Rick spoke to us today on Karen Armstrong and the Charter for Compassion.

Karen Armstrong is a former Roman Catholic nun who became disenchanted with the church.  She found life within the convent to be intellectually stifling, and she left.  She says she was exhausted by the whole experience, she stopped going to church, and became completely agnostic.

Upon being given the opportunity to travel to the places St Paul had been, and talking with all sorts of religious people, she realized that after all that time in the Convent, she knew nothing about the other religions of the world.  She had been taught that Judaism was just a failed precursor to Christianity.   She knew nothing at all of Islam.  She took her opportunity to become a real scholar of the world’s religious thought and began a lifelong earnest examination of the world’s religions.

She has now come to believe that every single religion supports the core valuethat is commonly known as the Golden Rule: In the Christian tradition, this is: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” in other words “treat others in the way you would like to be treated”.  In the Jewish tradition is the story of Rabbi Hillel. When asked by a Gentile to explain the entire Torah, the rabbi gave the response, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.” in other words “Do NOT unto others what you would Not have done unto you.

The problem is that this has ceased to become the focus of religion. Something has happened in which religious believers often act in opposition to the core message of their faiths.  Armstrong’s answer to what has been happening to make people act contrary to their religion’s core belief is that the people in the modern era want their religion to tell them what to believe, but the writers of the Torah, and Jesus, and Mohamed spent their energy teaching us how to act toward one another.

When did religious emphasis stop being on how to act and shift to using the religions to tell us what to believe?  For Christians, this starts out with St Paul who took the gospels which are all about Jesus teaching us how to act toward each other, and turned the Christian religion into a set of creeds and beliefs that its congregants MUST pledge.

The Charter of Compassion is a cooperative effort to restore compassionate action to the center of religious, moral and political life. Compassion is experience of putting ourselves in the shoes of the other.  It is, after all, the heart of all religious and ethical systems. In our globalized world, everybody has become our neighbor, and the Golden Rule may be the only thing that saves us from disaster.

The idea of the Charter is to change the conversation so that compassion becomes a key word in public discourse, making it clear that any ideology that breeds hatred or contempt ~ be it religious or secular ~ has failed the test of our time. It is a call for creative action to meet the political, moral, religious, social and cultural problems of our time.  Follow this link to the Charter for Compassion or go to http://charterforcompassion.org/share/the-charter/

Announcements: Everyone has to re-enroll their Kroger card in order to continue to receive the benefits from the Kroger Foundation.  Go to www.krogercommunityrewards.com and use our organization number 80237.

Three Cranes Grove, ADF, would like to invite you to celebrate the Spring Equinoxon Sunday, March 20th at the Northern Shelter at Highbanks Metropark.  This will be mid-day ritual, with social time at 12:00 PM and our ritual at 1 PM. We will have our usual potluck following the rite, so please bring a dish to share! This rite is indoors, but the shelter is not heated. Please dress for the weather.