Christ is risen!
There was no CVA e-newsletter last week - I was
Looking for Like-Minded People in Your Area?
3. CVA Activism
The April Issue of the Peaceable Table Is Now
Commercial Egg Replacer
Christianity and Violence: Wealth versus Poverty
1. CVA Podcast
The latest podcast features an interview with Harold Brown (www.farmsanctuary.org
), movie reviews, 'Coyote In the Quiznos', and more.
To listen, go to
2. Looking for Like-Minded People in Your Area?
In two weeks, I'll be listing first names, e-mail addresses, and
locations of those who seek like-minded CVA members.
To be listed, contact me at
3. CVA Activism
Michele, tabling at Asheville Peace Rally, writes: The gathering was
put together nicely. It was important to be there to share the news
about the kindness and love for all creatures. The mixture of the
reading materials sent by the CVA was very attractive. I had a nice
bookshelf with fruit, as well as the framed print of the Peaceable
Kingdom. I hung up the t-shirts to show the beautiful picture, also. I
liked the opportunity to talk and share with others such important news,
and the wealth of good blessings will surely continue helping
humankind's growth in awareness of their innate kindness and respect for
creation and that vegetarianism is a big right step in growth of that
To find out about all upcoming leafleting and tabling opportunities
in your area, join the CVA Calendar Group at
Read the home page, and then join. You will then be able to log in
anytime to identify upcoming events in your region. Contact Paris at
[email protected] if you might be able to help.
4. The April Issue of the Peaceable Table Is Now
This is the season of the festivals of Passover and Easter, of the
celebration of God's mighty acts of deliverance from bondage.
Accordingly, this issue deals with slavery and the work of proclaiming
* The Editorial, "We Were Slaves to Pharaoh," cites the passage of
the 1807 law in England abolishing the human slave trade, briefly
describes the kinds of human slavery that prevail at present, shows the
parallels to the slavery of animals, and sketches the concept of Exodus
as God's answer to all enslavement.
* NewsNotes describes one of the commemoration events in England of
the bicentennial of the law of 1807.
* Among the Gems are words of wisdom from Martin Luther King Jr. and
* One of the Film Reviews deals with Amazing Grace, a dramatization
of the persistent struggle of William Wilberforce and his colleagues to
bring about abolition, and its potential as a model for our own work.
To read this issue, go to
Commercial Egg Replacer
Alex writes: In the US a company that makes egg substitutes is called
Ener-G Egg Replacer. There's a Canadian distributor called Liv-N-Well in
Richmond, British Columbia, and they can be reached at (604) 270-8474.
There's one in the UK called Allergycare Whole Egg Replacer.
6. Christianity and Violence: Wealth versus
[This series reflects my views and not "official" CVA positions. It is
being archived at
This is the first of a series of essays that looks at how the
approach to faith that I have been developing in this essay series of
the past three years relates to contemporary issues. I have been arguing
that Christianity encourages us to develop relationships grounded in
love and respect rather than in the scapegoating process.
Regarding distribution of wealth, it is remarkable that Jesus showed
particular concern for poor people. Unlike the general view of his day,
Jesus did not regard poverty as a sign of divine judgment. Rather, he
considered poverty a consequence of human activity. Therefore, Jesus
said, "as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you
did it to me. . . . as you did it not to one of the least of these, you
did it not to me"
(Matthew 25:40, 45).
In our society, many people place a high priority on gaining wealth
as a hedge against the vicissitudes of fortune. In addition to practical
considerations, pursuit of wealth is mimetic in that seeing our
neighbors seek wealth probably contributes to our own desire for
material accumulation. However, focusing on gaining wealth distracts us
from aligning our desires with those of God desires, and Jesus said,
"You cannot serve God and mammon [wealth]" (Luke 16:13). This
accords with 1 John 3:17, which reads, "But if any one has the
world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against
him, how does God's love abide in him?"
Christian faith encourages us to view the world as bountiful,
certainly in terms of God's love and concern, and possibly in terms of
resources. It is impossible for everyone to enjoy "wealth," since wealth
is a relative term. In order for some people to be "wealthy," other
people must be "poor." However, everyone can be wealthy in a spiritual
sense, with faith in a God of unlimited love.
Indeed, I am convinced that spiritual well-being addresses
fundamental human needs more than material well-being, once one's basic
biological needs have been met.
The ecological sciences presume that a struggle for survival is
inevitable, because exponential population growth invariably outstrips
food supplies that, at best, increase arithmetically. However, Jesus
said that we should dedicate ourselves to God, not to obtaining food:
"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from
the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4; see also Luke 4:4).
If we align our desires with God's, we aim to help God reconcile
God's Creation to the harmonious world God intended (Genesis 1; Isaiah
11:6-9). This desire encourages us to limit our consumption and share
with others, confounding the "law" of nature that food supplies
invariably become scarce.
Jesus said, "So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all
that he has cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:33). I think Jesus was
referring to more than material possessions - he also taught that we
should renounce everything, including our ideologies and our
resentments. Many translations have "possessions" rather than "all that
he has," and Paul Nuechterlein has noted that the Greek word here can
also be translated as "possessing."
Nuechterlein's translation would then read "whoever of you does
not renounce all possessing cannot be my disciple."1
We want to possess material goods, and we want to possess (i.e.,
identify with) our ideologies, but these attitudes generate acquisitive
mimetic desires and rivalries that undermine the kingdom of God.
This perspective helps us understand Mark 10:21-22, which relates a
young man who said he had followed the commandments and wanted to
"inherit eternal life." It reads, "And Jesus looking upon him loved
him, and said to him, 'You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and
give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow
me.' At that saying his countenance fell, and he went away sorrowful;
for he had great possessions."
I think Jesus understood that the young man's problem was that the
man desired his possessions more than discipleship. There are some
people who share their good fortune over time. Having material
possessions, for them, is a form of stewardship rather than a means of
power and control. If they were to divest of everything, their long-term
ability to help those in need would diminish.
Whereas one may reasonably regard possessions as a means of
stewardship for those in need, having possessions remains a stumbling
block to the kingdom of God. As long as we have wealth, we do not fear
hunger and the other hazards of poverty. When we are able to afford
various kinds of security, we can (more or less) protect ourselves from
Therefore, even if our aim were not to maximize our stock portfolio,
wealth would make it more difficult to empathize and identify with poor
people and everyone else who is weak and vulnerable. In addition, it is
tempting to change one's mind and dedicate one's wealth to satisfying
one's own desires rather than addressing the needs of the originally
Therefore, Jesus said, "How hard it will be for those who have
riches to enter the kingdom of God!" (Mark 10:23).2
Some Christians hold that wealth is a sign of divine favor and that
rich people have no obligation to assist those whose poverty reflects a
moral failing. They often cite John 12:8, which reads, "The poor you
always have with you, but you do not always have me." As
Nuechterlein has pointed out, Jesus never asserted that poor people do
not matter. Instead, Jesus was noting that his end was near, and people
would only be inspired to attend to the needs of poor people if they
appreciated Jesus' teachings that poor people matter.3
Those with power typically disregard those they wish to exploit or
abuse, and consequently rich people often have contempt for poor people,
just as meat-eaters have contempt for farmed animals.
None of us can rid the world of suffering or injustice. However, we
can only draw ourselves and our communities nearer to the kingdom of God
when we make choices that show compassion, mercy, and love.
1. Nuechterlein, Paul J. "Loving to Death . . . Hating to Life??"
[Proper 18C Sermon].
2. I thank Rev. Linda McDaniel for helpful insights in this
3. Bailie, Gil. The Gospel of John [audiotape series]. Glen Ellen,
CA: The Cornerstone Forum, tape 9, undated.
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.
Have a blessed Easter everyone.