- Essay: A Christian Path
- Blog of Interest
- This Week’s Sermon from
Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
- The June Peaceable Table Is Online
1. Essay: A Christian Path to Self-Esteem
Last week, I argued that
the attempt to gain self-esteem by dominating others individuals –
human or nonhuman – is a zero-sum game that invariably results in
harm. Is there another path to self-esteem?
I think Christianity
offers one such path. We are taught that God is the creator. I think
it is reasonable to attribute to God subjective experience and the
sense of identity and self which, evidently, many people regard as a
manifestation of the soul. The sciences can tell us much about how
atoms, molecules, cells, organs, and bodies work. But they have
offered little insight into how inanimate objects can generate
It is reasonable to hold that God, as
creator of all such human and nonhuman “souls,” cares about them.
Consequently, we may finding meaning and purpose by serving God by
helping those souls who God created. Our abilities to help vary,
depending on our skills and our positions in society, but everyone can
be part of this process. All of us can gain a sense of self-esteem if
we believe in what I think is a reasonable position that, by helping
God’s living beings, we are serving God.
We can do much more
collectively than individually, and this can be a basis for generating
and maintaining communities. Throughout history, humans have generated
and maintained communities through the scapegoating process, in which
exclusion of certain individuals is crucial to community identity.
However, Jesus taught that we should include everyone, including
widows, orphans, tax collectors and others who society had ostracized.
In my view, this is a radical and powerful teaching – so much so that
it makes a strong case for divine inspiration for Scripture.
think we should care about all God’s creatures, but should we care
about them equally? I will consider this question next week.
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.
2. Blog of Interest
Neufeld has a very nice blog about Christianity and animals:
3. This Week’s Sermon
from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
Father? Father! Abba! Father!
The June Peaceable Table Is Online
Every era has its taboos; today In many educated circles, talk about
life after death (particularly for animals) makes people about as
uncomfortable as talk about sex would at a Victorian tea party. But
taboos do not determine truth or falsehood, although they do tend to
keep people ill informed. This month's *Editor's Corner* essay,
"The Living and the Deceased, Part I: A Cloud of Witnesses,"
broaches the modern taboo to present the idea that prayers for the
deceased, both human and animal, may both help individual beings and
further spiritual evolution.
* One of the *NewsNotes* tells
of the series of bans of animals in circuses in South America, the
latest being in Paraguay, with two others in the works. This
welcome development followed upon some much-publicized exposes by
Animal Defenders International.
* Benjamin Urrutia reviews
the children's documentary film “Chimpanzee,” which tells the moving
story of an orphaned youngster who persuades an unlikely member of his
extended family to be his foster parent.
* This month's
*Recipes* by Angela Suarez offer an interesting and refreshing Ginger
Walnut Pasta for humans, and a "Just Peachy" cake for four-legged
We welcome letters and other submissions, particularly "My
Pilgrimage" and "Pioneer" narratives.
To see this issue, go to
Toward the Peaceable Kingdom,
Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor