Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong

A process for developing personal compassion to engage in compassionate community for a more compassionate world

Welcome to Compassionate Sunday. We’re working through Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong, one step per month.

If you’d like to share a post about what you learned about compassion (The First Step), what you’re seeing in your world (The Second Step), self-compassion (The Third Step), empathy (The Fourth Step), mindfulness (The Fifth Step), action (The Sixth Step), how little we know (The Seventh Step), how to speak to one another (The Eighth Step), concern for everybody (The Ninth Step), or knowledge (The Tenth Step) use the link list below. Or join the discussion in the comments or on Facebook.

A new month means it’s time for a new step, The Tenth Step, Knowledge.

Here’s why we need knowledge before we start pontificating about foreign affairs:

After the atrocities of September 11, 2001, I was often taken aback by the way some Christians berated the violence and intolerance they attributed to Islam, showing not only an embarrassing ignorance of Muslim history but a surprising blindness to the crusades, inquisitions, persecutions, and wars of religion that had scarred their own faith. I often felt that alongside programs titled “Understanding Islam” there should be a parallel course called “Understanding Christianity.” There was also a worrying lack of awareness about Western behavior during the colonial era, which had contributed to some of our current problems. pp. 157, 158

On that last point, I saw a suggestion recently to substitute “previously colonized country” for the expressions “developing country” or “third world country.” Try it! It adds so much depth to news stories. And, sometimes, sends me rushing to Wikipedia to figure out what the colonial history was of Syria or Kenya.

Most of the rest of the chapter is devoted to how and why to develop knowledge about something outside of our national boundaries or religious traditions. More on that later in the month…



Knowledge #TenthStep #CompassionateSunday — 3 Comments

  1. Isn’t it great to start out a new step! Must feel refreshing. If I remember correctly it seems you were stuck in a rut on the last step, which is totally understandable. Ruts happen!

  2. I like that idea of substituting “previously colonized country” for the expressions “developing country” or “third world country.” I rarely SAY any of them, but if only I can remember to substitute “previously colonized country” when I read or hear stories about countries we consider “less developed” than our own. …

    “previously colonized country” …

    … “previously colonized country” …

    … … “previously colonized country” …

    Speaks volumes, doesn’t it? It makes me think twice, anyhow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *