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New Book Supports WHS
After devoting countless hours studying animals for his new book, Dr. Michael Gilmour is now devoting his profits to animals as well, as part of a fundraising initiative with the Winnipeg Humane Society.
Gilmour, a New Testament professor at Providence University College, writes about animals and their place in Christian theology in his latest book, Eden’s Other Residents: The Bible and Animals. To coincide with the nature of the publication, Gilmour has teamed up with the WHS to donate $5 of every copy sold, with a goal of raising $500 for the shelter. Along with supporting a good cause in the WHS, Gilmour’s aim is to raise awareness about animal ethics as a matter deserving attention within the church.
“The church has a moral blind spot when it comes to animals, and though there are exceptions, Christians rarely spare nonhuman beings a thought in the context of the religious life,” says Gilmour. “The Bible actually has a lot to say about animals and their wellbeing. More than many, even most churchgoers realize, I suspect.”
The topic of animals and theology is a hot one for Gilmour as of late. Complementing his latest publication, he recently shared some of this work at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics as part of their summer school on religion and animal protection. His next project takes a familiar path for Gilmour - an examination of animals in the writings of C. S. Lewis.
Although the book is available through online retailers like Amazon, in order to participate in the fundraiser, copies need to be purchased through contacting Gilmour directly, and will be sold at a discounted $20, which covers the $15 purchase and shipping costs, and the $5 donation to WHS.
The Bible teems with nonhuman life, from its opening pages with God's creation of animals on the same day and out of the same earth as humans to its closing apocalyptic scenes of horses riding out of the sky. Animals are Adam's companions, Noah's shipmates, and Elijah's saviors. They are at the center of ancient Israel's religious life as sacrifices and yet, as Job discovers, beyond human dominion. It is an animal that saves Balaam from certain death by an angel's hand, and an animal that carries Jesus into Jerusalem. The Creator declares all of them good at the beginning, and since the Apostle Paul writes of God's eternal purposes for all things on earth, they are somehow part of a hoped-for eschatological restoration.
So why are animals so often ignored in Christian moral discourse? In its theological thinking and faith-motivated praxis, human-centeredness typically results in the complete erasure of the nonhuman. This book argues that this exclusion of animals is problematic for those who see the Bible as authoritative for the religious life. Instead, biblical literature bears witness to a more inclusive understanding of moral duty and faith-motivated largesse that extends also to Eden's other residents.
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