Guest Editorial: Reverence for Life, Vegetarianism, and World Peace
By Claire Rosenfield and Linda Segall
"Meat-eating is the small print; war is the blown-up picture."
In the seemingly small arena of animal exploitation, the seeds of war are growing. Why? Because each time we refuse to consider where our dinner has come from and at what cost to life and the environment, we are causing pain and devaluing life. As soon as something--profit, the taste buds, muscle power, a concept--is more important to us than life itself, we are supporting and perpetuating a mentality which can lead to war.
The mentality which can treat other sentient beings as if they were feelingless machines is the same as that which can conceive of dropping bombs on whole populations and sending its own sons to carry it out. What is to prevent those who close their eyes to the pain of helpless creatures from closing their eyes to the pain and loss of human lives? Once we become used to claiming no responsibility for such events, our minds become weak and spineless; and we allow someone else to do the slaughtering, someone else to die for us, someone else to push the nuclear war buttons.
But we need to claim responsibility, at least in part, for whatever we do, whether it brings good or painful results. In this way, we will remove the blinders from our eyes. We need to see clearly that the misery we are inflicting on others by default is already coming back to us like a boomerang, individually and collectively. Then we will not be afraid to acknowledge that indeed, the causes of war are in us, and that the greatest cause is this: ignorance of the preciousness of all life.
It takes courage to take a long look at our weaknesses, at our callousness, at our desire to avoid, shirk, and postpone responsibility. But the secret is that once we look at it, we are no longer in ignorance. The thorn in our consciousness is removed, and with it, the cause of our pain. This is what it means to experience the dignity of our own life. Then we cannot bear to cause [unnecessary] pain to anyone and we stop violating the laws of life. The seeds of war cannot grow in such a gentle and aware consciousness.
Vegetarianism helps to initiate this new perception, because it jolts us out of seeing other lives through the cold eyes of the intellect as objects [that may] be annihilated, dominated, or used. According to the Jain teaching, enemies do not exist. There are no opponents, no one lesser or higher. There are only fellow living beings. Each one of us is beloved to someone; none of us wants to be tortured or killed. If we can teach this to our children through our living example, the world will come closer to the peace it longs for.
Rather than waiting for others to change, we start with ourselves. When we diminish the violent vibrations accumulated in body and mind, we start releasing our own healthy and positive energy. This creates a magnetic field around us which attracts vibrations of health, peace, loving kindness, and balance to us.
To those who disagree with us, we listen with understanding and unconditional friendship, honoring the life in each individual. . . . But we remain free from creating wars in the name of some patriotic, economic, religious, or other "ism"; peace will come in time by our valuing life above and beyond all other priorities. With this conviction, we plant seeds of loving kindness and trust nature to take care of them.
The liberty and equanimity of our spirit will make ultimately the greatest contribution to both our personal peace and peace on earth. As more of us realize and revere the intrinsic sanctity of life, the collective power of our loving kindness can reach into all corners of the universe and heal it with its peaceful balm.
Reprinted from The Friendly Vegetarian, Issue 25, Fall 1988, originally from the pamphlet "Ahimsa," published by the Jain Meditation International Center. The painting is by Edward Hicks.
". . . Tasting good should not be a capital offense."--Maureen Koplow
"The plural of anecdote is data."--Marc Bekoff
“Nothing is more powerful than an individual acting out of his [her] conscience, thus helping to bring the collective conscience to life.”
--Norman Cousins, contributed by Lorena Mucke
The Good News from Ghent
Citing the massive environmental footprint of livestock, the Belgian city of Ghent has become the first in the world to have a once-weekly "veggie day" (Thursday), with public officials and politicians the first to observe the practice, and school children's lunches to follow. It is of course an advisory, not a law. A city councilor was quoted as saying that abstaining from meat is good for climate, health, and taste; he might also have mentioned that it reduces violence against animals. According to the United Nations 2006 report, livestock is responsible for nearly one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. To read the full article see news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8046970.stm
--Contributed by Lorena Mucke
The rowboat in the poster represents an eggplant (aubergine).
Maine Bans Confinement Crates
Maine Governor John Baldacci signed legislation to become effective on January 1, 2011 that will prohibit pig gestation crates and veal crates. Thus, Maine becomes the sixth U.S. state to ban the extreme confinement of certain farmed animals. The others are California, Colorado, Florida, Arizona and Oregon. To read the full article see
. . . I've really enjoyed your ongoing theme of blessings and curses, which began with a look at blessings for those who might be seen as opponents. The "friend" versus "enemy" theme is explored in great detail in the Bhagavad-Gita and other Vedic writings, and it is through this theme that I have come to some of my most trying, humbling, and ultimately uplifting experiences . . . . There is a Vedic line that states, "Some remember, and some do not remember, but everyone is a servant of the Lord." I love this truth because it reminds me of spiritual equality in a unique way . . . . Who does not feel compassion and thus want to bless someone who, e.g., has Alzheimer's disease? We do not hold animosity toward a person who honestly cannot remember something. In the Gita the Lord Krishna says "From me come remembrance and forgetfulness." So I try to bless those who, due to their forgetfulness, act in ways so abrasive and painful to me. This also fits in with your "democratization of blessing" theme.
. . . . And I greatly enjoyed the April Pilgrimage piece by Jennifer Chaky. She's obviously thought through many of the issues that course through the minds of thinking vegans. My thanks both to Jennifer and PT for sharing these insights. . . .
A Glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom
Probably many readers of PT have seen the film clip of the joyous reunion of Christian the lion in Kenya with his former caretakers in London, John Rendall and Anthony Bourke. Christian eventually became a lion's lion, huge, powerful, and dominant; like Aslan, he was "not a tame lion." Yet he never lost his great love for his human parents. This version of the clip begins with several earlier scenes from the trio's life together in London.
Film Review: Processed People
Processed People: The Documentary. Mostly Magic, Inc., 2009. 40 minutes, plus 2 hours 45 minutes of extended interviews and bonus material. DVD $24.95. Order from Processedpeople.com
This film is an excellent introduction to what underlies the contemporary American obesity and diabetes epidemics, with particular focus on the foods we eat: deep-fried foods, highly processed foods, and above all animal products. A number of well-known authorities on diet-related issues appear: Jay Gordon, Caldwell Esselstyn, Milton Mills, Jeff Novick, Joel Furhman, Jeffrey Masson, John Robbins, Pam Popper. John McDougall. Generally each appearance is brief and as a "talking head," but so articulate and compelling is the message as to hold the viewer's attention; more extended interviews are available on the CD in supplements.
The basic message is that, first, we are in crisis. In 1980 15% of Americans were obese; now it is 30%, and the explosion -- in every sense of the word -- of fat kids in schools is well known, at least to their teachers and physicians. Three problems are here interrelated: weight, debt, and consumption. Economic problems make people choose, for themselves and their children, less expensive food, which almost inevitably means the ubiquitous fast food outlets. That in turn means junk food dense in calories but weak in nutrients.
Instead, what they get is high in fat and salt, which leads the consumer to want to eat and drink more, for food that does not really meet nutritional needs induces toxic hunger: you need to eat more and more to get the feeling of satisfaction, but before you've gotten there you've added more and more pounds, which also magnifies hunger to sustain the energy required to haul around all that weight. It also cuts the inclination to exercise.
Yet many people don't think much about what they eat. They assume that food is food, while at the same time the food producers, with their constant happy-face advertising, have subliminally convinced millions that highly-processed, high-fat, high-salt, and highly-seasoned foods at the supermarket and under the golden arches are easy (for our busy two-job families), fun, tasty, cheap, and as filling as any other.
The medical profession, with a few noble exceptions, is unfortunately not much help. It tends to be oriented toward sickness rather than health, toward intervention rather than prevention. Financial incentives lie in dramatically healing the pathetic victims of food and other addictions, when their coronary heart disease, kidney disease, or even cancer have kicked in, and triple-bypass surgery plus multiple prescription medication are required. There is little money in promoting good diet in the first place. (We are speaking here not only of doctors, many of whom know better and are highly frustrated by the pressures of the system, but primarily of the hospitals and profit-driven groups in bed together--agribusiness corporations, medical insurance, pharmaceutical companies, laboratories, and government agencies.)
The word on the street, carefully spread through the media by those who know where their interest lies, is that sickness is inevitable -- whatever one's choices in diet -- but there is now a "magic pill" solution to everything, which will be covered by the right insurance plan. In effect, the Processed People speakers say, our society is selling disease, not health. The assumption is that sickness is the normal state, though it can be corrected by supernormal means, not that health is normal and sickness induced by some lifestyle abnormality.
However, the film says, we may be about at the tipping point in this ongoing crisis. Our children may be of the first generation after decades of health-improvement to have a shorter lifespan than their parents, and it will be more than anything the fruit of eating processed food and big macs instead of, well, fruit and vegetables. As all this fully comes into focus, more and more people are going to register the crisis, and realize that only they and their families individually can do something about it: no point waiting for government, the food industry, or medicine to act, though of course we can put political pressure on them. But already an increasing number both of individuals and of local-level units like schools concerned with poor lunches and lack of exercise programs, are responding. This documentary ought to be seen by all such people, and promoted among those who aren't yet aware.
It remains to add that the speakers in this film, themselves presumably all vegan or virtually so, strongly make the point that eating animals and animal products is at the core of the problem. Though all deep-fried, highly processed, and highly salted food is bad, the overwhelming number of harmful foods are connected to meat and dairy based eating. Eliminate that, and we will be reaching the heart of the enemy; the rest will be relatively easy.
Processed People is highly recommended for school, church, and other discussion groups. Spread it around.
The photos are of Pamela Popper, Ph.D., and Milton Mills, M.D.
Book Review: A Lion Called Christian
Anthony Bourke and John Rendall, A Lion Called Christian. Foreword by Born Free's George Adamson. Rev. ed. New York: Broadway Books, 2009. (1st ed, 1971). xxiii + 226 pp. $21.95 hardcover.
In 1969 the authors, then twentysomething Australians living in London, purchased a young zoo-born lion cub from Harrods, the famous department store, and with a certain wry humor named him Christian. (Exotic animals are, of course, no longer sold as pets by Harrods or any other legitimate business.) For several months, the three of them lived in a flat above an antique furniture store appropriately named Sophisticat where they worked, and which happened to be at the heart of Swinging London's hip "World's End" district. Christian, always friendly and welcoming, quickly became a local celebrity, attracting far more visitors to the store than he scared away. The authors found a nearby walled area belonging to a church where they and the little lion got permission for their boisterous running and playing.
It wasn't long, though, before he got big enough that the human pair had to ponder seriously what to do with him next. They abhorred the thought of betraying him to the meaningless life of confinement in a zoo. Then, by apparent chance Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers came into the Sophisticat to buy a table. The two (a married couple) had been stars of the 1966 film Born Free, about Joy and George Adamson. The Adamsons were celebrated for caring for, and then releasing into the wild, the famous lioness named Elsa in Kenya, where George was a game warden. With McKenna and Travers' help, the two London lion-keepers got in touch with George, who after considerable difficulty found an area where they could bring Christian to Kenya for release. Christian's return to the land of his ancestors, but from which he was removed by five generations, was a delicate process requiring careful management, at which George was a master. Anthony ("Ace") and John stayed several months, then had to return to London.
A year later, Christian's two foster parents returned to Kenya. They were greeted by their "child," now doubled in size, with an amazing enthusiasm which has warmed hearts the world over. The lion rushed up to them, embraced, nuzzled, and licked them, with a delight and fervor which could arise from nothing but true and deep love -- all caught on film. (He also brought his three mates and a cub, who were friendly to the pair if not quite so enthusiastic.) The story of Christian was the subject of the 1971 edition of A Lion Called Christian, and of two documentary films, Christian the Lion and A Lion from World's End, the former including the dramatic reunion at its very end. The book and films aroused some interest during the 'seventies, but that inevitably died down.
Then, in a remarkable sequel, in 2008 someone -- it is not known who -- posted the film clip of the moving reunion scene on YouTube. It became a worldwide sensation, attaining over 44 million hits and prompting the present updated and somewhat revised edition of A Lion Called Christian. We can indeed be grateful for the poster's anonymous gift to the world, for it enabled millions more to know of the love possible between animal, even a huge predatory animal, and humans who in turn loved and respected him. (With George's help Christian became lord of his own pride; he eventually attained an estimated 500 pounds, and was probably then the largest lion in Kenya.)
It should not be thought this is a merely sentimental animal story, however deeply moving. Life in the wild can be unfair, harsh, violent, both for beasts and humans. Joy and George Adamson, for all their wonderful work on behalf of wildlife, were both (separately) murdered in Kenya in the 1980s. A few of the book's scenes may make readers wince. But the telling is honestly and beautifully wrought; in a sense the cruel side of nature casts the intense love of the trio in bold relief indeed.
In their introduction to the 2009 edition, the authors ask why this story has struck such an emotional chord with so many millions. Their queries are worth reiterating here.
Is it the unconditional love Christian demonstrated? Is it about growing up and separation? Is it about loss and loneliness and the joy of reconnection? Are people projecting their own feelings and needs in relation to their own animals and the solace and companionship they provide? With the domination of technology and computer games replacing outdoor activities, are we all now too alienated from the natural world? Is it nostalgia for a time when childhood was more carefree and safer, with more freedom and time for youthful adventure?
These suggestions are certainly all worth pondering. Quakers and other persons of faith may wish to add still another query: Could it be that it resonates with so many because it provides a glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom described by the prophet Isaiah, and so unforgettably portrayed by the Quaker artists Edward Hicks and Fritz Eichenberg, where the wolf will lie down with the lamb, the lion will eat hay like the ox, all God's creatures will be at peace, and a little child will lead them?
It's true that Christian's world was not yet the Peaceable Kingdom, nor did he dine at the peaceable table. His life in the wild was initiated by the sometimes dangerous squabbling with other male lions necessary to establish one's place in the leonine hierarchy, and he lived off violently slaughtered prey animals. Yet that rapturous reunion with Anthony ("Ace") and John, with its deep inter-species devotion, hints at something else, some other level of love, which may now be fleeting and far off, as though seen through a time-telescope--"Joy beyond the walls of the world"--but for which we even now may pray "Thy kingdom come. . . on earth as in heaven."
Tomato Sauce with Cayenne Pepper
Makes about 2 ½ - 3 cups sauce
3 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped
½ tsp. dried tarragon leaves, crushed
1 T. minced Italian flat leaf parsley
⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat; add tomatoes, garlic, tarragon, parsley, and cayenne pepper; cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes. Add sea salt 5 minutes before end of cooking time. Adjust seasonings and serve as desired over vegetables or pasta.
Tarragon and cayenne give this tomato sauce a subtle surprise and an extraordinary flavor. It is delicious served on pasta, zucchini, or eggplant. It is at its best when made in the summer when tomatoes are juicy and plentiful.
Makes about 2 ½ cups
1 cup rice milk
¼ cup raw cashews
¼ cup whole blanched almonds
1 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 T. cornstarch
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
¾ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. evaporated cane juice
⅛ tsp. or less powdered turmeric (this is just for a light yellow hue)
Place cashews, almonds and rice milk in blender, blend until smooth and not grainy.
Add the rest of the ingredients, blend well again.
Pour into a small saucepan, stir constantly over medium-high heat until bubbly, reduce heat and cook one minute.
Scrape mixture into glass container. Allow to cool. Remove “cheese” and wrap in cheesecloth; return to the refrigerator for several hours. The cheesecloth absorbs the extra liquid and forms a firmer “cheese” product.
This vegan version of the French cheese is delicious served with crackers. It also works quite well in cooking and baking.
My Pilgrimage: D. Rebecca Dinovo
Convert to Animal Welfare
A Child Awake
In many ways, my conversion to animal welfare was simply a "return" to my natural, early childhood inclinations. As a child I had an innate sense of love and compassion for animals. I recall at age six or seven announcing to my dad, “When I grow up I am going to be a vegetarian!” I also remember asking questions of adults like, “Why do we eat cows?” after learning that hamburgers are made of cows. What always struck me as a child was how loving, beautiful, and innocent all God’s creatures were. I had no desire to see any animal harmed. Once on a boating trip my uncle caught a fish and let him lie on the deck of the boat until he “suffocated” outside the water. I cried and held my breath trying to “be” with the fish in his misery. As he died, I felt we had done a terrible thing, but no one else thought so.
Later in elementary school I was leafing through an issue of National Geographic one afternoon and saw photographs portraying the slaughter of rhinoceros by hunters in a remote part of Africa. The article warned that extinction might occur if such "sport" continued. I shared the story with my best friend and we promptly made signs and brought them to school which read, “Save the Rhinos!” We carried our signs with us on our walks to and from school and spent a week telling everyone we knew about the plight of the rhinos in Africa. Unfortunately, we had little knowledge of what we might do to make a difference and felt helpless in the face of this violence.
And like most people, I have always loved my pets. I grew up with dogs, hamsters, rabbits, and cats whom I cared for deeply. They were a constant comfort to me and I always felt we shared a bond of genuine love. I hated to see them suffer and I prayed for them constantly.
Reawakening in Thailand
But with time, the issue of animals and their welfare faded from my mind completely. A significant event occurred at the age of nineteen, however, while I was staying with a native family in a tiny village in northern Thailand. The family had a few farm animals including a small black pig they kept in a pen. The pig was friendly and curious and I began to play with him, pet him, and took some photos of him with my camera. I felt I had made an instant friend. That night however, as we sat down in the little hut to eat dinner, I looked at the meal and saw pieces of meat with some familiar black hair in it; I panicked and looked out the window toward the pig’s pen only to see that it was empty. My heart pounded. I could not bring myself to eat it and I nearly gagged. The realization of eating meat, something I had done without thinking for so many years, had finally sunk in. I vowed never to eat pork again.
In college I became a vegan and while I still did not know much about animal rights, it was clear to me that eating a vegan diet was the only way to ensure good health; besides, I had never liked the idea of eating animals. I remained a vegan for many years and I spent a decade in this state, never investigating the issue any more deeply.
Daughter of Francis
While in seminary I discovered Franciscanism and joined a Franciscan Third Order in the Church. As I read about St. Francis of Assisi I was struck by his love and passion for animals. Eventually my vegetarianism became a natural part of my spiritual discipline as a Franciscan, but again, it did not go much deeper than that because I had never been exposed in any serious way to animal rights issues. I felt that my love for animals was primarily sentimental and that such a “feeling” was not something to take too seriously. In fact, I felt almost ashamed of my “quirkiness” and my soft spot for animals.
My mind was changed forever and dramatically, however, when my beloved cat Franc was trapped and killed just yards from our home by nuisance wildlife control trappers. As I tried, in my state of deep grief, to understand how something like this could happen without recourse in our society, I was confronted with the cold, devastating facts about the laws and treatment of animals in our country. The lack of protection and rights for animals is simply staggering. I began looking into animal rights groups and as I read through their educational materials, the true horror, along with a sense of incredible responsibility, began to come over me. I felt as though I had been ignorant of the reality of the violence perpetrated against animals for so many years that I had simply developed a “blind spot" for it. I watched the video Meet Your Meat for the first time and cried for two hours after watching it. Suddenly I was ready to take up what I had seen as the “secular cause” of animal rights
Reconnecting to My Roots
It was not long until I discovered that animal welfare is not merely a secular issue, but one that my own faith tradition and denomination uphold. Christianity has deep theological roots and traditions of supporting animal welfare. To say that my discovery created a worldview shift for me would be an understatement. Suddenly things became clear and I realized that, without a doubt, an aspect of my vocation as a priest in the Church was to mediate God’s mercy and peace to all creatures, particularly the “least of these,” the animals. Recently I have become outspoken on the issue and am actively working for animal welfare; I believe it is an essential part of my ministry and an important part of all Christians' God-given responsibility to care for the earth. “Thy kingdom come” is a prayer for the Peaceable Kingdom of God to prevail, a kingdom where there is no more violence and killing . . . and certainly no unnecessary suffering of any of God’s creatures.
Thy Kingdom come!
The Reverend Rebecca Dinovo is the pastor of St. Alban's Episcopal Church, El Cajon, California. Her story, from her website All Creation Liberation all-creation.franciscan-anglican.com, is used with permission.
The woodcut of Francis and friends is by Fritz Eichenberg; the second photo depicts a Blessing of the Animals service at St. Alban's.
Pioneer: Steve Willey
Here I Stand
Innocence and Experience
When I was two or three my parents took me down the block to a dinner meeting at a neighbor’s home. As the only child there, I was shown to a room and introduced to an astonishing companion for the evening who proved to be a joyous, enthusiastic, loving playmate. I had never had such fun and this fellow looked so different! On the walk home I couldn’t wait to ask about who or what I had just experienced. My mother explained that the companion was called a puppy dog.
By age eleven I had learned the source of the “meat” we ate at each meal. I was seriously troubled; I just could not see how to justify eating someone else’s body. Didn’t the animals have far better use for their own body than we do? What about their interests in living their lives? The violence of the slaughter? My parents assured me it was all right: people had been eating meat for thousands of years, this is how the world is, and we needed it to survive. The animals were raised for this purpose and wouldn’t exist at all if they weren’t farmed. My mother had studied nutrition in college in the 1930s and was intent on following the orthodoxies. Still concerned, I believed her but took care that the meat on my plate was the very last item I ate: just in case God or people from outer space were watching, I had to demonstrate I was not a willing participant.
The Turning Point
At age twelve, about 1956, I heard a vegetarian interviewed on a radio talk show. She explained her own ethical vegetarianism, talked about slaughterhouses, answered call-in questions. I wrote to this woman and received in return further information and encouragement. This was really big: the first person ever to share my ethical view and concern. I was empowered. It was, after all, possible to live without eating animals! That day I quit; I became a “vegetarian.”
My parents were horrified. I was adamant. I would eat no more meat. They shouldn’t eat it either! How could mankind continue this slaughter when it was proven unnecessary? My parents had no intention of following my lead, but did accommodate me for a time, offering a full meal without animal flesh, eager for me to tire of the new regime. When they realized that wasn't taking place, they decided to help me “get over it,” and served me meat again. When I refused, they took me to the floor and attempted to force feed me. My resolution held -- that bite could not be pushed past my clenched teeth.
So my mother began cooking high protein meatless meals just for me. Grilled sharp-cheese sandwiches over an inch thick, lots of baked beans. (I didn't know about the pork in most baked beans or the rennet in cheese). Warnings of social failure followed: I would not be able to eat at restaurants; as a guest in other homes, I would never be invited back if I didn’t eat what was served. My family took me to specialist doctors in New York City for “tests.” I had no idea what that was about until one kindly older MD took me aside and said “Your blood tests are excellent, so you just keep eating whatever you are eating and you will be fine.”
Pondering and Taking Action
I remember lying awake nights during seventh and eighth grades, wondering if I could somehow be wrong about respecting the lives and interests of animals. If I was right, then how could almost everyone else be so wrong, so blind to the outrage of killing a conscious being who wants to live as much as we do? How could people who are upset at accidentally stepping on a child’s foot, feel no remorse having an animal killed for dinner? I prayed for a change, I prayed for mercy for all animals.
But I didn't just wait for my prayers to be answered. I became an activist with my own hectograph, a simple early manual duplicator, producing papers advocating ethical vegetarianism, and handed them out in stores and street corners. (Ironically, later I learned that the hectograph process was based on animal gelatin.)
High school was a boarding school where all meals were served with no special dietary accommodation, and I was ridiculed as the only vegetarian. It was painful. One evening the assembly show was Mr. America performing weight lifting and juggling. Someone called out to ask if he was vegetarian, and the audience laughed and jeeringly called my name. But Mr. America stopped his performance and answered. He said he was not, but that many of his friends in the body-building business were vegetarian, and that he considered it a healthy way of life. I felt supported.
In college I had no social problems and more adequate choice of food, though not like the separate vegetarian lines and salad bars in many college dining halls today. When I married, my wife Elizabeth became a vegetarian almost immediately. Years later, my mother, still hopeful, asked Elizabeth if I was eating meat yet. The answer, of course, was no. In fact, by then several other families we knew for years had also become vegetarian, possibly influenced by us, although we never asked.
My Parents' Wake-Up
My father had colon cancer when he was my present age. It was operated on, but then recurred and expanded. He was given three months to live: no more treatments, no more hope. So he elected to try a Laetrile clinic in Mexico. Besides prescribing the Laetrile injections, the clinic also changed his diet and attitude. No red meat, no processed foods or chemical preservatives, and he must drink a glass of fresh carrot juice daily. My mother was meticulous in providing the fresh food diet and checking all food labels. While controlled studies have still not validated Laetrile, my father lived another seventeen years, cancer-free. During those last years my parents finally accepted my vegetarianism as a healthy choice.
Around age forty I gave up cow milk on cereal for soy milk, later switching to almond milk which keeps longer. Now I think about giving up cheese, but the substitutes I have tried taste rather plastic. It is harder to quit grilled cheese sandwiches and baked cheese enchiladas at age sixty-five than it was to quit meat at age twelve. Does this have to do with my six decades of the cheese habit? And is it more difficult for older folks to become vegetarian than for youth?
I am very thankful I held true to my conscience. Had I given in to the pressure, what guilt would I carry today, and how weak would be my self image.
Poetry: Seek for the Light
There's a deep ocean of darkness
But the Light flows over all . . .
Seek for the Light in every being,
Seek the Light within--
There's a deep ocean of darkness
But the Light quenches the darkness
For the Light flows over all,
Oceanic over all.
Let us mind what is eternal,
That which gathers us to God . . .
Then we can see that we are written
In each other's heart--
Let us mind what is eternal,
Yield ourselves to the eternal,
That which gathers us to God,
Hearts together in to God.
Beat the swords all into plowshares
Until Friendship fill the world . . .
Live in the peace that passes knowledge,
That precludes all wars--
Beat the swords all into plowshares,
Seed after the plowshares
Until Friendship green the world,
Green and bloom through all the world.
To be sung to the tune "Compassion" by William H. Doane, repeating the first two lines of each stanza.
The Peaceable Table is
a project of the Animal Kinship Committee of Orange Grove Friends Meeting, Pasadena, California. It is intended to resume the witness of that excellent vehicle of the Friends
Vegetarian Society of North America, The Friendly
Vegetarian, which appeared quarterly between 1982 and
1995. Following its example, and sometimes borrowing from its
treasures, we publish articles for toe-in-the-water
vegetarians as well as long-term ones.
The journal is intended to be
interactive; contributions, including illustrations, are
invited for the next issue. Deadline for the July issue
will be June 28, 2009. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
or 10 Krotona Hill, Ojai, CA 93023. We operate primarily
online in order to conserve trees and labor, but hard copy
is available for interested persons who are not online.
The latter are asked, if their funds permit, to donate $12 (USD) per year. Other
donations to offset the cost of the domain name and server are welcome.
Editor: Gracia Fay Ellwood
Book and Film Reviewers: Benjamin Urrutia & Robert Ellwood
Recipe Editor: Angela Suarez
NewsNotes Editors: Lorena Mucke and Marian Hussenbux
Technical Architect: Richard Scott Lancelot Ellwood