Saturday, January 31, 2009
A Nod to our Material World Existence
Amid the spiritual atmosphere of the Atlanta conference I was bemused by all of us Baha'is (myself included) who spent time waiting in the Starbuck's line near the lobby. I'd love to think that all those triple grande lattes enhanced my ability to focus or improved the scent of spiritual fragrance from the friends gathered; but really, it was just coffee... an enjoyable physical attachment that contrasts greatly with the needs of the world in which we live.
The House of Justice didn't say we couldn't have our coffee; but they do want us to make sacrifices. This giving over one's material loves to serve Baha'u'llah could come in many forms. Maybe we aren't ready to give it up but make a pact to do some extra teaching or service work when we drink Starbucks... Something reminiscent of the carbon payments for buying airplane tickets. Or maybe we don't buy the Starbucks and give the money to the Fund. Or maybe we do buy the Starbucks and enjoy it as a material gift but realize that it is something we cannot attach ourselves to.
I'm not sure where the Starbucks fits into the whole picture but I do know that it wasn't just us in Atlanta with this problem... The Baha'i World News Service posted a picture of the lovely friends in Portland enjoying their boxed lunches together and sipping... What was it??? Starbucks coffee!
We Americans have such a spiritual destiny to fulfill; but I imagine we'll have to see ourselves as post-modern-get-over-your-starbucks-and-focus-on-what-needs-done-in-the-world before we begin to see this reality. Didn't Shoghi Effendi point out that we will lead the world spiritually only because we've got so far to go that it will be a banner to Baha'u'llah's ability to transform the world?