Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

In praise of the written letter

I recently wrote a letter to a friend, and found it to be a real struggle to write. Not the subject matter, but the actual act of writing. Keyboarding has replaced penmanship and I know that my handwriting has suffered as a result. It is so much easier to send off a quick e-mail than it is to get out the writing paper and pen, and sit down to compose a missive.

I got to thinking about some of the most memorable hand written letters I've received over the years, and not surprisingly, most of them have been love letters. One I received was from a young man I'd met at a Ranger/Rover camp the summer of '73 before I went into Grade 12, and with whom I kept up a correspondence until the middle of the school year. His name was Glenn, he wore a kilt as part of his Rover Scout uniform and I thought he was charming! He spent the summer working as a Junior Forest Ranger with the Ministry of Natural Resources somewhere way up north, so phone calls were pretty rare. One day I got a letter written on a piece of birch bark, enclosed in an envelope made of 2 larger pieces of birch bark sewn together with leather cording! Yes, Canada Post delivered it, and I hung on to that letter for years, long after I lost contact with Glenn. Last I'd heard, he'd become a Catholic priest...I wonder what would have happened if we'd kept in touch?

Another neat love letter I got was written by another boyfriend who was a university student in Waterloo. He sent me a letter written on computer paper 4" wide and about 6 feet long! He also wrote it lengthwise, so that the letter was only about 2 lines deep, meaning I had to lay it out on the floor to read it!

My most recent serious love interest was a financial planner with a flair for painting watercolours. He would send me hand painted cards, usually scenes of places we'd been together. They weren't strictly letters, but they were personal notes to me, and I treasured them. I still have them tucked away, after all, they are original watercolours signed by the artist!

However, my most treasured letters are those I've gotten from Leslie, my sponsored child in Peru. Right now her mother is doing the writing, but I look forward to the day I get a letter hand-written by her. I'm also waiting to hear from my newly sponsored child Felicia, a beautiful young girl from Ghana. Now those are truly LOVE letters!

Ironic isn't it, that this computer generated blog has inspired me to get out my fountain pen and start writing long letters, SWAK (that's 'sealed with a kiss').

Eden was Vegan

Many people have asked my why I'm a vegetarian, most often following up the question with "I could NEVER give up eating meat" and "If humans weren't meant to eat meat, why does it taste so good?" (usually accompanied with a rather uncomfortable grin). I originally gave up eating meat for health and ethical reasons, at the time both about equal in importance to me. I did lose a fair bit of weight, about 15 lbs in the first year, and kept it off for quite some time, only to gain some of it back because of my addiction to potato chips. (Yeah, I know they're made from a vegetable, but that doesn't make them good for you!)

I'm convinced of the healthful aspects of eating a plant based diet, and now my reasons for vegetarianism are leaning heavily towards the ethics of raising animals for food.
As a Christian, I believe that God telling us that we have 'dominion' over the animals of the earth does not mean to use and abuse them in any way we see fit. It means that we are to care for animals, to be stewards of the animal kingdom.
In Genesis it says;

Then God said, "And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us. They will have power over the fish, the birds, and all animals, domestic and wild, large and small."
- Genesis 1:26


He created them male and female, blessed them, and said, "Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control. I am putting you in charge of the fish, the birds and all the wild animals. I have provided all kinds of grain and all kinds of fruit for you to eat; but for all the wild animals and for all the birds I have provided grass and leafy plants for food" - and it was done. God looked at everything he had made, and he was very pleased.
- Genesis 1:27-31

Doesn't that say that man and animal were meant to eat fruit and grains and leafy plants? In other words, eat like a VEGAN?
It wasn't until after the fall that man started to eat meat, and the animals feared him and each other. In modern day, how can we have stewardship over the animals, yet treat them so cruelly? Factory farming practices, the outright cruelty seen in slaughterhouses, even the way some people consider their pets as disposable shows that we have not followed God's word.

I had to laugh when I read that KFC were now going to buy their chickens from factories which use a more 'humane' way of slaughter, as if slaughter in any way could be humane! When I also look at the number of nasty and sometimes fatal diseases that man can contract from meat eating (Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, E-coli infections, parasitic infestations etc.), I have to wonder why more people aren't switching to a plant based diet.

There are many more reasons for becoming a vegetarian or vegan, more than I can write here. I encourage you to do your own research, and make up your own mind. I do believe that humanity will be judged on the way we treat those in our stewardship, be they children, seniors, the disabled, animals or Mother Earth. Unfortunately, I think we will come up very short in that regard.

A few links you may find interesting;

Christianity and Vegetarianism

An article by Father John Dear S.J.

Christian Vegetarian Association