Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gratitude and a Request

Dearly loved Friends,

These past few months have been quite a journey for me, both as a writer and as a reader.  I have learned many things and have struggled to find my voice as a writer for a Baha'i blog.  I have made some simple errors, and found much loving support as you have gently corrected my oversights (see comments on The Feast, as one example).

Aside number 1 - The funny thing about the comments on The Feast is that I was aware of these changes made in that letter, but for some reason couldn't find the letter.  And then when it came to the writing of that article, I just totally spaced out.  Obviously that was so that I could be reminded that these articles are always my own perspective, and as you know, dear Reader, I am not perfect.  Whenever I make an oversight like that, please let me know.  It is very much appreciated.

A lot of letters have come in that are very supportive, and others have come in that ask some amazing questions (a few of which I can attempt to answer publicly).  There have only been a few that don't fit into either of those categories, but they do fit quite nicely in my recycle bin.  So it is all well and good.

At our recent Unit Convention, at which we elected our delegates to go to the National Convention where they will consult as well as elect our National Spiritual Assembly, an interesting question arose.  We had been asked to discuss how well new believers were warmly welcomed into a vigorous institute process.  When this question arose, there was a long silence.  I called out to a new believer at the other end of the room, "Hey Ron!  Did you take Ruhi Book 1?"

He looked up at me and shouted back, "Yes, I did."

"Great," was my joyous response.  "Did you study a prayer with someone?"

And the silence descended upon the room once again.

The long and short of it is that all the new believers in the room had taken Book 1, and a few had done the practices, but every single one of them still had questions that they needed answered.  One of them, for example, asked what Ayyam-i-Ha is, while another wanted to know what the current Plan was.

This gave me an idea, for which I will need your assistance, dear Reader.

What questions did you have, as a new Baha'i?

I am very interested in this and would like to help by putting some of these questions here, as well as some simple answers, based in the Writings as much as possible.  While there is already a Baha'i 101, I would like to try and offer something that is more like a friend chatting with you (as one reader described this blog). I like Baha'i 101, but a lot of people have said that they feel it is too impersonal. I think it is just a case of different styles for different people.  It doesn't really speak well of my writing, just that it responds to a different audience.

Many of you have already noticed that my articles fall into several distinct categories (humourous, administrative, analytical, to name just a few), and this may be another area to branch into.

As I've mentioned before, this blog is written for Baha'is, but it seems many people who are not Baha'i are reading it, too. Well, I'm glad.  We have nothing to hide, after all.

So once again (I've done it before here), I am asking for your assistance.  What questions would have helped you as a new Baha'i?

For what it is worth, one of mine was "What is the Covenant?"  I had asked many Baha'is this, and the conversation usually went something along these lines:
  • What is the Covenant?
  • Oh, you have to be firm in the Covenant.
  • Yes, but what is the Covenant?
  • Well, 'Abdu'l-Baha is the Centre of the Covenant.
  • Yes, but what is it?
  • It's the most important aspect of the Baha'i Faith.
  • Ok, but what is it?
  • It's what tell us to turn to the Universal House of Justice.
  • Yes, but can you tell me what is the Covenant?
  • It's an agreement.
  • Thanks, but what are we agreeing to?
  • Well, it's between you and God.
  • Ok, we may be getting somewhere now.  So what do I have to do?
  • Oh, I see.  You have to be firm in the Covenant.
It was quite frustrating, and I hope to spare anyone else the silliness of all that.  Of course, now we have those wonderful talks in Ruhi Book 2, so I'm sure nobody will ever have to suffer that again.

So, once again, thank you dear Reader for your kind support.  Now feel free to inundate my inbox with those questions.  You can send them to mead@elsewhere.ca (remember, it's not here.  It's elsewhere.)

With love and prayers,


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