I love animals (except cats). I also love eating them (animals, not cats). This book isn’t a self-righteous rant. It’s a provocative, funny, spiritual manifesto about how precious life is. It’s easy to forget that God’s original plan was to hang out with a couple of naked vegetarians in a garden. Our McDonalds-and-Chipotle-loving fast-food world has come a long way from the ole Garden of Eden. Sarah’s book is an invitation to step back and consider how God really intended for us to relate to all these wonderful creatures.
— Shane Claiborne, Activist, animal-lover, backsliding vegetarian, and author of Executing Grace
A significant introduction to the important but too-long neglected topic of a solidly Christian approach to the (mis)treatment of animals. One need not agree with every argument to realize this book presents an urgent challenge that biblical Christians dare no longer ignore. King’s chilling stories, extensive statistics, and probing biblical arguments offer a great place to begin.
— Ronald J. Sider, Senior Distinguished Professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry, and Public Policy, Palmer Seminary at Eastern University
Wait. An evangelical concerned with animal welfare? Finally! King is engaging as she provides the foundation for what most of us know to be true—namely, that much of the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the products we use are made possible by the unnecessary suffering of billions of animals around the world. What you’ll encounter here, however, is not some emotionally-charged, guilt-producing diatribe against all things carnivorous; nor does it call us to join a radical, activist, fringe movement. It simply calls us to reaffirm through our lives Christ’s compassion by extending it to nonhuman, but no less living beings that God created. King is much further down the road than most of us in making animal-friendly choices; but that is exactly why she is the right person to guide us in aligning our lifestyles to God’s coming shalom when harmony between God, humanity and the rest of the created order will be restored.
— Al Tizon, Affiliate Professor of Missional and Global Leadership, North Park Theological Seminary
Sarah Withrow King in this factual, Biblically sound and theologically profound book makes a strong case for the spiritual connectedness between animals and humans. She then challenges us to change our lifestyles so that we do not harm the animals around us in ways that break the heart of God.
— Tony Campolo, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Eastern University
This book signals the end of an era in which the Bible has been selectively and erroneously used to justify how the world thinks about animals. A very diverse group of theologians and biblical scholars have been challenging this received wisdom in recent years, but King expertly connects their ideas to a much broader audience. Anyone who takes the Bible seriously as God’s Word will find themselves deeply challenged—and perhaps even brought closer to God—by wrestling with this book.
— Charles Camosy, Associate Professor of Theology, Fordham University
Some Christians are content to see the question “How then shall we live?” as meaning roughly the same thing as “What does the Lord require?” But some Christians aspire to get beyond the requirements, to feed their imaginations on the deeper, more beautiful question, “In what does God take delight?” In Vegangelical, Withrow King feasts on this latter question, inviting Christians of all sorts to a lavish banquet of theological and practical wisdom for praying and living ceaselessly toward what Nicholas Wolterstorff has called justice-in-shalom: the total flourishing of God’s creation at every level—human, animal, and environmental. Weaving deep and original insights into special revelation together with timely commentary on what general revelation now tells us emphatically about key miscarriages in human stewardship, Vegangelical makes a compelling case that authentic Christian discipleship in the twenty-first-century holds out an inspiring vocation to care for God’s other creatures, not just in the abstract but in our daily eating and consumer habits as well.
— Matthew C. Halteman, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Calvin College; Fellow, Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics; Member, Faith Advisory Council, Humane Society of the United States
Sarah King’s book about how to love Jesus and love animals was overwhelming. Overwhelmingly fun – with her quick wit & accessible writing style. Overwhelmingly challenging – in that she suggests some ideas I honestly don’t know how to integrate into my own evangelical practice and spiritual life. And overwhelmingly good – she asks critical questions the 21st century evangelical church has yet to wrestle with and entertain. May Vegangelical be a guide for us who choose to follow Jesus and seek to honor and love His creation and the human-animal relationships that are a part of it.
— Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, author of Social Justice Handbook: Small Steps for a Better World; Just Spirituality: How Faith Practices Fuel Social Action; and co-author of Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith.
Vegangelical is nothing short of a revelation. King’s rich understanding of the biblical narrative requires that we consider the needs of our nonhuman covenant partners. She challenges us to confront the uncomfortable idea that how we relate to God’s furry (and not so furry) creatures may be more determined by our own self-interests than the politics of God’s peaceable kingdom. For this very reason, King has performed for all of us a discomforting and joyful service. It is discomforting, for it requires that we change how we live, and it is joyful, for that very same reason.
— Tripp York, PhD, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Virginia Wesleyan College, Author of The End of Captivity? A Primate Reflects on Zoos, Conservation, and Christian Ethics
Sarah Withrow King, in her book Vegangelical, invites us to consider our relationship as Christ-followers to animals. Her solid theological foundation urges us to recognize that animals are “the other,” our neighbors, creatures to love—not objects of alienation. While I became a vegetarian due to similar convictions, paired with my eyes being opened to the evils of factory farming, Sarah’s book also highlights several other abuses of animals that contradict evangelical values. I challenge churches across North America to start book clubs or small group studies with Vegangelical. If they do, although not all readers will become vegans/vegetarians, their eyes will be opened anew to God’s incomprehensible love for all creation—especially the most vulnerable creatures among us. Caring for animals truly does shape our faith as Christians, a people defined by countercultural mercy and grace. May Sarah’s book open many hearts to an ever-expanding vision of God’s kingdom!
— Kurt Willems, Anabaptist Pastor and Writer, Pangea | Communities of peace, justice & hope, Seattle
Through illuminating stories, occasional lighthearted humor, raw reality, and practical action steps, Sarah Withrow King brilliantly tackles one of the most serious issues facing Christians today—restoring our imbalanced relationship with God’s non-human creation. Get ready to go on a journey from which there is no turning back— one that inspires reflection, self-examination, and compassionate conversion.
— Akisha Townsend Eaton, OFS,Independent Consultant
In Vegangelical, Sarah Withrow King has begun a conversation that for the evangelical community is long overdue, even within the creation care movement itself. Not all of us will agree with the details of her approach to caring for God’s creatures, but we cannot help but be disturbed as she lays out the reality of how they are treated, and moved by her appeal for compassion and mercy towards them. This book may not change your diet or your lifestyle – but if it doesn’t, it should. Read it.
— Ed Brown, Executive Director, Care of Creation Inc.
In her eminently readable Vegangelical, Sarah Withrow King combines wry personal testimony, evangelical reflection upon scripture, and bracing accounts of contemporary treatment of animals. The result is an inviting yet prophetic challenge that should be faithfully considered not only by all Christian animal lovers, but by all who believe God is love.
— William Greenway, Associate Professor of Philosophical Theology, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary; author of For the Love of All Creatures: The Story of Grace in Genesis
I’m grateful for my friend Sarah Withrow King and this important book she has written. God cares for his creation and made us in his image so we could too. Although it’s often been a blind spot in our churches, how we treat God’s other (nonhuman) creatures is integral to our discipleship and witness today. It also has serious implications for the health of both people and the planet. These aren’t easy questions—and they may have more than one answer—but they’re important and biblical ones that need asking. And Sarah is an honest and thoughtful guide for all of us committed to living more faithfully in a world too full of violence and suffering.
— Rev. Ben Lowe , Activist and Author, Doing Good Without Giving Up and The Future of our Faith
Sarah Withrow King offers a thoughtful invitation to Christians to consider our relationship with animals in light of our faith. Vegangelical is an articulate, sincere introduction to Bible-based social and environmental justice, opening the conversation to how God forms us through our interactions with the created world. A must-read for protectors of all creatures, great and small.
— Nancy Sleeth, co-founder of Blessed Earth
Straight out of the gate, the candor and transparency of King’s voice is convicting to those of us who haven’t reconciled our own conscience regarding our past treatment of animals, while also serving as an incredibly effective evangelical tool for those who have yet to include animals within their circle of compassion. This honesty, backed up by sound theological exegesis, Scriptural support and profound personal experience, immediately draws you in like a friend to a trusted friend, a seeker to a loving pastor.
— Lauren Lisa Ng, Reverend Lauren Lisa Ng, M. Div. American Baptist Churches, USA
This book will open your eyes to truths that will make you a better human being. Your understanding of compassion, violence and life will be transformed.
— Rev. Carlos L. Malavé, Executive Director, Christian Churches Together
This is a courageous and passionate book that challenges its readers to take Christian faith seriously in its implications for how we treat animals. But it does more than that: King presents a biblical spirituality that is vivid, engaging, and committed to practical action. Few readers will put the book down unmoved or unchanged.
— David Clough, Professor , University of Chester