February 14, 2013 · 12:31 pm
photo: Kopp, 2006
Back in 2008, Karen Armstrong, a religion scholar gave a TED talk. In it, she proposed a movement by multi-faith, multi-national groups which would promote compassion worldwide by activating the Golden Rule. Her idea led to the development of the Charter for Compassion. The Council of Conscience, consisting of representatives of many faiths and many national groups, together with input from thousands who responded online resulted in the current Charter for Compassion. The goal of the Charter is to highlight common ground amongst all major religions and all religious traditions. Specifically, they all share compassion and the Golden Rule.
Since that time, tens of thousands have signed the Charter online. Public events, discussions, and readings of the Charter have taken place bringing compassion more and more into public awareness. Now it’s our turn. This is a call to action to connect to the heart and manifest a bigger Truth than any one of us. How Karen’s idea takes form (or fails to take form) depends on our actions. I don’t really know what my part in this will be and I don’t know what your role is either. I’ve read and signed the Charter and brought it into my consciousness. Now it’s your turn. Here’s the Charter.
THE CHARTER FOR COMPASSION
The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.
It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.
We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.
We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.
To sign the Charter for Compassion: www.charterforcompassion.org/the-charter
If you do sign it, let me know in the comments below. Please feel free to reblog, FB, or tweet this.
Filed under Political, Spiritual/Mysticism
Tagged as activism, Buddhism, call to action, Charter for Compassion, Christian, coexist, compassion, Ellis Nelson, Hinduism, Islamic, Jewish, Karen Armstrong, love, Muslim, pagan, peace, political, Sikhism, spiritual, Wiccan
November 29, 2012 · 10:05 am
At the turn of the last century, a French cobbler took up residence in Denver. He was a quiet unassuming man who plied his trade until he had a transformative experience in which he was told by “the Father” to give up his business and devote his life to healing. He spent the next two years wandering the American West. His first efforts at healing began in California with the Indians of the San Jacinto Valley. By July 1895, he was in Albuquerque treating hundreds who gathered for his hands-on treatment.
Francis Schlatter lived simply refusing all forms of payment. He taught no new doctrine and healed by grasping the hands of the sufferer. Sometimes he was overheard to say The Lord’s Prayer, but a good portion of his healings was done in silence. He healed the blind, the deaf, the lame, and all sorts of maladies while crediting “the Father” for all of them.
In the fall of 1895, he was back in Denver staying with a friend. Outside a small house Schlatter stood near the front fence as thousands passed by for healings. So impressed was the Union Pacific Railroad executive, Superintendent K. Dickenson, after his wife’s treatment, that he allowed any of his railroad workers to leave his job and travel to Denver at the expense of the company to seek treatment. And come they did! In the short two month period in which Schlatter stood on a platform in that Denver neighborhood, it is estimated that 60,000 people received healings. Each day, the mail arrived requesting the healer bless and return hundreds of handkerchiefs. Schlatter did his best to keep up with those as well.
Newspapers picked up the story and soon other cities were clamoring for Schlatter to visit them. Men came offering Schlatter all kinds of deals in return for his presence. People who took up their places in line for the daily healing were now offered money as the wealthy and privileged sought to exploit them. Schlatter was deeply offended by the practice and some believe it was what convinced him to give up his work and flee in the night. The people of Denver were outraged when their healer disappeared. Hundreds were still arriving daily to see the healer. Search parties were sent out to find Schlatter and bring him back to Denver, against his will if necessary.
Francis Schlatter’s story is detailed in Denver’s Extraordinary Faith-Healing Messiah edited by Bill Blanning. The book contains the newspaper accounts from the time Schlatter appears in New Mexico until his disappearance. It’s interesting to read the articles written over a hundred years ago because the language is so formal and foreign to the way we write today. However, you do get a good feel for the way Schlatter was received. Hundreds of individuals who received healings are named and people genuinely felt Schlatter was doing good work. His simple way of living and goodness are portrayed. There were a few dissenters, who felt Schlatter was a fraud, but they can be counted on one hand and their motives even at the time were seen as suspect.
What is also interesting is looking back and seeing Schlatter in his own time. I was surprised to see that Spiritualism was well known and I found no derisive comments in the newspaper coverage of it. In addition, the terms animal magnetism, Christian Science, and psychic science were all used without explanation. People over a century ago were familiar with those terms. I came away feeling that mainstream people at the turn of the last century were far more open to these things than we are today.
And the end of the story. Schlatter disappeared into New Mexico for a few months where he managed to dictate his autobiography. The Life of the Harp in the Hand of the Healer by Ada Morley was released in 1897. That same year, Schlatter’s bones and possessions were discovered on a mountain in the Sierra Madre.