GA Ware Lecture 2011: Karen Armstrong's Charter for Compassion
Dr. Karen Armstrong, the announced speaker for the 2011 Ware Lecture at General Assembly (GA), will talk about her new book, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life and the companion project, Charter for Compassion. Armstrong’s book and the project rest on the idea that most religions affirm some version of the Golden Rule. Armstrong posits that one important purpose of religious, spiritual, and ethical traditions is to help make us more compassionate and kind toward others by guiding us to use moral imagination to put ourselves in their shoes.
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has joined a number of religious, educational, ethical, and interfaith groups as a partner organization for the Charter for Compassion. The UUA is committed to the ideals of the Charter and its work around the world in the name of compassion and interfaith dialogue.
Armstrong invites GA attendees to read Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life before coming to Charlotte. The book offers thought-provoking information about religious, ethical, spiritual, philosophical, and literary traditions that support Armstrong’s thesis that compassion is a central component of all. More than that, it offers deep questions and a challenge to use your moral imagination in the service of living a more compassionate life.
Ideal for congregational adult programming, the book fits nicely with the Tapestry of Faith youth program, A Chorus of Faiths. For a whole congregation, multigenerational effort, find material for children on the website of the Children’s Charter for Compassion and directions for an art project based on the Golden Rule.
The Charter for Compassion provides common ground for people of faith to work together, inviting them to engage in a simple, though challenging, practice of learning to act with compassion. Armstrong’s book offers a step-by-step process for moving ever deeper into a practice of compassion—for oneself, one’s family and friends, one’s community, and for the world.