Sunday, August 1, 2010

Presbyterians Affirm the Charter of Compassion

It was late in the evening on November 12, 2009, a little more than 24 hours after my son had entered the world. Mother and child both lay sleeping, but I was wide awake. I opened my laptop, checking the mail that had accumulated in the last couple of chaotic days, and find an e-mail from TED announcing the formation of the Charter for Compassion, as part of the fulfillment of Karen Armstrong's TED wish.

This e-mail (or, more specifically, the Charter of Compassion that it introduced me to) started the cogs in my brain working, and ultimately led me to come up with the idea behind the 40 Days of Giving project. I think it's a great idea, and firmly embrace its tenets. The day after my son was born, I affirmed the Charter for Compassion ... and to date, over 50,000 people have joined me, including the Dalai Lama, Desmund Tutu, Paul Simon, Queen Noor of Jordan, Meg Ryan, and many other people (some famous, most not).

And now, apparently, so does the entire Presbyterian Church (USA), who earlier this month affirmed the Charter of Compassion. (It's mentioned in a bullet list at the end of the article, but there's more detail here.) According to the press release from the Charter:

The PC(USA) will send the Charter to every congregation, where it will be used to help embody compassion in education, worship, and community events. Congregations are already using the Charter as a focus for adult education classes and plan to invite a diverse array of religious leaders to share with the PC(USA)’s congregations how compassion is lived in their own traditions.

So, this Sunday morning, I have to ask ... Why hasn't every religious denomination affirmed the Charter for Compassion? Why haven't you?

P.S. - On a related note, Karen Armstrong appears to have a new "vook" (a video book) available entitled A Compassionate Life in 12 Steps. It looks interesting, and costs a mere $4.99. I'm going to wait until I finally receive my free iPad, and then check it out ... and I'll let you all know what I think of it.