And he also stated what his first post was going to be.jimhabegger wrote:I'm taking suggestions for the title of the thread. Here are some possibilities I'm considering:
- God-centered community building
- Jim's closet
- Support group for self-improvement and community service
Why wait a day or two for what can be done today. So here it is. His starting post!jimhabegger wrote:I'm planning to start a thread in the The Bottomless Pit of Endless Wonder, in a day or two, to discuss the kinds of community building I'm promoting, and maybe the kinds of discussions I'd like to have about social issues and the outrageous things that are happening in the world. The first post will be mostly a copy and paste of my post 12905.
jimhabegger wrote:Rather than go through that paragraph of that message of the Baha'i Universal House of Justice, sentence by sentence, trying to explain it without the God metaphors, as I started to do; I've decided to try to explain, in my own words, the community-building process that I see being promoted by the House of Justice.
It revolves around people in a neighborhood or village encouraging and supporting each other in systematic and sustained self-improvement and community service, motivated by love of God, using what they learn from studying His words and the stories surrounding them. What I mean by "love of God" is, roughly, a kind of love that brings out the best in people, and inspires warm feelings and friendly intentions for all people and all of nature, and a burning desire to do all the good we can do and be the best people we can be. A person may or may not see the object of that love as something they call "God." They might not even see it as having any specific object, or even have a name for it or be conscious of it at all.
What I mean by "God's words" are the words of the people that Baha'u'llah calls "Manifestations of God," which include Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, the Bab and Baha'u'llah. In the programs being promoted by the House of Justice, the words and stories at the center of the studying are those of the Bab and Baha'u'llah. I'm not sure that the process could work as well without that. I'm not sure it couldn't.
The studying is mostly in the form of "study circles," small groups of people who are following a plan of study designed to nurture their love of God, their desire to serve, and their capacities for service. The acts of service can vary widely, according to the needs and possibilities in the neighborhood or village, and the capacities and interests of the people. They always include devotional meetings, study circles, children's classes, junior youth programs and people visiting each other in their homes.
Periodically people in larger areas, a few counties for example, gather together to exchange news, ideas and experiences about what's happening in their neighborhoods and villages, and what to do next.
There are cycles of expansion and consolidation, most often three months, attracting more people into the process. Sometimes the expansion phase lasts a few weeks. The actus of service multiply, and eventually reach out to wider areas and higher levels of society.
There's a lot more to it than that, but those are some of the most essential elements.