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Update Newsletters
21 October 2009 Issue

1. Activist Feedback and Opportunities

2. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

3. Reflection on the Lectionary: Faith vs. Belief

1. Activist Feedback

Alicia, who leafleted at Women of Faith in Portland, OR, writes:

This volunteer experience was fun! It was my first time, and I hope to do it again when the next opportunity comes up. My fellow leaf-letters Kiska, Yvonne, Stephanie, and Jessica were very friendly. We came a crossed a couple people, one was a vegetarian who was happy to see us leaf-letting there, and the other lady was glad to see us because she had a eco-sustainable (plant-based) catering business. There was one rude lady who kept bothering us, but we didn't let her spoil our time. By the end, all of my leaflets were gone. There were some left over from the other people’s boxes. Thanks so much. I had an awesome time spreading the word of Honoring God's Creations!

Upcoming Activist Opportunities  

10/29 CA San Bernardino Creation Festival: The Tour

10/29 CA San Bernardino Jars of Clay Christian Concert

10/30 TX Katy Jeremy Camp Christian Concert

10/30-31 OK Oklahoma City Women of Faith Conference

10/31 AZ Phoenix Jars of Clay Christian Concert at the Fair!

10/31 TX Austin Jeremy Camp Speaking Louder Than Before Tour

10/31 MA Boston TABLE Annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival

10/31 AZ Phoenix Creation Festival: The Tour

11/1 TX Abilene Jeremy Camp Speaking Louder Than Before Tour

11/5 KS Lenexa Jeremy Camp Speaking Louder Than Before Tour

11/6 TX Fort Worth Newsboys, 7th Day Slumber

11/6 IN Oakland City The Hoppers Gospel Concert

11/6-7 NC Greensboro Women of Faith Conference

11/7 MT Kalispell Jars of Clay Christian Concert

11/7 FL Marianna The Hoppers Gospel Concert

11/7 MT Kalispell Creation Festival: The Tour

11/7-9 WI Milwaukee Call To Action 2008 National Conference

11/8 MT Billings Jars of Clay Christian Concert

11/8 NM Roswell Jeremy Camp Speaking Louder Than Before Tour

11/8 FL Deland The Hoppers Gospel Concert

11/8 MT Billings Creation Festival

11/11 MA Boston Clean Energy Council: Green Tie Gala

11/12 TX El Paso Steven Curtis Chapman Christian Concert

11/13 IL Bourbonnais Newsboys, 7th Day Slumber

11/15 OH Wilmington Newsboys, 7th Day Slumber

11/13-14 MN St Paul The Christian Community Fair

11/13-14 TX Houston Women of Faith Conference

11/19 MA Boston EcoLogic Benefit: The Taste of Sustainable Food

11/20-21 FL Ft. Lauderdale Women of Faith Conference    

Contact Paris at christian_vegetarian@yahoo.com  if you can to help. 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/  

2. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

Turning Losing into Winning

3. Reflection on the Lectionary: Faith vs. Belief

October 25, Mark 10:46-52

In this passage, Jesus heals a blind man, saying, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” While many people think that having the “right” religious beliefs will curry God’s favor and induce God to heal whatever ails us, I think the word “faith” better describes how religion can heal us.

I see “belief” as adherence to a dogma for which there is weak evidence. We don’t “believe” the sun will rise in the morning, because ample experience tells us it will happen. Various people believe in the immaculate conception of Jesus (Christians), that God communicated the Koran to Mohammed (Muslims), and that Canaan is a Holy Land ordained by God for the Hebrew people (Jews). There are many people who adhere to such beliefs with an air of certainty, but certainty is a state of mind, not necessarily a state of knowledge.

Faith involves trust and does not require a sense of certitude. One can have faith that following Jesus is a path toward righteousness yet remain uncertain as to whether all the stories about Jesus, such as the miracle stories, are historically accurate. I have faith that following Jesus – using Jesus’ words and actions as guideposts for my life – will help me find meaning. Jesus showed compassion and respect for everyone, and in summarizing his teachings he said, “So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets” (Mt 7:12). I find that this dictum, as well as other teachings, helps provide a sense of purpose, which is needed for fulfillment in life.

When belief involves certitude despite weak or even contravening evidence, believers (both religious and secular) become dangerous. Historically, religious believers have felt entitled to banish or kill non-believers, burn those suspected of witchcraft, ostracize that who are different, like homosexuals, and abuse animals on the very dubious grounds that animals lack souls. While many believers deny that they would ever harm innocent individuals, their willingness to ignore evidence that undermines their beliefs is an approach to truth that readily lends itself to victimizing others. As Voltaire said, “If we believe absurdities, we will commit atrocities.”

If we have faith, we can be “well” in the sense that our lives can be meaningful and joyful. Nobody is perfectly “well” in the medical sense – we all have limitations and infirmities – and yet faith can make us feel whole, both physically and spiritually.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

Your question and comments are welcome

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