Weekly Newsletter - May 18, 2016
From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

  1. Activist Feedback
  2. Essay: Discerning Motivations
  3. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

1. Activist Feedback

Rick Hershey, who leafleted with Chip at Winter Jam in Peoria, writes:

Chip and I handed out 3060 CVA booklets at Winter Jam at the Peoria Civic Center.This receptive large crowd had a higher percent of adults than most of the WJs that I have been to. One 12 year old helped hand out 10 booklets.


2. Essay: Discerning Motivations

As I discussed last week, it is difficult to ascertain our own motivations, and even harder to discern the motivations of others. This observation encourages us to refrain from presuming the motivations of other people, however tempting it might be to ascribe bad motivations to behavior of which we disapprove.

While it wise to withhold judgement about others’ motivations, identifying our own motivations can help us avoid victimizing other individuals. As masters of self-deception, humans tend to attribute good motivations to their own harmful activities. This observation encourages us to avoid harmful behavior whenever possible, but sometimes we must decide between unattractive options, none of which avoids causing harm.

One strategy is to enlist the perspective of those who might be harmed. We should try to engage them and find out whether they believe they might be wronged and, if so, why. Sometimes, we dismiss the harm we might cause to those with whom we disagree because we believe that they simply seek harm against others. If this is the case, we might encourage them to explain how they justify their own potentially harmful activities. In this context, we should be seeking understanding, not changing anybody’s convictions.

Nonhumans have difficulty communicating their thoughts, but it is not hard to recognize when they are being harmed. Just as we can confidently infer when a baby is in distress, nonhumans make their feelings clear through their behavior and their vocalizations.

Next week I will consider another strategy, which involves identifying how we feel.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.


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

Godly Language or Tongues of Pentecost


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