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Step 10

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  • 1. Step 10: Knowledge
    • Armstrong reminds us of the need to look beyond our own circle (or the “kindred spirit”)  to the “stranger” in our midst. To the one who appears different, behaves differently, ... or one whose persona challenges.
  • 2. Step 10: Knowledge
    • An aside – A Liberal platform in 2011 Ontario provinical election was a tax credit to help new Canadians with professional qualifications find employment in their professional field. The usefulness or not of the credit is one thing. The response of the Conservative party’s leader was not to the tax credit itself but to the idea of providing this type of aid for the newcomer (the stranger) and not our “own people”. This was  the language used -- implying that some Canadian citizenship is worth more for those born here than for those born elsewhere.
  • 3. Step 10: Knowledge
    • Does this use "Other" to create “fear”, distance, and garner votes?
    • Armstrong rails against this (see p.129; 135)
  • 4. Step 10: Knowledge
    • Gathering and retaining knowledge to be able to resist this type of careless commentary and/or thinking is valuable. Armstrong refers to this as developing equanimity - by gathering one’s own facts, data, information on a given situation, this allows us to step back from an “us/them” discussion and consider what is being said with an “impartial” attitude - equanimity states Armstrong is a prelude to compassion (p.158)
  • 5. Step 10: Knowledge
    • Accruing knowledge can also bring about wisdom. Let us draw on the writings of Barbara Brown Taylor: 
    • Wisdom more so than knowledge (we can discuss this) is what is needed.
    Reverend Taylor has this to say about wisdom: In biblical terms, it is wisdom we need to live together in this world.  Wisdom is not gained by knowing what is right.  Wisdom is gained by practicing what is right, and noticing what happens when that practice succeeds and when it fails.
  • 6. Step 10: Knowledge
    • Barbara Brown Taylor:
    Wise people do not have to be certain what they believe before they act. They are free to act, trusting that the practice itself will teach them what they need to know. ... If you are not sure what to believe about your neighbor’s faith, then the best way to find out is to practice eating supper together.
  • 7. Step 10: Knowledge
    • Barbara Brown Taylor:
    Reason can only work with the experience available to it. Wisdom atrophies if it is not walked on a regular basis. Such wisdom is far more than information. To gain it, you need more than a brain. You need a body that gets hungry, feels pain, thrills to pleasure, craves rest.
  • 8. Step 10: Knowledge
    • Barbara Brown Taylor:
    This is your physical pass into the accumulated insight of all who have preceded you on this earth. To gain wisdom, you need flesh and blood, because wisdom involves bodies—and not just human bodies, but bird bodies, tree bodies, water bodies, and celestial bodies. According to the Talmud, every blade of grass has its own angel bending over it, whispering, “Grow, grow .”
  • 9. Step 10: Knowledge
    • In her book An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith , Taylor has a chapter called “The Practice of Encountering Others”
    In the practice of encountering lies wisdom, and this wisdom is achieved through encounter with another human being. Taylor notes that the process of encountering another human being simply as someone who can spring you from the prison of yourself, if you will allow it, is to understand what it means to die to your self.
  • 10. Step 10: Knowledge
    • “ The Practice of Encountering Others”
    All you have to do is recognize ... your other self in the world—for whom you may care as instinctively as you care for yourself. To become that person, even for a moment, can be as frightening as it is liberating.
  • 11. Step 10: Knowledge
    • Another way to enlarge one’s understanding of Other
    Can you recall a “spot in time” when you felt “Other” or when someone you thought you knew quite well indicated to you that they felt “Other”?
  • 12. Step 10: Knowledge
    • One of the way Karen Armstrong suggests people reach out to learn about the “Other” is through various websites...
    Search for Common Ground  www.sfcg.org has a number of articles and notes about what people are doing the world over to look for the commonalities they share with neighbours who are quite different from themselves.
  • 13. Step 10: Knowledge
    • One of the way Karen Armstrong suggests people reach out to learn about the “Other” is through various websites...
    Armstrong suggests that we “adopt” a foreign country or a different tradition, in order to actively expand our knowledge of an “Other” particularly one that makes us uncomfortable. What is your response to this suggestion?

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