Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Is mercy and compassion greater than justice - the giving of one her or his due? Karen Armstrong's latest tome, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life is out of the ordinary in this 240 page book. World religions are her earlier topics and the history or religious practices and thoughts. This is a multi-stage project that produced the Charter for Compassion, online at www.charterforcompassion.org. Thousands contributed to the drafts and deliberations of leaders from many religoius communities around the globe that created this vital resource and clarion call for compassion. Is it needed? For sure, it seems to me. Compassion is an iconic virtue or strength that ties humans to each other in solidarity of roots and relations, let alone religion or values. Tens of thousands have endorsed the charter worldwide, it is reported, while it is translated into twelve languages or more. The charter contains the content of empathy and its effectiveness today within each of us and the planet we inhabit. Among the emblematic themes are alleviating suffering, honoring the sanctity of all in and outside the womb, and, on the war field, refraining from egotistic living and violence. How to better our culture is the prescription laid out here for individuals and communities around the globe. The charter is about growing an interior life - a chore celebreties and Hollywood would rather do without as they primp the outer physical world of glitz and glamour with little attention for the inner soul that thirsts and longs for more, and, the better, perhaps the best borne within the human spirit. This vision sees a more humane planet hatched over millennia of spritual thought that snowballs and attract like bees to pollen! The charter raises the bar and standard for living well today. I'm grateful for Armstrong's insights and call for compassion for the common good and future of this land I love.