Entries in image of God (14)

Wednesday
Dec142011

of mice and men (and mercy)

Following up on Robert Burns' empathetic poem addressed to a field mouse, Lauren Merritt of The Christian and Creation writes movingly of an opportunity she had to show compassion to a drowning barn mouse earlier this Fall ...

There were three of us, early that humid September morning, sharing in the spectacle of life and death, animal survival and human dominion.  A chestnut Thoroughbred mare, a tiny, drowning gray mouse, and me.

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Thursday
Sep152011

against animal violence

A few months ago I bumped into Kurt Willems on Twitter, a writer and pastor who journals at The Pangea Blog on theology, ethics, ministry and recently even animals!  Kurt kindly offered to share a post I wrote on the theme of nonviolence which is close to his heart as an Anabaptist evangelical.  Here's a preview of "The Nonviolence of the Kingdom ... Towards Animals":

Witnessing such acts as Lincoln and Sobosan did, and the resulting agony of noble and harmless creatures, would have been hard for me to process as a child well.  I don’t know that I would have reacted more approvingly of explicit cruelty as I grew into adolescence and something resembling adulthood.  But I do know that the deep-seated fascination and heart which I had for the animal kingdom as a boy was replaced with a practical indifference to their existence, and wellbeing.

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Friday
Dec172010

animal rights or human responsibility?

Closing out our FAQ series on animal rights is a helpful perspective from Dean Ohlman of RBC Ministries and The Wonder of Creation, and one which not one sparrow very much identifies with, "Animal Rights or Human Responsibility?" ...

The angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff.  Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”  Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me!  If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now."  The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day?  Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”  ”No,” he said.  Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn.  So he bowed low and fell facedown. (Numbers 22:26-31, NIV)

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Thursday
Sep232010

John Stott on humans and animals

The Gospel Coalition has made available for download a sermon titled "Humans and Animals" from the venerable and hugely influential Christian voice John Stott.  Stott, born in 1921, is a British pastor, theologian and prolific author who founded the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion in the early 1960's.  Billy Graham himself pays tribute to Stott as one of Time's 100 Most Influential People of 2005, an article which increases my respect for Stott's contributions to world evangelism and missions, and his personal humility just as well.

In "Humans and Animals," Stott acknowledges the differences between humans and animals biblically understood, and also our dominion over them, even our permission to use them for human needs which that dominion grants.  And while many Christian leaders have traditionally taken the discussion no further, I greatly admire Stott's adamant call to a respectful appreciation and compassionate stewardship of the animals God has wonderfully created and graciously called us to care for on His behalf. 

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Thursday
Sep092010

between the Creator and the creation

The following reflection from Dean Ohlman and The Wonder of Creation, 'Tweeners,' is a helpful bookend to the first few installments in our FAQ series (Is caring for animals a valid concern?, But don't we have other priorities as Christians? and What about conflicts between animal and human welfare?), and a thoughtful contribution to some recent community discussions about distinctions between humans and animals ...

God blessed [man] and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:28, all passages NIV)

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Tuesday
Aug312010

C. S. Lewis on vivisection

For any fellow C. S. Lewis readers out there, perhaps you'd be as surprised as I was a few years ago to learn that he authored an essay against animal experimentation.  "Vivisection," which you can read online and also find in his collection God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics (ed. Walter Hooper, Eerdmans '70), was originally published as a pamphlet by the New England Anti-Vivisection Society in 1947, whose president had requested Lewis write the tract after reading Lewis' thoughts on animal pain in The Problem of Pain. 

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Friday
Aug132010

no eating pandas

Before turning to the complex case of animal experimentation next week, Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship and BreakPoint has an excellent response to a potential conflict between endangered animal welfare and other causes.  It's also a great reminder of the inherent value with which Christians are asked to see God's creatures.  The post comes via Kendra Langdon Juskus ("Confessions of a Reluctant Birder") and Flourish, and is humorously titled "No Panda-Eating for Chuck Colson":

Well, it’s not quite that simple.  But in his BreakPoint radio commentary last Friday, Chuck Colson did quote British naturalist and wildlife expert Chris Packham as saying, “I would eat the last panda if I could have all the money we have spent on panda conservation put back on the table.”

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Tuesday
Aug032010

make way for "non-human persons"?

Lauren Merritt recently pointed me to a post from Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a prominent theologian and writer in his own right.  The post is titled "NewsNote: Make Way for 'Non-Human Persons'?", and draws a faith-informed distinction between humans and even highly intelligent animals like whales and dolphins, while at the same time demonstrating a genuine admiration for those animals. 

It also touches somewhat on the question we've been asking this week, "What about conflicts between animal and human welfare?"  Here's a preview:

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Thursday
May202010

faq #1, is caring for animals a valid Christian concern?

As not one sparrow enters our third year of striving to be a Christian voice for animals, I've been looking forward for a while now to take the opportunity to go over some of the basics of our cause and motivation.  A refresher in our foundation of faith and what that means for how we advocate for animals might be meaningful for our newer readers (welcome, and thank you!), and hopefully for the rest of our community as well.

Sometimes it's possible to become so invested in and overwhelmed by a cause, or even just part of one, that it's hard to keep both the forest and the trees in front of us.  I know I've felt that tension more than a few times since committing to the issue, and am grateful to take some time to re-ground myself in the reasons why we're called to care about animals, and how God might want us to go about doing so. 

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Tuesday
May182010

animals and the bible

A perfect prelude to the question we'll continue to look at in the coming days of whether animal welfare is a valid and biblically grounded cause for Christians to care about, courtesy of Nancy Janisch ...

Did it ever strike you as odd that Christians can affirm God’s care for and love of creation, and simultaneously give next to no thought about how our faith might influence how we treat animals and the rest of creation? 

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