Transparent is as Transparent Does

transparent

I’m not sure if any Baha’is who live in Alaska read this humble little blog. I only ask because if there are any fellow Baha’is from there, they probably already know the news that I’m about to share with you.

The great State of Alaska has recently decided to become so transparent that they have put their whole checkbook on the internet for everyone to see.

All expenses over $1000 are detailed and shared on their Division of Finance website. You can download the spreadsheet in either Excel or Adobe PDF.

Can you imagine that? total transparency from a state government?!? I was floored when I read this! Like many others I don’t hold politicians and by relationship, the bureaucracy of government in high regard. But here they were surprising the heck out of me!

One of my pet peeves is how opaque the Baha’i administration is when it comes to the fund. I’ve already gripped about it here so you can read that instead of me rehashing it all.

As far as I know, there is no precedent for the kind of transparency that Alaska has implemented in any religious organization. In the previous discussion Sonja mentioned that as a member of a local New Zealand Baha’i community they did have transparency. But sadly, I find this the exception, rather than the rule. Even this iota of transparency is limited to the local level. I have heard of no NSA being equally transparent with their member community.

But even if no religious organization is transparent… who cares? I want the Baha’i Faith to blaze trails, to go where others haven’t, to be refreshing, exciting, invigorating, and to inspire individuals.

Money is just that, money. It is not the end all and be all of a community. It is simply a tool. So then the question is, are we using this tool to our best ability? are we bending it to perform fully in service of the Cause? are we using it in a way that encourages fellowship, unity and growth?

I would argue that more transparency would serve those ends rather than less. This is not a new idea really. Many for-profit organizations have this level of transparency. Just search for “open book management”.

To me, personally, when I see that the Baha’i administration doesn’t share information about the fund… it communicates that they don’t trust me. That they don’t want me in the loop. I’m not included. I’m supposed to stand over there and just hand over my money.

On the flip side, asking for transparency can be seen as a sign that we, the Baha’i community are implying that we don’t trust those who are on the institutions and manage the funds of the Faith. All I can say is that, unfortunately, we don’t have a spotless record on that. Mistakes have been made and since we are only fallible human beings struggling to transform into higher beings, we will undoubtedly continue to face such challenges.

Which then begs the question, would it serve such purposes to be more transparent or less? would secrecy and opacity serve the interests of those that stray? making it easier for them to hide and defraud? or would it make it more difficult?

In any case, the advantages of transparency go leaps beyond such concerns. The much larger picture is that transparency and the sharing of information creates unity and inspires individuals to be motivated by loftier ideals.

Anyway, those are my rambling thoughts. What do you think?

  • Anonymous

    One point of personal preference: begs the question means to assume what has still to be proved. It does not mean to raise the question, which is the sense in which you have used it. This is important because the use of one phrase to mean another creates ambiguities — not just in your writing, but in English generally. The phrase “begging the question” now becomes more ambiguous and obfuscatory instead of helpful. This is especially insidious because the more we use a phrase incorrectly, the more likely that others will too. Thus, the nature of common usage.

    Personally, I think the question this issue raises is not the one you mentioned; but a far wider one, which is: Why be a Bah??’?­?

    Your criticism of their transparency assumes that “the many” should be allowed to judge “the leaders” — i.e., the leaders who have the infallible guidance — which is manifest blasphemy. If the Bah??’?­ Faith is correct and Bah??’u’ll??h gave humanity infallible guidance for a better world, then the only legitimate system of governance is what Bah??’u’ll??h has prescribed: an ideologically-driven authoritarianism — in a word, totalitarianism. This is what the Bah??’?­ Administrative Order is inculcating and they are absolutely right to do so, if you assume the correctness of their scripture.

    So again, the question is not whether Bah??’?­s should have transparent finances; but rather, Why be a Bah??’?­?

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    One point of personal preference: begs the question means to assume what has still to be proved. It does not mean to raise the question, which is the sense in which you have used it. This is important because the use of one phrase to mean another creates ambiguities — not just in your writing, but in English generally. The phrase “begging the question” now becomes more ambiguous and obfuscatory instead of helpful. This is especially insidious because the more we use a phrase incorrectly, the more likely that others will too. Thus, the nature of common usage.

    Personally, I think the question this issue raises is not the one you mentioned; but a far wider one, which is: Why be a Bah??’?­?

    Your criticism of their transparency assumes that “the many” should be allowed to judge “the leaders” — i.e., the leaders who have the infallible guidance — which is manifest blasphemy. If the Bah??’?­ Faith is correct and Bah??’u’ll??h gave humanity infallible guidance for a better world, then the only legitimate system of governance is what Bah??’u’ll??h has prescribed: an ideologically-driven authoritarianism — in a word, totalitarianism. This is what the Bah??’?­ Administrative Order is inculcating and they are absolutely right to do so, if you assume the correctness of their scripture.

    So again, the question is not whether Bah??’?­s should have transparent finances; but rather, Why be a Bah??’?­?

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure if you are confused about this, but I’m not a Bah??’?­. In fact, I’m an advocate of being good without religion, since I believe that religion unnecessarily divides us.

    I understand sophism to be the art of producing firm convictions without good reasoning. Alternatively, it is the practice of playing word games. I don’t believe I have done either, and I think it’s clear that I haven’t. But if you would like to present an argument in your favour, I’d be glad to hear it.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    I’m not sure if you are confused about this, but I’m not a Bah??’?­. In fact, I’m an advocate of being good without religion, since I believe that religion unnecessarily divides us.

    I understand sophism to be the art of producing firm convictions without good reasoning. Alternatively, it is the practice of playing word games. I don’t believe I have done either, and I think it’s clear that I haven’t. But if you would like to present an argument in your favour, I’d be glad to hear it.

  • Anonymous

    My point was just that instead of forcing the Bah??’?­ Faith to conform to good secular standards which are anathema to the religion’s own professed goals, why not simply promote the secular ideals — on their own?!

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    My point was just that instead of forcing the Bah??’?­ Faith to conform to good secular standards which are anathema to the religion’s own professed goals, why not simply promote the secular ideals — on their own?!

  • Lieylak

    If I remember correctly was the first person recently to bring up the words financial transparency on this blog. I say this to mean I think transparency is good in general in all things…financial included.

    But, just because we “don’t have a spotless record”does not mean that what is good for Alaska is good for the Baha’i institutions.

    Alaska government did more in the last 5 decades than not have a spotless record…the consensus on Alaska government is it is a DEN OF CORRUPTION unlike ever experienced before in the history of an American state!!

    Baha’i institution’s, on the other hand, are on the whole recognized for piousness, frugality in the best sense , and righteousness when it comes to the funds.

    I love your blog, don’t get me wrong with what I am saying!

    But, the tone, and I may be wrong, is that NSA purposely does not have financial transparency. I think that this is not true. I think it may be possible, if indeed it is true that there is not such transparency, that the idea has just has never been raised as a real issue.

    In our feast every month the treasure says how EVERY penny was spent. I think that thus there should not be much of a problem doing this on a national level.

    I understand that you are an enrolled Baha’i and that you know it is your duty to help your institutions to grow and develop lovingly. And I don’t know you but I think you live in the US.

    So, do us all a serious favor and call up the national center tomorrow and ask to make an appointment to talk to Dr. Roberts, NSA treasurer, by phone and have a consultation with him about it.

    Let’s hear what he has to say about it. Maybe the annual report already has amazing budget transparency…and we haven’t bothered looking. Maybe it would help if the feast could receive a National Treasurers report every few months. Maybe there is already a place on the usbnc website where you can look at all of this stuff.

    I think maybe that we need more INVESTIGATION before we can totally assume that we don’t already have transparency in the Baha’i fund in America.

    If you have already done this kind of investigation and can shed light on it for me I would be truly grateful.

    If will you do it?

    Find out for us please we really need to know! I await your reply!

  • Lieylak

    If I remember correctly was the first person recently to bring up the words financial transparency on this blog. I say this to mean I think transparency is good in general in all things…financial included.

    But, just because we “don’t have a spotless record”does not mean that what is good for Alaska is good for the Baha’i institutions.

    Alaska government did more in the last 5 decades than not have a spotless record…the consensus on Alaska government is it is a DEN OF CORRUPTION unlike ever experienced before in the history of an American state!!

    Baha’i institution’s, on the other hand, are on the whole recognized for piousness, frugality in the best sense , and righteousness when it comes to the funds.

    I love your blog, don’t get me wrong with what I am saying!

    But, the tone, and I may be wrong, is that NSA purposely does not have financial transparency. I think that this is not true. I think it may be possible, if indeed it is true that there is not such transparency, that the idea has just has never been raised as a real issue.

    In our feast every month the treasure says how EVERY penny was spent. I think that thus there should not be much of a problem doing this on a national level.

    I understand that you are an enrolled Baha’i and that you know it is your duty to help your institutions to grow and develop lovingly. And I don’t know you but I think you live in the US.

    So, do us all a serious favor and call up the national center tomorrow and ask to make an appointment to talk to Dr. Roberts, NSA treasurer, by phone and have a consultation with him about it.

    Let’s hear what he has to say about it. Maybe the annual report already has amazing budget transparency…and we haven’t bothered looking. Maybe it would help if the feast could receive a National Treasurers report every few months. Maybe there is already a place on the usbnc website where you can look at all of this stuff.

    I think maybe that we need more INVESTIGATION before we can totally assume that we don’t already have transparency in the Baha’i fund in America.

    If you have already done this kind of investigation and can shed light on it for me I would be truly grateful.

    If will you do it?

    Find out for us please we really need to know! I await your reply!

  • concourse_on_low

    I’ve made this comment before but I think it’s worth repeating: the alleged faults and shortcomings of the AO, decried on many Bahai blogs, are not the result of DEVIANCE from Bahai scriptures or teachings, but rather the consequence of FAITHFULNESS to them!

    If you don’t like authoritarianism, centralized control, lack of transparency, dogmatism and pretensions to infallibility then WHY (as Mavaddat asks) be a Bahai, when being a genuine scripture-adhering Bahai entails acceptance of these things?

  • concourse_on_low

    I’ve made this comment before but I think it’s worth repeating: the alleged faults and shortcomings of the AO, decried on many Bahai blogs, are not the result of DEVIANCE from Bahai scriptures or teachings, but rather the consequence of FAITHFULNESS to them!

    If you don’t like authoritarianism, centralized control, lack of transparency, dogmatism and pretensions to infallibility then WHY (as Mavaddat asks) be a Bahai, when being a genuine scripture-adhering Bahai entails acceptance of these things?

  • Lieylak

    Ok and one more thing. You mention that corporations have financial transparency in the United States. I would like to point out to that the ONLY reason that companies in America have this is because they are forced to by LAW! And by the way they have fought to keep from having to do this tooth and nail…with lawyers, lobbyist and tons of money. What a great way to spend money!

  • Lieylak

    Ok and one more thing. You mention that corporations have financial transparency in the United States. I would like to point out to that the ONLY reason that companies in America have this is because they are forced to by LAW! And by the way they have fought to keep from having to do this tooth and nail…with lawyers, lobbyist and tons of money. What a great way to spend money!

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    If a corporation chooses to become public, then they have to issue public fin. statements. They can also decide to remain private (or be taken private), in which case they wouldn’t be so obligated.

    But I was referring to “open book management” which is when a private (usually smallish) company decides to be totally transparent. To their employees, their suppliers and sometimes even their customers. This is a level of transparency that exceeds public co. disclosure.

    As you’ll discover if you research this concept, the companies who implement it have reported remarkable achievements.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    If a corporation chooses to become public, then they have to issue public fin. statements. They can also decide to remain private (or be taken private), in which case they wouldn’t be so obligated.

    But I was referring to “open book management” which is when a private (usually smallish) company decides to be totally transparent. To their employees, their suppliers and sometimes even their customers. This is a level of transparency that exceeds public co. disclosure.

    As you’ll discover if you research this concept, the companies who implement it have reported remarkable achievements.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Lieylak, I am not basing what I wrote on assumption. I have contacted my NSA and even the UHJ. Each time I was given the runaround in beautiful flowery language.

    I suggest you contact them and ask for audited financial statements: balance sheet and income/expense reports or anything remotely resembling them.

    Please prove me wrong! It wouldn’t be the first time and I can promise you I would trumpet it on this blog.

    There is nothing that I’d love more than being able to say, “Yes, I was wrong. The NSA and the UHJ are totaly tranaprent, here’s the evidence….” Well, to be honest, there may be a few things I’d love more like universal fellowship and peace, but you get the idea.

    So far I have been denied that through my own attempts. Perhaps you or other Baha’is have the magic touch I lack.

    Look forward to your reply (if you get one from the NSA/UHJ).

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Lieylak, I am not basing what I wrote on assumption. I have contacted my NSA and even the UHJ. Each time I was given the runaround in beautiful flowery language.

    I suggest you contact them and ask for audited financial statements: balance sheet and income/expense reports or anything remotely resembling them.

    Please prove me wrong! It wouldn’t be the first time and I can promise you I would trumpet it on this blog.

    There is nothing that I’d love more than being able to say, “Yes, I was wrong. The NSA and the UHJ are totaly tranaprent, here’s the evidence….” Well, to be honest, there may be a few things I’d love more like universal fellowship and peace, but you get the idea.

    So far I have been denied that through my own attempts. Perhaps you or other Baha’is have the magic touch I lack.

    Look forward to your reply (if you get one from the NSA/UHJ).

  • Lieylak

    Ok, great so you’ve done the first part of the suggestion. The second part is to aid your institutions by contacting Billy Roberts and giving the suggestion for there to be more transparency and can he help! We owe that to God if truly want universal peace ect. IF this was an issue that truly disturbed me in the Bahai community I would call Billy at least once every 6 months!

  • Lieylak

    Ok, great so you’ve done the first part of the suggestion. The second part is to aid your institutions by contacting Billy Roberts and giving the suggestion for there to be more transparency and can he help! We owe that to God if truly want universal peace ect. IF this was an issue that truly disturbed me in the Bahai community I would call Billy at least once every 6 months!

  • Geoff

    nice! pass the buck.

  • Geoff

    nice! pass the buck.

  • Lieylak

    Geoff,
    With Fairness you will see what in my original comment I asked Baquila to call the national center and talk to Billly Roberts since that would be out duty if we are Bahais concerned about the issue. If anything Baquila is passing the buck by asking me to do it…because obviously it is an issue of true concern for him/her…but I don’t even think Baquila is doing that I…we are simply having a discussion about greater levels of address of this issue. I have another concerns about the Bahai community and I attempt to LOVINGLY address those all the time with people in the Bahai community constantly. I think that Baquila has fairness his/her comments to me have demonstrated that with a polite and explanatory tone. BUt, with most of Baquila readers your comment is rude, incorrect, and accusatory towards Baquila and myself. This type of commentary both in real life and in cyberspace totally cuts of the possibility of true fruitful conversation …because that requires the spirit of benefit of the doubt to the person that you are speaking to and love for them. Maybe you should look at your own comment accusing us of passing the buck …what good does that comment do? Maybe we are not passing the buck and you are simply sabotaging fruitful conversation. Think about it!

  • Lieylak

    Geoff,
    With Fairness you will see what in my original comment I asked Baquila to call the national center and talk to Billly Roberts since that would be out duty if we are Bahais concerned about the issue. If anything Baquila is passing the buck by asking me to do it…because obviously it is an issue of true concern for him/her…but I don’t even think Baquila is doing that I…we are simply having a discussion about greater levels of address of this issue. I have another concerns about the Bahai community and I attempt to LOVINGLY address those all the time with people in the Bahai community constantly. I think that Baquila has fairness his/her comments to me have demonstrated that with a polite and explanatory tone. BUt, with most of Baquila readers your comment is rude, incorrect, and accusatory towards Baquila and myself. This type of commentary both in real life and in cyberspace totally cuts of the possibility of true fruitful conversation …because that requires the spirit of benefit of the doubt to the person that you are speaking to and love for them. Maybe you should look at your own comment accusing us of passing the buck …what good does that comment do? Maybe we are not passing the buck and you are simply sabotaging fruitful conversation. Think about it!

  • Lieylak

    MY PREVIOUS COMMENT TO BAQUILA!

    “So, do us all a serious favor and call up the national center tomorrow and ask to make an appointment to talk to Dr. Roberts, NSA treasurer, by phone and have a consultation with him about it.”

  • Lieylak

    MY PREVIOUS COMMENT TO BAQUILA!

    “So, do us all a serious favor and call up the national center tomorrow and ask to make an appointment to talk to Dr. Roberts, NSA treasurer, by phone and have a consultation with him about it.”

  • Amanda

    I think the division you make between addressing concerns “lovingly” and what you apparently perceive as NOT lovingly, is a dangerous one to make, Lieylak.

    I understood you to be describing Baquia’s approach to this financial issue, please correct me if I am wrong.

    I think when we characterize criticism as being unloving, we reveal our lack of confidence in love. I see many people trying to “protect” what they aparently feel is quite fragile from direct critique, and I think it is sad.

    Love does not = coddling. Love has the capacity to both give and receive honest critique without sugarcoating. I also think it is important to recognize the love for truth and concern for the community that is evident in taking the step of voicing these concerns.

    Lovingly,
    Amanda

  • Amanda

    I think the division you make between addressing concerns “lovingly” and what you apparently perceive as NOT lovingly, is a dangerous one to make, Lieylak.

    I understood you to be describing Baquia’s approach to this financial issue, please correct me if I am wrong.

    I think when we characterize criticism as being unloving, we reveal our lack of confidence in love. I see many people trying to “protect” what they aparently feel is quite fragile from direct critique, and I think it is sad.

    Love does not = coddling. Love has the capacity to both give and receive honest critique without sugarcoating. I also think it is important to recognize the love for truth and concern for the community that is evident in taking the step of voicing these concerns.

    Lovingly,
    Amanda

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Lieylak, perhaps I didn’t write my response clear enough so allow me to make another attempt. I have already contacted the institutions about my concern, both the NSA and the UHJ. This is the responsibility of a Baha’i – to go through proper channels. I did that. ok? Is that clear?

    Let me repeat that again, I wrote a letter to both my NSA and the UHJ where I expressed my concerns. I also spoke personally to my National treasurer on the phone a few times. For all that effort, here’s what I got: BUPKIS !! No info, no answers, no details. I was told, politely mind you, to GO AWAY.

    Now, as someone who is on the sidelines yelling plays, I invite you onto the field. We are all teammates here. All equal. All with equal rights and equal access to the institutions. I invite you to contact your NSA and the UHJ (in case you have to escalate).

    Are you ready to actually do something, rather than telling others what to do?

    Your ball.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Lieylak, perhaps I didn’t write my response clear enough so allow me to make another attempt. I have already contacted the institutions about my concern, both the NSA and the UHJ. This is the responsibility of a Baha’i – to go through proper channels. I did that. ok? Is that clear?

    Let me repeat that again, I wrote a letter to both my NSA and the UHJ where I expressed my concerns. I also spoke personally to my National treasurer on the phone a few times. For all that effort, here’s what I got: BUPKIS !! No info, no answers, no details. I was told, politely mind you, to GO AWAY.

    Now, as someone who is on the sidelines yelling plays, I invite you onto the field. We are all teammates here. All equal. All with equal rights and equal access to the institutions. I invite you to contact your NSA and the UHJ (in case you have to escalate).

    Are you ready to actually do something, rather than telling others what to do?

    Your ball.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    UHJ members, like everyone else who works at the world center, are not paid but receive a living stipend and have their expenses covered (housing, food, etc.). Depending on their age and number of years of service, they may receive a modest pension on retirement.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    UHJ members, like everyone else who works at the world center, are not paid but receive a living stipend and have their expenses covered (housing, food, etc.). Depending on their age and number of years of service, they may receive a modest pension on retirement.

  • Lieylak

    OK! I understand now. You didn’t explain that in your previous posts. I guess I just hoped that you had the magic touch. I thought it was me and that’s why the suggestions I made where treated as such.

    I have been told that same about the Issue in the Baha’i community that concerns me the most. I have written and written to my national institution….and talked and tried and gotten nothing or something along the lines of go away.

    I have written and written kindly, lovingly, with dire information till I am blue in the face and have been dismissed despite my expertise in the issue in the world at large.

    If I have been unsuccessful in assisting the Baha’i community in an issue which I am a recognized expert in the world at large and professor of this issue–>I even received an award this year from a non-governmental institution for being a source of justice surrounding this issue.

    I humbly love the Baha’i Faith and it’s institution’s and know that change does not happen fast because of the fallibility of people. But, as both of us have ….we have to keep trying!

    Your issue financial transparency…I am not an expert on this nor is it an issue I care about a lot.

    You can’t say the ball is in someone else’s court when their not playing your game.

    I was just trying to encourage you!

  • Lieylak

    OK! I understand now. You didn’t explain that in your previous posts. I guess I just hoped that you had the magic touch. I thought it was me and that’s why the suggestions I made where treated as such.

    I have been told that same about the Issue in the Baha’i community that concerns me the most. I have written and written to my national institution….and talked and tried and gotten nothing or something along the lines of go away.

    I have written and written kindly, lovingly, with dire information till I am blue in the face and have been dismissed despite my expertise in the issue in the world at large.

    If I have been unsuccessful in assisting the Baha’i community in an issue which I am a recognized expert in the world at large and professor of this issue–>I even received an award this year from a non-governmental institution for being a source of justice surrounding this issue.

    I humbly love the Baha’i Faith and it’s institution’s and know that change does not happen fast because of the fallibility of people. But, as both of us have ….we have to keep trying!

    Your issue financial transparency…I am not an expert on this nor is it an issue I care about a lot.

    You can’t say the ball is in someone else’s court when their not playing your game.

    I was just trying to encourage you!

  • Lieylak

    Wow …amanda I am so glad I don’t know you!
    No one here asked to be coddled just to not be attacked needlessly and stupidly! Read what I wrote and please try to use your brain!

  • Lieylak

    Wow …amanda I am so glad I don’t know you!
    No one here asked to be coddled just to not be attacked needlessly and stupidly! Read what I wrote and please try to use your brain!

  • Amanda

    My dear Lieylak,

    I did understand what you wrote (and with my brain, no less.) I understood you to be:

    1) Repeating your request for Baquia to call Billy Roberts, apparently missing the point that he has already asked for this information from the Treasurer’s Office, and that it has been denied. I also understood you to hold the belief that if a problem such as this could exist in the community, that it must be because the NSA simply doesn’t know about it. Am I incorrect? Because, Baquia has informed us that by his own efforts, that they do know of it. Yet the lack of transparency remains.

    2) I also understood you as stating that the manner in which readers comment on this topic is, “rude, incorrect, and accusatory towards Baquila and myself.” I have re-read the proceeding 23 comments and can see no evidence of this. Am I wrong? I did notice that another “reader” pointed out that you were “passing the buck” by continuing to ask Baquia to contact Billy Roberts again.

    3) But the thing I noticed and commented on was your depiction of using a “loving,’ or actually “LOVING” way of addressing issues in the community, versus what you characterize as either “rude,” “accusatory,” “incorrect.” or some type of failing in ones “duty to help your institutions to grow and develop lovingly.” You originally contrasted this “loving” approach with how you perceived Baquias “tone” in offering this criticism in this place. Am I misunderstanding your words?

    So, again, I find that distinction disturbing. Offering criticism does not come from a lack of love. And criticism can be offered simply and directly, with no over-embelishments of flowery Valentine’s language. The simplicity of a sincere statement does not make it unloving, and I wonder why you think it does? Would you explain it to me?

    Because the only rudeness I read in this conversation was a use of “sophist” as an insult (and a misrepresentation; which has since been retracted) and your last comment to me.

    I would sincerely appreciate you correcting me if I have misunderstood anything. I would also sincerely appreciate you pointing out this “rudeness,” because apparently it is invisable to me. All I saw was the clash of differing opinions. Differing opinions rooted in love. And, as you pointed out correctly (just a couple of comments before saying you were glad not to know me and instructing me to “use my brain”) rudeness “cuts of the possibility of true fruitful conversation.” I would certainly hate to be blind to such a thing, lest it “sabotage fruitful conversation.”

    Sincerely,
    And lovingly,
    Amanda

  • Amanda

    My dear Lieylak,

    I did understand what you wrote (and with my brain, no less.) I understood you to be:

    1) Repeating your request for Baquia to call Billy Roberts, apparently missing the point that he has already asked for this information from the Treasurer’s Office, and that it has been denied. I also understood you to hold the belief that if a problem such as this could exist in the community, that it must be because the NSA simply doesn’t know about it. Am I incorrect? Because, Baquia has informed us that by his own efforts, that they do know of it. Yet the lack of transparency remains.

    2) I also understood you as stating that the manner in which readers comment on this topic is, “rude, incorrect, and accusatory towards Baquila and myself.” I have re-read the proceeding 23 comments and can see no evidence of this. Am I wrong? I did notice that another “reader” pointed out that you were “passing the buck” by continuing to ask Baquia to contact Billy Roberts again.

    3) But the thing I noticed and commented on was your depiction of using a “loving,’ or actually “LOVING” way of addressing issues in the community, versus what you characterize as either “rude,” “accusatory,” “incorrect.” or some type of failing in ones “duty to help your institutions to grow and develop lovingly.” You originally contrasted this “loving” approach with how you perceived Baquias “tone” in offering this criticism in this place. Am I misunderstanding your words?

    So, again, I find that distinction disturbing. Offering criticism does not come from a lack of love. And criticism can be offered simply and directly, with no over-embelishments of flowery Valentine’s language. The simplicity of a sincere statement does not make it unloving, and I wonder why you think it does? Would you explain it to me?

    Because the only rudeness I read in this conversation was a use of “sophist” as an insult (and a misrepresentation; which has since been retracted) and your last comment to me.

    I would sincerely appreciate you correcting me if I have misunderstood anything. I would also sincerely appreciate you pointing out this “rudeness,” because apparently it is invisable to me. All I saw was the clash of differing opinions. Differing opinions rooted in love. And, as you pointed out correctly (just a couple of comments before saying you were glad not to know me and instructing me to “use my brain”) rudeness “cuts of the possibility of true fruitful conversation.” I would certainly hate to be blind to such a thing, lest it “sabotage fruitful conversation.”

    Sincerely,
    And lovingly,
    Amanda

  • Brendan Cook

    “It is idiot’s like you that believe that passivity is god acting.”

    Stupid is as stupid does, and calling someone an idiot is the stupidest thing I’ve seen done on this thread. I hope Lieylak ignores this sort of ignorance and continues to post constructively.

  • Brendan Cook

    “It is idiot’s like you that believe that passivity is god acting.”

    Stupid is as stupid does, and calling someone an idiot is the stupidest thing I’ve seen done on this thread. I hope Lieylak ignores this sort of ignorance and continues to post constructively.

  • Lieylak

    Abbadula Culala,
    I NEVER SAID PASSIVITY IS GOD ACTING! DON’T PUT Words in mouth!!! The whole point of my comment that I guess you “somehow” missed is that you have to keep actively opposing things that are not right…but not the institution’s themselves. This is not about passivity but actively. How did you miss the part…”we have to keep trying” this encourages action and refers to the actions I have been taking.

    I am going to stop participating because people commenting on this site on this site 1) don’t know how to read 2) can’t read because they have such a huge chip on their shoulders and are against the Baha’i Faith 3) twist things around to attack the Baha’i Faith (like the fact that Bacquila didn’t mention till I had almost made every comment on this that I have that he has already called and Amanda accused me of “missing it”!

    I must thank you because everytime I think that the Baha’i community is not what is should be yet and I get a little right or left of center…I meet people like you.

    Fringe people…there are not many but you are a loud, assuming you know everything about everyones thoughts and intentions….thank the Lord you are a minority. And if you are on the fringe with the way you act I understand why…and somehow despite the fact that I do want unity I am glad YOU are not in control of my Bahai community because you have put yourself on the fringe.

    You remind me how great the Baha’i community is….you have just moved motion that was going towards the fringe back center. Thank you for reminding me, through your uninformed words, what is right and what is wrong !

  • Lieylak

    Abbadula Culala,
    I NEVER SAID PASSIVITY IS GOD ACTING! DON’T PUT Words in mouth!!! The whole point of my comment that I guess you “somehow” missed is that you have to keep actively opposing things that are not right…but not the institution’s themselves. This is not about passivity but actively. How did you miss the part…”we have to keep trying” this encourages action and refers to the actions I have been taking.

    I am going to stop participating because people commenting on this site on this site 1) don’t know how to read 2) can’t read because they have such a huge chip on their shoulders and are against the Baha’i Faith 3) twist things around to attack the Baha’i Faith (like the fact that Bacquila didn’t mention till I had almost made every comment on this that I have that he has already called and Amanda accused me of “missing it”!

    I must thank you because everytime I think that the Baha’i community is not what is should be yet and I get a little right or left of center…I meet people like you.

    Fringe people…there are not many but you are a loud, assuming you know everything about everyones thoughts and intentions….thank the Lord you are a minority. And if you are on the fringe with the way you act I understand why…and somehow despite the fact that I do want unity I am glad YOU are not in control of my Bahai community because you have put yourself on the fringe.

    You remind me how great the Baha’i community is….you have just moved motion that was going towards the fringe back center. Thank you for reminding me, through your uninformed words, what is right and what is wrong !

  • Anonymous

    First…

    Lieylak
    2008-02-17 18:56:09

    BUt, with most of Baquila readers your comment is rude, incorrect, and accusatory towards Baquila and myself. This type of commentary both in real life and in cyberspace totally cuts of the possibility of true fruitful conversation …because that requires the spirit of benefit of the doubt to the person that you are speaking to and love for them.

    And then…

    Comment by Lieylak
    2008-02-18 01:49:38

    Wow …amanda I am so glad I don’t know you!
    No one here asked to be coddled just to not be attacked needlessly and stupidly! Read what I wrote and please try to use your brain!

    Lieylak, I am glad you are here as a true representative of the Bah??’?­ community.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    First…

    Lieylak
    2008-02-17 18:56:09

    BUt, with most of Baquila readers your comment is rude, incorrect, and accusatory towards Baquila and myself. This type of commentary both in real life and in cyberspace totally cuts of the possibility of true fruitful conversation …because that requires the spirit of benefit of the doubt to the person that you are speaking to and love for them.

    And then…

    Comment by Lieylak
    2008-02-18 01:49:38

    Wow …amanda I am so glad I don’t know you!
    No one here asked to be coddled just to not be attacked needlessly and stupidly! Read what I wrote and please try to use your brain!

    Lieylak, I am glad you are here as a true representative of the Bah??’?­ community.

  • Amanda

    Lieylak,

    On 2008-02-16 20:10:57, Baquia wrote,
    “Lieylak, I am not basing what I wrote on assumption. I have contacted my NSA and even the UHJ. Each time I was given the runaround in beautiful flowery language.” That is what I was referring to as “missing it.” Not meant as an “accusation.”

    You are not being attacked by me.

    “Marginally” yours,
    Amanda

  • Amanda

    Lieylak,

    On 2008-02-16 20:10:57, Baquia wrote,
    “Lieylak, I am not basing what I wrote on assumption. I have contacted my NSA and even the UHJ. Each time I was given the runaround in beautiful flowery language.” That is what I was referring to as “missing it.” Not meant as an “accusation.”

    You are not being attacked by me.

    “Marginally” yours,
    Amanda

  • concourse_on_low

    Lieylak,

    Nice temper tantrum. To your credit, you lasted longer than most Bahais before devolving into a shrill self-righteous implosion.

  • concourse_on_low

    Lieylak,

    Nice temper tantrum. To your credit, you lasted longer than most Bahais before devolving into a shrill self-righteous implosion.

  • David

    “…The administrative order which lies embedded in the Teachings of Baha’u’llah, and which the American believers have championed and are now establishing, should, under no circumstances, be identified with the principles underlying present-day democracies. Nor is it identical with any purely aristocratic or autocratic form of government. The objectionable features inherent in each of these political systems are entirely avoided. It blends, as no system of human polity has as yet achieved, those salutary truths and beneficial elements which constitute the valuable contributions which each of these forms of government have made to society in the past….”

    (Postscript written by the Guardian to a letter written on his behalf to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, November 18, 1933: The National Spiritual Assembly, p.26)

  • David

    “…The administrative order which lies embedded in the Teachings of Baha’u’llah, and which the American believers have championed and are now establishing, should, under no circumstances, be identified with the principles underlying present-day democracies. Nor is it identical with any purely aristocratic or autocratic form of government. The objectionable features inherent in each of these political systems are entirely avoided. It blends, as no system of human polity has as yet achieved, those salutary truths and beneficial elements which constitute the valuable contributions which each of these forms of government have made to society in the past….”

    (Postscript written by the Guardian to a letter written on his behalf to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, November 18, 1933: The National Spiritual Assembly, p.26)

  • Anonymous

    Hi Baquia,

    I was just wondering why I don’t get any replies from you. Do my posts not warrant response, in your opinion? I am not trying to be challenging; I sincerely want to know.

    Regards,
    Mavaddat

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Hi Baquia,

    I was just wondering why I don’t get any replies from you. Do my posts not warrant response, in your opinion? I am not trying to be challenging; I sincerely want to know.

    Regards,
    Mavaddat

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Hi Mavaddat,
    the comments are flying fast and thick, at times I can’t tell if they are directed at me or part of a general discussion or directed at another commenter.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Hi Mavaddat,
    the comments are flying fast and thick, at times I can’t tell if they are directed at me or part of a general discussion or directed at another commenter.

  • Anonymous

    I guess I’m referring specifically to my comments on this and your “Pick and Choose” blogs.

    I was wondering if I could get your thoughts on those two.

    Thanks!
    Mavaddat

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    I guess I’m referring specifically to my comments on this and your “Pick and Choose” blogs.

    I was wondering if I could get your thoughts on those two.

    Thanks!
    Mavaddat