Community and administration

Entries about Baha'i community life, about Baha'i administration, and about how the two intersect.

Gaming the Baha'i Writings

{josquote}Quite a diversity of conceptions can coexist in a unified Baha'i community.{/josquote}

Gaming the Baha'i writings may be broadly defined as selection or suppression of particular passages by one or more persons who deem such action will achieve certain goals. Hypothesis: Gaming the Baha'i writings has been and will continue to be a normal and acceptable feature of the development of the Baha'i world community both by individuals and by its institutions. Some concrete examples of gaming the Baha'i writings will be briefly considered.

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Too tender for the House?

The Universal House of Justice is an elected body that serves as the head of the world-wide Bahai community. It is empowered to decide when Bahai laws are applicable for Bahais, to provide the necessary framework so that they can be applied, and to make laws and rulings for situations that are not covered in Bahai scripture. So it has a very important role in Bahai community life. Unlike all the other Bahai institutions and roles and positions in community life, membership of the Universal House of Justice is, at least for now, reserved for men. I will return to that ‘for now’ briefly, at the end of this posting.

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Khan to convention, precis

Peter Khan speaks at the US Bahai convention, 2010

The audio file is at the USBNC site.

{audio}http://natcon2010.usbnc.org/uploadedImages/Peter-Khan-talk-Convention-2010.mp3{/audio}

Some points of interest (my precis of the precis):

  • He appears to be preparing the friends for some major change to be introduced by the Universal House of Justice (see the last sentence). But perhaps he just wants the Bahais to accept the changes that have already occurred.
  • Church and state: he warns “We will face misrepresentation [20min] outside the Bahai community by sceptics who will accuse us of creating an organisation seeking political domination on a world scale …
  • Acknowledges the fall-off in participation by devoted Bahais, and says it is troubling [31min]
  • Distinguishes between “strategic applications of Shoghi Effendi” and his “enduring interpretations” – ie we will not be following every letter of Shoghi Effendi indefinitely. [46 mins]
  • Critique of Schaeffer’s thesis re infallibility
  • The threat of priesthood arising comes not from people seeking power, but from a tendency to cast individuals in a priestly role, even believers who would shrink from the thought themselves.

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How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In

{amazon id='0977326411'}

Decline can be avoided.
Decline can be detected.
Decline can be reversed.

Amidst the desolate landscape of fallen great companies, Jim Collins began to wonder: How do the mighty fall? Can decline be detected early and avoided? How far can a company fall before the path toward doom becomes inevitable and unshakable? How can companies reverse course?

In How the Mighty Fall, Collins confronts these questions, offering leaders the well-founded hope that they can learn how to stave off decline and, if they find themselves falling, reverse their course. Collins' research project--more than four years in duration--uncovered five step-wise stages of decline:

Stage 1: Hubris Born of Success
Stage 2: Undisciplined Pursuit of More
Stage 3: Denial of Risk and Peril
Stage 4: Grasping for Salvation
Stage 5: Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death

By understanding these stages of decline, leaders can substantially reduce their chances of falling all the way to the bottom.

Great companies can stumble, badly, and recover.

Every institution, no matter how great, is vulnerable to decline. There is no law of nature that the most powerful will inevitably remain at the top. Anyone can fall and most eventually do. But, as Collins' research emphasizes, some companies do indeed recover--in some cases, coming back even stronger--even after having crashed into the depths of Stage 4.

Decline, it turns out, is largely self-inflicted, and the path to recovery lies largely within our own hands. We are not imprisoned by our circumstances, our history, or even our staggering defeats along the way. As long as we never get entirely knocked out of the game, hope always remains. The mighty can fall, but they can often rise again.

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