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Update Newsletters
2 December 2009 Issue

1. Activist Feedback

2. Weekly Commentary: How Should a Christian Live?

3. This Week’s Sermon by Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

1. Activist Feedback

Pat, who tabled at the World Vegetarian Festival in SF, writes:

The two-day event was successful in terms of having a Christian presence amongst a dominating tide of eastern mysticism and secular humanists. Dave and I were there for both days full time. Many who stopped by the table were grateful to see a Christian veg table and that such an organization exists! Plus - there were those who signed-up with an interest in doing volunteer outreach! The kids coloring books are fabulous – several were distributed.

Of particular note, one gentleman (already veg) expressed his desire to rededicate his life to God. Dave was able to pray with him and weekly bible studies are taking place.

Fr. River Sims joined the CVA table Sunday morning. Fr. Sims is looking forward to other CVA volunteer opportunities. Paris also stopped by to visit and share her bounty of veg materials!

Lastly, so many people were encouraged to learn that Wellness Central offers weekly vegan dinners/lectures in San Francisco. Dave has coordinated with several professionals at the festival to come and lecture, including Fr. River Sims. Attendance at these weekly dinners has more than doubled since the festival!!

Thank you for the opportunity to witness and spread the Word. It is truly a welcomed blessing.

Upcoming Activist Opportunities    

12/4 CA Sacramento Women of Faith Conference

12/4 IA Cedar Falls Winter Wonder Slam Tour

12/4 FL Fort Walton Beach Anberlin Christian Rock Concert

12/4 NC Asheville SwitchFoot Christian Rock Concert

12/4-5 CA Long Beach Fire Conference - Benny Hinn

12/5 VA Richmond SwitchFoot Christian Rock Concert

12/5 FL West Palm Beach Anberlin Christian Rock Concert

12/6 CA Long Beach Miracle Service - Benny Hinn

12/6 FL Tampa Anberlin Christian Rock Concert

12/6 ND Bismarck Kutless Christian Winter Wonder Slam Tour

12/7 MD Baltimore SwitchFoot Christian Rock Concert

12/8 NY New York SwitchFoot Christian Concert

12/9 MA Boston SwitchFoot Christian Concert

12/10 WA Spokane Toby Mac Christian Rock Concert

12/11 PA Philadelphia SwitchFoot Christian Rock Concert

12/13 DC Washington Switchfoot Christian Rock Concert

12/14 VT South Burlington Switchfoot Christian Rock Concert

12/19 TX Tyler Kutless Christian Rock Concert

12/27-29 MO Branson Xtreme Winter Christian Rock Festival

12/27-1/2 TN Gatlinburg Xtreme Winter Christian Rock Festival

12/29-31 TN Pigeon Forge Xtreme Winter Christian Rock Festiva

12/31 PA East Earl The Hoppers Gospel

1/8 TN Chattanooga HUGE Christian Winter Jam

1/9 NC Fayetteville HUGE Christian Winter Jam

1/10 NC Charlotte HUGE Christian Winter Jam      

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. Weekly Commentary: How Should a Christian Live?

Last week, I posed the question: How do we resist the temptation to transfer our sense of shame and guilt onto others? This is crucial if we are avoid the temptation to scapegoat, and it is impossible to have a world in which God’s will is done “on earth as in heaven” as long as people participate in the injustice of scapegoating.

A central part of Christianity’s response to the perennial problem of scapegoating is the teaching that all our sins are forgivable. Christian writings and tradition hold that, because God loves all God’s Creation, God is willing to forgive any transgression as long as the desire for forgiveness is genuine, i.e., the person genuinely aims to avoid sin in the future. Faith in the tenet that we are forgivable quells our desire to blame other people for our shortcomings, failures, and sins. Indeed, just as Jesus said that people can distinguish between true prophets and false prophets “by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16), those with strong faith are disinclined to condemn, scapegoat, or otherwise victimize other individuals. As I see it, those with strong Christian faith can and should denounce hurtful actions and take steps to prevent further damage, but they do not want to see anyone hurt or punished.

Vengeance is often self-righteous scapegoating, because vengeance presumes that we have not contributed to the conditions that have led to discord or injury. When we model our behavior of God’s forgiving ways, we are letting go of the natural desire for vengeance in favor of a faith in God’s universal love. In this way, we become open to Jesus’ teaching that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. Herein, I think, lies the solution to the paradox that responding honestly and fully to the question of our origins focuses our concern outward, while responding honestly and fully to the question of what happens when we die focuses our concern inward. We are to love ourselves, as creations of God, and we are to love everyone and everything else, since they are also creations of God.

To love our neighbor as ourselves is a Christian answer to the third existential question: What is the purpose of my life? To show what Jesus meant by loving our neighbor, Jesus gave the example of the Good Samaritan who acted with love, compassion, and concern. Who are our neighbors? Neighbors are those whose lives can be changed by our actions and include family, friends, community-members, strangers, and animals. If we exclude anyone, we undermine our response to one or both of the first two existential questions and, in doing so, allow existential anxiety to plague our souls. This is why great spiritual leaders have almost always embraced everyone, including animals, in their circle of compassion and concern. This is also why stories about these great spiritual leaders have described them as having inner peace, even though many of these spiritual leaders experienced rejection or were even killed. I think one reason people are attracted to spiritual leaders such as Jesus is that all of us crave the inner peace they manifested. Jesus, even as he suffered on the cross, said “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit” Luke 23:46) and “it is finished” (John 19:30). Jesus evidently found equanimity in the face of the profound existential challenges of life. Yet, few Christians (and likewise followers of other spiritual leaders) have the faith to fully embrace Jesus’ teaching that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. Instead, many Christians gravitate toward religious “authorities” who claim that we can have the salvation that Jesus offers without giving up the egocentric benefits of exploiting and scapegoating other individuals. These, I submit, are false teachers, about whom Jesus said, “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

3. This Week’s Sermon by Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

I’m a “Lert” on the Alert. Are You One Too?

http://www.all-creatures.org/sermons97/s2dec90.html .

Your question and comments are welcome

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