Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursday Tidbits: The World's Great Traditions

This morning, I was catching up on past NPR shows, and I had the pleasure of hearing Karen Armstrong on Talk of the Nation. She's written a new book on compassion, a book that sounds full of wisdom.

Here are some nuggets from the interview:

"And there's a mood of despair around - whether we're Easterners or Westerners - and despair is a dangerous thing because once people lose hope, they can resort to extreme measures."

"But there have been people who have practiced compassion in our lifetimes. I'm thinking of Martin Luther King; I'm thinking of Gandhi; Nelson Mandela, who walked out of that prison - 27 years - and instead of inculcating a policy of revenge started one of reconciliation. And one sees what one person can do, the effect of one person, and I think we all have to step up."

"Well, I think if you think you know what we call God is - you're on the wrong track, because all the religions tell us that what we call God or Brahma, Nirvana or Tao, is inexpressible, that nobody has the last word, that we are all stumbling in our attempts to either experience or contain it."

Go here for the whole interview, either to listen or to read a transcript.

I don't have her book to give away, but the two book give-aways this week do shed light into monasticism, one of religion's great tradition. Go here and leave a comment for a chance to win Exiles, Ron Hansen's book about Gerard Manley Hopkins (part of a great poetic tradition) and the nuns who drowned on their way to emigrate to America and the great poem that Hopkins wrote about their plight. And go here to leave a comment for a chance to win Flirting with Monasticism. Remember that each winner gets the book listed and a surprise book.

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