Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Deciphering the Dual Challenge

NOTE: I wrote this post when I first started this blog and only today realized I never got it posted. I decided I would go ahead and post it even though I may have already commented a lot on it. :)

Here's my take on "The Dual Challenge." It is merely an understanding from my limited viewpoint and one that will need to be supplemented by thoughts generated by further study of the Writings and letters from the Institutions of the Faith.

Here's the exact quote referred to in the October 20, 2008 letter from the Universal House of Justice: "The challenge facing the friends in these and all clusters continues to be twofold in character. While learning to identify receptive segments of society and share with responsive souls the message of the Faith - an aspiration generally not hard to fulfil - they are striving to understand in practice how the diverse elements of a healthy pattern of growth, particularly the development of human resources, are to be integrated into a cohesive whole. How heartening it is to see that the moment the friends in a cluster begin to meet this dual challenge, immediate progress is achieved; the goal of launching an intensive programme of growth becomes imminently attainable."

1. How do we learn to identify receptive segments and share the message? Who can help us with this one?

One of the most important and useful paths to learning these skills is Book 6. It is full of everything we need to learn... The Spiritual Nature of Teaching, The Qualities and Attitudes of the Teacher, and The Act of Teaching. It is like a step-by-step guidebook to effective teaching from preparing ourselves to identifying the population and methods to a clear outline of what to say once we open our mouths.

If you have not completed Book 6, make it one of the dominating endeavors until Ridvan 2009. And if you haven't yet done it, memorize the first two lines of Anna's Presentation. That way, when you're standing in line at the grocery store or telling the school secretary how your kids were absent to attend the Atlanta conference, when someone says, "I've never heard of the Baha'i Faith, what is it?," you can reply, "The Baha'i Faith is a world religion whose purpose is to unite all races and peoples in one universal Cause and one common Faith. Baha'is are the followers of Baha'u'llah, Who they believe is the Promised One of all Ages."

2. How do we integrate into a cohesive whole the diverse elements of a healthy pattern of growth? How do we develop human resources?

Well, this is what we are all trying to figure out, isn't it? Even in our own cluster, which is starting its first IPG in two weeks, pulling all of our diverse elements into a cohesive whole is our greatest challenge. We have so many individuals working in so many ways and now our new ATC is challenged to find a way to help everyone understand, among other things, that direct teaching is multi-faceted and door-to-door teaching is only one element. If everyone felt the urgency to up-the-ante on their teaching methods, we would be moving towards cohesiveness.

In our Reflection Meeting, we will be challenged to pull everyone's efforts and teaching preferences into a unified whole, moving towards the same goal. If we can help everyone to feel that whatever it is they have to contribute is meaningful and valued, we'll have gone far towards integrating the varied activities of our community. I we can make our plans simple and systematic, we will be much more successful than if we tried to be complex and too complaisant.

There are so many ways to meet the dual challenge and these are only a few suggestions, thoughts and hopes of mine. As usual, I would love to hear about successful strategies others have used!

No comments:

Post a Comment