A Methodology for Compassionate Work

All of us want to be effective, when working on important projects we care about.  After all, real change can be hard.  Our Center Director was blessed with some great advice from former president – and master social entrepreneur – James Earl “Jimmy” Carter. Her book, entitled Intelligence & Compassion in Action; The Seven Pillars for Social Entrepreneurs explains that advice, placing it into a clear, easy to follow methodology for others. Because of its potential for use in ministry, we are sharing the basics, here. In a nutshell, the advice is simple: follow your vision, use your special skills, address a chasm (we call this nonduplication), work in partnership, share the credit, measure for feedback, and stay the course (we call this staying power).
Russian-Language Edition Now Available.  | Portuguese-Language Edition Now Available.

The book was written with a very wide audience in mind.  For this website, each of the seven pillars has been set out in its own post examining Biblical quotes and stories, useful for teachers in a particularly Christian educational context.  Also, for teachers, there are resources at The Elfenworks Foundation [click for main page] to help you help students learn and apply these concepts. Use this table to go directly to the page of interest:

Pillar Bible Topic / Quotes / Stories Elfenworks General Teacher Page Link
Overview (this page) Elfenworks Teacher Page: Overview
1 – Vision Topic: Vision Elfenworks Teacher Page: Vision
2 -Special Skills Topic: Special Skills Elfenworks Teacher Page: Special Skills
3 – Non-duplication Topic: Non-duplication Elfenworks Teacher Page: Non-duplication
4 – Partnership Topic: Partnership Elfenworks Teacher Page: Partnership
5 – Credit Sharing Topic: Credit Sharing Elfenworks Teacher Page: Credit Sharing
6 – Feedback Topic:  Feedback Elfenworks Teacher Page: Feedback 
7 – Staying Power Topic: Staying Power Elfenworks Teacher Page: Staying Power

General “Take Action” Tips
When in doubt, choose to err on the side which will do the least harm to the individual.   And work to maintain privacy at all levels, even professional to professional. ReligiousTolerance.org has given us this to consider: Where many belief systems differ from each other and science has input, and where there is a significant chance of death to an individual, perhaps that dogma might be reevaluated.

Physician, heal thyself was meant as a taunt, hurled at Jesus unjustly by his accusers; when it’s hurled at us, imperfect as we are, we often dislike looking inside ourselves for any kernel of truth. Perhaps we can recognize that none of us are perfect, and that will help us in coming together we can heal ourselves to better heal the world. And to come together, we nead to reach out in love, overcome our fear of our differences  to get to understanding. This, while cultivating patience and forgiveness, noticing  with gentle good humor and that our fellow travelers are, equally human.

A good rule of thumb to ask before offering criticism might be “will this help, or heal?”  or as one is taught to ask in the Middle East, whether your words will be as beautiful as the sound of the wind, blowing over desert sands. Consider the advice of Gandhi,  that we might discern the true motivation of our action in noticing whether it will be of any help to the last and least. It’s a humble reminder that we all see things given our own perspectives, through a glass, darkly.

Whether you are already engaged in a topic or seeking to explore how to get involved, we hope you’ll find our growing body of Take Action pages to be helpful. Currently, we offer pages on Methodology for Effective Action, creation care, and homelessness, with other pages in the works.  Think we have overlooked an important area? Then, kindly reach out with a friendly word through our contact page, to let us know.

Categories Social Entrepreneurship | Tags: | Posted on June 28, 2013

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