Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life

Earlier this evening, a group of us gathered at the East Side branch of the Guelph Public Library to talk about Karen Armstrong's book, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.

We all agreed that it was a challenging read. The book is well-researched with many historical references. Truthfully, I would have preferred less historical content and more of Karen Armstrong's personal experiences.

Last January, I heard Karen speak at St. George's Church's in downtown Guelph and was impressed by her eloquence. She is a former Roman Catholic nun who has written more than 20 books on faith and the major religions. I enjoyed reading her memoir, The Spiral Staircase, and looked forward to reading Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.

At the book club, I admitted to skimming over the history and reading the anecdotes, especially those in the Empathy and Action chapters. A few of the other members admitted to reading only a few pages out of each chapter. Much discussion was generated about the need for empathy and forgiveness in our society.

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