What I Mean When I Say Compassion

This one is about definitions. This is how I define respect, how I define compassion, how I define the old Quaker injunction to “Walk cheerfully over the earth, answering that of God in every one.” And since it’s me writing this, we start with a story.

When I was in high school, there was a student named April who was developmentally disabled, with the conversational ability and habits of a seven-year-old, though she was older than I was. She was always cheerful, always smiling. On two separate occasions, I happened to see two different people interacting with April in similar ways. Both times April was brightly telling the other person about her day, or what she was headed off to do next. The difference, however, is what stands out. Continue reading

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The Weekly Query: 4/9/12

(The old numbering format for the queries was getting hard to keep track of.)

“Do I not destroy my enemies if I make them my friends?” — Abraham Lincoln

How do we reach out to those who oppose us, fight us, hate us, and fear us? Can we make them and their ideas welcome in our lives?

What about those people who simply annoy or irritate us? Can we also make them welcome?

The Two Commandments

One hears a lot about the Ten Commandments. It is not that surprising; in many ways it is the foundational code for three billion people. And so one sees people passing them out on street corners and one hears of people lobbying to have them taught in schools. Apparently one can even run for president, if admittedly only briefly, on an entirely-Ten Commandments platform.

Yet one thing perpetually puzzles me about the Ten Commandments. Why do American  Christians spend so much energy, attention, and passion on them, when Jesus of Nazareth specifically pointed not to the Ten, but to the Two?

Have you ever even heard of the Two Commandments? Continue reading

Weekly Query and Cross-Posting

Friends, I’ve written an article on the state of young Quakers over at Western Friend, the West Coast-region magazine for the Religious Society. It would warm the editor’s heart if more traffic came through, so I’d encourage you to check it out.

Should you be arriving here because you read my article there, welcome! There’s a recap that I hope can serve as an introduction, a few posts down.

And it’s been a while, so here’s a Weekly Query.

“Do I not destroy my enemies if I make them my friends?” — Abraham Lincoln

How do we reach out to those who oppose us, fight us, hate us, and fear us? Can we make them and their ideas welcome in our lives?

What about those people who simply annoy or irritate us? Can we also make them welcome?