But, fuck me, I do. By the way, I out sang and played her again yesterday and no, I’m not sitting at home every day waiting for another round. On the positive side (besides not just enduring it), it’s been bloody freeing to sing full throttle. Beneficial for the lungs which are working at full capacity again, thank you. The shortness of breath (even sitting), and the ticklish, foggy, “smoked a pack of cigarettes last night” feeling–gone. Get this–the symptoms of lung cancer mimic those of rheumatoid nodules. RA never ceases to surprise me.
Anyway, I can’t remember if I mentioned a secular “calling” that grew from reading Will Tuttle’s The World Peace Diet and Andrew Linzey’s Animal Gospel. It hadn’t occurred to me the impact churches, all faiths, their places of worship and leadership could have in teaching their congregations to live their faith, as in including all sentient beings in their circle of compassion (also the title of an essay collection on this very subject co-edited by Will Tuttle that I can’t afford at the moment but really want). If I didn’t, ta-da!
I started by writing this email to National Presbyterian Church’s minister/director of Adult Sunday School classes, as advised by head (?) minister, Reverend Renwick:
Good Morning Reverend Fox:
Let me give you an update on where things are in my planning.
I have scheduled an adult Sunday School class on August 9 (9:30 a.m. in Stone Fellowship Hall) for a presentation from Christine Gutleben and Michael Cromartie. (The summer adult Sunday School program is a different guest speaker each week.) Christine’s and Michael’s presentation will be related to a statement that is being released by a group of evangelicals that Christine is behind. Here is a Washington Post article about it http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/04/10/inside-the-evangelical-push-to-rally-around-animal-ethics/.
Christine is Senior Director, Faith Outreach for the Humane Society of the United States. Michael Cromartie, Vice-President of Ethics and Public Policy Center, is one of a small group of people working with Christine on the statement.
In the fall there will probably be an event to launch an initiative in conjunction with the statement. We are in conversation about hosting it at National.
These are first steps. Whether there are subsequent steps, and what they are, will largely be determined by interest that these events generate.
The National Presbyterian Church
Not too shabby. Still, I’m concerned about the extent HSUS is intending to go in regards to the “V” word, a vegan movement in faiths, mostly Christian, in the US. In between my first letter and Rev. Fox’s last I read a Christian-based argument/article in The Yale Divinity School‘s publication, Reflections, by Bruce Friedrich. A bit of research revealed he works for Gene Baur’s Farm Sanctuary(ies). I wrote Farm Sanctuary, summarized my “calling” and asked if Mr. Friedrich would be interested in speaking at NPC. I received a response quickly–he was local (DC) and would happily speak at NPC and free of charge!
(Bruce co-wrote this book, too, which I own but didn’t realize until heading out the door today; like I said, ungodly hour.)
Rev. Fox has evaded my inquiries about Bruce speaking during the Fall adult Sunday School “semester.” Below, duh, Bruce deduced rightly, I think, the reason behind this. Oh, did I mention meeting Bruce at an ungodly (chuckle) hour this morning at Starbucks? Below is a summation of our conversation I sent a FB friend. I’ve much to learn, that much is clear, but I’m new to this “changing all religious ideologies to eschew animal products” thing. And I’m freelance, so there’s that:
“I was up and out of the apartment before 8AM today if you can believe it.
Was meeting Bruce Friedrich, a fellow vegan (and Christian) who works for the Farm Sanctuary (one co-founded by Gene Baur who was on The Daily Show, everywhere talking about his new book, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life). I’m trying to involve churches–all faiths–in embracing animals as equally worthy and including them in their circle of compassion, meaning contemplating (and I hope accepting one day) veganism as an essential part of all faiths’ mission statements, creeds, whatever they call them.
I started with my dad and step-mother’s church (teehee) not out of revenge or to make them miserable; it’s the only church I’ve attended in DC and it’s Presbyterian, which is how I was raised (only to reject it and evolve into an agnostic). I really wanted Bruce to speak there–National Presbyterian Church–but he rightly told me the reverend I’m working with isn’t ready to listen to a Christian vegan destroying his cognitive dissonance about preaching peace, love, compassion, inclusion, while eating dead animals who suffer needlessly.
The Faith Outreach director of The Humane Society of the United States and some dude who’s vice-president of Ethics and Public Policy Center are scheduled to speak at an Adult Sunday school class on August 9th. They’ll have to bar the gates to keep me from attending; in fact, I plan on reaching out to the HSUS chick to offer any assistance. They’re not pushing veganism at this point, just eating less meat. You and I and Bruce know that’s not enough and though I’m not an abolitionist vegan, I want to be a vegan presence (she probably is, vegan; don’t know about the Ethics dude) who pushes her on the reasoning behind preaching animal welfare only to a segment (95%) of the US population who consider themselves compassionate Christians.
Anyhoo, I’m heading to the church early afternoon today to give the Reverend two books I read that lead me to this secular calling. I’ll make sure to tell him I met with Bruce this morning and how articulate, calm, intelligent, non-judgmental but devoted he is (with his actions as well as words) as a vegan Christian. Then ask him if there’s a reason he’s not OK’d Bruce to be a speaker.
A bunch of adults debating this subject, and not even veganism, just thinking about eating less meat, still as distant from the animals about whom they’re debating seems like so much partisan wrangling with much butting of heads.
(Example of partisan wrangling; is Boehner laughing or crying? Maybe his head hurts from all the butting.)
We know there’s no argument against it; Bruce would (but can’t as of yet) make that clear so that leaves me. I’ve much meditation and yoga and jogging on my rebounder and reading up on effective rhetorical argumentation again to do!
It was nice that Bruce seemed impressed that I’d take this on as I’m not a person of faith and wasn’t doing it on behalf of any organization, just little old me, oh, and ten billion innocent sentient beings, of course. Wish me luck!”
Ooh, to see the look on my parents’ faces when they find out I played a part in this, though! I’m not ashamed to say I’m looking forward to it.
Actually, I hope to remain estranged from them. I love my dad but we both suffer when we’re together. Enough with the suffering. Enough about that subject. More about this, obviously. I wish I’d taken notes on all the information Bruce shared with me. I’ll remember in bits and pieces, lucky readers!
I’m Doing Something!
P.S. Sorry about my letter to Rev. Fox being all bunched up. Tried to un-bunch it but to no avail. No more time to research un-bunching. I’m on a mission, people. You’ll figure it out. If not, that’s what the comments section’s for.