Sometimes when you seek, you find more than what you’re looking for…

Blogs are pretty specific for the most part. They end up revealing certain themes over time or chronicling an individual’s personal journey. Some have an agenda, some don’t.

I find it interesting the people who end up at my blog through Internet searches. It reveals the weakness and sheer vastness of general web searching I guess — I’m sure the majority of these folks weren’t looking for my opinions. However, just in the past week these searches led to me (parentheses are mine):

Seal hunt (thanks for being interested in what’s happening with this)

Church, culturally irrelevant

Words to Sunday morning Christians (needing some scathing words?!)

She-devil lighter (hmm?)

Chicken herd theology blog (thank you!)

Sunday AM church procedures (there’s a broad topic)

How to make morning buns

Chickenherdtheology (again, thank you!)

jesus was a commoner (lower case theirs not mine)

Heaven without daughter (I’ve prayed for you often since you stopped by. God give you peace and hope)

Chicken’s broken neck

Human sacrifice altar (making plans?)

Regardless of what you were really looking for, thanks for taking the time to stop by.

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Confessions of a Meat Eater

(*credit to the folks at the pulp for the semi-plagarized title)

I choked down a burger the other day. I don’t typically (have to choke it down that is). I grew up in the middle of North America. Beef was always what was for dinner. Frankly, I liked it. And I still do.

However, increasingly as I’ve explored what a Biblical worldview might really be (as opposed to a North-American-Church Person worldview), deciding what’s for dinner has become a little more complicated. My parents visited my home once and cooked shrimp fettucini. They brought the shrimp with them from Canada so I asked if the shrimp was a Canadian product. It was at the exact time of the Canadian seal hunt when fishermen club baby seals to death for their furs. It’s a brutal death. The slaughter occurs in front of the young seals’ mothers. And it’s so fishermen have a few extra bucks in the off season and we can have a “dead seal skin” clothing option. I don’t want any part of supporting that. But the dinner smelled really great and I wanted to appease my family members who thought I was being silly so I ate it. And, therein lies my dilemna.

I like the taste of meat. And, it’s what I’ve been raised on: meat, potatoes and some other “colorful” vegetable with a slice of bread. Everyday. With everyone at the table. But I don’t think it’s what God originally intended nor will it be the ultimate reality of the Kingdom. Carnivorism arose when the curse reverberated through the galaxy. The lamb was laying down with the wolf in utter dozing contentment until Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. In the moment of the curse, for the first time ever, the lamb experienced fear and the wolf discovered a new craving.

We can argue Biblically that God required animal sacrifices and that he created laws for how people should prepare meat for consumption. We can argue that Peter’s vision of the meat picnic laid out on a blanket in a vision was God’s obvious blessing to eat away. But, I cannot be convinced that God approves of gestation crates and feed lots and abused milker cows and battery cages. I can’t be convinced that animals were created as little chunks of meat for humanity — that it doesn’t matter how they are treated while they’re alive if they’re just being raised to become food.

And there is my problem. I don’t like eating meat if the food product is the result of, and promotes, blatant abuse of living creatures who ultimately belong to the God who created them (the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof). As the recently revolutionized world famous chef Wolfgang Puck says, “The veal calf may end up as wiener schnitzel, but… [I] want it to have a happy life first.

The bookends of the Biblical narrative appear to me to be vegetarian. In the middle of God’s story with us we have permission to eat meat. But we still carry the responsibility of caring for creation (animals included) in a way that honors the One from whom life is given.

 

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God’s Little Bullies?

Christians have been blamed recently, and maybe for a long time, of not caring for the earth. In truth, we’ve done a lot to earn the blame — call it the “I have more power than you and the earth is going to be incinerated anyway” mentality. We read the passages in Genesis that communicate a clear hierarchy in the created order; we see that God put us at the top of that order (under Him); He gives us the charge to have dominion over it. We interpret that as “subject everything to yourselves.” And we never look back. God’s (self) righteous little thugs. It’s more of an evolutionary world view when you consider it — survival of the fittest equals do whatever you want to other species of life and whoever comes out on top wins.

Speaking as an evangelical (it’s a loaded word, but one hopefully we can reclaim as a being a good thing), some of us who claim to follow Christ are beginning to look back and understand our role on the planet a whole lot differently — maybe even Biblically.

People have gone ’round and ’round about what it means for humanity to be created in the image of God. Souls? Reason? Self-awareness? I find none of these completely convincing. As I read the Biblical account of creation, it seems to me the only thing different about how God created humanity is that he charged us with the responsibility of caring for the rest of created order. We’re on top of the hierarchical order because we are responsible for the well-being of the rest. The image of God part? He charged us to act on his behalf: Here’s the signet ring from the king himself, what you do bears his mark.

Do we force creation to bow before us because we bear the ring and we have the power, or do we extend a kind hand because of the one who owns it?

An environmentalist or animal rights supporter needn’t be a Christian. One needn’t believe the words of the Bible nor proclaim a belief in God to feel it’s important to clean up pollution or eat eggs from free range chickens. But, the disassociation does not work equally in reverse. Biblical Christianity must include environmentalism and support the humane treatment of animals. Can Christians really *not* engage in responsible practices in these areas and still claim a desire to honor God in how we live?

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Do Chickens Go To Heaven?

Thursday was a hard day on the farm.

As one whose theological curiousity is shaped much by observing nature, Thursday was a difficult day of questions. Upon arriving home from work, the chicken coop door was open but the chickens were not to be seen. Instead of the group happily scratching about in the pasture with the old rooster keeping watch as is usual, there was only one small red hen visible near the wood pile. She seemed afraid.

I quickly got inside the house and changed out of my work shoes into something more pasture appropriate and ran out toward the horse paddocks. Behind the garage I saw the only remaining feathers of what had been one of the gold hens. My stomach dropped at the thought of what had happened.

I ran faster and lifted the heavy corral gate to unlatch it. The horses were watching me expectedly but it wasn’t their usual look of hoping for treats. They were uncertain. Dashing around the stable I saw what I thought was the old rooster out of the corner of my eye headed for the coop. Whatever it was, it was black. Just as I reached the corner a coyote the size of a German Shepherd bolted across my path. I yelled and clapped and chased after it and it skittered across the arena and waited on the other side of the fence.

There was Molly, the favorite hen of my landlord’s eleven year old daughter, the only one who had been named. She had just been killed and still laid there as if asleep except for a little blood around her broken neck. My fears were confirmed. I knelt down and petted her and told her I was sorry — what if I had gone straight out instead of changing my shoes?

The little banty rooster poked his head out from beside the barn and crowed. Molly was the only hen who had been nice to him. I coaxed him toward the coop reassuringly. Two hens followed suit and I shut the three of them safe inside. I called for the others and searched the pasture for any other signs of life. The coyote was still waiting near the woods and I yelled at him to take off.

My landlord arrived shortly after, thankfully without her daughter. She knew what had happened as soon as she saw my face. We carefully lifted Molly’s body into a feed bag and placed her on the hood of the truck. We spent the next hour and a half shaking the grain buckets and calling for anymore surviving chickens. The big, old rooster came tentatively out of a tree after twenty minutes or so. He had puncture wounds on his head and his tail was gone. He approached cautiously, checking from one side to the other all the way across the field. Four more hens showed up before dark as we continued to call. They all came carefully out of the woods. Those were all that remained. We accounted for the other ten by the clusters of their feathers in various spots around the yard. Even the little poofy one who could fly a bit had been taken.

Friday I found the little grave pictured above near the chicken coop. The landlord’s daughter had wanted to bury Molly and create this memorial. The cross seemed like an appropriate burial marker.

Do chickens go to heaven?

Today, I sure hope so.

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If You Show Me Your Proof Texts, I’ll Show You Mine

I surf through a few tags in the blog world every now and then: church, Christianity, faith, cats. The cat posts are generally cute or sweet or enjoyable — encouraging mostly. Apart from the possible argument of “inside” vs “outside,” there isn’t much to fight about in the cat world. Oh, people should spay and neuter and be responsible pet owners for the life of their pet as opposed to the life of their convenience or cuteness, but you know, for the most part, cat posts in the blogosphere seldom digress into rants. Church, Christianity and faith on the otherhand, well, it’s embarrassing. 

I’m “inspired” today by one particular post I read a few weeks ago. I don’t remember where it was or who wrote it. If I did, I wouldn’t provide the link anyway. A new one can be found in several of the twenty posts that come up in any Church/Christianity/faith tag on any day. The author is always right, anyone who differs is wrong, and the proof texts backing up their argument are amply and aggressively provided — usually in bold type

The post I read was written by a man consoling those of us unfortunate to have been created female. He was sorry that Scripture doesn’t allow for women to speak in church and he expressed his understanding that submitting to our husbands as God commands must sometimes be a difficult burden to carry. He continued with his list of things women are clearly not allowed to do based on Scripture. He even provided the Biblical proof texts in bold type so we could be certain.

His topic and content are not the focus of my post. The problem really is proof text arguments in general. My experience has been that these arguments typically begin at the back end of the argument first — the ass end so to speak. Those presenting them already hold some deeply entrenched position on a perceived issue in the church or American life or whatever and then scurry about through Scripture finding all the choicest texts that support said position. They are right. Everyone else is wrong. The weakness in this approach is simple: you show me your proof texts and I’ll show you mine. It just seems all around uncomfortably wrong somehow doesn’t it?

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I Think God Might Be a Show Off

I created a list of people I know who don’t know Jesus. It’s a short list. It’s not short because I don’t know a lot of friends, co-workers and acquaintances who don’t know Jesus, but because I wanted to focus on being able to pray for a few in particular. The list is a gimmick for me, not for God. It just helps keep me aware and looking for what God might be doing around me. I need help being aware in that regard.

I struggled with the last couple of names on my list. I had seven lines. I’d determined five people. The individuals I chose for these last two lines are people I don’t know very well. I see them only on occassion and it is by chance meeting, not by appointment. By the standards Americans typically use to rank people (consciously or not), they would rank above me. They have a lot of money. They own a lot of property. They roll in ridiculously cool vehicles. I am personally indebted to them in many ways and most certainly lower on the status ladder.

So, I struggled with whether I should put their names on my list. What it came down to was do I interact with these people enough that God could use me in their lives at all (like I am so important). It felt like a bit of a cop out to finally choose them. It seemed like their names needed to be there though, so I wrote them down.

That same afternoon I ran into one of these people for the first time in months. He came to me and he is the one who initiated the conversation. It was the longest conversation I’ve had with him in the two years I’ve known him. I have trouble understanding him sometimes and I feel badly about it but on this particular afternoon, I understood every word clearly and easily and our conversation was enjoyable, humorous and flowed easily. We didn’t talk about God. He didn’t fall to his knees and cry out to Jesus (!). But, I was keenly aware that earlier that same day I’d just written this man’s name down on my “God please intercept these people miraculously and mightily” list.

I’m relatively convinced it was all a set up. God set me up just so he could show off.

“It ain’t about you my dear girl, but watch this!”

More of the same, please. I like it.

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On the lighter side

I recently decided to try to bathe Emmy. Yes, Emmy is my cat — seen here. She gets stinky sometimes. However, the fact that Emmy is my cat should probably have been my first clue that this

emmy-eyes-open.jpg

undertaking might not turn out like the idyllic TV commercials that show happily bonded pets and owners together, one lovingly nuzzling the other with fluffy clean whiskers. Nope. This was an all out claws flailing, eyes bulging, mother-hating, scrawny, sopping wet looking, she-devil unbonding experience. You’ve seen the cartoon picture of the cat hanging spread eagled against a screen door? That’s close. Emmy was, of course, the cat. I was the screen door. My whole bathroom has now been well sudsidized and buffed (from me chasing sopping wet cat she-devil around the bathroom trying to get her back in the tub).

Note to self and any readers out there: throw away the cat shampoo.

We have made up now (the she-devil and I). She was under my covers later that same night “making muffins” on my back with her paws and purring away like I was going to be the best batch ever. Cats are forgiving like that.

And, she smelled like light fluffy roses.

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