|UUA Trustee Tidbits - Sep 2011|
UUA Trustee Tidbits
Joan Lund, September 2011
Last month I committed to writing Trustee columns through next spring about topics related to Justice GA, June 2012 in Phoenix. Unfortunately I don't have any additional specific information about this historic GA yet, but am compelled to write about the connection between our UUA Second Principle (Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations) and our UUA faith community's commitment to help bring to the world tolerance and social justice. Our work next year at GA will be all about justice and much about compassion.
Karen Armstrong, the Ware Lecturer at this year's GA and author of many books on religion including Twelve Steps To a Compassionate Life, delivered a message centered upon the Golden Rule, which requires we use empathy to put ourselves in the shoes of others and act toward other humans as we would want them to act toward us. In 2008 Armstrong was awarded the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) prize. TED is a nonprofit organization best known for excellent conferences on "ideas worth spreading." With the prize money she established the Charter for Compassion, which is inspiring compassionate actions, by building partnership networks with organizations around the world.
In her words, "The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical, and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat others as we wish to be treated."Compassion can be defined as an attitude of principled, consistent altruism. She believes compassion is intrinsic in all human beings and we need to work to cultivate and expand our capacity for compassion. According to Armstrong, compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, take ourselves out of being the center of our world, and put another there, and to honor every human being with equity, justice, and respect. She believes each one of us must look into our own hearts, discover what gives us pain, and then refuse to inflict that pain on anybody else.
Although compassion may be recognized and admired by all of us and has resonated with humans throughout history, Armstrong believes in many ways compassion is alien to our modern way of life.
It is important that as many UUs as possible attend GA 2012, where there will be many events, activities, and ways to bear witness to social justice both in Arizona and in our home community congregations. If ever you determined you want to go to a General Assembly, this is the one. Wouldn't it be wonderful if there were more Florida UUs percentage-wise at GA than any other district? We can do it! Call or write with your thoughts, ideas, and concerns. I look forward to hearing from you.