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Drawing on a wide range of material - ranging from the spiritual character of the world religions to the findings of contemporary neuroscience - Karen Armstrong argues that compassion is hardwired into our brains, yet is constantly pushed back by our more primitive instincts for selfishness and survival. Since time immemorial religion has enhanced our altruistic tendencies: all faiths insist that the Golden Rule is the test of true spirituality - 'Always treat others as you wish to be treated yourself'. Taking as her starting point the teachings of the great world religions, Karen Armstrong demonstrates in twelve practical steps how we can bring compassion to the forefront of our lives. These steps both reveal the inadequacies of our knowledge of ourselves and others and enable us to unlock our potential for understanding, empathy and altruism that can be translated into acts of kindness and charity.They culminate in the most radical and challenging of all religious maxims - love your enemy. Yet in today's world, compassion in no longer a luxury but, in the words of Martin Luther King, 'an absolute necessity for our survival'. Practising these steps will not change our lives overnight and turn us into saints or sages: the attempt to become a more compassionate human being is a lifelong project. Yet Karen Armstrong argues that compassion is inseparable from humanity, and by transcending the limitations of selfishness on a daily basis we will not only make a difference in the world but also lead happier, more fulfilled, lives.
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Karen Armstrong's Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. In the late twentieth century, fundamentalism has emerged as one of the most powerful forces at work in the world, contesting the dominance of modern secular values and threatening peace and harmony around the globe. Yet it remains incomprehensible to a large number of people. In The Battle for God, Karen Armstrong brilliantly and sympathetically shows us how and why fundamentalist groups came into existence and what they yearn to accomplish. We see the West in the sixteenth century beginning to create an entirely new kind of civilization, which brought in its wake change in every aspect of life -- often painful and violent, even if liberating. Armstrong argues that one of the things that changed most was religion. People could no longer think about or experience the divine in the same way; they had to develop new forms of faith to fit their new circumstances. Armstrong characterizes fundamentalism as one of these new ways of being religious that have emerged in every major faith tradition. Focusing on Protestant fundamentalism in the United States, Jewish fundamentalism in Israel, and Muslim fundamentalism in Egypt and Iran, she examines the ways in which these movements, while not monolithic, have each sprung from a dread of modernity -- often in response to assault (sometimes unwitting, sometimes intentional) by the mainstream society. Armstrong sees fundamentalist groups as complex, innovative, and modern -- rather than as throwbacks to the past -- but contends that they have failed in religious terms. Maintaining that fundamentalism often exists in symbiotic relationship with an aggressive modernity, each impelling the other on to greater excess, she suggests compassion as a way to defuse what is now an intensifying conflict.
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Karen Armstrong's Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. In this fascinating book by the author of A History of God and Jerusalem, one of the best-known and least-understood books of the Bible is clarified for modern readers. Armstrong shows readers how the ancient tales of the Creation, the Fall, Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph illuminate our most profound and impenetrable problems.
At this time of climate crisis, here is a practical Christian ecospirituality. It emerges from the pastoral and theological experience of Reverend Robert Shore-Goss, who worked with his congregation by making the earth a member of the church, by greening worship, and by helping the church building and operations attain a carbon neutral footprint. Shore-Goss explores an ecospirituality grounded in incarnational compassion. Practicing incarnational compassion means following the lived praxis of Jesus and the commission of the risen Christ as Gardener. Jesus becomes the "green face of God." Restrictive Christian spiritualities that exclude the earth as an original blessing of God must expand. This expansion leads to the realization that the incarnation of Christ has deep roots in the earth and the fleshly or biological tissue of life. This book aims to foster ecological conversation in churches and outlines the following practices for congregations: meditating on nature, inviting sermons on green topics, covenanting with the earth, and retrieving the natural elements of the sacraments. These practices help us recover ourselves as fleshly members of the earth and the network of life. If we fall in love with God's creation, says Shore-Goss, we will fight against climate change.
A Practical Guide to Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living: Living with Heart is a step-by-step guide for those who wish to deepen their mindfulness skills with compassion for a healthier, happier life and more fulfilling relationships. It offers a clear structure as well as ample freedom to adjust to individual needs, starting with learning to be kind to yourself and then expanding this to learn how to be kind to others. This guide consists of eight chapters that follow the eight sessions of the mindfulness-based compassionate living training programme. To enhance the learning experience, this book features accessible transcripts and downloadable audio exercises, as well as worksheets to explore experiences during exercises. It also includes suggestions for deepening practice at the end of each session. A Practical Guide to Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living explores the science of compassion in an easy-to-understand and comprehensive manner, one which will appeal to both trained professionals and clients, or anyone wishing to deepen their mindfulness practice with ‘heartfulness’.
Hebrews marks a parting of the ways for Jews and Christians of the first century. It makes a case for the superiority of the new Christian 'faith' over old Hebrew orthodoxy and draws on the Old Testament for precedents for Jesus's ministry and to paint a picture of Jesus.
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Karen Armstrong's Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. Venerated for millennia by three faiths, torn by irreconcilable conflict, conquered, rebuilt, and mourned for again and again, Jerusalem is a sacred city whose very sacredness has engendered terrible tragedy. In this fascinating volume, Karen Armstrong, author of the highly praised A History of God, traces the history of how Jews, Christians, and Muslims have all laid claim to Jerusalem as their holy place, and how three radically different concepts of holiness have shaped and scarred the city for thousands of years. Armstrong unfolds a complex story of spiritual upheaval and political transformation--from King David's capital to an administrative outpost of the Roman Empire, from the cosmopolitan city sanctified by Christ to the spiritual center conquered and glorified by Muslims, from the gleaming prize of European Crusaders to the bullet-ridden symbol of the present-day Arab-Israeli conflict. Written with grace and clarity, the product of years of meticulous research, Jerusalem combines the pageant of history with the profundity of searching spiritual analysis. Like Karen Armstrong's A History of God, Jerusalem is a book for the ages.

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