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Update Newsletters
17 March 2010 Issue

1. Activism Works!

2. Activist Feedback

3. Essay: Who Is to Blame?

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

5. Book Notice

1. Activism Works!

A new CVA member writes:

I'm writing in response to the report from the lady who gave out leaflets at the Nashville Winterjam. I attended Winterjam but came in late and the brochures were laying on a table. Over the past several months I have been struggling with the issue of eating meat. I am a huge animal lover and I also volunteer and rescue for a local cat rescue. In a way, I felt like a hypocrite for loving and cherishing cats and rescuing them from death, yet turn around and eat other animals. I started doing a little research online about vegetarians. I always thought that only crazy atheists were vegetarians, but I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon your website. Then, after finding the brochure at Winterjam, that "sealed the deal" for me. I now consider myself a vegetarian, though I still struggle with eating dairy. Thank you!

2. Activist Feedback

Leah, leafleting at FireFlight in Kansas City, MO, writes: Eva and I handed out all 600 booklets. It went very well. Not very many were in the trash, and we were able to salvage and recycle some that were. :) Please give my donation to www.veganoutreach.org. [The CVA offers up to $18/hr to the vegetarian advocacy or animal protection group of each volunteer’s choice.]

Lana, leafleting at the Human Rights Walkathon, writes,

100 CVA pamphlets. Nice event. Good reception. One of the speakers at the event mentioned Christian values quite a bit in his speech. I gave him one of the leaflets.

Contact Paris at christian_vegetarian@yahoo.com  if you can help leaflet or table. 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/.

3. Essay: Who Is to Blame?

Last week, I wrote about the movie Rachel Getting Married, in which Kim is oppressed by guilt after accidentally killing her younger brother. She had been drunk and high and drugs when she drove off a bridge. At one point, Kim confronts her mother. Kim says, “You knew I was on drugs. You knew I was drinking. You knew I was out of control. Why did you leave me in charge of my brother?” Her mother, in a fury, strikes Kim in the face with a closed fist.

I suspect that many people would initially condemn Kim’s blaming her mother. Kim’s irresponsible behavior led to her brother’s death. Yet the mother’s violent response is telling. If Kim’s accusation were groundless, her mother would have regarded it as sadly delusional. The mother’s anger reflected her recognition that Kim’s charge had a degree of merit.

We prefer to see things in black-and-white – there are guilty people and innocent people. However, the real world is rarely that simple. There are almost always many factors that lead to mistakes and tragedies, and usually many people contribute. Is the psychopath who commits robbery and murder entirely to blame for the crime, or are abusive parents, schoolyard bullies, or communities that looked the other way when they saw this person being mistreated as a child partly responsible?

The great difficulty of ascribing guilt properly should discourage us from judging other people. We have a responsibility to discern – certain actions are wrong and should be condemned – but we border on arrogance if we claim that we would do differently if we walked in their shoes. As animal advocates, we are right to denounce unnecessary harm to animals, but our recognition of this rather obvious truth should not make us feel or act superior. All of us are creations of God. I am grateful that my life’s journey has taken me along a path that does not, to the best of my ability, harm God’s animals. This has allowed me to live more at peace with myself and the world, and I offer thankful prayers.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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

What Does It Mean to Have Jesus as My Shepherd? http://www.all-creatures.org/sermons97/s25mar90.html

5. Book Notice

Birch June Rosemary. Everyone Can be a hero. Available from Outsider publications http://www.insideoutsider.co.uk/ (cost is 10 pounds in the U.K.)

“I think that it is easily accessible for the teenage group who need education about the dangers of nuclear power and waste. I therefore heartily endorse Everyone Can be a hero by Birch June Rosemary. In fact that is the dictum that I have learned during my life’s work and long journey.”

Helen Caldicott, M.D., author of If You Love This Planet: A Plan to Save the Earth .

Your question and comments are welcome

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