The Dilemma Caused by Being Vegetarian in a Christian Church

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The Dilemma Caused by Being Vegetarian in a Christian Church
Comments by Pamm - 7 Apr 2008

Dear Betty,

Your question is one that is asked, discussed, pondered on and prayed about by many Christians who have become strict vegetarian or made the decision to live the vegan lifestyle. I believe many of us are still asking, pondering and praying about this issue. In making the decision to begin your journey to vegetarianism and living a life of compassion for all living creatures, your new consciousness has awakened you to the vast cruelties and harm, as well as health and environmental toll that are associated with the raising and slaughter of animals for their meat or the products they produce. Whether by choice, expediency or lack of awareness, your fellow church members have not had a similar “awakening”. Likely, neither have your friends or other members of your family. I wish I could give you an easy answer to your dilemma but I cannot. If I could, I would also have the answer for myself. I am sure that you will hear a great deal of good advice from those on the list that might help you make your own decision but in the end I believe that you will have to do what your heart, and through prayers, you fell God tells you to do.

I have been, and still am, seeking a church home, were at least my vegan lifestyle was welcomed and that my fellow church members where interested in listening with both open ears and open hearts. I have not found that as yet. In the meantime, I rely on the Sunday sermon from www.All-Creatures.org, devotionals, several on line Christian discussion groups and e-mail prayer with a friend in Rhode Island who is a devout Catholic as well as a committed vegan. It is not as fulfilling as being part of a community church home but for myself, it was the only way I could be at peace with my Christian faith and my vegan lifestyle and animal rights activities.

You will find that many people are able to belong to a church, be an active member and also embrace the vegan lifestyle. As someone, who is a Christian and vegan wrote me, “I have those same feelings too…. “ but was convinced that by going to church and being an active member that she could be “like a light in the darkness”. I think that is wonderful. And I am sure that she is at peace with this decision and through prayer and strength from God will be that light – even if it is only for one other person.

Here are some ideas that might help you to make a decision about your church. If you have not already done so, subscribe to the Vegetarian Friends list (http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/), the April newsletter on CVA also has the link to the newsletter, “The Peaceable Table”. The April issue has a remarkable guest editorial of how love and a peaceful approach can make a difference. It is tremendously inspiring and one that provides an idea for approaching others. If you can put a little blurb in your church newsletter, try to see if you can get a little discussion group together” who be at least interested in learning more about this way of life, and be interested in honest and respectful communication. It may be that you are just the spark that will provide the light for others. It may be that you are more comfortable seeking out another church where the congregation is more open to your ideals and new journey to compassion. I believe that each of us has to make their own decision based on what they have committed their life to do, have prayed about and in their heart feel that is the path God wants them to follow. I will pray for you that He does the same and leads you, as He has already done, though your journey and makes His will for you known. Many blessings to you as you travel the path of compassion and mercy for all creatures.

Blessings and God’s Grace to you

Pamm

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