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CVA Weekly Newsletter
December 5, 2012

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  1. Activist Feedback
  2. Essay: What is Theologically Correct?
  3. The November Peaceable Table Is Now Online
  4. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
  5. Humane Critter Catcher

1. Activist Feedback

Super-activist Rick Hershey writes:
I handed out 1200 booklets this evening at the Independence Event Center for the Matthew West tour.  The crowd was approximately 80% adults and 20% kids.
Upcoming Activist Opportunities
12/10         MI Port Huron New Song's Very Merry Christmas Tour
12/11         MI Manitowoc Newsong's Very Merry Christmas Tour
12/13         AZ Phoenix         Sanctus Real Christian Rock Concert
12/13         PA Reading         Stephen Curtis Chapman 12 Gifts Tour
12/14         MD Baltimore Stephen Curtis Chapman 12 Gifts Tour
12/14         OH Cincinnati Gaither Homecoming Christmas Tour
12/15         MI Grand Rapids    Gaither Christmas Homecoming Tour
12/15         TN Nashville Relient K Christian Concert
12/15         NC Greensboro Stephen Curtis Chapman 12 Gifts Tour
12/16         GA Duluth          Stephen Curtis Chapman 12 Gifts
12/30-31  VA Lynchburg WinterFest Christian Rock Festival
1/4       WV Charleston Winter Jam 2013 Tour Spectacular 

2. Essay: What is Theologically Correct?
Last Sunday, there was a note that someone left inside my pew’s hymnal: “This hymn is theologically incorrect.” This got me wondering: What does theologically incorrect mean? Who decides what is theologically correct and incorrect, and on what grounds do they base that claim?
I think it is one thing to say, “My interpretation of Scripture (or my understanding of God’s nature) is different,” or to say, “I disagree with your interpretation of Scripture (or understanding of God’s nature) for the following reasons …” It is quite another thing to say, “You are wrong.” The last statement presumes a degree of knowledge and understanding that, I think, exceeds human capacities. The first statements express an opinion, which may be an opinion about which one has a high degree of confidence but, as with all opinions, may be incorrect. The last statement is expressed as a fact, and in order for such a factual statement to be valid, rather than just a manifestation of arrogance and hubris, one must have certain knowledge of the mind of God.
There is a fundamental logical problem with claiming certainty. If one claims that one is certain about a statement, then it is reasonable for someone to ask, “On what grounds do you claim such certainty?” Whatever evidence one might propose is potentially corruptible and, consequently, cannot be regarded as proof. For example, one might point to biblical passages for “proof,” yet the skeptic could raise questions about the degree to which the Bible comes from God, the validity of the translation, the meaning of the words in their original languages, the intent of the writers, and what the proper context of the passage(s) should be. One can have opinions about these questions, but in order to answer any of these questions with certainty, one must know the mind of God. In other words, one must be equal with God, which I strongly doubt any of us can reasonably claim. Even if we hold that Jesus was one with God, none of us is Jesus.
Alternatively, one might point to personal experiences of divine presence as showing the path to truth. However, the skeptic could point out that people with personal religious experiences, which many have found very compelling, have arrived at a wide range of mutually exclusive conclusions. This might reflect how religious experiences often occur during periods of intense emotion or stress, raising questions about whether the experiences are reflections of the mind responding to emotions rather than manifestations of truth. Further, we also know that right temporal lobe epilepsy can yield intense religious experiences which appear to have a physiologic rather than divine basis. Therefore, having a profound religious experience does not necessarily demonstrate the presence of God.
I think we should exercise a degree of humility. We can still hold opinions, and we might hold some so strongly that we are willing to die in defense of what we believe is right. But we should always be ready to change our minds if evidence compels us to do so.
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D. 

3. The November Peaceable Table Is Now Online
Contents Include:
*  The November PT might be called a "Fred Rogers" issue, since he takes up no fewer than three sections.  The Editor's Corner Guest Essay, which I have entitled "Our Best Dreams," is taken from two sections of his book Life's Journeys According to Mister Rogers.  Although Mr. Rogers was very much aware of the evils and suffering in the world, especially those faced by children, he focused on the goodness deep within every person's heart, and everyone's potential to fulfill their best dreams.  Cultivating this aspect of life is important to the spiritual health of those of us who are working to dismantle the evil system that causes so much suffering and death to animals, to humans, and to our earth.

*  In all three of the Unset Gems by Mr. Rogers, he encourages us in some way to be our best selves and to stick up for the right thing, even though it may be unpopular.

*  Would you believe that the city council of Los Angeles, one of the largest cities in the US, voted unanimously to adopt Meatless Mondays?  Check out this NewsNote!

*  The November Pioneer is, of course, Fred Rogers.  Children were the chief focus of his life's work, but his innate compassion, together with his ability to look at the world from a small child's point of view, led him to progressively stop eating meat several years before vegetarianism started to become a highly visible movement in the US.

To read this issue, visit: http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue92.html

Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor

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

Finding the Truth in the Bible  

5. Humane Critter Catcher
Ever wanted a nonviolent approach to unwanted spiders and other little critters in your home? Now you can get one, thanks to the My Critter Catcher, which would also make a nice gift:

Your question and comments are welcome

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