Process Thought and Heifer International
How Do You Say Love?
You promote community.
You honor women,
You eat well,
It Feels Good to Work Together. Heifer International tells us that we say love in 12 ways. I list them below. They include helping people enjoy opportunities for education; helping them grow their food; helping them take care of their animals; and, along the way, helping them take care of themselves and enjoy healthy gender relations. These are among the cornerstones of Heifer International. The arts play a role, too. As Cody Belew makes clear, we can sing about love as a way of saying love. One thing I admire about Heifer International is that it does not reduce "saying love" to one on one acts of kindness, important as they are. Heifer International tells us that we say love by helping to build local communities in rural and urban settings that are creative, compassionate, equitable, participatory, ecologically wise, and spiritually satisfying, with no one left behind. And it adds that they need to be fun. Don't get me wrong. These communities need to be hunger-free. That is what Heifer International has so often emphasized. But long ago the folks at Heifer International recognized that hunger cannot be isolated from other realities such as family relations and education and women's rights. And they recognized that the heart of the matter lies in spirituality. For Heifer International spirituality is not an inner journey of the soul to the Soul, of the alone to the Alone. It is journey of the relational to the Relational. In this respect the spirituality of Heifer International is akin to that of process theology. It sees the divinity at the heart of the universe as an act of sharing: that is, of giving and receiving. As the women in Nepal say, it feels good to work together. We say love when we work together for the common good of all, including the animals. They are working with us, too, as beloved daughter and sons of the Relational. The Relational has 12 cornerstones. Some Christians speak of the Relational as a trinity. We might also call her the One in whom the many dance if given the chance. The aim of Heifer International is to support the dancing, with its twelve steps, all moving toward the end of love. Somewhere along the way, the twelve stones turn to bread and wine, with plenty to go around, with no one counting the portions. And no one eats the animals, either. There's plenty to go around. Wherever possible, it's vegan: otherwise called humane, sustainable community.