LifeWalk

______________________ LIFE, FAITH, ETCETERA

Happy Easter! April 17, 2022

Jesus was not a religious person. He was considered a heretic and degenerate by his own religious tradition. The real Jesus of history would be horrified in knowing that a religious system was created around his personality, life and teachings.
Jesus was not a Christian. He is not the founder of Christianity. Jesus never encouraged people to worship him. Christianity is a religion created in the name of Jesus, and is much different from the actual truth that Jesus taught and lived. Christianity does not own or have first rights to Jesus. You typically have to disentangle Jesus from what you heard at church to find the truth he said would set you free.

I see Jesus as one who lived a life of compassion, stood with the victims of this world against their oppressors, and tied his destiny to the marginalized and powerless against the the iron fist of the religious and political establishment.

I understand the central teaching of Jesus to be that there is nothing real that separates us from ultimate reality, our highest nature or from one another. I believe the significance of Jesus was his life, not his death.

Christianity is not the fault of Jesus. You can’t hardly find Jesus anywhere in it. We painted Jesus white and dressed him up in Christian theology, but the brown-skinned, Middle Eastern Jew who turned religion on its head, got lost some 2,000 years ago on the dusty roads of Nazareth.

Jesus pointed out the hypocrisy of claiming a close relationship with God while perpetuating discord and hostility in human relationships. He confronted the mentality of judging others, and instead told people to look in the mirror.

Jesus did not seek to convert people to any religion or belief-system. H e affirmed that every person has the responsibility and authority to build a world of peace and harmony that works for everyone. 

It would be easy to be ALL divine, or to be ALL human. If you wereALL divine, there would be no challenge whatsoever. And being ALL human mostly takes care of itself. But the symbol of Jesus is that he was both divine AND human simultaneously without contradiction. This has been a guiding star on my life’s journey. A question that I often ask myself along the everyday paths of life is: What does it mean right now for me in this moment to be all that I am, divine and human?

Jim Palmer

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(Be sure to visit the sites of David Hayward & Jim Palmer for more great content!)

 

LINKS March 12, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — lifewalkblog @ 10:53 am

This post will contain links to items that I believe to be important and/or entertaining. It will be updated with more items as I get to them, so check back occasionally to see what’s new!

1946 is a revolutionary documentary that chronicles how the misuse of a single word changed the course of modern history.
Act now and join us to change history and stop the war! Blow up your social media and help to get the word out! Stay tuned as we announce the date and time of the world’s biggest simultaneous mass protest! Click: https://worldunited.live/

Those of us who have benefited from white privilege our whole lives have no idea how deep systemic racism goes. It never crossed my mind that it is actually built-in, intentionally, to our very highways and byways. Follow link to read more: https://drive.google.com/file/d/11RcqCuTOMRKSqsxAatWe7pg0mYNPTZHA/view
Listen to Re-Union music on YouTube: Re-UnionMusic.com
 

Delphos, Roast Beef & Jesus February 28, 2022

We went to Ohio recently to visit some friends. We usually get together twice a year and always have a great time. But this post isn’t about that visit. It’s about after the visit.

On the way home we stopped at an Arby’s near Delphos. Mostly just to use the bathroom. When we both came back out to the lobby, before I grabbed some fries and a diet soda, my wife told me they were playing CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) in her bathroom. The same music was playing in the men’s room. (I think it was playing in the lobby as well, but the volume was much lower.)
I kind of liked the song, even though it was the standard cookie-cutter “worship” music which, frankly, I think many of the pioneers of “Jesus Music” from the 60’s and 70’s would find unimaginative, uncreative and pretty boring. But that’s another subject.

The subject here is “Christian” music in public businesses.

Now, as a reminder, although I have more in common with many atheists than what often passes as Christianity, I AM still a “believer,” and very, shall we say, pro Jesus. But I do have a problem with a public, national chain business playing such music. Not because I don’t want to hear it. Not because I don’t sometimes enjoy that music. I mean, hey, my wife and I (Re-Union) wrote, produced and sang on two CCM albums. But…

Can you imagine what would happen if a right-wing fundamentalist evangelical walked into an Arby’s and they were playing some Islamic call to prayer? Or some Buddhist chanting? Possibly even Satanic worship music? (Or, although not religious, all-day gay love songs?)
I’ll tell you what would happen:
The holy shit would hit the holy fan!!!
They’d be marching, boycotting, protesting and doing everything they could to

Shut.
       It.
          Down.

Because for all their cries of religious freedom, it is crystal clear to the rest of the world that they have no interest whatsoever in such a thing. They want Christian superiority. They talk, act and live as if their version of Christianity (and there are thousands) actually owns God. Any attempt to allow others the same freedoms they demand is met with “I’m being persecuted for my love of Christ!”
No.
You’re not.

You’re being called out for your hypocrisy. You’re being exposed for your self-righteousness. You’re having your willful ignorance, as you like to say, made manifest. You’re having a light shown on your dark heart that couldn’t be farther from the teachings of Jesus you falsely proclaim to believe.

Again, I’m not anti-Jesus. Actually, I firmly believe that if there is Anti-Christ in the world today, it is right-wing fundamentalist evangelicalism. There is more than sufficient evidence for that statement.

Now, even though I’m not personally into organized religion, I must clarify here that there are millions of Christians that, based on their belief in Jesus, Do take a stand against fundamentalist evangelicalism, and who do stand for equality, social justice and true religious freedom. Their voices have not always received the same press of that other group, but they exist and they are fighting the good fight.

So, if they want to play CCM at their local Arby’s, I guess maybe I’m actually OK with that.
As long as they’re willing to play music from all the other religions and groups they so vehemently oppress.
And we all know that’s not going to happen.

 

Discordant Monstrosity. December 20, 2021

“More than 7 billion people are on the planet, and about 2.5 billion of them are Christians. Christians claim to have the only-true-God connection and view themselves as the only qualified ones called to minister the truth to save humankind. They believe that privilege is theirs because they are the Bible experts.

There are 51,000 different Christian denominations around the world, and close to 450,000 international missionaries mobilized abroad. The Roman Catholic Church is considered to be the largest financial power on earth. Evangelical Christianity isn’t doing too shabby either. A top Christian televangelist lives in a $10 million house, another one drives a $350,000 Bentley, and several of them make more than $1 million a year. One megachurch meets in a sports stadium, draws close to 50,000 people for a worship service, and has an annual budget that exceeds $70 million. Speaking of budgets, 82 percent of the average church budget is used to cover the expense of buildings and salaries.

Considering the number of people, buildings, and dollars, Christendom is quite an impressive empire on planet Earth. But for what? What has this shiny, lucrative Christian superpower actually accomplished? What do we have to show for it? We haven’t made even a dent in the suffering that plagues humankind and our planet. But I’ll give us one thing—you sure have to admire the sheer size of this discordant monstrosity.

Meanwhile, Jesus, as an itinerant with a handful of confused followers, stirred up more radical change in three years than the entire Christian church has done in three centuries.”

– Jim Palmer, Inner Anarchy
Available on Amazon -> http://tinyurl.com/ke25zdu

[Right-wing Republican fundamentalist “Christianity” is as far from Jesus and anything there is.
That includes other religions, Satanism and Atheism. These folks wouldn’t know God if God bit them on the ass. Period.
– Dave]

 

Abortion, God, and the Breath of Life June 29, 2020

[Updated]

I fully understand the anti-women, anti-choice crowd because I used to be a part of it. I can tell you from decades Of EXPERIENCE it is based on bad theology, misused Bible verses, a perceived superiority (We stand with God!) masked as humility and, mostly, political manipulation by those who know how easily controlled are right-wing fundamentalist evangelicals. Use the right “god words” and they’ll do whatever they are told.
They will not only overlook, but make up excuses for any and all immoralities and atrocities as long as the individual says they are “Pro-Life” (and/or anti-gay).


“Abortion is wrong because God says so!”
Except, of course, God doesn’t say so.

“But the bible says, ‘You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.’ (Psalm 139)”
Um, OK. But where does it say God says abortion is wrong?
“Well, the bible also says that John leapt in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:41).”
Um, OK. But where does it say God says abortion is wrong?

Now, you can go back and forth like this for a long time. But here’s the thing: They’ll NEVER show you where God says abortion is wrong, because, well, IT’S NOT THERE!

Some dude named Jared Moore stated “John the Baptist did not leap over what Mary’s fetus would become; he jumped for joy over what her embryo already was.” Again, that is clearly not in the bible.
It’s conjecture.
And that is the only way anti-abortion people can even begin to make a case. Find some scripture to quote, read additional meaning into it, engage in conjecture, create a doctrine and declare “God Said So!”

One of the the big, and necessary, manipulations is to change the word “abortion,” to “murder” and go from there. But again, these “I just believe the bible” folk prove once more that they don’t.
That is a simple, repeatedly verifiable fact.

There is a place, actually, that the bible gives the reader instructions on how to cause an abortion!
Numbers 5:11-31. It says to make a woman believed to have committed adultery consume “bitter water” which would cause a miscarriage. 

There are other voices within the broad spectrum that is called “Christianity.”
Millions hold that life (or the “soul,” if you will) begins at 1st breath, rather than at conception. And, like their counterparts, they have plenty of scripture to back up that belief. Probably even more.
A couple of examples are:
The bible says that God breathed life into man. (Genesis 2:7)
The breath of the Almighty gives me life. (Job 33:4)
Clearly, they contend, the bible teaches that Life Is In The Breath!

While I’m firmly in the 2nd camp of believers, the bottom line is this:
America is a Democracy, NOT a Theocracy. We don’t have folks put their hands on the constitution and swear to uphold the bible!
So, even if these right-wing fundamentalist evangelicals could show us their “God said so,” which they can’t because it’s not there, it wouldn’t matter.
They do not own America!

But the fact remains, at least going by the Christian bible, God didn’t say so.
So for anyone to say “God said abortion is wrong,” one of 2 truths must be in place. Either they are deceived, or they are liars.
That’s it. Those are the choices, because it’s provably untrue.

Now, I’m not saying you don’t have the right to believe abortion is wrong.
Of course you do! Believe what you want. But if those beliefs translate into laws, especially laws not based in fact, then we need to put a stop to that.

So go ahead. Believe as you will. But PLEASE stop lying by saying “God said so.” I mean, “All liars have their place in the lake of fire,” right?

– Dave Foreman

——————————-

[A little extra.]
Will McLeod points out that Jesus basically stated you can’t take all the Bible literally:
“Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” (Matt. 13:13)
He also states “The bible is a very difficult book to understand and to use because it is not internally consistent, it does not claim to be perfect, and it is mistranslated. So we Methodists have a Method (that’s how we got our name) for understanding the world:
1. Scripture
2. Tradition
3. Reason
4. Experience

[THAT sounds like a good place to start.]

 

Pride, Riots and Tea June 1, 2020

We celebrate June as pride month. Right now, there doesn’t seem to be much to celebrate in our Country. However, I believe one way to celebrate our Pride is by standing beside others who are suffering oppression. This year, more than usual, we need to remember that we likely would not have the advances we do have in LGBTQ+ rights had it not been for the Stonewall riots. Before you say I’m condoning violence, let me say I’m not. I’m simply noting the fact that when we look at history we see that uprising, rebellion and even rioting have often been the turning point where those in power FINALLY started listening to the oppressed. Far too often the “sounds” of Civil Disobedience fall on deaf ears.

America was born of revolution. (It’s even in the name of the war.)
The Boston Tea Party.
The Civil War.
The French Revolution.
Athenian Revolution.
I could go on and on.
Yes I oppose violence. But I understand it.
And it’s so very sad that so very often it seems so very necessary!
Ya know, it bothers me knowing there are those in the LGBTQ+ community that are hard-core racists. It bothers me knowing there are African Americans that are hard-core homophobes.
Two highly oppressed groups that have some members who, while fighting for their own rights, fight against the rights of others.

Oh but when the oppressed stand with each other, there is truly cause for celebration! Let’s bring some joy into the world by celebrating Pride Month loudly and proudly, while loudly and proudly standing peacefully with our black brothers and sisters that are going through so much right now.

 

If My People April 29, 2020

 

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
– 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)

Back when I was still in institutionalized religion this verse got quoted a lot. It didn’t get practiced a lot, but it got quoted a lot.  Sadly, what’s practiced today, and has been for some time now, is an alternate translation that goes something like this:
“If my people, who are called by my name, will exult themselves and scream, seek to control other peoples bodies and sex organs, and turn to the NRA, then from the White House will I hear, ignore all of MY sin, and take this land.”

For all the talk of a so-called “personal savior” (not in the Bible, FYI) this particular religious sect is often more interested in controlling “persons” other than themselves. More often it’s “YOU can’t do that,” than “I can’t do that.”
In my somewhat promiscuous life, I’ve rarely been with people more sex-obsessed than some of the right-wing fundamentalist evangelicals I know.
Moving on.

With COVID-19, as with almost every bad thing that happens, the psychos like Pat Robertson are blaming it on gays and abortion1.  But if the previously quoted verse is at all relevant, and if these folks will ever practice what they preach, it’s way past time for them to re-focus.
Chronicles is the final book in the Hebrew Bible2. But, the basic message of this passage is stated by Jesus in the New Testament.
He’s approached by a disciple who, in a nutshell is saying, “HEY! What about THAT guy?!?!”  To which Jesus replies, “What concern is that of yours? You follow me!” – John 21:22 (NET)

Oh what a better place the world would be if these folks could just get that one principle right! You don’t like abortion, DON’T GET ONE! You’re against gay marriage? DON’T GET GAY MARRIED!

“If MY people will humble themselves, and turn from their wicked ways…”
Now, to be clear, not right-wing fundamentalist evangelicals, not the Christian Left, not any religion has the corner on the god-market. But for those who believe they are “God’s people,” (and for those who believe in no god at all) this “YOU do the right thing” is, I believe, a good start. A kind of “do no harm” mentality where we can let others make decisions about their bodies and their love-life, while holding them accountable if their actions (like NOT wearing a mask during a friggin’ pandemic) are harmful to others.

The religious right is big on saying this Country needs repentance.
They are correct!
“If MY people will turn from their wicked ways.”
If those who are hell-bent on telling the rest of us how to live would…
Turn from the wickedness of trying to take away a woman’s right to choose…
Turn from the “sin” of keeping two consenting adults who love each other from getting married…
Forsake the anti-Christ practice of enabling a known lying, misogynistic, homophobic, frankly stupid narcissist,  simply so they can gain political power and marry church and state…
If they would value truth, facts and science. If they’d fight against putting kids in cages. If they’d stand for the poor and the outcast. If they would side with victims of gun violence instead of against them.  If they could possibly get it through their heads that “YOU follow me,” means Them, and if they would be more interested in actually following the example of Jesus than following their power-hungry quasi-Christian leaders (Graham, Falwell, Robertson, et al),
Then maybe our land could actually begin to heal.
It couldn’t hurt.

Now, let me acknowledge there are those who hold many right-wing fundamentalist attitudes who are otherwise good people. (I know. The whole “otherwise” good people can be used to defend a lot of ugliness, but…) And I don’t for one single second believe that COVID-19, or any other natural disaster, plague etc. is God’s punishment for anything, EVER! (And if this WAS God’s doing, and part of some end-time plan, why the hell would they be fighting against what they say they believe must happen, and what they’re praying for. Sheesh!)

Still. I keep hoping and praying for their repentance. That or their eventual complete insignificance.
I really do.
And, I know a lot of Christians around the world who are not a part of this very vocal group I’m talking about, are also hoping and praying for that kind of “revival”.  I so want to see some of these folks awaken from delusion, acknowledge the wicked ways I’ve talked about, and repent of trusting religious doctrine and “correct” beliefs over valuing this world and its inhabitants.
You know, like Jesus did.
I really believe, as the title of a Rob Bell book states, “Jesus Wants To Save Christians.”
If only they’d let him.

  1. This political association was a very intentional way to control evangelical voters. You can read a lot about the creation of the religious right in the Frank Schaeffer book, “Crazy For God.
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Books_of_Chronicles


    And now, here’s Derek Webb (formerly of Caedmon’s Call) with “What Matters More” (Lyrics below video)


    You say you always treat people like you’d like to be
    I guess you love being hated for your sexuality
    You love when people put words in your mouth
    About what you believe, make you sound like a freak

    ‘Cause if you really believe what you say you believe
    You wouldn’t be so damn reckless with the words you speak
    Wouldn’t silence your concern when the liars speak
    Denying all the dying of the remedy

    Tell me, brother, what matters more to you?
    Tell me, sister, what matters more to you?

    If I can tell what’s in your heart by what comes out of your mouth
    Then it sure looks to me like being straights is all it’s all about
    Yeah, it looks like being hated for all the wrong things
    And chasing the wind while the pendulum swings

    We can talk and debate it till we’re blue in the face
    About the language and tradition that He’s coming to save
    Meanwhile we sit just like we don’t give a shit
    About fifty-thousand people who are dying today

    Tell me, brother, what matters more to you?
    Tell me, sister, what matters more to you?

    Brother, what matters more to you?
    Tell me, sister, what matters more to you?

    Tell me, what matters more to you?
    Tell me, brother, what matters more to you?

 

Straight Pride? June 7, 2019

Well of course.
Of course white people can be proud. Of course straight people can be proud. Of course men can be proud. But straight pride, white pride and male pride are this: Extreme exercises in Missing The Point.

Each of these groups have been the oppressors against each of the counter-groups.

“But I shouldn’t be held accountable for what others in my group have done!”
As an old white male, I enjoy inherent privilege for being so. I don’t have to do a thing to enjoy those privileges.  They are just there automatically. If someone sees me in a dark alley, their assumptions are much different than if they see a young black male in a dark alley.
If someone sees “David” on a job application, they may be more inclined to hire me than if they saw the name “Susie” on the same application.
As far as I know, no one has ever been fired just for being straight.  No man has been beaten just for holding his wife’s hand in public.

Is it MY fault I have this privilege?
No. It’s not.
And I shouldn’t be held accountable for what I have no control over. BUT…
If I deny those privileges exist, I AM accountable for that.
If I deny the oppression, hate and control exerted or legislated over “the other,”
I AM accountable for that.

Silence and/or inaction to combat the negatives others experience at the hands of that privilege make me complicit.
And for all their false claims of oppression, fundamentalist “Christians” have long, long enjoyed the highest of the high of elite status in the USA. So much so, that the slightest hint of others having a major say in this Country truly feels like oppression to them.
It is not!

Gay pride. Black power. Women’s rights. They all came about, and are necessary, because of the excessive privilege of a dominant straight white “Christian” male omnipotence. I am confident that if Jesus were here, physically present today, he would be marching right beside his LGBT, Black and Female friends. Their marches and parades are a part of their freedom from their oppressors. That’s something participants in a “Straight Pride” parade can never ever claim.  And although they can never even fully understand, they really need to try.
y

 

Apology Accepted, But… April 24, 2019

“I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have said that.  I shouldn’t have treated you that way.
I really thought I was doing the “Christian” thing.
Truth is, you acted more Christ-like than I did.
I was sure I was right. I thought that’s what the Bible taught.
Again, I was wrong. I’m sorry.”

I’ve said those, or similar, words in the past. More than once. I’ve also had them said to me. Apologies are a part of life.  If they’re not a part of your life, then you’re not being genuine. No one is so perfect as to never need to apologize. You were wrong, Erich. Love almost always means having to say you’re sorry.
Still, an apology is not always enough.

Apologies usually focus on an act.  A behavior. A specific event. But if we don’t look deeper, we will sooner than later be right back in the same situation, offering a similar apology.
“I’m sorry I owned you as a slave.  I know now that was wrong, even though I thought God was OK with it. Of course, you’ll still need to drink from your own fountain.”
Time passes.
“I’m sorry I made you drink from your own fountain. I know now that was wrong, even though I thought God was OK with it. Of course, you’d still better not marry a white woman.”
Time passes.
“I’m sorry I said you couldn’t marry a white woman. I know now that was wrong, even though I thought God was OK with it. Of course…”

So, I finally realize a specific act was wrong.  I even acknowledge that the reason for my act was a false belief. It was a sincerely held belief. It was a belief I defended with holy writ. But like false beliefs defended by holy writ for centuries past, it was wrong.
Thankfully, I now know I was wrong, and I truly, humbly apologize.

And then it happens again.

It totally amazes me how many times someone can realize a sincerely held belief was wrong, and still be so very blind to the fact that there’s every likelihood they are right now doing the same thing with one or more of their current beliefs! How can a person repeatedly admittedly be wrong, and not acknowledge the possibility of still being wrong?!?!?

I’ll tell you how.  In a word: Certainty.

When I was a part of institutional religion, we were very fond of saying we had “a relationship, not a religion.” We would then allow almost every word of our mouths to prove us liars. What we really had was a very dogmatic system of beliefs. Our true faith was not so much in Christ, but in whether or not we believed the “right” things.  We had to be right, and we had to be Certain! More than once when I strayed outside the accepted parameters of belief, I was made to feel lesser.  And I’m 100% sure I did the same to many others.
“You can’t have that picture.  You can’t wear that shirt.  You can’t listen to that music. You can’t believe this. You can’t believe that.”
“Don’t. Don’t! DON’T!!”
“Here’s what you need to know. And then, you need to know that you know that you know. Yes, I believe in science.  But if science contradicts the Bible, then science is wrong.”
Translation: If science contradicts my very limited understanding and application of some ancient text, then science is wrong.
Deeper Translation: If facts interfere with my beliefs, I’ll ignore (and even fight against) the facts.

Now, back to the apology thing.
I’ve apologized for my act, based on a false belief.  Hell, I’ve even apologized for the belief itself.
And, GOOD NEWS, in this case, I’ve Even Changed My Belief!
The problem is:  I Haven’t Changed The WAY I Believe!
All those many, many times I’ve been sincerely wrong have never been allowed to teach me the root of the problem!
WHY?!?!?

In a word, Fear.

Fear that if I acknowledge some particular truth, my entire belief system may come crashing down. All my beliefs are part and parcel of the fabric of my religion. If so much as one thread unravels, I could lose it all!
Fear that if I let go of certainty, I’ll wander aimlessly with nothing of value to hold on to.  And for fundie Christians, the very unhealthy kind of “the fear of God.”

Look, if facts destroy your belief system, I’ve got news for you: It needed destroyed!  If having a wrong belief about God, about eternity, about Jesus; if any of that pisses off God that much, you need a better, bigger God!
Also the fear of your peers. I know people who are so afraid of what their peers will think, they avoid acknowledging truth if it comes from the “wrong” source. God forbid someone should think I agree with “that” person.  I don’t want anyone to think I’d lead them astray!

Certainty is the enemy of faith. And changing what you believe, without changing how you hold those beliefs, is of very limited benefit. And by the way, the basics of what I’m saying here doesn’t just apply to right-wingers, or just to Christians. It goes for Muslims, Atheists, Jews… EVERYONE.

I know, I know; I use this quote a lot.
But it’s just so damn good! And honestly, learning this important lesson can, I believe, even transform many strained relationships.  It’s from “What We Talk About When We Talk About God.”  And I’ll end this post with it now.

“You can believe something with so much conviction that you’d die for that belief,
and yet in the same moment
you can also say, ‘I could be wrong…’
This is because conviction and humility, like faith and doubt, are not opposites; they’re dance partners. It’s possible to hold your faith with open hands, living with great conviction and yet at the same time humbly admitting that your knowledge and perspective will always be limited.” – Rob Bell

 

Almost Vegan: It’s Not Always All Or Nothing January 9, 2019


We’ve been vegetarian for around 12 years now.  We didn’t just wake up one day and say “Let’s be vegetarians.”  It was just a process that happened.  It mostly started with me doing a 30-day juice fast.  After that we both started eating better.  At some point we cut out beef, chicken and pork. Eventually, we stopped eating fish as well.


Recently, my wife proclaimed she wanted to “go vegan”. She would have done it on her own, but I wanted to join her in that journey, as she did on mine.  When we became vegetarians, it was mostly a dietary/health decision.  More and more, it became an ethical/moral choice. And it is ethics and morality that are at the core of my wife’s desire to eat vegan.


I grew up on a farm.  We killed and ate animals.  It’s what we did.  And yet, if my dad saw anyone abusing an animal, well, he’d make it very clear that that was unacceptable.  If my brother or I were involved in such abuse, our backsides reaped the results.
I know. Many will say killing and eating animals is the ultimate abuse.  Believe me, when you look at the meat industry, there are things much worse than death.  Animals are literally tortured to provide food for the masses.  It all boils down to money and greed.  And, of course, it’s not just food.  It applies to cosmetics and much else as well.  There are many people who would rather remain ignorant.  Those who will refuse to watch videos like THIS, or THIS One, because they want to live as they do without accepting the responsibility for their actions.  The same principle applies to buying things made by slave labor.  Buy whatever you want, but OWN your actions and acknowledge their consequences.  FYI, according to US law, animals are allowed to be burned, shocked, poisoned, starved, addicted to drugs, and brain damaged without requiring the use of any painkillers.
Still, having grown up on a farm, I do believe that if you’re going to kill animals to eat them, you can still be ethical about it. Many vegans will likely disagree. That’s OK. We can do that.


However, the food industry and cosmetic industry, (with some exception) is certainly not ethical in it’s treatment of animals.  That is the motivating factor behind my wife’s decision to transition into being vegan.  I say transition because we decided not to throw out everything in our pantry/refrigerator/freezer.  The money was spent, so since our vegan eating is not about diet, the damage was already done.

Since ethics, and not diet, is our primary concern (although being healthier is a definite benefit) at home we still eat eggs (for now) that are locally produced and ethically sourced at farms we can actually visit and see how things are done.


Some people are very concerned about labels and legalism.  Yes, I get it.  If we eat eggs, we’re not vegan.  OK, then let’s say this: : We eat a vegan diet, except where we know that eating eggs is not a violation of our purpose in eating a vegan diet.” (The same principle applies to mild cross-contamination.)

On the PETA site (and they’re certainly the “go-to” for millions of vegetarians and vegans), they have some great advice:

Following a vegan lifestyle isn’t about purity—it’s about helping animals and doing the best that we can to reduce their suffering and avoid exploiting them while still living a normal life.  [And] Don’t grill restaurant servers about micro-ingredients (e.g., a tiny bit of a dairy “product” in the bun of a veggie burger). Doing so makes being vegan seem difficult and annoying to your friends and restaurant staff, which discourages them from going vegan themselves—and really hurts animals. We don’t need the “vegan police” making it seem as if vegan living is a chore. Snapping at the waiter sends the universal message that all vegans are, well, assholes.

There’s a great little book about going green.  It’s called “Do One Green Thing.” People who see all issues as “all or nothing,” often end up opting for “nothing.”  If you’re still a carnivore, try joining the “Meatless Monday” movement. Do something to help the planet and the creatures who live on it.


As I started off saying, people love labels, and they love excluding those outside of those labels.  Just as there is judgment in the LGBT community from the L and the G towards the B and the T, I often see judgment from vegans toward vegetarians.  The kind of toxic legalism that is seen in fundamentalist religions, sadly, isn’t exclusive to religion. Would I like to see all carnivores become vegetarians or vegans? ABSOLUTELY.  And we can certainly encourage others to do so.  And, of course, we MUST stand against the cruelty and abuse of animals. We use our voice, our vote, our money, our signature; whatever we can to end those atrocities.


But for me, I want to do what I can to reduce animal suffering while living in the real world.  I truly hate legalism. I’m wary of blanket labels. I’m definitely not big on following the law for the sake of the law*. All “laws” (including those we set up concerning vegetarians and vegans) are to provide a service.  When a law does not provide the intended service, I for one have no problem disregarding that law.  I want my actions to be purposeful and meaningful, and not blindly following any set of rules and laws.  That almost always leads to harm or disaster.


So for now, when we eat out, or at other’s homes, or at work carry-ins, we will tell other’s we’re vegan.  For in those cases, we truly are.  At home (or where we can verify our ethical goals are being met) we will be “almost vegan.”




*  Another example of not following the law for the sake of the law:
If I’m driving out in the country, and I come upon a 4-way stop, and I can clearly see there is no one or nothing in any other direction for miles, guess what; I’m Not Stopping! At that point, that law is providing no service to anyone.  Yeah, it’s still the law.  And if caught, I’m willing to pay the consequences without question.  I’ll own it. But I’m still not stopping. 🙂

 

 
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