Christians never talk about the roots of Christianity. Ask any Christian what book of the Bible they're going through for their "quiet time," and nine times out of ten, they'll be reading one of Paul's letters. I went to the same church for seven years, and the pastor there spent four years preaching through Revelation, and for three years after that, the book of John. So when I read through the entire Old Testament as a requirement for a class I was taking three years ago, it's no wonder that my world was shaken up a bit. For the first time in my Christian life, I encountered the history that Christianity is founded on. I discovered an ancient people that were alive within the pages, with customs and laws and traditions that all pointed back to a rich history and a story that defined them as a people. I discovered the reason why Israel existed in the first place, and that reason was to be a blessing to the world.
God created the first man Adam, and Adam's purpose was to eliminate death and sin from the world. He was supposed to do this by expanding the Garden of Eden, and by protecting everything inside of it from death and sin. The Israelites are the descendants of Adam, taking upon themselves the same role and self-understanding that Adam did. Israel as a nation, was supposed to be to the world, the same thing that Adam was. They were supposed to be a blessing.
That's why I'm a vegetarian. The last animal I ate was a freshly caught salmon, cooked on a wood fire in Estes Park, Colorado. It was a delicious meal. And I regret having ever taken part. The thing is, after I realized that my purpose as a human being was to take care of and be a blessing to the world, I couldn't see how putting my selfish cravings above an animal's life, was being a blessing. How could I eat the animals God wants me to protect?That's what Adam's job was, and if Adam is the paradigm of what Humans are supposed to be, then it goes against my very nature to view animals with such disregard.
Someone might object that Adam is Old Testament, and that therefore what applied to him, doesn't apply to us today. In that case, there is another person in history who is a paradigm for how humans should live, and that paradigm is Jesus. Jesus is the second Adam, but unlike Adam himself, Jesus actually fulfilled the purpose that Adam was created for. He defeated death. Jesus' life was defined by his continual war on the affects of death in the world. He taught his followers to live as if the New Earth (Eden) was here and now. He taught them to pray to God, "Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done, On Earth As It Is In Heaven." Jesus taught Christians that they should do everything in their power to lessen the affect that sin and death still have on the world. That they should defeat death, too.
What it means to be a Christian, is to continually defeat death. What it means to be a human, is to continually defeat death. How then, can I as a Christian, promote death to animals, especially when their death is only a result of my own selfishness: my desire to eat them?
The human purpose though, is not only limited to how we relate to animals. It applies to every area of our lives: how I can help sex slaves, abused children, my fiance, my friends, my family, my house, my dog Taz (who just died this passed summer at 16 years old). Everything has become to me, a thing that needs to be cleansed of any hold death might have on it. Sin and death have become the ultimate enemy for me, and I see it as my Biblically mandated duty to lock arms with Jesus, and wage war against it.
This book will take us back to the very beginning. We will explore what the book of Genesis was written for, and what the author had in mind when he wrote it. We will talk about the purpose of Israel as a Temple, as Gardeners, and as Kingdom Bringers, and how they failed to fulfill all of those roles. We will discover what Israel expected of their God in His promise to set the world right, and how Jesus fulfilled those expectations, both within the bounds of the New Testament record, and outside. We will talk about the community of early Christians, and about what they believed their identity and purpose were, and what that means for Christians today.
Since I have been a vegetarian for the sake of fulfilling my human purpose, I have, as you might imagine, had my fair share of “discussions.” The most common objection I hear to my lifestyle is that Jesus ate animals. In Fully Human, we will talk about what I believe is a sufficient defense against that particular objection. There are many other objections that I’ve come across, and will address fully and in their turn in the book. Just a few that people bring up, and I’m sure have crossed your mind, are Peter’s vision, 1 Timothy 4:3, starving children in Africa, and Genesis 1. All of these and more will be addressed, and proven to be sufficient evidence for why Christian Vegetarianism is not in contradiction with the Bible.
- By donating to this book, you will help me 1) Print a first run of 1000 copies, 2) Publicize the book and get it into the hands of theologians, human rights advocates, animal rights activists, pastors, and college and high-school students, and 3) hire a professional editor.
It has been my experience, and has been brought to my attention, that Christians aren’t really known for caring about the Earth. In fact, we actively and purposefully treat it and everything in it as a tool to be discarded after it’s no longer useful. That the Earth is here to serve us. My aim and my hope is to try and change that mindset among Christians. For too long conservation has been associated with the hippy movement, or the left wing liberals. I’m writing to try and show that caring for the Earth is deeply Biblical, and expected by God. I’ve known many people my age on the opposite side of the spectrum, where they want to protect the Earth and the animals, and they’re also Christians, as if those two passions had nothing to do with the other. This book will show that those passions can build off of each other and serve to enrich the other.
Something I have found is that my worship is so much more meaningful now. For me, I am actually taking part in the work God is doing in restoring the Earth back to the way it was intended to be. My relationship with God has grown, and that is something I would hope for anyone who reads my book. I also have friends who care about the Earth, but aren’t Christians, and a big reason is because they see Christians as hypocrites for claim to be so loving, and serving a God who loves the world, but at the same time be so hateful to it. I would hope to bridge that gap as well, and encourage them to join a movement among Christians who are beginning to see that their purpose is more than going around and reciting a six-point message about what they think is the Gospel. Being a Christian is about more than sharing the Gospel (though that is important), it is about being a blessing to the Earth and everything that lives in it.