Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Striving to teach out of LOVE, not sheer obedience - Hoff stories

Another enlightening story shared yesterday by our active teacher-friend Richard Hoff that highlights the importance of having a pure motive when teaching. At one point he refers to the injunction given by the beloved Guardian to each believer: "Never must they let a day pass without teaching some soul, trusting to Baha'u'llah that the seed will grow." (Guidelines for Teaching, #1995)

Dear Friends,

My wife agrees with me that in my case "teaching is the dominating passion of my life." I am not disagreeing but often it is not as simple as it seems.

I put teaching a new soul every day above purity of heart. Example: Decades ago I was so immature that I would get mad and rebellious. [My wife] says, even then I was better than I was when she married me.

This one time I committed to go reservation teaching and decided to back out. [My wife] pushed me into going. I was mad. I was driving the car with her and two youth. I saw a hitchhiker! I stopped and had [my wife] get in the back and had the hitchhiker sit by me. Bla, bla, bla and I got his card signed.

Then I had the others deepen him and we took him with us to the Baha'i home on the reservation. When we got there, I knew [my wife] was upset. She took me aside and told me how offensive that teaching experience was to her. She said you didn't love him, you just wanted another notch on your gun handle (an old western term).

I went from being mad at the world to thinking, WOW! I realized I taught him because I had not been obiedent to teaching some soul that day. I instantly changed into being engaged and loving again. I taught out of obiedence to teach someone every day.

Was I a pure channel? No I was antaganistic, mad and angry. That experience has had a profound effect on my life.

BUT I WAS OBIEDENT TO TEACHING A SOUL EACH DAY!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!! !!

Therefore for me, I make it a point to get involved with a new person every day that I am able to do so. Often I even get out bed when I am sick and got to a store to meet new people. By the way, it physically helps me to get well.

I don't think one can be a pure hearted teacher unless they learn to talk to new people, no matter if they are in a spiritual low, they do it anyway. The Spirit Of Baha'u'llah gudies us when we are engaged in delivering the message. We do it right and we flub it. That's the way we learn.

The writings say the twin pillars for our growth are REWARD AND PUNISHMENT.

love you,
J. Richard Hoff

Sacrificial effort to attend Baha'i conference

This is one of many amazing stories about efforts endured to be able to attend one of the Regional Baha'i conferences, this one in Accra, Ghana. Read the full conference report here.

Balthazar Da Silva, 32, Guinea Bissau: "Coming here, I thought I'd never arrive. I missed one flight, and to be able to arrive in time for the conference had to go from Guinea Bissau to Dakar, Dakar to Bamako, Bamako to Abidjan, Abidjan to Ethiopia, Ethiopia to Lagos, Lagos to Accra. But it was all worth it!"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Quotes on love on Valentine's cards distributed

One believer in Norway was creative and audacious enough to create Valentine's cards with quotations on love from the Writings which she gave to friends and contacts, and left at conspicuous public places (including the bus) for people to read and become inspired by!

Using seeker's background as starting point for teaching

Here is an enlightening teaching story from an experienced teacher of the Faith.

P and I met for the fifth time with the wonderful African American couple...They are of the retired upper crust of our nation. He was very active in the civil rights efforts during the 60/70s.

As I have explained in my previous posts, it really takes skill to teach him the Faith. Today he stated talking about how the lightning strikes, and then there is thunder, and rain, then the fruit comes. He likened this to what happened with Martin Luther King Jr. as lightning and the follow up as thunder and rain.

I enthusiastically agreed and articulated my understanding of this as lightning that saved the nation from more riots and greatly enhanced our country with ability to deal with the racial bigotry in the USA. Now remember he has studied the Faith some and sees the Faith as no more relevant than all the other great things such as King.

I stated that people like him and I have been the thunder and rain that followed King's lightning, and have found a profound feeling of accomplishment in our lives and this is as it should be!

I then suggested that I feel some of us have developed a "COMFORT ZONE" that has interfered with our ability to see the lightning that only the Baha'i Faith has brought that would have gone a long way to prevent all the major wars including the first and second world wars and the terrorism that is threatening the world today.

I asked, "Can I explain the part that the Baha'i teachings have brought as a lightning rod that would have mitigated or prevented these wars?

He was hooked!!!!!! The door was open wide.

I stated, "The Baha'is were given a blue print at their founding to reorganize the concept of religion and politics. The Baha'is accept that the present organizations in the world that accept racial togetherness are good. But the Baha'i lightning states and empowers a focus for every Baha'i to go way beyond agreement and provide the thunder and rain in the following areas:

An advanced language that states, we are one race the human race.

The color of peoples skin is likened unto a flower garden of black violets, red roses, white lilacs, etc.

It is God's plan for everyone on earth to move as quickly as possible to a world-embracing concept of organization that believes we are citizens of the world. We understand that after the first world war the League of Nations was a step in this direction, and the UN advanced this concept. And now God will advance the world's organization so that we see ourselves as "One nation-the earth." No one can prevent it. The Baha'i focus on a unanimous belief in the world embracing understanding necessary to bring warring nations together. This is done by one person at a time embracing these teachings.

Our 6 million + members are organized with no clergy. In its place the Baha'is elect with a secret ballot 9 members to make decisions. No one is a leader! The body of nine appoints a member to speak for any particular program. Then they set up committees that function in the same manner as the elected. It is a program that necessitates members stepping forward. It is without the drawback of clergy being empowered and paid. It brings the best aspects of democracy empowering organizational change. It works and is used on the local, state, national and international level.

Also the election process makes it possible for women to have the same input and status as men. Plus a multitude of other aspects for global change.

The membership of the Baha'is is preparing individual participation for involvement in all aspects of a global society.

The Baha'is lightning has struck! The thunder has been gaining momentum since 1844, over 100+ years. And the Baha'i rain is falling and the growth from the rain is worldwide.

(Then further proofs were given from world and Baha'i history)

He was very interested... It was wonderful!

Dedicating devotional to passed relative effective

An 85-year-old woman from the Adana cluster in Turkey told how she had started devotional gatherings three years ago, dedicating them to her late husband. Fourteen of the people she invited have since joined the Baha'i community, and all were at the conference. "I thank Baha'u'llah and wish to be able to continue these devotionals as long as I live," she said.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Podcast of talk on the Plan, Paul Lample, Aug 2008

This was posted to the US-Baha'i administrative website.

September 08, 2008

The National Spiritual Assembly is delighted to share with you an audio recording of an inspiring talk given by Mr. Paul Lample, member of the Universal House of Justice, at the Nashville, Tennessee, Bahá'í Center on August 24, 2008.

Abundant with vital insights on the great spiritual enterprise our worldwide community has embarked on, this talk can be downloaded or listened to in streaming video from the below links.

Note: To download to your disk, many browsers require you to "right-click" on the link (or "Ctrl-click" on a Macintosh) and choose a "Save" or "Download" option from the menu that pops up.

Click here to stream or download the entire audio file (1 hour, 6 minutes; 30 MB).

To stream or download smaller segments of a few minutes each, use the links below:

Segments 1/2 (3 MB)

Segment 3 (4 MB)

Segment 4 (2.7 MB)

Segment 5 (1.8 MB)

Segment 6 (2.8 MB)

Segment 7 (6.7 MB)

Segment 8 (10 MB)

Segment 9 (6 MB)

Segment 10 (6 MB)

Segment 11 (6 MB)

Segment 12 (2 MB)

Segment 13 (4 MB)

Segment 14 (1.5 MB)

Segment 15 (5 MB)

Segment 16 (0.7 MB)