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Animals/Kingdom of God 10th Anniversary

  • Tuesday, April 4, 2017
  • 10:30 AM–9:00 PM

We celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Animals and the Kingdom of God lecture series with a full day of events.


Session I - 10:30 am-12:00 pm

Prospects and Problems for (Christian) Veganism
Hiemenga Hall 336
Bob Fischer, Texas State University
“Veganism and/as Lament”

Abstract: The Bible contains quite a few passages that don't look very friendly to veganism. Rather than try to explain them way, perhaps we should lament that they're there. Drawing on Psalm 89, I make the case that lament is an important Christian response to the passages of Scripture that, at least on the face of it, don't encourage us to live into the peaceable kingdom.

 Andrew Chignell, University of Pennsylvania
“Do I Make a Difference? Religious Fasting and Secular Food Ethics”
Abstract: Most religions advocate dietary restrictions of some sort: Muslims fast during the day in Ramadan, Jews follow kashrut laws, Catholics often avoid meat on Fridays, Hindus don’t eat beef, and many Buddhists and Jains avoid meat altogether. Such practices foster a sense of communal identity, certainly, but traditionally they are also regarded as pleasing to God (or the gods, or the ancestors) and spiritually beneficial. In other words, for many religious people, the benefits of fasting go well beyond the observable or empirically measurable results. That is a large part of what motivates participation in the practice.

In this paper I focus less on particular religions and more on this broadly religious approach to dietary regulations. I show how this approach might be developed into a response to a psychological problem that arises from our awareness of the vastness and insensitivity of contemporary food supply chains. If someone can have faith, or at least tenacious hope, that the significance of her individual food choices goes well beyond what is likely to be observed, then she will be less demoralized by the apparent causal inefficacy of those choices. I conclude by considering a way in which this broadly religious approach might be available in a secular context as well
Chair: Matt Halteman, Calvin College

Bob Fischer, Andrew Chignell

Lunch - 12:30-1:30 pm

Vegangelical: Author Meets Readers
Meeter Center Lecture Hall Conference Room
Presenter: Sarah Withrow King, Evangelicals for Social Action, Eastern University

Abstract: The day I realized that caring deeply about animals and following Jesus were intimately linked was one of the best days of my life. My book Vegangelical is about how being vegan has shaped and enriched my faith, and helped me to understand how I can better reflect the image of God to the whole world. I wrestled with a lot of questions along the way, and I hope I can help other wrestling people find answers as they travel their own journeys.

Chair: David Clough, University of Chester, UK

Sarah Withrow King, David Clough

Session II - 2:00-3:30 pm

Intersectional Veganism(s)
Meeter Center Lecture Hall
Nekeisha Alayna Alexis, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary
“Liberation for Every Body”

Abstract: My presentation explores two big ideas: 1. Liberating ourselves from systemic and interpersonal oppression necessarily involves liberating other animal selves from human domination and instrumentalism. That is, what we do to other animals has implications for what we do to one another and we need to recognize that in order to work well against violence and harm and toward peace and justice.  2. Veganism is one of the ways to practice liberation for every body. That is, abstaining from using other animals for food, clothing, other merchandise, and entertainment is a means of resisting oppression of humans and other creatures alike. As veganism becomes more mainstream and is reduced to a dietary choice, its status as a political act and rebellious orientation is becoming more pacified. 

Candace Laughinghouse, Chicago Theological Seminary
“Womanist Principles of Wholeness and Interlocking Oppressions in Animal Theology”
Abstract: There are many modes of scholarship that ignore the interlocking oppressions experienced by non-human animals and human animals. I aspire to present an introduction to womanist principles of wholeness as epistemological privilege that involves empowering all of the oppressed. This is important to constructing a more robust animal ethics and journey towards a more peaceable kingdom.
Chair: Michelle Loyd-Paige, Calvin College

Nekeisha Alayna Alexis, Candace Laughinghouse

Session III - 3:45-5:15 pm

Panel Discussion: Animal Ethics and Christianity
Meeter Center Lecture Hall
Participants: Nekiesha Alayna Alexis, Andrew Chignell, Bob Fischer, David Clough, Candace Laughinghouse, Steven McMullen, Hope College
Co-Chairs: Sarah Withrow King and Matt Halteman


Dinner 5:30-7:00 pm

Vegan Potluck hosted by Students for Compassionate Living
Commons Annex Lecture Hall


Session IV - 7:30-9:00 pm

10th Annual Animals and the Kingdom of God Lecture
Commons Annex Lecture Hall
“Eating Peaceably: Christianity and Veganism”
Presenter: David Clough

Abstract: Should being Christian make a difference for what we eat? For Isaiah, the Messianic reign of God means peace between humans and (other) animals, and for the gospels, this reign or kingdom has already begun in Jesus Christ. This lecture asks what it might mean for Christians to eat peaceably.

 Co-Chairs: Matt Halteman and Sarah Withrow King


Animals and the Kingdom of God Lecture Series, CreatureKind, Calvin College Philosophy Department, Students for Compassionate Living

April 2017
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