Twelve steps to a compassionate life

Staff writer
February 8, 2013 01:00 AM

Karen Armstrong is one of the most original thinkers on the role of religion in the modern world.

In Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, she gives us an impassioned and practical book that can help us make the world a more compassionate place. Armstrong believes that while compassion is a part of our basic nature, each of us needs to work diligently to cultivate and expand our capacity for compassion.

In this straight-forward and thought-provoking book, she sets out a program that can lead us to a more compassionate life. The steps include loving your enemies, compassion for yourself, mindfulness, suffering, sympathetic joy, concern for everybody and concrete ways of putting our compassion into action.

When Armstrong received the TED award in 2008 she asked them to help her create, launch and propagate a charter for compassion that would counter the voices of extremism, intolerance and hatred so prevalent in our world. Thousands from all over the world contributed to a draft charter on a multilingual website, and these comments were presented to the Council of Conscience - a group of notable individuals from six faith traditions who met in Switzerland in 2009 to compose the final version. The opening paragraph states: "The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves."

The community is invited to join and explore this wonderful book. The study will be held Tuesdays, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Living Faith Lutheran. To sign up, contact the church office at, Pastor Ian at or leave a message at 604-885-2202. The only cost is $15.33 for the book. The study begins Feb 12.

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