The Chance to Witness

As some of you may recall, I have decided to become a vegetarian. This has been a great struggle of late. I am really having a hard time, harder than I at first thought. I am really -- I mean really -- craving meat. It is becoming increasingly harder to sustain this diet.

And yet . . .

Just the other day my family and I went to a chili cook-off. I know, trouble already, right? Not really. There were vegetarian chilis there too. And it was great! But the greatest bit of all was the ability to witness! I was talking with one of my friends that had cooked a vegetarian chili (which got first prize in that category, btw), and told him that I was thankful that he had vegetarian chili since I had recently become a vegetarian. Well, there was a young man in ear shot of this conversation and he gladly joined in. 'That's awesome! What made you decide to become a vegetarian?'

And there it was. The golden opportunity to share the Gospel. And I did. I said:

'I believe that this world is the very good creation of a very good god. Death is an intrusion on that very good creation. However, this very good god has set in motion a plan to rebuild the creation -- to bring about a New Creation. In the ultimate future of the New Creation Project death (and all of the things that scar and destroy the very good creation) will be removed. This very good god is revealed in Jesus of Nazareth. The New Creation Project was started when Jesus was resurrected. I believe this and am living in anticipation of that day. Therefore, I look for ways of implementing that ultimate future now. Since death will be removed I am looking for ways I can remove death now. And vegetarianism is one of those ways.'

You can imagine the looks I was getting from these guys! The whole 'deer in the headlights' thing. It was great. And the next part of the conversation was good too in that it quickly became something else. But the 'seed' was 'planted'. My prayer is that the Gardener will bring others to water the seed.

So, while I am at the moment finding it difficult to stay a vegetarian, I find the strength in situations just like this one. May God continue to grant me the stength and the opportunity.

Peace to you all,



J.W.M. said…
I'm glad you had a chance to bear witness. Even so, I maintain that the Scriptures lay no vegetarian mandate on Christians - and I likewise maintain that with God, for whom nothing is impossible, creating meat in the new creation without killing animals will be as easy as - well, vegetarian pie.
Mike Swalm said…
good on ya OD. I'm working, very slowly, toward vegetarianism, and i think you've had a great opportunity there. don't listen to the naysayers :)
Odysseus said…
JWM, while I also agree that 'the Scriptures lay no vegetarian mandate on Christians' I do maintain that there is clear evidence that vegetarianism was the the original plan. It seems that eating meat was a product of the fall.

Swalmi, I pray that the Lord will grant you the grace and strenght to go down this path. I don't worry, I don't give them a second thought. Oh! Wait. Were you referring to JWM? :D
Mike Swalm said…
Thanks OD. It's not so much a prob for me as for my in the province with the best beef in the world isn't easy for a vegetarian, but we'll see :) Of COURSE i wasn't referring to J. :) *wink*
Odysseus said…
'Of COURSE i wasn't referring to J.' LOL!
J.W.M. said…
I hardly consider myself a naysayer. Did I tell Jack to give up his new course? By no means. He and I agree on much, and have had many fruitful (not to say 'meaty') conversations.

All I meant to point out was that there needn't be death in order to have meat. Moreover, if eating meat were a bad thing, it seems strange that God would commend it to human beings in the first place. Genesis 9:3-4 seem important here. God commends all living flesh as food ("as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything."). But what does he forbid? The eating of flesh with the life (ie, blood) still in it. Seems a crucial bit, there.

The problem is not with eating flesh - it's with eating life. Why think that we cannot in the New Creation have flesh without death? A steak is just an organic protein - why is it so difficult to fathom God fabricating such things apart from killing a cow? This is God we are talking about, after all.
Odysseus said…
I think we were only 'ribbing' you there JWM!

I have no problem with imagining God creating meat for eating without killing an animal to do so! But that is not the point. The point is that there will be no death in the consummated New Creation! There was no killing of animals in the garden to sustain people and it seems to me that the consummation will be a lot like the creation. Furthermore, we are only imagining meat without killing an animal (which doesn't have biblical support); why can't we imagine just eating vegetables and fruits in the ultimate future (which has biblical support)? Again, the point is that there will be no death in the ultimate future. And it seems clear to me that the vocation of the church is to bring about that future in the present (as much as it can). Now, I am NOT saying that this is a 'law' or anything like that. Romans 14 seems really clear about that. But I am saying that I see clear implication in Scripture that we will be vegetarians in the New Creation and I can bring at least that part of that future back to our present.

Concerning Genesis 9: That was given after the fall. There is no biblical support for killing animals and eating their flesh before the fall. Furthermore, what about the rest of the Law of Moses -- the dietary laws? Why don't we just use those as guidelines? 'Because we are living under grace. Those things were fulfilled in Jesus. Therefore there is no restriction.' And I agree (especially since I wrote that!) We could even eat bats if we wanted to! But, I am not looking at what is permissible now. I am looking at ways of implementing God's future now. Today, right now, in the present, there is no way we can eat meat now without killing an animal to do so. And like I stated in the first post on vegetarianism, when we kill something (or someone) we are ADDING TO the destruction of God's very good creation.

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