Toward a Theology of Animals

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Toward a Theology of Animals
By Susan - 15 Apr 2010

These comments are in reference to: Toward a Theology of Animals

Oh, yes, yes. Yes! I have never before found a movement so close to my heart. All my life I have been angry and upset because the church is largely silent on animal issues. Until I found out about the Reverend Mr. Linzey's stance, I felt hopeless, but now that the question is out in the open, I am somewhat heartened.

I am taking an on line course UCC History and Polity, and we were just asked to post the social justice issue that most concerns us, and I have posted mine below.

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I'm laying myself out here for disapproval because no matter how much many people love animals, we humans are still mostly focused on ourselves and our own problems. The cause nearest and dearest to my heart is animal welfare. I understand that unless we pull ourselves together, we cannot effectively make things better for animals. I also understand how little difference there is between us and them--yet they are still largely being ignored when it comes to justice. I feel any theology that does not face up to this truth is incomplete.

Horrible abuses of our little brothers are being practiced all over the world: dog fighting, dog and hog fighting, dolphin slaughter, animal trafficking, fur harvesting, bear baiting, bull fighting, fox hunting, starvation, neglect, abandonment for the slightest reason, puppy mills, mass slaughter for organs, skins, and other parts, tiny donkeys carrying staggering loads, being beaten when they collapse exhausted, experimentation (incl. being sent into outer space), factory farming... The list could go on and on. If I told you some of the other things I know, you might not be able to stand it.

I believe it will be a mark of our growing up as a species when we begin to get really concerned about these matters. Some individuals already are. On the UCC website, I found one of Andrew Linzey's books offered as a resource. He has composed ten animal liturgies for worship services. The spot about his book--only one of many he has written--includes what I've pasted below. That this is on the UCC website is, to me, greatly to the credit of this denomination. Even before I looked, I expected I'd find this topic addressed somewhere.

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Much to their credit, my classmates responded positively to my post. But I suppose it's telling that out of a class of twenty or so, I was the only one who wrote about animals.

I am going to confess that I am not yet a successful vegetarian which I understand is probably the litmus test of the true believer. I have tried and failed several times. It would be easier if I lived in an area where there were more choices in restaurants. I have never been a cook and eat out a lot. I may not be a vegetarian, but my heart is in the right place. Please pray that I might yet find the way to perfect my personal commitment to animals by abstaining from meat consumption.

Thank you (if this e-mail goes to Mr. Linzey) for this opportunity to write to you,

Susan