from people abandoning their Jewish faith in favor of following Jesus, because Jesus said, "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them" (Matthew 5:17). Social disruption was the inevitable consequence, but not the design, of Jesus' ministry.

He opposed the hierarchical social order, which unjustly marginalized members of society, such as those who were poor, widowed, or infirmed. Since the social order helps maintain peace and order, Jesus' ministry threatened to disrupt all levels of society, including the most fundamental social unit - the family.

However, the Bible teaches that our communities are not peaceful or reconciled as long as they adhere to social customs and laws that rely on scapegoating some individuals. It is striking that the parallel passage to Matthew 10:34-37 in Luke includes, "henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three" (12:52).

The scapegoating mentality is all against one, with people unifying in their hatred of the scapegoat. In contrast, Jesus' ministry threatened to lead to destabilizing conflicts, such as three-against-two conflicts that were difficult to resolve and could tear families and other social units apart.

A case-in-point is how the Christian Vegetarian Association has received angry e-mails claiming that we misrepresent Scripture. People have accused us of being self-righteous, judgmental, and heretical, even though we explicitly do not claim that diet determines salvation; that meat-eating is inherently sinful; or that we are better Christians.

One likely reason we engender such hostility is that we reveal animals as scapegoats, and this truth divides our brothers and sisters in Christ. However, the alternative, to participate in scapegoating God's animals in the name of superficial Christian unity, would not please God. However peaceful our intentions, we do challenge the social order, and this can cause conflicts. Jesus understood this, yet he did not abandon his ministry.

Whatever the consequences, we are called to lovingly witness for Christ, not to acquiesce to injustice or ignore opportunities to reconcile Creation. We do not truly promote peace if, in the name of getting along with our neighbor, we ignore the suffering our society inflicts on marginal, often unseen individuals.

Such peace is an illusion, just as Jeremiah said of Judah's priests and the false prophets, "They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying 'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace" (Jeremiah 6:14; 8:11).

We need communities that reject scapegoating as the glue that holds them together. This, I think, is why Jesus made the shocking declaration, "If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26). Service to God may call us to risk all relationships,(1) and even our own lives. When traditional relationships become stumbling blocks to reconciliation, we must be ready to establish new kinds of relationships. Indeed, while Luke 12:52 describes a house divided, Luke 13 features the Prodigal Son parable, in which the father abandons cultural protocol and seeks to reunite his fractured family.

1. I think that, in searching for a life partner, one should seek someone who shares one's core values. Then, one should honor one's commitment, even if one's values evolve over time. Therefore, a person who becomes a vegetarian should not leave a committed relationship because the partner does not adopt the diet. However, assuming that mutual respect is a core value of the relationship, the partner who continues to eat meat should not insist that the vegetarian also eat meat. What if one person becomes vegetarian and insists on raising children vegetarian? I think that all general standards of child-rearing should be by mutual agreement, and both partners should consent to any significant changes in child-rearing plans.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

Your question and comments are welcome

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