Tag Archive: majay


Growing up I was never the world’s greatest lover of animals. I liked dogs because they were fun and horses because well… Zorro, but most of the rest of the animal kingdom tended to inspire fear more than awe.

I remember as a kid going to the Cape Town museum and having nightmares of blue whales eating me. Later I developed a slightly irrational fear of birds and monkeys… So it was quite a surprise (to myself especially) when I turned vegetarian. What follows is mostly a journey of theology, but hopefully one that is relatable beyond theology.

My journey towards vegetarianism began when I got a bit disillusioned with Evangelical Christianity. I had grown up most of my life in an Evangelical community which emphasised salvation from the world as the greatest hope for a Christian. And this idea began to trouble me.

One of the biggest turning points for me in my faith and my thoughts on vegetarianism came about when I started reading a book by NT Wright called ‘Surprised by Hope’. I’m quite confident the word vegetarianism doesn’t even appear in the book, so I’m sure Wright would be surprised about my culinary conversion.

In the book Wright argues that many in the Church have misunderstood the hope of Christianity. Instead of God plucking us up and depositing us in Heaven (as I had been taught most of my life), the real message is that God is ushering in a New Creation. God isn’t going to throw this Creation away and build us a new home, but rather, this home which we have will be transformed (and is being transformed). And in this New Creation there will be no killing and no pain and no hatred.

At one point Wright argues that if we believe that in the future there will be peace, then why do we not think to live out that peace today. If in the future we believe the lion will lie down with the lamb, why do we not start living that future now? That, surely, is what bringing the Kingdom of God is all about.

This really got the cogs turning. NT Wright, as one of the foremost Pauline scholars, spent a good section of ‘Surprised by Hope’ talking about Paul’s view of the cosmic nature of Christ’s redemptive act. Now I can’t help but notice it in, for example, Colossians 1 and Ephesians 1 and plenty others. Plus, when you read John you can’t miss the cosmic scope of Christ’s redemption. Christ died to reconcile all things, and if that really means ‘all things’ then what about animals or the environment? Should that reconciliation not also be extended to them?

And what about when Jesus speaks about God looking after the birds of the fields. And how do we understand passages in the Bible that talk about animals worshipping God, for example, Psalm 148, Job 12, and Psalm 36? One of the final moments for me was thinking about the lines in the popular hymn “All Creatures of Our God and King, lift up your voice and with us sing ‘O Praise Him’”. How can animals join us singing about our God and King if we’ve eaten them? If Christ died to reconcile animals (as part of the ‘all things in heaven and on earth’) then surely my killing of them stops them from celebrating in that redemption.

Now I’m never a fan of throwing Bible verses around, because in the end it becomes a competition of who can find more verses to back up their point. Truthfully it’s quite easy to find plenty of Bible verses to back up any opinion.

In the end I chose to align myself with a vision of Christianity that leads to less violence and killing and leads to more creatures being able to share in the redemptive work of Christ. I believe in a coming Kingdom where the lion will lie down with the lamb, where the oppressor will lie down with the oppressed, where the hunter will lie down with the hunted and there will be peace on earth. And then, and only then, will we have a New Creation.

Perhaps if you’re not a Christian this might all seem like mumbo jumbo, I’ve also been influenced by many arguments that are not exclusively Christian.

One of the ideas that finally convinced me to become a vegetarian was thinking about evolution and my relation to other animals. If we share a common ancestry with animals that kinda makes them family. Perhaps instead of seeing myself as the master species with some right to kill and enslave animals for my personal pleasure, I could see myself as an older brother whose decisions have real impact on fellow creatures.

People like Peter Singer have great arguments from a utilitarian perspective pointing out that we should increase the overall good and decrease the overall pain. If we don’t need to be eating animals (especially such intelligent and social creatures like pigs and cows) why do we? Because we’re stronger? Because it’s nicer for us? Because they’re not as developed as we are? Well, that quickly starts to sound like arguments used to support slavery.

I’m not saying you have to be a vegetarian to be a morally good person. But rather, I want to ask the question – How does it fit in with your view of the world?

If you believe that Christ has reconciled all things in heaven and on earth, then what does that mean about how we treat other creatures on earth? If you believe that we share a common ancestry with animals, how does that influence our understanding of our ‘right’ to exploit them? Do we want to create a world where there is less exploitation and abuse of the defenceless?

If so, maybe it would be good to take some time to think about why you eat meat?

You can read more from Majay on a variety of topics from the serious to the ridiculousical on his blog by clicking here.

[To read Bryan Hash’ story about his journey towards vegetarianism, click here]


i took a moment at lunchtime yesterday to step out of my body and just really take in what was happening in front of my eyes:

a guy busy in mid phone conversation running in to bowl to a batsman trying to play shots with just his left hand on the bat [as he had broken his right hand recently in a sister-encouraged skateboarding incident gone horribly wrong] while South African Sevens rugby player Paul Delport [who my two friends referred to as Thinus Delport the whole time and i didn’t just cos i didn’t know any better altho that was the name i recognised] stood to the side waiting for a catch…

okay it was not quite the 438 SA win over Australia that took place mostly while i was cycling a really enthusiastic Argus Cycle tour on the 12th of March, 2006, which in all probability was the greatest one day cricket match ever, but it felt like it should have been up there with the real sense of surreal that pervaded what was taking place before my eyes…

a moment later my friend MJ [aka Muscle-John, Majay, Michael-John] was writhing on the ground with the agony that cannot be properly addressed or tended to as my other mate [one armed skateboarding Roy Conrad Langhein] had the ‘great idea’ of emulating 2.21m [7 foot three] Pakistan bowling giant Mohammad Irfan by hoisting MJ on to his shoulders to bowl a ball from the same height, not taking into account that the forward motion and energy of delivering the ball might affect the centre of gravity so much that Mj would go tumbling forwards off Roy [altho with bits of him not able to go forward as easily due to Roy’s head being in the way causing said infliction] and deciding to rather appreciate Irfan’s height and bowling ability from the stands.

Really not Thinus Delport this one

we ended up sitting two rows behind Paul and he was just such a friendly dude. he spent a lot of time chatting to us about the rugby sevens set up and the first win SA had had in a tournament for a bunch of years which they had just returned from and some of the training schedules and so on. for me this really captured the heart of what test cricket watching in SA has always been about – the vibe and the people and the fun and the chance to unwind and forget for a second about the seriousness and tragedy of all that is going on in the country and the reminder of why it is important to leave the game at the end of the day and take up the struggles of being a part of making a difference in all those difficult areas so that days of cricket can be enjoyed.

the day ended with these two young black kids about ten rows in front of us just picking up the vibe of the beat of the music that was playing and dancing with such life and energy and just seemingly for themselves – we all cheered when the camera guy finally saw them and trained his camera on them and we are hoping they made it onto highlights footage of the day, but they really just seemed to encapsulate the hope and life and energy that exists in south africans and especially the youth of this country and the hope that difference and chance and betterment is possible and achievable and, dare i say it, even likely?

what a day. what a game. what a vibe. more, South Africa, more.

%d bloggers like this: