ER: What makes a compassionate community?
Gudjon Bergmann: On a bad day, people in a compassionate community will tolerate each other and help if the need arises. On a good day, people in a compassionate community will go out of their way to treat each other well and support those who they come into contact with.
ER: How do you personally measure compassion?
Gudjon Bergmann: I define compassion as the ability to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. The more I can see things from their perspective, the more empathy and compassion I feel.
ER: What do you do to contribute to creating a more compassionate community and world?
Gudjon Bergmann: I run a small community organization called Harmony Interfaith Initiative. We are focused on education, strategies, and experiential events.
ER: Where is compassion needed in your city? Where does it exist?
Gudjon Bergmann: Compassion is needed in how we treat poor people and the earth. The number of gas guzzling cars is too high and people are too focused on their own survival to see that other people are struggling and need support. Thankfully, compassion exists in excess in our school system, which bodes well for the future.
ER: If your city was one of compassion, what would that look like? What is your idea of a compassionate city?
Gudjon Bergmann: I don’t believe in utopian ideals and think our city is doing fairly well, all things considered. That being said, I do believe that if each person decided to expand his or her circle of compassion to include more people and the earth, then our community would get progressively better day-by-day.
~Gudjon Bergmann is an interfaith minister, author, experienced speaker, founder of Harmony Interfaith Initiative, and columnist at Patheos.
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Categories: What Makes a Compassionate City?