Reports Show Communities Ignoring Ruhi

During the last [US] Baha’i National Convention, Bill Davis addressed the convention attempting to re-direct their attention away from the NSA’s own annual report, which presented an honest assessment of the situation on the ground in Baha’i communities in the US, to the letter from the UHJ directing Baha’is to “stay the course”.

Towards the end of the remarks Bill Davis says (4:37):

“We do not want to find ourselves pushing a rewind button and arguing over core curriculum and Ruhi.”

If you have no idea what this is about, then this short summary should be illuminating.

The reason that excerpt stands out for me is that it means there were disagreements over Ruhi and core curriculum with some obviously feeling very strongly against it. And so much so that the NSA as a body wrote that letter basically calling both Ruhi and core curriculum, bunk. But the UHJ came down on them like a tonne of bricks. Sending an enforcer to oversee the National Convention from the ITC as well as erasing the NSA’s own annual report and replacing it with their own.

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Faith & Action: Study Circles

It was a rather striking introductory statement: This series of courses provides a means for promoting the well-being of humanity. How's that for a grand purpose? Intriguing. When was the last time you took a course which trained you for such a lofty and noble goal?

But, here it was. A unique curriculum, the Ruhi Institute, initially developed in Columbia and currently being offered in cities, towns and villages world-wide. From pasturelands in Mongolia to penthouses in Montreal, across the velds of South Africa to the mountains of Europe, and in every province of Canada and every state of America, small groups of people are joining together in Ruhi study circles, learning about themselves in a manner that connects their hearts to every other beating human heart on the planet.

They're learning literary, scriptural content and they're learning practical, interactive skills which reach right through intellectual knowledge and come out infused with moral character and heart to heart action.

Okay, so what exactly would promote the well-being of humanity and how could one person's participation make any sort of meaningful mark? The answer is clearly indicated in the title of the first course, "Reflections on the Life of the Spirit." Examining the very essence of our humanness, we are compelled to explore the spiritual aspect of our beings and discover the existence of our true selves, our souls. That thoughtful investigation allows each participant to understand their common bonds with all people. It also reveals our intimate relationship with our Creator.

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What do Baha'is do?

So you’re dying to know what it is that Baha’is actually do?

Well, this website wants to answer you with several video interviews.

They are about the Ruhi sequence of courses and the different activities attached to them such as Junior Youth Groups (Book 5) and devotionals, etc.

There are more than a dozen videos, and they are in both English and French. Here is one of them:

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Effective teaching

Lately I've been hearing Baha'is talking about teaching: What's an effective method? What's an appropriate method? Should we do direct teaching or indirect teaching? Is it in keeping with the dignity of the Faith to be door knocking? I'm not familiar with what goes on in Baha'i communities these days, but as I understand it, Baha'is are encouraged to go door knocking when their communities are judged to be sufficiently advanced along the Ruhi Path.

The first thing that hits me about this discussion is how familiar it is to me. The issues and the way that they are framed are the same as when I was a member of the community - only in my day, the administration frowned on door knocking and did not encourage it. It surprises me greatly to see the shift in thinking there.

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The Mind of the Big Lesson-Plan Maker

Warning: Heavy Irony Ahead

The God of progressive revelation is shockingly inept. He sends Jesus, His messenger and a perfect mirror of His divinity, with instructions exactly appropriate for the needs of humanity at that time and for the next seven or so centuries but neglects to emphasize the importance of getting the message written down. Instead, the guy wanders around the countryside healing people, speaking in riddles, and selecting a fickle, slow-brained, and foolish band of disciples to found his church. Or maybe he didn’t. We don’t really know because, damn it, he apparently only wrote in the sand.

So—if the Baha’i corrections to the Christian story are, in fact, correct—when the Gospel started to be recorded some decades later, everything was already all wrong: Jesus was God, the bread and wine were not just symbols, and Christ’s physical body had risen from the dead. One can almost hear God exclaiming “Jee-zus!” in exasperation as He bangs His glorious brow on the walls of heaven. But, c’mon, He has only Himself to blame. Jesus was, after all, a perfect reflection.

And, really, what could be expected from a God who, the last time around, thought that stoning for any little offense was just what humanity needed and that genocide in the service of land grabbing was progress? Or was all that nasty stuff just human distortion of divine intentions? We, the intractable students, could always be to blame.

{josquote} I don’t like being cast in the great tale as corruptor, not creator.{/josquote}

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