May 19, 2008

where's the beef! pt. 2

I posted this in the comments below, but I thought I would post it again here. This is a response to a comment question that asked what Christian reasoning existed for not eating meat:

The Christian Vegetarian Association has some good information. I am not proposing total vegetarianism, although I do applaud those that choose this. As far as "Christian reasoning" for this goes, here's a few things to consider that come to my mind:

1) We are told in Scripture that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. Most Christian Americans eat WAY more meat, meat products, preservatives, etc. than their body really needs–or knows what to do with. Because of our diet, we see in the U.S. HIGH numbers of obesity, diabetes and various forms of cancer. Way more than in other parts of the world. All of those diagnoses can be attributed to diet. So, if our bodies are gifts from our Creator and temples of the Holy Spirit, shouldn't we take better care of them?

2) We serve the Creator of ALL creation, and the way we eat in America is destroying creation. Scripture shows an immense reverence (not worship) of the natural world. Why don't we? If Americans cut down down on their meat intake alone it would greatly impact environmental degradation, therefore more wholly honoring God and the gift of the natural world to us.

3) Some of Jesus last words are to go into the world and make disciples of all nations. Our eating habits in the West actually insure that people in the southern hemisphere starve... you can't accomplish Jesus' commission if they all die before you get to tell them about Jesus first! If Christians in the West would change their eating habits and by this effect the way the rest of the West eats, we could curb starvation in other parts of the world.

Bottom line, the Bible does not make it clear that we can't eat meat. Some may disagree. But with the state of the world today, I think there is certainly a Christian ethic that we should respond with that effects, for one thing, how we eat in the West.

Maybe you have some thoughts as well...

You know, I thought of this right before I posted this, this does relate to the ongoing conversation about Church, Money and the Future as well. One of the issues many are faced with is growing financial strain. Eating less meat is cheaper. Plus, what if church planters learned how to be seed planters? Urban/Suburban farmers? Growing your own food is a heck of a lot cheaper too!

And church properties with fewer and fewer congregants on Sunday mornings might want to consider a more ecologically friendly way of reaching out to their new neighbors, instead of marketing (which has little return on investment to be honest-I know, I'm a former insider)... rip out some asphalt and invite your neighbors to start a community garden. Feed the neighbors inexpensive, healthy fruits and vegetables and you'll win their hearts as well. Just a thought.


+ Alan said...

I think there are some good ideas there - growing our own food as we can, etc. We do some of that now, even in the suburbs, and grow it organically. It doesn't end up in tons of food but some.

Our plans for a rural community in the future include some farming as part of our self-sufficiency. Now, we don't plan not to eat meat, rather we plan to make some of that meat eating more healthy and less expensive by keeping a few (and you only need very few) cattle as well as chickens (for eggs and to eat). This is moving back a little into our common agrarian past. Some modern sensitivities will have to change in reference to killing animals yourself and not getting emotionally attached to them. That's another thought.

One more is that, logically, people in rural areas could also re-take up hunting as a way of providing some food for families and communities. Not over hunting. Not hunting for trophies, but conservationally sound hunting practices. Many may not want to go there but it fits into this philosophical ground I think. Peace to you man!

Jason Coker said...

I didn't know there was such a thing as "Christian reasoning." Damn, I must have missed that class...this explains alot. : )

Curtis Piatt said...

thats good reasoning. i decided to be vegetarian and hopefully soon to be vegan as a spiritual practice. the first reasoning due to the environmental impact. soon, it came to be out of reverence for all creation which for me would include animals, and even down to the insects. and it becomes a spiritual practice when i am cognitive about the fact i am not consuming meat while eating or cooking it becomes a reminder for me of sacrificing my palate's desires that following christ will take sacrifices in many forms for different people to provide justice and grace. and being vegetarian for me is one of those things. also, thanks for the video, i saw it on your blog and then had to put it on mine.

Mike Bishop said...

I really have to introduce you to my friends Jeff and Carol Morgan who live in Lima. I think they could be a great resource for the things you're thinking about, particularly supporting urban/suburban micro-agriculture etc.

glenn said...

Great post, Jason. You know, I've been wrestling with the meat issue for a few years now. It has ostensibly (and at least to this point) led us to abandon mass-production meat products and look to local farmers, in anticipation of future meat purchases. We're not very large meat-consumers as it is now. If we went all the way with it, it would be from out of a stewardship/reverential place, as Curtis mentioned above.

Here in our little suburb (at least in our own backyard), Cathy and I are starting our very FIRST garden. I'll forego Marshall's wisdom to plant all Venus Flytraps and stick to veggies 'n stuff.

Anyway, I love your perspective and ideas. You guys still inspire us.

Jason Evans said...

Congrats on the garden! That's awesome news, Glenn! Miss you guys!

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