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People of Compassion

TEAR Australia Inc, 2008
RRP $20

Reviewed by Naomi Waldron, member of Toowong Uniting Church

People of Compassion is a collection of 40 stories about ordinary people who have embodied Christ’s extraordinary spirit of compassion.
The book is intended as a starting point for group discussion or individual reflection on what it means to follow Christ’s commandment to love our neighbour.
Each story is short (only two-three pages in length), easy to read, and has a few questions for discussion or reflection at the end.
This book is no ordinary collection of the saints.
Rather than focussing on gruesome martyrdoms and bleeding statues, Mr Andrews presents these people as genuine individuals who listened to God’s word and acted accordingly.
Mr Andrews has presented a wide selection of men and women from a variety of cultural, ethnic and social backgrounds.
I related to many people in the stories and found People of Compassion to be a source of personal inspiration to act with greater compassion.
As a mother, my heart was torn by the story of Sojourner Truth who was sold into slavery at the age of 11.
She was then beaten and forced to give birth to five children who were taken from her and also sold into slavery.
When slavery was abolished in New York, Sojourner travelled the country taking up the cause for her sisters still in bondage, and eventually became a national symbol of the abolition struggle.
While Sojourner suffered unimaginably, her strength in Christ shone through and made a significant change in the world.
A quote in the book by Thomas Cahill is apt: “Life would be almost unbearable without such people … without them, history would be just one horror after another.”
People of Compassion is a little book of hope which inspires us to make this world a better place.
It would be a wonderful book for a minister, a study group, or for individual reflection.