US Annual Report from National Spiritual Assembly of US

Here is the Ridvan 2007 Annual Report from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States. My comments and personal thoughts are here.

If you’d like a PDF version click here (pdf). You’ll need an Adobe Acrobat or similar software to read it. The underlined are my own emphasis to draw your attention to important points.

Or if you’d like a simple HTML version or you don’t have Adobe Acrobat or similar software, you can also view the document here.

*********

Ridvan 2007 Annual Message

National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States
Members 2006-2007

Kenneth E. Bowers Deputy Secretary-General
Juana C. Conrad Deputy Secretary-General
William E. Davis Chair
Robert C. Henderson Secretary-General
Jacqueline Left Hand Bull Vice-Chair
Dorothy W. Nelson
William L.H. Roberts Treasurer
Erica Toussaint
David F. Young

Dear Baha’i Friends,

We greet you with wholehearted love and admiration as we offer this report of our efforts to achieve significant progress in the process of growth in the United States Baha’i community.

Our assessment of the Baha’i community’s spiritual vitality and prospects for growth inspires our confidence that “the elements required for a concerted effort to infuse [our country] with the spirit of Baha’u’llah’s Revelation” are robust and capable. Public awareness and receptivity to the Baha’i Faith are high, tens of thousands of Baha’is are trained in the core activities, well over 1,100 children’s classes are held regularly, 42 programs of intensive growth are in operation, and Local Spiritual Assemblies and cluster agencies evince increasing vigor in their pursuit of the Plan’s goals. Nevertheless, as we reported last year, growth remains low. The past 10 years have witnessed a sharp decline of enrollments (50 percent). This year the current rate of net growth is nearing 0 percent.

At present, we feel that the community as a whole is still learning to appreciate fully the vision and broad range of requirements of the “framework for action” of the Five Year Plan. Having recently completed the Inter-Institutional Conference at Pensacola, we observed that the consultation of the institutional leaders mirrors issues identical to those being raised in clusters across the national community, an indication that inter-institutional meeting participants are actively involved in the clusters. As we approach the end of the first year of the Plan, we take this opportunity to report what we are learning in our efforts to advance the process of growth, and the actions we feel are needed to accelerate our progress.

Signs of progress
Following receipt and initial study of the December 27, 2005, letter of the Universal House of Justice, we launched a series of communications to Local Spiritual Assemblies and the Baha’i community urging the institutions and individual believers to study this seminal document of the Five Year Plan. Among these communications were reports to the friends describing the National Assembly’s own approach to the letter’s study, and its adoption of the “Framework for Action” as the community’s operational plan and baseline for measuring its progress. There is gratifying evidence that the Spiritual Assemblies and friends have taken this duty to heart and are using the letter as the standard reference document of the Plan.

Currently over 22,000 Baha’is have taken at least one institute course, nearly one-third of the believers with known addresses. Some 6,000 are tutors. Slightly fewer than 1,900 study circles function regularly in the community, a trend that has held steady for the past six months. Regular devotional meetings are holding steady at 1,600 nationally. It is noteworthy that the data cited here are conservative undercounts of the total numbers, based only on registered participants.

There are well over 1,000 regular children’s classes, predominantly in centralized Baha’i schools, with a small but growing number of neighborhood classes. Non-Baha’i participation in Baha’i schools averages 36 percent nationally, with neighborhood classes slightly higher. Junior youth groups are increasing slowly and currently number 109.

In addition to the 42 clusters that have launched intensive programs of growth, there are another 100 clusters advancing toward that stage and 100 more that should achieve that level of advancement by the end of the Five Year Plan. We note with great satisfaction that communities where the friends are increasingly involved in the institute process, participating in reflection meetings, and holding devotionals and children’s classes are experiencing impressive advances in unity and vitality. Moreover, study circles are proving to be an effective means for the consolidation of new believers, instilling confidence and an intimate sense of connection to the Baha’i community. We are confident that the habituation of these practices will lay the foundation of a Baha’i culture that shares a common vocabulary about growth, and habits of regular engagement with the Word of God, communal prayer, meetings for reflection and planning, and a disciplined focus on the spiritual and social quality of community life, all of which are essential to the long-term development and growth of the Baha’i community.

Among other indicators of the community’s spiritual vitality are the continued strength of the flow of pioneers and traveling teachers to international service, and the past five years of record contributions to the Baha’i Funds, the Kingdom Poject, and now the Chilean Temple, for which $10 million has been raised to date.

The division of the western region and the election of the respective Regional Baha’i Councils of the Northwestern and Southwestern States has been very successful and is achieving many of the hoped-for results. Likewise, the transfer of responsibility for the Louis G. Gregory Baha’i Institute to the Regional Baha’i Council of the Southern States has been smooth and productive. The Institute is fast regaining its old spirit and serving an expanding audience of believers, institutions, and seekers, advancing the core activities. The Native American Baha’i Institute and the Magdalene Carney Baha’i Institute continue to be outstanding models of systematic advancement of the growth process. Moreover, a thriving network of increasingly effective Regional Training Institutes serves the needs of friends in clusters throughout the community.

Pilot projects of Internet proclamation launched last year strongly suggest that public receptivity to the Baha’i message remains extremely high. Seekers who contact the Seeker Response System are nurtured to the point that a growing number are becoming actively engaged with the Baha’i community. Historically, almost half (48 percent), and currently 75 percent, of the seekers who call the Seeker Response Line ask how to find the local Baha’is.

And finally, our communications strategy aimed at refining Baha’i publications and productions to reach a broader Baha’i and non-Baha’i audience has produced multiple national awards (including 11 more this year) for Brilliant Star magazine, World Order, U.S. Baha’i Newsreel, and the Baha’i public website (www.bahai.us). We have also made continuous improvements to The American Baha’i, messages to the Nineteen Day Feasts, and to experimental communications such as “viral videos.” We are especially pleased with the development of electronic regional newsletters by the Regional Councils and the National Teaching Committee, which have proven to be important resources for learning about growth.

The range of our activities and the regular flow of correspondence with the individual believers and Baha’i institutions expose the National Assembly to a wide diversity of local experiences and perceptions by which we have gained a broad understanding of the state of the Baha’i community. We are pleased to report that a solid core of the friends has embraced the Plan and is responsive to the guidance of
the House of Justice.

The National Spiritual Assembly is compelled by profound feelings of admiration and gratitude to salute Continental Counselors Dr. Farzin Aghdasi, Dr. Eugene S. Andrews, Mr. Stephen Birkland, Ms. Rebequa Murphy, and Mr. Gerardo Vargas and the members of their Auxiliary Boards for their heroic and sacrificial leadership during the course of the Five Year Plan. The frequent and intimate collaboration we enjoy with the Counselors is a major reason for our confidence in the ultimate success of the Five Year Plan.

Likewise our loving admiration grows stronger for the Regional Baha’i Councils, whose tireless devotion to the challenge of advancing the process of growth has gained the confidence of the friends and increasingly reflects their learning about growth itself.

Growth
These encouraging indices of spiritual vitality stand in sharp contrast to the persistently low rate of growth of our community. At the present rate, our net growth will approach zero. From 1980 to 1997, the Baha’i community nearly doubled in size (77,000 to 137,000, excluding Iranian immigrants), with significant increases in the rate of retention. The 50 percent drop in enrollments since 1997 means that enrollments are now at the same level they were in the 1960s, when the Baha’i community was a small fraction of its current size. The number of enrollments to date for this year is 872.

Although the top tier of clusters with intensive programs of growth in progress currently yields a disproportionate share of aggregate national growth, it would be misleading to suggest that this implies a new development. Historically, those same areas have always contributed disproportionately to growth in this country, as they have the largest populations of Baha’is. The difference now is that while their proportionate contributions remain the same, their rate of enrollments has decreased. The aim of achieving both accelerated and sustained growth has yet to be realized, even in “A” clusters.

Issues for consideration

We believe that the obstacles to growth have nothing to do with the Plan itself and much to do with how the Plan is understood and being implemented. We are optimistic that refinements in our approach to carrying out the Five Year Plan will do much to accelerate the process of growth. Several examples follow.

The role of Local Spiritual Assemblies in the Five Year Plan

The Universal House of Justice has issued substantial guidance on the role of Local Spiritual Assemblies in the Five Year Plan. That guidance describes the “thrilling opportunities” for Spiritual Assemblies to study the guidance of the Five Year Plan, to work in close collaboration with “cluster and core activities,” to become “fully involved in all aspects of planning and implementation at the level of the cluster,” and to provide “guidance, encouragement and support” for cluster and individual initiatives, to cite just a few examples.

Yet, there is a pervasive feeling of confusion and dislocation among many Local Spiritual Assemblies, including those in “A” clusters.

In our work with Spiritual Assemblies in the United States, we have noted with great satisfaction their progress in learning to maintain focus on the central aims of the Plan while continuing to meet a range of other responsibilities. Assemblies serving large Baha’i communities are prime examples. Despite the challenging obligations imposed by size and complexity, these Assemblies are revitalizing their communities through steady emphasis on the core activities and cluster advancement. At the same time, they are pioneering fresh approaches to pastoral care, external affairs, and social and economic development projects.

We are also pleased to note that the clear majority of the members of these Assemblies are themselves active in the institute training process. Some 60 percent of all Local Spiritual Assembly members have completed at least one book in the Ruhi sequence of courses, 15 percent have completed the whole sequence, and 25 percent have completed Book 7. This rate of participation is disproportionately high compared to the national community. There is also a growing trend among Local Spiritual Assemblies to engage in institutional study of the sequence of courses.

We are concerned that feelings of disempowerment and mixed signals regarding roles and responsibilities are robbing the current Plan of the spiritual benefits that flow from the wholehearted participation of these divine institutions, and the many significant contributions these highly capable Assemblies could make to the progress of the teaching work in a number of areas of the country. Assemblies should feel that their contributions are essential to the Plan’s success and that they are urgently needed.

Narrowness of focus and initiative

In many areas, exclusive focus on the two essential movements has led to misunderstandings as to the kinds of activities that are permissible for the friends to be engaged in and that are consistent with the Plan. The result is a narrowly defined model of growth that permits a small range of initiative, allows little creativity, and accepts few real innovations.

We are frequently asked whether firesides are an acceptable form of teaching, despite a clear call for “campaigns of study circles and firesides” by the Universal House of Justice.

We have received several reports of Local Spiritual Assemblies who have canceled their Baha’i children’s classes in order to increase the number of neighborhood classes. We fully appreciate the importance of neighborhood classes as a priority of the Five Year Plan, and have repeatedly encouraged neighborhood classes in The American Baha’i, U.S. Baha’i Newsreel, letters to the Nineteen Day Feast, Spiritual Assembly Development conferences, and other venues. However, our understanding of the January 5, 2006, letter is that both Baha’i schools and neighborhood classes are important. A comprehensive survey of Baha’i schools showed that 36 percent of the children attending them are not Baha’is. After discussion with the Counselors on these points, we have since issued a letter of clarification on Baha’i schools and neighborhood classes to the community.

Another issue is proclamation. While we fully appreciate the need for Baha’i communities to avoid placing undue emphasis on proclamation activities, we have learned from experience that the proper use of media and other forms of proclamation can be invaluable tools for generating seekers, whose interest can then be nurtured through the core activities or other forms of teaching. Our national media initiative practiced the same disciplines of planning, action, and reflection that the House of Justice is exhorting Baha’is everywhere to acquire.

Nearly 1,000 souls entered the Faith through experimental television broadcasts and Internet proclamations. A recent study showed that one out of every six new believers’ first point of contact was the Baha’i public website or the Seeker Response telephone line. The problem we face is that proclamation is widely considered to be inconsistent with the framework for action in the Five Year Plan, making it difficult to engage the friends in serious discussion of the uses of media to generate seekers in advanced clusters.

Past experiments have taught us that through media, especially the Internet, we can learn a great deal about seekers’ hopes and cares and, especially, about the location of receptive populations.

We are concerned that—notwithstanding the persistent emphasis the House of Justice has placed on the importance of having an outward-looking orientation—hardly a word is spoken about who seekers are, what they want, or how they experienced their contact with the Baha’i community. There is little institutional discussion about the many seekers who start one of the institute courses and do not return, or of what the important features are in a seeker’s path to becoming a Baha’i. We are concerned that such narrow definitions of the process of teaching, which are inconsistent with guidance of the House of Justice, cause us to miss important opportunities for learning how to meet the wide diversity of seekers’ needs.

Another limiting factor is that our discourse about teaching does not sufficiently take into consideration issues of broad social concern. During the period from 1980 to 1997, during which the Baha’i community nearly doubled in size, the driving forces of growth were the Baha’i vision for social transformation and practical plans for teaching. Having gained its initial impetus from the sacrifices of the Iranian Baha’is, the Baha’i community was galvanized by a series of visionary messages including the statement on Baha’u’llah, The Promise of World Peace, and the statements on human prosperity, race, equality of the sexes—all inspirational tools for teaching in the context of the House of Justice’s vision of the completion of the Mount Carmel projects and its relationship to the process of growth. During that period, Baha’is increased the size of the Baha’i community, the retention of new believers, the number of functioning Spiritual Assemblies, contributions to the Funds, the spiritual education of children and youth, social and economic development, and more.

More recently, the House of Justice has published the statement on religious tolerance, emphasized study of Shoghi Effendi’s World Order letters, published One Common Faith, and, in its Ridvan 2006 message, restated classic themes originally addressed by the Guardian to broaden our vision, deepen our understanding, and facilitate the teaching work. However, throughout the country the visionary messages of the past and present are seldom mentioned or employed in the service of teaching, although they remain relevant to broad social concerns.

Baha’is are in the forefront of a divinely ordained process of transforming the world and laying the groundwork for a global civilization. Today, this sense of mission is often challenged by a narrow understanding of Five Year Plan strategies and tactics and an all-too-often inflexible system of implementation. The spirit of galvanizing vision that causes one’s heart to pound and impels one to action is overshadowed by the tactical requirements of the Plan and a decade of no progress in growth. We do not wish to idealize the past, in which there were also many challenges. However, we want to recognize and carry forward sound approaches from past efforts as we strive to advance the process of growth today.

We feel a particular need for flexibility and innovation in reaching out to young people-Baha’is and others—as well as to populations that have shown historic receptivity to growth. In the latter case, there have been some noteworthy developments. For instance, a local Black Men’s Gathering in the Detroit area recently was attended by nine African American non-Baha’is. Of these, five enrolled by the end of the weekend. This is an excellent illustration of adapting elements of the Plan, such as devotional meetings and study of the Word of God, with an issue of concern to the seekers, and central to our mission as American Baha’is, in a manner attractive to a specific population.

What appears to be underappreciated in most clusters is that receptive populations, and especially youth, cannot be expected to come to the Faith entirely on our terms. We must acknowledge that there is still much to learn about reaching them, and that successful approaches will eventually emerge to the extent that we cultivate an atmosphere of experimentation, imagination, and audacity.

Next steps

We are keenly aware that a robust atmosphere of learning requires a higher level of vision and discourse and the avoidance of false dichotomies. We intend to continue using our communications outlets to highlight examples of learning about growth.

In the light of our observations on the status of the Five Year Plan in the United States, we feel that the following actions would be beneficial to its progress:

1. Emphasize vision at the local level.

The friends need constant reinforcement of the great spiritual processes at the heart of Baha’u’llah’s revelation—”souls must be transformed, new models of life thereby consolidated.” They must be inspired to relate the seminal teachings of our Faith to the great problems of society. And they must be given a freer hand to act. Analysis, planning, and strategic focus are essentials to growth, and there is no doubt about the importance of acquiring such skills. But they are matters of the intellect, and are secondary to matters of the heart in inspiring commitment and initiative.

People will make sacrifices for a great purpose that they will not make for activities. A focus on activities at the expense of vision will yield a community that is rule-bound and prone to conflict, where a culture of learning and innovation are nearly impossible, where individuals are treated as “insiders” or “outsiders” according to perceptions of their obedience to direction, and where expression of legitimate concerns is viewed as uninformed or disloyal.

A sense of vision and purpose, complemented by a practical strategy for accomplishment, inspires unity, self-organization, initiative, and innovation. We see each of these elements in the “framework for
action” of the Five Year Plan, and we are wholeheartedly confident that support of their full expression will inspire a wave of teaching that will bring dramatic results.

2. Encourage the participation of Local Spiritual Assemblies through emphasis of the full range of guidance on the role of Assemblies in the Five Year Plan.

3. Support a wider range of initiatives with the core activities at the hub.

Experimental approaches to media proclamation, fireside campaigns, innovative responses to seekers’ needs and preferences fit easily within the “framework for action” and would stimulate the release of a great storehouse of energy among the friends. The core activities of systematic engagement with the Word of God, communal devotions, and the spiritual education of children and junior youth will always remain the foundation of Baha’i community vitality and will only be strengthened by the complementary activities of the friends.

4. Encourage understanding among the friends and institutional members of the complementary function of centralized Baha’i schools and neighborhood classes.

The community must learn that both are needed and both should be multiplied. The friends must also learn to appreciate the complementary relationship between Ruhi Book 3 and the Core Curriculum. Ruhi Book 3 provides 15 lessons for children ages five and six. The Core Curriculum extends the Baha’i education of children for seven years providing systematic education on topics including the Central Figures, the Covenant, Baha’i history and social teachings, dealing with peers, and learning to teach the Baha’i Faith. These two approaches must be harmonized to gain the full benefits of our efforts.

5. Engage in a deeper examination of the factors contributing to current growth.

In our experience at regional and cluster meetings, it is routinely assumed for purposes of analysis that all enrollments in any given cluster can be attributed directly and only to the core activities. Further investigation almost always yields a far more complex picture that includes proclamations, firesides, striking innovations in approach, and other types of activity that go unacknowledged.

The Native American Baha’i Institute (NABI) is a good example of the benefits of broadening the scope of our work. The National Spiritual Assembly and its agencies have worked closely with NABI for many years, and some Counselors have called the cluster that is home to NABI the most advanced cluster in the United States. The core activities are thriving on the Navajo reservation with high levels of non-Baha’i participation. They serve as the foundation of a variety of services and teaching activities that are designed to meet the specific needs of the resident populations. Special gatherings, social and economic development projects, social services, teaching projects, and other activities complement the core activities to sustain the advancement of growth in that cluster. These must all be taken into consideration to get an accurate picture of the NAB1 formula for growth.

6. Encourage evaluation of our implementation of the institute training process.

To date, the achievement of 6,000 tutors in the United States has not yielded growth in enrollments, nor is the growth of the core activities themselves commensurate with the number of Baha’is who have completed courses (for example, only seven percent of those who have completed Book 1 have started devotional gatherings).

We are firm in our belief that tutor accompaniment is an important part of the solution to improving the Ruhi Institute program’s effectiveness, but perhaps other ingredients are also necessary. Careful assessments could be instructive to our understanding of the dynamics of the courses’ effectiveness with Baha’is and with seekers, and would, of course, be sent to the Universal House of Justice for its consideration.

7. Encourage cluster initiative.

8. Promote unity and mitigate conflict about the process of growth.

The FACT (Faith Communities Today) Study on the dynamics of growth and decline in American congregations, in which 742 Local Spiritual Assemblies participated, noted that conflict on teaching methods and roles are primary impediments to the growth of faith communities. We fear that the widespread feelings of confusion and dislocation among Spiritual Assemblies are significant factors impeding our growth at this time. This year, withdrawals (369) from Baha’i membership have risen 30 percent. Our Office of Community Administration reported that this unfortunate increase in withdrawals is partly attributable to the growth of conflict in the community.

Conclusion
Our driving concern is growth. We have prepared this report in the humble hope that it will lead to a fuller implementation of the Five Year Plan’s strategies and a marked advancement in the process of growth.

We are confident that continual study of the Plan’s guidance will help us refine our implementation strategies to ensure that we gain a larger measure of the benefits of its elements and strategies. Moreover, we are keenly aware of the great challenge involved in advancing the process of entry by troops, and we are deeply appreciative of the devotion and sacrifice of the friends in service to the Plan’s goals. We are also mindful of the need for prioritization and a unified framework for action. We feel that these important disciplines can be fundamental to an approach that inspires the believers’ passions and liberates their creative energies.

We feel that the principles of leadership described in the House of Justice’s letter of May 19, 1994, addressed to this National Assembly, are applicable to the current challenges we face in advancing the process of growth; that the vision and spiritual powers of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Tablets of the Divine Plan invest the community with a special mission, the awareness of which is essential to the revitalization of the teaching work and the winning of outstanding victories on the home front. We are reminded that the Guardian’s vision of the role of the American Baha’i community, eloquently described in The Advent of Divine Justice, will arouse “would-be warriors” and “homefront crusaders” to the “double crusade” that is refreshed in the strategy of the core activities.

We are mindful of the need to avoid “over-controlling” the friends, conscious of the “nature of power for action which they possess.” We are also mindful that a “wide latitude for action must be allowed, which means that a wide margin for mistakes must also be allowed.” And we are keenly aware that “individual initiative is a pre-eminent aspect of this power and [it] is therefore a major responsibility of the institutions to safeguard and stimulate it.”

Our present concern is to help the new system of institutions and agencies that work so hard to advance the process of growth to greater mastery of the “art” of seeing that “the importance of the Baha’i administration is its value in serving as a facilitator of the emergence and maintenance of community life in a wholly new mode, and in catering to the requirements of the spiritual relationships which flow from love and unity among the friends. This touches upon a distinguishing characteristic of Baha’i life which such spiritual relationships foster, namely, the spirit of servitude to God, expressed in service to the Cause, to the friends and to humanity as a whole.”

We are optimistic that if adjustments are made consistent with the vision, principles, and practical requirements of the Plan, they will, as promised, “build the Baha’i System,” attract “the confirmations of Baha’u’llah,” and “stimulate the release of pent-up spiritual energies” resulting in a campaign of teaching in which every institution, Baha’i community, and individual believer is enthusiastically and wholeheartedly involved.

With loving Baha’i greetings,

Your obedient servants,

NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE BAHA’IS OF THE UNITED STATES

  • Craig Parke

    WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE ? – THE FUTURE – PART I

    What is going to happen now in all this that has been revealed by the
    US NSA Ridvan 2007 National Convention Report and the April 19th, 2007 reply letter of the UHJ which I believe will eventually be seen as a watershed event?

    What is the most likely course these issues will all take in the
    months and years ahead?

    The US NSA has basically said new thinking and new actions are in
    order in the present desperate situation or the Baha’i Faith in the
    United States or the Faith will go into total complete free fall. They
    have clearly stated that none of this is really working.

    The UHJ has basically said in their April 19th, 2007 letter a definite
    and firm “no” to any change in thinking. Or to put it in the
    vernacular of the present moment: there will be no other “Learnings” than the “Learnings” authored and sanctioned by “the Guidance” from the top. Period.

    The stakes are high. The external success of the Faith in the world is
    now squarely pitted against apparently intractable internal
    psychological stakes.

    For the UHJ to admit that a change in thinking is in order, they would
    have to admit a certain degree of (gasp) “fallibility”. This is just
    not psychologically possible in the current mind set they themselves
    have ideologically hardened in the Baha’i Faith on their watch. In
    fact, worse still, many of the new “Ruhi Baha’is” have deeply embraced the psychological construct that the UHJ is factually infallible about everything on Earth including what clothes to wear in their lives and what stocks to buy and what to think on every issue of life. To them the detailed top down PLANS of the UHJ are NOT merely a means to and end, but psychologically ARE THE END. To these people psychologically THE PLANS of the UHJ ARE GOD and DIVINITY MANIFEST Itself. The UHJ is, as one Persian AABM said to me once, “the Infallible Voice of God on Earth”. So for them to change anything at this point now would be just too shocking for the psyches of Baha’is now fully indoctrinated in the “new thinking” of the ITC social engineering “theorist think tank” Faith to accept.

    Counsellor Rebequa Murphy apparently said it best in the new codified gold standard of acceptable psychological belief in the new ITC Faith at the highest levels:

    “We don’t want to be those people that want to see God with their own eyes or hear His melodies with their own ears. Because we’ve been given the gift of being able to see through the eyes of the House of Justice and listen through the ears of the House of Justice.”

    To the Baha’is of a deepened Jewish, Christian, and Muslim background who know their previous Holy Scriptures by heart as many of the old timers in the Faith do who see this in a much longer historical context and have been faithfully saying the Tablet of Ahmad by heart every day for years, the present road is pure idolatry where the Plans of the UHJ and the apparatus of the think tank theorist ITC Faith have been blindly made into God. This group sees this as a profoundly shocking and very revealing “Golden Calf moment” in the Baha’i Faith. This perception of the situation has thus also reached a psychological impasse at the breaking point.

    So what is the likely out come in both the short term and the long
    term?

    I think the standard psychological processes of the Administrative
    Order of the Baha’i Faith are not going to continue to work. The
    standard mechanisms of “business-as-usual” and 1957 style “Father
    Knows Best” unity by sullen cosmetic appearance only are not going to hold up much longer. Merely keeping up appearances will not address the very important and deeply held issues that are at stake. Long time steadfast, faithful, and dedicated Baha’is are leaving in droves. This is real crisis and it will eventually manifest financially in the fortunes of the Faith. Not even the most fanatical ideologues sitting at the top of this can ignore that as a real possibility with the way things are going.

    The people currently leading the Baha’i Faith have been in these
    positions for decades. They have skillfully achieved mind numbing
    catastrophe and I think they even now realize their personal legacies
    are at stake and whether their family names will be cursed for
    centuries. These are truly tough times. We are somewhere in that
    scene in the second ” Road Warrior” film where the child hanging on
    the hood is reaching for the keys as the truck fiercely lumbers along
    at full speed.

    The most insightful writer in human history on the psychological roots
    of schism is, of course, C.G. Jung and I think what he has to say on
    the subject is very instructive on the present situation. He says that
    all schisms in human history in religions, politics, and ideologies
    come from the same basic pattern: the psychological conflicts between introverts and extroverts. I think reasoning it out in these terms will clearly show where this is going to go in the future.

    (to be continued…)

  • Craig Parke

    WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE ? – THE FUTURE – PART I

    What is going to happen now in all this that has been revealed by the
    US NSA Ridvan 2007 National Convention Report and the April 19th, 2007 reply letter of the UHJ which I believe will eventually be seen as a watershed event?

    What is the most likely course these issues will all take in the
    months and years ahead?

    The US NSA has basically said new thinking and new actions are in
    order in the present desperate situation or the Baha’i Faith in the
    United States or the Faith will go into total complete free fall. They
    have clearly stated that none of this is really working.

    The UHJ has basically said in their April 19th, 2007 letter a definite
    and firm “no” to any change in thinking. Or to put it in the
    vernacular of the present moment: there will be no other “Learnings” than the “Learnings” authored and sanctioned by “the Guidance” from the top. Period.

    The stakes are high. The external success of the Faith in the world is
    now squarely pitted against apparently intractable internal
    psychological stakes.

    For the UHJ to admit that a change in thinking is in order, they would
    have to admit a certain degree of (gasp) “fallibility”. This is just
    not psychologically possible in the current mind set they themselves
    have ideologically hardened in the Baha’i Faith on their watch. In
    fact, worse still, many of the new “Ruhi Baha’is” have deeply embraced the psychological construct that the UHJ is factually infallible about everything on Earth including what clothes to wear in their lives and what stocks to buy and what to think on every issue of life. To them the detailed top down PLANS of the UHJ are NOT merely a means to and end, but psychologically ARE THE END. To these people psychologically THE PLANS of the UHJ ARE GOD and DIVINITY MANIFEST Itself. The UHJ is, as one Persian AABM said to me once, “the Infallible Voice of God on Earth”. So for them to change anything at this point now would be just too shocking for the psyches of Baha’is now fully indoctrinated in the “new thinking” of the ITC social engineering “theorist think tank” Faith to accept.

    Counsellor Rebequa Murphy apparently said it best in the new codified gold standard of acceptable psychological belief in the new ITC Faith at the highest levels:

    “We don’t want to be those people that want to see God with their own eyes or hear His melodies with their own ears. Because we’ve been given the gift of being able to see through the eyes of the House of Justice and listen through the ears of the House of Justice.”

    To the Baha’is of a deepened Jewish, Christian, and Muslim background who know their previous Holy Scriptures by heart as many of the old timers in the Faith do who see this in a much longer historical context and have been faithfully saying the Tablet of Ahmad by heart every day for years, the present road is pure idolatry where the Plans of the UHJ and the apparatus of the think tank theorist ITC Faith have been blindly made into God. This group sees this as a profoundly shocking and very revealing “Golden Calf moment” in the Baha’i Faith. This perception of the situation has thus also reached a psychological impasse at the breaking point.

    So what is the likely out come in both the short term and the long
    term?

    I think the standard psychological processes of the Administrative
    Order of the Baha’i Faith are not going to continue to work. The
    standard mechanisms of “business-as-usual” and 1957 style “Father
    Knows Best” unity by sullen cosmetic appearance only are not going to hold up much longer. Merely keeping up appearances will not address the very important and deeply held issues that are at stake. Long time steadfast, faithful, and dedicated Baha’is are leaving in droves. This is real crisis and it will eventually manifest financially in the fortunes of the Faith. Not even the most fanatical ideologues sitting at the top of this can ignore that as a real possibility with the way things are going.

    The people currently leading the Baha’i Faith have been in these
    positions for decades. They have skillfully achieved mind numbing
    catastrophe and I think they even now realize their personal legacies
    are at stake and whether their family names will be cursed for
    centuries. These are truly tough times. We are somewhere in that
    scene in the second ” Road Warrior” film where the child hanging on
    the hood is reaching for the keys as the truck fiercely lumbers along
    at full speed.

    The most insightful writer in human history on the psychological roots
    of schism is, of course, C.G. Jung and I think what he has to say on
    the subject is very instructive on the present situation. He says that
    all schisms in human history in religions, politics, and ideologies
    come from the same basic pattern: the psychological conflicts between introverts and extroverts. I think reasoning it out in these terms will clearly show where this is going to go in the future.

    (to be continued…)

  • Sincere Friend

    I think that if you compare the process that the UHJ is taking us through to building a large dam(I hope I dont offend anyone by making up an anology but its seems appropriate). Anyone who has never seen a dam before would not grasp that the reservoir will not fill until the entire structure of the dam is complete so that it can begin the collection of water. They might have been promised a lake and all they see for several years is people pouring concrete and no lake is appearing, so they get discouraged and start trying to convince the people building the dam that they are fools for trying. Finally though the dam is complete and the reservoir fills quite rapidly and is able to hold the immense quanity of water, far more than the improvised dams previously implace were able to retain.

    Really any process that involves a cumulative effect could be used as an anology: taking some kinds of medication, saving money and letting it compound, exercising, building a new road system etc. It doesnt bear fruit entil the entire cycle of development is complete. I see the new direction as that kind of process and I dont see it complete for another 10 years at least.

    I am sorry that people are getting discouraged and leaving but I think there is enough flexibility in the communities that there is always something that one can find to ones liking.

    As far as the Ruhi. I think Peter Khan said that the Ruhi books are not the greatest but they are what we have now that seems to work and that they could certainly use alot of improvement. I really think they are just a beginning and I know that in the front of the book it invites people to develop others.

    If one considers the 10 year crusade it was a fabulous success taken in the long term, for it clearly established, in a relatively short time, the Faith as a worldwide religion, and more importantly laid the groundwork for the establishment of the Universal House of Justice in that it helped fulfill one of the criteria that establishes its unerring guidance.

    Abdul Baha very clearly explained the nature of infallability when he said that the infallability of the UHJ is conditional and derivative of the essential infallability of the Manifestation of God. The conditions are that the decisions of the UHJ be of a majority and that it has been elected from all the nations of the earth. I feel that your comments imply that the institution is merely a collection of individuals whose preferences and opinions hold sway like any ordinary assembly of leaders. There is an essential quality of spiritual guidance that is promised, and reportedly from those who have served on the UHJ, quite palpable.

    I liked your comments about the essential schisms of religion and all human endeavors coming down to a contest between introverts and extroverts. That would certainly explain the conflict between exoteric and esoteric religious forms. I look forward to hearing more about it. It could be an area of very productive study in learning how to unify diverse groups of people.

  • Sincere Friend

    I think that if you compare the process that the UHJ is taking us through to building a large dam(I hope I dont offend anyone by making up an anology but its seems appropriate). Anyone who has never seen a dam before would not grasp that the reservoir will not fill until the entire structure of the dam is complete so that it can begin the collection of water. They might have been promised a lake and all they see for several years is people pouring concrete and no lake is appearing, so they get discouraged and start trying to convince the people building the dam that they are fools for trying. Finally though the dam is complete and the reservoir fills quite rapidly and is able to hold the immense quanity of water, far more than the improvised dams previously implace were able to retain.

    Really any process that involves a cumulative effect could be used as an anology: taking some kinds of medication, saving money and letting it compound, exercising, building a new road system etc. It doesnt bear fruit entil the entire cycle of development is complete. I see the new direction as that kind of process and I dont see it complete for another 10 years at least.

    I am sorry that people are getting discouraged and leaving but I think there is enough flexibility in the communities that there is always something that one can find to ones liking.

    As far as the Ruhi. I think Peter Khan said that the Ruhi books are not the greatest but they are what we have now that seems to work and that they could certainly use alot of improvement. I really think they are just a beginning and I know that in the front of the book it invites people to develop others.

    If one considers the 10 year crusade it was a fabulous success taken in the long term, for it clearly established, in a relatively short time, the Faith as a worldwide religion, and more importantly laid the groundwork for the establishment of the Universal House of Justice in that it helped fulfill one of the criteria that establishes its unerring guidance.

    Abdul Baha very clearly explained the nature of infallability when he said that the infallability of the UHJ is conditional and derivative of the essential infallability of the Manifestation of God. The conditions are that the decisions of the UHJ be of a majority and that it has been elected from all the nations of the earth. I feel that your comments imply that the institution is merely a collection of individuals whose preferences and opinions hold sway like any ordinary assembly of leaders. There is an essential quality of spiritual guidance that is promised, and reportedly from those who have served on the UHJ, quite palpable.

    I liked your comments about the essential schisms of religion and all human endeavors coming down to a contest between introverts and extroverts. That would certainly explain the conflict between exoteric and esoteric religious forms. I look forward to hearing more about it. It could be an area of very productive study in learning how to unify diverse groups of people.

  • Priscilla Gilman

    Dear Sincere Friend,

    Maybe the people criticizing the dam building project DO understand the dam concept, but they also see that the concrete which has already set is crumbling and falling away. The people in charge of the dam are so obsessed with pouring new concrete that they won’t listen. So if the dam is falling apart, even as it is being made, it will not ever be able to serve its purpose.

    Also, anybody who puts their money in an account with the promise of compound interest and keeps it there for many years even while the principal actually decreases because they believe at some time in the future it will really pay off is an idiot. Likewise with someone doing an excercise program for years while getting weaker – only a fool would continue to believe this was the best excercise program available.

    If you had a child who was having serious difficulty learning addition and subtraction would it be reasonable to remain absolutely convinced they were going to win the nobel prize in physics someday and that their current course of study was the way to get there?

    Somehow we are supposed to believe that the Faith, guided by the AO, is going to solve all the worlds problems, even though it is failing on the basics.

  • Priscilla Gilman

    Dear Sincere Friend,

    Maybe the people criticizing the dam building project DO understand the dam concept, but they also see that the concrete which has already set is crumbling and falling away. The people in charge of the dam are so obsessed with pouring new concrete that they won’t listen. So if the dam is falling apart, even as it is being made, it will not ever be able to serve its purpose.

    Also, anybody who puts their money in an account with the promise of compound interest and keeps it there for many years even while the principal actually decreases because they believe at some time in the future it will really pay off is an idiot. Likewise with someone doing an excercise program for years while getting weaker – only a fool would continue to believe this was the best excercise program available.

    If you had a child who was having serious difficulty learning addition and subtraction would it be reasonable to remain absolutely convinced they were going to win the nobel prize in physics someday and that their current course of study was the way to get there?

    Somehow we are supposed to believe that the Faith, guided by the AO, is going to solve all the worlds problems, even though it is failing on the basics.

  • Brendan Cook

    The really shameful thing is not any particular plan, but the language Counsellor Murphy used in defending the current plan. That being said, all this talk about persisting even as the plan yields no results puts me in mind of something George Orwell said: “when the medicine makes the patient sick, the physician doubles the dose.”

  • Brendan Cook

    The really shameful thing is not any particular plan, but the language Counsellor Murphy used in defending the current plan. That being said, all this talk about persisting even as the plan yields no results puts me in mind of something George Orwell said: “when the medicine makes the patient sick, the physician doubles the dose.”

  • Craig Parke

    Hi Sincere Friend,

    Thank you for your thoughtful post.

    Before I continue on with the very slow analysis over time in installments on BR of what has happened in the Baha’i Faith in terms of C.G. Jung’s writings that say that all schisms in history are caused by the conflict between the mental orientations of introverts and extroverts, I wish to mention a few other things. There will be plenty of time to go over this conflict in this instance very slowly. The Baha’i Faith is going to be in free fall for a very long time to come. The only thing absolutely certain in all this is that no one at any level will deal with anything ever. Period.

    The bottom line right now is that you have an organization of incredibly life time “introverted” people trying to be paint-by-numbers “manufactured extroverts” in a huge psychological projection from the bubble introverts at the top. These are people so introverted that they can only relate to other human beings through a
    completely “psychologically safe” and “non-threatening” top down mico managed organizational structure. That is the ultimate psychological stop before institutional melt down and total dysfunctional oblivion.

    If it wasn’t so painful to watch and the consequences so catastrophic for the future relief of the suffering of the world and so dishonorable to the sacrifice and lifelong hopes of so many long serving Baha’is for generations it would be almost comical. The Baha’i Faith with the current Ruhi Double Down at Vegas Gambit and Hyper Core Activities Olympian Treadmill is trying to make incredibly introverted people into socially gregarious live on stage spandex clad massively
    talented rock guitarists by psychologically controlled fill in the blanks manufactured social bonding.

    We are basically now after ten years of mind numbing psychological cognitive dissonance at the Sorority Sisters Party scene in “Revenge of the Nerds”. There are going to more and more interventions by the Dean to get everyone to interact at the punch bowl. But this dog ain’t going to hunt. Why? Because contrary to what anyone says, it not spiritual at all. It is not of the spiritual processes of the Cosmos at all. I feel it is one of the most materialistic ways ever devised
    by anyone short of the Jehovah’s Witnesses to try to convey a spiritual message.

    No “system of organization” teaches the Word of God. The Spirit of God does. Period. The Spirit of God can be amplified by artists, deep thinkers, idiot savants, innocent children, and in everyone’s free form dreams at night in bed. But it can’t by professional accountants and Power Point addicts.

    Here is an example:

    Baha’u’llah wrote in the Lawh-i-Hikmat:

    “That which hath been in existence had existed before, but not in the form thou seest today. The world of existence came into being through the heat generated from the interaction between the active force and that which is its recipient. These two are the same, yet they are different.”

    Baha’u’llah was the first human soul to go through the Cosmic Portal to the New World Age of human power and capacity. That is what the Manifestation is in every World Age from cycle to cycle. He is the vortex first born person. He is the first human personality to see the new astonishing vista that is going to then be opened up to everyone in the unfolding of the New World Age Cycle. The Old Testament story of the Exodus is the esoteric encoded Inner Spiritual Laws of the Exodus into a New Promised Land of a New World Age. The Manifestation is something that occurs in nature. The Manifestation may not actually be the best pure writer, thinker, and film director in human terms in all that follows the event. But everyone else who is comes from His burst of opening. He opens the channel.

    Since this is a religion whose name means “Light” I think it would greatly behoove the people supposedly leading it to start to study the principles of light in the Universe for insight as we learn about them.

    To my mind the Manifestation is the Higgs Boson as a Human Temple of a New World Age to the human soul. His evelatory consciousness and the resulting thoughts (not his mere physical person) from the Pristine Cosmic Source of the Uncreated are the clustering mass givers to each of us as elementary points in the overall mind of mankind. His received consciousness becomes the massive scalar elementary particle for that Cycle of Space-Time on the human evolutionary consciousness thought plane. Baha’u’llah’s Writings as a Sufi Mystic are going to hold up very well with what pure science discovers. The next two years will be intense study of the reverse of E=mc2. It is now about energy creating a new particle via Mc2=E in the LHC experiments at CERN.

    Since I believe the Higgs Boson is going to be found this year or next as the LHC (Large Hydron Collider) is turned on at CERN, it might behoove the powers that be at the top of the Baha’i Faith to actually start to consult the PAGES OF THE BOOK OF THE UNIVERSE for practical cosmic guidance rather then the latest “educational theories” from the grim and somber breathless think tank lifetime employment apparatchiks at the International Teaching Center inside that now grid locked “Inner Theorist Beltway” that we all helped pay for. Every other spiritual movement out there will be doing this and running with it for improving everyday life.

    I also believe the Higgs Boson is going to be found to have a dual nature in seemingly different functions at the extreme micro and extreme macro levels of the Universe as Baha’u’llah seems to allude to here in this statement.

    So everyone can start here with these below links. Start to work on understanding the Schr?dinger equation because that will tell you exactly how to teach the Baha’i Faith (or even better still and more accurately in importance teach the New World Age) across the planet via spiritual means. Start thinking about Schr?dinger’s cat instead of taking a Ruhi Book five times over and over with the exact same people with no new seekers as people have been reported to have done. (The ultimate introvert paradise – totally inward going nowhere Ruhi cycles on the same book repeated over and over forever!)

    Rather then “building dams”, I feel it would be much more instructive for the powers that be to understand HOW the actual matter of the concrete of the dam exists in the Time-Space continuum.

    This is eveyone’s homework assignment on BR before we move on to discussing C.G. Jung’s analysis of the psychological conflict between Tertullian and Origen in the Early Church in terms of introverts and extroverts.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_boson

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics

    Schroedinger Equation

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger_equation

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger_equation

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger%27s_cat

    BTW SF, there is not necessarily a clean correspondence between
    exoteric (outward form meaning) religion and esoteric (inner concealed meaning) religion and “extroversion” and “introversion” as psychological type.

    Massive introverts in their grievously fearful social mal adjustment misuse BOTH as they do everything in their micro managed lemming like rush to introvert lowest common denominator psychological bubble hell.

    Next time we go to the well of particle physics from time to time in the discussion we are going to discuss the famous “slit experiment”. That really will tell you how the Universe works in teaching anything.

    The plus side is that everyone else on Earth is running with Baha’u’llah’s free and unfettered energizing Revelation in every walk of life except the community that claims to be His followers. Go figure?

    So the question is no longer what is the “wave state” of the Lessor Covenant where the cat may very well be dead but what is the “wave state” of the Greater Covenant where the cat may very well be alive and doing great. Even purring.

    Enquiring minds just might want to know!

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Craig Parke

    Hi Sincere Friend,

    Thank you for your thoughtful post.

    Before I continue on with the very slow analysis over time in installments on BR of what has happened in the Baha’i Faith in terms of C.G. Jung’s writings that say that all schisms in history are caused by the conflict between the mental orientations of introverts and extroverts, I wish to mention a few other things. There will be plenty of time to go over this conflict in this instance very slowly. The Baha’i Faith is going to be in free fall for a very long time to come. The only thing absolutely certain in all this is that no one at any level will deal with anything ever. Period.

    The bottom line right now is that you have an organization of incredibly life time “introverted” people trying to be paint-by-numbers “manufactured extroverts” in a huge psychological projection from the bubble introverts at the top. These are people so introverted that they can only relate to other human beings through a
    completely “psychologically safe” and “non-threatening” top down mico managed organizational structure. That is the ultimate psychological stop before institutional melt down and total dysfunctional oblivion.

    If it wasn’t so painful to watch and the consequences so catastrophic for the future relief of the suffering of the world and so dishonorable to the sacrifice and lifelong hopes of so many long serving Baha’is for generations it would be almost comical. The Baha’i Faith with the current Ruhi Double Down at Vegas Gambit and Hyper Core Activities Olympian Treadmill is trying to make incredibly introverted people into socially gregarious live on stage spandex clad massively
    talented rock guitarists by psychologically controlled fill in the blanks manufactured social bonding.

    We are basically now after ten years of mind numbing psychological cognitive dissonance at the Sorority Sisters Party scene in “Revenge of the Nerds”. There are going to more and more interventions by the Dean to get everyone to interact at the punch bowl. But this dog ain’t going to hunt. Why? Because contrary to what anyone says, it not spiritual at all. It is not of the spiritual processes of the Cosmos at all. I feel it is one of the most materialistic ways ever devised
    by anyone short of the Jehovah’s Witnesses to try to convey a spiritual message.

    No “system of organization” teaches the Word of God. The Spirit of God does. Period. The Spirit of God can be amplified by artists, deep thinkers, idiot savants, innocent children, and in everyone’s free form dreams at night in bed. But it can’t by professional accountants and Power Point addicts.

    Here is an example:

    Baha’u’llah wrote in the Lawh-i-Hikmat:

    “That which hath been in existence had existed before, but not in the form thou seest today. The world of existence came into being through the heat generated from the interaction between the active force and that which is its recipient. These two are the same, yet they are different.”

    Baha’u’llah was the first human soul to go through the Cosmic Portal to the New World Age of human power and capacity. That is what the Manifestation is in every World Age from cycle to cycle. He is the vortex first born person. He is the first human personality to see the new astonishing vista that is going to then be opened up to everyone in the unfolding of the New World Age Cycle. The Old Testament story of the Exodus is the esoteric encoded Inner Spiritual Laws of the Exodus into a New Promised Land of a New World Age. The Manifestation is something that occurs in nature. The Manifestation may not actually be the best pure writer, thinker, and film director in human terms in all that follows the event. But everyone else who is comes from His burst of opening. He opens the channel.

    Since this is a religion whose name means “Light” I think it would greatly behoove the people supposedly leading it to start to study the principles of light in the Universe for insight as we learn about them.

    To my mind the Manifestation is the Higgs Boson as a Human Temple of a New World Age to the human soul. His evelatory consciousness and the resulting thoughts (not his mere physical person) from the Pristine Cosmic Source of the Uncreated are the clustering mass givers to each of us as elementary points in the overall mind of mankind. His received consciousness becomes the massive scalar elementary particle for that Cycle of Space-Time on the human evolutionary consciousness thought plane. Baha’u’llah’s Writings as a Sufi Mystic are going to hold up very well with what pure science discovers. The next two years will be intense study of the reverse of E=mc2. It is now about energy creating a new particle via Mc2=E in the LHC experiments at CERN.

    Since I believe the Higgs Boson is going to be found this year or next as the LHC (Large Hydron Collider) is turned on at CERN, it might behoove the powers that be at the top of the Baha’i Faith to actually start to consult the PAGES OF THE BOOK OF THE UNIVERSE for practical cosmic guidance rather then the latest “educational theories” from the grim and somber breathless think tank lifetime employment apparatchiks at the International Teaching Center inside that now grid locked “Inner Theorist Beltway” that we all helped pay for. Every other spiritual movement out there will be doing this and running with it for improving everyday life.

    I also believe the Higgs Boson is going to be found to have a dual nature in seemingly different functions at the extreme micro and extreme macro levels of the Universe as Baha’u’llah seems to allude to here in this statement.

    So everyone can start here with these below links. Start to work on understanding the Schr?dinger equation because that will tell you exactly how to teach the Baha’i Faith (or even better still and more accurately in importance teach the New World Age) across the planet via spiritual means. Start thinking about Schr?dinger’s cat instead of taking a Ruhi Book five times over and over with the exact same people with no new seekers as people have been reported to have done. (The ultimate introvert paradise – totally inward going nowhere Ruhi cycles on the same book repeated over and over forever!)

    Rather then “building dams”, I feel it would be much more instructive for the powers that be to understand HOW the actual matter of the concrete of the dam exists in the Time-Space continuum.

    This is eveyone’s homework assignment on BR before we move on to discussing C.G. Jung’s analysis of the psychological conflict between Tertullian and Origen in the Early Church in terms of introverts and extroverts.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_boson

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mechanics

    Schroedinger Equation

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger_equation

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger_equation

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger%27s_cat

    BTW SF, there is not necessarily a clean correspondence between
    exoteric (outward form meaning) religion and esoteric (inner concealed meaning) religion and “extroversion” and “introversion” as psychological type.

    Massive introverts in their grievously fearful social mal adjustment misuse BOTH as they do everything in their micro managed lemming like rush to introvert lowest common denominator psychological bubble hell.

    Next time we go to the well of particle physics from time to time in the discussion we are going to discuss the famous “slit experiment”. That really will tell you how the Universe works in teaching anything.

    The plus side is that everyone else on Earth is running with Baha’u’llah’s free and unfettered energizing Revelation in every walk of life except the community that claims to be His followers. Go figure?

    So the question is no longer what is the “wave state” of the Lessor Covenant where the cat may very well be dead but what is the “wave state” of the Greater Covenant where the cat may very well be alive and doing great. Even purring.

    Enquiring minds just might want to know!

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Sincere Friend

    Well thank you for your extensive reply.

    I will be interested to read your further comments on the relationship s between modern physics and the Bahai Revelation.

    If you dont mind a personal question in response to your emphatic comments about certain aspects of the Bahai society in general and Ruhi in particular. Have you come to these feelings and opinions and feelings from your own experience or from what you have heard and read of others experiences?

    It will indeed be an interesting time when the particulars of religious administration coincide with the principles of physics. Perhaps it would a question to put to Dr. Khan?

  • Sincere Friend

    Well thank you for your extensive reply.

    I will be interested to read your further comments on the relationship s between modern physics and the Bahai Revelation.

    If you dont mind a personal question in response to your emphatic comments about certain aspects of the Bahai society in general and Ruhi in particular. Have you come to these feelings and opinions and feelings from your own experience or from what you have heard and read of others experiences?

    It will indeed be an interesting time when the particulars of religious administration coincide with the principles of physics. Perhaps it would a question to put to Dr. Khan?

  • Craig Parke

    Hi SF,

    Again, thank you for your reply. I am 60 years old (but people say I look 45 when I am in a thin cycle. Right now I am definitely not in a thin cycle!) But my genes are holding up pretty good.

    I have been a Baha’i for 36 years. I declared in 1971 after getting books in London and reading them in Paris. I was studying Sufism at the time after I survived being in the Armed Forces of the United States. I saw no hope for the human race. I was once in the chain of command of nuclear weapons and it scared the living s**t out of me. These weapons are fearsome. If you lived through the Cuban Missle Crisis in those days you see the world completely different then people who did not experience that time. Especially if you ever actually served in the military. You know this could all be gone by 12 Noon tomorrow on any given day. That stays with you your entire life. I perceive you are young. I suggest renting the fine film “13 Days” to know what that event was like. When I read the Kitab-I-Iqan in 1971 I was completely astounded. I thought this was a profound mystical Sufi path for practical and effective living. I joined the Faith within two months and was very devoted.

    I served in many steadfast capacities in the Baha’i Faith over these many long decades and years. DTC Secretary, NTR Rep, Assembly Trainer, External Public Affairs Rep. Special Projects Person. I did many special projects for the nearest LSA over the decades. The last one was in 2000 for the local major billboard project. I produced the design and placed them for the greater community. Shortly thereafter I got very upset when I read Glenford Mitchells speech
    after 9/11 about war being “God’s work”. I am a fair person. I never said a thing about the Ruhi courses one way or another until I took Ruhi Book One myself. Over six weeks it was one of the worst spiritual experiences of my entire life. Just terrible. If I had to do all of them I would have to go on medication. Just an atrocity of the free human spirit.

    I would never bring a human being created in the image and likeness of God into this now fundamentalist cult group think. In my life I knew many people who lived under Nazi Germany from when I lived in Europe. I will never be part of anything that requires people to turn their souls over to an organization. I believe in individual conscience. I thought Abdu’l-Baha did too. This is no longer the religion I joined in 1971 and faithfully served all these years.

    If I was now a current member of the Universal House of Justice or the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States I would look at my life, put a loaded gun to my head, and pull the trigger. Some heavy duty Divne Judgement awaits these people on the other side. How much has been lost in the Baha’i Faith is now completely incalcuable.

    I hope this answered your question.

    I do wish you well on your life’s path. I hope you have a prosperous and effective life.

    In my opinion, the Lessor Covenant has utterly failed. But the Greater Covenant has attracted a better class of brighter people and will definitely prevail in the long run. Despite the present situation, I remain hopeful. Just look at the incredible beauty of the mathematics in those links.

    And, yes, don’t even get me started on Peter Khan.

  • Craig Parke

    Hi SF,

    Again, thank you for your reply. I am 60 years old (but people say I look 45 when I am in a thin cycle. Right now I am definitely not in a thin cycle!) But my genes are holding up pretty good.

    I have been a Baha’i for 36 years. I declared in 1971 after getting books in London and reading them in Paris. I was studying Sufism at the time after I survived being in the Armed Forces of the United States. I saw no hope for the human race. I was once in the chain of command of nuclear weapons and it scared the living s**t out of me. These weapons are fearsome. If you lived through the Cuban Missle Crisis in those days you see the world completely different then people who did not experience that time. Especially if you ever actually served in the military. You know this could all be gone by 12 Noon tomorrow on any given day. That stays with you your entire life. I perceive you are young. I suggest renting the fine film “13 Days” to know what that event was like. When I read the Kitab-I-Iqan in 1971 I was completely astounded. I thought this was a profound mystical Sufi path for practical and effective living. I joined the Faith within two months and was very devoted.

    I served in many steadfast capacities in the Baha’i Faith over these many long decades and years. DTC Secretary, NTR Rep, Assembly Trainer, External Public Affairs Rep. Special Projects Person. I did many special projects for the nearest LSA over the decades. The last one was in 2000 for the local major billboard project. I produced the design and placed them for the greater community. Shortly thereafter I got very upset when I read Glenford Mitchells speech
    after 9/11 about war being “God’s work”. I am a fair person. I never said a thing about the Ruhi courses one way or another until I took Ruhi Book One myself. Over six weeks it was one of the worst spiritual experiences of my entire life. Just terrible. If I had to do all of them I would have to go on medication. Just an atrocity of the free human spirit.

    I would never bring a human being created in the image and likeness of God into this now fundamentalist cult group think. In my life I knew many people who lived under Nazi Germany from when I lived in Europe. I will never be part of anything that requires people to turn their souls over to an organization. I believe in individual conscience. I thought Abdu’l-Baha did too. This is no longer the religion I joined in 1971 and faithfully served all these years.

    If I was now a current member of the Universal House of Justice or the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States I would look at my life, put a loaded gun to my head, and pull the trigger. Some heavy duty Divne Judgement awaits these people on the other side. How much has been lost in the Baha’i Faith is now completely incalcuable.

    I hope this answered your question.

    I do wish you well on your life’s path. I hope you have a prosperous and effective life.

    In my opinion, the Lessor Covenant has utterly failed. But the Greater Covenant has attracted a better class of brighter people and will definitely prevail in the long run. Despite the present situation, I remain hopeful. Just look at the incredible beauty of the mathematics in those links.

    And, yes, don’t even get me started on Peter Khan.

  • Sincere Friend

    Well thanks for your kind reply. I feel almost that it should be a private conversation rather than something for the “record”.

    However with respect to your comments about the change in direction of things within the Faith it seems to be a pattern that is also extant in the general society worldwide with many religious movements experiencing a shift to the conservative and fundamentalist ideologies with those types of mentalities becoming prominent. This as you know is evident all over the world and this polarization and idealisation of the past among competing religious and political groups is the cause of most of the current conflicts that we are becoming embroiled in as an increasingly interconnected world community.

    This desperate alignment with fanatical conservatism among seemingly all the nations was most distressing to me until I read something that made it all sensible. It was some comments of Dane Rudyar written some years ago predicting that these cycles would occur, but pass into something more comfortable after about 20 years.

    The good news is that we are almost through it. In many countries the conservative ideologies that have been perpetrated on the masses of people by whatever expedient means available are running out of steam and being shown for their moribund nature. In their place are emerging more responsive and realistic leadership groups that are favorable to progressive ideals and responsible stewardship. This is evident in the US policital scene with the imminent demise of the white elephant party on the immediate horizon. Also the broad shift in Latin America away from policies of macro economics and centralized control to more community centered programs and policies is already well underway. I think this will occur also in the administration of our faith as the old generation currently in positions of leadership fades away and is replaced by new fresh faces who are fully infused with the spirit of this new cycle of life expression. I see signs of this thaw already as in the letter from the US NSA reporting on the ineffectiveness of certain aspects of the current program.

    The theme of your generation, according to what I had read is freedom, the theme of your parents, the WWII generation, was the projection of new power structures, and the theme of the current generation X is conformity.

    My counsel to you friend is to have patience and to not be perturbed by the “changes and chances of the world” even when they occur within your own faith. It may seem like all is lost, but as you so insightfully point out the Greater Covenant is intact and every knows that the lesser covenant is but its shadow. We can take comfort in that observation of Max Planck “Science progresses funeral by funeral.” So too I think does every other theatre of human endevour.

    With respect to the idea that war is Gods work I think it bears out with some historical proof. It seems that large social forces and movements often contend and destroy each other and what remains is the plunder for the survivors. This was certainly true with the conflict with Nazism and communism, the demise of the former in conflict with the latter setting the stage for the demise of the latter in contention with Capitalism which in turn set the stage, through Reagans support of the Taliban, for the conflict with Islam which is now playing out. Always the pendulem swings back and forth until all the polarties are resolved. So in this manner I think that war is Gods work of leveling the unbalanced societies into peaceful and constructive ones. None of the militaristic regimes survive very long anyway as history bears out, particulalry in the modern world.

    None of this is meant in anyway to diminish the experience that you have had with war which must have been absolutely terrifying.

  • Sincere Friend

    Well thanks for your kind reply. I feel almost that it should be a private conversation rather than something for the “record”.

    However with respect to your comments about the change in direction of things within the Faith it seems to be a pattern that is also extant in the general society worldwide with many religious movements experiencing a shift to the conservative and fundamentalist ideologies with those types of mentalities becoming prominent. This as you know is evident all over the world and this polarization and idealisation of the past among competing religious and political groups is the cause of most of the current conflicts that we are becoming embroiled in as an increasingly interconnected world community.

    This desperate alignment with fanatical conservatism among seemingly all the nations was most distressing to me until I read something that made it all sensible. It was some comments of Dane Rudyar written some years ago predicting that these cycles would occur, but pass into something more comfortable after about 20 years.

    The good news is that we are almost through it. In many countries the conservative ideologies that have been perpetrated on the masses of people by whatever expedient means available are running out of steam and being shown for their moribund nature. In their place are emerging more responsive and realistic leadership groups that are favorable to progressive ideals and responsible stewardship. This is evident in the US policital scene with the imminent demise of the white elephant party on the immediate horizon. Also the broad shift in Latin America away from policies of macro economics and centralized control to more community centered programs and policies is already well underway. I think this will occur also in the administration of our faith as the old generation currently in positions of leadership fades away and is replaced by new fresh faces who are fully infused with the spirit of this new cycle of life expression. I see signs of this thaw already as in the letter from the US NSA reporting on the ineffectiveness of certain aspects of the current program.

    The theme of your generation, according to what I had read is freedom, the theme of your parents, the WWII generation, was the projection of new power structures, and the theme of the current generation X is conformity.

    My counsel to you friend is to have patience and to not be perturbed by the “changes and chances of the world” even when they occur within your own faith. It may seem like all is lost, but as you so insightfully point out the Greater Covenant is intact and every knows that the lesser covenant is but its shadow. We can take comfort in that observation of Max Planck “Science progresses funeral by funeral.” So too I think does every other theatre of human endevour.

    With respect to the idea that war is Gods work I think it bears out with some historical proof. It seems that large social forces and movements often contend and destroy each other and what remains is the plunder for the survivors. This was certainly true with the conflict with Nazism and communism, the demise of the former in conflict with the latter setting the stage for the demise of the latter in contention with Capitalism which in turn set the stage, through Reagans support of the Taliban, for the conflict with Islam which is now playing out. Always the pendulem swings back and forth until all the polarties are resolved. So in this manner I think that war is Gods work of leveling the unbalanced societies into peaceful and constructive ones. None of the militaristic regimes survive very long anyway as history bears out, particulalry in the modern world.

    None of this is meant in anyway to diminish the experience that you have had with war which must have been absolutely terrifying.

  • Craig Parke

    Dear Sincere Friend,

    Thank you for your very thoughtful post. I apologize for not being able to reply until now. Your reference to Dane Rudyar is quite timely. As anyone will tell you who is skilled in those arts (and I know many Baha’is from the great spiritual searches of the 1960′s and 1970′s who still very quietly are) , there is a sea change coming starting in 2008. A lot of currently “in vogue” spiritual archetypes are going to take the fall big time across the entire world. It is coming across the entire world.

    It will certainly effect the present version of the Baha’i Faith in
    the same tide as it will everything else. A person could make a very good case based on these insights that a lot of people currently calling the shots at the top of many of the systems on Earth corrupted by gamed electoral processes over the last 20 years are all going to have to be buried in un-marked graves. The wrath of the rank and file in many systems of the world will come as more and more people become aware of the true extent they have been betrayed by their leaderships.

    Although many of the current “Baha’is” might say otherwise, the Baha’i Writings do very solidly support the deeper implications of the esoteric arts we are discussing here under the surface. The Universe IS a system of Divine Geometry where planes of the vast and limitless Cosmos interact. Star clocks and systems of esoteric insight are very useful in discerning the spiritual weather. There is really nothing new under the Sun. We have been here before as passengers in the huge spiritual vortexes of World Ages.

    The 1982 film “The Dark Crystal” will start to kick in big time in 2008. Too bad the leadership of the Baha’i Faith of the last 25 years did not do their home work starting back then to prepare for the Day of Reckoning. It is not going to be pretty. And, yes, with the US NSA Ridvan 2007 Convention Report IT HAS ALREADY STARTED right on time! Didn’t someone once say “The Universe is a system of perfect justice did ye but know” or something to that extent?

    I do not really despair. I am just tired. I am getting old. I just
    had hoped to experience something far better in life before I die than the dreary amateur hour production that the Baha’i
    Administrative Order turned out to be. I had hoped for a class of more spiritually enlightened people to emerge at some point. I now see the current impasse as the Will of God. It was a fetus that did not form properly and it has not attracted enough life force to go to term, take a breath, and be born. But the life that was supposed to become manifest WILL be born into the Universe somewhere else. To me, this is the essential theme of this New World Age – the human race is going to experience the incredible birthing power of the
    Cosmos. Baha’u’llah was a true original Gnostic thinker and He
    conveyed this message brilliantly. That system of mystical insight is now forbidden amid the people that are called by His name in their tiny micro-managed work-book Faith. So it will go to others. The Greater Covenant continues to move at light speed. Witness the incredible power of the science and technology of the Internet. Wonder of wonders. The Intel x86 instruction set is at least one of the true Holy Writs of the New World Age. When it seems nobody else on the planet these days is doing their job to advance the energies Baha’u’llah opened the creative scientists and design engineers are.

    As to my military service as a 1st Lieutenant from 1969-1971 I did not have to take a life or send anyone to their death. In this I was very fortunate in the fortunes of war. But I know many who did. And it is a burden in their dark nights of the soul for many almost forty years later. The psychological and devastating spiritual carnage of Iraq will be with us for a long time to come. The Baha’is, of course, in their top down micro managed completely inward cult bubble will address nothing of this in the real world and will, once again, miss
    an opportunity to truly help other human souls with the Message. But I will be involved. That is my place. I wish my religion would have lived up to it’s mission, but it didn’t. It turned inward and moribund. The means to an end became the end in itself. The same old, same old in human spiritual history.

    The Baha’i Faith is now a kind of spiritual communism that if you read books and have knowledge of many different ideas from history and bring anything up other than the party line you will be singled out as the ENEMY OF GOD! If you can think for yourself and initiate your own creative teaching projects you will be branded a traitor to the system and eventually tarred as “weak in the Covenant” and marched out into the jungle to start over at YEAR ZERO. But the unforeseen spectacular rise of the Internet is going to change all this starting in the events of 2008 as the hands turn on the star
    clocks and other planes of the human soul kick in across the world.

    Any religion taught the way the current version of the Baha’i Faith is or any system of thought in the individual empowering New World Age will eventually have the same fate as communism as an ideology. You take all creative thought out of the rank and file of the Baha’i Faith worldwide and you will create failed forced spiritual collective farms and eventually a moribund energy draining spiritual gulag. And that is exactly what is happening. Again, the same old, same old in human history. The means to an end became the end itself.

    But there is a sea change coming starting in 2008. And it is not
    going to be pretty.

    Thanks for your post. It had many good insights. I still feel,
    however, that war is NOT God’s work. The price is too great as a path to enlightenment. It is not necessary if every person on Earth just took personal responsibility for the fate of each other’s sons and daughters.

  • Craig Parke

    Dear Sincere Friend,

    Thank you for your very thoughtful post. I apologize for not being able to reply until now. Your reference to Dane Rudyar is quite timely. As anyone will tell you who is skilled in those arts (and I know many Baha’is from the great spiritual searches of the 1960′s and 1970′s who still very quietly are) , there is a sea change coming starting in 2008. A lot of currently “in vogue” spiritual archetypes are going to take the fall big time across the entire world. It is coming across the entire world.

    It will certainly effect the present version of the Baha’i Faith in
    the same tide as it will everything else. A person could make a very good case based on these insights that a lot of people currently calling the shots at the top of many of the systems on Earth corrupted by gamed electoral processes over the last 20 years are all going to have to be buried in un-marked graves. The wrath of the rank and file in many systems of the world will come as more and more people become aware of the true extent they have been betrayed by their leaderships.

    Although many of the current “Baha’is” might say otherwise, the Baha’i Writings do very solidly support the deeper implications of the esoteric arts we are discussing here under the surface. The Universe IS a system of Divine Geometry where planes of the vast and limitless Cosmos interact. Star clocks and systems of esoteric insight are very useful in discerning the spiritual weather. There is really nothing new under the Sun. We have been here before as passengers in the huge spiritual vortexes of World Ages.

    The 1982 film “The Dark Crystal” will start to kick in big time in 2008. Too bad the leadership of the Baha’i Faith of the last 25 years did not do their home work starting back then to prepare for the Day of Reckoning. It is not going to be pretty. And, yes, with the US NSA Ridvan 2007 Convention Report IT HAS ALREADY STARTED right on time! Didn’t someone once say “The Universe is a system of perfect justice did ye but know” or something to that extent?

    I do not really despair. I am just tired. I am getting old. I just
    had hoped to experience something far better in life before I die than the dreary amateur hour production that the Baha’i
    Administrative Order turned out to be. I had hoped for a class of more spiritually enlightened people to emerge at some point. I now see the current impasse as the Will of God. It was a fetus that did not form properly and it has not attracted enough life force to go to term, take a breath, and be born. But the life that was supposed to become manifest WILL be born into the Universe somewhere else. To me, this is the essential theme of this New World Age – the human race is going to experience the incredible birthing power of the
    Cosmos. Baha’u’llah was a true original Gnostic thinker and He
    conveyed this message brilliantly. That system of mystical insight is now forbidden amid the people that are called by His name in their tiny micro-managed work-book Faith. So it will go to others. The Greater Covenant continues to move at light speed. Witness the incredible power of the science and technology of the Internet. Wonder of wonders. The Intel x86 instruction set is at least one of the true Holy Writs of the New World Age. When it seems nobody else on the planet these days is doing their job to advance the energies Baha’u’llah opened the creative scientists and design engineers are.

    As to my military service as a 1st Lieutenant from 1969-1971 I did not have to take a life or send anyone to their death. In this I was very fortunate in the fortunes of war. But I know many who did. And it is a burden in their dark nights of the soul for many almost forty years later. The psychological and devastating spiritual carnage of Iraq will be with us for a long time to come. The Baha’is, of course, in their top down micro managed completely inward cult bubble will address nothing of this in the real world and will, once again, miss
    an opportunity to truly help other human souls with the Message. But I will be involved. That is my place. I wish my religion would have lived up to it’s mission, but it didn’t. It turned inward and moribund. The means to an end became the end in itself. The same old, same old in human spiritual history.

    The Baha’i Faith is now a kind of spiritual communism that if you read books and have knowledge of many different ideas from history and bring anything up other than the party line you will be singled out as the ENEMY OF GOD! If you can think for yourself and initiate your own creative teaching projects you will be branded a traitor to the system and eventually tarred as “weak in the Covenant” and marched out into the jungle to start over at YEAR ZERO. But the unforeseen spectacular rise of the Internet is going to change all this starting in the events of 2008 as the hands turn on the star
    clocks and other planes of the human soul kick in across the world.

    Any religion taught the way the current version of the Baha’i Faith is or any system of thought in the individual empowering New World Age will eventually have the same fate as communism as an ideology. You take all creative thought out of the rank and file of the Baha’i Faith worldwide and you will create failed forced spiritual collective farms and eventually a moribund energy draining spiritual gulag. And that is exactly what is happening. Again, the same old, same old in human history. The means to an end became the end itself.

    But there is a sea change coming starting in 2008. And it is not
    going to be pretty.

    Thanks for your post. It had many good insights. I still feel,
    however, that war is NOT God’s work. The price is too great as a path to enlightenment. It is not necessary if every person on Earth just took personal responsibility for the fate of each other’s sons and daughters.

  • Sincere Friend

    Thank you for your reply.

    I can not even imagine what soldiers go through as a consequence of their military involvement and the loss of human life. I know only of some reports from people who have had NDEs that were soldiers and had killed people that they experience the emotional consequence of the pain and suffering and disappointment of the ones they killed and of all those who were close to them. I have only one friend who has been a combat soldier and he suffers even today 40 years later.

    What you say about the systems of Divination are true, but I feel that they must be rediscovered in the language of this present age of science. They are obviously the remnants of a very old and mostly forgotten science. True science places the data it produces in a cosmic perspective. Our current level of science is fragmented in its underlying paradigms, each branch having its own cosmology as it were. When science acheieves a unity of paradigm and adjusts the theories in each branch to be coherent with this universal paradigm then we will truly see something to behold.

    Please do not dispair over the current state of affairs as you perceive it in our beloved Faith. The battle of ideas is far from over and for the time being consolidation of the growth process is necessary as it is in any organic entity. Just keep you mystic powder dry for as you say “the cycles they do return”.

    It would be nice if those Bahais who are of a mystical inclination had a place to meet online or elsewhere, maybe like the Blackmens gathering, and discuss their Faith in the context of their mystical frameworks. I havent seen anything like that anywhere have you?

  • Sincere Friend

    Thank you for your reply.

    I can not even imagine what soldiers go through as a consequence of their military involvement and the loss of human life. I know only of some reports from people who have had NDEs that were soldiers and had killed people that they experience the emotional consequence of the pain and suffering and disappointment of the ones they killed and of all those who were close to them. I have only one friend who has been a combat soldier and he suffers even today 40 years later.

    What you say about the systems of Divination are true, but I feel that they must be rediscovered in the language of this present age of science. They are obviously the remnants of a very old and mostly forgotten science. True science places the data it produces in a cosmic perspective. Our current level of science is fragmented in its underlying paradigms, each branch having its own cosmology as it were. When science acheieves a unity of paradigm and adjusts the theories in each branch to be coherent with this universal paradigm then we will truly see something to behold.

    Please do not dispair over the current state of affairs as you perceive it in our beloved Faith. The battle of ideas is far from over and for the time being consolidation of the growth process is necessary as it is in any organic entity. Just keep you mystic powder dry for as you say “the cycles they do return”.

    It would be nice if those Bahais who are of a mystical inclination had a place to meet online or elsewhere, maybe like the Blackmens gathering, and discuss their Faith in the context of their mystical frameworks. I havent seen anything like that anywhere have you?

  • Chis Clay Bauman

    This discussion thread has been very interesting. I am very glad the NSA is talking plainly about the attrition (sp where is Word when you need it…). I have been getting very annoyed with the Feast letters talking about how rosy everything is. I mean it is good to point out what good and successful things are happening but when there is such an alarming dropoff of Baha’is from the roles that is a crisis if ever I saw one.

    I am a very successful Bah’ai teacher. I have brought people in and sometimes I have watched them go out. Sometimes my spiitual children have been my teachers and supporters when I real;y needed it So I am very grateful. In the past couple of years that has been all that has kept me going. Recently I just found a group I feel inspired and soulful in besides my very small community of 5 people who I love and sing with. Sadly I am waiting for turn in the current climate so I can resume my love for the mystical magic that happens when the souls transfomr into Bah’ais. I have never recieved much support for it. I I definately have not recieved acknowledgement or real help for a very long long time. I didn’t mind as long as I had hope that the force of teaching could overcome the forces of fear. In fact I can say that the incredible pressure to stop teaching came from my own community because they didn’t understand how to do it themselves. It made them uncomfortable to have someone so dedicated. i am not sure what to do. I am vey very sad about it.

    I don’t want to quit being a Baha’i. I have been a Baha’i 34 years. When I have been active and teaching as I have in at least 20 different commuinties in many counties there is an incredible spiritual power that accompanies me. it is amazing. The other side has let me know in no uncertain terms that I should do that. The spiritual force is amazing.

    I cannot understand the current trends, how to work in the administration to bring people in and why it even has to be organized this way. I do not understand the overemphasis on LSA autonomy. Without the balance of some tranparency in decisions where the LSA communicates back to the individuals and or the community the community members, especially those involved in a particular problem, never know the ourcome or whether a situation has been addressed. So it is with the NSA over these last many yeas. The NSA and the LSA members ae volunteers who take time out to serve. They do have the Faith’s best interests at heart but ae clueless about empowering individuals under their ranks. I could tell you stories about my own personal diffculites. However I recognize that they are trying thei hardest to fifue it out.

    We live in a society that is very very very fast paced and media driven. It is all about the person and getting what they want. IT is cynical and time and task oriented. How can the Bah’ais swim up stream in this huge river? You can’t. so many Baha’i have now created a hybid Ameican-Baha’i culture that is gross, course and without a spirit context. I say this with experience of being a BAh’ai communiities that are heart centered.

    I did serve on a LSA that was very successful. They dissolved committees, told people to come to them with any teaching project and they would support it no matter how much it cost or how our there it was as long as it didn’t create a bad name in the community. WE were so united that the solution to a problem came to us all at once without one of us suggesting it. We just all knew. All of this is really about letting God speak through us, giving us a taste of the Divine elixir that ocmes from letting go into the huge force of God. Sadly, I have not had that experience again. It is because the lSA saw itself as the servant of the community and supporter of teachers in a way that LSA are not being taught to do now. They are afraid of dissidence and rebelliion and do not know how to yield to the Spirit moving through their members. There is a HUGE seperation between LSAs, Auxillary Boards and members of the community who are now drifting away in droves.

    I do think Ruhi is good because part of the problem I see is a void in leadership. We make it what it is. Who the tutor is makes a huge difference because if it is just about sitting and doing boring readings vs. making a living breathing reality of love and transformation out of it. Love is the key, creative endeavor the vehicle and the Word the rocket fuel.

    Unless Ruhit rully makes people realize that they are living a hybid existence of American materialism/Baha’i mechanistic culture combo, there will be very little change in action. I still have hope that when our AMerican culture hits bottom whichit will, there will be a dramatic change in the Bah’ai culture also. I will probably be gone by then.

    Sorry about the typing mistakes. Chris

  • Chis Clay Bauman

    This discussion thread has been very interesting. I am very glad the NSA is talking plainly about the attrition (sp where is Word when you need it…). I have been getting very annoyed with the Feast letters talking about how rosy everything is. I mean it is good to point out what good and successful things are happening but when there is such an alarming dropoff of Baha’is from the roles that is a crisis if ever I saw one.

    I am a very successful Bah’ai teacher. I have brought people in and sometimes I have watched them go out. Sometimes my spiitual children have been my teachers and supporters when I real;y needed it So I am very grateful. In the past couple of years that has been all that has kept me going. Recently I just found a group I feel inspired and soulful in besides my very small community of 5 people who I love and sing with. Sadly I am waiting for turn in the current climate so I can resume my love for the mystical magic that happens when the souls transfomr into Bah’ais. I have never recieved much support for it. I I definately have not recieved acknowledgement or real help for a very long long time. I didn’t mind as long as I had hope that the force of teaching could overcome the forces of fear. In fact I can say that the incredible pressure to stop teaching came from my own community because they didn’t understand how to do it themselves. It made them uncomfortable to have someone so dedicated. i am not sure what to do. I am vey very sad about it.

    I don’t want to quit being a Baha’i. I have been a Baha’i 34 years. When I have been active and teaching as I have in at least 20 different commuinties in many counties there is an incredible spiritual power that accompanies me. it is amazing. The other side has let me know in no uncertain terms that I should do that. The spiritual force is amazing.

    I cannot understand the current trends, how to work in the administration to bring people in and why it even has to be organized this way. I do not understand the overemphasis on LSA autonomy. Without the balance of some tranparency in decisions where the LSA communicates back to the individuals and or the community the community members, especially those involved in a particular problem, never know the ourcome or whether a situation has been addressed. So it is with the NSA over these last many yeas. The NSA and the LSA members ae volunteers who take time out to serve. They do have the Faith’s best interests at heart but ae clueless about empowering individuals under their ranks. I could tell you stories about my own personal diffculites. However I recognize that they are trying thei hardest to fifue it out.

    We live in a society that is very very very fast paced and media driven. It is all about the person and getting what they want. IT is cynical and time and task oriented. How can the Bah’ais swim up stream in this huge river? You can’t. so many Baha’i have now created a hybid Ameican-Baha’i culture that is gross, course and without a spirit context. I say this with experience of being a BAh’ai communiities that are heart centered.

    I did serve on a LSA that was very successful. They dissolved committees, told people to come to them with any teaching project and they would support it no matter how much it cost or how our there it was as long as it didn’t create a bad name in the community. WE were so united that the solution to a problem came to us all at once without one of us suggesting it. We just all knew. All of this is really about letting God speak through us, giving us a taste of the Divine elixir that ocmes from letting go into the huge force of God. Sadly, I have not had that experience again. It is because the lSA saw itself as the servant of the community and supporter of teachers in a way that LSA are not being taught to do now. They are afraid of dissidence and rebelliion and do not know how to yield to the Spirit moving through their members. There is a HUGE seperation between LSAs, Auxillary Boards and members of the community who are now drifting away in droves.

    I do think Ruhi is good because part of the problem I see is a void in leadership. We make it what it is. Who the tutor is makes a huge difference because if it is just about sitting and doing boring readings vs. making a living breathing reality of love and transformation out of it. Love is the key, creative endeavor the vehicle and the Word the rocket fuel.

    Unless Ruhit rully makes people realize that they are living a hybid existence of American materialism/Baha’i mechanistic culture combo, there will be very little change in action. I still have hope that when our AMerican culture hits bottom whichit will, there will be a dramatic change in the Bah’ai culture also. I will probably be gone by then.

    Sorry about the typing mistakes. Chris

  • Fritz Gormann

    Chris

    1st if your worried about spelling, just compose your comment in Word then select all, then copy, then come back here and paste your comment in the block, OK

    Next, a letters and communication in the faith will always sound rosey.
    I’ve been a Baha’i for 40 years, noting changed there.
    Teaching is your obligation and right, do it your way (read the 2nd hidden word arabic)

    Enjoy the faith of Baha’u’llah, your enjoyment doesn’t depend on anyone but you, but it’s nice when you can share.

    The faith is going through a tough time now but again it’s the administative Order not the people.
    They’re repeting the mistakes all the other religions have made.

    Your faily safe at this blog, so express yourself and screan if need be.

    With Hope for a time past and a time to come

    Fritz Gormann

  • Fritz Gormann

    Chris

    1st if your worried about spelling, just compose your comment in Word then select all, then copy, then come back here and paste your comment in the block, OK

    Next, a letters and communication in the faith will always sound rosey.
    I’ve been a Baha’i for 40 years, noting changed there.
    Teaching is your obligation and right, do it your way (read the 2nd hidden word arabic)

    Enjoy the faith of Baha’u’llah, your enjoyment doesn’t depend on anyone but you, but it’s nice when you can share.

    The faith is going through a tough time now but again it’s the administative Order not the people.
    They’re repeting the mistakes all the other religions have made.

    Your faily safe at this blog, so express yourself and screan if need be.

    With Hope for a time past and a time to come

    Fritz Gormann

  • Chis Clay Bauman

    Yes I could use Word to spellcheck everything…!

    Whenever I ask in my prayers for someone to teach the Faith to that day, I always find opportunities. However, I no longer try to go through the process of trying to guide them into the Faith because there is not the infrastructure to receive new believers or the understanding needed to nurture someone into full participation. I am tired of seeing new Baha’is with open arms and lights in their eyes enthusiastically jump up, wanting to DO something positive and supportive, only to see it gradually fade and die when exposed to business-as-usual community life. Every person who becomes a Baha’i has a period where they explore their relationship to a community, where they fit and then make a determination about how they will act and what they will do. If they don’t fit into the community they leave. And plenty of people are leaving.

    I just want to explore my relationship with the Beloved now. I have worked to my utmost to build community and raise my child to be a Baha’i. I don’t think I did such a good job but I tried, given my circumstances. i am not concerned very much anymore with whether the Baha’i community grows or not.

    I am very clear that I no longer want to participate in any administrative consultation of any kind unless I see there is genuine openness and love. I am tired of never knowing what comes of any of it. i never know if a problem or project is being considered or what comes out of any consultative process. I do think that the administration should heed the Writings that talk about engendering the trust and support of the members of their community. As far as I am concerned they don’t because they think they have ever right to be autonomous and that their word has the final say. So they just don’t even think about going back to anyone in their community to let them know that things are being worked on.

    Consultation at Feast is a joke. Were I to ask the LSA how a certain problem was being addressed I would just be told I am overstepping the bounds of the LSA confidentiality. I am tired of LSAs and the NSA expecting me to devote my entire life to making communities grow and develop without accountability from their end, interactive support and the loving nourishment of encouragement with a sense of truly being heard.

    So this Convention, though I am helping with the program, I am not going to be present for the consultation portion unless it has a pure, loving and open atmosphere and I know that what people say there is really being heard. I am ready for a change. If I can’t find my place and good guidance in the Bah’ai community outwardly, I will learn to trust and act on my own interior truth that tells me when things are spiritually right and when they are off. God knows my longing.

    Chris Bauman

  • Chis Clay Bauman

    Yes I could use Word to spellcheck everything…!

    Whenever I ask in my prayers for someone to teach the Faith to that day, I always find opportunities. However, I no longer try to go through the process of trying to guide them into the Faith because there is not the infrastructure to receive new believers or the understanding needed to nurture someone into full participation. I am tired of seeing new Baha’is with open arms and lights in their eyes enthusiastically jump up, wanting to DO something positive and supportive, only to see it gradually fade and die when exposed to business-as-usual community life. Every person who becomes a Baha’i has a period where they explore their relationship to a community, where they fit and then make a determination about how they will act and what they will do. If they don’t fit into the community they leave. And plenty of people are leaving.

    I just want to explore my relationship with the Beloved now. I have worked to my utmost to build community and raise my child to be a Baha’i. I don’t think I did such a good job but I tried, given my circumstances. i am not concerned very much anymore with whether the Baha’i community grows or not.

    I am very clear that I no longer want to participate in any administrative consultation of any kind unless I see there is genuine openness and love. I am tired of never knowing what comes of any of it. i never know if a problem or project is being considered or what comes out of any consultative process. I do think that the administration should heed the Writings that talk about engendering the trust and support of the members of their community. As far as I am concerned they don’t because they think they have ever right to be autonomous and that their word has the final say. So they just don’t even think about going back to anyone in their community to let them know that things are being worked on.

    Consultation at Feast is a joke. Were I to ask the LSA how a certain problem was being addressed I would just be told I am overstepping the bounds of the LSA confidentiality. I am tired of LSAs and the NSA expecting me to devote my entire life to making communities grow and develop without accountability from their end, interactive support and the loving nourishment of encouragement with a sense of truly being heard.

    So this Convention, though I am helping with the program, I am not going to be present for the consultation portion unless it has a pure, loving and open atmosphere and I know that what people say there is really being heard. I am ready for a change. If I can’t find my place and good guidance in the Bah’ai community outwardly, I will learn to trust and act on my own interior truth that tells me when things are spiritually right and when they are off. God knows my longing.

    Chris Bauman