Below you’ll find the most recent Ridvan message from the Universal House of Justice. This has to be the most Ruhi-laden Ridvan message I’ve ever read from them. It seems that the House is doubling down on Ruhi. It is also a very long message at 11 pages.
Only time will tell if that is a wise decision. I haven’t seen any data that suggests that it is. For example, in the case of Columbia which is ground zero for Ruhi, after more than 40 years there has been no discernible growth in the Baha’i community. But for now, expect to see an even more intensification of Ruhi activities at the expense of anything and everything else.
A few things jumped out at me. One, they attempt to remove the stigma of “door to door” teaching, which obviously bothers many Baha’is for obvious reasons:
To assign to their teaching efforts such labels as “door-to-door”, even though the first contact may involve calling upon the residents of a home without prior notice, would not do justice to a process that seeks to raise capacity within a population to take charge of its own spiritual, social and intellectual development.
This is rather humorous because simply removing a label or attaching a label to something doesn’t change the nature of it. If you are going and knocking on a door to invite the people to an event, then it is what it is. The intention may not be exactly as direct as teaching them the Baha’i Faith but instead inviting them to take part in a process of “spiritual, social and intellectual development” – that doesn’t really make any difference to those who have to answer the door with a stranger standing there or to the poor Baha’is who are being pressured to go door to door.
The other is this rather refreshing caution:
…we feel compelled to raise a warning: It will be important for all to recognize that the value of engaging in social action and public discourse is not to be judged by the ability to bring enrolments. Though endeavours in these two areas of activity may well effect an increase in the size of the Baha’i community, they are not undertaken for this purpose. Sincerity in this respect is imperative. Moreover, care should be exercise to avoid overstating the Baha’i experience or drawing undue attention to fledgling efforts, such as the junior youth spiritual empowerment programme, which are best left to mature at their own pace. The watchword in all cases is humility. While conveying enthusiasm about their beliefs, the friends should guard against projecting an air of triumphalism, hardly appropriate among themselves, much less in other circumstances.
This characteristic has already been pointed out by many – including as early as 30 years ago. For more see Denis MacEoin’s letter to the LA Study Class. Let me know if anything of interest stands out for you. The previous years Ridvan messages are here: