by Rev. Sarah Bowen
Animals, humans, and the planet are in deep trouble. All across the globe, people are waking up to the undeniable connections between every living being―and noticing how out of balance our world is. Yet, awareness is not enough. Action is critical, and we face an increasingly arduous journey.
At the Compassion Consortium, we realize we cannot solve all of the planet’s problems overnight. And we do not seek to replace the other important spiritual communities or advocacy organizations you may be involved with―indeed, we believe each group holds a piece in the complex puzzle we all face. We believe heartily in multiple belonging.
We formed this consortium because we found ourselves feeling out of place in communities that we once thrived in, as we began to question how those communities act towards other sentient beings.
Because we see living beings all around us being treated as products. Our hearts are broken when we think about the suffering of animals enslaved in the “food system.” We are distressed about their pain. About their fear. About their deaths. Our spirits are shattered when we think about beings who are hunted down and killed for wall trophies. Or raised to become handbags. Or held captive and forced to perform. And our minds certainly can’t grasp why other sentient beings should be subjected to agonizing experiments for human benefit.
So, we are often bewildered. Confused that our friends who value the justice, unconditional love, and mercy called for in so many religions, wisdom traditions, philosophies, and social justice movements don’t extend these values beyond humans. We are perplexed that they cannot see the domination and persecution that our eyes have been opened to.
If you have found us, you may also be heart-broken and confused. Or frustrated and angry. Or feeling awkward among those you love. You—like us—no doubt, connect deeply to each animal you come in contact with. You value their lives. You believe that compassion, empathy, and non-violence are essential for the more-than-human world to thrive.
So, we offer you support at the deepest level—the level of purpose. We have the utmost respect for whatever beliefs drive your compassionate actions on behalf of those who are suffering due to human actions or ignorance. We know that the quest to align one’s principles with every single action we take each day is not always easy. Indeed, we will walk with you step-by-step as you become your most compassionate self.
The Compassion Consortium is a warmhearted, understanding community where we want you to feel comfortable sharing all the facets of your being―head, heart, and spirit—as expressed through your personal spirituality, advocacy, and activism. We view all of these as beautifully interlinked, never in conflict or opposition.
For all of us to be successful, we need to use this community to support each other and to impart our shared wisdom to those who are willing to receive it. If we can somehow do both, we will accomplish what we set out to do: Radiate compassion in everything we do. Every day. To every being.
Rev. Sarah Bowen is an Interfaith minister and animal chaplain, dean of One Spirit Interfaith Seminary, and author of Spiritual Rebel: A Positively Addictive Guide to Finding Deeper Perspective & Higher Purpose. She is cofounder with three other vegans of The Compassion Consortium. The Consortium holds a monthly interfaith worship service on the 4th Sunday, and a Compassionate Book & Film Night mid-month.