The Mary T. and
Frank L. Hoffman
Letters and Responses
Dear Pastor Endress,
I enjoy keeping up with my neighbors through The Tanglewood Buzz. In the December issue, it was fun reading about the wide range of people who are discovering their hidden talents through Wii games.
Fun, that is, until I reached the final snapshot — of a minister of God aiming a gun at His beautiful ducks.
It saddens me to think that, in this enlightened, environmentally savvy age, when evangelical Christians are finally beginning to awake to the need for "creation care" instead of "creation destruction," a religious leader whose aim is to follow and exemplify the meek and mild Jesus, would stoop to such a base form of "sport."
Where is your Christly compassion for the freedom-loving duck to whom you are causing agony and death? Where is your Christly compassion for her devastated lifelong mate, for her deprived-of-a-mother ducklings, for her frantic flock?
It is incomprehensible that someone who professes to love such a tender-hearted Savior as the Son of God would think it acceptable to blast God's gentle, innocent birds from the sky.
Did the good-old-boy culture that you were apparently raised in so program you that you cannot separate yourself from its worldly ways of "fun"? How else could any sane human find "pleasure" in causing pain to and destruction of a sentient being of another species?
The Biblical model of Jesus serving, eating and even miraculously producing more fish is no excuse for today's human hunters, anglers or livestock breeders and butchers, nor is it an excuse for those who consume the carcasses . As you know, fish was subsistence food in those times; that is hardly the case in affluent America. Jesus had to take a "suffer it to be so now" attitude about numerous customs of the day, from slavery, which he never condemned, to the profession of fishing (which, not incidentally, he asked his disciples to LEAVE in order to fish for men, which didn't involve destroying one life to feed another).
But he certainly didn't hesitate to condemn the evil practice of selling and sacrificing animals in the holy temple, did he? He applied a whip to those most unholy animal-abusers, didn't he?
I know some truly courageous Christian men who have left behind their killing ways as they have humbled themselves to hear the angelic message of God's gracious, generous love for ALL His creation. They exemplify the broad charity that is pure Christianity.
Granted, it is not easy to separate oneself from one's past beliefs and behaviors, from one's comrades in arms (pun intended), from the "old man" (in adopting the "new man"). But it can be done — and must one day be done by all of us if we are to enjoy the blessings of truly being saved from all forms of sin (which means being off-target in our concept of love).
I challenge you, Pastor Endress, to elevate your perception of what it means for God's man to have dominion over the earth. One way to start, besides penitent prayer, would be to read some books on the subject of man's obligation to be merciful to animals.
A good place to start would be with The Rev. Andrew Linzey's "Animal Theology" or "Animal Gospel." He is an Anglican priest and a professor at Oxford University. Or, if you want to read the trenchant observations of a right-wing conservative American Christian, there is Matthew Scully's "Dominion: The Power of Man, The Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy." Mr. Scully, whose brother Chris lives in Tanglewood, was one of the senior speechwriters for "W" during his first term in office.
In closing, I invite you to widen the sphere of your Christian compassion. Please don't take anything I have written as a personal criticism. I pray that my frank speech be taken in the kind way in which it was meant. I pray that my heartfelt words open your eyes to a glimpse of the "best" you, the "real" man who is hiding behind the blind, waiting to burst forth, rise on mounted wings and soar with the true understanding of how to celebrate "on earth Peace, good will to men" — and to all the precious beings in whom He takes delight.
With manger-like humility and joy,
Also see Frank and Mary Hoffman's letter to Pastor Endress.
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