1. Activist Feedback
Rick Hershey, who leafleted at Winter Jam in Memphis, TN, writes:
Chip and I handed out 2400 CVA booklets mostly to preteens and teenagers. There was a much smaller crowd than usual for this Memphis event.
2. In Memoriam: Stephen Webb, Ph.D.
It was with great sadness that I recently learned that Stephen H. Webb died last year. Stephen was important in the development of the Christian Vegetarian Association, serving a key role on the board and making himself readily available to the media. He is featured in the CVAís video ďHonoring Godís Creation.Ē He offered thoughtful, nuanced interpretations of Christian scripture and tradition, helping Christians gain clarity on scriptural passages and rituals that relate to animal issues.
He wrote two books on animal issues.
On God and Dogs: A Christian Theology of Compassion for Animals looks at humansí relationships with companion animals as a model for our relationship with all Godís creatures. We regard our companion animals as important beings beloved by God, and there is every reason to think God feels similarly toward other animals who are routinely abused by humans.
Good Eating aims to develop a systematic theology of diet. Webb addresses a broad range of animal issues, including the relevance of the Lordís Supper for animal protectionism, animal sacrifices in the Hebrew Scriptures, and the place for animals in heaven.
He taught at Wabash College from 1988 to 2012, where he became a Professor of Religion and Philosophy. He retired to focus on writing.
I liked and respected Stephen, and the world is certainly poorer without him.
Stephen Kaufman, MD
3. Martin Luther King, Jr.ís Six Principles of Nonviolence, part 6
Iím going to start to talk about faith next week. Now, Iím considering a sixth principle of nonviolence, which is that God (or ďthe universeĒ for those who uncomfortable with God-talk) are on the side of justice, and that justice will eventually win.
Though I think this principle has merit, Iím hesitant to accept it fully. If God and the universe favor justice, why is there so much injustice? For example, any deity worth worshipping that has power to act in the world would not permit the massive abuse of animals on todayís factory farms. It is possible that God wants justice but is unable to prevent injustice. If thatís the case, I become skeptical of those who have confidence that justice will eventually win.
I favor a more qualified position. I do think it is reasonable to believe that God cares about creation, as I will discuss in later essays on faith. However, it seems that God has little if any capacity to act in the world. It remains up to people to secure justice, and I think that people in general want to see peace and justice in the world. Unfortunately, people tend resist changing their personal lifestyles toward that end. Therefore, I see the victory of justice as a possibility, but by no means a certainty. Because this possibility exists, we should endeavor to promote justice as best we can. To do anything less is to betray those who have befriended us, those who have trusted us, and those who need us.
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.
4. This Weekís Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman