Thursday, January 17, 2008

On Ruhi: Recently Posted on Beliefnet

On Beliefnet from Gentle9 (nice screen name -- I like it almost as much as Mr Meek of "Anna's Presentation" PowerPoints fame). -gw

I 've enjoyed my Ruhi study circles very much, and I've gone through the entire sequence save one, which I hope to start very soon. The discussions have been engaging and challenging and I've been very fortunate to have wonderful facilatators. But, what I really wanted to share with everyone is a different way of looking at study circles and the Institute process in general. I would lovingly suggest that the Ruhi courses are not deepening courses for Baha'is. Rather, these courses offer a set of skills and tools to use as we share the Faith with those who would like to learn more about our Faith. The impetus behind the Institute process is to develop human resources for the Baha'i community--to "train" teachers who will have the skills, the information, and the approaches to share the Faith with all those who are interested.

The repetitive nature of the exercises, the emphasis on memorization, the importance of the "practices" designed for each course--all of these elements help prepare us to Teach the Cause. Just last evening I was at a dinner, and the person seated next to me mentioned that he had heard I was a Baha'i. He then asked if I would tell him about the Faith, asking pertinent questions as we continued our conversation. I can honestly say that my involvement with the Ruhi courses have helped me so much in these kinds of situations. Having an approach in my head about how to talk about the Faith has increased my confidence and helped me to be less hesitant about how to begin these kinds of conversations. I have some quotes and passages from the Writings in my head that I can refer to, and I approach situations like the one I've just described with joy.

I wish that everyone could have the kind of experience I've had with Ruhi, but barring that, I hope this offers another perspective on how to approach your next Ruhi course.

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