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Update Newsletters
23 December 2009 Issue

CVA membership recently reached 6000. Thanks to everyone who makes this important ministry possible! The CVA staff wishes everyone a blessed Christmas.

1. Activist Feedback

2. Commentary on the Lectionary: Jesus’ Human Nature

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

1. Activist Feedback

Kipp, who leafleted at the Women of Faith Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, writes:

Leafleting went very well as far as handing out pamphlets went. I handed out the box of 300 in an hour.

Some were concerned that I was a Jehovah's Witness, but most were quite receptive. I found out that the best way to approach people was with "I have nothing to sell!" That generally got a chuckle. And then I asked them if they would like a totally free pamphlet on: 1) a Christian-based diet or 2) dietary information. When I just said that it was dietary, many turned away until I added that it was Christian-based. On the other hand, if I said it was Christian-based, some looked offended when it was about being a vegetarian.

I learned to add "This is from one perspective." That proved to be a powerful statement because that did not offend Christians who choose to eat meat, and it's also accurate in that Romans talks about the freedom to be free of dietary restrictions.

I also emphasized, if engaged in conversation, that the information in the pamphlet is accurate, but it's up to each individual to decide how to handle it.

Blessings to you, yours, and all of God's Creatures.


2. Commentary on the Lectionary: Jesus’ Human Nature

December 27, Luke 2:41-52

This passage describes Jesus, when 12 years old, studying the Scriptures among the men in the temple. One remarkable aspect of this story is that it highlights Jesus learning and growing. The story relates that Jesus was “sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.” Jesus was not born omniscient – he needed to learn about the letter and the intent of the law. Indeed, as Jesus learned from others, he “increased in wisdom and in stature” (2:52). I think that this has important implications.

If Jesus’ teachings were tantamount to “channeling” for God, his teachings might or might not make sense to humans. God’s ways are not necessarily human ways. If Jesus learned from fellow humans, then his teachings would reflect the understanding he gained from other people. It would be reasonable to expect Jesus’ teachings to accord with human understanding and wisdom. It also follows that we should be skeptical of religious authorities whose teachings “in the name of Christ” violate common sense or the notions of love, justice, and mercy that Jesus endorsed. It has always been tempting for religious authorities to affirm the self-interest of their target audience, playing for support and power by appealing to the prejudices and desires of the masses. We need to identify and reject such messages. A good rule of thumb is we should be on guard for messages that we find attractive that also endorse harming other individuals, particularly when that harm is justified by appeals to “the nation,” “purity,” or “God’s law.”

I think an implication of this story is that we should not follow religious dictates blindly. If what religious authorities tell us violate our fundamental sense of justice and mercy, we need to prayerfully reflect on how Jesus would have regarded these messages. Though we need to remain mindful of the universal tendency to impose our values and beliefs onto our scriptures, those values and beliefs can be helpful guideposts as we seek to model our lives on Jesus’ life and teachings.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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

Jesus Christ’s Birth Is Just the Beginning of the End Times

Your question and comments are welcome

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