August 20, 2014

July 24, 2014

Caring for

I’m writing to respond to Sigve Tonstad’s article, “Ecology,
Ethics, and Ecumenism” (July 10, 2014).

It is about time we included
in our health message mercy to animals as a reason for vegetarianism. In our
health magazines, we list many reasons for being vegetarians that benefit our
health, quite forgetting about those poor animals and what they go through as
an important reason to abstain from flesh eating. How it must sadden the heart
of our Lord to see us treat His creation in such an inhumane way. Organizations
such as the Humane Society of the United States, Association for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and other animal advocacy groups publish much in
their literature about taking care of God’s creation. It is time we join them.

I am thankful for the
attention Tonstad gave to Ellen White’s statements regarding human cruelty to
nonhuman creatures. This was one of the reasons she gave for giving up meat to
her friends W. H. and Harriet Maxson in 1896. Ellen White told them that she
felt “ashamed and distressed,” that by eating meat she had contributed to
animal cruelty.

I was disappointed to
see that the Review editors chose to
place this article on the very last page of the issue, instead of putting it in
a more prominent spot.

Ermshar Weir

Sigve Tonstad’s premise that we should promote vegetarianism on
the basis of animal rights sounds reasonable at first, but the implications of
such a philosophy are problematic.

It is obviously true that
animals will not be killed in heaven or on the new earth. And most Christians
would support the idea that we are to use our power over animals wisely and
kindly. However, the author neglects to realize just how much animal death
occurs because of the choices humans make, even vegetarians. Urban sprawl, and
its resulting destruction of animal habitats, the use of oil to fuel our
vehicles and produce countless material items, and the pollution caused by
human lifestyles have no doubt led to deaths of animals that are at least
comparable to the deaths of animals because of meat eating.

As Adventists, we cannot say
that we are not part of many of these activities, even if we are vegetarians.
If you follow the author’s thesis, all animals are worthy of life, not just
domestic, farm animals (which have been bred for thousands of years for the
sole purpose of providing meat, milk, and eggs; they cannot just be set free to
live in the wild).

On a more local level, animal
products are found in the most strictly vegetarian church on any given Sabbath
in the form of leather-covered Bibles, shoes, purses, and so on.

North Americans definitely
eat too much meat, and I am not saying that vegetarianism is a bad choice to
make, either for health or ethical reasons. But our church should stick to
promoting vegetarianism as a health principle and avoid venturing into the
territory of associating it with animal rights. If we go down that path, we
have to follow it to its full conclusion and not just focus on one element of
animal rights.

I daresay that in other
aspects of this issue, we can’t say we’ve done so well. After all, how many
polluting airplane flights do our leaders make each year? I don’t say this to
criticize, just to point out how much animals have been affected by our sinful
world and the human activities in it. In many respects, we’ll have to wait for
the new earth to go back to the Eden model.

Edmonton, Alberta,

Light and Dark

I appreciate very much the online version of Adventist Review. I do take issue with
Delbert Baker’s reference to Barbara Brown Taylor, whose quote he used wherein
she wrote, “I need darkness as much as I need light.”
She also wrote, “But
here’s the thing about that cloud of unknowing, which even the saints take on
trust: it’s not there to get through, like a test or a fever. It is
God’s home. It is the place where God dwells.” This quote is taken from a
sermon she gave at the 2014 Festival of Homiletics in Minneapolis in May.

I cannot and will not buy
this concept. I will stick with God being a God of light and living in the light. Why do we persist in giving credence
to those who, in this case preach “darkness?” What have we done with the
message of Isaiah 8:20? Is that no longer valid instruction?

I understand all of us have
dark “moments.” But are we to live there, believing that God makes His home

Place, Washington


Catching up on back issues of the Review, we noted with regret Thomas Geraty’s obituary (Jun. 19,
2014). The Geratys—Tom and Hazel—stand tall among the honor guard of
distinguished Seventh-day Adventist educators.

We were privileged to be
their colleagues during their years at Andrews University. We saw first-hand
how their lives influenced their students: she in the elementary school, he in
the university. Now they both rest from their labors, but their exemplary works
follow them.

and Marilyn Bauer
North Carolina

for All

Thank you for Laura Sámano’s article “Modesty: A Thing of the
Past?” (Jun. 12, 2014). It is refreshing to have the topic in print and

An important question
to ask is, “Whom do I want to please?” When the answer is our heavenly Father,
modesty will follow a higher standard in behavior, appearance, conversation,
and dress, whether for church, home, or work.



Thank you for the issue “My Heart Is Stirred by a Noble Theme”
(Apr. 24, 2014), highlighting poetry by and for readers. I enjoyed the
contributions by the various talented members of the remnant.

Springs, Michigan