I haven't been part of this group very long, but I have found myself very
moved by what some of you have written about how lonely it is to be
vegetarian or vegan. I have just recently (about 3 months now) become
vegetarian again after not being for 3 1/2 years. Before that I was
vegetarian for 2 1/2 years, the longest by far I had ever managed, although
I have tried off and on since I was 14 and I am 57 now. I have never been
disciplined about food and I love the taste of meat, so I can only do this
at all out of love and compassion for animals. This time, I see the
importance of going vegan, but I will not do that at once since I am still
adjusting to not eating flesh, I love dairy, and I don't like most fruits
and vegetables and many other healthy foods. From a purely taste
perspective, I could live on pizza, cheeseburgers, mac and cheese, and lots
of desserts. The one time I tried to be vegan before, I got sick and then
quit being even vegetarian, so I need to do this gradually. However, I do
see the need for it. I have worked in agriculture. I see what happens to
laying hens and how many animals must be killed to sustain the dairy
industry which contains much mistreatment of animals. I am fortunate to live
in an area that has a lot of grass fed and organic dairies and lots of free
range chickens where the animals have it better than in factory farming, but
I still do not want to support these industries indefinitely.
I am even more alone because I am politically conservative and evangelical, even fundamentalist, theologically. That makes me different from most of you who have posted. I should probably check out the 7th Day Adventist Church, but I actually love my liberal Mennonite Church despite many differences I have with them. Most of them are much more politically and theologically liberal than I am, but there is a big emphasis on community and I like that. With all of their concern for the environment, almost none of them are vegetarian, only a few young people and me. I know of no vegans. As someone who is libertarian and doesn't like most environmental regulations and who doesn't believe in anthropogenic climate change, I have to put up with very frequent speeches about this at church. They are always talking about driving less and switching to solar power and using those annoying light bulbs I hate. However, when I bring up the pollution caused by animal agriculture, they usually don't seem to care. Mennonites have traditionally been farmers and hunters and they don't see animals as deserving of the same compassion as humans. They emphasize peace and I am with them on that, making me different than most of my fellow conservatives, but that peace does not extend to animals.
I don't mean to get into an argument with those of you who have different environmentalist views than I do. I just brought that up as an example of how I am different from almost everyone everywhere in my views.
What I am finding now is that I have to depend more upon God and I think this is a good thing. I am trying my best to accept that no one has the same collection of views that I have. I have friends who share most of my political views and friends who share the other ones. I have friends who share my theological views. I have friends who are vegan or vegetarian, but all of them are far away or online. I have friends who don't agree with me on many of these things but are still my friends. I think it helps to pray for ways to be an example to others in animal compassion. As someone who has eaten meat most of my life, when I am eating meat, I don't appreciate preachy vegetarians talking about animal cruelty. I try not to be that way when I don't eat meat, but it's kind of my nature to be preachy and judgmental. That is an ongoing sin with which I constantly struggle. It is hard to find the line between being judgmental and being silent in the face of wrong doing. That we are Christian vegetarians or vegans means that we have the help of the Holy Spirit.
However, it still gets lonely. I'm glad you folks are out there. I look forward to getting to know you better.
Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.) ~~~ Walt Whitman