Wednesday, September 01, 2010

On What If My Friend Finds Out: So long afternoons at IKEA

From there she joined the Baha'i faith. ... [S]he stayed with them because she had made a friend in the community who visited her and took her out to buy New Balance sneakers and sheets from IKEA. They also prayed together, and Linda found the Baha'i prayers comforting.

I told her that if the Baha'i prayers were comforting, she should continue to say them. But now she had a conflict. She had recently joined the Church of the Nazarene because she heard they had great prayer groups. She was excited to report to me that two members of the church had already visited her and brought flowers and Nazarene paperwork. But then her mood darkened, and she said, "I did call one of the ladies after their visit, to invite her to come over again, but she said she was going to be busy all of September. She wasn't as nice on the phone as she was when she was here."

"Can I stay a Baha'i and also be a member of the Nazarenes?" she asked. "What if my Baha'i friend finds out? She'll stop visiting me." So long, afternoons at IKEA.

Then she paused and said, "Am I just being wishy-washy? Shouldn't I just pick a religion and stick to it?"

I was taken off guard by her sudden insight. I often think that my agnosticism is wishy-washy. I was brought up Catholic, ...

There are several highly salient issues regarding religious affiliation woven into this fascinating blog post.  To follow the example of Abdu'l-Baha, a Baha'i friend learning this soul had joined a Nazarene church wouldn't bat an eye, but would simply continue to love and to serve and, I predict, to continue to visit. This soul's spiritual journey is her spiritual journey.

Baha'is are building spiritual community,  increasingly working side by side with people who are not Baha'is in establishing the core activities that bring spiritual unity. There are clear authoritative guidelines for Baha'is on all sorts of matters, including church affiliation, but the bottom line for a follower of Baha'u'lah  is ... don't worry about your neighbor's journey. He or she is in God's hands. Just love, teach, grow. -gw

Posted via email from Baha'i Views

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