The Peaceable Table is intended for the mutual support, education, and inspiration of
people of faith in the practice of compassionate love for our fellow animals and Peaceful dining
A Glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom: Sleeping in Safety
This mutually-adopted family--dog, fox, and two cats--clearly live in trust and peace together. (The black kitten is hard to make out, but I believe his chin is resting on the fox’s hind leg near the joint.)j Does anyone know more about the photo?
--Contributed by Karen Borch
Editor’s Corner Essay: Bridge Builders
By Robert Ellwood
The Latin word Pontifex was used for the high priests of ancient Rome. Sometimes anglicized as Pontiff, it has also been used as a title by the Popes. Literally, the Latin word means "bridge-builder," and it seems to me that this is a concept worth pondering, especially by those who wish to deliver messages between humans of radically different values, between humans and other species, and between the humans and the divine. Structures must be built, able to span raging torrents running in other directions, with girders or cables able to withstand flood or earthquake, or the wear and tear of ceaseless traffic.
What does it mean that a priest is a bridge-builder, and what are some of its implications? The word “priest” comes from the Greek presbyteros, meaning an "elder." To begin with, an elder--and it's more than just a matter of chronological age--is one who has seen and understood a lot. She or he therefore has wisdom, that is, the ability to see things as they really are at their core, in right relationship to each other. It means seeing humans in right relationship to animals, without playing mental games; humans right with each other; all beings in harmony with the divine source of their lives. Such a way of living depends on seeing yourself and your point of view just as part of whole picture, not with yourself, a human individual, as the center. This all is very basic to building good bridges that will stay in place when the rivers rise.
Over time, the word "priest" has come to have other meanings as well, particular "mediator." Religiously, a priest is one who offers prayers, gifts, and sacrifices on behalf of people to God or one of the Gods, and in turn performs rites which communicate divine power and benefits to people. Needless to say, such claims have generated tremendous controversy. One of the basic principles of the Protestant Reformation was "the priesthood of all believers," the idea, based on I Peter 2: 5-9, that all Christians constitute "a holy priesthood" able "to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." Quakers took that idea to its furthest implications, retaining no services or preaching which depend for their effect on ministerial, let alone priestly, designation. However, the Roman Catholic church too, especially since Vatican II, has emphasized that the whole church is the people of God, with the priesthood seen as one of several special roles within it, but not one which takes away from the ultimate equality of all God's people and the calling of the whole people to offer, give, and bless as they can.
All this then means that, whether we are Quakers, Roman Catholics, somewhere in between, or for that matter Buddhist or Vedantist or of no formal religion, we are called inwardly and spiritually to be “priests”-- elders, bridge-builders, and mediators, holders of wisdom, making connections, and transmitting divine blessing to all whom we meet, human or animal. Let us remember the words of Jesus: the “king” (that is, God) will say of all of us "What you have done to the least of these my brothers [and sisters], you have done to me." Let us remember the wonderful line from the Qu’ran, “Whichever way you turn, there is the face of God.” Let us see the face of God in all we meet, human or animal. Let us recall that whatever we do to that being, we do to God and to ourselves, for we are also but strands, interfaced with other strands, in the web of life.
But as we bless, let us also build bridges, for that will enable the blessings to continue crossing, not just exist for a time and cease. For that, structures are required. To get practical in relation to our animal concerns: they may be setting up organizations and committees, writing books, newspaper or online articles, giving talks, holding meetings or fund-raisers, working hand-on at shelters and sanctuaries. Whether we work as a bridge engineer or simple construction workers--and no construction labor is harder than bridge-building when it necessitates sinking piles deep in a muddy river bottom beneath the site--we must do it, plan, gather materials, set aside time, be prepared to face fierce currents or fiercer opinions. But that's what a priest, or “priest,” does. Some have been martyrs for their cause, some have kept on despite being attacked, or being in some ways personally unworthy (like Graham Greene's Mexican priest in his great novel, The Power and the Glory), for the priestly transmission of blessing depends not only on the virtue or holiness of the "priest," Catholic or Quaker or “None,” (though of course goodness helps), but on God working through us. None of us are perfect, and the blessing will still flow and the bridge still carry commerce so long as we so intend and make ourselves as open as we can.
Let us then build bridges, and keep them in repair. May many of us humans cross over them to the animals on the other side to bless and heal, and may the animals in their great numbers cross back over the bridge to nuzzle against us with love.
¾ cup whole wheat flour
⅛ teas. salt
2 teas. non-aluminum baking powder
1 teas. cinnamon (optional)
1 1/4 cup almond or soy milk
½ cup blueberries or raspberries, or handful of raisins
Put a non-stick, cast-iron frying pan on to heat at approximately medium-high; stoves differ. Gather equipment and ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients together; add the almond or soy milk and stir until combined. (Fruit may be stirred into batter or served as topping.) Put ½ teaspoon of olive oil into the pan and spread. Put a scoopful of batter into pan; fry until bubbles appear and edges look baked, then turn. I count to sixty (one-thousand one, one-thousand-two, etc.) for each side. The first pancake will go faster than sixty seconds per side. Make sure to center the pancake over the flame each time. Sometimes I lift one edge and peer under to see if it’s done.
Since Earth Balance contains palm oil, often from plantations built after leveling jungle and killing the animal residents, and I don’t care for any other butter substitute I’ve tried, I top with just syrup (2 tablespoons), or with apricot-apple sauce, which is pleasantly tangy and refreshing. My spouse likes “Zen Budda” buttery spread and sliced bananas on his.
Makes four 5-inch pancakes, about right for two people with light appetites.
Modified from a recipe by Jason Wyrick in an appendix to Neal D Barnard’s 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart.
--Gracia Fay Ellwood
Ginger Pear Crisp
4 pounds ripe Bosc pears (8 pears)
2 tsp grated orange zest
2 T freshly squeezed orange juice
1 T ginger juice
1 tsp vanilla
½ C maple syrup
¼ C whole wheat pastry or barley flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp of sea salt
1 ½ C whole wheat pastry or barley or rice flour
1 C rolled oats
1 C chopped pecans (optional)
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp vanilla
½ C maple syrup
½ C coconut oil (or oil of your choice)
Combine the flour, oatmeal, pecans, maple syrup, melted coconut oil and vanilla in a bowl, and whisk together until the mixture is in large crumbs. Use your hands if necessary. Peel, core, and cut the pears into lengthwise slices. Place in a large bowl and add the orange zest, orange and ginger juices, vanilla, maple syrup, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss together gently and pour into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle topping evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan, cover with foil, and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes until the top is golden and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm.
--Jillian Lauren Lisitano, from her website Nourishing Cuisine. Used with permission.
Baby Elephant Rescue
A lost and badly dehydrated baby elephant was seen several times recently wandering alone near a Zambian village. The residents sought help for her, and a team from International Fund for Animal Welfare arrived in mid-August, gave her needed fluids, and flew her to an elephant orphanage. At last word, the little one, who has been named Ntubya after the village, was still in a precarious condition. Let’s send her healing love. See Ntubya .
--Contributed by IFAW
“To God belong the east and the west; whichever way you turn, there is the face of God. God pervades all; God knows all. ”--Qu’ran, Sura 2 (Al-Baqra,) 115
“I remembered hearing stories of past life reviews . . . [but] mine was not a review, it was a reliving . . . of every thought . . . every word . . . and every deed I had ever done; plus the effect[s] of each thought, word, and deed on everyone . . . who had ever come within my sphere of influence . . . (including unknown passersby on the street); plus the effect[s] . . . on weather, plants, animals, soil, trees, water, and air.”
--P. M. H. “Phyllis” Atwater, of her 1977 Near-Death Experience described in Coming Back to Life.
Letter: Gerald Niles
Dear Peaceable Friends,
Thank you for sending the June-July 014 issue of the beautiful Peaceable Table. Page one is astoundingly colorful, almost like 3-D. I appreciate the diversity in your essay [about idolatry, “The Work of Human Minds”].
Intelligent souls of any degree of depth will seek spiritual contentment. Alienation is part of a process leading to peace and happiness. Who is God? Who are we? Souls seek such answers, and until satisfactory answers are found, the search continues. Sometimes the search is abandoned out of frustration, but that, too, is part of the path . . .
Review: From Teilhard to Omega
Ilia Delio, Editor, From Teilhard to Omega: Co-creating an Unfinished Universe. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2014. 263 pages. $30.00 softcover.
The great French Jesuit paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) created an intellectual stir when his major work, The Phenomenon of Man, was first published in English in 1959. The story of his being forbidden to publish by his religious order and the Vatican before his death on Easter Sunday 1955, its almost immediate French publication, and his sensational new view of the meaning of Christianity and the created universe generally, was the stuff of numerous newspaper and magazine articles.
Furthermore, although of course it was unknown at the time, these events and ideas preceded the Second Vatican Council by a very few years. The general aggiornamento or updating spirit in the church, the opening of doors and windows to let fresh air into the church, produced a new theological world in which Teilhard's work, while still controversial, could have a key role. The labor of opening old doors with this futuristic key has never ceased. The present book is among the latest installments in that unfoldment of Teilhard's meaning.
Although the task of relating Teilhard's vision to the animal concern so important to us largely remains to be done, I am convinced the French priest's tremendous portrait of a universe evolving and interrelated contains invaluable intellectual resources for our struggles. The present book, a collection of thirteen scholarly essays on the subject, together with very helpful introductory and bibliographical materials, offers little directly about the animal concern or the spiritual basis of vegetarianism. But it gives us a foundational picture of Teilhardism that will greatly help in the correlating job.
What is Teilhard's basic doctrine? A good place to start is with his realization that the universe is still being created. It is something continuously coming into being, of which we have so far perhaps seen only fragments of what it will be. Creation was not just something in the far past, with us now simply living in it. While most conventional theologians, if they are not six-day creation fundamentalists, acknowledge the Big Bang and evolution perfunctorily, for them it has little importance compared to the issues of sin, salvation, and God with which they are most concerned.
For Teilhard it was quite otherwise. Sin, salvation, and God, not to mention incarnation and eschatology (the last things), are absolutely inseparable from creative evolution, the way God works, in a cosmos emerging dramatically under God, more and more complex and glorious as time goes on. Creation by means of evolution is proceeding today as intensely as ever, and having gone through a crucial transition from cosmogenesis, the universe and world; up to biogenesis, creation of the biosphere, the realm of life; and now proceeds to anthropogenesis or hominization, together with the emergence of the noosphere, the realm of mind or thought, represented by human consciousness. According to The Phenomenon of Man, humanity "is nothing other than evolution becom[ing] conscious of itself."
To be sure, we humans are now only in the most infantile stages of that immense process compared its ultimate fulfillment in what the Jesuit called Point Omega. Of this further evolution Teilhard saw Christ as the facilitator and heart. But where we go from here toward Point Omega also depends on us as free beings, now that we are noosphere. Teilhard liked to say that living amidst, and acting as protagonists in, such theater ought to give us a powerful "zest for life." For we ourselves are not only subjects of evolution, but also its center and active agents. If we do not make ourselves and our world evolve, it may not happen.
Returning to our animal concerns, I do not hesitate to propose that closing the compassion and consciousness gap between the biosphere with its animals, and the human-based noosphere, must be an absolutely crucial part of making further spiritual evolution happen and move in the right direction. Teilhard said in The Phenomenon of Man that "Fuller being is closer union." As we become more and more fulfilled in our own thought and and being, as we become increasingly all of evolution knowing itself, surely we must grow closer and closer in mind and spirit, and in compassionate action, to other humans and to all other creatures who share with us parts in that fabulous drama.
I am reminded again of words of the spiritual teacher George Gurdjieff (1872? - 1949) roughly a contemporary of Teilhard) cited in a review of Kathryn Hulme's Look a Lion in the Eye in the August 2014 PT, as well as the editor’s essay “The Animals Are Waiting” in the issue of June 2010 . Seeing the poignant, patient look in the eyes of Africa's great beasts, Hulme recalled her mentor saying, "The animals are waiting for us to move up . . ."
While not all readers will find From Teilhard to Omega easy reading, those who are challenged and stimulated by Teilhard's tremendous vision of meaning, evolution, and God in the vast depths of space and time will find it rewarding, and the book will help them to understand better the place of our vital work for animals in our own and the universe's growth toward fullness, so that the animals will not wait in vain for us to move up so that they may follow.
Poetry: Christmas Humphreys,
1901 - 1983
Over the wide and windy shores
In splendour flying,
Cresting the billows of an airy sea
With silver winged sails a-lee
Or windward beating majesty
And ever the song that knows no pause
A pale autumnal crying.
At dusk, when on the sea-flung wall
The day is dying;
When dawn awakes, and soon the sun
The battle of the night has won,
When evening sheds her benison,
A pale autumnal crying.
When soft the windless waters flow
In slumber sighing;
Or when the sea in wild affray
Comes foaming with a vast array
In serried grandeur of display,
Ever the keening voice of woe,
A pale autumnal crying,
Though far the English heart may roam
. . .
Yet faint upon the alien ground
Wherever English hearts are found
That muted melody of sound
Will echo of the shores of home,
The seagulls’ crying, crying . . .
Besides being a poet, Christmas Humphreys was also a jurist, a Theosophist, and a scholar and adherent of Buddhism.
Issue copyright © 2014 by VegetarianFriends
The Peaceable Table is a project of Quaker Animal Kinship / 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.
We manage on the traditional shoestring budget, with most funds for Google advertisements and hard-copy mailing expense coming out of our own pockets, so we welcome donations (we’re tax-exempt). Please make checks out to Quaker Animal Kinship, and send to Robert Ellwood, Treasurer, 14 Krotona Hill, Ojai, CA 93023. Many thanks!
This journal is intended to be interactive; contributions, including illustrations, are invited for the next issue. Deadline for the October, 2014 issue will be September 26. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org or 14 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.
Editor: Gracia Fay Ellwood
Book and Film Reviewers: Benjamin Urrutia and Robert Ellwood
NewsNotes Reporters: Lorena Mucke, Marian Hussenbux
Recipe Editor: Angie Cordeiro
Technical Architect: Richard Scott Lancelot Ellwood