Rick spoke to us today about man’s relationship to animals. It is a funny complex relationship. Obviously we humans feel strongly about our relationships to them and they have been at the center of our spiritual relationships. Animals are the subjects of the first cave paintings – which strongly speaks to our spiritual nature. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, Genesis says animals are set on the earth before man. The creation of animals is the first time that god the creator says that his work is good or beautiful (pretty as you may think they are, oceans and firmament don’t get that “good” kind of recognition from god). Then the Judeo-Christian god tells man something very interesting, to maintain dominion over the animals. So what is that relationship? Western European traditions have struggled with this. The first animal protection laws against cruelty arise in the 1600’s. But, even if we agree not to be “cruel” to them, there is still the problem that we eat them that has to be worked out.
In human traditions, we eat some animals, but decide that it would be cruel to others to eat them. For some people goats are pets, for some people goats are BBQ. Dogs have the same dilemma… pets and menu items both depending on who you ask. Some people who report themselves to be vegetarians will also eat meat, but they justify it depending on who they are. For some it is OK to eat fish because they don’t have cute fuzzy faces. For others, they can’t bear the thought of eating an octopus because they are so incredibly intelligent. For some, chicken is ok for whatever reason… lack of a cute face seems to come up a lot. But for some people who profess to be vegetarians by conviction, just the smell of a good taco can be enough to temporarily set aside their convictions.
The conclusion is that humans are full of failings and just not good at convictions… whether it be about the relationship humans have with their animals or the relationship humans have with their god. Not only is it easy for humans to fall off the vegetarian wagon at the smell of a tuna sandwich, but look at the rules that Judeo Christians have to follow in the bible… No matter how many times the bible says it is an abomination to eat pork, we convince ourselves that it is OK to eat pork. But, when the bible even suggests that it might be a problem to be gay… well… humans can create hugely organized movements around being anti-gay because, well the bible instructs them to do that. And Judeo-Christian humans also readily convince ourselves that it is OK to refrain from stoning adulterers as well.
News: Not so much this week because my reporting skills were compromised on Sunday. Many people need remembrances in your thoughts this week, so think about some of them. Church board meeting next week. The church “Earth day” is going to be Sunday April 22… please consider staying on to help clean up the grounds. Hopefully we will finally till the soil and create Shirley’s dream of a wild flower meadow down near the river.