“INTERVIEW WITH INTERFAITH INTERVEGANS 1 AND 2”

This is the interview I conducted with Diana Shaffner (see above) who runs GOOD ACRES SANCTUARIES in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. The interview was when I (see above) visited the sanctuary and was conducted in person with Diana on April 20, 2021, at 1:30 pm. We discussed “interfaith as intervegans for this interview,” hence the title of this blog post. I know that’s a whole lot of “inter-” to take in all at once, so let me be as brief as possible (not always easy for me) in just saying I, Timothy J. Verret, am INTERVEGAN 1 (questioner) and Diana is INTERVEGAN 2 (answerer):

BEGIN OF INTERVIEW

INTERVEGAN 1: “What is GOOD ACRES SANCTUARIES?”

INTERVEGAN 2:: “It is a farm animal sanctuary and also a sanctuary for people in need. A duo purpose, but it is mainly a farm animal sanctuary. The animals stay here and people can visit. We have programs in place for people in need who struggle with depression and addictions, but mainly it is a farm animal sanctuary.”

INTERVEGAN 1: “Why do we need a farm animal sanctuary?”

INTERVEGAN 2: “There are a number of animals who are in need of a sanctuary. With the very much-growing movement of people becoming more aware of the needs of farm animals, what are most commonly called “food animals,” having a place where you can see and interact with rescued farm animals is important. Having people visit a farm animal sanctuary can also have an emotional impact on them. A commercial operation of a factory farm, where 99% of meat consumed by humans comes from, would never let anyone visit the farm animals. In a farm animal sanctuary, people can visit and even pet the farm animals but on a factory farm, farm animals are not allowed to have any interaction with people. On a farm animal sanctuary, people can visit again and again and the same farm animals are there waiting for them but on a factory farm, the animals are slaughtered and are never seen again.”

INTERVEGAN 1: “On  your website, you have a page called “Compassionate Cooking” (https://goodacres.us/blogs/recipes). Can you tell me more about that?”

INTERVEGAN 2: “If someone makes the choice to cook something like a beef stew or a plant-based stew, compassionate cooking of a plant-based stew can be more creative and fun. Visitors to the farm animal sanctuary have said I should write a compassionate cookbook and if I had the spare time, I think I would. I actually would love to do that. Compassionate cooking is only limited by one’s imagination. It’s actually more rather than less with compassionate cooking.”

INTERVEGAN 1: “Is being vegan a lifestyle?”
INTERVEGAN 2: “I think when people hear the word, ‘vegan,’ they do think about food. Being a vegan is primarily about the food, and eating vegan food does have the biggest impact in our lives. A vegan lifestyle includes practicing compassion and mercy to all animals, but the food is the centerpiece. If a lot of people changed to a “plant-based” lifestyle, they would make a ‘gynormous’ connection to practicing compassion and mercy to all animals.”

INTERVEGAN 1: “Looking over your website, I saw that you said GOOD ACRES SANCTUARIES was a farm animal sanctuary and interfaith ministry. I would love to hear more about that?”

INTERVEGAN 2: “It’s a future project to build a faith gathering of people who are looking for an alternative to a traditional church, where there is usually no compassion toward God’s nonhuman animals preached. There are church barbecues which makes no sense if we are asked in the Bible to show compassion toward God’s nonhuman animals (‘You, Lord, preserve both people and animals’ [Pslam 36:6]). The word, ‘Christian,’ in the churches I attended left a bad taste to me, because I saw hypocrisy everywhere I looked. I don’t want people to feel repelled like I was by the word, ‘Christian,’ because of the hypocrisy everywhere. ‘Interfaith’ for me means having faith in what you have faith in without any pressure applied to you to convert. I stick to the word, ‘Christian,’ now but if someone has a prayer that they want to pray that is part of their belief, I don’t want to tell them not to pray as part of their belief. All are welcome to pray in a spiritual orientation as they see fitting for their faith. ‘Interfaith’ leaves the door open that wouldn’t otherwise be open.

INTERVEGAN 1: “As I call myself a ‘Christian,’ as well, I am glad you said this because I, too, do not see love, compassion and mercy being extended to both humans and nonhuman animals in Christian churches. I wonder where is the disconnect with this?”

INTERVEGAN 2: “I think generally the human condition is to be extremely selfish and eating comfort foods becomes a primal need. Christians are what I call ‘good people,’ very nice and very pleasant, not thieves, but they also are not willing to make sacrifices and ‘go that far’ as far as giving up comfort ‘meat’ foods that taste good. It’s like they are not willing to do the ‘hard Work of Jesus,’ some ‘real Jesus Work,’ because that would mean giving up something that brings them comfort. They look for the ‘easy peasy’ way of being Christians. There is a saying I heard once before that said, ‘People are like water. They always go the path of least resistance.’ That makes total sense to me because we want to be considered ‘good’ but let’s not overdo it! Let’s not go the way of having to sacrifice something that makes us feel good, like meat that makes us feel good because it tastes good. If Jesus was here with us today and He had access to all food and could go into a supermarket or our own houses to eat, the decision of reaching for meat or reaching for something plant-based would undoubtedly be an easy reach for Jesus. Why would Jesus reach for meat that is taking the life of an animal when Jesus could reach for something plant-based that is not taking the life of an animal? Jesus would make an effort; He wouldn’t go ‘the path of least resistance.’

INTERVEGAN 1: “Christianity is about Spirit and not flesh, right? It’s about some discomfort and not always comfort, right?”

INTERVEGAN 2: “Yes. Veganism is about Spirit because it means no suffering of BOTH humans AND nonhuman animals, while eating meat is about flesh which means one’s (human’s) comfort but another’s (nonhuman animal’s) discomfort.

INTERVEGAN 1: “I remember someone telling me that it says in the Bible that Jesus ate fish and lamb, though I consider this implied in the Bible and might or might not have been the truth. We weren’t there to know that truth. I told this someone, though, that if we say that Jesus ate fish and lamb, then we have to play the tape all the way through to say that there is no mention in the Bible that Jesus ate cows, chickens, or pigs.”

INTERVEGAN 2: “When it says in the Bible that Jesus multiplied foods like the fish and bread, it stands to reason that there would be mention of both of these after the fact. However, in all of these kinds of stories, only the bread is ever mentioned being collected after the fact. I don’t know if this means anything substantial, but it’s an interesting ‘vegan food for thought,’ don’t you think? When Jesus talks about the bread as His Flesh and the wine as His Blood, Jesus does NOT take an animal to make the animal’s flesh His Flesh or the animal’s blood His Blood. It was bread that was Jesus’ Flesh and the wine that was Jesus’ Blood. There is a very good book called THE LOST RELIGION OF JESUS by Keith Akers, and this researcher mentions that 400 years after Jesus’ Death, people were lost and confused as to what to do with Jesus’ Teachings. One of the largest groups took Jesus’ Teachings to mean no violence to any of God’s Creatures. Then, the book talks about how churches got into a power struggle and structure wherein no violence to any of God’s Creatures was suppressed. Violence won out over no violence to any of God’s Creatures, and I wonder if this was, as mentioned, just an ‘easy peasy’ decision that took no ‘real, hard Jesus Work?'”

INTERVEGAN 1: “I need to order that book. I think it’s in my Amazon account for ‘save for later.’ Might be better to buy now instead of ‘save for later.’😉I know we can talk about this subject of Christians being vegan or nonvegan all day long, but I want to get back to GOOD ACRES SANCTUARIES. Can anyone visit the sanctuary?”

INTERVEGAN 2: “Yes. With COVID, now it is by appointment for farm tours.”

INTERVEGAN 1: “I noticed while I was sitting in one of the barns during my visit that there was a sign that said, ‘LIFE IS GOOD AT THE SANCTUARY.’ What makes “life good at the sanctuary.”

INTERVEGAN 2: “It means that from the animals’ point-of-view, they would say, ‘life is good at the sanctuary.’ At this sanctuary, animals are valued and cared for as an individual, not as a number in a production line. Of course, everybody has bad days and animals can get sick at the sanctuary and might not say in these moments, ‘life is good at the sanctuary.’ That said, there is always a genuine care for the animals here and there is much room to roam for the animals here. We don’t sell the animals or give them away. We get a lot of calls from those looking for animals to give to our sanctuary, but we don’t always take these animals, because taking these animals would mean more money to take care of them that we don’t really have as a nonprofit organization.”

INTERVEGAN 1: “For those who are unable to go to GOOD ACRES SANCTUARIES like I was so blessed to visit, what could they do to support GOOD ACRES SANCTUARIES?”

INTERVEGAN 2: “We always like for people to become patrons of the sanctuary which is a monthly donation to support and provide care for one animal at our sanctuary (https://goodacres.us/collections/animal-sponsorships). Of course, becoming a patron for more than one animal or really any monetary donations, whether one-time or monthly recurring, are most helpful. People can also follow us at our website (https://goodacres.us/) and our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/GoodAcresSanctuaries) and share with others what we are doing here at the sanctuary. There is so much work to do at the sanctuary and I fall behind easily, but I always keep it going for the animals. The sanctuary has completely taken over my life, no time to go on vacation or actually have a life outside of what I do here, but I’m okay with that because this IS my purpose. I have gone through phases where I was physically and emotionally exhausted and low moments but, fortunately, they are very rare and I can pray during these phases where I feel I am spiraling downward.”

INTERVEGAN 1: “This makes me think of something I have heard of before called ‘compassion fatigue,’ which I would imagine happens a lot for people such as yourself and other animal welfare advocates like myself when we are just overwhelmed from all the compassion we have for all the many animals who are abused and neglected like the ones who have made it to GOOD ACRES SANCTUARIES?”

INTERVEGAN 2: “It’s like a form of depression you can go into, but I think what is really important in the face of all of this is self-care. If we can’t take care of ourselves, how will we be able to take care of the animals who need us so desperately? There is such horror all around us with so many animals abused and neglected, but we have to keep our minds free from the bombardment of horrible news of animal abuse and neglect. We cannot attend to every animal abuse and neglect. We can become useless if we are just in tears over what is happening and our motivation to help animals can be totally sapped.”

INTERVEGAN 1: “I think that is the MOST excellent advice to give for those who care so much about the abuse and neglect of animals. I know I have encountered exactly what you have just said.”

INTERVEGAN 2: “The tradeoff is not there. Self-care first and then we can help animals second.

INTERVEGAN 1: “I do smell our vegan pot pies we are cooking so, on that note, we are going to go eat. Is that okay? But I do have one more question that I would love to ask you, just one, and that question is: ‘If you could leave just one thought or one piece of advice or instruction about the work you do at GOOD ACRES SANCTUARIES, what would that be?’

INTERVEGAN 2: “I would say every single compassionate act matters, so even if you think there are billions of people on the planet who eat meat at multiple times of the day and what would it matter if you do a compassionate act of not eating animals, it DOES matter! It is hard to see one drop in the ocean, but it’s STILL there! Just the fact that you are actually doing something and not following what the crowd is doing. ‘Oh,’ you might say. ‘My one compassionate act for animals won’t make a difference!’ It makes a difference on MANY levels and has a spiritual impact on one’s mind and well-being.”

INTERVEGAN 1: “I hope you know that when you said, ‘not following what the crowd is doing,’ this suits the Enneagram 4 that I am very, VERY well.”

INTERVEGAN 2: “Yes. One not following what the crowd is doing is that one sheep who can make a HUGE difference to the well-being of ALL sheep, humans AND nonhuman animals!”

INTERVEGAN 1: “Thank you, Diana! Let’s go eat!!!!”

INTERVEGAN 1 AND 2: “LOL!!!!”

END OF INTERVIEW

OR….

EXIT” OF MAN DOMINATING ANIMALS, “INTER” OF INTERFAITH INTERVEGANS?

💙🐾💚🐄💛🐥💜🐖🧡

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3 thoughts on ““INTERVIEW WITH INTERFAITH INTERVEGANS 1 AND 2”

  1. A very good and interesting interview, Timothy. May God bless you and Diana lots for the compassion and help you give to the defenseless animals.

    Like

  2. Thank you, Halim. Diana is THE BOMB! She gives totally of herself to take care of these beloved and rescued farm animals who God has given a second chance…and a third and a fourth and so on. God gives ALL of us a second chance….and a third and a fourth and so on. 🙏💕

    Like

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