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From: Rocket Scientist (dialup-4.228.48.29.dial1.denver1.level3.net)
Subject: Hi Mylene!
Date: March 14, 2005 at 8:43 am PST

In Reply to: Where do your spiritual / religious beliefs and veg*nism mesh? posted by Mylène on March 4, 2005 at 3:31 pm:

How've you been? I used to see you around here quite a bit (at VegSource).

About your question. My answer is probably a bit different from what you are looking for, but here it is. I happen to be a Christian, though I don't go to any particular Christian church (have not had much luck finding one that consistently speaks to me, and also supports what the Holy Spirit inspires in me, if that makes any sense). I have a strong belief that God first wants humans to respect themselves as His creations, and second, to learn and transform - particularly, to learn about love. (Note - it's just a habit of mine to refer to God as He. No intent to offend, I know not everyone sees God that way, no problem.) So on the first point, eating meat and dairy products is *not* a way to respect yourself. These things destroy people's bodies and eventually their lives. So do refined products and fried foods - I try to avoid these, though not as stringently as I do animal products. If you think about it, the cost is just unbelievable, not only financially and physically, but in terms of the burden and grief for a person's loved ones, the burden of wanting to do more but not being able because of your physical situation, not living up to your full potential, and on and on. Going vegetarian was a health decision for me, first and foremost. And later, I came to understand that it was also a decision in accordance with what God had in mind for me - He wants me to be in good health.

As for the process of learning, this is something which I believe is very much supported by people being able to interact with animals. Pets are the obvious example here - it's incredible to see the transformation in people when you put a kitten in their arms, but I think the potential is there just about any time someone encounters an animal. At work, we have a huge, wide lawn in front of our building, which is just at the edge of the foothills. There are lots of wild animals living in the area, including a family of deer which often come wandering across the parking lots and lawn. We have several crabapple trees on the lawn, and in season, the deer come in search of snacks. At 7 am, when thousands of cars are charging onto the property, careening around corners, these deer will often just stand there, obliviously munching crabapples on the lawn, taking no note of us and our crises - real and imagined! I'll often stand at the window overlooking the lawn and watch them. (And they're quite tame. I'd never try to approach one, but I can go walking down the sidewalk just 20 ft. from them, and they won't move a muscle.) They provide a sort of insight into what is truly real, and that which is real is very far removed from a lot of what occupies our daily business, at least at my workplace.

I think it's truly incredible to watch people interacting with animals. I went to a house party once, a lady with several cats had hired a fancy caterer to come in and prepare dinner. This one lively kitten just had a nose for trouble. He kept trying to jump pots on the stove (and could easily have ended up getting served with the sauce!), and someone would always notice just in time to reach over and pluck him off the counter. And the caterers? They weren't cat people, but not once did I see them bat an eyelash, utter a cross word, or ask the owner to kindly remove her cat. I mean, they literally worked around the kitten. I thought it was incredible patience, when they were trying to cook dinner in a strange house. THey'd have been within their rights to politely ask if the kitten could be put in the bedroom for an hour, for his own safety.

I guess I'd have to say that, on the most basic level, animals support what I see as God's desire for people to learn and to expand their capacity to love. I don't feel I'm smart enough to say what other purposes they serve in God's plan! THough I'm sure there are several!

RS



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