Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Moving to China

In case anyone wonders why you haven't heard from me lately, it's because my time has been completely consumed by getting ready for our move to China.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Divisions and sectarian hatreds among Baha'is

Some people might be interested in Sen's comments on one of my posts: Freedom from sectarian attitudes and practices.

I'm not responding here to anything he said in particular. I just want to summarize some responses to divisions and sectarian hatreds, that I want to practice and promote.

1. Spending time with people whose interests and ideas seem contrary to mine, doing things that interest them, learning from them and finding ways to serve some of their most beneficial interests.
2. Immersing myself in other cultures, in companionship with people from those cultures.
3. Online resources for people who are practicing and promoting better conduct on the Internet (My "Deeds, Not Words" Web pages).
4. The growth plans being promoted by the House of Justice, especially the inclusion of non-members in our core activities.
5. Walking and working with abused and marginalized people.
6. Fellowship as the supreme goal and the monarch of aspirations, and the only thing that can satisfy Baha'u'llah.
7. Healthy responses to attacks on the Faith in Internet discussions, and to defects in the Baha'i community and its institutions.
8. I've posted some other ideas on one of my "Deeds, Not Words" pages: Promoting freedom from sectarian attitudes and practices.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

More about Gerald's "Unity Through Vulnerability"

I've been wanting to practice kindness, and what I've been calling "meekness." That looks like a very good direction for me to go now, in working to improve my conduct. Whenever I see someone crossing me, I'm tempted to respond in intimidating and hurtful ways, and I want to change that. I've already found two people close to me who exemplify the meekness and kindness I want to practice. Now I'm hoping to learn more about it from Gerald's discussion of unity through vulnerability.

Vulnerability, unity and justice

In "Unity Through Vulnerability," Gerald wrote:

"Expect more posts from me on vulnerability."

I hope he will post more on vulnerability. The idea of vulnerability as a part of unity intrigues me. It might be a way of approaching humility and unity without getting lost in some popular misconceptions about them. I'm thinking also of "meekness."

In my "Deeds Not Words" blog I wrote about working to improve my conduct, and learning from others. This might be a good place for me to start. I've been thinking of Gerald as an example of not drawing lines, and exploring this idea of vulnerability with him might be a good way to learn from him.

In a comment to that post, Brendan wrote:

"What makes unity so really hard is that you still have to find a way to challenge and to oppose perceived injustice without a sense of separation from those you perceive as the agents of that injustice."

I was thinking of that too, when I was writing about fellowship across divisions over Baha'i administration. As I see it, a lot of estrangement from the Baha'i community and its institutions has been partly a result of injustice and abuse. It seems wrong to me to want our castaways to practice fellowship with people on our bandwagons, without addressing the abuse and injustice at the same time. Justice and kindness are inseparable parts of the unity I see envisioned in the writings of Baha'u'llah.

I see that issue addressed very well in Abdu'l-Baha's and Shoghi Effendi's advice about race issues.