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13 December 2010 Issue

1. Activist Feedback

2. Recommended Web Site

3. An Advent Reflection on Peacemaking

4. The December Issue of The Peaceable Table Is Online

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

1. Activist Feedback

A., who leafleted at the TobyMac & Skillet Christian Rock Concert inCypress, TX on Nov 19, writes, “I just want to let you know that I distributed the booklets before the concert. It was my first time. Let me know if you have other events and/or if you do other kind of activities. I believe in that message. Thank you.

2. Recommended Web Site

The Carnism Awareness and Action Network CAAN (www.carnism.com) works to expose and transform carnism, the invisible belief system that conditions people to eat certain animals.

3. An Advent Reflection on Peacemaking

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” and indeed one of the main reasons many of us feel a sense of anticipation during the Advent season is that we look forward to celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace. I think that an important component of being a disciple of the Prince of Peace involves striving to become peacemakers ourselves.

Many people equate peacemaking with pacifism, but there are problems with this approach. Even if one were willing to be a victim oneself rather than harm another individual, what should one do when innocent individuals are threatened? To do nothing can be tantamount to acquiescence with violence and injustice. Violent people have no quarrel with pacifists, who, from the perspective of violent people, idly stand by and do not interfere with their nefarious plans.

I think that peacemaking is an active process. Sometimes it involves standing between those bent on violence and the intended victims, and sometimes it requires using force to prevent victimization. A fundamental problem is discerning between the use of force – perhaps even lethal force – to prevent harm to innocent individuals, and the use of force to benefit ourselves. Humans have remarkable capacities for self-deception, particularly when it comes to convincing ourselves that self-serving actions are being done with the best of intentions. I think we can get helpful insight if we honestly look at our feelings. We are more likely to be true peacemakers if we don’t benefit from our actions in terms of wealth or power, if we are genuinely saddened by any harm we might do, if we are constantly searching for nonviolent methods to procure justice, and if we seek to reconcile everyone at the earliest opportunity.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

4. The December Issue of The Peaceable Table Is Online

Contents include:

* In this season in which Christians celebrate the birth of the Prophet of Nazareth who proclaimed liberty to those who are oppressed, our Editorial, "Jesus and Animals," cites and reflects on a number of stories in which Jesus refers to animals or is otherwise linked to them. One of the finest is a little-known story, full of allusions to the Hebrew Scriptures, in which Jesus shows healing mercy to a donkey who has fallen under his or her heavy load.

* In an Unset Gem, Isaac Bashevis Singer declares that the divine spark is present even in a worm.

* A brave high school student sneaked out of her animal science class, with her chicken friend Chicklett under her arm, and took him home in order to save his life when the class was instructed to kill "their" chickens.

* We get a Glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom in a happy meeting between a woman, her dog friend, and a young deer.

* Two of the Recipes for holiday goodies are Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies and Quick and Easy Christmas Fudge. If you (wisely) emphasize whole plant foods in your daily regimen, you will enjoy these luxurious sweets all the more.

* This month's Pilgrimage by Franceen Neufeld, which may more properly be called a prose-poem, describes the author's perception of the vast evil of animal exploitation as "A Crack in the World."

* In Sonnet XII of his Holy Sonnets, the seventeenth-century poet John Donne ponders the disturbing situation that human beings, who are both physically weak and sinful, exploit and kill strong animals who do not sin.

May your Holydays be blessed with joy and peace in abundance, and may Light shine in the darkness for all who are oppressed.

To read this issue, go to http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue72.html

Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor

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

Daniel, God’s Man in the Field (Part XX) and Our Christian Witness of God’s Amazing Grace

http://www.all-creatures.org/sermons97/s3dec89.html .

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