Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A Broad Outline for Ruhi 4

Well, here we are: Ruhi Book 4, The Twin Manifestations. One of my favorites. Why? Because I'm a huge fan of storytelling.

Now, it's worth mentioning here that there is a good reason for this to follow Book 3, and not just because the parents are likely to ask you questions about the Twin Manifestations. No. I think it's because in Book 2 you learned a little bit about presenting a simple topic to someone. In Book 3 we had the experience of telling a simple story to children. Now we can further develop this skill through the more complex stories found in this book.

As you know, 4:1 talks about the greatness of this day, which is why it's called "The Greatness of this Day". Or maybe that's just the title of this unit, which is why it's called that. Who knows?

Anyways, it's a very interesting unit because it gives us a great perspective of what is happening in the world right now. I mean, just look at 4:1:1 and the basic outline of the 4 questions. The first is the vision of where we are heading. The second question deals with the obstacles in our way, while the third one talks about the methods of obstruction that are being used. The fourth question gives us hope, a reminder of the victories that have always occurred.

From there, after we are reminded of what is happening, they go into the signs of His Revelation, and a little bit about what we can do to help act on this great vision. We are reminded to cheer the downcast, and consider why some people have not recognized Baha'u'llah. We look a bit at the effect that study the Word of God has on our life, and reminded of the nature of the battle in which we are engaged. Finally, the urgency of the situation is called to our attention.

Once we have this clearer vision of the world today, both the trials and triumphs that await, we look back at the story of the Bab's life. It doesn't go into great detail, but gives us the skeleton of the story on which we can build more and more of the details as we become more familiar with it. It's a story of great drama, and we are asked to gain an appreciation of the potency of His life. But in the end, it's a very simple and straightforward telling of this story.

When we move on to the unit about Baha'u'llah's life, things get a bit more complex. You see, dear Reader, in this curriculum we always start with the simple and build complexity as we go. It is worth noting that 4:3 alternates sections. The odd numbered section deal with the biographical aspect of it, while the even numbered sections focus on some other aspect of the story. For example, 4:3:1 tells a few stories of His childhood, while 4:3:2 deals with the question of innate versus acquired knowledge. 4:3:3 talks about His declaration as a follower of the Bab, while the next section talks about the Bab's promises regarding "Him Whom God shall make manifest".

Every pair of section in 4:3 go back and forth between a bit of His life and some spiritual aspect related to that story. It helps us see the connections between these stories and the spiritual themes that abound. It helps us remember that when we are telling a story we can always add in some aspect of the teachings that arise from that story.

4:3:5 talks about His arising as a Babi, and 4:3:6 talks a little bit about the issue of teaching the Cause. Stories of the martyrs are followed by a section on His serenity and calmness. (I just mis-typed that as clam-ness, which gives a very different perspective, and not one that is accurate, so I fixed. I mean, really? Clam-ness? I can't even begin to think what that would imply. After all, He would obviously be more like an oyster, having given birth to that priceless pearl. )

What I love about this is that we can easily see how these stories relate to today. And this allows us to work backwards, too. We can look at some issue that a friend is dealing with, and we can now more easily relate it to a story from His life. We should not underestimate the effect of this. I remember a talk from a Counsellor years ago, and they made the comment that every Christian know the story from Easter to Christmas, and everything in between, while the Baha'is know the social principles.

Stories are what touch people's hearts.

We, as humanity, have known this for thousands of years. We collectively grew up with these stories around the campfire. And if we can learn to tell these stories of Baha'u'llah with a degree of accuracy, the proper amount of detail for our audience (don't bore them to tears with too much info), and connect them to our audience's life, then we will touch them far more deeply, allowing the potent and transformative Word of God to have an even greater effect on their hearts.

No comments:

Post a Comment