Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ideas for promoting gay equality in the Baha'i Faith

1. Stop trying to prove there's nothing wrong with gays, or with what some of them might be doing. No one should have to prove there's nothing wrong with them, or what they do, to be treated kindly and fairly.

2. Don't strike back at the wall of quotes. Just ignore it as out of context, and irrelevant to whether gays should be treated kindly and fairly.

3. Stop arguing about gay marriage. Just do it.

4. If you want gay marriages to be registered as "Baha'i" marriages, then propose some ideas about how, precisely, *all* the marriage laws could be applied to two women or two men.

Thoughts of a lover of Baha'u'llah about some issues

I might put up some Web pages "Some thoughts of a lover of Baha'u'llah about some issues associated with campaigns against the House of Justice."

- Infallibility
- Authenticity, authority, role and functions of the House of Justice
- Women on the House of Justice
- Guardians after Shoghi Effendi
- Disenrollments
- Separation of church and state
- Censorship and repression
- Corruption of institutions
- The framework for action
- Baha'i theologians
- Gays and homosexuality
- Freedom of conscience
- Influence, reputation and future of the Baha'i Faith
- Modernity and post-modernity
- Fundamentalism
- Liberal Baha'is
- Shunning
- Takfir
- Academic study of the Baha'i Faith
- The Dawning Place

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Vision, goals, strategies, lines of action

I really need to get off of here and back to my neglected responsibilities elsewhere, but it's so hard to give up pursuing these new ideas, and maybe leave them to wither away like so many others. I'll try to put some helpful clues here, in case I do come back.

Vision: Helping to release the potential in the diversity of Baha'is.

Some goals:
- People learning to love and trust Baha'u'llah more.
- People learning to better understand and wholeheartedly serve the interests of the House of Justice.
- More and better independent investigation.
- More and better individual initiative and responsibility.
- More open, frank and unfettered discussions among Baha'is, about whatever anyone wants to discuss.
- More and better cross-fertilization.

Strategies and lines of action:
- Previous posts, and notes, here and elsewhere, and further observation and reflection.
- Search for more potential collaborators.
- Learn to be a better friend.
- Learn to be a better friend.
- Learn to be a better friend.
- Practice what I'm trying to promote, in roleplay and preferably in real situations.

click, click, whirr, CLICK!
Training courses on the Internet for butterflies and helpmates. Yes.

Justice, and the fruits of diversity

Part of what I see needing to be done, to increase and improve the fruits of our diversity, requires people to go on gathering expeditions in extremely demoralizing environments, environments where they will be continually treated cruelly and/or be continually tormented by the injustices they see being done to others.

Those fruits will not do anyone any good without the love of God, but how do I know how much or little love of God there is in what anyone does? Let it suffice that there *might* be some.

It's very hard to go gathering fruits without rising up against the cruelty and injustice, but I imagine that's part of what needs to be done to put an end to them.

I need to find people who can understand the need, and who are willing to face the arrows.

Not a shortcut by any means. Just a way, maybe, to help accelerate the process a little bit.

Disabilities are gifts

There are movements among people with disabilities to reject labels like "disability" and "handicap." I think I understand that feeling, and I agree with it, except I don't agree with throwing out the word "disability" altogether. A person who can't see with her eyes or hear with her ears, does not have an ability that some other people have. One point I see is not to reduce a person to that label. Another is not to think of it as a defect, any more than being left-handed. I go beyond all that and view disabilities as gifts.

Today or yesterday, I became more aware of the lack of a living Guardian in the Baha'i Faith, as a disability. If it is, then it is also a gift, and that could be the explanation everyone is looking for, for why this happened.

Reviewing again what Shoghi Effendi said the Faith would be like without a Guardian, this time, for me, there was no escaping that what's been happening to the Faith is exactly what Shoghi Effendi said would happen without a Guardian. Yes, yes I'm familiar with the argument that he didn't mean it that way, but whether he meant it that way or not, it looks very much to me like it *is* that way.

At the same time, I can see the gift in it, which I don't see any need to discuss now, and besides I don't feel like discussing it.

No, I'm not promoting a Guardian after Shoghi Effendi, or even contemplating it. I have not seen enough fruits coming out of those trees to attract much of my attention. Just because the Faith looks disabled to me without a living Guardian, doesn't mean I'm ready to accept anything that moves, in the place of one.

Friday, March 22, 2013

How to unshackle liberators?

I've been pondering why I'm seeing so little action, as opposed to words, from stigmatized and marginalized Baha'is, to help free the spirit of the Faith from its shackles. Possible reasons:

1. Maybe there's more action than what I'm seeing, or hearing about.

2. Maybe they've been battered enough already?

3. Maybe because of the threats from Counselors and the House of Justice, and the disenrollments?

4. Maybe from seeing others beating their heads against the wall?

5. Maybe from not seeing enough potential in it, to make it worth facing the assault and battery?

Back to the same place again. Try to learn to be a better friend. I'm not coming up with any shortcuts yet. Patience, patience, perseverance ...

More action needed

I'd like to see more action from stigmatized and marginalized Baha'is, to address the problems. I have some ideas, and I'm trying to come up with more, but even if I do, who will listen? Maybe I need to try harder to find people who are doing something. Yes, yes, that's it.

Meanwhile, here are some half-baked ideas:

1. We need more non-members to participate in core activities.

2. We need more people with unpopular views to become tutors.

3. We need more people to pursue more individual initiatives of their own, outside of the bandwagons, and Baha'is on the bandwagons need to see them. Right now the only initiative I can remember hearing about has been something to do with the Dawning Place.

4. We need more each-one-teach one initiatives, to acclimate more Baha'is to unpopular views.

5. Baha'is are more friendly and open to people who have never been members, no matter how much they disagree with the House of Justice. We need to find ways to put that to good use. Ah, ah, no no! Honest ways!

6. Stigmatized and marginalized Baha'is need better moral support, and training, to find safe and healthy ways to pursuing their own initiatives outside of the bandwagons, and promote their ideas to Baha'is on the bandwagons.

Some wonderful potential

I see some wonderful potential in the diversity of Baha'is, to help improve many people's lives and to help improve the world, being restrained by popular forms of idolatry, religious and other prejudices, sectarian attitudes and practices, personality cults, celebrity worship, bandwagon oppression, self-repression, and other shackles.

I've been experimenting with various ways to help release that potential. I would like to exchange ideas and experiences with others who are working on that, but I haven't found any who want to discuss it with me. I'm tossing out this message in a bottle, hoping it will wash up some place where someone will find it who would like to have that discussion with me.

I'll describe three of my ideas, that might appeal to different audiences:

1. Practice and promote people learning to love and trust Baha'u'llah more, and learning to better understand and wholeheartedly serve the interests of the House of Justice. I've gathered some ideas about that from some of my friends, and made some progress in practicing them.

2. Practice and promote more open, frank and unfettered discussions among Baha'is everywhere, about whatever anyone wants to discuss, whether it conforms to the views of the House of Justice or not, without anyone's views or interests being stigmatized. Two ways I see for that to happen are for more non-members to participate in core activities, and for more people with unpopular views to be trained as tutors.

3. Practice and promote more and better independent investigation, and individual initiatives.