Classroom Rules Poster
What kind of society do you want us to be?

Right now, our nation is caught in a struggle between two different kinds of society: injustice, supremacy, and patriarchy on one hand; and justice, compassion, and equality on the other hand.

This is our moment! There is no justice without compassion.

RCRC’s Compassion School is a go-at-your-own-pace, free virtual learning opportunity, equipping justice advocates with the tools to shape our society with compassion.

A great nation is a compassionate nation.

– MLK

Compassion School is a 10-week learning experience that features class discussion groups, social media posts, informational and inspirational videos, links to key research about how to activate compassion for justice.

Join us to learn more about what you can do to help us become the society we all need.

(Note: This course ran live in the fall of 2020, but remains available as a self-guided course!)

Enroll in RCRC's Compassion School

* indicates required

If you would like to join RCRC’s Compassion School community, please sign up above. You’ll receive sneak peeks and updates on our future course offerings from our brand new Religion & Repro Learning Center!

COURSE CURRICULUM

Welcome to RCRC’s Compassion School!

What exactly is Compassion School, you ask? We’ve included some helpful items below to set the stage and get you started.

Videos

(Video length: 9 min, 58 sec)

In this introductory video, Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson and Rev. Katey Zeh say “hello” and discuss:

  1. What sparked the idea for RCRC’s Compassion School and what role the pandemic played in this;
  2. If Compassion School solely focuses on the issue of reproductive freedom or if it includes other social justice issues;
  3. Who we hope will participate on Compassion School and what students may think and do differently as a result of learning more about compassion.

Recommended Resources

Welcome to Week 1 of RCRC’s Compassion School!

Videos

(Video length: 22 min, 37 sec)

Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson and Rev. Katey Zeh kick off the first week of Compassion School by discussing:

  1. What relationship compassion has (or doesn’t have) with organized religion;
  2. Compassion as a moral principle and framework for society.

Quotes

Recommended Resources

Home Assignment/Action

  1. This week, pay attention to when you extend compassion:  to whom and under what circumstances .
  2. Share, repost, or retweet at least one of the quotes, videos or articles that speak to you most!

Welcome to Week 2 of Compassion School! This week, we will be exploring the relationship between compassion, empathy, and social justice. Also, please note:

 

COMPASSION SCHOOL WEEKLY DISCUSSION GROUP

Please join our weekly discussion group held every Thursday at 12pm ET/9am PT, beginning this Thursday, September 24. RCRC’s Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson will be answering questions and interacting with students on Facebook Live, so please visit RCRC’s Facebook page to ask questions and share insights about the compassion topic for each week. For more information, you may contact her at cjackson@rcrc.org.

Videos

(Video length: 14 min, 26 sec)

This week, Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson and Rev. Katey Zeh discuss the questions:

  1. What are the differences and similarities between empathy and compassion?
  2. How and why is compassion critical to justice?

Week 2 Facebook Live Discussion

Recommended Resources

Article —  “Compassion is Better Than Empathy” by Tara Well PhD    

Video – Where Does Compassion Really Come From?

Video — Human: The Circle of Compassion 

 

(FOR KIDS) Article — “Social Justice in Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” by Stacey Shaneyfelt 

(FOR KIDS) Video — “Compassion in Action” by Stephanie Bierman 

Quotes

Home Assignment/Action

  1. Draw (preferably with your non-dominant hand) what compassion looks like. If you have children, do this with them!
  2. Share, repost, or retweet at least one of the quotes, videos or articles that speak to you most.

Videos

(Video length: 22 min, 17 sec)

This week, Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson and Rev. Katey Zeh discuss the questions:

  1. Given that research shows tremendous social, economic and health benefits of compassion, why is there not more focus on compassion in our society?
  2. What are the most common barriers to compassion?
  3. How do stress and anxiety get in the way of compassion?

Week 3 Facebook Live Discussion

Recommended Resources

Anger, Compassion, and What It Means To Be Strong | Russell Kolts | TEDxOlympia

Power of Compassion & Importance of the Work of CCARE

Conversations on Compassion with Krista Tippett

Quotes

Home Assignment/Action

  1. Draw (preferably with your non-dominant hand) what compassion looks like. If you have children, do this with them!
  2. Think of a time you chose – or wish you had chosen – to extend compassion instead of expressing hurtful anger at others.

COMPASSION SCHOOL WEEKLY DISCUSSION GROUP

This week we had guest speaker: Dr. Helen Weng!

Videos

(Video length: 24 min, 9 sec)

This week, Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson and Rev. Katey Zeh discuss the questions:

  1. What difference would it make if voters’ assessment of political candidates includes a focus on the expressed principles and track record of policies guided by compassion?
  2. President George W. Bush talked about the importance of compassionate conservatism – a political philosophy that stresses using conservative techniques and concepts to improve the general welfare of society.  Why have we moved so far away from this political principle?
  3. What are indicators of compassion voters should look for in candidates for any elected position at federal, state and local levels?
  4. Quizzes designed to help voters discern which candidates are most aligned with what individual voters value focus on policy issues. What do you recommend be included in such quizzes to highlight values of compassion?
  5. We have seen an increasing number of Republican leaders endorse the Biden-Harris ticket. What does this signal to you about the value of compassion?

Recommended Resources

The science of compassion | Dr. James Doty | TEDx Talk

George W. Bush on Compassion

The Third Industrial Revolution: Jeremy Rifkin

Training: Compassion Meditation Training

by Dr. Helen Weng for Center for Healthy Minds


Quotes

Home Assignment/Action

  1. Draw (preferably with your non-dominant hand) what compassion looks like. If you have children, do this with them!
  2. List 2-3 political leaders you have most respected: In what ways has their leadership reflected a high value compassion even when they were confronted with great opposition or attack?

Videos

(Video length: 13 min, 47 sec)

This week, Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson asks the following of Rev. Katey Zeh:

  1. You are a fitness trainer. Is there anything from fitness training that might be applied to strengthening compassion – not just as something we feel but action we take?
  2. How do we build our compassion muscles?
  3. Continuing with the exercise or fitness metaphor, what do you say to people who feel they don’t have time for compassionate because of all they are dealing with in their own lives?

Week 5 Facebook Live Discussion

Recommended Resources

Video: The Science of Compassion: Origins, Measures, and Interventions – Helen Weng

Video: Focus and Compassion – Daniel Goleman

Article: Interview With Dr. Helen Weng by Michael Juberg

Article: 20 Reasons Why Compassion Is So Important in Psychology by Heather S. Lonczak, PhD

Article: What Makes a Compassionate Man? by Kozo Hattori

Article: Top 10 Scientific Benefits of Compassion by Emma Seppala, PhD


  • Book: The Art of Happiness by HH Dalai Lama

Quotes

Home Assignment/Action

  1. Start each day with the intention of building your compassion musclewith your loved ones and strangers.
  2. Re-post at least 1 of the quotes, videos or articles that speak to you most.

Videos

(Video length: 7 min, 21 sec)

This week of Compassion School features a guest speaker whose work you may recognize from our previous units: Dr. James R. Doty, professor of neurosurgery at Stanford University and founder and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.

Dr. Doty discusses how self-compassion leads to compassion for others, and shares his experiences with identity, belonging, and personal aspirations.

Week 6 Facebook Live Discussion

Recommended Resources

Video: Self Compassion -The School of Life

Video: 5 Minute Self-Compassion Break 

Quotes

Home Assignment/Action

  1. Start each day with the intention of building your compassion musclewith your loved ones and strangers.
  2. Record a short video of yourself talking about a time you have felt more compassionate to others when you have given compassion to yourself, and share it in your social media.

Videos

(Video length: 24 min, 7 sec)

 

This week, Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson and Rev. Katey Zeh explore the following questions:

  1. What does it mean to think of racism as a public health crisis?
  2. If compassion were the guide for approaches and policies about reproductive health care, how would it impact maternal mortality–particular among BIWOC (Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color)?
  3. Discussions about reproductive health, rights and justice are often framed as pro-life and pro-choice. These terms often place greater value on the life of a potential, unborn person or on the current life of an actual person. How might compassion impact how we talk about abortion and all aspects of reproductive decisions and loss?

Week 7 Facebook Live Discussion

Recommended Resources

Quotes

Home Assignment/Action

  1. Re-post at least 1 of the quotes, videos or articles that speak to you most

Videos

(Video length: 22 min, 56 sec)

This week, we discuss:

  1. Typically, we focus on justice issues in ways that overlook their intersections. What has this election season revealed about the intersections of various justice issues?
  2. “Essential workers” during COVID-19 have often been people of color, women, and individuals who are being paid minimum wage. What has the COVID-19 pandemic revealed about intersections of income equity, public health, affordable housing, reproductive freedom, childcare, and public education, etc?
  3. How might compassion be a resource for helping us to advocate for justice – racial, economic, environmental, gender, disability, and so on – in ways that are more comprehensive and holistic?
  4. How can we spread the principles of compassion to help heal our world?

Week 8 Facebook Live Discussion

Recommended Resources

Quotes

Home Assignment/Action

  1. Re-post at least 1 of the quotes, videos or articles that speak to you most

Videos

(Video length: 11min, 54 sec)

This week, Rev. Dr. Jackson speaks with Dr. James R. Doty, professor of neurosurgery at Stanford University and founder and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.

They discuss ways to bring people together and promote understanding by focus on commonalities across groups, and Dr. Doty also shares his experience working with the Dalai Lama on compassion.

Week 9 Facebook Live Discussion

Recommended Resources

Article: “10 Easy Ways to Cultivate Compassion” by Lissa Rankin, MD

Book: “Deep Diversity: Overcoming Us Vs. Them” by Shakil Choudhury

Quotes

Home Assignment/Action

  1. Re-post at least 1 of the quotes, videos or articles that speak to you most

Videos

(Video length: 29 min, 57 sec)

For our final week of Compassion School, Rev. Katey Zeh and Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson wrap things up with a discussion of the following:

  1. Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says that it is really compassion that is the measure of our strength. What does that mean to you, especially in this time of multiple concurrent national and global crises that is leaving many of us feeling sad, scared, weak and overwhelmed?
  2. Dalai Lama and many others tell us that compassion is a necessity for our survival. Why is compassion urgent for today’s world, for both individual behavior and system approaches? How does compassion strengthen national security?
  3. What difference can each of us make in our own contexts and networks to spread compassion and encourage others to do so as well?
  4. Now that the 10 weeks of Compassion School are ending, what is your hope for the difference Compassion School might make in people’s individual lives and in our society?

Week 10 Facebook Live Discussion

Recommended Resources

Quotes

Home Assignment/Action

  1. Re-post at least 1 of the quotes, videos or articles that speak to you most
  2. Think about 1 thing you can do differently to express compassion toward someone it is not easy for you to connect with (emotionally, politically, religiously, ideologically, etc.) and do it!

RCRC’s Clergy and Laypeople Proudly Support:

Access

Access to comprehensive sexuality education

Planning

Family planning and contraception

Affordability

Affordable child care and health care

Adoption

Support for and access to adoption services

Abortion

Safe, legal abortion services, regardless of income or circumstance