Letters - 12 May 2017

From taking sides to good and evil

Taking sides

Taking sides (21 April and 28 April) can be kept free from hate and anger when we bear in mind that those we are siding against are no less a manifestation of God than we are.

Therefore, they are no less deserving of love, compassion and forgiveness than us, and we must not see them as more evil or sinful than ourselves.

This is based on Advices & queries 3:

Do you try to set aside times of quiet for openness to the Holy Spirit? All of us need to find a way into silence which allows us to deepen our awareness of the divine and to find the inward source of our strength. Seek to know an inward stillness, even amid the activities of daily life. Do you encourage in yourself and in others a habit of dependence on God’s guidance for each day? Hold yourself and others in the Light, knowing that all are cherished by God.

If we are to be true to the principle that ‘all are cherished by God’, surely we must extend it as far as we can into every area of our lives and conduct ourselves accordingly in thought, speech and action – and face the question of how to do this while acting to defeat the ‘other side’s’ aims.

Noam Livne

Towards a plant-based diet

It is now well established that for practical, as well as ethical, reasons humanity (with its ever-expanding population) should move towards a plant-based diet. If we are not aware of this it is probably because we choose not to be.

There is good reason for this. Many people have grown up eating meat and do not want to change. Eating is a pleasurable activity and early in life we discover what we like. We also discover what suits us, what keeps our digestive processes functioning well, and what maintains our physical health. Any suggestion of change can feel like a threat to our basic wellbeing.

Perhaps it’s time to take a more positive attitude and support and encourage each other in making change where it’s needed. I have been wondering what Friends of Britain Yearly Meeting could do.

Here are a couple of ideas:

  • One is to produce a recipe book with the aim of publicising it widely. If Friends sent in their favourite recipes this might not be too arduous. Quaker Concern for Animals could provide a section on the ethical reasons for change. There could be sections on sustainability, nutrition, and how to maintain good health when making changes in one’s diet. (Claridge House, the Quaker-run retreat centre in Surrey, has produced vegetarian recipe booklets over the years, which are always popular.)
  • The second idea is that the Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre could perhaps feature a ‘Vegetarian Dish of the Day’ and provide recipe sheets to take away. The walls of the dining room could be adorned with beautiful murals of fruit and vegetables!

Angela Howard

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