Thursday, February 24, 2011

On the Message of the local BNASAA Friends: Gay or straight, Baha'u'llah's love is unconditional

The local group of the Baha'i Network on Aids, Sexuality, Addiction and Abuse presented before a recent Baha'i Cluster Reflection Meeting to describe the work they do. Like every body of believers within the Baha'i community in this day, their focus is on teaching the Baha'i Cause. They look to provide support to the population so affected by the pervasive issues addressed by BNASAA and to educate all of us, Baha'i or not, to the Message of Baha'ullah, as needed.
What is that message? "Regardless of who you are, what you do, Baha'u'llah loves you, and we love you, and we accept you, period, without reservation." Whatever the shortcoming, whatever the personal struggle, the love is unconditional. The discussion they led was spontaenous, brief, frank, and open. It went as follows. -gw
Friend 1: "There's a lot of people out there who are really hurting. Emotionally and physically they're damaged. And the healing message of Baha'u'lah can help resolve that damage."
Friend 2: "In the December 28 letter from the House they mention the kind of social transformation that Baha'u'llah brings not being possible when the community of individuals caring for that transformation operates at a comfortable distance from the rest of the the world. So it's wonderful to see that the Faith is taking steps little by little to provide for that. Because as anybody [knows] who goes out and teaches even in their own neighborhood -- the people that you live around, whether in your neighborhood or the next city over --  these issues are just everywhere."
Friend 3: "How do you expect to be able to address the issue of [homosexuality], which is not considered something that you recover from in our culture"
Friend 1: "It is something that in our culture people do not consider to is recoverable from. However, there are a variety of reasons why people engage in homosexual behavior. The House has written a number of letters on the subject, and has indicated that there are people who can, with the proper kind of counseling and everything, overcome this affliction, as Shoghi Effendi called it. At the same time the House has also said that if they cannot, then a life of celibacy is what they need to do, to look at. Our job is not to try to change people. That's not what we're dealing with. We're not trying to change people at all. We're trying to share the love of Baha'u'llah. If people want to change, that's their responsibility. There are Baha'is who have been sexually abused, or physically abused, or Baha'is who have substance abuse problems, all kinds of things"
Friend 3: "You're going to focus specifically on people who are sick?"
Friend 1: "Basically, [but] we don't necessarily consider it sick..."
Friend 3: "Sick in terms of AIDS or..."
Friend 4: "It's also for people who are well, too, and who have overcome those struggles to share their experience."
Friend 1: "Baha'is ... actively support gay rights. Baha'is [don't] actively support gay marriage, because Baha'u'llah teaches that marriage is between a man and a woman. That doesn't mean that Baha'is can't go out and support gays in housing and jobs and [oppose] other kinds of discrimination that are experienced. Our primary job, our primary focus is not on what is the law, because the law is a means, the law is a tool that Baha'u'llah has given us for our spiritual development. What we are focused on is that, regardless of who you are, what you do, Baha'u'llah loves you, and we love you, and we accept you, period, without reservation."
Friend 5: "So you'll be starting to educate the community through emails, through the bulletin; the announcements will be carried in the emails and the bulletins?"
Friend 6: "But it would be helpful if we're asked for information, if there's a group that wants education on the issue, ... we're here to help in any way we can. And one thing we've learned through all our study and education on these topics is that, ninety percent of the teachings are about what we can do. They are about our spiritual reality. We focus on what we do know, what we are told, what is in the Writings. There is a lot of gray area that isn't the Writings, that we don't need to worry so much about it. But we do go for what we do find in the Writings, and we deepen on that, and we want to be able to share that."
Friend 7: "Like, almost instead of looking at everyone's differences, or what separates you from someone else, well ... what do we have in common? We've all had pain or hurt. We all want unity, love and acceptance. Baha'ullah isn't asking us to judge or make sure that they're living the right way, but he's asking us to love everyone, that where each individual person's journey is at that, it's not for us to do other than to love and to accept and to be a resource for wherever they're trying to be."

Posted via email from Baha'i Views

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