If you live in the St. Louis area, an in-person study group started working with this book and will continue for the next few months. Let me know if you’d like to join us and I’ll you hook you up!
If you’d like to share a post about what you learned about compassion (The First Step) or what you’re seeing in your world (The Second Step), self-compassion (The Third Step), or empathy (The Fourth Step) use the link list below. Or join the discussion in the comments or on Facebook.
This is the first Sunday in the month. Ordinarily, that means I start a new step — Step 5: Mindfulness. If you’ve been reading my Compassionate Sunday posts, you may have noticed that I complain every single time that “meditation” is mentioned in Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. It’s possible that I have a bit of resistance to the Mindfulness chapter.
But, resistance is not the only reason that I’m writing about something else today. I wanted to share this cool thing that I’m doing, something that is helping me continue Step 1 (Learn about Compassion) and Step 2 (Look at Your World). I’m learning about the art and science of community organizing, a way of practicing compassion in groups for a purpose.
The class is offered by the Unitarian Universalists, but everyone is welcome. They let me in even though I’m unchurched. The course costs $30, plus there’s an optional book that they’re using as a textbook.
The content is mostly delivered by video, as a lecture accompanied by Power Point. This week we’re learning what is meant by terms like “community organizing” and “social movement” and some of the history. The book, This is an Uprising by Mark Engler and Paul Engler, provided a good background to the material without all of it being repetitive.
My favorite part, so far, are the discussions and interactions among the participants on our Facebook group. We’ve got people from all over the country and from the UK, Australia, and the Bahamas.
At least a couple of us from the West County Community Action Network are participating. Our group has been standing vigil every week for a year and a half and taking other actions for about a year. We use the report from the Ferguson Commission, Forward Through Ferguson, to guide our efforts. Our current areas of focus are policing issues, the need for improved public transit, and the disproportionate suspensions of black & brown students.
We just got started. There’s plenty of time to join us since the course is designed to go at your own pace. As the course description says, “Grappling with the questions at hand for organizing can sharpen and nurture our practice and growth.”
What are you learning about this week?