The Five Precepts of Silent Communion:
I. The first precept of Silent Communion is that (a) The whole of creation is perfect (by His original design), and that in being perfectly created by Him, He excludes no creature from the ability to commune with Him.
The ‘whole of creation' as defined by Silent Communion includes all life that the Lord has made from the tiniest free-living insect to the most gigantic whale, including wild and tame land creatures, creatures of flight, sea creatures, and humanity. ‘Commune with Him' means to know God, to share the connection of prayer with Him, and to have the same types of comforts (such as intellect and senses, free will, and the promise of eternity in heaven) from the Lord as humans do.
This precept is based on the following three points. These points are not an exhaustive list, but a small sampling meant to encourage you to seek out other supporting biblical concepts as you examine this program:
Conclusions are drawn from Genesis including that fact that the Lord originally gave humans and animals plants to eat, not each other, and this remained in effect until after the flood at which time the Lord then clearly states a covenant with humanity and also a covenant with the animals. A covenant made by the Lord with the animals implies that free will, intellect, and the ability to accept or reject such a contract between each of them and the Lord exists,
Jewish laws were in place during the time of Jesus, such the Laws of Noah and the tza'ar ba'alei chayim, that prohibit the suffering of animals. Jesus never spoke against these laws in any way as he spoke against the actions of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Other biblical scholars go much farther explaining that Jesus's actions in the temple of overturned tables and driving out animals were not solely based on the fact that profit was taking place in the temple, but that the deplorable treatment of the animals was of equal disgust to Jesus. This point is pivotal since it hinges on what led to the crucifixion and suggests that Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice for all life, not just humanity. A reexamination of the Jewish laws in the last century has led to the formalized current 40 year old growing movement of Jewish Vegetarians who “ … embrace plant-based diets as an expression of the Jewish values of compassion for animals, concern for health, and care for the environment”,
and the many biblical references of the Lord acknowledging animals to us through His Word and explaining that humans are not to treat animals with disregard or unkindness (Proverbs 12:10, Deuteronomy 25:4, Genesis 1:21, Luke 12:6, Hosea 2:18, 2 Samuel 12, Exodus 20:10, Genesis 1:30, Genesis 1:28, Genesis 6:19, Numbers 22:28, Matthew 10:29, Isaiah 34:14, Isaiah 11:6-9, Proverbs 27:23, Psalms 147:9, 1 Timothy 5:18, Isaiah 65:25, Psalms 36:6, Job 12:7-10, and others) and only vanity causes us to wrongly believe that the fate of non-human life is any different from ours when death comes (Ecclesiastes 3:19).
Thus, the phrase ‘Silent Communion' represents not a communion in silence, but a communion that is silent to humanity but nevertheless fully exists between creation and the Lord in forms that we cannot understand.
Abuse of mankind's concepts of dominion and stewardship surface each time we disregard that the same loving-kindness and compassion bestowed upon us by the Lord is also bestowed by Him upon all life. Our minds, egos, and motivations outside the true will of our loving God foolishly develop perversions of our perception and insatiable appetites that feed upon false answers manifested of our own egocentrism by claiming knowledge of the mysteries of Christ and life itself that we cannot and do not fully understand.
This causes fallacies in our common sense, science and theological interpretations that lead Christians to accept and promote corrupt thoughts, actions and deeds in all arenas of our lives, both directly and indirectly concerning domination of others. Such corruption has existed in various forms over the centuries and further fosters the incorrect belief that God created us to be superior and all knowing. The true characteristics of superiority and all knowingness are solely of God, not man, but many great Saints and intellects that we model after have missed this point by their own smallness of thought concerning the treatment of life outside of our own limited circles of humanity.
II. The second precept of Silent Communion is that (b) Our perceptions of and actions toward all of God's creation must become based upon loving-kindness and compassion for all creatures and life that the Lord has created, not just sections of humanity.
Laudato Si (2015) by the Pope, many other biblical authors, church fathers, ethical, moral, and theological scholars over each century support compassion and loving-kindness for all life that God has created, not just mankind. The Holy Bible also supports compassion and loving-kindness for all that the Lord has created if we study it with humanity's egocentrism left behind. It is NOT “all about us” as many faithful claim. We must recover and adopt the correct humility of Jesus and let go of former flawed foundational thinking that has built up over the centuries implying that any life deemed “less than” by us is made for us to manipulate, subdue, destroy, or master.
These false ideologies that we have erroneously built upon from the past were often born of brilliant thinkers who contributed much in many areas of science, education, philosophy, and religion, but who failed miserably concerning their approaches to creation outside of humanity. Sometimes their treatment was even as horrible to certain portions of humanity. It is time to stop ignoring the truth. It is time to acknowledge that the Lord did not create life for us to manipulate and force into dependency on us. Nor is it acceptable to force any creature into a state of serfdom or slavery or commodity-ship or abuse or poverty of their lives to support our sinful consumption under the disguise of a corrupted definition of dominion.
III. The third precept of Silent Communion is that (c) The faithful need to grow intellectually and spiritually in these matters, then reform and embrace the mystery of all of His creation by adopting loving-kindness and compassion for all creatures and life that the Lord has made, not just portions of humanity.
Strong discernment must occur to become aware. Christians need to lay down the lies that suggest superiority over non-human lives and weaker portions of humanity. We need to lay down the lies associated with greed, gluttony, and apathy that tempt some of us to exploit or make fun of those that are vulnerable to foster our deceit and wickedness. We need to see creatures and all life that He created as our brothers and sisters. Much Christian reform needs to occur to address our sins in these areas. Thus embracing these concepts may mean different things to different people.
Some people may choose to become vegan (i.e. choosing to cause the least possible suffering to other lives by what they eat, purchase, and do) or vegetarian in a world today where this form of consumption is possible compared to former times when our very survival may have depended on consuming flesh. Others may decide to treat their animal companions better. Others may turn away from cruel entertainment where imprisoned animals are forced to perform for us. Others may take better care of the environment. Others may change their language from cruelty to compassion. Others may learn to make well-informed decisions concerning purchases that avoid cruelty. Others may seek to help orphans or struggling families. Others may choose to stand up for exploited humans and/or animals. Others may choose to stand up and truly become “pro-life”, not just pro-human-life. The ways of change concerning this reform are vast and wonderful depending upon what one discovers in their heart after going through a discernment process. All of these changes will be an amazing symphony of loving-kindness and compassion throughout the body of Christ as they interconnect over time.
Internal changes within the heart will start this symphony of loving-kindness and compassion. A free and easily accessible discernment process and many resources are here at the Silent Communion website for your consideration.
IIII. The fourth precept of Silent Communion is that (d) The reformed faithful must then carry forward the message to other Christians and non-Christians who are still blind and teach the adoption of loving-kindness and compassion to all non-human and human life.
We must extinguish the corrupted definition of dominion and other language and actions that perpetuate these unloving and unbiblical concepts that go against all that is right and just. We must also lay the foundations for ways to build up loving-kindness and compassion in how we do business and participate in trade and consumerism. I t is our duty as followers of Christ to extinguish our egocentric misperception that He wants us to see ourselves as miniature gods who rule this world with His permission.
There are unlimited avenues to carry the message forward: lay evangelism, art, music, engineering, worship, education, social media, new science, new theology, new philosophy. There is also great need for new creative ideas to shift our market places away from their current brutal states of unspeakable cruelties toward billions of animals and humans each year. The current numbers of those suffering under our corrupted definition of dominion are staggering and go against all biblical truth. Every action of advocacy to correct this brutality needs to be executed as we awake with clever, intelligent, non-violent action.
V. The fifth and final precept of Silent Communion is that (e) All Christian reform must be achieved in complete loving-kindness and compassion toward others and bathed in non-violence.
The values and fundamental principles of Silent Communion are founded upon 1 Corinthians 13. Some people believe that love is weak, trivial, or emasculating, but it is actually the strongest power on earth and in heaven.
Love provides power to stop violence that violence is blind to see and lacks to understand. Love provides wisdom for a positive outcome that the deficits of hate hinder it from knowing. Love provides strength of unity that hatred cannot gather. Hate turns against hate in the end, becomes weak, and feeds upon itself until all is destroyed. Love lifts up, builds, strengthens, frees and unifies. Love is the harder way, the more difficult way, the stronger way, and His way. It is the only way. Let us begin as soon as possible.
Silent Communion is the project of T. S. Nicholson, born out of a series of her unpublished manuscripts written between 2008 to 2012. Then portions of manuscripts' content were launched online as a free self-paced online discernment process in 2014 to encourage and present a contemplative method of looking at current relationships between humans and creation. The purpose of the initial project was to provide a way to examine or re-examine one's own heart. All change takes place within the heart first. There were also other manuscripts, 10 years of unreleased video teachings, and small gatherings taking place that she called "friendship meetings".
The project continues to morph and grow as the founder, T.S. Nicholson is further refined into her full calling through additional years of study, experience, and sharing. She stopped adding to the self-paced discernment process in 2018 and turned all attention back to studies, writing, small private groups, and a mini-project called "Prayers for Animals and Stewards". She also walked through several losses including beloved David of large cell lymphoma in the fall of 2019. Now, in 2020, she is getting ready to launch regular teachings and small online groups in memory of the love shared between Davy and Tams.
The philosophy of Silent Communion is based in Christian faith and can be just as easily applied to any denomination, but the founder who grew up atheist/agnostic, has also made sure it can just as easily be applied to anynon-faith individual or group. All are welcome here. Sexual oreintation, race, and species are left at the dor here. We are all one. The goal of the Silent Communion website is to challenge currently held concepts and beliefs by providing a means to examine the heart and mind while shedding light on truths that often go unnoticed by those of us that live in the modern world. What you walk away with from this experience will depend upon how much you are willing to examine your own heart and mind and then what effort you are willing to put into your personal discoveries.
You are welcome to contact T.S. at [email protected] or at 1-706-540-4723 with any questions or prayer requests or to inquire about volunteer and intern opportunities for this project and others.