Weekly Newsletter from Christian Vegetarian Association CVA - May 27, 2020
From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

  1. The May-June Peaceable Table Is Now Online
  2. Justice part 4: Justification by Faith
  3. All-Creatures.org Ministry

1. The May-June Peaceable Table Is Now Online


  • The Glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom features a family of otters and an orangutan (one of three) who have formed a fast friendship, and play games together.
  • The Guest Editorial Essay, "A Gigantic Library," is an excerpt from Friend Les Mitchell's recent book Reading the Animal Text in the Landscape of the Damned. He discusses, among other things the euphemistic language of exploitation, and shows how signs of animal abuse appear in many places in our everyday world seldom recognized for what they are.
  • One of the NewNotes reports that three pro-animal organizations are offering grants to animal agriculturalists to enable them to shift to plant ag.
  • An Unset Gem from T.S. Eliot, "Humankind cannot bear very much reality"--makes the reader more aware of something we already know half-consciously.
  • Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, the Pioneer in this issue, was a Shogun of seventeenth-century Japan who promulgated laws protecting animals, even forbidding their killing. Unsurprisingly, the aristocrats objected to this interference with their violent sports and blackened his name.
  • Inside Animal Hearts and Minds by Belinda Recio is Reviewed by Robert Ellwood. This wonderful book, with many appealing photos, describes many surprising facts about animal achievements, such as singing for sheer pleasure, talking (with specific vocabularies), and tool-making. A must-read.
  • You'll love the Raspberry Pie in this month's Recipe, which can be topped with vegan whipped cream and garnished with more raspberries. Yum!
  • The Poetry selection, "The Bells of Heaven," is one we featured several years ago. It appears again because it picks up a reference in the Editorial Essay.

To read in this issue, go to http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue161.html

Toward the Peaceable Kingdom,
Gracia Fay Ellwood

2. Justice part 4: Justification by Faith

Because of the human tendency to sin, many people believe that we cannot “earn” a spot in heaven through good behavior, i.e., “justification by works.” A popular alternate theory is that people are justified by having faith in Christ. There are some problems with this theory.

Justification by faith seems very unfair to children raised in a non-Christian household because children tend to adopt the same religion of their parents. Justification by faith also seems very unfair to those who have suffered great tragedy or abuse. It is difficult for a person to believe in Christ if it seems that God has abandoned that person. Indeed, “justification by faith” actually requires work – the act of choosing to have faith in Christ. Some people, particularly those who have been badly hurt, find this act impossible.

Some hold that faith in Christ is a gift from God, and we humans cannot understand God’s reasons for giving this gift to some and not to others. If this were the case, one would not expect the gift of faith to be concentrated in families. Also, if the ways of God were totally mysterious to humans, then we would find it difficult, if not impossible, to discern how to live.

A final general concern related to focusing on what it takes to get to heaven is that this tends to distract people from real suffering and injustice on earth. Perhaps there is a different way to understand passages that have often been translated as “faith in Christ” – a way that might lead to personal and communal salvation. If so, it might offer hope for the realm of God “on earth as in heaven.” I will start to explore this next week.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

3. All-Creatures.org Ministry

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