I read an article today on Relevant.com which out-of-the-blue spurred me into an explanation to my sister about why I stopped eating meat. (http://www.relevantmagazine.com/current/nation/where-christians-get-environmentalism-wrong). I probably overwhelmed her (hah!), but it was the first time I’ve been able to adequately describe it so I put it here as well.
This guy explained very well what I realized I probably haven’t recently – the whole environment-as-part-of-God’s-mission thing. I took a class called Perspectives back at A&M that really made me think about this, that God’s creation is an expression of him, and that acting as good, loving caretakers of it is our original mission, and that caring for his creation remains an idea close to his heart. It’s actually why I eventually stopped eating meat… this has always been hard for me to explain, and I honestly haven’t tried much; instead, I just give random reasons – health, bad China meat, feel better – which are all true, but ancillary to the primary cause.
It really started back in Shanghai, when I would walk by animals in the store or market (turtles in bags, fish in the stands, etc) and think how amazing they were, how I shouldn’t be seeing them like this – how I wished I could be out scuba diving, and stumble upon one of them and be filled with wonder seeing it, and know all the while that the beautiful design of the animal and the hidden placement of it in the ocean was all a secret, beautiful little gift from God to me, and to everyone. The more I thought about that, the more the idea spread, and the more I realized how much animals revealed the beautiful designs of God to me. Turtles especially, and dogs, and big fish, and crabs. And I knew he cared about them dearly too, and that I should, and that appreciating them was actually a true way of worshipping God. I stopped wanting to eat them. I know it sounds simple, but that was it. I’ve always loved creeks and forests and everything like that too, and I realized this was all from him, this love of natural beauty and creatures.
I wouldn’t ever be a crazy vegetarian, trying to convert people or going into rants about it or anything like that, but that is why I don’t eat meat now. It is a little form of worship. It’s pretty much just for me, and it’s special. A between-me-and-God kind of thing. And it made that appreciation I’ve always had for the woods and the forests and the creeks something special too, because now I know that God placed that in me from my earliest days as a way to worship him! He knows exactly the things which I dearly love, because he made and placed those loves in me, so he knows exactly where to take me or what to show me to thrill my soul – and he does so on a regular basis here in Hong Kong!
It’s almost like a good land mine, this inherent love for nature planted in me, eventually revealing itself as worship of him in one of its purest forms. He is inscrutable in this way… planting loves in us, appreciations, which, with time, reveal themselves as avenues to worship him. Loves for music, for nature, for art, for hobbies, for food, for teaching, and on and on. All good things find their source in him, and we all appreciate different things naturally; redeemed, these natural loves do not compete with God for our primary affection but rather become sources of cheery worship which exalt him even further, allowing us to love both that natural love and God even more, exponentially increasing our joy.