Saturday, October 03, 2009
If you are a Baha'i who has considered starting a blog of your own, this post is for you. If you're a Baha'i who has considered commenting on this blog but didn't, I've got something to say to you as well.
First things first. I want to say thank you. Baha'i Thought crossed the four year mark this past month and its success is due to those who read it. While Baha'i Thought has not quite made it from the margins to the mainstream of on-line discourse about religion, society and culture, the possibility of doing so inspires me to keep giving this my all. This blog is based on a simple premise; Baha'is have something to say about what's happening in the world that can change it for the better.
The need to speak up about what Baha'is believe is a point made over and over in our Writings.
"Bestir thyself, and magnify, before the entire creation, the name of God, and celebrate His praise, in such wise that all created things may be regenerated and made new. Speak, and hold not thy peace." (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 27)
"This is the day in which to speak. It is incumbent upon the people of Baha to strive, with the utmost patience and forbearance, to guide the peoples of the world to the Most Great Horizon. Every body calleth aloud for a soul. Heavenly souls must needs quicken, with the breath of the Word of God, the dead bodies with a fresh spirit. Within every word a new spirit is hidden." (Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 82)
"Lift up your voices and sing out the song of the Kingdom. Spread far and wide the precepts and counsels of the loving Lord, so that this world will change into another world, and this darksome earth will be flooded with light, and the dead body of mankind will arise and live; so that every soul will ask for immortality, through the holy breaths of God." (Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 1)
I know it may be hard to believe that an activity with as silly-sounding a name as "blogging" could serve as a vehicle for the spiritual transformation of the planet, but it can. Blogging can be an on-line embodiment of this powerful statement by 'Abdu'l-Baha:
"It is therefore urgent that beneficial articles and books be written, clearly and definitely establishing what the present-day requirements of the people are, and what will conduce to the happiness and advancement of society. These should be published and spread throughout the nation, so that at least the leaders among the people should become, to some degree, awakened, and arise to exert themselves along those lines which will lead to their abiding honor. The publication of high thoughts is the dynamic power in the arteries of life; it is the very soul of the world." (Abdu'l-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 109)
I am personally inviting every Baha'i reading this post who has not yet done so to move from reader to writer, to share your thoughts with a waiting world. Start blogging today. Unloose your keyboards heroes of God! If you're not sure how to get started you can learn here.
You can also learn from the example of others such as Agency and Change, Baha'i Coherence, Baha'i Perspectives, and Jeune Street. The important thing is to get going.
"There is no time to lose. There is no room left for vacillation. Multitudes hunger for the Bread of Life. The stage is set. The firm and irrevocable Promise is given. God's own Plan has been set in motion. It is gathering momentum with every passing day. The powers of heaven and earth mysteriously assist in its execution. Such an opportunity is irreplaceable. Let the doubter arise and himself verify the truth of such assertions. To try, to persevere, is to insure ultimate and complete victory." (Shoghi Effendi, Messages to America, p. 17)
Now I understand that not all of you will have the time, energy or inclination to start a blog of your own. People regularly ask me, "Phillipe! How do you find time to do this?" The answer is I don't find time to do it, I just do it. However, there is a less time consuming way to share your Baha'i thoughts with the world; leaving comments on this and other Baha'i blogs. Comments are just as important a contribution as blogging itself because they turn a monologue into a dialogue. It's the dialogue that makes a blog truly successful in my opinion. Over the years there have been some brilliant comments left on this blog, some of which put the original post to shame. There have also been some lively exchanges among those leaving comments. For all those who have thought about leaving a comment but didn't, all the quotes I've included above apply equally to you. Unloose your keyboard! Share your view, share your voice.
I understand if you may be nervous about leaving comments. I can't promise you that your ideas won't invite criticism. You may even get bruised a bit (I know I have!). What I can say is that thoughtful, well-articulated comments can have as much impact as the original blog post. For example, I have sometimes personally invited people to comment because their knowledge or expertise in an area exceeded my own or because I knew they would have something interesting to say. I also want to be clear that agreement with me is not a condition of leaving comments on Baha'i Thought. As 'Abdu'l-Baha has told us, "The shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions".(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 87)
In summary, if you aren't blogging yet, get going. If you aren't leaving comments, start doing so. You may be surprised by the impact you make. I know I was.