Our culture is structured to discourage us from recognizing that we are animals, that we are a part of nature, that we are all interconnected and interrelated.
Living a spiritual life, for me, means honoring these interrelationships. Rather than a model of transcendence, I believe in an immanent worldview: the spirit of the world is immanent here, revealed in each of us, and in the rest of nature.
In the feminist ethic of care tradition, killing of animals for food fails to do one important thing: ask the animals what they want and respect their answer. Being interconnected, I want to ask the question and listen for an answer.
I believe our relationships with animals touch a very deep place within ourselves. When we close off our relationship with that very deep place— either because it is too painful to go near or because we don’t give it the time—we are closing off the possibility of living more fully. If we eat meat and dairy products, we may close off our relationship with that deep place, and may not be able to go near it because doing so would mean we would have to become aware of what we do to animals.
In September 2016, I presented a plenary talk at the Society for the Study of Christian Ethics. In that multimedia presentation, I argued that one of the central features of Western existence is the objectification and use of other beings in creating the subjectification of human beings. My argument was for a Christian veganism that rejects the dependence of the subject on the object status of other beings. I identified the roadblocks to recognizing the necessity for Christian veganism and called this, the pedagogy of the oppressor. I proposed that one way to change the subject-object relationship is a poetics of Christian engagement. Christian veganism may seem a radical position theoretically and pragmatically, but I offered suggestions for expanding Christian engagement with other animals and for the food and environmental justice movements of which veganism is a part.
My essay will appear in the spring 2017 issue of Studies in Christian Ethics and you can access a PDF of the article here. Gretchen Primack kindly provided an audio of her reading of her poem “Love This.”