Living Toward the Peaceable Kingdom: Compassionate Eating as Care of Creation

Humane Society of the United States Faith Outreach (2008, 2010)
As evidence of the unintended consequences of industrial farm animal production continues to mount, it is becoming increasingly clear that, far from being a trivial matter of personal preference, eating is an activity that has deep moral and spiritual significance. Surprising as it may sound, the simple question of what to eat can prompt Christians daily to live out their spiritual vision of Shalom for all creatures--to bear witness to the marginalization of the poor, the exploitation of the oppressed, the suffering of the innocent, and the degradation of the natural world, and to participate in the reconciliation of these ills through intentional acts of love, justice, mercy, and good stewardship. The aim of this work is to understand the cultivation of more intentional "compassionate eating" habits as a form of engaged Christian discipleship that responds to a wide array of practical, moral, and spiritual problems affecting all aspects of creation--human, animal, and environmental. The guiding suggestion is that compassionate eating is a spiritual discipline that offers a symbolically significant and practically effective way to live in faithful anticipation of the "peaceable kingdom" described in Judeo-Christian creation and redemption narratives.
Keywords Animal Ethics  Philosophical Theology  Vegetarianism  Agrarianism  Creation Care  Veganism  Environmental Ethics
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