Devotional Gatherings or Mashriq’ul-Adhkars?

Here is an interesting video of several devotional gatherings – otherwise known as Mashriq’ul’Adhkar:

If you want to find out more about Mashriq’s:

Exploring the Mashriqu’l-Adhk??r by Sen McGlinn
Compilation of Baha’i Writings on the Mashriqu’ul-Adhkar

Alternative spellings: Mashriqu’l-Azkar, Mashriq-ul-Azkar

Let the friends recall and ever bear in mind the repeated exhortations and glowing promises of our beloved Master with reference to the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, the crowning institution in every Bah??’? community.

Hmmm… the “crowning institution” in every Baha’i community. I wonder why we don’t hear about this more often?

  • http://bacquet.blogspot.com Karen

    This tape brought me back to a feeling that I had most of the time I was enrolled — that there are wonderful things going on in the Faith, everywhere but in my community. It brought back memories of the good times, too . . .

    Actually, there were devotional meetings here for a while, but like everything else, it goes a while, then peters out. The problem with tapes like this is that it leaves the impression that this is what the Baha’i community is like — and it’s not. There are just the brief, shining flashes amidst the normal situation of frustration and failure.

    But, I would certainly agree that if the mashriq really was treated as the heart of the community, then the Baha’i Faith could be everything Baha’is dream it is.

    Love, Karen

  • http://bacquet.blogspot.com Karen

    This tape brought me back to a feeling that I had most of the time I was enrolled — that there are wonderful things going on in the Faith, everywhere but in my community. It brought back memories of the good times, too . . .

    Actually, there were devotional meetings here for a while, but like everything else, it goes a while, then peters out. The problem with tapes like this is that it leaves the impression that this is what the Baha’i community is like — and it’s not. There are just the brief, shining flashes amidst the normal situation of frustration and failure.

    But, I would certainly agree that if the mashriq really was treated as the heart of the community, then the Baha’i Faith could be everything Baha’is dream it is.

    Love, Karen

  • http://kaweah.com/ Dan Jensen

    Putting aside the question of what the state of the Baha’i Faith actually is, it would be nice, I think, to see a religion that actively embraces the religious traditions of the world, without necessarily attempting to unify them conceptually, improve upon them, or replace them, judging each “by its own standard.”

  • http://kaweah.com/ Dan Jensen

    Putting aside the question of what the state of the Baha’i Faith actually is, it would be nice, I think, to see a religion that actively embraces the religious traditions of the world, without necessarily attempting to unify them conceptually, improve upon them, or replace them, judging each “by its own standard.”

  • http://www.geocities.com/ejhadley_1999/ Eric Hadley-Ives

    I want to respond to Karen’s statement about “There are just the brief, shining flashes amidst the normal situation of frustration and failure.” I do not think this is a fair generalization, at least any longer. Karen lived in a bad community, and there are bad communities. She’s right that to some degree such communities are normal within the worldwide Baha’i community, but only to a limited degree. Karen is also involved with the sort of internet communities where she is regularly informed of some of the worst things going on in the Baha’i community. Yes, there are thousands of Baha’is who are frustrated, and who see failure. I’m one of these alienated Baha’is myself, to a certain degree.

    But community devotions have been successes in the communities where I have lived (the greater St. Louis community, the communities of Springfield and Champaign-Urbana in Illinois). Devotional meetings were initiated over a decade ago, and they have grown in number and improved in quality. My experience of devotional meetings in Nairobi, Kenya in 1988 was that they were already well-instituted and going strong, and I can’t imagine that they have failed by now.

    That has been my experience in my local communities, but I am aware that devotions have been very successful in some other communities. There may be widespread failure and frustration in the Baha’i community (I think there probably is), and some of this failure and frustration is probably related to unusccessful devotional meetings and a lack of emphasis on the actual prayers and devotional attitudes and associated behaviors (service, creating a community of love, etc.) Yet, I think the devotional meetings in general tend to be one of the aspects of the Baha’i Faith that is most promising these days.

    And for some of the Baha’is the Faith already is one that is embracing the religious traditions of the world without attempting to “improve upon them or replace them” although I think an essential part of Baha’i theology is that the differences among religions are inessential from a God-centered point of view. Yes, as sociological and historical facts, the religions are not unified, and the differences among them make for interesting diversity. But at a deeper level it is possible to have a unified view of the religions. They can be unified from an atheistic point of view, as a bunch of delusional belief systems, or from a believing point of view, as varied manifestations of a single aspect of human nature relating to a real and holy reality underlying the universe.

    – Eric

  • http://www.geocities.com/ejhadley_1999/ Eric Hadley-Ives

    I want to respond to Karen’s statement about “There are just the brief, shining flashes amidst the normal situation of frustration and failure.” I do not think this is a fair generalization, at least any longer. Karen lived in a bad community, and there are bad communities. She’s right that to some degree such communities are normal within the worldwide Baha’i community, but only to a limited degree. Karen is also involved with the sort of internet communities where she is regularly informed of some of the worst things going on in the Baha’i community. Yes, there are thousands of Baha’is who are frustrated, and who see failure. I’m one of these alienated Baha’is myself, to a certain degree.

    But community devotions have been successes in the communities where I have lived (the greater St. Louis community, the communities of Springfield and Champaign-Urbana in Illinois). Devotional meetings were initiated over a decade ago, and they have grown in number and improved in quality. My experience of devotional meetings in Nairobi, Kenya in 1988 was that they were already well-instituted and going strong, and I can’t imagine that they have failed by now.

    That has been my experience in my local communities, but I am aware that devotions have been very successful in some other communities. There may be widespread failure and frustration in the Baha’i community (I think there probably is), and some of this failure and frustration is probably related to unusccessful devotional meetings and a lack of emphasis on the actual prayers and devotional attitudes and associated behaviors (service, creating a community of love, etc.) Yet, I think the devotional meetings in general tend to be one of the aspects of the Baha’i Faith that is most promising these days.

    And for some of the Baha’is the Faith already is one that is embracing the religious traditions of the world without attempting to “improve upon them or replace them” although I think an essential part of Baha’i theology is that the differences among religions are inessential from a God-centered point of view. Yes, as sociological and historical facts, the religions are not unified, and the differences among them make for interesting diversity. But at a deeper level it is possible to have a unified view of the religions. They can be unified from an atheistic point of view, as a bunch of delusional belief systems, or from a believing point of view, as varied manifestations of a single aspect of human nature relating to a real and holy reality underlying the universe.

    – Eric

  • anne greene

    Perhaps as you say”for some of the Baha’is, the Faith is one that is embracing the religious traditions of the world without attempting to ‘improve upon them or replace them” however, I think that for the majority of the Baha’is and the institutions of the Faith, the prime thought is that the Faith will replace all other religions and of course, the sooner the better. Witness the change of focus from the UHJ all the way down to the LSA’s regarding religious pluralism: the wording is surely there to support interfaith dialogues and working together, but underneath it all, the prime motivation is teach the faith, convert all others. Door to door teaching, ruhi focus, home visits: all attest to the true direction. The Institute Process is just another way to say we need to initiate and convert others to the Faith until the whole world is Baha’i and then all the world’s problems will be solved. Except that this is not the truth. Witness Baha’i communities everywhere and the current explosion of those jockeying for title and position, and those who cow down and say things like the following: “Oh, he/she is an Aux.Board Member—we need to be obedient to them”! Sheep, all sheep—what happened to thinking for oneself? The independent investigation of the truth does not nor did it ever mean: read the Baha’i Writings and then you will discover what is really The Truth! (oh, and by the way, if you don’t agree with us, then you are blind.)
    To go back to the change of focus from outward-looking (as when the UHJ said that Baha’is were to come out of their living rooms and interact with the community at large) to the now inward-looking concentration: this is truly the message: let the rest of the world hate and fight and kill each other off, then we will be there with the message of Baha’u’llah to rescue what is left of humanity—with our attitude of superiority and “we have The Truth”.
    Perhaps it is time to say that ALL religions are divisive in nature and give them all up. Perhaps humanity needs to focus in more on helping humanity stop killling each other and start working together.

  • anne greene

    Perhaps as you say”for some of the Baha’is, the Faith is one that is embracing the religious traditions of the world without attempting to ‘improve upon them or replace them” however, I think that for the majority of the Baha’is and the institutions of the Faith, the prime thought is that the Faith will replace all other religions and of course, the sooner the better. Witness the change of focus from the UHJ all the way down to the LSA’s regarding religious pluralism: the wording is surely there to support interfaith dialogues and working together, but underneath it all, the prime motivation is teach the faith, convert all others. Door to door teaching, ruhi focus, home visits: all attest to the true direction. The Institute Process is just another way to say we need to initiate and convert others to the Faith until the whole world is Baha’i and then all the world’s problems will be solved. Except that this is not the truth. Witness Baha’i communities everywhere and the current explosion of those jockeying for title and position, and those who cow down and say things like the following: “Oh, he/she is an Aux.Board Member—we need to be obedient to them”! Sheep, all sheep—what happened to thinking for oneself? The independent investigation of the truth does not nor did it ever mean: read the Baha’i Writings and then you will discover what is really The Truth! (oh, and by the way, if you don’t agree with us, then you are blind.)
    To go back to the change of focus from outward-looking (as when the UHJ said that Baha’is were to come out of their living rooms and interact with the community at large) to the now inward-looking concentration: this is truly the message: let the rest of the world hate and fight and kill each other off, then we will be there with the message of Baha’u’llah to rescue what is left of humanity—with our attitude of superiority and “we have The Truth”.
    Perhaps it is time to say that ALL religions are divisive in nature and give them all up. Perhaps humanity needs to focus in more on helping humanity stop killling each other and start working together.