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Update Newsletters
7 September 2011

1. Activist Feedback

2. Commentary on the Lectionary, Romans 14:1-12, Are Vegetarians “Weak in Faith”?

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

4. The September Peaceable Table Is Online

1. Activist Feedback

Jon, who leafleted with Darina, Joe, Leslie, Madonna, Deborah, Laura, and Wally at the Joel Osteen

We didn’t know what to expect when we arrived to leaflet the Night of Hope Conference in Chicago. Joel Olsteen was speaking, and the crowds just kept coming and coming. We got there at 5pm, and the event was supposed to start at 7pm; however, people kept arriving until 7:30, so we stayed until we finished handing out booklets. This was not an especially ideal crowd – young people were few and far between. That being said, a lot of people seemed interested in our information, as we heavily emphasized that we were giving out Christian VEGETARIAN Association booklets. Many people reached out to grab one after hearing our description. A handful of vegetarians echoed their support of our work. Upon encountering them and hearing that they didn't "need" a booklet, we asked them to pass your booklet along to a friend. We frequently saw people reading through the booklets while waiting for a traffic light (a few of us were stationed at the closest el stop before the venue). We reached a large amount of people in just a few hours at this event, handing out 2900 Would Jesus Eat Meat Today? booklets, largely due to the huge 8 person team we assembled. Thanks to everyone who helped make this event a great success!

Upcoming Outreach Opportunities

9/15-17 MO St. Louis Love Life Women's Conference (Joyce Meyers)

9/16-17 WA Spokane Women Of Faith Conference

9/16-19 MO Kirkwood Greentree Festival

9/16-17 PA Shippensburg Uprise Festival

9/17 OH Sandusky PointFest Christian Music Festival

9/17 OH Mt Vernon SonFest 2011 Christina Rock Festival

9/17 MI Coldwater Seventh Day Slumber Christian Rock

9/18 OH Greenville Music With A Mission Tour

9/18 OH Greenville Illumination Festival

9/23-24 NC Hickory Momentum Christian Youth Conference

9/23-24 NC Charlotte Women Of Faith Conference

9/23-24 VA Middleburg Awakening Festival Christian Music Festival

9/23-24 AZ Phoenix Women Of Faith Conference

9/24 NC Charlottesville TABLE Vegetarian Festival

9/25 PA Mifflintown Seventh Day Slumber Christian Rock

9/25-26 IL Belleville Our Lady of the Snows Youth Day Celebration

9/28 OK Inola Seventh Day Slumber Christian Rock

9/28 TX Austin David Crowder Band - The 7 Tour

9/29 TX Houston David Crowder Band Christian Concert

9/29 SC Central Music With A Mission Tour

9/29 NJ Ocean City Starfield Christian Concert

9/29-10/1 TX Dallas Benny Hinn Miracle Conference

9/29-10/1 GA Atlanta Joyce Meyers Ministries Conference

9/30 WI Milwaukee Women Of Faith Conference

9/30-10/1 CO Denver Women Of Faith Conference

9/30-10/2 CA San Diego National Youth Workers Convention

10/1 OK Grove Seventh Day Slumber Christian Rock

10/1 MS Crystal Springs Music With A Mission Tour

10/1 TX Dallas David Crowder Band Christian Rock Concert

10/1-2 CA San Francisco TABLE World Vegetarian Festival

10/2 AL Madison Music With A Mission Tour

10/2 PA Meadville Point of Grace Christian Concert

10/3 GA Rome Music With a Mission

10/7-8 PA Pittsburgh Women of Faith Conference

10/7-8 VA Lynchburg Extraordinary Women's Conference

10/7-8 OR Portland Women Of Faith Conference

10/7-8 CO Co. Springs Hearts @ Home- Mom Revolution Women's Conference

10/7-8 MA Amherst Acquire the Fire Christian Youth Conference

10/8-9 MS Biloxi TABLE Gulf Coast Street Fest

10/13-15 CA Long Beach Joyce Meyers Ministries Conference

10/14-15 IN Fort Wayne Extraordinary Women Conference

10/14-15 CA Sacramento Women Of Faith Conference

10/14-15 FL Tampa Women Of Faith Conference

10/15 FL Tampa TABLE Tampa Bay Veg Fest

10/21-22 MS Tupelo Extraordinary Women Conference

10/21-22 TX San Antonio Women of Faith Conference

10/21-22 MN St. Paul Women of Faith Conference

10/29-30 MA Boston Boston Vegetarian Food Festival TABLE

11/3-5 OH Clveland Joyce Meyers Ministries Conference

11/4-5 IL Rockford Extraordinary Women Conference

11/4-5 MN Rochester Hearts @ Home Mom Revolution Conference

11/18-20 GA Atlanta National Youth Workers Convention

International Events:

8/26-30 England, London Lincolnshire Grapevine International Christian Celebration

9/17 Canada, Ontario Leamington Project X @ UMEI Fireflight

10/2 Canada, BC Langley Come to the Well Tour

2. Commentary on the Lectionary

Romans 14:1-12

Are Vegetarians “Weak in Faith”?

This passage has been a favorite among Christians who object to vegetarianism. Paul writes to the Romans that “the man who is weak in faith . . . eats only vegetables.” Anti-vegetarian Christians often link this passage with Romans 14:20: “Everything is indeed clean.”

I don’t think that this week’s Lectionary reading was designed to be anti-vegetarian. The Jews were determined to die rather that worship the Roman gods. Killing the Jews meant a loss of revenue for the Roman state, so the Roman authorities established an exception for the Jews that permitted them to refrain from worshipping the Roman gods. This exception, however, pertained only to Jews outside Rome, and kosher slaughter was illegal in the city. Jews could only obtain meat from pagan butchers, who typically offered prayers to Roman gods as they slaughtered the animals.

Evidently, Paul held that those who were offended by the elements of pagan worship associated with slaughter were “weak in faith” because they were acting as if these gods were real. Since there was only one God, the prayers to Roman gods were meaningless. I am doubtful that Paul objected to vegetarianism per se, and indeed in Romans 14:21 he says, “It is right not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother stumble.”

This being said, I would like to consider the theory, popular among anti-vegetarians, that Paul was indeed contemptuous of ethical vegetarians. It is possible that the Roman Jewish Christians abstained from flesh because they received Jesus’ teachings as encouraging vegetarianism. Scholar Hans-Joachim Schoeps, in his book Jewish Christianity: Factional Disputes in the Early Church, notes that the Jewish Christians were vegetarian. Keith Akers’ book The Lost Religion of Jesus makes a compelling case that Jesus was vegetarian and that the Jewish Christian movement was largely if not entirely vegetarian for ethical reasons. If this second theory for why Paul called the vegetarian Roman Christians “weak in faith” is correct, then it pits Paul’s understanding of Jesus’ ministry against those of people who derived their understanding not by a vision after Jesus died but from the actual life, works, and teachings of the living Jesus.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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

True Christian Labor Is a Labor of Love


4. The September Peaceable Table Is Online

This issue includes:

* The September editorial is entitled "Hearing Her Into Speech," an expression from the early days of the Second Wave of the women's movement. It suggests the attitude of respectful openness necessary for scientists who study animals if they are to help themselves and the rest of us understand something of the "speech" of animals.

* In a poignant Unset Gem, Gary Yourofsky describes the anguished cry of a mother cow whose baby calf has been kidnapped (so that humans, of course, can take her milk).

* A NewsNote links us to the story of Yvonne, a Baravian cow who escaped just before she was to be carted off to a slaughterhell. She ran free for three months, garnering huge public support. How can so many people cheer for an animal who escapes from death, while themselves continuing to eat flesh?

* In a Review, Benjamin Urrutia compares the 1938 children's novel Mr Popper's Penguins and the recent film starring Jim Carrey. While they both have credibility problems built into the plot, overall they show respect for the birds, especially in the endings in which the human characters return them to freedom in the climate natural to them.

* This issue features two fairly simple summer Recipes, including cool, crisp Sliced Cucumbers in Umeboshi Vinegar.

We always welcome letters, articles, and suggestions for future topics.

To read this issue, see http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue80.html

Toward the Peaceable Kingdom,

Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor

Your question and comments are welcome

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