Let All Creatures

If you’ve taken a look around here on our site, you’ve no doubt noticed that one of the things we’re all about here at The FSF is advocating for animals. All animals. Any animals. 

We are connected to all life on this planet. It’s simply not tenable to imagine that our species is at the top of some imagined hierarchy and all other animals are here for our pleasure, our amusement or–worst of all–so we can eat or otherwise exploit them.

To have St. Francis as an icon, a model and a patron for our Fellowship is a good thing. His love for animals and for all God’s creation is very well known.

But adoring the Creation certainly did not begin with this holy and humble man.

Roughly 2,000 years before Francis came along, the Psalmist painted a vivid and engaging picture of how all manner of creatures “speak” their gratitude heavenward and join a chorus of voices which include people of faith:

Praise the Lord from the Earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps

Fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word!

Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars

Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds!

from Psalm 148

So when we’re feeling a bond with some other-than-human friends who are a part of the created order, it’s nothing new. We are merely engaging in a very human and very constructive behavior–expressing a fervent hope that all of God’s creatures praise him!

And as we do this, may we also root out the pernicious idea that our thoughts, our actions and our voices belong in this chorus but that others’ voices do not.

Brother Ben

Can you eat compassionately?

Yes, you most certainly can! The food choices we make are very important, and in ways you may not have thought about.

The ways we choose to eat have big effects on our economy, the environment, our healthcare system and certainly on animals.

The effects that I’ve focused on the most lately are how my eating choices affect my own health.

I’ve told many friends over the years about how I went vegetarian for three years in the early ’90s. About how the health effects were startling. About how I lost 90 lbs. About how it made me more serene, more at peace.

Well, back in ’95, I went back to eating meat, junk food and lots and lots of pasta. Plenty of sugar, as well.

And, as you might imagine, the results were not good.

So the direct effects to our health and well-being are a big deal. I don’t want to make this post all about me but let me just say that the issue of our food choices is a big deal for me again now because back on Earth Day, I eliminated meat and sugar from my diet.

The results–just as back in 1992–have been startlingly good. For me, the strategy is just to go back to what worked. It worked very well for me a quarter-century ago, and it’s working again.

How our food choices effect all those other things I mentioned earlier in this post are extremely important, of course.

Here is a link to a brief and excellent article that covers ten of the most important reasons why eliminating meat from your diet is a good way to go.

Because acting compassionately is at the very heart of our mission here at the FSF, the ways in which our food choices affect animals is a very big deal. Here’s an article that focuses mostly on that aspect of this issue.

Yes, we most certainly can eat compassionately!

And for many of us, choosing to love and protect animals rather than eating them could be a very good place to start.

Brother Ben

© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.

What We Believe

The Fellowship of St Francis lists the following Six Principles and commends them to all People of Good Will:

The First Principle: On Compassion for All Compassion is the highest, purest and best motivation for People of Good Will in dealing with one another. Calling people of faith back to the practice of compassion is the first great urgency of the times in which we live.

The Second Principle: On Compassion for the Earth Compassion for the Earth and all who live on it–not only the human species–is the second great urgency of the times in which we live. St Francis is our unique example and modeled this compassion in his day and we aspire to do the same. Therefore, we commit to caring for our Earth compassionately and we use compassion toward all animals–whether wild or domesticated–at all times.

The Third Principle: On Prayer Prayer is the Universal attempt on the part of mankind to appeal to the Divine One(s) for comfort and help. Prayer–which may be seen as focused intention–is to be commended but not to be used as a thoughtless incantation or treated superstitiously.

The Fourth Principle: On Sacred Literature We commend Sacred Literature to all people of faith and people of good will and do not claim that the Christian Scriptures are authentic and binding but that Sacred Writing from all other religious traditions are invalid, counterfeit or sinister.***We especially reject the teachings from any religious tradition that say there are people destined for heaven and happiness but that other humans are accursed, condemned or damned and that eternal punishment in Hell is appropriate and the will of the Divine One. ***As to a general principle in interpreting or making sense of Sacred Literature, we commend the use of literary criticism and historical and scientific tools and reject superstition in the interpreting of Sacred Literature.

The Fifth Principle: On Respect for All All persons bear in them the imprint or image of the Divine One and are therefore worthy of love and respect. We clearly disavow and condemn any teaching of any religious tradition that says some people enjoy God’s favor and that others are to be shunned, persecuted or denied respect or any of society’s considerations or protections.

The Sixth Principle: On the Make-up of a Church or Fellowship The benefits of a Church, Congregation or Fellowship are not reserved only for people with religious beliefs and practices which might be considered to be orthodox in our time and cultural setting but are the right of any association, congregation or fellowship of like-minded individuals for the purpose of fostering greater faith, love, compassion and any loving, positive spiritual practice.***We especially disavow any teaching or understanding that individuals who participate together in a Fellowship or Congregation must believe, embrace or adhere to any particular doctrine or dogma to be accepted or loved or to be acceptable in the sight of God.

© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Fellowship of St Francis is a new and completely independent work and is not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church or any other church or ministry.

Co-existing with Wildlife

If you’re wondering how to co-exist with wildlife in a humane way, getting some tips from professionals would most certainly be a good thing.

The information found on this site could be very helpful. Especially if you live in a rural area or even if you have more than a few trees around your home in a mostly suburban location.

There are so many helpful tips on the site for small-ish critters, up to and including deer.

In the part of Florida where I live, bears love to raid trash cans and climb trees in sometimes large and up-scale neighborhoods. It’s become a pretty common thing.

Many people believe that this situation is one reason why the State of Florida green-lighted bear hunting again back in 2015. The hunting resumed the following year.

I am against bear hunting under any conditions but the article accessible from the above link shows that the new regulations here in Florida are very seriously flawed even if you were in favor of the resumption.

If people who live near bear habitats were more bear-savvy, this unfortunate situation could possibly be improved. For tips on co-existing with bears specifically, follow this link.


Brother Ben

Some Love for our four-legged Friends

A major emphasis for our movement is to show love and compassion for all the inhabitants of Earth. Not only for those who walk upright, wearing funny clothes and staring blankly into dimly-lit devices that keep getting bigger and bigger.

A big part of this commitment to animals is to support groups who are engaged full-time in the struggle to treat wildlife and pets with wisdom and compassion.

This is something I’m going to do regularly. For the first post, I want to highlight the excellent work that the Wildlife Conservation Society is doing.

The W.C.S. is active all over God’s Green Earth and focuses on policies and actions that help to save and nurture wildlife and wild places.

You can visit their excellent site on the world-wide web by following this link.

There are so many organizations doing this kind of work, that I’ll only be able to scratch the proverbial surface even by featuring an org each week.

But that’s not such a bad thing.

If you take the time to see what those folks are up to and want to get involved, the sites make it easy to do that.

If your objective is to learn and know more about what the organization is doing, following/liking on Facebook and/or Twitter is certainly a good way to go.

This will take you to the official Twitter page of the WCS.

Blessings on you today. Keep advocating for pets and wildlife. That’s what compassionate people do.

Brother Ben

© 2019 The Fellowship of St Francis, Inc.