Saturday, November 23, 2013

Raising our banners

This is about my Baha'i banner, but some of these thoughts might interest people rallying around other banners, religious or not.

Recently I've been trying to learn to proclaim the cause of Baha'u'llah more openly and continually on facebook. Pondering why I haven't done so before, I remember noticing years ago that all the things I was trying to tell people in Internet discussions were things they really already knew, and were just choosing to ignore. I gave up trying to tell people things, and since then I've mostly just devoted myself to teaching with my actions. That applies especially to Baha'is, and my teaching efforts have been focused mostly on Baha'is.

Another reason for my aversion to promoting what I believe in verbally has been what Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha have said about words and deeds. For example:
Verily I say unto thee: Of all men the most negligent is he that disputeth idly and seeketh to advance himself over his brother. Say, O brethren! Let deeds, not words, be your adorning."
(Baha'u'llah, The Persian Hidden Words no. 5)

"O friends! Help ye the one true God, exalted be His glory, by your goodly deeds, by such conduct and character as shall be acceptable in His sight."
(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 271)

"O people of God! Do not busy yourselves in your own concerns; let your thoughts be fixed upon that which will rehabilitate the fortunes of mankind and sanctify the hearts and souls of men. This can best be achieved through pure and holy deeds, through a virtuous life and a goodly behaviour. Valiant acts will ensure the triumph of this Cause, and a saintly character will reinforce its power. Cleave unto righteousness, O people of Baha!"
(Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 86)

"The wrong in the world continues to exist just because people talk only of their ideals, and do not strive to put them into practice. If actions took the place of words, the world's misery would very soon be changed into comfort."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 16)
In my efforts to be sure that my words are always preceded by actions, I've often ended up not saying anything at all. I think now that I want to try saying more about the sources of my inspiration and strength for what I do, but I still want to tread very carefully. My thought now is to continue putting actions first, then discussing where I've found inspiration and strength for those actions.

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