The Friends We Keep: Animals & Christianity

With the launch this week of our new Book Club on The Friends We Keep: Unleashing Christianity’s Compassion for Animals, as well as the creation of a new reader-generated blog, Heavenly Creatures, we’ve dubbed the later part of June Animal Week(s) at Patheos. We’re taking some time to consider the roles animals have played in the lives of people of faith, today and historically. (We all know about St. Francis and the birds, but how many of us know of the hermit St. Giles and the little hind?) We’re also taking some time to say ‘thank you’ to these animals by sharing stories of the countless ways they have touched our lives and changed us for the better, on the blog Heavenly Creatures.

I hope you’ll read my interview with Laura Hobgood-Oster, author of The Friends We Keep, where she speaks passionately about Christianity’s call to compassion for animals and offers some convincing biblical grounding for doing so. She also raises the top four animal-advocacy issues we should all care about as people of faith. Perhaps most importantly, she suggests simple steps each one of us can take to make a difference in the lives of a great number of animals (one step:  refrain from eating meat just one day of the week).

So whether you have a beloved pet or choose to enjoy animals from afar, I invite you to take a minute to stop and think about the ways your life has been enhanced by non-human creatures, whether as a child, a teenager, or as an adult.  Birds, bees, spiders, dogs, cats, snakes, deer, buffalo, foxes, turtles … every one of these and more has touched my life in awe-inspiring ways.  What have you learned about God, faith or life from animals?  We’d love to share your story on our blog.  Email us at with your story and photos.  We may even send you one of Laura’s books as a thank-you.

Blessings on all the creatures of the world – and may we remember our responsibility to honor and protect them as the precious gifts that they are!

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