If the word “Christian” strikes fear or repulsion into your heart because of bad experiences you have had with people or groups that used this as a label, I implore you to let go of your assumptions.
I let go of this label in February 2018 because after 13 years of trying to fit into the box that most Christians wanted me to stay in, and having extremely hurtful experiences with Christians, I wanted out.
I didn’t want to associate with this label because:
- I didn’t want people to think negatively about me
- I didn’t even want to support the Christian movement
- I thought animal rights activists and vegans were much kinder than Christians–and 99.99 percent of them had either left the church or never were apart of it.
A funny thing happened last September, after having a 7 month break. I still called Jesus my mentor and guide. I couldn’t let go of Jesus. But I was proud not to be a Christian. But I had some very intense and disappointing experiences with animal rights activists that helped me realize that I was being illogical. In every group–there are people who are not representing the cause in a way that is accurate. That doesn’t mean I should give up on saying I belong to that group!
I wasn’t going to give up on animal rights activism because some of the members were hurtful and not compassionate. I didn’t need to give up on Christianity for the reason, either.
I decided I want to be part of the solution, instead of adding to the millions of people who are leaving the faith. And I am seeing an increasing number of Christian leaders who are leaving their beliefs of eternal conscious torment (ECT) (what evangelicals call hell) behind and seeing that they were brainwashed into believing this. the Bible doesn’t teach anything of the kind. Most of the early Christians did not believe in ECT (if any)
Recently, through a chain of what I would call miraculous events, I have connected with Lindsay Neal VanDellen who is a Christian and a vegan. She shares so many of my views about Jesus, and she inspired me to write this.
I wanted to share some of the hopeful stuff I have found recently, and all along my Christian journey. I feel grateful that I didn’t give up on my faith. about two weeks later, my grandson, Gideon, was in the hospital. 5 days later, he died. Knowing that I was sharing the spiritual path of my daughter during the past seven months that we have comforted each other in our grieving process–has been very healing.
So here are some resources:
Robin Parry: This author wrote a book, Reforming Hell. He is a Christian Universalist from the UK, and I love his views which are so eloquently shared in his videos. An increasing number of Christians are questioning what hell really means. And they are discovering that the early Christians never believed in hell as being eternal conscious torment. Why would a loving God do such a thing? Not logical! You can find out more here.
Brad Jersak: I love him because he teaches people how to talk to and listen to Jesus. He is funny, kind, humble, and has a ton of stories to tell that validate his points. He also does not believe in ECT. This article is really great. He talks eloquently (as he always does) about what he thinks hell is–and that is so much of the human condition right here. And I would add–the farm animals are living in hell.
Bruxy Cavey: I’ve known Bruxy for about 5 years. I was so inspired by his sermons when I discovered them on Youtube that I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning. I couldn’t stop listening because he talked about nonviolence and how Jesus teaches a message of peace. And lots more.
I proceeded to write about 4 blog posts about him and I sent them to him. He called me, along with his wife and children, and left a message (since I didn’t answer) He expressed appreciation for my kind words, and then the whole family said, “we love you!”
I’ve gotten to know him better since then, and continue to be so inspired. Here is his blog: http://www.bruxy.com And the church he is teaching pastor at in Toronto, is amazing. www.themeetinghouse.com
I am working on Bruxy–hoping I can inspire him to go vegan.
Charles Camosy: I deeply appreciate this animal rights proponent who is also Catholic and pro-life. This article called Why All Christians Should Become Vegan is excellent.
The Shack: This book changed my life and helped me feel God’s love as a real experience while reading this book. The amazing journey of how I found the book when it was just coming out can be found at a blog I wrote about The Shack.
Greg Boyd: I attended a conference where Greg and Bruxy (mentioned above) were the main speakers. Greg wrote two thick volumes explaining why the violence of the Old Testament is not what God wanted, and how everything in the Bible should be interpreted through the lens of a Jesus-looking God. He started an organized called Renew. We need a new vision for Christianity. Woodland Hills Church lost 2000 members in the megachurch he was senior pastor of, because he started preaching nonviolence instead of going along with the wars we are fighting. Very admirable and brave of him, I think!
I appreciated meeting Greg. He is very friendly and approachable. Plus, he is a vegetarian. I couldn’t inspire him to go vegan, but believe me–I planted some seeds. I prophesy that he will go vegan and be one of Christianity’s biggest supporters of animal rights. Check out his podcasts at the Woodland Hills Church. I also like how they reach out to the community so beautifully and have made the church into a community center that serves the neighborhood and beyond.
Sarx: This UK nonprofit Christian Animal Welfare organization based in London is so amazing! I was miraculously funded to attend the Creature Conference in London in 2016 and I met so many wonderful Christians who were vegan and into animal rights. Their mission is: Empowering Christians to champion the cause of animals and live peacefully with all God’s creatures. You can see the talks here. it was amazing how very high up leaders in the church spoke up to support animal welfare. However, only one of them was a vegan!
Dave Clough: Dave was the only vegan at the conference! I appreciated his English accent and friendly demeanor. Eloquent, too! You can see his talk here. The organization he founded, Creature Kind is doing a lot to help churches wake up to how hurting animals is not so Christian.
Sarah Withrow King: I met Sarah through a connection at the Sarx conference. She invited me to go to a women’s vegan Christian retreat in Philadelphia. I was very encouraged to see so many women vegans there. Sarah is doing a lot of great work, including being co-director at the Creature Kind and writing the book, Vegangelical. You can read more about her here.
I could write more–but I need to get back to work on the list that keeps getting longer because if increasing interest in the Vegan Utopia Ecovillage and all the work I need to do to help our mission circle work together to tied up a number of loose ends and promote the project.
As I wrote about these Christian leaders, I smile. I feel warm and happy. I met some of them. I have derived so much inspiration from these wonderful people. There are a lot of great Christians who are helping us move in a direction that the animal rights movement is moving us towards–a world where human and non-human animals can thrive!