Sunday, December 04, 2011

On the Expression of a Dynamic Baha'i Culture: A way of thinking, studying & acting while treading a common path of service

From: george wesley dannells
Date: Sat, Dec 3, 2011 at 8:53 PM
Subject: Re: Baha'i Faith Article from 2007
To: Jake
Jake, here is a quote from the official U.S. Baha'i website:
The Baha’i world community is in the midst of a vast, global process of systematic learning, growth and expansion. For a period of 25 years (1996 to 2021) the Baha’i world will focus on a single overarching purpose: to "advance the process of entry by troops." A study of the Baha’i sacred writings on this subject shows that this phrase refers not only to the dramatic increase in the numerical size of the Baha’i community, but more importantly, to the expression of a dynamic Baha’i culture and way of life to a degree that could not be realized before.

The Baha'i community is engaged in a process that results in "the expression of a dynamic Baha'i culture." It is a "way of life." Here are excerpts from a 2010 letter addressed to Baha'is of the world  that references Baha'i culture. Hope you find this helpful.
That the Bahá’í world has succeeded in developing a culture which promotes a way of thinking, studying, and acting, in which all consider themselves as treading a common path of service—supporting one another and advancing together, respectful of the knowledge that each one possesses at any given moment and avoiding the tendency to divide the believers into categories such as deepened and uninformed—is an accomplishment of enormous proportions. And therein lie the dynamics of an irrepressible movement.
This evolution in collective consciousness is discernable in the growing frequency with which the word "accompany" appears in conversations among the friends, a word that is being endowed with new meaning as it is integrated into the common vocabulary of the Bahá’í community. It signals the significant strengthening of a culture in which learning is the mode of operation, a mode that fosters the informed participation of more and more people in a united effort to apply Bahá’u’lláh's teachings to the construction of a divine civilization, which the Guardian states is the primary mission of the Faith. Such an approach offers a striking contrast to the spiritually bankrupt and moribund ways of an old social order that so often seeks to harness human energy through domination, through greed, through guilt or through manipulation.

In relationships among the friends, then, this development in culture finds expression in the quality of their interactions. Learning as a mode of operation requires that all assume a posture of humility, a condition in which one becomes forgetful of self, placing complete trust in God, reliant on His all-sustaining power and confident in His unfailing assistance, knowing that He, and He alone, can change the gnat into an eagle, the drop into a boundless sea. And in such a state souls labour together ceaselessly, delighting not so much in their own accomplishments but in the progress and services of others. So it is that their thoughts are centred at all times on helping one another scale the heights of service to His Cause and soar in the heaven of His knowledge. This is what we see in the present pattern of activity unfolding across the globe, propagated by young and old, by veteran and newly enrolled, working side by side.

Not only does this advance in culture influence relations among individuals, but its effects can also be felt in the conduct of the administrative affairs of the Faith. As learning has come to distinguish the community's mode of operation, certain aspects of decision making related to expansion and consolidation have been assigned to the body of the believers, enabling planning and implementation to become more responsive to circumstances on the ground. Specifically, a space has been created, in the agency of the reflection meeting, for those engaged in activities at the cluster level to assemble from time to time in order to reach consensus on the current status of their situation, in light of experience and guidance from the institutions, and to determine their immediate steps forward. A similar space is opened by the institute, which makes provision for those serving as tutors, children's class teachers, and animators of junior youth groups in a cluster to meet severally and consult on their experience. Intimately connected to this grassroots consultative process are the agencies of the training institute and the Area Teaching Committee, together with the Auxiliary Board members, whose joint interactions provide another space in which decisions pertaining to growth are taken, in this case with a higher degree of formality. The workings of this cluster-level system, born of exigencies, point to an important characteristic of Bahá’í administration: Even as a living organism, it has coded within it the capacity to accommodate higher and higher degrees of complexity, in terms of structures and processes, relationships and activities, as it evolves under the guidance of the Universal House of Justice.

Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 2010 Message 
Jake, may your interest in studying the Baha'i Faith continue after your coursework is over!
On Sat, Dec 3, 2011 at 12:19 PM, Jake wrote:

My name is Jake and I am a student in East Bay, California.  I've read the 2007 article "On Buttoning Down the Baha'i Faith: Researching it as my subculture." and it led me to a link which contained this email. I was wondering if you could actually answer two simple questions for me. Would you define the People of Baha'i Faith as a Culture, and if so, how would they be defined as such? I'm curious because I too am doing a cultures report and chose the Baha'i People. Emailing because I have searched and there is not much on the internet that directly links the Baha'i Faith with cultural connections. I also don't know anyone personally with connections to the Baha'i Faith so I cannot directly ask someone, thus I am emailing today.

Thank you so much for your help,


Posted via email from Baha'i Views

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