Jesus Vegans is now Wellspring Community

The short story is–my community blog is now http://www.wellspringcommunityblog.wordpress.com

Now for the longer story.

Jesus Vegans was going to be the name of the community I am starting. But I realized that in order to be more welcoming of people who are not Christians, I wanted to change the name.

I didn’t have the wherewithal to change the blog name, so even though I tried changing the name of the community to something less Christian, the link to the site was always going to be http://www.jesusvegansblog.wordpress.com

I decided to start another site, http://www.veganvisions.org

I realized that I did not want to limit my outreach to only vegans. There are a lot of wonderful people in the world who share so many of my values, and are not yet vegan. I do want to inspire such people to look into the community, and be supported in becoming vegan by living here. So therefore, once again, I changed the name.

I went back to my http://www.wellspringcommunityblog.wordpress.com. The history of how this blog got started–with my family being willing to be a community of sorts for about a year–is so inspiring to me.

So if you want to see what I am up to during the corona virus crises, check out http://www.wellspringcommunityblog.wordpress.com

You can learn lots about me in this blog as well.

Sending you love during these challenging times.

Why Jesus Was Most Likely A Vegan: Doesn't the Bible say he ate fish?

I would say that it is impossible to prove 100% that Jesus was a vegan. However, there is so much proof, just from the four gospels, that he was a vegan. And if you take the whole counsel of the Bible into consideration, the probability grows exponentially. I recommend that you read the book mentioned below if you want to be able to refute every argument people bring up about how the Bible does not support veganism.

According to Ryan Hicks, author of Why Every Christian Should Become A Vegan, Jesus did not eat fish in John 21:10.

“Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish (opsarion) which ye have now caught.”

Hicks explains, “It is very important to note that John uses a word that does not reference the actual animals we call “fish” when using the word “opsarion.” the etymology of this word is a little vague, but in my research of hundreds of Ancient Greek texts I found it used in a lot of ways including mainly referring to plant-life.”

I encourage you to look up this section in Ryan Hick’s book, found on page 146-148

………………….

“…we see that Jesus Himself refers to the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand and the…four thousand and never mentions fish,” says Ryan Hicks in his book, Why Every Christian Should Be A Vegan.

When I looked into the Bible for verification, I was happy to see that this was so.

(Jesus said) When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him twelve. And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? and they said, Seven. Mark 8:19-20

(Jesus said) Do ye not yet understand neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?  Matthew 16:9-10

…………………

Did Jesus eat broiled fish for sure?

36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.

Jesus shows that he is not a spirit and that he has a real body. Notice that the text does not say he ate the fish–but he took “it.” Is it possible that the “it” was the honeycomb?

Although vegans do not eat honey, I think we could give Jesus a break and say that he still was a vegan even though he may have eaten something that did exploit bees. Sometimes vegans make exceptions, correct? And we don’t know how the honeycomb was gotten. Maybe the bees miraculously decided to leave the honey–so Jesus could have it! We just don’t know. We can’t prove that he was exploiting the bees.

Thanks to Ryan Hicks, author of Why Every Christian Should Be A Vegan for inspiring me to look deeper into the scriptures and discover this.

 

 

This is what the entry on “Vegetarianism” in Joel B. Green’s Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics has to say:

Vegetarianism

The term vegetarianism was not coined until the nineteenth century, but as a practice, vegetarianism

was widespread in the ancient world. The Greek philosopher Pythagoras, who lived in the sixth century BCE, is thought to have been the first Western vegetarian, and esoteric groups associated with his name carried on this dietary practice well into the first several centuries of the Christian era. Several church fathers, including Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria, not only referred to the Pythagorean diet but also developed a Christian version of vegetarianism as an alternative to it.

Church fathers who defended a plant-based diet did so on several grounds. First, they were indebted

to Greek medical philosophy that attributed sexual and physical aggression to the consumption of

meat, especially the blood in meat. Second, they argued that Adam and Eve were vegetarians in the garden of Eden, since the animals were tame and there was no violence in paradise (Gen. 1:30). Third, they argued that God granted permission for humans to eat meat only after the flood, when

Noah and his descendants had to eat animals out of necessity (Gen. 9:1–4). Moreover, this permission was an accommodation to the fallen state of humankind. Fourth, they argued that the Jewish dietary law was evidence of a compromise between the peaceful diet of the garden of Eden and the gluttonous and cruel diet of the fall. Fifth, they argued that the council at Jerusalem, at which Paul and Peter divided their missionary responsibilities, kept in place the ban on consuming blood that was central to the Jewish diet (Acts 15:19–21). Sixth, and finally, they argued that the kingdom that God promised for the end times would include harmonious relations between people and animals, thus implying that vegetarianism was an appropriate way to anticipate the eschaton (Isa. 11:6–9).

Remarkably, all of these arguments were submerged in church history only to reappear in the nineteenth century, when many Christian groups rediscovered vegetarianism and began promoting

it for both theological and medical reasons. The modern case for vegetarianism is, thus, rooted in

the earliest Christian theologians.

Vegetarianism was never required as the daily diet for believers in the early church for a variety of reasons. First, it was associated with dualistic heretical groups such as gnostics and the Manichaeans. These groups identified the eating of meat with the consumption of fallen spirits embedded in animals, and they treated a plant-based diet as a work of merit necessary for the cleansing of the soul. They also were influenced by Eastern versions of reincarnation, which might have been one of the rationales behind Pythagoras’s version of vegetarianism.

Second, the early church was trying to distance itself from the more legalistic aspects of the Jewish tradition and, as a missionary movement, was not interested in erecting new barriers to fellowship. Third, many theologians argued that Jesus intended to free his followers from the more cumbersome aspects of Jewish legislation.

Nevertheless, vegetarianism remained as a sign of holiness, as demonstrated by two features of early Christianity. First, the church expected believers to fast on Fridays, a practice that slowly permitted the consumption of fish but no other animal flesh. The church also required a meatless diet for the period of Lent. Second, vegetarianism became the common diet of monasticism, with Benedict requiring it for monks in his rule, with the exception of the elderly and the ill.

Bibliography

Hobgood-Oster, L. Holy Dogs and Asses: Animals in the Christian Tradition. University of Illinois Press, 2008;

Linzey, A. Animal Theology. University of Illinois Press, 1995;

Webb, S. Good Eating.

Brazos, 2001; Young, R. Is God a Vegetarian? Christianity, Vegetarianism, and Animal

Rights. Open Court, 1999.

Stephen H. Webb (In Joel B. Green, ed., Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics, 2011)

Prayer from the heart: A spiritual practice

For those of us who were taught that prayer is primarily saying the “right” words in the “right” way, it can be difficult to open up our whole selves to God, but author and spiritual director Teresa A. Blythe offers a wonderful practice that integrates mind, body, and heart.  

Deep within each of us is a prayer phrase longing to be expressed, what some have named the Prayer of the Heart. It consists of two simple phrases—one said on inhalation and one said on exhalation. Early Christians used to pray, “Come, Lord Jesus,” in this fashion. That was their deep longing, for Jesus to return and be among them in physical reality. We will spend time in this exercise finding those prayers that are as close to us as our very breath. The beauty of this prayer is the way it stays with us all day, all week, or even for a lifetime if we allow it. 

The Exercise 

  • Begin seated in a comfortable position. Make sure your body weight is distributed in such a way that you feel stable. Take about five deep, slow breaths and allow the tension of the day to flow out with each exhalation. After five deliberate breaths, turn your attention away from counting and allow your breath to find its natural pace. 
  • What is your deepest and truest longing for life with God at this moment? If you find that your longing feels “tacky” or too worldly, try suspending judgment and instead looking at what’s at the base of that desire. When you check in with your deepest and truest self, what is it that you seek from God? 
  • Give that longing a short phrase. For example, if your deep desire is inner freedom, then your phrase would be “freedom” or “inner freedom.” Make sure that your phrase is not too long. 
  • What is your favorite name for God? How do you image the Creator? Choose whatever name seems to fit best for you. Some examples include: Jesus, Wisdom, Father, Mother, or Mystery. Be as creative as you want to be. But again, keep the name rather short. 
  • Combine your name for God with your longing. For example, if my phrase is “freedom” and the name I choose for God is Christ, my prayer of the heart might be “Freedom, in Christ.” Spend a few moments coming up with your two-part prayer. 
  • Begin to say—either aloud or silently—your phrase. You may inhale on the name of God and exhale on the desire or vice versa. Spend several minutes breathing this prayer. Make it your own. Allow God to inhabit this prayer.  
  • After several minutes of repeating this prayer, sink into contemplative silence. Allow the love of God to fill you and surround you.
  • If you want to be sure to remember this phrase to pray it throughout the day, write it down. You might want to place it on the back of a business card and put it in your wallet or pocket. Place it on a sticky note next to your computer, or on the door of your refrigerator.  

Teresa A. Blythe, 50 Ways to Pray: Practices from Many Traditions and Times(Abingdon Press: 2006), 36-38. 

Was Jesus a vegan? Part 11: Didn’t he support fishing?

In Luke and John, two of the 4 gospels in the Bible, the story is told of how Jesus performed a miracle where the future disciples were able to catch fish when it seemed hopeless. Yet this does not prove that Jesus supported fishing, or that fish were actually harmed. This is an misunderstanding. because of two important facts which are found in Luke 5: 10-11 (see the text in red in the scripture passage following these facts)

  1. Jesus never says that the fish were taken to market to be sold. For all we know, the fish were released.
  2. After Jesus performed the miracle of the disciples catching a huge amount of fish, and showing them that he was a very special person, he told them to forsake fishing fish–and become fishers of men.

Conclusion: Jesus needed to perform a miracle that would really inspire the future disciples to know that he was the Messiah, and thus motivate them to follow him. This miracle, being so connected to their needs and livelihood, was the the best way he could reach them.  This is more plausible than assuming that Jesus supported fishing. If Jesus supported fishing he would not be a vegan.

Luke 5:1-11 (New International Version) One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,[a] the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

Another scripture that could be cited to prove that Jesus supported fishing is John 21:11