Weekly Newsletter - October 26, 2016
From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

  1. Facing the Truth, part 2
  2. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
  3. The Creature Conference March 18, 2017, London

1. Facing the Truth, part 2

As I explore the importance of humanity fully acknowledging its own nature, I think it is important to discuss our continuity with the animal kingdom. Many thinkers and spiritual people have sensed this continuity, including the writer of Ecclesiastes (3:19-21), and a major breakthrough was Darwin’s On the Origen of Species (1959) and The Descent of Man (1871). He argued that humans evolved from other animals, a position that many have regarded as a threat to human dignity but that I see it as empowering and liberating.

As animals, we can take ownership of the full gamut of human feelings and behaviors, from the most altruistic to the most sadistic. We do not need to posit an external devil who compels humans “made in the image of God” to have evil thoughts or do evil things. We do not need to be ashamed of our fears, our anger, our sexuality, and other sometimes unwelcomed components of our being. We should be ashamed only if, when acting on our feelings, we victimize other individuals.

Though we might describe desires that encourage us to harm others as “satanic,” I think the idea of Satan as an external person is theologically and sociologically problematic. Theologically, if we are to regard God as good and just as well as the Creator, then it is difficult to explain how a person bent on evil came into existence. Sociologically, countless people have been victimized after being accused of Satan-inspired witchcraft. During the Middle Ages, many thousands of “Witches” were killed for causing bad weather, for instigating outbreaks of disease, and for leading people to sin. The last charge has been particularly pernicious, because it has permitted people to blame others rather than take ownership of their own desires. This is characteristic of scapegoating, about which I have written in prior essays.

Similarly, humans have tended to project onto animals those attributes that humans tend to despise in themselves. I will explore this next week.
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D

2. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

Doing Their Own Thing

3. The Creature Conference, March 18, 2017, London

Daryl Booth writes:

I am delighted to you to warmlyinvite the ground-breaking Creature Conference on Saturday 18th March 2017 at Oasis Auditorium, London. This unique event aims to equip and support Christians to engage theologically and practically with animal issues within the Christian life.

The Creature Conference brings to you the best of the recent, unprecedented momentum of theological concern for animals. Thousands of Christians in the UK are passionate that animal issues should be on the forefront of the Church’s agenda. This pioneering conference will inform, inspire, and empower Christians to put their convictions into action!

Together with world leading speakers, delegates will have the opportunity to explore animals and animal issues theologically, as well as reflect spiritually upon animal advocacy in Christian daily life. Those hungry for change will gain the confidence to take action, raise awareness and make tangible differences within their communities. This will be a unique opportunity to network with people from a range of traditions and backgrounds and to stimulate productive dialogue among Christians throughout the UK and beyond.

We are delighted to announce a line-up of globally renowned speakers who demonstrate both academic excellence and ecumenical unity in treating animals as a primary Christian concern:

  • Dr Margaret Adam - Theologian, ethicist, author and former lecturer at Loyola University Maryland and the University of Glasgow. Currently Visiting Tutor at St Stephen’s House, University of Oxford.
  • The Rt Revd John Arnold - Roman Catholic Bishop of Salford, spokesman on the environment for the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and Chair of the Trustees of CAFOD
  • Professor John Berkman - Lecturer in Moral Theology at Regis College, University of Toronto. Previously professor at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA and at Duke University in Durham, NC.
  • Dr Tony Campolo - Professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University, Baptist minister, author, public speaker and former spiritual advisor to U.S. President Bill Clinton
  • Professor David Clough - Professor of Theological Ethics, University of Chester, President of the Society for the Study of Christian Ethics, Founder of CreatureKind, and Methodist lay preacher
  • Dr Ruth Valerio - Churches and Theology Director for A Rocha UK, environmentalist, theologian, social activist and author on justice, environmental and lifestyle issues
  • The Rt Revd Dominic Walker - President of the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals, former Bishop of Monmouth and Honorary Vice President of the RSPCA

The conference will feature a roundtable discussion with all the speakers and workshops including:

  • Animals in Spiritual Development and Mission
  • A Piece of Eden: Art Therapy and Animals
  • Speaking for Those Without a Voice

Engage Your Church with Animals: The CreatureKind Course:

  • Becoming an Animal Friendly Church
  • Living Laudato Si’: Putting Eco-Theology to Work for Animals
  • It’s Not a Competition: How to Love Human and Animal Neighbours

Workshop leaders include Professor John Berkman, Dr Tony Campolo, Dr Philip J Sampson, Jane Darrall, The Revd Dr Helen Hall and Dr Allison Covey

The day will also include the opportunity to explore and reflect through a series of interactive stations including a virtual reality experience, prayer stands, crafts and an art exhibition.

For more information and to book you place, do please check out Creature Conference, March 18, 2017 - London.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch. I hope to see you in March!

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