The Mary T. and
Frank L. Hoffman
Family Foundation
and

All-Creatures.Org

Letters and Responses

Letter from Peggy Concerning Compassionate Living - 23 May 2004

What a beautiful sermon [WHAT HAVE WE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN TO OUR CHURCH AND OUR NATION BECAUSE OF OUR LACK OF VISION?]. I'm thankful that it was there for me on this Sunday morning, as I'm away from my home and my place of worship.

I've been spending the month at a "food animal" sanctuary in California (I'm from Oregon). This has been a time of learning, study, and time of prayer for me, as I struggle with the reality that my friends and family don't see the connection between the horrors of the "food animal" industry and the neat, compact packages of flesh at the supermarket.

How do I go on loving them in a way that is non-judgmental? I feel a real sadness when my brothers and sisters in Christ feel no remorse for participating in activities that contribute to so much suffering. I feel the same type of sadness when I share the love of Christ to a non-believer, and they have no interest in hearing more about Jesus and who He really is.

Thank you all for being involved in this group [Christian Vegetarian Association], it really helps me as I read about the struggles and victories regarding these tough issues.

Respectfully,

Peggy

Reply by Frank L. Hoffman

Dear Peggy and Others:

I believe that most of us on this list have or had similar situations with family and friends.

For whatever reason, we have been sensitized to feel the pain and suffering of other living beings to such an extent that we have changed our lifestyle to prevent the suffering of humans, animals, and the environment. I personally believe it's a gift from the Holy Spirit that we have accepted and acted upon. Most other people have not, and we can discern the difference in their attitude and lifestyle. This is not being judgmental.

If these flesh eaters are generally loving people in other areas of their lives, we can peacefully and politely discuss why we are vegetarians (vegans), and we can respect their lifestyle and they should respect ours. Mary and I had no problems with this kind of relationship for many years in churches where I served as pastor. Many of these people made vegan dishes for our monthly dinners.

However, there are other not so loving people who go out of their way to ridicule vegetarian (vegan) animal rights people. I personally believe that this is a defiant reaction to their rejection of the unction of the Holy Spirit to live a more compassionate way of life. Their actions are definitely not Christian, and we need to know where they are coming from. It does no good to discuss or argue our beliefs with such people, because they will only mock us, as most of us have found out. Hopefully one day they will listen to the Holy Spirit. For our part, we can only be loving and compassionate witnesses before them. If the whole community is like this, it is probably best to shake the dust off our feet and move on.

We are not the Holy Spirit, and we shouldn't try to be. Our job is to love people into, or at least toward the kingdom of God, so that they will be willing to listen and become perfected in God's love.

A word of caution: Just because we are sensitive to the pain and suffering of animals doesn't make us perfect, and all of us have some faults that more than likely annoy others. Violence and anger are in opposition to God's perfect love. So if we claim to be God's peacemaking children of God, then we had best practice on ourselves, first, so that others will see us as we claim to be.

In the Love of the Lord,

Frank

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