New believer takes the first step to advance cluster

It is always exciting to see new believers arise to serve. And it is always heartwarming to see that, even when the numbers of believers are few, gathering together in unity to consult and plan can help any cluster move forward. Thus we share this brief story from the Central region. A new believer in a C-stage cluster had the idea of organizing such a meeting for his cluster, and has been encouraged to connect to the institutions and proceed! The national Seeker Response system Regional Specialist reports:

Here is a message from one of our new Bahá’ís in a C-stage cluster of widely scattered believers, who has seen the need for a Cluster Reflection Meeting! I have encouraged him and given him contact info for his Auxiliary Board members and Regional Bahá’í Council.

Dear __,

I’ve been speaking with a few Bahá’ís in the area about putting together a Cluster Review Session with the idea of placing all the believers in the counties in our cluster together in one room to discuss the advancement of our cluster. I feel that there are many friends in the area that don’t know each other and this meeting would give an opportunity to unite and grow.

Warmest Bahá’í greetings,

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Ridvan 2009: Baha'is missing the point of their own religion

Eric Stetson
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Today is the first day of Ridvan, a major holiday season for adherents of the Baha’i Faith.  As a former Baha’i who still agrees with many of the basic principles of that religion, I keep up with what’s going on in the Baha’i world.  This year’s Ridvan message from the highest leaders of the Baha’i Faith confirms my view that Baha’i has become an inward-looking religion that refuses to engage the world at large except for the purpose of trying to convert people.

Why am I bothering to comment on this?  Baha’i, with only a few million adherents, isn’t exactly an important religion in worldly terms and most people haven’t even heard of it.  But I think it’s a profound illustration of how beneficial, potentially transformative spiritual messages can be twisted and obscured by leaders and members of a religion for their own misguided ends — a problem that is all too common in every significant religion.

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Time for Ruhi to Show Us the Money: Part I

Tom Cruise in "Jerry Maguire"

Before I can explain why it is time for Ruhi to “show us the money” (by which, I mean results), allow me a slight digression into the fields of anthropology and sociology. With your indulgence the connection to Ruhi will be shortly obvious.

A few years before Arbab began to work on Ruhi and FUNDAEC, a Dutch gentleman by the name of Geert Hofstede, was working on a large project for IBM. Within the human resource department of IBM, Hofstede’s main task was to travel the world and to gather information on how the different branches of IBM in different countries worked in order to glean lessons of best practices. While engaged in this work, he stumbled onto a framework for assessing culture. In essence, the data staring back at him started to form itself into patterns. Very soon, what the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was to individual personalities, Hofstede’s Dimensions were to collective personalities - otherwise called, culture.

Technically there are 5 axes but for our purposes we need only explore 3 of them. If you would like to find out more, you can check out Hofstede’s own website, wikipedia or your friendly, neighborhood sociologist or anthropologist. In any case, the three axes or dimensions relevant to our discussion are:

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Personal systematic action on pledges

A few months ago, the pledges were made. And now they are being carried out! One of the beautiful things about the series of Regional Bahá’í Conferences in December is that not only have so many of the believers been mobilized into action, their services are being carried out in a systematic, organized, methodical manner. That is why we are sharing some excerpts of an individual believer in the South Central region, who reports the progress made so far on their own personal pledges —- which, by the way involve several communities in a number of clusters. It is one example of the types of persistent and focused efforts that are helping clusters throughout the country advance.

Personal Three-Month Plan for Moving a Goal Cluster in the Region: Log of Personal Accomplishments So Far


  • Recited daily the Teaching Prayer for the region to recognize receptive souls
  • Participated in prayer campaigns, and specific daily prayers for specific matters.
  • Participated in weekly devotional meetings. . . .


  • Completed Ruhi __ in an intensive course.
  • Competing Ruhi __.
  • Not yet completed Ruhi __.
  • Will participate in intensive institute campaign in __ cluster.
  • . . . .

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Door-to-Door Teaching: NSA Letter

Below is a recent letter from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of New Zealand to clarify doubts about door-to-door teaching as well as “direct teaching”. I have heard this term (“direct teaching”) more and more but no one bothered to define what they meant by it. Towards the end of the letter, the NSA of NZ outlines their definition. Most helpful.

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