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Why Animal "Abusers" Aren't Concerned with
- abuse - offend - alienation -
Comments by Stephen R. Kaufman - 7 November 2001
Christ's peace by with you, Lisa.
It can be painful to become aware of the suffering in the world. But, it can also be liberating, because we become more connected to God's created world. Closing our eyes, ears, and hearts leaves us painfully alienated -- much more alone and lost in a vast, mysterious universe.
Jesus preached to sinners. It's more comfortable socializing with people who share our values, but Jesus told us to be disciples unto the nations. He did this with (usually) gentle teachings and by example. We can't make the world a wonderful place to live for all its creatures, but we can make it quite a bit better.
It's hard to see animals harmed and be unable to intervene directly, but there are ways to move people along towards more compassionate living gently. When people do something directly disrespectful to us, such as put a slab of meat on our plates, I suggest we respond with something about how we feel and ask a question. For example, if I had my wits about me, I might have said, "My vegetarianism is an important expression of my Christian faith. Sometimes, it seems that people are having trouble appreciating that. What do you think I should do to make more clear how important this is for me?" Such a response, I think, will avoid the other person becoming defensive and hostile, while still effectively making the point that I didn't appreciate the act.
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