The Defecation that is, often, Christian Nonviolence

Over the last few weeks I’ve had to deal with so many critiques of Christian pacifism that I decided to level one myself. Anytime I get very defensive, to the point of making fun of my critics, I figure it’s a good time to level a criticism at myself or, at the very least, my bestest best friends. Well, actually, I should say, I’m not critiquing Christian nonviolence as much as I am ripping on some of those good friends of mine who love to employ the language of nonviolence and why that makes me wanna shin-kick ‘em in the rib cage. You see, the problem I’m having with so many of the good Christian ‘practitioners’ of nonviolence I know these days is that it appears (note, I said, appears) to require so little from you.

For instance, for the vast majority of your life (and most certainly mine), it’s a conviction that is too easily held and requires no actual activity, sacrifice, and/or genuine conviction. (Oh, wait, you mean it required you being a pacifist to know that you’re supposed to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the poor? That’s terrible.)

While decrying violence, many of my good Christian buddies persist in making light of the fact that their entire way of existing on this planet is rooted in systemic violence. I think by poking fun at the subject, it’s their way of not really dealing with it. But this sort of violence is not indirect. It’s not metaphorical. It’s three times a day. How delightful it is to hear about how ‘nonviolence is the answer’ from people shoving pigs and cows down their throats, gorging their bodies on other bodies, and, yet, I’m supposed to take their “nonviolent witness” seriously. The kicker is, most of these same people are always complaining about how Christians don’t want to be “challenged” by their peace witness, yet many of these same pacifists refuse to be challenged by their own direct complicity with the systemic violence perpetuated on animals. You want people to listen to you and to be challenged by your ‘nonviolence’, yet you refuse to be challenged on the issue of violence to animals. How do I make sense of the fact that so many people were wetting their beds with excitement for Volume I of The Peaceable Kingdom Series (A Faith Not Worth Fighting Forto which I’m grateful for those spoiled sheets, of course), yet those same people won’t even consider checking out Volume II (A Faith Embracing All Creatures)? I fear all we did with the first volume was speak to the choir–those who wanted us to simply reinforce what they already wanted to believe (and feeling so punk rock and self-righteous about it). Yet, don’t even mention how their nonviolence extends to the rest of creation. No, they don’t want that kind of challenge, because that kind of challenge would actually require them to live significantly different lives.

Screw that, right?

And, I guess, that’s part of the reason I don’t really care for flesh-eating pacifists: it rarely demands anything of them. If they were to extend their nonviolent so-called “eschatological witness” to other bodies other than human ones, then they would actually have to, daily, ante up. (My favorite is hearing pacifists say, “Eating meat is natural” while completely oblivious to the fact that their very eschatological convictions are the basis for overriding their violent nature toward other humans. Such an eschatology is weak and entirely self-serving.) However, just like most Christians in our culture, they simply hold convictions that require next to nothing from them. Congratulations. It’s a hell of an achievement to talk so much and to do so little. After all, it takes a lot of real discipline to Facebook post how awesome you are for constantly critiquing the empire (you are the empire), ranting about how serious you are about being a real disciple of Jesus, and, occasionally (for a few of you) writing a book or two, and/or even lecturing the circuit letting everyone know how radical you are because you’re a, oh my gosh, here it comes . . . a pacifist.

Of course, Tripp's an ass (and not of the donkey-sort). But you knew that before reading this poorly written diatribe. In all seriousness though, please don't eat me. It ain't cool, man.

Of course, Tripp’s an ass (and not of the donkey-sort), but you knew that before reading this poorly written diatribe. In all seriousness though, please don’t eat me. It ain’t cool, man (and it’s certainly not non-violent).

Dude (and, most definitely, dudette), you’re not radical. You’re not even interesting. Your so-called convictions are borderline useless (except in the sense that they can brand you, making it easier to be marketable for your publisher). Those convictions of yours, for the most part, do nothing. That is, they do not do any ‘thing’ (I know, I know . . . everything anti-utilitarian is so in vogue these days–it’s like a litmus test of contemporary Christian ethics: “Does it not do anything? Good! It must be Christian!”). I don’t care what protest you attended last week, it’s banal. It’s not even banal, it’s self-serving and buttresses the very object of your protest. Stop congratulating yourself. Instead, do something compelling. Practice nonviolence in a tangible manner. Stop feeding on other bodies to satiate your own taste-buds, then, maybe . . . just maybe, all of your inane rhetoric about nonviolence will have some merit. (Or, at the very least, stop calling yourself a practitioner of nonviolence–just go with ‘pacifist’ and leave it at that. “Wait, are you saying, eating meat is the only way to tangibly practice nonviolence?” Of course not, and you’re a putz for asking/deflecting.)

To be fair, a shot at the other side is necessary. I can barely tolerate most of my animal-loving friends (and that certainly includes myself). The self-righteousness that goes into their own rhetoric as to why they are vegetarian/vegan often makes me want to devour a cow–which is why I rarely preach this sort of thing. But, to their credit, at least they have a lifestyle change that displays their convictions. That is, I can see their convictions. As for the rest of you, enjoy searching the Bible to proof-text your predisposed predilection of violence to other creatures. I wish you the best as you lie down tonight to say your prayers with a belly full of someone else’s carcass. After all, that’s what you have decided animals are for: to be excreted out of your anus. And in doing so, you have named animals exactly what you think they should be named: you have named them “shit”.

Now, that’s a rich theological account of creation, isn’t it?

(Not to mention the most ‘effed up eschatology a Christian pacifist could ever possibly entertain.)

 

PS: You know I love all of you flesh-eating bastards, right? I was just being polemical in order to get a rise out of you. Did it work? Are you aroused? If so, that’s weird. Stop it. Now, carefully drop your defensive posture and please listen to the sweet Miss Molly in the above photo: isn’t she precious? And sagacious, too.

Further Reading:
  • Greg

    Blammo.

  • Peter McCombs

    “I don’t eat this stuff because I love animals,” my daughter once told me as she ripped into a baked potato, “but because I hate vegetables!” She too believes that chewing things up and turning them into poop is the ultimate insult.

    Well, this post of yours reminds me of a quip I once read from the Rev. George W. Rutler:

    “Vegetarians assume an unedifying posture of detachment from the sufferings of vegetables that are mashed, stewed, diced, and shredded. In expensive restaurants cherries are publicly burned in brandy to the applause of diners. It is not uncommon for people to submerge olives in iced gin and twist the peels of lemons. Be indignant, vegetarian, but not so selectively indignant that the bleat of the lamb and the plaintive moo of the cow drown out the whine of our brother the bean and the quiet sigh of the cauliflower. Vegetables have reactive impulses. Were we to confine our diet to creatures that lack sense and do not even respond to light, we could only eat liturgists and liberal Democrats.”

    I suppose Rev. Rutler is entitled to his opinion. ;)

    I also know a sorry joke about a certain difficulty in eating vegetables, but as it is too irreverent, disrespectful, wicked, and insensitive to be shared in public among decent people, I shall keep it to myself. Yes, though it burns me to do so. Ah, the trials of the tactful.

    • theamishjihadist

      Peter,

      I’m going to have to go ahead and ask you to comment more often. Feel free to bring the Good Reverend Rutler with you. Also, you have, obviously, done a stellar job with your daughter. May she inherit the earth.

      Now, tell the damn joke!

  • Amanda

    Word.

  • Josh Carpenter

    This is challenging, both in semantics and praxis. Although, I can honestly say that A Faith Not Worth Fighting For vol. 1 was certainly a learning tool for me. And as soon as I can get my hands on vol II, I’ll read it. So, rest assured that in one instance (and likely many more), you were not necessarily preaching to the choir, you were teaching it.

    On to my more thought out answer, though:

    The Bible says that you shouldn’t judge others, Tripp; I thought you knew this. On top of that, we have dominion over all the animals which entitles (read ordains) us to shoot and eat anything we want – because guns are a large part of our biblical rights. But if you’re that concerned, as Nirvana brilliantly expounded in their tune “Something in the Way”, at least the fish have no feelings – so, eat more fish! And who says my chewing is violent, anyway. Maybe I’m simply massaging the flesh down my throat? SMH, nonviolenters, always on their high-horsies…

    • theamishjihadist

      Though I know you’re being quite facetious (and with that, I say, ‘Good job!’), there really is a whole mixed bag of research on the ‘do fish feel pain’ question. Enough so that I’m going to have to disagree with that tortured artist soul that was Kurt Cobain (nice reference though–I feel that you truly understand the spirit of The Amish Jihadist . . . keep it up).

      By the way, I appreciate the ‘you were teaching it’ comment. Awesome.

  • MatthewWorsfold

    this is great.

  • Marco Funk

    great and challenging, and convicting piece here Tripp. Thanks for linking me to this. I think I understand what you’re getting at with the point on eschatology. Christians are called to be a foretaste of the coming Kingdom. If the coming Kingdom involves Shalom in God’s creation and among God’s creatures, then vegetarianism is a logical ethical position as an anticipatory moral practice for Christians. I like this theological reasoning. I’m sure that, for you Tripp, there’s more behind it than this, but perhaps this is part of the picture you were pointing at when you mentioned eschatology. There are a few verses of scripture that support this point of view. I think I’ve also read an essay that hinted at this kind of thing by Joel Schumann in the Christian Ethics book by Blackwell (I think). It’s been a haunting part of my internal theological debate for a few years now; increasingly so since I’ve picked up hunting and am directly involved in the harvesting of food for my carnivorous diet. Part of my decision to take up hunting was to understand more directly the ‘cost’ of my diet, and to also obtain my food in the least ecologically damaging way.

    I’m not a fan of just quoting verses; and in this case both sides could let ‘em fly with no real end result. If one looks at the larger theologico-eschatological trajectory of scripture, the vegetarian position I think wins out if one takes a very rigid view about the components of the coming Kingdom we are to now already anticipate in our moral imaginations. That said, there aren’t too many New Testament early church (and even later church that I’m aware of) examples of understanding Christian eschatological participation as having this kind of meaning in regards to the consumption of animals. And you’d think that a person like Paul, who spent much time considering the place of animals, their place as sacrifice in the Jewish atonement system, and the end of that system wrought by the death of Christ, that Paul would have at least hinted at this posture as a possible implication. Now silence is never a good argument. So I leave it here not as an argument but merely as something to consider.

    There would also be at least one other aspect of the coming Kingdom that we ought to consider as a possible anticipatory posture. Celibacy as ethical norm (if not imperative), since in the Kingdom we no longer marry nor are given in marriage. Many Christians are posturing themselves along a divide on who should or shouldn’t be able to get married in America. Should Christians do away with marriage altogether and remain single and celibate? There would be a few isolated cases in Christian history where groups interpreted this as a universal ethical norm. They’re not around anymore, I don’t think. (I wonder why?)

    just some thoughts. Again, very much appreciated your article, even if it adds to the haunting debate in my discipleship journey that is, as you so truthfully put it, quite feeble.

    • theamishjihadist

      Yes, Christians should do away with marriage–specifically as defined by the nation-state. 100% complete so.

  • http://www.markvans.info/ markvans

    Ok, I’m an omnivore. And even though I want to be a locavore, I often fall short of that ethical standard. So I can safely say that when it comes to what I put into my body, I’m at best a lazy hypocrite and at worst a murderous one. I’ve never been even close to convinced of the vegan position, even though I have friends who care deeply about this.

    I’m not saying this to justify myself. Rather, I want to ask: If I were to pick up one book to read to really challenge my thinking on this, what would it be? Would it be A Faith Embracing All Creatures? Or another one? I want to be open to change, but want to make sure I’m reading the best stuff on the subject.

    • theamishjihadist

      markvans!

      Thanks for the comment and the willingness to think through this with me. That’s pretty darn cool.

      By the way, I think you can, possibly, separate veganism from vegetarianism and think about the former in terms of justice/environmental ethics, while you could, possibly, consider vegetarianism from a purely theological standpoint. But that’s another matter altogether (perhaps for another post).

      My own journey with this began with Peter Singer (when I was a wee lad). At the time, I had no idea any Christians were making similar arguments, so Singer was all I had. In many ways, I found the work (and, as I mentioned in an earlier reply, I kind of loathe mentioning this guy) of Andrew Linzey to be very formative and he gave me a way outside of Singer’s specious utilitarianism (and dependence on the language of rights) to think about these things. But, wow . . . if I were only going to list one book . . . oh, the pressure . . . I would either go with Linzey’s ‘Animal Theology’ or, perhaps, Stephen Webb’s ‘On God and Dogs’. Both books entertain some potential theological heresies, big time actually, but if you can get beyond some of that, they are very helpful for these kinds of conversations. I think our book has some really strong points as well (of course), so I would just check out the table of contents of all of these books and you should choose the one you think would interest you most. Oh, and also check out ‘Good News for Animals?’ ed. by Pinches. (Notice how it ends with a question mark). The essay in there by Berkman and Hauerwas (the latter being an eater of animals) was crucial for me–again, in my early stages of thinking about these issues. ‘The Friends We Keep’ is really good too, and so is ‘Dominion’. I can also point you to some literature from conservationists, ethologists, and biologists (my wife’s area), but that’s a whole other conversation as well.

      Okay . . . I still didn’t suggest just one did I?

      Oh, and check out the artwork/writing of Sue Coe! I think her stuff is amazingly powerful and just absolutely stunning (and brutal).

      • theamishjihadist

        Also, check out Herzog’s ‘Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat’. He’s a meat-eater who does a great job of narrating the overall confusion our culture has when it comes to thinking well about animals. Quick read, too.

  • Jonathan McRay

    I’m all for polemics (and you have an uncanny knack for it), but are you necessarily excluding local agroecology, or peasant movements like Las Abejas and Via Campesina (http://viacampesina.org/en/)? I track right along with most vegan critiques, but am I excommunicated from the pacifist club if I interpret ecological trophic structures differently?

    • theamishjihadist

      Hey Jonathan,

      Thanks for the kind words (“polemics . . . you have an uncanny knack for it”). Flattery is the only way to kick off a comment!

      No, I am not excluding those movements. Or, wait . . . maybe I am excluding those movements from this conversation (looking back at how you worded, I think that would be the correct response). It’s from my understanding that the movements you’re pointing out are pretty awesome (and necessary). I’ve had similar conversations with numerous local farmers and folks for sustainable food. Interesting stuff going on. Thanks for mentioning it.

      You are definitely not excommunicated from the pacifist club for such an interpretation! Though, it’s not much of a club to begin with (the parties are such a drag). I kind of roll with Groucho Marx who said he would never want to belong to any club that would have him as a member, so . . . I tend to ban myself from any and all such affiliations. This leads to less friends, but more time to spend with the finer things in life: surfing, bourbon, and following Propagandhi around the world.

      I think this was simply my direct shot, so to speak, at Christian pacifists in North America who tend to employ the word ‘nonviolence’ with little understanding of how their daily habits are steeped in violence (and this extends beyond animals as food, of course, but you have to start somewhere). I’m just sort of burned at hearing my carnivorous pals talk about how Christians refuse to listen to them on issues related to war or capital punishment, yet very few of them are willing to entertain any conversations that would lead them, possibly, to living a far less violent life.

      • Jonathan McRay

        I smell what you’re stepping in, which is a lot of American nonviolent crap. Folks like Peter Gelderloos and Ward Churchill have also sniffed those hypocrisies, though some of their critiques and caricatures are laughable. Pacifism too often reduces violence to individual acts, ignoring what Camara called the spiral of violence.

        Glad for the clarification, since I run in the whole permaculture/bioregional pack. Also glad to see I don’t have to be a card-carrying vegan, since I didn’t want to be excommunicated before I come surfing and bourbon-sipping on the Virginia coast.

        • theamishjihadist

          Hell no! Some of my best friends are meat-eaters. Ahhh . . . see what I did there? But, no seriously, it’s true. Perhaps not in the Aristotelian sense of the word ‘friendship’ but definitely in the sense that I would, normally, much rather hang out with carnivores than vegetarians–the latter often make me wanna’ punch ‘em in the nuts. (Get it? See what I did there again?)

          Speaking of which, when are you venturing out this way? I surfed six days last week. Life is golden.

          • Jonathan McRay

            So clever.

            Not sure yet. Hopefully in the not-too-distant future. You could always sojourn to the Valley. I can introduce you to some chickens and goats.

          • theamishjihadist

            Some of my ‘for real’ best friends are goats. I can always have more goats in my life.

          • http://restorativetheology.blogspot.com/ Brian R. Gumm

            This one’s name is Buttercup. She’s a real sweetie…

          • theamishjihadist

            I just have one question for her: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rd4QGfukjBk

          • Jonathan McRay

            I’ll sing that to her when I do chores.

            I resisted flannel for years. I disliked it’s status as a uniform for college hippies. I finally broke down last year, and it does make pretty handy winter work attire.

  • Alyce Smith

    I appreciate your passion and conviction, but this just feels like another fundamentalist litmus test. “You aren’t TRULY radical until…”. Just because someone comes to a different conclusion does not make it proof-texting. That’s disingenuous and arrogant, shutting down the possibility of you thinking through with those who disagree with you in the way you are asking them to think it through with you. I think you may do more harm than good with this approach. You’ll have the zeal of a passionate polemic, but likely alienate the potentially converted even more than they were before.

    • theamishjihadist

      Hiya Ms. Alyce,

      I think the point was that many of my good friends (all commenting on here, few of them are vegetarians, none of them alienated–though, my god, I’m trying to alienate them–go away!) are not coming to a different conclusion because they have thought through it, but, precisely because they have not thought through it. And didn’t you read what Miss Molly said? Self-depecration alongside silly rants equals a ‘disengenuousness’ and ‘arrogance’ that is false bravado. A mere caricature of my own self for reasons still unknown. And, no, I’m not zealous (nor a radical, nor do I want to be–whatever that may mean). I could give two shits whether or not you eat animals (maybe one, maybe three, but definitely not two). As a matter of fact (as I was telling someone else on here . . . you should check out the other comments, I think you may come to a different conclusion), I’d much rather hangout with flesh-eaters than vegetarians. Those kids drive me insane.

      Now the real question is this: what’s your stance on bourbon?

  • http://restorativetheology.blogspot.com/ Brian R. Gumm

    So I guess if I’ve wanted to read both vols. 1 & 2 of the Peaceable Kingdom series, but haven’t (really, I’d love to read both), and call myself a pacifist, and am a flesh-eater…that must make me a HUGE poser piece of shit!

    • theamishjihadist

      No! Of course, not! But close. Only if you call yourself ‘nonviolent’ (you can keep the ‘pacifist’ label–that’s not the target here).

      Read those books! (Or, at least purchase them. The reading part is optional.)

  • Andy J. Funk

    Thanks for sharing this link Tripp. I gotta say, there are too many people on either side of these issues who think they occupy the moral high ground. Seems like often, Jesus decidedly took the low ground on many matters…not sure if he would on this, but I’m inclined to think he would give an altogether different response than the ones expected, e.g. vegetarianizing/veganizing/carnivorizing (I like to make up words from time-to-time). On the one side I hear Chris Hannah yelling, “consider someone else, stop consuming animals”, and on the other, Big Wig’s retort, “consider someone else, stop preaching about animals”. Either way, we could easily lose ourselves in a particular cause that helps convince us we are doing THE right thing, and eventually that will be all that is required of us. In the end there is a deep connection between humans and the rest of creation, no doubt in my mind. Dumping on people who try to respectfully eat parts of nature for their own flourishing isn’t very interesting, although there are numerous justice issues that surround the food industry (and not just regarding animal treatment and consumption either).

    What I liked about your article, Tripp, was that it challenged me to be more self-aware when it comes to the convictions I choose to proclaim. If theology does no good, then what good is your theology? If Christians are truly to represent the transforming power of God’s kingdom, we must be open to exploring alternatives that participate in such transformation, on a personal level, and at a communal level. Churches do have a long way to go, but mostly because individually, we have a long way to do. Perhaps Brian McLaren is right; that we need us some naked spirituality for us to become truly honest with ourselves and one another. It’s difficult to allow for transformation when we hold so tightly to our self-deceptions and false piety. Just some thoughts. Thanks again Tripp!

    • theamishjihadist

      Andy Funk!

      Thanks for your comments and thoughts. I dig it. It’s funny you mention McLaren because he actually wrote the afterword to our second volume (and he’s not a vegetarian). So, I’m guessing this means you’re going to check out some of the literature listed in the further reading section, right?

      • Andy J. Funk

        McLaren’s afterword sounds pretty good. I must say, I like him. Checked out the bibliography too…man, that’s a lot of books! Did I see Driscoll’s name there?…hahaha!

  • Danny Klopovic

    Great post – and I do have both books referenced and enjoyed them immensely though I am already vegan. I am not keen though on what often goes with what comes across as the militancy of some vegans – that does not seem particularly nonviolent either.

    On a personal note, the greatest difficulty I find is having at one’s fingertips a decent list of local resources that one can refer to for self and also for others on how to live a less violent life that doesn’t also use say guilt-tripping or aggressive rhetoric. Those tactics don’t seem appropriate.

    • theamishjihadist

      Hey Danny,

      I appreciate the comments. Good stuff. In terms of rhetoric, I find whatever works (in any context, regardless of the ‘issue) is what’s appropriate. After all, Jesus himself could be one aggressive dude when it came to speech, and when it comes to the prophets . . . those cats are intense!! Not that I’m making any comparisons (you know, secretly, I’ve always wanted to be Hosea), only that, again, in terms of appropriateness, I go with what works. I, therefore, employ a wide range of tactics knowing that, being an ass, as I think you’re suggesting, rarely gets the job done. If ever. But, sometimes it’s fun!

      Thanks, brother!

      • MattMo

        “In terms of rhetoric, I find whatever works is what’s appropriate.”

        Paging Dr. Niebuhr!

        • theamishjihadist

          Hahahahahaha! Yes! Dude, that is the one thing I learned from old Reinie (which, by the way, I gleaned, also, from Stanley)! By the way, he didn’t have a doctorate (unless you’re talking about his peckerhead brother).

  • http://young.anabaptistradicals.org/author/timn/ Tim Nafziger

    Dear Tripp,

    This is a powerful polemic. Thanks for writing it. It’s worthy of the “Get up, go ahead, do something, move” of the Beatitudes. We Christian pacifists need to be constantly poked and prodded out of our slumber. Cheap peacemaking, as Norman Kember powerfully named it, needs to be challenged. However, the call to vegetarianism felt like a let down after such a rousing indictment.

    While I strongly believe in personal acts of conscience, they too can too easily let us off the hook from strategic work for nonviolent social change. Let me be very specific: yesterday was the first day of Christian Peacemaker Teams training here in Chicago. I’m chagrined by how few of your “good Christian buddies” are in this circle. This is at a time when CPT’s partners in Colombia are having their homes fireballed and CPT Palestine is stretched to the breaking point because of pressures from the Israeli government. Peacemaking “in a tangible manner” is needed NOW. And with a few exceptions (you know who you are), I don’t see your audience out here.

    So yes, by all means, its time to challenge the anesthetization of 20 and 30 something post-evangelical neo-Anabaptists. By all means, stop eating meat. I just don’t think lifestyle change alone is going to cut it.

    Sincerely,
    Tim Nafziger
    Assistant Director, Christian Peacemaker Teams

    P.S. You know I love all of you 20 and 30 something post-evangelical neo-Anabaptists, right? Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get down off my high horse. I’m too comfortable way up there.

    • theamishjihadist

      Hi Tim,

      Thanks for writing. Your comments are stellar. I’ll be sure to toss those around at some of my colleagues-in-non-arms–especially any of those living in the Chicago area (I miss that town–great city).

      The ‘call’ to vegetarianism wasn’t really a call as much as it was a, ‘Stop talking to me about nonviolence as you eat and defecate animals.” So, there are a billion points to be made about the kind of conversation you’re having, I just wanted to make one tiny point about how many of my pacifists friends are every bit as violent as most of the Christians they criticize (especially if we’re talking in terms of strict practice).

      Again, great stuff. Feel free to hit me up about publicizing the work of CPTs here at The Amish Jihadist.

      • http://young.anabaptistradicals.org/author/timn/ Tim Nafziger

        Thanks, Tripp. Point offered and point taken. I will definitely take you up up on the offer to publicize CPT’s work.

      • drew

        I have to concur with Tim.

        I live in one of the worst parts of Columbus, OH. Our house and both neighbors have already been broken into with our stuff stolen within the past 9 months of living here. But we live here intentionally, our church is here, we desire to live in the worst in order to demonstrate the light and love of Jesus. I feel like a call to vegetarianism is a domesticated substitute for the suburban pacifistic (not there is anything wrong or easy about living a spiritually disciplined life in the burbs, but non-violence is often not part of those challenges). If you really want to challenge those people to live out there faith, demand that they put it to the test in there own city. If they think their is a light and faithfulness to the non-violent witness, then there is no better place to put it than where you can actually witness peace to a violent neighborhood.

        If it is living with convictions you are looking for, that may just be the challenge your friends need. Excuse the cheap phrase, but pacifism is not passive, if your friends are bored with it, I agree with your analysis of the symptoms, they are not challenging themselves in a way that is congruent with their convictions, however I think your diagnosis is weak.

        with all that being said I do however want to tell you as a pacifist in a violent area, this was nonetheless a good, challenging, and provocative read, and for that sir I thank you.

        • Greg

          I think you missed the point of his post. I believe he would agree with you on everything you’re saying, he is just merely taking one facet, the violence of eating flesh, and nailing his friends on it who assume they are nonviolent simply by saying, “I’m a pacifist.” Again, I don’t think he would disagree with you on these points, but it’s not fair to hold him accountable for what he didn’t say in a post that is not about what you want him to say.

          With that being said, this is the last time I’m ever going to defend you, Tripp. You’re already in my debt.

          • theamishjihadist

            Right-o. Exactly, to both of you.

            Greg, Jesus says not to be in anyone’s debt, so, as a horribly virtuous Christian, it’s not possible for me to be in your debt, now is it?

            To misquote Jerry Lee Lewis, ‘I win, again.’

  • http://www.profligategrace.com/ Kara

    Hey, wait. Didn’t you, yourself, elide “pacifism” and “nonviolence” in your first paragraph? Much love to you, Tripp, from the ladies at ProfligateGrace.com! :-)

    • theamishjihadist

      Ahhhh….you women don’t love me!! I never hear from you gals anymore.

      And you call yourselves ‘ladies’.

  • MattMo

    “We have only five loaves of bread and two pounds of quinoa,” the disciples answered.

    “Damn lucky for me,” replied our Lord, “Had there been fish in those baskets, I’d be on the wrong end of a shin-kick to the ribs. Talk about blood and water pouring out!”

    • theamishjihadist

      I bet that dude could take a few kicks to the midsection. I bet he was lean.

  • Bronson Taylor

    My roommate and I are becoming vegans now. Thanks a lot.

    • theamishjihadist

      I do what I can to make other people’s lives as miserable as possible!

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  • David Pritchett

    I’m a bit late to the convo here, but I wonder why veganism suggests that animal life is ontologically more precious than plant life. What are the criteria for knowing when it is bad to kill something that is alive, because all that tofu was indeed alive at some point, responding to stimuli, and flourishing or eeking out an existence as all plant life does. Plants have neural networks, albeit different from those of animals, and even communicate with other plants and insects. This article provides some good information.
    http://rewild.info/anthropik/2007/08/plants-are-people-too/index.html

    I guess my point is, science seems to be coming around to tell us what indigenous peoples have long known, that the universe is alive and interactive in ways we have seemed to forgotten. The only way to not do violence to some sort of creature would be to stop living.

    • theamishjihadist

      Hi David,

      Better late than never! I absolutely agree that plant life is alive (and I didn’t even need my lovely wife having her PHD in Ecological Science to know that one!). The argument here is not so much against ‘life’ or the ontological superiority of one form of life over another (I confess: I swat the shit out of some mosquitoes), as much as it is about the obvious pain and suffering immediately caused to other animals. (Then there’s the whole, biblically speaking, God giving of the plants as ‘meat’ . . . with animal consumption only being a concession to sin. Plus, I’m not sure it’s accurate to, for example, call collard greens a ‘creature’–biblically or scientifically speaking–but, you know, taxonomy changes all the time.)

      Indeed, if what you say is true, and you really believe that animal and plant life are on the same level (which, at the cellular level, they are most definitely not), then I hope that you do not simply use such a notion to justify a dietary habit that is as pitiful and self-serving as, ‘Well, I’m either going to kill broccoli or a cow, might as well as be a cow.” That would be, truly, embarrassing. Also, this whole, ‘There’s no way to be consistent, everything we do is violent, so why even try!!” refrain is, a bit, well . . . tired, and unworthy of those trying to live more mindful lives. Which is why, I’m sure you are not suggesting such a notion. With that being said, it broke my heart to pull up my dying cucumber plants the other day as they were still clinging to my tomato plants. Apparently, a number of white aphids were throwing down on it. Granted, I try to share my garden with those little buggers, destructive as they might be, because, to paraphrase Jango Fett, they’re just trying to make their way in the universe, too.