A Review of Sarah Withrow King’s, Vegangelical: How caring for animals Can shape your faith
When I first ordered Vegangelical by Sarah, I was cautiously optimistic. I was encouraged to be reading a book about a topic that matters a great deal to me. A great deal in the sense that for me I believe to be a Christian should mean to live a vegetarian/vegan diet. I personally feel that as I have grown in my faith, I find the idea of Eden restored in the Genesis narrative to be one of being vegan. Also, that this restoration would mean harmony with the divine created order. That’s why I had cautious optimism about this book. I had to get it, because I was working on a final paper for my Eco Feminist Theology class at New York Theological Seminary and was focusing on Veganism. I was reading Andrew Linzey and Peter Singer among others. I found Dr. Linzey’s research to be the most compelling of all the thinkers and activist’s I have researched. I found that even with Linzey being an ordained Priest in England his morals and convictions to the treatment of animals to be brilliant.
So I received Vegangelical in the mail. I was encouraged and excited. I had been reading Animal Theology, Why Animal Suffering Matters and Animal Gospel all by Andrew Linzey as I mentioned above. These were all great works, but what he lacked was a sense of praxis for America. How can I be a Christian and encourage others to be a vegan? I had initially started this research thinking that just a couple years ago, four to be exact I could not find anything on veganism and Christianity. Then along came Sarah.
I love this book. It was fun, it was scriptural and it was shockingly painful and specific about the treatment of animals and our planet. There was even mention to how caring for animals will help us to care for human beings, especially our black and brown sisters in the #blacklivesmatter movement. Let’s see as I continue. I don’t want to give the book away. I want everyone to buy it and support Sarah. She has written a fantastic work, that I think is an appropriate way to spread the message of animal compassion in a evangelical voice. This book is every bit as much evangelical, and bible based as it is authentic to her years working for PETA and now today with her initiatives for animals.
I too was once a PETA supporter, I was once a circus protester and I at one time damaged property trying to spread the message of Animal Rights. I was a teenager and while I believe those actions were holy. I lacked a context and background I lacked a climate for conversation. I was a slave to my ego and anger. This work by Sarah is going to help you to come into animal rights, first by introducing you to her faith, what is her theology.
After you learn of her theology, then you learn about her convictions for humanity and the planet, how for years she was ignorant to the pain of animals and the injustices of racial discrimination. Then she gradually brings you into her worldview and how her time at PETA started something inside of her, how she left what she was doing and began a quest to learn about what God thinks about animals. What she learned is what made this book…
I”m honored to follow behind her as a voice in the Christian community for the ethical treatment of animals. What you read will make you laugh, cry, get angry and hopefully make you get involved in whatever way God leads you. Sarah, writes this in a way that I could never do, she is filled with love and believes that the grace of God can lead us all to repentance even repentance of how we continually mistreat, kill, enslave, eat and sell animals, like commodities in a superstore. She puts flesh on her faith and she helps us see that Christ was crucified for animals lives too. What you wear, what you eat, what you drink, and what you buy matters…This book will enrich your faith and maybe even save it…I know I love Jesus even more now after having read this book, I see where I need to focus more of my energy and how I need to focus my activism on love first. I leave you with this quote from the book,
“In this way, our relationship with God’s animals and with one another reflects the Trinitarian nature of God in the world. We are unique and related, mutually interdependent, and our true flourishing depends on the true flourishing of one another. Adopting a vegan diet and lifestyle is one of the easiest ways I have found to honor the gift of God’s creation and to follow the example of Jesus’ love for all” (149).