Thursday, 5 July 2012
The Order of the Cross
A review of my book in another of those highbrow theology periodicals (Journal of Ecclesiastical History this time) mentions the lack of coverage afforded to the distinctly vegetarian Order of the Cross. Well, who knows? Maybe the sect has an actual history beyond those quarter-page adverts in animal rights journals and the occasional Christian newspaper. Everyone's heard of them but nobody's much the wiser about their actual existence - even though their views have been expressed in articles and fairly forthright interviews over the years; notably so, in Rynn Berry's Food for the Gods (Pythagorean Publishers, New York, 1998). The Order have a new website underway, so there's always the hope that their Trustees might be more forthcoming about their origins which have after all, been obfuscated for longer than anyone can remember. The first edition of their arcane journal, The Herald of the Cross was published in January 1905 and the leading editorial paragraph was entitled ‘Our Future Work’. Whilst presuming to supersede the established and eventually 'forgotten' Order of the Golden Age the breakaway reformers proclaimed: “We hope to make more effective by means of our propaganda the Ideals for which the Order has stood.” Fast-forward to their historical supplement of 1952 and there’s barely any proselytising activity to speak of with less, it seems, to follow. As far as I can tell, ideas (and not always good ones) abound among every generation of vegetarian Christians whereas events (of equal importance to history) lend themselves far less readily to the overall record.