Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Wine of Astonishment: Kitab-i-Aqdas paragraphs 3 - 5

O ye peoples of the world! Know assuredly that My commandments are the lamps of My loving providence among My servants, and the keys of My mercy for My creatures. Thus hath it been sent down from the heaven of the Will of your Lord, the Lord of Revelation. Were any man to taste the sweetness of the words which the lips of the All-Merciful have willed to utter, he would, though the treasures of the earth be in his possession, renounce them one and all, that he might vindicate the truth of even one of His commandments, shining above the Dayspring of His bountiful care and loving-kindness.
This, dear Reader, is the third of 5 paragraphs that, in my own way of thinking, provides the introduction to the Kitab-i-Aqdas. The other 2 are down below. Now this may not be how others see these paragraphs, as an introduction, and that's fine. For me, though, they set the stage for how we are to approach this monumental work. In the first paragraph we are told that we need to recognize the Manifestation of God, and that this recognition will, naturally, lead to obedience to Their laws. In the second paragraph we are told that if we look at these laws we will readily recognize them as the best means for order and security in the world.

Here we see the natural result of this, namely that we will understand that these laws demonstrate God's "loving providence" and "mercy".

This, by the way, is really a radical new way of looking at laws. Most people see them as a restriction, but here He is telling us that we can look at them in a totally different way.

Every law, at least in the sense of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, has a purpose, a logic, a reason. We may not understand the reason for some of them, but if we do for only a single one then we will give up everything to show it. And each of these laws, when we understand the reason and rationale behind it, will lead us to God.

Paragraph 4 and 5 give us further insight into the nature of these laws, and the most effective way to view them.
Say: From My laws the sweet-smelling savor of My garment can be smelled, and by their aid the standards of Victory will be planted upon the highest peaks. The Tongue of My power hath, from the heaven of My omnipotent glory, addressed to My creation these words: “Observe My commandments, for the love of My beauty.” Happy is the lover that hath inhaled the divine fragrance of his Best-Beloved from these words, laden with the perfume of a grace which no tongue can describe. By My life! He who hath drunk the choice wine of fairness from the hands of My bountiful favor will circle around My commandments that shine above the Dayspring of My creation.
Think not that We have revealed unto you a mere code of laws. Nay, rather, We have unsealed the choice Wine with the fingers of might and power. To this beareth witness that which the Pen of Revelation hath revealed. Meditate upon this, O men of insight!

Here we can see that we are mindful of these various laws not because we are fearful of any sort of punishment, but because we see astonishing wisdom behind them. We see their beauty. We understand a little bit of their effect upon the world and truly yearn for that effect to take hold.

As we read these paragraphs we cannot help but be struck by their poetic beauty, and their imagery. We notice that these laws are the lamps that light the way. They are the keys that unlock the mysteries of the universe. And we see the continual references to our various senses.

Again, one cannot help but be struck by the overt references to wine-tasting, from the smelling of the cork to the careful tasting of the wine, before becoming heady with its effect. In fact, there is also the reference to Muhammad here, and the clarification of His station as the Seal of the Prophets. We are reminded in that fifth paragraph that the purpose of the seal on the wine is to allow it to age. And then, for the wine to fulfill its purpose, namely to be enjoyed, we must open that seal. But this is no mere alcoholic beverage that will leave us feeling giddy for a moment and hungover the next morning. No, this is the "choice wine of fairness". Similarly, this is not merely a simple code of laws, with a few commandments and a list of punishments for their violation. This book is far, far more.

In these opening paragraphs it seems to me that we are being guided not to merely learn to recite a few of its passages, but rather to rise to the station of understanding. As we do so, as we explore the mysteries within this text, as we strive to understand the wisdom behind each of these injunctions, unravel the meanings behind each of these allusions and allegories, we will find ourselves overwhelmed. We will come away feeling as if we are drunk as we find ourselves carried to heights far beyond what we ever dreamed. We will discover that we will not be content with merely knowing these laws in our head, but will yearn to feel them in our heart.

We will discover, as we walk this path, as we continue on this journey, that the more we love Baha'u'llah, the more we will yearn to follow His laws. And the more that we follow His laws, the more our love for Him will grow. We truly will "circle around (His) commandments".

And if we want, we can see a scientific analogy at work here. It is like a simple generator spinning between two magnets. The more it spins, the more energy is created. As we spin between the love and the obedience, we will feel our own powers increase, much as the early dawn-breakers did.

There are so many layers at work here, from the wine to the lover to the Covenant, the garment, the tongue, and on and on, that I cannot help but get tangled as I try to describe them. This is one of the joys of sacred Text, and but one of the meanings of its impenetrable depths.

Finally, one last little thing: "Meditate upon this..." As a friend and I have been studying the Kitab-i-Iqan over the past 18 years, we have noticed that every single time Baha'u'llah uses the words "meditate", "ponder", "reflect", or any other synonyms of those, He is very serious. They are a clue to us that He has just given us something new, an idea or concept contrary to what we are generally taught, and that further progress is dependent upon our understanding this new idea.

When my wife and I got to this point, we still had about 30 minutes left before we had to pick up our son. Rather than continuing on and reading the next paragraph, we decided to pause here and meditate upon what we had learned. We decided to use the intervening week to allow these new ideas to settle in our hearts before taking another step.

So, dear Reader, we may be way off base in some of what we have found, but it all feels so right. This isn't merely a book of laws, because we are not expected to treat it as such. We are now at that point of maturity where we are expected to be able to go beyond mere obedience and achieve actual understanding. And that, we are certain, will lead us all in directions we have never dreamed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Rising Seas: Kitab-i-Aqdas, paragraph 2

They whom God hath endued with insight will readily recognize that the precepts laid down by God constitute the highest means for the maintenance of order in the world and the security of its peoples. He that turneth away from them is accounted among the abject and foolish. We, verily, have commanded you to refuse the dictates of your evil passions and corrupt desires, and not to transgress the bounds which the Pen of the Most High hath fixed, for these are the breath of life unto all created things. The seas of Divine wisdom and Divine utterance have risen under the breath of the breeze of the All-Merciful. Hasten to drink your fill, O men of understanding! They that have violated the Covenant of God by breaking His commandments, and have turned back on their heels, these have erred grievously in the sight of God, the All-Possessing, the Most High.

As I'm sure you know, dear Reader, this is the second paragraph of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.

In the first paragraph, we noticed that our first duty is recognition, and that from this recognition comes the genuine desire to be obedient. After all, it says that it "behooveth everyone who reacheth this most sublime station... to observe every ordinance" of Him. So, presumably, if you haven't recognized, then this doesn't apply to you.

Here, though, in paragraph 2, He moves us forward a bit. In that first paragraph we seem to obey just because we recognize, and that's ok. After all, if we truly understand that Baha'u'llah has been sent by Almighty God, and is the "one Whose presence ‘He Who conversed with God’ (Moses) hath longed to attain, the beauty of Whose countenance ‘God’s Well-beloved’ (Muḥammad) had yearned to behold, through the potency of Whose love the ‘Spirit of God’ (Jesus) ascended to heaven, for Whose sake the ‘Primal Point’ (the Báb) offered up His life", then of course we will obey what He says.

But now He goes further. We don't just obey blindly. We obey because we understand that all of His laws and ordinances are the best, if not only, way for us to maintain order in the world and see to the security of all peoples. Of course, when we look at these laws it just makes sense. Mind you, He hasn't told us what these laws are yet. For many of us, at this point in the book, we are still thinking about the laws of the past, and that's ok. "Don't kill"? I can see how that would lead to greater security. "Don't lie"? Makes sense to me.

These precepts, or general rules, that Baha'u'llah has brought will also lead us forward as a human race. We are seeing this so much more clearly today than we ever have in the past. With all that is going on in the world, the very idea of the "oneness of humanity", and its implications on security, is becoming ever more crystal clear.

And anyone who thinks otherwise, of course we would think them "abject and foolish".

But, again, Baha'u'llah does not stop there. He reminds us that this will not be easy.

"Refuse... evil passions and corrupt desires..." Even if we recognize, we're still tempted by these desires. We're hardwired for them, genetically. Nobody denies this. The more we learn about our development as a species, the more we recognize this. Our sexual desires, our aggressive behaviours: these used to be needed for our very survival. Way back when, it was these habits that allowed us to survive and thrive in a very harsh world.

But they are not all that we were hardwired for. We are also hardwired to gather in groups. As we look back throughout known history, we can see this very clearly. We gathered in family clans, for example, back in the Tanakh, or the Old Testament. We moved forward and gathered in cities, in the Gospel. We continued to move forward and developed the concept of the nation in the Qur'an. Today we are moving even further and beginning to understand the concept of a global community. The more we learn about ourselves, the more we see that our hardwiring is not the simplistic set of base behaviours that the psycho-sociologists would have had us believe a hundred years ago. We are far more complex than that. We now know that we have a choice as to which of our genetic behaviours we wish to follow. For years, even millennia, we have followed our base desires. Now we can more consciously choose to follow our desire for community, instead.

Another thing that stands out in this paragraph for me is the use of the analogy of the wind and the sea: "The seas of Divine wisdom and Divine utterance have risen under the breath of the breeze of the All-Merciful."

It's a very interesting analogy.

When, I have to wonder, do the seas rise? Well, they usually rise and fall under the influence of the moon, But that's not what He says here. Today, He tells us, they are rising due to the breeze.

Ok. When do the seas rise due to a wind? During a storm. And not just during any storm, but due to a particularly violent storm.

And yet Baha'u'llah has referred to this wind as a "breeze", and it's not just any breeze, but the "breeze of the All-Merciful". Strange.

Why would this be?

For an answer, I had to turn to Shoghi Effendi in the very beginning of the World Order of Baha'u'llah letters. You see, Baha'u'llah also references those who have "violated the Covenant of God", and this reminded me of the Covenant-breakers. So naturally my thoughts turned to the World Order letters, in which Shoghi Effendi is offering his comments to explain why the ones who were violating the Covenant at that tie were mistaken. He is answering their complaints. And despite the consternation that the National Assembly must have felt at that time, he says to them, and to us, "We should feel truly thankful for such futile attempts to undermine our beloved Faith..."

These tests and trials, which seem like such a storm to us are, in fact, a blessing. It is these very attacks, these storms, that are designed to "fortify our faith, to clarify our vision, and to deepen our understanding of the essentials of His Divine Revelation."

This also reminds me of what Baha'u'llah said in the Kitab-i-Iqan. He said, "the more closely you observe the denials of those who have opposed the Manifestations of the divine attributes, the firmer will be your faith in the Cause of God." Without those tests and trials, without those denials, we would not have this ability to firm up our faith, so to speak.

It really is quite fascinating to dive deeply into this work with my wife. We have read this book so many times, and these paragraphs in particular even more, but still, studying it with her has opened up so many new vistas. We are only beginning to appreciate the richness of this Most Holy Book.

Monday, October 15, 2018

That Sublime Station: Kitab-i-Aqdas, paragraph 1

One of my favorite things to do in life is study the Writings with my wife. Every week now, for the next number of months, we will be sitting in a cafe for a couple of hours while my son is partaking in his junior youth group. Last year we studied The Four Valleys, and just as the group was winding up for the summer, and my weekends were taken over by my booth at the market, we were just finishing it up.

Our question this year was what we wanted to study now. Our decision? The Kitab-i-Aqdas. After all, go big or go home, right?

But before I get into our study, I want to contextualize it a bit for you, dear Reader.

First of all, I have a very treasured memory of this book that I want to share. I can remember so clearly the very first time I ever read it. Of course, like many of us, I had read a number of passages previously, but the whole text was officially released for the first time in English during the Holy Year, 1992 - 1993. And I remember the very day that it came out. I had the incredible bounty of living near the Temple just outside Chicago, and was able to walk over there to the bookstore and get 2 copies that day.

Now at that same time I was working at the US National Centre. And every year, around that time, there was a 24-hour prayer vigil at the Temple for race unity. I had noticed, a few years earlier, that nobody signed up for the wee hours of the morning, so I would sign up from midnight to six am, "yawn prayers", and ask friends to join me. And they did. Every year we would gather in the parking lot with coffee, donuts and cookies, and 2 of us would be in the Temple. One would pray at the podium, while the other would wait until they were ready for a break. Then they'd switch, and the first would come out and get someone else to sit and wait.

But that year, I had just picked up my copy of the Aqdas either that day, or the day before, I can't recall. Either way, when midnight came around, a group of us had gathered in the Temple and I got up and began to read it, for the very first time, out loud, at the podium. We all sat there enraptured. I got about 3/4 the way through it before my friend, Denise, had to take over. That, as far as I'm aware, was the first time that the Kitab-i-Aqdas had been read aloud, in its entirety, in the Temple.

Every time I have read that monumental book since then, I always remember that night, and the friends that were with me, sharing in that beautiful experience.

Ok, so that's the first thing.

The second little bit of context is from my wife. Early on in her Baha'i experience, one of the friends had said something to her about how people had to be Baha'i, or "all their good deeds were worth nothing". As you can imagine, this went against all that she knew of the basic teachings of the Faith. When she asked about it, the friend showed her the first paragraph of this book, as if it were a weapon to somehow defend the superiority of the Baha'i Faith. She was very uncomfortable, but, wisely, didn't argue about it. She came home and we talked about it, and then proceeded to write the Universal House of Justice. Their response was to send us, many months later, One Common Faith. As I said to her at the time, I don't think this great letter was written specifically for us. I think they must have received many such letters, enough to warrant the commission of that document, and that we were just one of many who had written in with similar questions.

Ok. So, with all this as a basic background into our personal history, we dove into the first two paragraphs this morning. Today, I'm only going to share a bit about the first one. Hopefully I'll get to adding more about our little study soon, but I won't promise anything.

Here is paragraph 1 of this incredible book:
The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and the world of creation. Whoso achieveth this duty hath attained unto all good; and whoso is deprived thereof hath gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed. It behooveth everyone who reacheth this most sublime station, this summit of transcendent glory, to observe every ordinance of Him Who is the Desire of the world. These twin duties are inseparable. Neither is acceptable without the other. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Source of Divine inspiration.
As you can imagine, there is much that we found to discuss.

While we talked about all sorts of things, what really left us feeling elated was when we focused on the phrase "this most sublime station".

Our initial thought was that it referred to Baha'u'llah's sublime station, but in the context of the sentence it didn't make sense. After all, only Baha'u'llah can possibly reach that sublime station. Upon re-reading, though, we realized that it obviously is referring to the station of the believer, the one who actually recognizes "Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and the world of creation".

Of course, from there, we were then wondering why this would be considered the "most sublime station". What does it mean? In fact, what does the word "sublime" mean? Perhaps, we thought, that might shed some light on this. As you probably know, it means "of such excellence, grandeur, or beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe". You mean we can attain a station of such excellence, grandeur, and beauty as to inspire great admiration or awe? Wow.

Oh, but wait a second, inspire admiration or awe in whom? In oneself.

Well that sounds pretty good, awesome, in fact. But what would it look like? We're not really sure, but looking back at the first few sentences, we had to ask ourselves if we really do recognize Baha'u'llah. And honestly, no, we don't. We believe that His station is too grand for us to truly recognize Him. We catch glimpses of His station, faint glimmerings of His grandeur, mere impressions of His true position in creation. Occasionally, rarely, we may get a hint of this, and that is when we feel as if we have been lifted to what we can only describe as a sublime station. It is as if we have been granted access to this, however briefly, and come away feeling a profound sense of gratitude.

Personally, I am reminded of an exercise I did years ago, in which I tried to imagine myself standing next to the Sun. I began by seeing myself standing there and the sun shining brightly in the sky. Of course, as you know, that meant I was quite far from it. And so I began to see the sun getting bigger and bigger, but as long as I was still standing there, in my imagination, I knew that I had to be far, far from the sun. It wasn't until I began to see myself getting smaller and smaller that I realized just how tiny I would have to be, in comparison.

I could easily imagine myself sitting at the table while my wife and I talked. I could even imagine myself, as seen from above, in the village in which we were enjoying our study. When I saw British Columbia from above, though, I could no longer really imagine myself sitting there. I was just too small in relation to the entirety of the province. Now I had to go further out to the whole country, the entire planet. Not a chance. I wasn't even a blip any more. And just how tiny is the earth in comparison to the sun? Okay. We're talking ridiculously small and insignificant, trying to imagine myself next to the sun.

The only way that I could even begin to imagine myself next to the sun was to envision myself as so tiny that I was truly insignificant.

And now, what about Baha'u'llah? When I try to imagine the grandeur and majesty of Baha'u'llah, the reality is I can't. Someone may be reading my ponderings right now, obviously, and they may read them a few years from now. Perhaps. And it is quite possible, though unlikely, that they may still be read a few years after I die, but I doubt it. I can't even imagine that anyone would know my name in a hundred years, with the remote possible exception that my descendants may say, "Oh yeah, Mead and Marielle were the first Baha'is in our family." But even that is unlikely.

Now, how I can even begin to imagine Baha'u'llah? His Cycle is destined to last at least half a million years. This is so far beyond my ability to imagine, how can I begin to think that I may have "recognized" Him?

Of course, not fully recognizing Baha'u'llah is not a bad thing. It is just a reality. I will continue to strive to better recognize Him, and, of course, probably fall far short, but that's ok. It's not about the destination, as they say, but rather about the journey. We believe that when Baha'u'llah says whoever is deprived of truly knowing Him has "gone astray", it doesn't mean that we are hopelessly lost, just that we will take longer to get there. And honestly, that's ok, too. Our job is to try and better know Him, and the closer we get to that "sublime station", well, the better off we are.

And in the end, that journey of recognition is our own. We can neither judge, nor compare that journey to anyone else's.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Shoghi and Shoghi, part 2

Shoghi and I have now been studying the World Order of Baha'u'llah for a couple of weeks, and I feel like I am learning so much.

I mean, it's not like I don't learn a lot when I read the Guardian on my own; it's just that I feel like I'm learning so much more through my son's point of view. There is also something very educational about having to explain what the basic sentence structure means, and working through the various words with him.

You may recall the previous article I posted on this study of ours, Shoghi and Shoghi, and now I would like to continue to comment on it.

After that first paragraph, in which Shoghi Effendi explained why he was writing these observations, as well as adopting the mindset of gratitude for such "futile attacks", he goes on to give us the background of why he has been doing what he has been doing in regards to the Administration. Now it should be remembered that the subtitles in this book are not from the Guardian himself, but were added by Horace Holley to make it easier for us to read. Paragraphs 2 - 5 deal with, as you can tell, this background.

The first sentence of paragraph 2 is as follows:
It would, however, be helpful and instructive to bear in mind certain basic principles with reference to the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, which, together with the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, constitutes the chief depository wherein are enshrined those priceless elements of that Divine Civilization, the establishment of which is the primary mission of the Bahá’í Faith.

When my son and I edited it down, as per our method mentioned in the previous article, we read it as,
"It would... be helpful and instructive to bear in mind certain... principles... which... constitutes... those priceless elements of that Divine Civilization, the establishment of which is the primary mission of the Bahá’í Faith."
First, he says that it is both helpful and instructive to bear in mind certain principles. Where are those principles found? In the Kitab-i-Aqdas, and in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha. And what are these principles? They are the primary, the main elements of that future Divine Civilization which all past ages have foretold. And just in case we are unaware of it, it is the establishment of this Divine Civilization that is "the primary mission of the Baha'i Faith". Our mission is nothing less than that. Why do we teach? To see the establishment of this civilization. Why do we form Assemblies? To see the establishment of this civilization. Why are engaged in the four core activities today? To see the establishment of this civilization. Why are we hoping to see more and more people engaged in these core activities, regardless of their personal religious beliefs? Because that will aid in the establishment of this Divine Civilization.

Honestly, we cannot stress this concept enough. It is our primary mission, and all our activities should be moving us closer and closer to its realization.

The next few sentences read more coherently if we read them together:
A study of the provisions of these sacred documents will reveal the close relationship that exists between them, as well as the identity of purpose and method which they inculcate. Far from regarding their specific provisions as incompatible and contradictory in spirit, every fair-minded inquirer will readily admit that they are not only complementary, but that they mutually confirm one another, and are inseparable parts of one complete unit. A comparison of their contents with the rest of Bahá’í sacred Writings will similarly establish the conformity of whatever they contain with the spirit as well as the letter of the authenticated writings and sayings of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá. In fact, he who reads the Aqdas with care and diligence will not find it hard to discover that the Most Holy Book itself anticipates in a number of passages the institutions which ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá ordains in His Will.
Again, we found this a bit overwhelming, so we got out our shears and went to work.
A study... of these... documents will reveal the close relationship that exists between them, as well as the identity of purpose and method which they inculcate... (E)very fair-minded inquirer will... admit that they are... complementary, ...mutually confirm one another, and are inseparable parts of one complete unit. A comparison of their contents... will... establish the conformity... with the spirit as well as the letter of the authenticated writings and sayings of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá... (H)e who reads the Aqdas... will... discover that the Most Holy Book... anticipates... the institutions which ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá ordains...
Again, if we want to better understand where Shoghi Effendi is getting his ideas regarding the Administration that he is guiding us to build, we need to go back to these two documents. All the ideas are there, and in fact, they build upon each other.

This is a point at which we can pause and see just what it is that he is doing. Shoghi Effendi is guiding us back to the Writings. We don't have to take his word for it, even though he is the appointed centre of the Faith. He is encouraging us to read what he has read, in the original documents. Whenever we have a question regarding the Faith, he answers us, and he cites his sources, too. Isn't this an example worth following?

Of course, it's not easy. Those two documents he is referring to our attention are very weighty documents. They're not particularly long, but they are just chock full of really good stuff. How will we know just what parts we are to look at? I mean, is our study of these documents supposed to include the washing of our feet, and the story of Mirza Muhammad Ali's perfidy? It can. But he probably wants us to be a bit more focused.

And so, gracious as he is, he gives us a bit of guidance. We are to look at those passages that talk about the Administration. And we are not just to look at them, but we are to look for specific things in those passages.

Shoghi Effendi goes on:
By leaving certain matters unspecified and unregulated in His Book of Laws, Bahá’u’lláh seems to have deliberately left a gap in the general scheme of Bahá’í Dispensation, which the unequivocal provisions of the Master’s Will have filled.
Or, after a bit of trimming:
... Bahá’u’lláh seems to have deliberately left a gap... which the ...Master... filled.

Really? Baha'u'llah left a gap?

Actually, yes, He did. When we read the provisions for the Administrative Order in the Aqdas, we discover that there is no level of governance at the national level.


Honestly, I never would have noticed if the Guardian hadn't mentioned this right here. I went back and looked to see if I could discover any gaps, and there it was.

But the Master, in His Will and Testament, filled this gap.

Not only that, but in the Aqdas, there was no guidance regarding how these institutions were to be elected. This, too, was left to the Master to mention in His Will. And further to that, it was left to the Guardian to guide us as to the various qualities we should seek when voting for the members of these august bodies.

It really is quite remarkable just what we can discover when we go back and look at these documents through the lens of Shoghi Effendi's guidance.

Finally, in the last sentence of paragraph 2 we read:
To attempt to divorce the one from the other, to insinuate that the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh have not been upheld, in their entirety and with absolute integrity, by what ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá has revealed in His Will, is an unpardonable affront to the unswerving fidelity that has characterized the life and labors of our beloved Master.

Or, after careful paring down:
...(T)o insinuate that the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh have not been upheld... by... ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá... is an unpardonable affront...
If we claim to love the Master, as Ruth White claimed, and hint that He somehow did not uphold the laws of the Aqdas, is, as Shoghi Effendi clearly says here, unpardonable. So if we somehow have come to this conclusion, we are treading on very thin ice, and should go back to those two documents and study them again. I mean it's ok to miss it, or not understand how the Master did uphold Baha'u'llah's laws in this instance, and ask to be walked through it step by step. Not a problem. But to hint that He didn't do it? Well, that's something else altogether. It suggests a form of egotism that is extremely dangerous, as well as an unwillingness to say, "I missed it. Please explain it to me."

And when we do get off our high horse, when we do admit that we're not quite connecting those dots, Shoghi Effendi is very glad to help us out.

I think I'll leave paragraph 3 for next time.