Lectures on Ethics, Animals, and Vegetarianism
3. New CVA Podcast
Christianity and Violence: Relationships in Literature and
1. Activist Outreach Opportunities
Step It Up
Lorena writes: The CVA is going to "Step It Up" and we need you!
This April 14th thousands of people are going to gather at more than
900 events around the country to call for action on climate change.
Factory farming contributes to 17% of global warming gases emission and
is among the top most polluting industries. The CVA urges all members to
participate at "Step it Up 2007" events in their areas by either tabling
or leafleting with CVA material. This is a prime time to raise awareness
and spread the word about the transition to a plant-based diet as good
stewardship of all of God's Creation: humans, animals and the
http://events.stepitup2007.org/ to find events in your area and
contact Lorena Mucke at
firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in participating. We would like
to hear from you by the end of the month to have enough time to send you
material. Thank you!
Susan writes: Four of us were holding up signs outside the main gate
of the Houston rodeo today. We got all sorts of rude comments from adult
cowboys and cowgirls and sometimes even from their "cow-children." It
caused a couple of my protester friends (lovely ladies) to feel
depressed and worn out and maybe a tad resentful. Because I had already
decided to follow Jesus' advice to love one's enemies, I found it
increasingly natural to look for -- and find! -- good in every passerby.
It was a joy to respond to the remarks gently, calmly and smilingly. I
also offered flyers to some of them in a way that caused them to reply
politely, even if they declined to accept. I think the love that pours
out from God to and through His happily obedient children is the ONLY
influence that's going to renew minds, purify hearts, and change
Upcoming CVA Leafleting Opportunities
3/29-31 FL Waldo Bill Bailey's 2007 Spring Gospel Jubilee!
3/30 TX Dallas Acquire the Fire Christian Rock Conference 3/30 AL Ozark
Audio Adrenaline Christian Rock Concert
3/30-31 NC Winston-Salem Acquire the Fire Christian Rock Conference
3/31 TN Johnson City Audio Adrenaline Christian Rock Concert
If you can help at these events, or want a complete list of upcoming
events, contact Paris at
2. Lectures on Ethics, Animals, and Vegetarianism
Nathan Nobis writes: Here are some recent lectures on ethics and
animals, specifically vegetarianism, by Dr. Matt Halteman, an excellent
philosopher from Calvin College, a Christian College in Michigan. These
were recently given at Wheaton College, a Christian College in Illinois:
MP3: " Animal Rights & Christian Responsibility "
MP3: " Living Toward the Peaceable Kingdom"
Notes: " Compassionate Eating as Care of Creation "
Notes: " Animal Rights and Christian Responsibility "
3. New CVA
Kathy Vander Kaay writes: The latest episode of the CVA podcast, dated
March 11 is up. It has a great interview with Vasu Murti, author of They
Shall Not Hurt or Destroy.
To listen, go to
http://www.all-creatures.org/cva/podcast/index.htm and link to the
itunes podcast subscription page.
4. Christianity and Violence: Relationships in
Literature and Covenantal Relationships
[This series reflects my views and not "official" CVA positions. It
is being archived at
The stories about Jesus and his community lend important insights
into how to establish and maintain healthy relationships. The
development of loving relationships is a frequent theme in many
fictional stories, which almost always describe obstacles.
Girard has shown that, in classic novels, love is grounded in
acquisitive mimetic desires, and consequently the rivals for an object
of love are obstacles to each other.1 In contrast, in romantic novels,
people tend to love each other because they recognize inherently good
qualities in each other.
The obstacles to love in romantic novels generally involve rigid
cultural barriers or evil people. In romantic novels, evil people may
have mimetic desires such as envy and greed, but, in contrast to classic
novels, the protagonist's desire is typically motivated by the object of
love, not the rival. While mimetic rivalries create obstacles to love in
many classic novels, romantic novel writers erect obstacles in order to
generate interest, but the obstacles are not inevitable consequences of
Classic novels often end with the death or banishment of one or more
protagonists; otherwise, the conflict and rivalry would persist and the
novel would seem to lack a proper "ending" in which order and stability
prevail. In romantic novels, the ending sometimes involves death, but it
may simply involve clarification of misunderstandings or a willingness
of a character to accept the tragic fate of living without the object of
Why is this important? If love were romantic (i.e., were grounded in
romantic desire rather than acquisitive mimetic desire), then it would
not necessarily cause conflict. However, if the classic novels are
correct, and their lasting power is testimony to their accuracy about
human desires and relationships, then human love typically arises from
acquisitive mimetic desire, which generally leads to conflict and
What kind of love does God desire? I think God desires agape love, a
complete and unconditional love that Jesus manifested in all his
relationships and that Jesus sought from Peter (John 21:15-16). Such
love accords with God's desire for peace and harmony throughout
Agape love is grounded in neither the specific attributes of the
beloved nor is generated by others' desires. With love grounded on
acquisitive mimetic desire, one or more people mediate the desire for
the object of love; with agape love, the mediator is God. Regardless of
the loved person's faults, God loves that person. Consequently, in agape
love, one's love for another is grounded in one's love for God. Since
God cannot be our rival, God's love for a person does not generate envy,
resentment, or hostility.
The Bible describes covenantal relationships as models for agape
Examples include God's covenant with all Creation to not flood the
earth again (Genesis 9), with Abraham (Genesis 17) and the other
patriarchs (Genesis 17:21, Leviticus 26:42), and with the Hebrews,
granting them the Promised Land (Exodus 6:4) and the Ten Commandments
(Exodus 34:28). All of these covenants were gifts, but in certain
instances the Hebrews were obliged to accept the gifts (e.g., the Ten
Commandments) or suffer the consequences (e.g., dissolution of their
In the New Testament, at the Last Supper, Jesus took the wine and
said, "this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many
for the forgiveness of sins" (Matthew 26:28; see also Mark 14:24, Luke
All of our relationships should model Jesus' covenantal relationship
with his disciples, which was characterized by love, caring, compassion,
and forgiveness. This is why Jesus said to his disciples, "This is my
commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John
If we loved each other as Jesus loved his disciples and as God loves
all Creation, we would always seek respectful, compassionate, nonviolent
solutions to conflicts.
1. Girard, René. Deceit, Desire, and the Novel. Baltimore, MD: Johns
Hopkins Press, 1965.
2. I thank Lorena Mucke for astutely asking why this passage relates
Jesus saying that his blood was poured out for "many" rather than for
"all." I offer a response, though I do not claim that this is the full
answer. Jesus died (and his "blood was poured out") for those who sought
forgiveness. For those who refused God's forgiveness, Jesus' blood had
no influence on their propensity to scapegoat and to victimize innocent
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.