The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian group founded in 1973

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FoL Newsletter Excerpts by Clare and Tom Harral (1991 - 2001)

2001

"Hello, and a very warm welcome to this year's Christmas Newsletter. We thought we'd start by sharing with you a story that we heard recently. It's a story that was brought back by some of the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps. It goes like this: Somewhere in the bowels of Auschwitz or Dachau sat a perfectly ordinary German man, drafted into Hitler's army from a local village, honoured to serve the Fatherland in some small way. It was his job to count, precisely and daily, the number of people being fed to the ovens. His aim was to make the gruesome work as efficient as possible, to see if trends or patterns emerged which would show means by which productivity could be increased. And so, with an eye for detail and a commitment to accuracy, day after day he made careful entries in a book. When the numbers not only added up but also assured him that on average the daily score was rising, he went home feeling satisfied that he had done a good job. Life for him was about the detail, the task immediately at hand.

It never occurred to this good husband and father that he was counting the 20th century's greatest massacre. He was dedicated to simple accuracy, not great truths: to neat entries, not moral conclusions.

And for millions of people today life has been reduced to the task immediately at hand, with the larger issues that sometimes break through to our consciousness pushed to the back of our mind again, neglected and ignored. Thus our lives, and the world, remain the same, unquestioningly accepted. If something challenges our narrowly defined self-interest it is an unwelcome intruder. People don't stop to think, don't want to think, that their little lamb was specially bred and killed just for them, and now lies on the shelf cut into bits, wrapped in plastic to be thrown carelessly into a supermarket trolley and eaten unthinkingly that evening."

"Selfishness, materialism, greed and cruelty are dragging everything in their wake towards our planetary system's collapse. We are also destroying ourselves. Yet if we choose compassionate social action we can release creation from the mesh. We can survive. But only if we work with the divine in order to co-create the most joyous, harmonious, peaceful and loving world possible - in fact, the original ideal of dwelling in harmony with nature and peaceably beside the animals.

We are either on the side of God's creation or we are not. It's a choice each human being makes in their heart. It's a choice that makes all the difference in the world."

Go on to 2002 - FoL Newsletter excerpts by Clare and Tom Harral
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