Archives For Compassion


A Guide for Learning Compassion
for Self and for Others
A Review of

Living Compassion:
Loving Like Jesus
Andrew Dreitcer

Paperback: Upper Room Books, 2018
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Reviewed by Alisa Williams

In Living Compassion, author Andrew Dreitcer offers the reader a course curriculum on compassion — what it is, how it’s practiced by various faith traditions, and how it can be formed and taught today so Christians can truly live it in their daily lives the way Jesus intended. Dreitcer is associate professor of spirituality, director of spiritual formation, and co-director of the Center for Engaged Compassion at Claremont School of Theology. This book is an introduction to a compassion practice he created called simply, the Compassion Practice. He developed this because “there are no classical or traditional Christian practices that have been specifically identified or named as compassion-formation practices” (15).

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An Eternal Amen
A Review of

Night Call:
Embracing Compassion and Hope in a Troubled World
Robert Wicks

Paperback: Oxford University, 2018
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Reviewed by June Mears Driedger

Popular Catholic writer and psychologist Robert J. Wicks offers a map for persons in healing professions (clergy, doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers) to be resilient in their work or ministry. In the prologue Wicks shares an anecdote that sets the book title and the nature of his work:

During a presentation to ministers, a lecturer asked an intended rhetorical question, “What do you think is the core of your work?” But before he could proceed, surprisingly, one of the clerics in the audience yelled out, “Helping people through the night.”

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Next Tuesday willl see the release of Brené Brown’s latest book Rising Strong!

In honor of the occasion, we offer an introductory reading guide to Brown’s previous work to get you up to speed…
Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.She has spent the past thirteen years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.

Don’t miss our essay The Vulnerable Faith of Brené Brown
by Jamie Arpin-Ricci.

For the quickest immersion into Brown’s work, here are the videos of her immensely popular TED Talks:

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Mara Einstein - Compassion, Inc.The Moral Life of Corporations

A Review of

Compassion, Inc.: How Corporate America Blurs the Line Between What We Buy, Who We Are, and Those We Help
Mara Einstein.

Hardback: U of California Press, 2012.
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Reviewed by Amy Gentile.

Have you ever noticed all the “green” products nowadays and been skeptical of whether the companies making those products really care about the environment or are just jumping on the “do good” bandwagon? Have you ever felt uncomfortable with the idea of purchasing products to make a donation, like Product(RED) items, or donations that get you a badge of honor to wear, such as the ubiquitous yellow LIVESTRONG and other rubber bracelets? If so, you will probably enjoy this book; if these questions haven’t ever crossed your mind before now, you should definitely read this book.

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239641: Praying for Strangers: An Adventure of the Human Spirit

A Review of

Praying for Strangers:
An Adventure of the Human Spirit

By River Jordan
Hardback: Penguin Putnam, 2011.

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[ Amazon -Kindle ]

Reviewed by Michelle Van Loon.

“What if it’s our last Christmas together? What if it’s the last time I see my sons alive? What if it’s the last time I see them together?” Novelist River Jordan marched through the holiday season in 2008 readying herself to send her two sons off to war, one to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. An inveterate New Year’s resolution-maker, she had decided to skip her usual self-improvement vows that year. She simply didn’t have the energy to learn something new or modify an old bad habit when facing one of the most difficult challenges a parent can face – twice.

And then an unbidden idea dropped into her spirit: Pray for a stranger every day. It was the last thing Jordan wanted to do. She writes, “I need prayer and a whole lot of it just to keep breathing and moving, to keep up with my life and take care of my people. I am not feeling like Mother Teresa, not too altruistic, and not too holy at all. I am tired, busy, and carrying a double portion of my own concerns.” But the idea wouldn’t let go of her, and the introverted writer finds herself first quietly praying for a person who catches her soul’s attention each day. Eventually, she begins “outing” herself to most of those she chooses to be her person of the day with a deep breath and the words, “I have this resolution…”

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582644: The Friends We Keep: Unleashing Christianity"s Compassion for Animals

A Review of
The Friends We Keep:
Unleashing Christianity’s Compassion for Animals

By Laura Hobgood-Oster
Paperback: Baylor University Press, 2010.

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Reviewed by Marilyn Matevia.

For nonhuman animals, Christian teachings might seem to be anything but “good news.” Many forms of exploitation, neglect and abuse are tolerated and even justified by followers of a faith tradition that holds compassion and justice as core virtues – because the victims are other animals and not human beings. But that has not always been the case. The modern Christian tradition, says Laura Hobgood-Oster, suffers “collective amnesia about the role of the rest of God’s creatures in religion and in life as a whole.” Hobgood-Oster is Professor of Religion and Environmental Studies at Southwestern University, and a dedicated volunteer dog and cat rescuer. In her latest book, The Friends We Keep: Unleashing Christianity’s Compassion for Animals, she attempts to rescue and recover the “good news” for animals from stories, teachings and texts that have been forgotten, marginalized or conveniently overlooked for several hundred years.

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This Terrifying and Beautiful World

A Review of
Kingdom Without Borders:
The Untold Story of Global Christianity.

by Miriam Adeney.

Reviewed by Laretta Benjamin.

Kingdom Without Borders:
The Untold Story of Global Christianity.

Miriam Adeney.

Paperback: IVP Books,  2010.
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“I will build my church,” Jesus said, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18)  Today we have the great privilege of being part of that together, linked as never before.  (40)

Miriam Adeney - KINGDOM WITHOUT BORDERSFor those of us who daily pray the words Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”, this book comes as a joyous account of many of the ways God is working to answer that prayer.  I am extraordinarily grateful to Miriam Adeney for the time, research and thought that went into the writing of this very encouraging and hopeful book.

Ms. Adeney takes us on an incredible journey to meet and share in the lives and experiences of our brothers and sisters from all across this planet…China, Africa, Latin America, the Muslim world, India, the Philippines…just to name a few.  Do you know what we discover on our journey?  God is present everywhere.  He is at work – and has been all along – building his kingdom in very powerful and creative ways in the midst of great challenges and sometimes great opposition.  You won’t find too many of the facts, figures and statistics  that one usually finds in books such as these, mostly you will be drawn into the stories – stories of God’s kingdom coming in the lives, families and communities of people all around the globe – stories that come from Ms. Adeney’s own travels.

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A Brief Review of

A Paradise Built in Hell:
The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster.

Rebecca Solnit.

Hardback: Viking Books, 2009.
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Reviewed by Brent Aldrich.

Rebecca Solnit - A PARADISE BUILT IN HELLTracing community responses from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake to the Halifax explosion, Mexico City earthquake, New York City after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, along with dozens of other related disasters along the way, Rebecca Solnit makes a strong case in her new book A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster that it is in the emergent and innovative communities after disasters that a glimpse of another more hopeful world is visible. These communities are marked by “altruism and mutual aid …the practical mustering of creativity and resources to meet the challenges…a dispersed, decentralized system of decision making…connection, participation, altruism, and purposefulness. Thus the startling joy in disasters” (305-6).

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“Love the Immigrants”

A Review of
Welcoming the Stranger:
Justice, Compassion and Truth
In the Immigration Debate.

by Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang.

Reviewed by Debra Dean Murphy,
(Author of Teaching That Transforms).

Welcoming the Stranger:
Justice, Compassion and Truth
In the Immigration Debate.

Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang.
Paperback: IVP Books, 2009.
Buy now:   [ CBD ]

What a difference a recession makes.

A year before the election of Barack Obama, conventional wisdom held that U.S. immigration policy would be the wedge issue of the 2008 presidential campaign. Congress had helped set the stage for a political showdown by failing to pass the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act in the spring of 2007. In a primary debate that fall, Hillary Clinton stumbled over a question about driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, leading many to predict an early end to her presidential aspirations.

But by the time candidates Obama and McCain met for three debates just weeks before Election Day, it was clear that immigration reform was not a pressing issue for either campaign. And if the candidates weren’t talking much about immigration, neither was the electorate. A tanking economy and a looming recession were jangling nerves all across America, creating a whole new set of worries and anxieties. Now nearly six months into the Obama administration, the economic recession continues to preoccupy the President, the news media, and most Americans.

In their new book, Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate, Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang draw our attention, thankfully, back to the urgent questions surrounding U.S. immigration policy. With compelling personal stories, up-to-the-minute statistics, and an impressive command of the history of immigration patterns, practices, and policies, Soerens and Hwang remind us that there is no neat and tidy separation between immigration and the economy—whether the latter is floundering or flourishing.

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