One person recently commented on this site, “Compassionate Spirit could respond [to the need for a vegetarian or vegan alternative in Christianity] by offering a religious experience at Christmas and Easter to see if it meets a need.” This request doesn’t sound that hard. Christmas and Easter are the two most common Christian holidays, and there’s all this material on vegetarianism and Christianity.
Actually, though, this request is actually a lot tougher than it sounds. Let me tell you about it! Continue reading
Whole Foods is now selling rabbit meat in some of their northern California stores. The House Rabbit Society has issued an outraged response and called for a boycott of Whole Foods, together with a sample letter.
Whole Foods countered by saying that “Americans have a long history of enjoying rabbit,” citing a Los Angeles Times article. Whole Foods continues by assuring everyone that the rabbits which are eaten have been treated in accordance with their “high animal welfare standards.” Evidently treating them well and killing them are compatible in Whole Foods’ ideology. Continue reading
Peg Farrar and her daughter Clementyne
Peg Farrar is a local (metro Denver) vegan activist who is looking for a church where she and her family can feel at home. I thought it would be interesting to interview her for this blog and she agreed. This “interview” was conducted partially in person but then by e-mail. Here’s what she said.
Question: Peg, I understand that you’re looking for a church and you’re vegan. Can you tell us what your background is?
Peg: I was raised as a conservative Christian, with a Baptist and Pentecostal background. My religious beliefs sheltered me from other ideas. But in early adulthood, I started to change my worldview. In about 1990 I became active in the animal rights movement in Indianapolis. My core beliefs are in the Christian tradition, but I also support animal rights and am now vegan (past 9 years). Continue reading
I will be interviewed by Victoria Moran of “Main Street Vegan” on Wednesday, June 18, at 1 pm Mountain Daylight time (that’s noon Pacific, 2 pm Central, and 3 pm Eastern). Most people listen to the podcast rather than the live show, but for those who listen in, we will be giving away a free copy of either Disciples or The Lost Religion of Jesus. Call in with questions: 888-558-6489 (U.S.); 816-347-5519 (outside the U.S). After the show the episode will be posted on the “Main Street Vegan” web site. To listen to the podcast while it’s in progress, go to http://www.unity.fm/popout-player.
Paul and Jesus. How the Apostle Transformed Christianity. James Tabor. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2012.
This is a marvelous little book which is basic to understanding the “historical Paul.” It’s so simple, elegant, and straightforward, that after reading it, one can’t help wondering why someone hadn’t written it earlier. Not only is it important to understanding the historical Paul, but it’s also important to understanding the historical Jesus — because it is through Paul that we have some of our best information about the early Jesus movement.
James Tabor is a key figure in the growing movement to recognize and understand “Jewish Christianity.” Continue reading
A Polite Bribe is an excellent representation of Paul’s journeys as presented in Acts. Because Paul describes his first two journeys to Jerusalem (as a Christian) in his letters, we have the opportunity to “compare and contrast” events in Paul’s letters with the same events described in Acts, written at least fifty years later. But we are adrift when it comes to Paul’s third journey. Paul never mentions this third journey in his letters — except prospectively, as a journey he intends to make at some time in the future. Continue reading
There’s a point in A Polite Bribe when we approach the dramatic confrontation between Paul and Peter at Antioch. Paul thought that he, James, and Peter, had a deal: the message of Jesus could go to the gentiles. But in Antioch Paul is furious that Peter has betrayed this agreement, and denounces Peter to his face. Continue reading
Stephen Kaufman wrote the following review of Disciples. It appeared in the May 15 issue of the e-newsletter of the Christian Vegetarian Association.
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Nearly all Christians accept without question the assertion that Christianity started with Jesus. In this remarkable book, Keith Akers argues convincingly that the movement now called Christianity preceded Jesus’ ministry. It regarded Jesus as an exemplary leader, but evidently it did not consider Jesus divine.
Akers focuses on the Jewish Christian movement – those Jews who followed Jesus during his life and honored him after his death. Though they were the ones who knew Jesus best, their understanding of his teachings was eventually deemed heretical by a Gentile church that was heavily influenced by Paul. Continue reading
The following review of Disciples appeared in Lee Harmon’s blog “The Dubious Disciple”:
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Wow. I wish I had written this book. Speculative but convincingly argued, it strikes a perfect balance between reason and wonder, as it traces the evolution and demise of Jewish Christianity.
I have both curiosity and sympathy for the Ebionites, that early Jewish Christian sect which probably stemmed from the first Christians in Jerusalem, headed by Jesus’ brother James. Their disagreements with Paul, their emphasis on simplicity, and their primitive Christology have always intrigued me. Continue reading
A great new video on early Christianity, A Polite Bribe, has been released. If you’ve never read Paul’s letters or the book of Acts, well guess what–now you don’t have to! They’ve made a movie out of it!
Moreover, it’s a movie that makes some critical points about the history of the early church. There was a split in the early church between Paul and the Jerusalem church. Paul made a collection for the church in Jerusalem (Galatians 2:10, Romans 15:25–27, etc.). This collection was likely refused by the Jerusalem church. Whoa! What was this all about? Continue reading