None Shall Hurt or Destroy: Why Other Animals Matter for Christian Peacemaking – Isaiah 68:17-25
Other animals are an essential part of the human landscape. Yet our theological, biological and ecological kin are often the last “things” on our minds. This gap is especially noticeable when it comes to Christian witnesses for peace. Even in an era of increased attention to creation care, other animals—cows pigs, chickens, chimpanzees, foxes and more—are very far from our consciousness. This forgetfulness toward other creatures has not only made human beings complicit in massive systems of unspeakable suffering and cruelty. Our blindness also has serious implications on our work for God’s peace and justice. How might including other animals in our vision for shalom help us better understand the roots of war and other forms of oppression? How might increasing our concerns for other animals strengthen our efforts to resist violence? How might caring for and about the least of the least of these—our other animal neighbors—help us carve out new paths toward peace? How might setting our sights on the Lord’s holy mountain help us join more fully in God’s mission to make all things new?
The Lecture Presenter, Nekeisha Alexis-Baker, is an occasional writer and speaker with wide-ranging interests including nonhuman animal ethics and Christian theology; vegan practice as nonviolent Christian witness; undoing racism and resisting oppression; and intersections between radical Christian faith and anarchist politics. Her most recent essays include “Keeping the Devil Down: The Church on The Wire” in Corners in the City of God: Theology, Philosophy and The Wire (2013) and “But Isn’t All of Creation Violent?” in A Faith Encompassing All of Creation: Addressing Commonly Asked Questions About Christian Care of the Environment (forthcoming 2014). She is also the co-founder and a long-time organizer of Jesus Radicals, a network for conversation around anarchist politics and Christianity.