I wanted to share this conversation, which will be located on the Shepherding FB page as of today, 2/1/14 (in the UK 1 February 2014) (and also on the A Creation Care Conversation Archive at the top), as it makes an important point. And we should love one another, bear with one another, even though we may find ourselves on different sides of an issue. We only do harm to our causes and those we fight for when we are hostile amongst ourselves.
We at Shepherding are not here to be contentious with either the Christian faith as a whole, nor with the animal rights/welfare folks. When we don’t wholly agree with the traditional Christian or Orthodox faith that may say the Bible was written for mankind (ie: not animals, that animals were given to us by God for our purposes as we see fit, that animals don’t have souls, etc.), we are not doing so to be contentious; our efforts are strides towards and are in hopes that all of us will put aside what we think we know, and take a fresh look at what God is really saying to us. From “glory to glory” (2nd Cor 3:18) – glory can be defined in Biblical terms as “character” – we grow in our understanding of what our character is to be in Christ, what the Bible story is truly all about as our history and through that history as that of what our created purpose was truly meant to be. We also are instructed in the Bible to search the scriptures. We do this in order that the Holy Spirit can teach us all we need to know. We do this in as much as is possible with open minds and hearts to His voice through the scriptures, setting aside all we think we know in order to hear Him.
Also, Shepherding is not here to be contentious with animal rights or welfare. To the contrary. It is a Biblical truth that God gave us dominion over the animal kingdom. Even if you don’t believe it to be so, please hear us out, and know that some of us in the faith community do see why it would be hard to believe us or in any God or church whose teaching is about a God that is being maliciously portrayed as a tyrant over all He has created as well as over each other. We think the trouble comes with what we have – perhaps since the beginning of our venture on this earth without the fullness of God’s presence, perhaps more so today as we over time have moved further away from an understanding of who we are and were created to be – defined dominion to be – not so much in God Him or Herself. I won’t go into that now, except to say, in our fallenness we have distorted it’s meaning entirely (for thoughts on this now, go to: Dominion In The Image of God – we at Shepherding will say more about dominion as it pertains to our upcoming topics on suffering in subsequent posts).
Our intention on this blog is to reassure the animal welfare/rights folks that the faith community, at least some of us, are listening to them, that some of us see what they see, that we agree that somehow the faith community at large is falling short, and that we are stepping up to the plate on the issues you have been gallantly leading the way in, that we hope our voices will be heard within the faith community at large and bring them to this fight, too. We are hoping that the truth of Who Jesus is (Jesus is love, we’ll talk more about the Biblical word “love”, too in later posts), what He came to do, the truth of who we are, can be communicated in such a way that for those of you who perhaps left the faith because of blindness or even hostility toward animals and injustices being done to them on the part of the faith community, that you might decide to take a fresh look. And for those who perhaps stand on the side of the agnostic or atheist, perhaps you will find something of interest here, too. You never know!! It doesn’t hurt to be fully informed before making such an important decision about what or in whom to believe or if anything at all is to be believed. And for the science folks – don’t let what science has to offer hinder you in looking at a faith perspective, we encourage you to check out Jesus (and remember, not all faith communities are alike – in our fallenness though we should have been of one voice (Phil 2:1-2) we have become scattered and fragmented (Jer 10:21, Eze 34:5, Jer 23:1, and a good sermon about Shalom or God’s peace go here, and about unity, how fragmented we are here) – this is not the fault of God but of mankind himself, of leadership on behalf of the faith community. If we take a proper perspective on the Bible and Jesus Christ Himself, science should not be a stumbling block (see Greg Boyd’s book: Lord or Legend). 🙂
Our site is not here to judge or condemn anyone for the choice to eat animals, wear animals, or in anything else. There is no condemnation in Christ (Rom 8). Judgment is Mine says the Lord (Bible verses on this topic here). Our goal is to reach people for Christ’s sake first and foremost, to share His love for all that He has created, as well as to share what is starting to be revealed in His Word about our responsibilities for the earth and the animal kingdom.
I know it was long……for anyone that read through it, thank you. And I hope the point came across. We on this site hope that the love of Jesus shines through, and that it becomes clear He is the central focal point of Shepherding All God’s Creatures!
Thanks – visit again! And if you are so inclined, we would be honored if you followed us! ~Kathy
p.s. A note on animal behavior as referenced in one of Joan’s messages: In the garden it was a peaceable kingdom and God “saw that it was good” (see the Genesis account, and incidentally – “in the beginning” could very well just mean “in the beginning of man’s story” meaning, is there a larger story?….food for thought, more later!), there was no violence of any kind by us or them; this is how life was intended to be experienced. The goal of the Kingdom of God on earth now is toward non-violence of any kind. The animals have been affected by our fallen nature and have become corrupted, too; plus, if we are honest and look around, mankind does not afford them much option in the world; rarely are we aware of how we affect them in the ways we use our shared earth which is their habitat as well as ours, except in a general/broad way – which does not move us to restraint (for further reading, Isa 5).
However one day, the original order of things shall be restored (Isa 11:6-9).