Saturday, April 12, 2014

Insights, Part 2 (Or Part 1 of the document)

As you know from the last post, I've been look at the document "Insights from the Frontiers of Learning" with an eye on how to apply some of it in my own community. Unlike a lot of previous posts, I'm not going to copy the whole document here. It's just too long, and it's available in other places. For example, you can find it in the May/June/July 2013 issue of Baha'i Canada, or by clicking this link.

I'll cross-reference the various section numbers, just to let you know where I am, and offer some thoughts on questions that I would like to ask in a group. If you have any other ideas for studying it, please feel free to let me know. After all, this is just one Baha'i's ideas (hence the name of the blog), and nothing official.

So let's read section 1, that 3 paragraph introduction to the first part of the document.

To begin at the beginning, which usually seems like a good idea to me, I noticed that they refer to 3600 clusters, and of those the 200 most advanced. From those 200, they further refine it to the 20 strongest of them. So they begin by looking at the strongest clusters in the world to see what they have learned, giving us a distant goal towards which we can work.

And you know what? That goal is not as distant as we would like to think. But it will take effort, and time, to get to where they are. (At least in my cluster it will.)

In those opening paragraphs, what they really seem to point out to me is that what distinguishes them all is their ability to mobilize large numbers of people into service. And not just service to the Faith, but service to all humanity. But they also point out that this takes time. It doesn't just happen overnight.

This is something we need to continually remember: It takes time. Time and persistence. It actually reminds me of what 'Abdu'l-Baha said about the training of children: It is, however, very difficult to undertake this service, even harder to succeed in it.

Then, still in those opening paragraphs, they give us what I like to refer to as a recipe list. They point out 14 things that are in place in all of those 20 clusters. And you know what? I'll let you look for them. They are right there, in that second and third paragraph, just before 1.1. It's quite the list, describing various things that people are doing, such as participating in cluster-wide teaching campaigns, lending their talents to the teaching and administrative fields, and so on. It gives me something to use when looking at my own community, to see if all of those elements are there. Are we all aware of the obligation (as they put it) to attend the Nineteen Day Feast? Or the Holy Day observances? If any of those elements are missing, what can I do , as an individual, to help foster its development?

The last four elements, by the way, become the titles of the subsections in part 1.

Perhaps we can just go on to section 1.1, "A Sustained Rhythm of Expansion and Consolidation".

In that third paragraph, they point out a couple of potential pitfalls. What are they?  Having a single approach to the expansion cycle, and being preoccupied with increasing our numbers in a relatively short period of time. (There we are with that time thing again.) (Reminds me of Doctor Who, with the timey-wimey thing.)

But going back a moment, to paragraph 2, how do you think cycles can "unfold uninterruptedly"? What would that look like? Is that what is happening in our cluster? Right now I don't think it is, so maybe that can be looked at more closely.

Jumping ahead to paragraph 6, what is needed (as in "it won't happen without it") for this "pattern of growth to be maintained"? And what would that look like, in practice?

You see, dear Reader, we could go on and on looking at so much more in these paragraphs, but for the purpose of trying to become an effective teacher in my community, I think we can actually move on at this time. In section 1.1, the steady development of a community was described, and I think that about covers it for now. Once we begin moving with a bit more speed, we should look back at this section again.

1.2 describes the development of an individual. Obviously this refers to the sequence of children's classes, junior youth groups, and study circles, the first two being sustained by people in the third. But then, in the middle of it, in paragraph 4, they point out that this can take as many as 20 or 30 cycles. That's 5 to 8 years! So again, we need to have a realistic time frame in mind when looking at our activities.

We could, of course, ask why it would take so long, and I think one of the reasons is that we are developing new habits of perception. And how are we developing them? Through the practices in the Ruhi Books.

And where do we begin? By being realistic.

(There are, of course, more responses to these questions, but I ask and move on for now.)

So let's move on.

1.3 Have the human resources in our cluster become more abundant? No, not really. While this section gives us a great vision, it's not particularly applicable here just yet. Keep it in mind, and move on.

1.4 Do we have a growing number of individuals in our cluster? No, not really. Vision noted, let's move on.

Actually, paragraph 4 in this section might be applicable. This is something that members of Assemblies everywhere can ask of themselves. How can we, as members of institutions, provide greater encouragement and support?

Ok, now let's move on.

1.5 Are we at those first steps, or ready for more complex ongoing endeavours? I would suggest in our community that we are likely at the first steps.

In paragraph 2, we don't really have significant numbers in children's classes, so let's keep it in mind and move on.

Paragraph 3 - What are some of the local needs here? And how do we know? Are we guessing, or actually talking with people in our community? (No further comments here from me.)

And you know what? That takes me to the end of part 1. In a group setting, if we have all read this ahead of time, this would have taken about 20 minutes.

On to Part 2 next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment