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Update Newsletters
23 March 2011 Issue

1. CVA on Facebook
2. Activist Feedback
3. Essay: Christianity and Animal Rights, part 1

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

1. CVA on Facebook

The CVA is now on Facebook, and we have about 1700 members. Just look for us under “Christian Vegetarian Association.”

2. Activist Feedback

Jeff, who leafleted with John, Jessica, and Cathy at the Arizona City Fest – Christian Concert and Evangelical Event, writes:

This was advertised as a 150,000 attendee, 2-day festival, and it didn't disappoint. The crowd was incredibly receptive, much more receptive than anticipated. We distributed 5,369 booklets over two days, using mostly brochures from CVA, and when they ran out we used Vegan Outreach brochures ("Compassionate Choices"). The highlights were meeting many individuals interested in the issue. A couple people said they would go vegetarian on the spot. We met many part-time and former vegetarians, and encouraged them to continue or get back on the path. We also met many vegetarians and vegans who thanked us for being out there. Since younger people are more likely to make changes in their diet, we definitely were targeting them with the brochures. There were many, many high school aged students, and they were generally receptive.

All in all, a fantastic weekend of outreach! I'd suggest other towns do this event, but I think this is the only one in the US.

Thanks again for supplying the brochures, it was hugely successful. We'd like to donate to Vegan Outreach within whatever your guidelines are. I'm sure we put in way too many hours, but we're in it for the outreach anyway. Thanks for all that you do!!.  

Upcoming Activist Opportunities

4/1 MO St. Charles Newsboys Winter Jam Tour Spectacular

4/1 VA Lynchburg Rush of Fools at Liberty University

4/1-2 TX Dallas Acquire the Fire Youth Conference

4/1-2 WA Seattle Acquire the Fire Christian Youth Conference

4/1-2 CT Hartford Revolve Tour Dream On Christian Youth Conference

4/1-3 TX Fort Worth Passion Conference 2011

4/2 WA Everett Acquire The Fire Christian Conference

4/2 MO Springfield Newsboys Winter Jam Tour Spectacular

4/2 OH Wilmington Rush of Fools Christian Concert

4/3 IL Peoria Newsboys Winter Jam Tour Spectacular

4/8 TN Knoxville Rush of Fools Christian Concert

4/8-9 Ca Sacramento Acquire the Fire Christian Youth Conference

4/8-9 NJ East Rutherford Acquire The Fire Christian Youth Conference

4/8-9 PA Reading Revolve Tour Dream On Christian Youth Conference

4/8-9 MT Billings Women of Faith Christian Conference

4/8-9 NJ East Rutherford Acquire the Fire Christian Youth Conference

4/8-10 TN Sevierville Women of Joy Conference

4/9 CA Sacramento Acquire The Fire Christian Conference

4/9 MD Williamsport Disciple The Born Again Experience Tour

4/11 FL Tampa TABLE Talking Animals Festival

4/12-14 IL Chicago Gospel Coalition's 2011 national conference

4/13-14 KY Stanford Rush Of Fools Christian Concert

4/15 MO Trenton Rush of Fools Christian Concert

4/15 FL Orlando Monster Ball Tour Starring Lady

4/15-16 CA Ontario Revolve Tour Dream On Christian Youth Conference

4/15-16 FL Tampa Acquire the Fire Christian Youth Conference

4/15-17 OK Oklahoma City Women of Joy Conference

4/16 OR Portland Acquire The Fire Christian Conference

4/17 CA San Diego TABLE EarthFair 2011

4/22 TX Arlington David Crowder Band

4/22 DC Washington Canton Jones Christian Concert

4/26 AL Birmingham Canton Jones Christian Concert

4/29-30 IL Greenville AgapeFest Christian Rock Festival

4/29-30 OH Columbus Women of Faith Conference

4/29-30 NV Las Vegas Women of Faith Conference

4/29-30 MI Lansing Acquire the Fire Christian Youth Conference

4/29-5/1 MO Branson Women of Joy Conference

5/15 NY New York TABLE Post Veggie Pride Parade or leafleting

5/21 CA Buena Park Knottsberry Farm Gospel Festival

6/19 VA Richmond TABLE Richmond Vegetarian Festival

7/5-8 OH Cincinnati TABLE Church Turning the World Upside  

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

3. Essay: Christianity and Animal Rights, part 1

This is the first of a series of essays that will make a case for incorporating the secular ethic of animal rights into Christianity. I will argue that we cannot avoid bringing extra-biblical knowledge and experience to our reading and interpretation of the Bible. Although the Bible does not explicitly endorse animal rights, I am convinced that animal rights is consistent with Scriptures and, crucially, Scriptures lose much of their meaning and relevance for humanity and for the rest of Creation if it fails to embrace animal rights. This week’s essay sets some groundwork for this thesis by showing that secular, non-biblical knowledge and experiences not only influence our interpretations of the Bible, they are essential for making the Bible comprehensible.

We make sense of the countless observations and experiences we encounter every day by applying our vast resources of knowledge and personal experiences to everything we do and experience, including deciding what to eat for breakfast to comprehending the sport pages. By the same token, without prior knowledge and experiences that comes from all facets of our lives, the Bible’s sayings and stories would make no sense to us. Because our experiences and knowledge bases differ, each of us receives the Bible in our own, unique ways. There is considerable overlap, of course, particularly among people with similar cultures and who have had similar life experiences, but no two people receive any aspect of the Bible in the exact same way, just as each snowflake is similar and also unique.

Another way in which we are all unique is that none of us has the same language. Our understanding of the meaning of words comes from how we have heard or understood the words used. There is usually sufficient overlap in our understandings of words’ definitions to allow us to communicate with each other. When this overlap is not as close, misunderstandings can occur, which is more common among people who do not share the same native language. Most fundamentally, words don’t have absolute meaning. Words only gain meaning by virtue of how they relate to other words. A chair, for example, is understood by how it relates to words such as “seat” and “legs” and how it differs from other words such as “couch.” “Courage” obtains meaning by how it relates to “perseverance,” “risk-taking,” “cowardice,” and many other words.

Translators have been challenged by this situation. For example, they have tried to infer what ancient Hebrew words mean by how they are used elsewhere in the text. However, there is inherent uncertainty in this process, particularly when it comes to seldom-used words. For the same reason, it is difficult to discern the meaning of the Greek words of the New Testament, particularly since the meaning of Greek words (as is true of words in all languages) evolved over time. Adding to the difficulties, subtleties of meanings are invariably lost when translating from one language to another, because all languages have many words that reflect the unique culture of the people using that language. When translating, aspects of the meaning of words are often lost. Assuming that Jesus’ words and actions were faithfully recorded (an assumption about which scholars have raised doubts), we have Jesus speaking in Aramaic, which was translated into Greek, which was then translated into other languages, including English.

I hope readers will stay with me over the next few essays as I make a Christian case for animal rights.

For further reading

Can You Get There from Here? Problems in Bible Translation

Problems in Bible Translation http://translationjournal.net/journal/18bible.htm

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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

Sharing the Duties of Christian House Cleaning http://www.all-creatures.org/sermons97/s28feb88.html .

Your question and comments are welcome

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