From TLCULHANE@aol.comTue Nov 28 10:16:18 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 01:36:38 -0500 From: TLCULHANE@aol.com To: email@example.com Subject: re: neoplatonism pt 2 Dear Nima , Whew i'm getting a brain cramp :) First an easy one . Do you or anyone else know if there is an English translation of Mahmud Shabestari's _Rose Garden of Mystery_ ? I was wondering if the Tablet in Gleanings p 319 -322 plays off of some of the Shabestari imagery . " In the Rose garden of Changeless Splendor . .." Now if Avicenna identifies the Active Intellect with the Angel Gabriel with the Source of Revelation would it not be safe to say that I can identitfy the "Maiden " with the Active Intellect as the Source of Revelation ? A further fascinating tidbit along this line is the ancient Babylonian goddess Ishtar. She is the lawgiver and judge as well as the god of love . a la Baha u llah in Epistle speaking as the "lawgiver " and " truth seeker mystic " . Suhrawardi - Could you elaborate a little on the essence /existence issue which you said Mulla Sadra reverses ? The Light image appeals to me . Somewhere I read about the Light of Glory - Xharneh ? I am intrigued by this because of the Glory of God . I mean the title has become a name and I suspect there is a Theophany hidden somewhere in here that has been inadvertantly delated from consciousness . We have the exoteric Baha ullah - Husayn Ali 's physical presence - whoops there's that * Presence of Being*deal . We have the esoteric BAHA U LLAH and She (symbol :) ) seems to have been left out of our common consciousness . I am wondering if some of Baha u llah's references to BAHA U LLAH are not in fact Theophonic references that ought not to be confused with or limited too Baha u llah . As I recall from a while back Shekhinah in the Old Testament also was understood as Glory. Also you mentioned a similarity in the roor for "Ishraq" and " Mashriq " . If I understood correctly then the "house" the dawning point is intimately connected to "illumination " or the "enlightenment" Juan is referring to in his Zen comments . Back to * The Presence of Being * - I am still *tasting* this one wow ! . How does this relate to essence / existence ? Since I talked your ear off this week end perhaps you will indulge me and talk mine off on this subject . As I mentioned i am trying to make sense of my experiences and as Juan noted we lack a " Pir" I must rely on some of the philosophers/ theosophers to help me sort this out . In the imaginal world if it is related to Plato's forms- would the pure intelligences be similar to the "Names " or forms of my Lord/ Being ? Perhaps my experince has something to do with that ? More questions after I ponder your responses and comments to these . Any one else with helpful thoughts please feel free to join in . warm regards , Terry From firstname.lastname@example.orgTue Nov 28 10:18:03 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 95 15:43:01 JST From: "Stephen R. Friberg"
To: Juan R Cole Cc: LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu, email@example.com Subject: Re: Talisman rights Dear Juan: I'm not worried about John's actions, and, to be honest, I didn't get the impression that anybody else was either. Rather, I got the strong impression that you and Linda were, and are, overreacting to rather innocent comments, and reading them differently than they were intended. By the way, I bought Gadamer's "Philosophical Hermeneutics". Hermeneutics is all about the process of "digging out" meaning from sometimes otherwise undecipherable text. Applying it to your and Linda's postings (and thanks to copious hints), I think I have figured out the situation. Gambate! (good luck), as they say in Japan. Re: "*But*, with all due love, affection and buddha-mind, I must take the strongest possible exception to your statement that my proposed bill of rights would have made John Walbridge's actions impossible." Juan, my reply, with equal love, affection, and buddha-mind is that you should avoid misrepresenting people's comments, as you do in the statement above. I said no such thing. I think its fine for polemics: basically you take what someone says, rephrase it so it seems a more extreme position, and then attack it. But such polemical methods prevent, rather than promote, under- standing. For the same reasons I distrust Rush Limbaugh, I don't like them. And I'll complain if they are used against me. What I do like is your marvelous comments on mystical truths. Yours with warmth and love, Stephen F. From TLCULHANE@aol.comTue Nov 28 10:23:01 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 02:07:11 -0500 From: TLCULHANE@aol.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: papers /footnotes Juan : I was going to put my paper / presentation in the mail when I realized there were no footnotes - and knowing how historians appreciate sources :) I am putting together a quick version of notes . I will have it sent in tomorrows mail . Texas was enjoyable , mostly due to my conversations with Nima and Chris . I was trying to convince Nima there is a distinction to be made between the North American version of the Enlightenment and the French one and that we ought to be looking to marry Ibn Arabi and Jefferson . I am beginning to think that this is a fruitful metaphor for my understanding of Baha u llah . Oh I am also playing with a notion on Shoghi Effendi and Theocracy . I have been pondering this since last winter :) . It goes something like this - The Baha i's of the West being involved in building administration,as was the Guardian , and lacking a reasonably develped sense of Irfan missed or reduced the the discussion of the Guardian to political theocracy when in fact what he "meant" was theocracy in the theophanic sense or best sense of theocracy the "pouring " of the Spirit into all spheres of human existence . So there is a theocracy ancticipated by the Guardian " recognition " and "observance" of the Aqdas ( the Most Holy ) into an energized and reconstructed existence . This ought not to be confused with the Admin Order . I hope to go thru the WOB letters and reinterpret some of the passages along those lines. At least that is my half baked thought for now . There are some interesting passages where he makes reference to a series of things or qualities that go beyond the scope of administration or the internal workings of the Bahai community and i would argue can only be understand in light of this broader sense of Theocracy . Looks like the ante has been upped a bit over the week end . warm regards, Terry From CMathenge@aol.comTue Nov 28 10:24:33 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 02:32:48 -0500 From: CMathenge@aol.com To: email@example.com Subject: Re: ??? Dear Ruth, You sound like a lot of fun--welcome to Talisman! Well, I met Burl at the recent ABS conference and I'll verify some of what he says. He IS pretty good-looking. I've heard some strange things about his table manners, but then that's only rumours. Elf-hairs, huh? Well, he does have a sort of unidentifiable alien look . . .hmmm. On the other hand he claims to be a writer, and if you noticed he just used the word "papaucity" in one of his posts. Now where did you get that Burl? That right there is enough to make you wonder about his credentials. Now when it comes to bragging about his children, I have FOUR kids who are African American and I'm not--and they're not adopted. :-) By the way, I had one of those pretty rainbow bumper stickers that say "Celebrate Diversity" on my car--bought it at the Baha'i Center--and one day it disappeared. I thought somebody had stolen it because they liked it so much. Or else because they were racists. Come to find out, my son was driving the car in Hollywood one night and people kept honking and yelling at him. Turns out it is similar to a bumper sticker a number of gays have on their cars here. Brian was embarrassed so he removed it. Meanwhile, I had bought another one to replace it. I hope nobody will accuse me of being homophobic, but my son borrows my car a lot and I don't want him to get shot at, so I think I had better not put it back. (In L.A. you can get shot at if someone doesn't like the color of your car, your cap, your face, or just because you stopped at MickeyD's--that's bad enough--and because I have three kids (25, 22, and 19) driving around L.A. and they all have a propensity to run around at night and sleep in the day time, I worry a lot.) What do you-all think out there? Do I have a moral obligation to stick to my guns and keep the bumper sticker, or should I be a coward and leave it off? With loving Baha'i greetings, Carmen From CMathenge@aol.comTue Nov 28 10:24:40 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 02:32:44 -0500 From: CMathenge@aol.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: mating--er? services I must say this thread has me chuckling. Although "mating" services may on the whole be an appropriate title, aren't they usually referred to as "dating" services? Carmen From email@example.comTue Nov 28 10:37:14 1995 Date: Mon, 27 Nov 95 23:56 PST From: Burl Barer To: CMathenge@aol.com Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Papaucity Carmen said of Burl: " he claims to be a writer, and if you noticed he just used the word "papaucity" in one of his posts. Now where did you get that Burl? That right there is >enough to make you wonder about his credentials. Burl says: Concerning "papaucity": "pap" noun = a nipple of the breast; a teat; something resembling or shaped like a teat. "paucity" =scarcity Here we see Mr. Barer inventing a word which conveys the essence of the sentence --" my buddy Chet came to me and bewailed the papaucity of single Baha'i females". This proves that Mr. Barer, elf-hairs and all, is a writer. It also proves that he can't spell, Eudora has no spell checker, and he is quick to come to his own defense. Burl (refusing to pay sintax) Barer ******************************************************* Order MAN OVERBOARD, the new book by Burl Barer today! ******************************************************* From email@example.comTue Nov 28 10:39:51 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 02:18:05 -0600 (CST) From: Saman Ahmadi To: Juan R Cole Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: Re: Collective Punishment Dear Juan, You wrote: > > Saman: You may know that a Talismanian has been threatened by the NSA > with loss of his administrative rights over a posting he did. The NSA > differed with him over his account of a historical incident and demanded > that he recant it publicly here on Talisman. > > Since the National Center has violated Talisman etiquette, I think John > acted properly. It is not an unreasonable conclusion that National was > monitoring Talisman through its subscribers there, which is how the NSA > got the Talisman posting in the first place. > > > cheers Juan > Thanks for the clarification - I did not know the above (though a disturbing feeling is dawning over me). I would like to make a suggestion: that John request that the National Assembly post their version of the disputed fact on Talisman. take care, sAmAn From firstname.lastname@example.orgTue Nov 28 10:40:02 1995 Date: 28 Nov 95 03:45:07 EST From: "H.C. deFlerier deCourcelles" <email@example.com> To: Juan R Cole Subject: Re: Talisman rights > The cries of outrage over John's reconsideration of subscription rights > of persons who work for the issuer of the threat would be much muted > among civilized persons if the full facts were known. Cher Monsieur, Why are those facts not published? Luxembourg City Sincerely, 28-Nov-'95 H-C. de Flerier From firstname.lastname@example.orgTue Nov 28 10:40:15 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 00:44:31 -0800 From: DEREK COCKSHUT To: email@example.com Subject: Bosch Relationship Weekend Update . Dear Talismanians Although Ahmad standing on the runway in Sydney awaiting the two 747 carrying the Ahmad crazed Ladies to down - under is not coming to the Relationship weekend . I am pleased to say that < to Linda's dismay >, more men are now coming . It promises to be a wonderful weekend and we shall explore the Writings . To discover how to put into practice the Personal Teachings and so improve all our relationships . Kindest Regards Derek Cockshut. Book for the Weekend via Bosch only $85.00 food and lodging . Tel 408-423-3387 Fax 408-423-7564 From firstname.lastname@example.orgTue Nov 28 10:43:46 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 23:06:00 +1200 From: Robert Johnston To: Burl Barer , email@example.com Subject: threats against the folks conviviating OK Burl, Re: >If some man or woman arrives brandishing a weapon, making threats against >the folks conviviating over the guacamole, John would assuredly either (a) >insist that the leave at once, or (b) ask Linda the Catholic Shi'ite Ninja >to make sure they leave at once. Fair point. There's quite a bit of heat in this matter, and it is probably good that everyone has their say, whatever their say is. I and several others have expressed alarm at the fact several innocent guests had to be thrown out with the offender. But, y'know: it is a tough and cruel world. And John HAS left the door open for those who have been thrown out to negotiate their way back in... I think the lasting significance of this event could lie in the fact that it gives us a fine example of an instance where a plebiscite (referendum of all constituents) need not be held before a situation is assessed, and a judgement is come to and acted upon. Bob Ballinger (for one) has loudly asked for a legitimate instance of this, and now he has it...maybe. Perhaps some of those who have questioned this kind of activity on the part of assemblies will become less critical. Maybe John's "benign dictatorship" carries an important lesson from the Cosmic Jester. AUM. ;-\} Robert. From firstname.lastname@example.orgTue Nov 28 10:44:05 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 04:38:15 -0800 From: "Marguerite K. Gipson" To: RUTH E CLARK , email@example.com Subject: Re: introduction Hello Ruth, I am in the same boat you are, girlfriend... I have known Burl since the early 70's and he just became a Bahai, I knew him as a DJ for a local radio show. But I am enjoying his literary pieces tremendously, this is a new side to him I had not known about. I just wish I could afford his dang ol book... As for the others, I do not know them. I have usually not a clue one about what half these folks talk about. I just enjoy the reading. It causes me to think a bit..... and to distract me from my other important duties I have too.... I have the feeling that even if my brain cannot soak up all this, my soul does somehow. Keep up the good work. My other wish is to go to Bosch one of these days. I am only 24 hours away... I never have been there. Say Derek, do you serve lattes???? Or do I need to bring my machine???? Margreet Wet, soggy, foggy, Seattle WA At 09:33 PM 11/27/95 EST, RUTH E CLARK wrote: >Dear People, > >I have not prepared a bio yet. But, I will tell you that I live in >Research Triangle area in North Carolina. I am not a Baha'i. I am an >African-American. I work at a large corporation and am single. >I viewed talisman for awhile through a friend decided to join. >I am good friends with Baha'is and enjoy their firesides. > >Now, I like to share some thoughts between Research Triangle and >Research Triangle Experts on talisman. To begin with I think Burl is >actually Phil Donahue, Derek could be Geraldo Rivera and this Quanta >probably is either Oprah or Sally Jessy Raphael in disguise. >They keep sharing thier social research findings on talisman by >"telling it all" and I can't make a sense of what they say. >I have sympathy with Ayla and I bet she doesn't go anywhere with >Mother Yentle/Fidllerette on the Roof. I hope SHE DOES NOT HIDE IN A >CAVE > >RUTH > From firstname.lastname@example.orgTue Nov 28 10:44:22 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 08:40:27 EST From: RUTH E CLARK To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Christian, and non-white Dear Robert, No I am not green yet. But, I may be when I get jealous. >So, I'm father Christmas rather than a sinner falling into fires... Well, it depends what sin and which fires.....???? >I am prejudiced in favor of anyone that can make me laugh. That's good, keep on laughing, I can take it. I don't get this "hiding" business. Are we having some cultural communication problems here? I hope you are a batchelor, there is no confusion here dear! keep on smilin and don't worry about them wrinkles, yours cheerfully, Ruth From firstname.lastname@example.orgTue Nov 28 10:45:17 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 95 09:23:23 PST From: email@example.com To: Robert Johnston Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: My Goodness Sakes! Dear Robert, I'd just read the section of your posting: " drove into isolation for many years. But the personal cost of this was too high." ... and was saying to myself, "After all the winks and endearments, Robert flashes his scar tissue.," I like this side of you. I find a similar dimension in so many of the talismanians, it's that (pounding the table with a fist,here) " Dammit this stuff really matters." >From time to time in this charming, witty and elegant etheric salon I've bent over and showed the gang just where I was bit and how much it hurt. It's comforting for me to see it in otheres,because I sometimes wonder whether I'm a damn fool because of my vulnerabilities. (Guy stuff, I'm sure.) I often remember Beauregard the Houn' Dawg in Pogo. He used to recite a poem called "Ole Dawg Trey" and never could get through the poem without blubbering, big eyes filled with tears. So I do wonder whether I'm being maudlin. So I'm glad to here a few emotional outbursts now and then. Makes it all feel real to me.But, just as I think, with almost sensual pleasure, that old Robert is leading us all down to another level of Real, comes this phrase: " ... "I'm not buying into your crap" dimension that was lacking before. This enables me to survive in community. (Philip would die at some of my bluntness!)..." ... and I find myself cast in the role of Church Lady! Am I being nominated to the role of He who objects to doodoo-esqueries? Sorry sweet Robert. You made the pie. You have to lick your own fingers. Love Philip. ------------------------------------ Name: Philip Belove E-mail: email@example.com Date: 11/28/95 Time: 09:23:23 This message was sent by Chameleon ------------------------------------- Things should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler -- A. Einstein From firstname.lastname@example.orgTue Nov 28 10:45:45 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 10:08:18 EST From: QUANTA DAWNLIGHT To: email@example.com Subject: The truth Dear Ruth and Friends, I am beginning to really like what is going on Talisman lately. Well, as for Mother Yentle fiddling on the roof, I quit, I promise!! We scared poor Ahmad away. Ayla is mad at me too . Also, Ruth was just kidding about her views on Quanta, believe me, she is like my sister. So, no more pretentions. Behave yourself Ruth! Now comes the truth. . My friend Ruth who thinks I am Oprah knows better. But, "ladies and gentleman heeeeeere is Quanta!" sounds pretty good to me. Well, as the saying goes, a family that talks together stays together. Or, else Or, they'll wash the laundry on Oprah and put it on-line for drying, before the world. Is there a lesson in this? Dear Robert, you are in big trouble now. She got eyes on you. She is a beautiful, slender, easy-going lady with gorgeous eyes. What is so funny is that, she is a bit shy around people. Oh my goodness, here I go again. I think she is right, I cannot help it. Well, good luck in your new friendship. You asked for it. I wish all of you a Happy Holiday Season from cyberspace. Sorry, no poems coming my way these days. I used to even get up in the middle of the night to write them. My heart and brain are on a well deserved vacation. So, I'm gonna take it easy, now. lovingly, quanta...(*_*) From JWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.eduTue Nov 28 10:46:41 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 95 09:32:15 EWT From: JWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Ninjas I don't not normally reply to Burl's comments about my wife, but he has correctly intuited that when blasts of anger are needed to intimidate the unrighteous, I turn to my good wife. This is known quite illogically in the family as "the Syrian border-guard" routine after an incident early in our relationship when Linda dealt with a German railroad conductor who wished to point out that we were on a train for which we did not have tickets. (There *was* a Syrian border guard, but he appears in a later incident in which Linda attempted to enter Syria without a passport. Unlike Burl and Derek's stories about my wife, my stories about her are actually true for the most part.) As for the Bab's grammer (which was more objectionable than Baha'u'llah's), this had to do with the Bab's habit of inventing Arabic word forms that were possible in theory but did not actually exist in Arabic. The result was something like the King James Bible as rewritten by James Joyce. On another front, I received the following e-mail from my wife: #21 28-NOV-1995 06:38:15.87 NEWMAIL From: PO4::"LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu" To: JWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu Subj: RE: Scholarship and the Purpose of Talisman John, I think that was Bev Poden who post that message. Geez L My apologies to Bev. Can I sucker anybody into commenting on the Pope's recent claim concerning the infallibility of the teaching prohibiting women in the priesthood? john walbridge From email@example.comWed Nov 29 00:12:27 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 11:08:01 -0500 (EST) From: Stephen Johnson To: LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: A common misconception Linda, in a response to an individual (on a different subject) said: > By the way, I haven't seen your name on Talisman before. I wonder why you are > leaping in now with your thoughts. Have you no other opinions on anything that > is being discussed here? Linda > Recall: Baha'u'llah spent many of His pre-declaration days silently serving the guests while others argued back and forth on the fine points of islamic and babi jurisprudence, very rarely interjecting to correct a fine point or right a slight wrong. Silence does not imply ignorance, nor does it demand interrogation. In fact, Buddha chose His successor by holding a flower aloft and watching for the one pupil who simply sat silent and smiled while others tried to discuss the precise meaning behind his actions. So to Linda and the many other whose posts I enjoy so much each day: please be patient with those who do not speak so often. And if they do speak, do not demand excuses for their sudden contribution. Enjoy it and foster their confidence in being a contributor to this fine discussion group -- otherwise you may not hear from them again....and listening to the same 20 people every day has got to get boring. [An aside for Linda: Unfortunately yours was the most recent letter that provoked this response in which I hope you will read much love and respect (for both of these qualities I hold for you). Please do not take this response as a personal attack as it was not intended such.] your devoted friend, stephen johnson Dept of Physics SUNY Stony Brook From LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.eduWed Nov 29 00:13:15 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 95 10:34:23 EWT From: LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu To: email@example.com Subject: I'm trying All right, folks, I'm trying (very trying, I suppose many of you would say). I will try to refrain from leaping in to defend my husband's actions. This just became a pattern very early in our marriage when we were doing a lot of travelling. I saved John from being thrown off a train in Germany once by lunging at the conductor's eyes with my fingernails. I broke through a line of male students at the American University of Beirut to get into a building where I thought John was being hostage. (It turned out he was safely in the library reading). He swears that I once threw him across the room to save him from bombing by the Israelis. So, I guess this description of me as a Catholic, Shi'ite Ninja is not the worst thing that has ever been said about me. Juan and John have eloquently chimed in with explanations on the actions of removing someone from Talisman. I will say no more - except one thing. There is a big difference between a single individual (with no real power) performing an action, and an institution with tremendous power and prestige doing it. All right. I have had my say and I apologize if I offended anyone with my comments. Linda From LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.eduWed Nov 29 00:13:27 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 95 10:38:11 EWT From: LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Relationship conference Dear Derek, just a private note between you and me. Aren't you glad that Bosch hired me to advertize this conference. See, it worked. More guys are signing up now. If you want me to post anything else about it, let me know. About Amanda, tell her I am sorry I used her name but it was the first one to come to my mind. It's not the horses that keep her from coming to the conference, though, Derek. She still hasn't forgiven you for the time you bribed her little brother to put that dead, smelly turtle under her pillow. And you know as well as I do that there were many other episodes like this. I promise never to mention them on Talisman, if you promise to be quiet about my antics. Love, Linda From email@example.comWed Nov 29 00:14:10 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 11:24:41 -0500 (EST) From: Joan Jensen To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: 25 points, YES!! On Mon, 27 Nov 1995, Burl Barer wrote: > It is really weird. If I don't shave my ears, > I look like Lawrence Talbot (for 25 points, tell us his > middle name) during a full moon. Dear Burl, My guess is that you are not referring here to the famous Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkley, Lawrence FLETCHER Talbot, but to the even more famous writer of over 100 short stories and articles, anthologies, novels of science fiction and fantasy, Edward (Windsel, Jr) Bryant, whose pseudonym is Lawrence (no middle name) Talbot, born August 1945 in White Plains, New York, and whose father was a postal worker. He wrote such classics as _Among the Dead... (1973), _Phoenix without Ashes_ (1975), _Cinnabar_ (1976), and penned these thoughtful words in the 1980s: "My wish for the moment is that more good writers in all fields would toss aside the knee-jerk anti-technology reaction and exercise a healthy non-judgemental curiosity of an increasingly complex and fascinating universe." But seriously, what I want to know is, when I accumulate enough points will I get to choose the prize? My thoughts are running wild with the possibilities. Maybe a discount to your new book _MAN OVERBOARD_; maybe a scholarship to Menucha next Thanksgiving, overlooking the Columbia River and only a few miles from the town where I was born; maybe an introduction to the next lovely and single gentleman who comes to you for consolation and advice; maybe a cameo appearance in your next book or posting to talisman (which would undoubtedly assure my immortality in this world, because I'm sure the archives of these postings will be examined in minute detail by Baha'i scholars of the future). Warmly, Joan (still hoping to generate some serious discussion to the thread on bahai-singles, even though I immensely enjoy and invite the ribbing and joking that occurs as well, with the little nibs of serious advice subtly inserted) Jensen ------------------------------------------------------------------- Joan Jensen Baltimore, Maryland USA ******************************************************************* "...love and affinity are the fruits of a gentle disposition, a pure nature and praiseworthy character..." Selected Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 287 ******************************************************************* From email@example.comWed Nov 29 00:14:24 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 10:30:19 -0600 From: Bruce Burrill To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Please define godhead Dann May, Please define godhead so we can all have a common basis from which to discuss this. Bruce\'1a From email@example.comWed Nov 29 00:14:35 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 10:48:58 -0600 (CST) From: Saman Ahmadi To: Juan R Cole Subject: Re: Collective Punishment Dear Juan, Lets hope for the best. May be the entire NSA should be invited to be online - I think it would be a disarming gesture. take care, sAmAn From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 00:16:48 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 95 10:07:25 -0600 (CST) From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Buddhist quotations This is mostly for Bev: Bev, thanks for your kind comments about my efforts to explain my understanding of Buddhism. Here are some further points of interest: Like the terms Hindu and Hinduism, the terms Buddhist and Buddhism, are Western inventions. Most so-called "Buddhists" use the term Buddha-Sasana (lit. "the Buddha- discipline or rule of life," or "the religion of the Buddha") when referring to themselves. According to T.O. Ling, The term implies a whole scheme of moral precepts, devotional practices, meditation, and social relationships which is regarded as owing its origin to the Buddha." (_Dictionary of Buddhism_ 52-53) There are about 303 million Buddhists living mainly in Tibet, China, Japan, southeastern Asia, India, Indonesia. There are approximately 301 million in Asia, 520,000 in Latin America, 400,000 in the former Soviet Union, 270,000 in Europe, and 550,000 in North America. The Buddhist teachings may have influenced Western thought and to some extent, Christianity. According to the Hindu philosopher Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, one of emperor Ashoka's (the first Buddhist monarch) inscriptions from the third century BCE record that "Buddhist missions were sent to the court of the Seleucidae at Antioch and the court of the Ptolemies at Alexandria" (_East and West in Religion 43_). According to one Sri Lankan monk, "Buddhism is seeing the world as it is." For these reasons, it ignores and even rejects most of the metaphysical speculations, ceremonies and rituals of Hinduism. The Buddha, when asked about ultimate realities such as the nature of the world, divinity, etc. often responded as follows: 1. So you see, friends, the things that I know and have not revealed are more than the truths I know and have revealed. And why have I not revealed them: Because, friends, there is no profit in them; because they are not helpful to holiness; because they do not lead from disgust to cessation and peace, because they do not lead from knowledge to wisdom and Nirvana. (Samyutta Nikaya) 2. Do not accept what you hear by report, do not accept tradition, do not accept a statement because it is found in books, nor because it is in accord with your belief, nor because it is a saying of your teacher. Be lamps unto yourselves. Those who either now or after I am dead, shall rely upon themselves, it is they who shall reach the topmost height. (_Some Sayings of the Buddha_, 1939, p. 283, qtd. in Huston Smith, _The World's Religions_ 94) 3. It is as if a man has been wounded by an arrow thickly smeared with poison, and his friends and kinsmen were to get a surgeon to heal him, and he were to say, I will not have this arrow pulled out until I know by what man I was wounded, whether he is of the warrior caste, or a brahmin, or of the agricultural, or the lower caste. Of if he were to say, I will not have the arrow pulled out until I know of what name of family the man is; -- or whether he is tall, or short, or of middle height; or whether he is black, or dark, or yellowish; or whether he comes from such and such a village, or town, or city; or until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a chapa or a kodanda, or until I know whether the bow-string was of swallow-wort, or bamboo fiber, or sinew, or hemp, or of milk-sap tree, or until I know whether the shaft was from wild or cultivated plant, or whether it was feathered from a vulture's wing or a heron's or a hawk's, or a peacock's, or whether it was wrapped round with the sinew of an ox, or a buffalo, or of a ruru-deer, or a monkey; or until I know whether it was an ordinary arrow, or a razor-arrow, or an iron arrow, or a calf-tooth arrow, or one of kararina leaf. Before knowing all this, that man would die. Similarly, it is not on the view that the world is eternal, that it is infinite, that the body and soul are distinct, or that the Buddha exists after death that a religious life depends. Whether these views or their opposites are held, there is still rebirth, there is still old age, there is still death, and grief, lamentation, suffering, sorrow, and despair. . . . And why have I not explained this. Because this is not useful, it is not concerned with the principle of a religious life; does not conduce to aversion, absence of passion, cessation, tranquility, Nirvana, and therefore I have not explained it. And what have I explained? Suffering [dukkha] have I explained, the cause of suffering, the destruction of suffering, and the path that leads to the destruction of suffering have I explained. For this is useful, this is concerned with the principle of a religious life; this conduces to aversion, absence of passion, cessation, tranquility, supernatural faculty, perfect knowledge, Nirvana, and therefore I have explained it. Therefore, consider as unexplained what I have not explained, consider as explained what I have explained. (Majjhima Nikaya, 1:426 ff, modified slightly from Thomas, _Buddhist Scriptures_ 65-67) The First Sermon of the Buddha There are two extremes, O monks, which the man who has given up the world ought not to follow. What are the two? That conjoined with the passions and luxury, low, vulgar, common, ignoble, and unprofitable; and that conjoined with asceticism, painful, ignoble, and unprofitable. Avoiding these two extremes the Tathagata [i.e. The Buddha] has gained the enlightenment of the Middle Path, which produces insight and knowledge, and tends to calm, to higher knowledge, enlightenment, Nirvana. And what, O monks, is the Middle Path, of which the Tathagata has gained enlightenment, which produces insight and knowledge, and tends to calm, to higher knowledge, enlightenment, Nirvana? This is the noble Eightfold Way: namely, right views, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This, O monks, is the Middle Path, of which the Tathagata has gained enlightenment, which produces insight and knowledge, and tends to calm, to higher knowledge, enlightenment, Nirvana. Now this, O monks, is the noble truth of pain [Sanskrit dukkha]: birth is painful, old age is painful, sickness is painful, death is painful, sorrow, lamentation, dejection, and despair are painful. Contact with unpleasant things is painful, not getting what one wishes is painful. In short the five groups of grasping [Sanskrit skandhas, the factors which make up an individual] are painful. Now this, O monks, is the noble truth of the cause of pain: the craving [Sanskrit tanha], which tends to rebirth, combined with pleasure and lust, finding pleasure here and there; namely, the craving for passion, the craving for existence, the craving for non-existence. Now this, O monks, is the noble truth of the cessation of pain, the cessation without a remainder of craving, the abandonment, forsaking, release, non-attachment. Now this, O monks, is the noble truth of the way that leads to the cessation of pain: this is the noble Eightfold Way; namely, right views, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. . . . (The First Sermon of the Buddha [Dhammacakkappattana-sutta or "The Setting in Motion of the Wheel of the Dharma"], Samyutta-nikaya 56:2) Loving Kindness May all beings be happy and at their ease! May they be joyous and live in safety. All beings, whether weak or strong -- omitting none -- in high, middle or low realms of existence, small or great, visible or invisible, near or far away, born or to be born -- may all beings be happy and at their ease! Let none deceive another, or despise any being in any state; let none be angry or ill-will wish harm to another! Even as a mother watches over and protects her child, her only child, so with boundless mind should one cherish all living beings, radiating friendliness [metta also "loving-kindness"] over the entire world, above, below, and all around without limit; so let him cultivate a boundless goodwill towards the entire world, uncramped, free from ill-will or enmity. (excerpt from the Metta Sutta, qtd. in Edward Conze, Buddhism: Its Essence and Development 102) Buddhist Virtues 1. Do not what is evil. Do what is good. Keep your mind pure. This is the teaching of the Buddha. (Dhammapada 14:183) 2. There is no fire like lust. There is no evil like hate. There is no pain like disharmony. There is no joy like Nirvana. The hunger of the passions is the greatest disease. Disharmony is the greatest sorrow. When you know this well, then you know that Nirvana is the greatest joy. (Dhammapada 15:202-3) 3. There is no fire like lust, and no chains like those of hatred. There is no net like illusion, and no rushing torrent like desire. It is easy to see the faults of others, but difficult to see one's own faults. One shows the faults of others like chaff winnowed in the wind, but one conceals one's own faults as a cunning gambler conceals his dice. (Dhammapada 18:251-2) 4. Everything, brethren, is on fire. How, brethren, is everything on fire? the eye, brethren, is on fire, visible objects are on fire, the faculty of the eye is on fire, the sense of the eye is on fire, and also the sensation, whether pleasant or unpleasant or both, which arises from the sense of sight is on fire. with what is it on fire? With the fire of passion, of hate, of illusion is it on fire, with birth, old age, death, grief lamentation, suffering, sorrow, and despair. Thus I declare. The eye is on fire, sounds are on fire [etc. through the other senses] . . . the wise and noble disciple, brethren, perceiving this, is indifferent to the eyes, indifferent to visible objects [etc. through the other senses]. ("The Fire Discourse," Vinaya-Pitaka, Mahavagga 1:21, modified from Thomas, Buddhist Scriptures 54-55) 5. When the fire of hate, the fire of delusion are extinguished Nirvan From email@example.comWed Nov 29 00:21:32 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 11:33:25 -0600 From: Bruce Burrill To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Godhead Dann May, What can you add to this that may be more recent? What does Tillich mean by godhead? ---------------------- The Gnostics all began with an utterly incomprehensible reality which they called the Godhead, since it was the source of the lesser being that we call "God." There was nothing at all that we could say about it, since it entirely eludes the grasp of our limited minds. As Valentinus explained, the Godhead was perfect and pre-existent . . . dwelling in invisible and unnameable heights: this is the prebeginning and forefather and depth. It is uncontainable and invisible, eternal and ungenerated, is Quiet and deep Solitude for infinite aeons. With It was thought, which is also called Grace and Silence. Men have always speculated bout this Absolute, but none of their explanations have been adequate. It is impossible to describe the Godhead, which is neither "good" nor "evil,' and cannot even be said to "exist." Basilides taught that in the beginning, there had been not God but only the Godhead, which, strictly speaking, was Nothing because it did not exist in any sense that we can understand. A HISTORY OF GOD , Karen Armstrong. pp 94-5. ------------------------- Bruce From Member1700@aol.comWed Nov 29 00:22:09 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 12:51:28 -0500 From: Member1700@aol.com To: HICKC89@ollamh.ucd.ie, Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Re: Hinnells & UK-NSA. The FACTS? I will be happy to site my sources of information for the famous Hinnells affair in the UK. I have heard three accounts of the meeting: one from Denis himself, one (second-hand through Peter Smith) from one of the Baha'is who was present, and one (again second-hand through Peter) from Hinnells himself. None of the accounts differed in any very significant way, and I do not think that the facts of the case are really in question--just the wisdom of the NSA's actions. And since the results of the meeting were an unmitigated disaster, both in the sense that the meeting did not stop the publication of the chapter in the book (of course) and badly damaged the reputation of the Faith, it is hard for me to understand why anyone would defend it. If we are going to refuse to learn from our mistakes, then we are doomed to repeat them. Warmest, Tony From email@example.comWed Nov 29 00:22:43 1995 Date: 28 Nov 95 13:35:40 EST From: sabredance <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: talisman Subject: soaps Talisman often strikes me as another American soap which are, along with the Australian ones, are offered in huge amounts by our broadcasting stations here in Europe. Why soaps? Because of the generous amount of overreaction and emotion displayed! Lets all live up to the writings and be tolerant, loving, accepting and kind to each other. And please, let us stop writing threatening and abusive private mails. That is not exactly in accordance with the station of nobility we are called to, is it? (or is it called for? called out? called up? called into? called forward? Running out of prepositions....). Generally, Talisman seems to be needed, seeing the popularity of this list. However, I think it would be wise if this same format of list could be moderated in a different way. It would take a task of John's shoulders, relieve Linda, who is worried about him, and the responsibility of throwing people off could be shared. We could have a committee of moderators. Three would seem to be a good amount. And it would relieve me of feeling like a white lab mouse every time I read that talisman is an academical experiment! Janine van Rooij amsterdam, the Netherlands. From email@example.comWed Nov 29 00:23:16 1995 Date: 28 Nov 95 13:35:32 EST From: sabredance <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: talisman Subject: my goodness sakes < > Dear Philip and others, Believe me, there are many many many Bahais who have suffered and have scars, gotten in the course of their Bahai life. Even when they don't talk about it. It is also a realisation of mine, and this may sound harsh, that no new world order is built without people getting scars. It is part of the process, yet it is damn painful. On the other hand, we westerners are also spoiled... look at the people who have nothing. Not here, but in other countries. Mostly the sun shines there, maybe that is why they can be so happy and friendly... (and of course when fury hit them, they can also brutally kill each other, like Rwanda has shown). My mother, of whom you cannot say she had an easy life, what with ten children and hardly any money, often makes a comment in the line (this is not proper English!) that those who have suffered less complain the hardest when things get tough. I, as her spoiled tenth one, can easily subscribe to that! However, life was kind to me and sent me many difficulties, so that I got not too spoiled... :) Life is cruel and incomprehensible, especially if we all persist in our old ways of dealing with things and forgetting to practice love, forgiveness and tolerance. Mark Foster posted a few days ago a mail with the heading communication. In it was a lovely part written by Marian Lippitt. It is sure difficult, yet when you start practising what she says, the reward is enormous. Sometimes we have no other choice but to put our bad experiences behind us and hold firmly on to the cord of love and tenderness, and focusing on what is still good and beautiful. For me this boils down to belief and trust in God. God is good, therefore good things will happen in my life as well. I just have to watch out for them. Count your blessings is a very sound advice. It keeps you from going mad. I have tried this out. I did not count my blessings for a time... my God, the dark pit I lived in!!! After some time I realised I could at least try it..... I mean, this darkness was also not bliss. Well, the sun came back and things did not actually change, but were easier to bear. And after some time, things did change! I cannot help but see that there was a connection, like with eating veggies and healthy food and feeling vigorous and energetic. Etty Hillesum and Victor Frankl, two people who viewed their World War II camp experiences as opportunities for growth, for showing forth love and compassion and forgiveness, can tell us much about trust and belief. I have come to believe, after many tests, that trust, compassion and love are some of the true gems and riches in life. After all, these are what the soul will take with it, after leaving our bodies..... and these will give us happiness, true happiness, while still in this world. This all is not intended to silence the mouths of those who *do* suffer! Often realisation is only born after we have heard the painful stories of others. much love, janine van rooij amsterdam, the netherlands From HGEYER@KENTVM.KENT.EDUWed Nov 29 00:32:18 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 95 14:54:30 EST From: theo cope To: email@example.com Subject: baha'i-singles SInce this topic has been broached more than once on this forum, i thought i'd write with a few words of a personal nature re:Baha'i-SIngles. I used to be a subscriber, at a time when i really wasn't interested in a relationship, and was just casually looking in when i spotted a bio that really intrigued me. It was from one Holly Timberlake, who described herself in words which had such a deep resonance that i had to respond to her. I mean, in my world, i had met few women with an undergrad degree in philosophy, who is a counsellor and had interests in mysticism and now working on her PhD. in psych and human developme nt.....in my world. We corresponded, and with the demands of work, Talisman, my children, and getting to know more of Holly, i dropped off Baha-i-Singles. I had respond ed to another woman, one who was geographically closer, but there was not the resonance. As Holly and i began corresponding, the dynamics were intense!! The first week alone, we shared and communicated in such a depth that was unknown for such a new relationship...a cyberone at that. We continued to write, then after two weeks, called and spoke. What a difference this was. It was another few weeks and we exchanged pictures...and this is a story in its- self. We initially met on Naw Ruz. The money was available for Holly to come visit me in Oregon, since she is in Ohio, and she flew to meet me. Embodiment is a wonderous and challenging state of being!! We were elevated to another plane of reality for four int- ense days, then came back to life again forever transformed. The idealized nature of internet and relationships was a significant factor, as was the very explicit demand for brutal honesty and openness while communicating via e-mail. Neither one of us desired the other to portray themselves in ways which were not honest, as we demanded this of ourselves. We had both been married before, to Baha'is who were this in name mostly....and we wanted to try the other approach, and find one who was Baha'i in life and love. This presented another set of gifts and opportunities/challenges. I was in Oregon with a secure job playing mailman with the post office, a house and many friends. We had talked about getting together, but wondered how this could come about soon, and it was seen that to do so, i would take the leap of faith and move to Ohio, even without a job. The house i owned sold in 10 days......there was not much to say i shouldn't go to Ohio, and the kids acquiesced and we made the journey. This has been three months ago now. Holly and i will be joined in marriage on Dec. 16th, here in Ohio, and then we have the bounty of merging two independent people, two households, four children (two mine, one hers and another hers only part time at home), and it is intense. I will say this: the law of chastity is one which allows energy for deep soul issues to come to light. I will be very occupied on the night of the 16th, please do not call!!! :-) So, as an endorsement for Baha'i singles network, this is. As a warning to the dynamics, this is also. Honesty, the ability to see deeply within one's own soul, the ability to speak and respond to one's shadow issues is a very essential aspect of moving from cyber-space to embodiment. And, it is very clear to me the metaphor of the group name..."Baha'i singles", this structures things differently that if it was single Baha'is, as it seems to keep Baha' in the forefront. Margreet...you can forward this to the singles group, and Holly and i may sit and compose something for there about this dynamic, if this is ok. just my thoughts, theo From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 00:32:26 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 16:25:15 -0500 (EST) From: Joan Jensen To: email@example.com, theo cope Subject: Re: baha'i-singles Dear Theo, Thanks so much for your story, and post to talisman. I love a happy ending (beginning..). Love, Joan From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 00:32:51 1995 Date: 28 Nov 95 16:33:54 EST From: sabredance <email@example.com> To: talisman Subject: re: I am trying Linda wrote: < > No, it is not. The principle underlying the action is the same. On Talisman John has the power to include or exclude. In the Bahai community the LSA and NSA has the power to include and exclude. In this case, John is not giving particulars, as is his full right. I can only see similarities. I am, by the way, not judging his action. I have no opinion about it, as I do not know the particulars. However, the similarities between the two situations are very clear to me and to anybody who looks at it purely rationally, laying aside any emotional feeling or thought, like right and wrong or fearing an attack on a loved one. Nobody is attacked. People just point out the similarity. John has power here on this list, he is God in a way here. He decides what is done here. He wrote that himself. The effects of his decision may of yet not have that much impact on thelives of other people as decisions of a body that is giving guidance to a huger mass of people, and bearing much more responsibilities than John, yet it is the same principle. What I have seen on Talisman is that it does have an incrowd mentality. There is a small group of people who are emotionally attached to each other and that seems to influence their fair judgment. Also, this incrowd feels immediately attacked, while at the same time advocating a free speech. I think that this is not a very good approach to establish facets of truth, or to unbiased thinking. The bad thing is that those people are showing forth exactly the same behaviour they are protesting so much against in the Bahai community in general: favoritism and loyalty to persons instead to independent investigation of the truth. Also the same principle.... I am therefore glad that Talisman has grown so much, as this will induce a diversity of opinions, and clashes, which will make truth hopefully more available. Sorry for the stern tone. Also apologies to Linda. I wish I had the ability to say this in a more loving tone and skip the fault finding. The problem is, I cannot bear injustice and blindness to ones own fault while blaming another of it very well, you see. Yes, I am not perfect either.... :-) Janine van Rooij amsterdam, the netherlands From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 00:33:22 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 09:34:15 +1100 From: Ahmad Aniss To: email@example.com Subject: reply to another mummy Dear Talismanians, Dear Sandy, You wrote: > Which leads to a few comments on Ahmad's "Seeds of Creation." His argument > is based on a presumed dualistic nature of living organisms, with males as > the active force and females as the receptive force. Thus, only > the"active"males can be Manifestations or members of the Universal House of > Justice. I hesitate to be too critical of charming and unmarried Ahmad's > thesis, since, like Quanta, I, too, have a beautiful young daughter, > intelligent and a deepened Baha'i, but I would like to point out a few > inconsistencies. I wander if you have missed some points particularly, the name of you daughter the height, the age and other descriptions, As Quanta was at least more accurate in her postings. > > I. Dualism in all three kingdoms: That dualism is a universal phenomenon is > simply not true for many animals or vegetables, and doesn't apply at all to > minerals. I do not want to repeat myself on talisman so I only quote one quotation in reply to your post, this from Abdu'l-Baha in THE PROMULGATION OF UNIVERSAL PEACE, page 374-375. "..... When we look upon creation, we find the male and female principle apparent in all phenomena of existence. In the vegetable kingdom we find the male and female fig tree, the male and female palm, the mulberry tree and so on. All plant life is characterized by this difference in gender, but no distinction or preference is evidenced. Nay, rather, there is perfect equality. Likewise, in the animal kingdom gender obtains; we have male and female, but no distinction or preference. Perfect equality is manifest. ......." If Abdu'l-Baha says so I think I have to believe it. With Baha'i Love and Fellowship, Ahmad. _______________________________________________________________________ ^ ^ ^ Dr. A.M. Aniss, Tel: Home [61(2)] 505 509 ^ ^ Bio-Medical Engineer, Work [61(2)] 694 5915 ^ ^ Neuropsychiatric Institute, Mobile 019 992020 ^ ^ Prince Henry Hospital, Fax: Work [61(2)] 694 5747 ^ ^ Little Bay, N.S.W. 2036, ^ ^ Australia. Email: A.Aniss@unsw.edu.au ^ ^_______________________________________________________________________^ From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 00:33:57 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 09:32:42 +1100 From: Ahmad Aniss To: email@example.com Subject: Affection of Talismanian mummies Dear Talismanians, Dear Quanta, Having got ready on Sunday morning to go to the Australian temple for service, I was stoped by the buzz of the phone. Who on earth could be on the other side of the phone I wandered, but no one except the dearly loved, the mother in law saying hello and how are you. After exchange of greetings and her decline of my previous offer, I heard she said don't take every thing I say as serious, and you still have a chance with Ayla. Having heard all that then I departed to go to the temple with a content heart. Let me tell you I had your family in my thoughts. Now going to some serious staff, you wrote: > The rapist left his > "seeds of creation" all over her body and the blanket and > ran away. She got up and called the police and started to > take a shower to clean herself of the horrible mess. May I correct your story and suggest that men do not possess seed of creation in them, as seed of creation physically means a fertilised egg. men's sperm does not qualify for this. > Dear Sandy, > > I just received a strong chastisement from one of our beloved > talismanian sisters for auctioning off my daughter to an old and > maybe a homely man. I think she has a point, or she is jealous. What a cheap thing to do auctioning my babe, what an ugly thought. What is a homely man anyway let me know so to find out if I am one or not. having a point, or being jealous, I wander which one? > We have no idea how this charming Ahmad looks like. I thought I described myself, Mr. Ben, my dear, and sometimes as funny I may be short but I am neither of the other two. Just kidding! > I hear horror stories of e-mail encounters. Yes, may be truth is harsh and horrifying. > My daughter insist > however to see a picture of this man. We'll see what happens. That is easy to accomplish. Just send me a pic and I do the complement too. > May the most smart beauty win to be the queen in the mansion, > breezing through with the fastest car on earth. Do I hear an Auction is building up for Ahmad? As to the fastest car on earth, I have to disappoint those lovely daughters, as I do complain that my old car was faster. but it does good on bends. > Poor Ahmad becoming the "point of adornment" of talismanian mommies. I wished the daughters of these delightful talismanian mummies were as intelligent and as wise, if they were, they would have not spear a minute to win the above Auction in their favour. > Men worship beauty, How truly said. > women compete for it. I wander that? > Women love matter, How truly said. > men slave to get it, I wander that? > to have more beauty. How truly said. > > ************* > But, my daughter > wants a big heart, labour not further as Ahamd has a galactic heart. > not a mansion. Where does she propose to live her life in, I wander? Not a palace I hope. > Fast arms, seek no further that Ahamd has the longest ones > not cars, How does she propose to travel in this day and age, I wander? A private jet perhaps. > to reach out > to ones in need. Fear no further as Ahmad is in need to. > For in life, > you leave behind, > that which you take, How truly said > and take that which you give. > To other worlds, I mean. How truly said. with Baha'i Love and Fellowship, Ahmad. _______________________________________________________________________ ^ ^ ^ Dr. A.M. Aniss, Tel: Home [61(2)] 505 509 ^ ^ Bio-Medical Engineer, Work [61(2)] 694 5915 ^ ^ Neuropsychiatric Institute, Mobile 019 992020 ^ ^ Prince Henry Hospital, Fax: Work [61(2)] 694 5747 ^ ^ Little Bay, N.S.W. 2036, ^ ^ Australia. Email: A.Aniss@unsw.edu.au ^ ^_______________________________________________________________________^ From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 00:34:29 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 17:40:58 EST From: QUANTA DAWNLIGHT To: email@example.com Subject: complications 1-We knock at someone's door 2-They let us in and let us know the guest rules 3-There are many people in the house invisibly. Some who may be just interested in getting some ideas from the collective brain power. They just sit there quietly, watch and listen, absorb etc. Others keep on thinking, sharing, writing, etc. etc. Even some friends from Mind Project, news groups. I mean you name it they are there from all over the world. 4-Some do not get along; others do dandy well. 5-Some begin to threaten others privately 6-The owner throws them out 7-One of the guests feels like she is being used as a lab mouse and suggests that we hold a committee, so that the committee decides who the owner can throw out of his house. 8-This is the most confusing drama yet to unfold. 9-But it is an exciting place to be, for mind miners, treasure hunters, those in pain, and those who just talk in vain, etc. etc. I hope the house stays intact. take care, quanta...(*_*) From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 00:35:54 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 12:40 GMT+1300 From: Alison & Steve Marshall To: email@example.com Subject: Institutional power / trusting the institutions Several years ago I overheard someone talking about her Christian affiliations. She was describing how she'd become unsatisfied with her church -- both pastor and congregation -- so had started attending a church of a different denomination where she found much more spiritual fulfilment. It struck me at the time that Baha'is are in a different situation from most Christians, and can't "shop around" in the same way. Of course, Baha'is can and do find their niche within the one Baha'i Faith, but it's a struggle, and many of those niches, like Talisman, are threatened from time to time. If there were many sects of the Baha'i religion, I think I would understand why the sanctions our list-owner has applied could be compared with the sanctions various Baha'i institutions have applied. People who get a hard time in the Baha'i sect or Baha'i-related discussion group they've joined could shop around for the one that suits them. They could even start up their own sect or discussion group. In case anyone's wondering, I'm not arguing here for the existence of a sectarian Baha'i Faith. I'm arguing for more tolerance of differences in thought and expression within the one Baha'i community, simply because we're all in this together and have to make it work together. Linda gets to the heart of the problem: > There is a big difference between a single individual (with no real power) > performing an action, and an institution with tremendous power and > prestige doing it. As for trusting Baha'i institutions. Yes, we should try to trust them as much as possible -- but they also have to earn our trust. The reverse is also true. We should be trusted as much as possible, and we have to earn the trust of the institutions. I work on the basis of building from existing levels of trust, rather than keeping on putting all my trust in institutions I've felt hurt by before (the "all or nothing" approach). Currently in my dealings with Baha'i institutions I make sure I have things in writing, and I reserve the right to consult with the institutions, as needed, to maintain a common understanding. It's a "trust in God, but tie up your camel" type of trust. I find that most of the Baha'i institutions I deal with seem to accept my approach. The great thing about the process, when it does work, is that it tends to build up trust and empathy on BOTH sides. kia kaha, (stand tall) Steve -------------------------------------------------------------- Alison and Steve Marshall Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 90 Blacks Road, Opoho, Dunedin/Otepoti, Aotearoa/New Zealand -------------------------------------------------------------- From email@example.comWed Nov 29 00:37:30 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 16:04:18 -0800 From: "Marguerite K. Gipson" To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: Re: recently emailed anti-Baha'i file I have to object to this posting!! There was a notice on the email list of a Covenent Breaker file going around, and that my friends is of spiritual poison. We were warned of of the File from an ABM for Protection, and now someone has taken it upon herself to distribute this horrible, unspiritual poison to this list. If we were deepened enough in the Covenent of Baha'u'llah, this should not have happen, and not try to infect others with this poison. Just the fact that several infact, ABM for Protection has stated this, is enough for me. I do not care to discuss this matter, as to what is it in, and I feel for the sake of all, that we just delete this one and move on to better discussions. Peter Khan's talk was about those not deepened in the Faith, who had no real attachment to the Covenent of Baha'u'llah. And he spoke about the test of the American Believers. This is one such test. We were told this was a file that is spiritually harmful to us for reading. Do we disobey? We are so wrapped up in todays society as to what is harmful, that we ignor those placed to protect us? I did not even read this file, and I immediately deleted it off my machine. I am just shaken that someone had the audicity to mail it out after it was declared Covenent Breaker material. Thanks, but no thanks.... Margreet From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 00:38:12 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 16:21:07 -0800 From: "Marguerite K. Gipson" To: email@example.com > > >Yes, I think I met Burl that summer..... > >At 08:45 AM 11/28/95 PST, Burl Barer wrote: >> Margreet said: > I have known >>>Burl since the early 70's and he just became a Bahai, >> >>Burl clarifies: I became a Baha'i February 1st, 1970 -- I did not just >>become a Baha'i now -- although I am certainly still working on it. >> >>BB >> >>******************************************************* >> Order MAN OVERBOARD, the new book by Burl Barer today! >>******************************************************* >> >> > > From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 00:38:55 1995 Date: 29 Nov 95 00:31:49 GMT From: S B Fazel To: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Spilling the beans Dear all, I have read with interest the discussion on Hinnells' book and fully support Juan and Tony's views. Apparently Hinnells is now less anatagonistic toward the Faith according to a Bahai PhD student who met him last year in Aberdeen. However, it strikes me that the beans were spilt before the aforementioned incident and in public over a response that MacEoin received in *Religion* to an article he wrote in 1982 in the same periodical (*The Babi Concept of Holy War*). The response was written by Muhammad Afnan and William Hatcher entitled *Western Islamic Scholarship and Bahai Origins* in Religion (1985) 15:29-51, and I quote: *The cogency of the perspective on Bahai scholarship contained in MacEoin's 1974 article [Oriental Scholarship and the Bahai Faith, published in *World Order*] certainly raised expectations that his future work would be of comparable quality. Unhappily, such have not been fulfilled by his recent publications* (p.30). This would be quite a remarkable statement to make in a non-academic setting, let alone in a leading academic journal. It would seem that it is not only the British NSA that may have benefitted from wider consultation with Bahai academics. Seena Fazel From SFotos@eworld.comWed Nov 29 00:44:30 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 16:32:01 -0800 From: SFotos@eworld.com To: email@example.com Subject: Re: reply to mommies & Baha'i singles Dear Talismans, especially Ahmad, Ahmad wrote: >>I wander if you have missed some points particularly, the name of your daughter the height, the age and other descriptions, As Quanta was at least more accurate in her postings. Nice to hear from you, Ahmad, and to learn that the mommies haven't chased you away! My daughter's name is Helen; she just graduated from Maxwell Baha'i school, is 5'7'', slim, has light brown hair, grey green eyes and is studying to be a teacher, majoring in science and math. I also have a son who is 14, so she was raised with a younger brother and gets along with guys-as-friends too. Of course, my life as a mother won't be worth much when she learns that these details were posted on the esteemed Talisman list, but we have to take risks, don't we. In defense of dualism, Ahmad cited: "..... When we look upon creation, we find the male and female principle apparent in all phenomena of existence. In the vegetable kingdom we find the male and female fig tree, the male and female palm, the mulberry tree and so on. All plant life is characterized by this difference in gender, but no distinction or preference is evidenced. Nay, rather, there is perfect equality. Likewise, in the animal kingdom gender obtains; we have male and female, but no distinction or preference. Perfect equality is manifest. ......." Abdu'l-Baha (PUP:374-375) This quote from The Master was referring to higher plants. And, anyway, I don't see anything here to suggest that males are more"active" than females. In fact, Ahmad, to help you realize this through discovery learning, I think Quanta and I should fly our daughters to Australia and give them your address. I can imagine you running for your life, chased by beautiful scary daughters yelling, "We'll show you active!!!!" Baha'i singles: What a wonderful posting by Theo on how Baha'i singles worked out in his case. Another approach has been suggested by different postings: if you can't find one, make one! Ladies, the call has been raised and the motto is clear: Let's get ACTIVE! Best, Sandy Fotos From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 00:45:09 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 19:16:24 -0500 From: Alex Tavangar To: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Re: Covenant Breakers? This is mainly to extend a reciprocal greeting to Dear Linda who by her own admision is no stranger to the dramatic. My apparant dramatics display was a spontaneous reaction to pain when someone inadvertently stepped on my toe! The pain is gone and the bruise will no doubt heal. Linda wrote: " Don't worry about him [Robert Stockman]. He's a big boy." My statement was purely in relation to my own right to free association. I agree with you that " Rob Stockman is quite capable of arguing his own position..." I must admit however that the indignity that he had to endure as a result of this episode would have been too much for me if I were in his shoes. I am rather thin-skined when it comes to humiliation. And again Linda wrote: " I think, that since you don't know all the circumstances and the trouble that has been caused by someone's action, you might refrain from being so judgmental." No judgement was meant by my comments. I was simply reacting to what seemed to me to be a fascinating irony. My appologies for causing an increase in any fellow talismanian' adrenalin level -- unless that's a kick you enjoy. And lastly, Linda wrote: " By the way, I haven't seen your name on Talisman before. I wonder why you are leaping in now with your thoughts. Have you no other opinions on anything that is being discussed here?" And a warm greeting to you also. Regards, ABT ( Alex B. Tavangar) P.S. I would like to thank John for his measured response to the cresting and ebbing wave of emotions that was generated as a result of this episode. From email@example.comWed Nov 29 00:45:42 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 17:04:53 -0800 (PST) From: SAFA SADEGHPOUR To: "Marguerite K. Gipson" Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: Re: recently emailed anti-Baha'i file On Tue, 28 Nov 1995, Marguerite K. Gipson wrote: > I have to object to this posting!! There was a notice on the email list of > a Covenent Breaker file going around, and that my friends is of spiritual > poison. We were warned of of the File from an ABM for Protection, and now > someone has taken it upon herself to distribute this horrible, unspiritual > poison to this list. > > If we were deepened enough in the Covenent of Baha'u'llah, this should not > have happen, and not try to infect others with this poison. Just the fact > that several infact, ABM for Protection has stated this, is enough for me. > I do not care to discuss this matter, as to what is it in, and I feel for > the sake of all, that we just delete this one and move on to better > discussions. Peter Khan's talk was about those not deepened in the Faith, > who had no real attachment to the Covenent of Baha'u'llah. And he spoke > about the test of the American Believers. This is one such test. We were > told this was a file that is spiritually harmful to us for reading. Do we > disobey? We are so wrapped up in todays society as to what is harmful, that > we ignor those placed to protect us? I did not even read this file, and I > immediately deleted it off my machine. I am just shaken that someone had > the audicity to mail it out after it was declared Covenent Breaker material. > > Thanks, but no thanks.... > Margreet > This is very interesting. We take great proud in having so many beautiful principles, but we still continue to follow the traces of the old world order. It is under no conditions prohibited to forward or send any message regardless of its content. Everyone has their own right to read whatever pleases them to read. As mentioned in a previous email the KIA speaks clearly of the impossibility of a prohibition of books. It DOES NOT say that this rule applies to all books except this kind and the other kind. It is general and all encompassing. I appreciate the person who sent the original message since it raises many interesting questions, and does not deserve to be treated in such an attacking fashion. I thought this was a free forum where people shouldn't get judged by the questions they ask. Thanks, a lot of thanks. Safa From LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.eduWed Nov 29 00:47:21 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 95 20:08:38 EWT From: LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: comparing apples and oranges Dear Janine, I have had Mr. Singh's comments and Burl's comments directed at me. Believe me, the experience is completely different. One was actually frightening, the other is not. I dare say that if I told Burl to pipe down and that he was offending me, he would comply with my wishes. Mr. S. did not. Whether someone is hunky dorry in person or not, he or she has to communicate on e-mail in such a way as to at least give the reader a chance to understand his or her motives. Mr. Singh never modified his tone or his words when requested to do so. He just kept on and on. But let us bury this hatchet please. Mr. Singh, no doubt, will find other company more suited to his "humor." From email@example.comWed Nov 29 00:47:44 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 18:50:12 -0700 (MST) From: "[G. Brent Poirier]" Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: complications On Tue, 28 Nov 1995, QUANTA DAWNLIGHT wrote: > 1-We knock at someone's door > 2-They let us in and let us know the guest rules ... > 5-Some begin to threaten others privately > 6-The owner throws them out Actually, piecing together the posts, it appears that no subscriber violated a Talisman rule. A subscriber forwarded e-mail to somebody else, presumably the National Assembly. All suspected of what has been described as "tattling" were unsubscribed. Let's resolve to all, in our own little corner of the Baha'i universe over which we have control, trust to the power of principle and prayer. From email@example.comWed Nov 29 00:48:51 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 19:00:48 -0700 (MST) From: "[G. Brent Poirier]" To: Talisman Subject: A few quotes on reform It is very unfortunate that some of the believers do not seem to grasp the fact that the administrative order, the Local and National Assemblies, are the pattern for the future, however inadequate they may sometimes seem. We must obey and support these bodies, for this is the Baha'i law. Until we learn to do this we cannot make real progress. Those friends who believe that the N.S.A. is doing wrong in some matters are, unconsciously, implying the Guardian does not know what is going on, which is not true. He watches very carefully over the various National Assemblies, and never hesitates to intervene when he considers it necessary. To undermine confidence in the National Body disrupts the Faith, confuses and alienates the friends, and prevents the thing the Master desired above all else, that the Baha'is be as one spirit in many bodies, united and loving. The Baha'is are far from perfect, as individuals or when they serve on elected bodies, but the system of Baha'u'llah is perfect and gradually the believers will mature and the system will work better. The watchful eye of the Guardian prevents any serious errors, and the believers should know this and co-operate with their Assemblies fully. (From a letter dated 1 November 1950 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; from the Compilation on the National Spiritual Assembly, Compilation of Compilations, Vol. II, p. 135, #1520.) This watchfulness is now carried out by the Universal House of Justice: "Among the powers and duties with which the Universal House of Justice has been invested are: ... To be responsible for ensuring that no body or institution within the Cause abuse its privileges or decline in the exercise of its rights and prerogatives ..." (The Constitution of the Universal House of Justice, p. 5) The Guardian wrote that the National Spiritual Assembly itself must be the decision-maker in matters in which it is involved, and there are no exceptions to this principle: Anything whatsoever affecting the interests of the Cause and in which the National Assembly as a body is involved should, if regarded as unsatisfactory by Local Assemblies or individual believers, be immediately referred to the National Assembly itself. Neither the general body of the believers, nor any Local Assembly, nor even the delegates to the Annual Convention should be regarded as having any authority to entertain appeals against the decision of the National Assembly. Should the matter be referred to the Guardian it will be his duty to consider it with the utmost care and to decide whether the issues involved justify him to consider it in person, or to leave it entirely to the discretion of the National Assembly. This administrative principle which the Guardian is now restating and emphasizing is so clear, so comprehensive and simple that no misunderstanding as to its application, he feels, can possibly arise. There are no exceptions whatever to this rule, and the Guardian would deprecate any attempt to elaborate or dwell any further upon this fundamental and clearly- enunciated principle. The problems with which the Faith is now grappling, whether national or international, are so pressing and momentous that no one among its loyal adherents can afford to dissipate his precious energies on details arising from the application of administrative principles, or even on the perfecting of the machinery of the administration itself. Purely secondary matters can be postponed until the primary tasks are performed. (From a letter dated 10 September 1934 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada; from the Compilation on the National Spiritual Assembly, Compilation of Compilations, Vol. II, pp. 129-130 #1506.) I understand this to mean that whatever our past experiences, whatever scar tissue is on our hearts, we need to approach the door again, with pure hearts held in hand, and trust to Divine wisdom. Love, Brent From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 00:49:24 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 17:41:30 -0800 From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: RE: recently emailed anti-Baha'i file Dear Alma and Talizens, From: firstname.lastname@example.org[SMTP:email@example.com] >Now I have some questions for all ye learneds and not so learneds here. I'll try to answer your questions, but you should understand that these answers come from Rick Schaut and not from any institution of the Faith. There is some specific guidance available from the Universal House of Justice. If I don't see copies in the next day or so, I'll see if I can't find them. >1. Just what makes something 'covenant breaker material' as opposed to >plain vanila anti-Baha'i material? Any material which advances a claim made by a covenant breaker is covenant breaker material. (Well, not just _any_ claim, but a claim which runs counter to some provision of the Covenant.) For example, any material which argues that some individual should be regarded as the Guardian of the Faith would be covenant breaker material. >2. Just what makes someone a covenant breaker rather than simply someone >with an anti Baha'i point of view unless the Universal House of Justice has >declared that person has that status? The short answer to this question is "nothing." The House doesn't make the actual declaration (small technical matter), but any declaration is subject to the approval of the House. >3. What right does any Baha'i have to try to impose restrictions on other >Baha'is such as occur in the first email? I actually think there's a bit of miscommunication going on here. It's generally understood that reading covenant breaker material is very strongly discouraged. It is not, however, banned. There are some enemies of the Faith who will claim that some books have been banned, but this isn't true. (Indeed, some Baha'is have to read covenant breaker material in the course of carrying out their duties as members of one of the institutions, both elected and appointed.) When people, such as a member of the Auxiliary Board or a member of the National Spiritual Assembly, say that we should not read something because it's covenant breaker material, they are merely reiterating this rather strong message of discouragement. It's a case of "proceed at your own risk." We should be mindful that association with covenant breakers has been strictly prohibited by `Abdu'l-Baha. In unequivocal words, He has told us to shun them. This is, however, not the same thing as reading their material. Warmest Regards, Rick Schaut From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 00:50:14 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 18:32:46 -0800 From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: RE: A few quotes on reform Dear Brent and Talizens, Thank you for the quotes. I have but one point to add: From: [G. Brent Poirier][SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org] >(From a letter dated 1 November 1950 written on behalf of Shoghi >Effendi to an individual believer; from the Compilation on the >National Spiritual Assembly, Compilation of Compilations, Vol. >II, p. 135, #1520.) The above-mentioned letter is also quoted in the February, 1993 memorandum, _Issues Concerning Community Functioning_, written by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice. If any of the friends might be inclined to believe that the ideas written 45 years ago are no longer valid, we can consider those ideas as having been reiterated less than three years ago. Warmest Regards, Rick Schaut From email@example.comWed Nov 29 00:50:25 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 18:47:13 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: RE: Re: recently emailed anti-Baha'i file Dear Safa and Friends, From: SAFA SADEGHPOUR[SMTP:email@example.com] >It is under no conditions prohibited to forward or send >any message regardless of its content. Everyone has their >own right to read whatever pleases them to read. I think we need to identify two principles, here. First, sending and forwarding items to an e-mail list is rather like a broadcasting. There are those who are very sincerely trying to adhere to the guidance about covenant breaker material, and, when we are broadcasting messages, we should take their rights into account. This can be accomplished by saying "I have such-and-such material and will provide copies to anyone who requests." This allows us to satisfy the second principle: that people be allowed to read whatever they chose to read. One has no more right to inflict this material on others as others have to prevent one from reading the material if one chooses. Warmest Regards, Rick Schaut From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 00:51:29 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 17:52:01 +1300 From: Robert Johnston To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Institutional power / trusting the institutions Dear Steve (Marshall), Re: > >If there were many sects of the Baha'i religion, I think I would understand >why the sanctions our list-owner has applied could be compared with the >sanctions various Baha'i institutions have applied. People who get a hard >time in the Baha'i sect or Baha'i-related discussion group they've joined >could shop around for the one that suits them. They could even start up >their own sect or discussion group. This is the old "love it or leave it" type argument, methinks, and -- as such -- is rather too simplistic. A list exists essentially through the efforts of contributors who sacrifice to maintain it. A significant number major contributors have been distressed by the summary dismissal of a handful of subscribers for -- as Brent has pointed out -- no obviously legitimate reason. In these kinds of circumstances it is rather too easy to turn inwards and adopt a stubborn boer trekker attitude, and to more or less say b.....-off. However, I think that it would be wise to listen very carefully and respectfully to these voices which, as I have already indicated, are raised in a spirit of sacrifice and service. How can we really estimate the price of the creation of estangement, in the presence of good-will? What will become of a boss who sacks and/or abuses his best workers? I wish you had something more useful to contribute, Steve, than these infrequent letters in which a censorial introversion is veiled by wishy-washy and confused arguments. Of course, you may get the sect of your wish.... you will be pleased to learn that I will not be a part of it, though. Regarding your comments on our relationship with institutions. Sure, we should become very mature in our relationship, but I am not happy at the obedience quotient of your prescription. bluntly, Robert. From TLCULHANE@aol.comWed Nov 29 00:52:52 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 00:34:56 -0500 From: TLCULHANE@aol.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Wilmette , Berlin and America Dear Friends , I continue to be amazed by the discussion . The actions of an individual and an institution are not perfectly symetrical . We hace the " List Owner" acting ina capacity as a private individual . I want to emphasize the "owner " part of this designation . Talisman is a private undertaking supported by public funds i.e. the State of Indiana . It is an example of civil socierty . The actions of Wilmette in the context of the Baha i commujnity are the actions of a State ; and as the May 19th letter points out the admin. institutions of the Faith do not "own " it . Membership on a private list such as Talisman are voluntary . Losing ones "right " to participate on Talisman is not analagous to losing ones "right " to participate in the Baha i Community . If I offend a private party in an undertaking of that private party I can be asked to leave the "party " . This does not preclude me from attending other parties . Nor does it preclude me from organizing a "party" more to me own liking . If I lose my right to participate in the Bahai "party" I do not have the option of attending a party of the same type elsewhere nor do I have the option of creating a different party more to my own liking . The latter option is known as covenant breaking . For this reason , the "coercive " power of the LSA/ NSA is or ought to be subject to more strict criterion as to who is and under what circumstances they may be removed from the party . The issues here differ not only in degree but of kind . The continued confusion between the two sets of actions continues to surprise me. Goodness , the Guardian understood perfectly well the distinction between the actions of individuals and those of institutions and cautioned the friends not to confuse the two . This kind of confusion, in this context, is a type of pre-democratic thinking and is quite similar to notions of the divine right of kings i.e. the actions of the king as sovereign are not subject to the approval or "legitimacy " of the people . The early liberal property rights arguments were meant to counter just this sort of action . The list owner is acting under that type of right ; that is classic liberal property rights not subject to the coercive interference of the "sovereign". Getting to the issue of human rights is another situation . Now one may choose to hold other notions of "sovereignty" , state like powers , the mandate to rule and so forth in a democratic republic. Those notions will be tolerated in a democratic republic . When that toleration ceases in a democratic republic is when the alternate epistemologies and their ethical implications seek to undermine the "order" in which such toleration is excercised. It is not the various alternative epistemologies expressed on Talisman which concern me - I can always hit the delete button . What does concern me as I have been influenced by the American pragmatists, are the ethical implications of those epistemologies . I would ask everyone to think thru the implications of what is advocated as the" Bahai" way . We may take our rightousness for granted but that does not mean the rest of the world does . What the "world " hears more often than not are various claims to absolutism , religious exclusivity and intolerance all masked with the rhetoric of unity ,and oneness . So please if we really want to offer the world something we ought to take more seriously intellectual history and the origins and implications of the thoughts expressed for the world we are living in . I would not be willing to live in a pre- demodcratic world . Nor I might add is that how I understand the Faith of Baha u llah nor is it the Faith that I teach to others . To Stephen : My rousing defense of America will have to wait until I return from a two day business trip . The general outline will go something like this as a thought experiment . Suppose there was a member of a religious community who decided to live in a socio cultural setting that was not native to him or her . Suppose further that this missionary informed the natives that their legal , political ,religious , cultural life in general was gravely deficient . Suppose further that our missionary informed the natives of that land that our hero had something that was perfect in every way and that true bliss and salvation awaited the natives if only they would reject their gravely deficient ways , legal ,political , religious , and cultural and all of its attendent history . Suppose further that the natives did not rush to embrace the "truth " of this perfect way brought to them by our missionary from abroad . In fact they , being reasonably tolerant beings in the face of such affronts to their honor and identity , just ignored both our hero and his / her message . So now what ? warm regards , Terry From email@example.comWed Nov 29 01:26:53 1995 Date: Mon, 27 Nov 95 23:36 PST From: Burl Barer To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Lesley Gore & Bad Grammer "its my party and I'll cry if I want to" Hosting the party, according to the effervescent and reverberized vocalist, Leslie Gore, entitles one to certain perogatives -- crying being perhaps less important than access to the remaining clam dip when the guests are gone. Talisman is John's party, with Linda dutifully standing in the vestibule greeting folks with a warm bowl of beans 'n' franks in one hand, and several of those little toothpicks with frizzy colored plastic shreds on them in the other. She also has catnip laced with Thorazine should Sherman saunter in. If some man or woman arrives brandishing a weapon, making threats against the folks conviviating over the guacamole, John would assuredly either (a) insist that the leave at once, or (b) ask Linda the Catholic Shi'ite Ninja to make sure they leave at once. If the next day several of the guests who missed the rukus asked why someone was ejected, John may wish to spare the ejected one the humiliation of having his/her sins recounted, thus demonstrating exemplary courtesy and discretion. Now: Who can tell me what the complaint was/is about the Bab and Baha'u'llah's grammer? I recall reading something about this topic somewhere once...was it in World Order or some ABS book?...anyway, please help me on this as this is being brought up (again) as a "disproof" of their Truth. Thanks, Burl (pass the clam dip) Barer ******************************************************* Order MAN OVERBOARD, the new book by Burl Barer today! ******************************************************* From email@example.comWed Nov 29 01:27:19 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 95 09:22:26 -0600 (CST) From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com Subject: Nirvana=ult. concern? Whether or not Buddhism, or to use W.C. Smith's designation, whether the Buddhisms, have a concept of ultimate reality /concern, God, Godhead, etc., partly depends on your definition of these terms. Nirvana (lit. "cool by blowing") is first a state of being where a person becomes free from desires and defilements [i.e from the "the three intoxicants" or "three unwholesome roots: (1) Greed or lust (lobha); 2. Hatred (dosa); 3. Illusion or ignorance (moha or Sanskrit avidya; Pali avijja)]. It is the spiritual goal of Buddhism; the extinction of all that is base, corrupt, and vicious in human nature. From one point of view, Nirvana could be considered "God", in the sense of the Godhead, as discussed by the religious scholar Huston Smith and as ultimate reality, as elaborated by the Christian theologian Paul Tillich. Huston Smith poses the question as to whether Nirvana is God? The question, "Is Nirvana God?" has no simple answer because the word God has no single meaning. Two meanings at least must be distinguished before any sort of satisfactory answer can be even hoped for. One accepted meaning of God is that of a personal being who created the universe by a deliberate act of will [i.e. the Hindu concept of Saguna Brahman]. If defined in this sense, Nirvana is not God. Buddha did not consider it personal because personality requires definition which is precisely what Nirvana excludes. . . . If indifference to a personal creator is atheism, Buddha was indeed an atheist. There is, however, a second meaning of God which to distinguish it from the first we may call the Godhead. The idea of personality is not part of this concept which is strong in the mystical traditions of a number of religions including Christianity [i.e. the Hindu concept of Nirguna Brahman]. When the Buddha comes forward with his decisive declaration, "There is, O monks, an unborn, neither become nor created nor formed. . . . Were there not there would be no deliverance from the born, the made, the compounded (Iti-vuttaka, 43; Udana 8:3)" he seems to be speaking precisely in this tradition. Impressed by the similarities between Nirvana and the Godhead, Edward Conze has compiled from Buddhist texts a series of attributes that apply to both. We are told "that Nirvana is permanent, stable, imperishable, immovable, ageless, deathless, unborn, and unbecome, that it is power, bliss, and happiness, the secure refuge, the shelter, and the place of unassailable safety; that it is the real Truth and the supreme Reality; that it is the Good, the supreme goal and the one and the only consummation of our life, the eternal, hidden and incomprehensible Peace (_Buddhism: Its Essence and Development_, 40)." We may conclude with Conze that nirvana is not god defined as personal creator, but that it stands sufficiently close to the concept of God as godhead to warrant the name in that sense. (Huston Smith, _The World's Religions_ 115) Paul Tillich writes If God is understood as that which concerns man ultimately, early Buddhism has a concept of God just as certainly as does Vedanta Hinduism. (Paul Tillich, _Systematic Theology_, Vol. 1, 220) Warmest greetings, Dann May, Philosophy, OK City Univ. --- * WR 1.32 # 669 * The path to holiness lies in questioning everything.-Peck From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 01:28:51 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 95 10:07:28 -0600 (CST) From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: KNOWING THE SELF/ ZEN & Dear Juan, As lover of Zen, I found your recent posting on Baha'i-Zen parallels on satori /enlightenment quite fascinating. Please keep posting your thoughts. Also, A while back you posted some material on "standpoint epistemology" and mentioned that Lambden and Momen delinated 5 metaphysical planes. Could you please tell me where I might obtain their essay on this fascinating topic? Or, if you have anything on this, could you send me the material? Warmest greetings, Dann May, Philosophy, OK City Univ. --- * WR 1.32 # 669 * Education is the fundamental method of social progress. From email@example.comWed Nov 29 01:29:05 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 10:22:55 -0700 (MST) From: "[G. Brent Poirier]" To: Talisman Subject: Wilmette ain't Berlin On Mon, 27 Nov 1995 the List Owner wrote: > 2) The list is a benevolent autocracy. You are here as my guests, but > when there are judgement calls to be made, I make them. First, I want to throw oil on the water, not on the fire. I do not want to excite emotions, I do not want to make John or anybody else defensive. I especially do not want to go into the specifics of John's terminating the subscriptions of the people in Wilmette. I want to point out a principle. This quote from John will be useful: > 3) I will intervene only under two conditions: > a) Someone is behaving > sufficiently obnoxiously to imperil the > functioning of the list. > b) *Someone is threatening someone else.* My original point was that the statement in asterisks is arguably not clearly enunciated in the following List Rule which refers to "decorum." > 4. Participants are reminded that they are on the list as guests of the list > owner. Violations of decorum will be punished by being dropped from the > list. This sanction is solely at the discretion of the list owner and is not subject to appeal. Therefore, applying the legalistic logic of a list of sanctionable offenses to one's participation on Talisman, would be a constraint on the list owner. The authority of the list owner is explicit in a number of phrases: > John Walbridge > List Owner > The list is open to anyone > approved by the list owner. As well as the above quote about our participation being at the List Owner's discretion, and that expulsions are not subject to appeal; there's nobody higher. Now, I ask you to consider, what if when you declared your faith, the NSA sent out your membership card with a letter spelling out the Baha'i laws and welcoming you to the Baha'i community, and included language like that? Some of the friends would be all over the NSA for being authoritarian. While John has not, to my knowledge, compared the NSA to the Nazi regime, others have, which I find repugnant. I compare it, rather, to John's authority as List Owner. He has obligations emanating from several sources: His ethics, his professorship, his trusteeship of the assets of the taxpayers of Indiana. Please listen closely: In no way do I intend to convey approval of John's action towards the list members in Wilmette. I am comparing his authority, and that you have to *qualify* to have such authority placed into your hands. That's precisely why we join in the game: We concur in John's competence to fairly exercise that authority to everyone's benefit. Likewise, the NSA has obligations, to its principles, to the House, and as steward of not only the funds of the faith, but to protect the health and well-being of the faith of the believers. John also wrote: > I don't particularly want to explain the details of this situation, for reasons > that will be clear enough if I end up having to do so. This is quite appropriate, and I for one do understand that sometimes people in authority deem it wise to not spread information all over the worldwide internet. I ask that the motives of the NSA in not divulging sources, and not explaining all of the details of its actions, not instantaneously be compared to Hitler. That is not only unfair: Such comments are poisonous. They erode the trust in the institutions that is a highly prized part of my commitment to Baha'u'llah, and I think, an element in Baha'i life. I've been around for 25 years, I've read enough and had enough contact with the NSA as an institution and with its members individually, to trust them. But others have not had that benefit. I have had communications with a fairly new believer, bright, of pristine character, and deeply committed to Baha'u'llah, who looks up to the academic professionals and understands the value in a religion of people with those credentials. And this person has swallowed the view that the NSA is to be distrusted, that comparisons of the Administrative Order built by the Guardian to Nazi Germany are acceptable and accurate, that the NSA runs roughshod over innocent people who merely express innocent views, and I feel that the harm done is due to distortions on this list. The NSA has the right and obligation to protect the support of the believers for the NSA. I won't personalize this to John; he has wisely not risen to any bait, nor lashed out at others, and I do not wish to give him cause to do so, nor to have him become defensive. So I have referred to the "List Owner," because it is in his capacity as an administrator that I wish to draw these analogies. Please note the language that there is no right of appeal from a deprivation of Talisman rights; there is the right of reconsideration by the List Owner. I am not suggesting that in order to be consistent, the List Owner needs to set up a committee of review and go through exhaustive evaluations before unsubscribing somebody. But I am asking that we defer to the authority of the NSA, to its "unchallengeable" authority, as the Guardian describes it, and that we try to come to comfortable terms with the scope of its authority. Linda wrote: > John hasn't thrown anyone off of Talisman for having differing viewpoints. We have plenty of sparks going on here. No one gets kicked off because he doesn't see life the way the Listowner does. and Juan wrote: Threatening a member of Talisman because of his posting is the equivalent of a crime. It is like reading an article you disagree with, and, instead of replying with better arguments and documentation, deciding to go over to his house and break his legs with baseball bats. I would like to state that likewise, I do not accept the oft-expressed view I've seen over the past year on this list, that people have been deprived of their administrative rights because of "having differing viewpoints" or because they said something the NSA disagreed with on something so innocuous as a different view of "history." This cheapens and distorts the protective aspect of the NSA. I am saying that just as John has the legitimate authority to protect the list, the NSA has the legitimate authority to keep limpid the stream of love and support for it. This precise admonition was expressed by the House of Justice in the May 1994 letter to the US NSA. Following its diagnosis of several problems at the top of the US Administration, the House said for the friends to increase our trust for the NSA. In the world at large, we would not find such a juxtaposition: Just criticism of a body, then a call for support of that body. I think it's because the Faith operates according to principles that are at variance with the world's institutions. The House calls on us to trust to those principles to rectify all inequities. Let's give them a chance. I agree that there have been inequities. I disagree with the rhetoric that accompanies the airing of them. I disagree with the view that the structure of the NSA should be changed to prevent them. I disagree that there are many of them, that the NSA doesn't care. I disagree that anybody on this list has any greater sense of justice than the House of Justice (e.g. in the admonition of the House that a member of an assembly who has a personal interest in the outcome of a matter under consideration by the assembly, should participate in the decision.) Finally, to Juan's post: The cries of outrage over John's reconsideration of subscription rights of persons who work for the issuer of the threat would be much muted among civilized persons if the full facts were known. Yet, when the NSA refuses to bring the facts of a case into the "light of day" it is compared to the Star Chamber. Don't you think the NSA would like nothing better than to defend itself against the attacks on it made on Talisman? The List Owner is right to keep the matter private. Likewise, the fact that the NSA handles administrative matters in private, does not countenance comparisons to Berlin. I have been asked, if I lived in Nazi Germany would I have been a Raul Wallenberg or a dutiful Jew-burner. I realize full well that the question is asked, not to be offensive, but because my views fairly mystify my friends, who don't understand how I can appear before tribunals all day which operate under principles developed and refined through centuries of human experience, but do not uphold application of some of those same principles to the actions of the NSA. I am hurt and outraged that any of you have compared any National Assembly to Nazi Germany. Do not comfort yourselves with the patronizing thought, "well, if Brent's faith isn't strong enough..." It's not that I can't handle knowing the truth about the NSA's conduct. It is that if you know, or think you know, that the NSA has acted improperly, there is a method of handling such information. Please act within that system. The House has counseled us against taking things into our own hands which do not belong there. We have neither the wisdom nor the authority to handle them. If you go outside of the teachings on how to handle such accusations, you can do great harm to the Faith you love; and where will you be then? The vibes of the postings which make such accusations are horrible. If the accusations are true, put your faith on the line. Gather your courage and hand it over to the House. I do not stand with you if you air such sentiments, and harbor such suspicions, against the NSA. If you express them under the rubric of "free speech" and dress them in the garb of "academic research," you will understand that I will see such a view as short-sighted. If you have such information, you have a duty to yourself and to me and all of us, to hand it over. If your views are not supported by the House, then please have the flexibility and open mindedness to consider whether your suspicions were wrong. From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 10:35:02 1995 Date: 28 Nov 95 22:07:54 U From: Dan Orey To: email@example.com Cc: SBirkland@aol.com Subject: A gay Baha'i Responds Reply to: A gay Baha'i Responds Dear Talisman Citizens - The following represents my own opinion, and reflects the personal feelings of loss I have after receiving the recent letter from the World Centre. I want to state that I plan on following the UHJ's guidance to the best of my ability, and would do nothing to knowingly cause pain or hurt to any Baha'i or Baha'i Institution. As many here on Talisman have noted, the NSA of the United States has received a letter re: homosexuality (dated September 11, 1995) which has been published inthe recent American Baha'i. As a gay male, I am mystified, indeed devastated. Not because in my heart of hearts, I had wished that the Supreme Institution would see a new way to begin a process towards fully accepting many of us into the Faith, but, because it doesn't demonstrate to me a full or enlightened understanding of the issue. Indeed it categorically rejects current scientific, academic, scholarly, and social research in the field. It appears to me that the UHJ consulted people who know little or nothing of current gay & lesbian or "queer" studies. As a Baha'i I am ashamed, and as a gay male I am insulted. The continued use of stereotypic descriptions of homosexuals in conjunction with such terms as "handicap, lechery, drugs, pederasty, adultery, sodomy" is both repugnant and bothersome to the vast majority of loving, tolerant, and thinking people in my city and university. How can I ever have hope that these wonderful people that I happily call friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues ever join this Religion? The September letter, offers no sense of understanding as to what it is like to be a homosexual and a Baha'i in the late 20th Century. I have tried to explain, and will continue to do so in the future, that the Writings do not describe my reality, nor that of the majority of my friends and their families. A number of Baha'i youth have committed suicide because of this form of teaching, this letter does not address this travesty. Numerous Baha'is have passed away due to complications due to the HIV virus, only to have their terrible deaths covered up by thin excuses such as "cancer", or "automobile accidents". It does nothing to support the memory of these friends or tell their families that their shame is unwarranted. World over, many people have died alone and lonely, abandoned both by family and community, this letter does nothing to address the growing AIDS pandemic. I do not believe, that this is what Baha'u'llah had in mind by "moral conduct". However I do believe that the kind of "homosexuality" - if you can call it that - existed in the Middle East during the last century has anything to do with my experience as a gay man in late 20th Century North America (or South America when I am there). I also believe that the historical context in which the Guardian spoke about the subject was so terrible and repressed that His words rang out as extremely loving and tolerant in that time. I also firmly believe he would be more enlightened in his response to the 1990's reality. As was stated over three years ago in a letter to the NSA (which was never answered), "In recent decades homosexuality has emerged from centuries of unspeakable repression blossoming almost overnight into a worldwide movement of liberation and civil rights. During the Inquisition, homosexuals were tortured and killed as satanic heretics. Lesbians have been reviled, hated, and burned as witches. Countless thousands of gay men and lesbians were herded into railroad cars by the Nazis never to be seen again. Not long ago, people were "committed" to asylums by their families for electric shock treatments and strapped to tables for lobotomies simply because their desires did not conform to the majority. Is it any wonder that people so terribly oppressed would be receptive to the healing message of Baha'u'llah? Can it be that the same pervasive winds of change affecting the entire world, opening peoples eyes to oppression, hoisting the banner of justice, eliminating prejudices of all kinds, can it be that this liberating wind has blown in an unanticipated direction? It seems exactly that way from our perspective. It is obvious that a new world order is being created before our very eyes. We simply ask to be allowed to be a part of the work of building it." For those of us who work in higher education, it comes as an absolute absurdity that I can be accepted as a gay person, I can be out, indeed my human rights are protected by my University, the City of Sacramento, and as an employee of the State of California. Yet as a Baha'i, I am considered "handicapped", "immoral", and "disgusting", and worthy of sanction. I am both proud and relieved that this is considered illegal behavior in both my City and State. I am as proud of my gay heritage as I am of my Baha'i one. Asking a homosexual to forget about their sexual orientation is like asking a black person to try to be white - it just won't work (nor would they want to). I would never change this test, nor do I wish to exchange my belief and love for the Baha'u'llah for anything in the world. I believe that I can be both gay and Baha'i, and I continue to live with the "dream" that millions of other homosexuals in the world can as well. Obviously there is nothing that can be done now. I shudder to think what would happen should such a letter reach the mainstream, let alone the gay press. I hope that I will be able to continue to serve as a channel for understanding, as a bridge for healing of this issue. As directed in a personal letter to myself from the UHJ, I was told to work with Continental Counselor Stephen Birkland, this letter serves as such a confirmation, and willingness to to follow his directives. I pray that each and every one of us can reach out and embrace those gay & lesbian friends that we know, and tell them that they are loved and welcomed. At least that has not been banned. - Daniel (proud to be the unofficial mayor of the gay Ghetto in Talisman City) Orey, Baha'i ID Number: 0084297 From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 10:37:50 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 01:26:41 -0500 (EST) From: Juan R Cole To: Burl Barer Cc: email@example.com Subject: Re: The Bab's Grammar Burl: With regard to the Bab's grammar, this is a very complex subject. First of all, we need to step back from the idea that there is some sort of essentialized "correct grammar." Sandy Fotos perhaps can help us here. Languages are internally very diverse; any group of persons in frequent contact with one another and less frequent contact with outsiders develops a distinctive use of the language, and this can with time and relative isolation become a dialect and then even a different language (as with Spanish and Portuguese or Hindi and Gujarati). It is true that the disciplinary institutions of society--state, commerce, religion--often choose out a particular dialect and attempt to make it the standard. Often cities have an urban standard different from the countryside. Parisian French was spoken by very few people in what is now France in 1400; indeed, any sort of French was a minority affair. By 1789 the Bourbons had succeeded in getting about half the population to speak some dialect of French, but only 12% spoke Parisian. And there were large numbers of dialects, as well as separate languages (Breton, Basque, Flemish, etc.). Only under the Third Republic, with extensive national schooling (and disciplining) of peasants, did Parisian French begin to be decisively imposed on the country; in the 20th century media such as film, radio and television reinforced this process. But the point is that making Parisian French the standard was a political choice of the Bourbons; it is not inherently superior to other dialects or languages. The Muslim clergy and Arab intellectuals attempted to create a standardized Arabic (much different, to this day, from what anyone actually spoke), based on pre-Islamic poetry and the Qur'an. This language was used by clerics, bureaucrats, and merchants in the Muslim Middle East. Many of its grammatical rules are based on the Qur'an, but even the Qur'an contains grammatical inconsistencies according to these rules! In actual usage, this grammar was seldom perfectly adhered to. The great Egyptian historian of the 18th century, al-Jabarti, wrote a chronicle full of grammatical "errors" that reflected Egyptian speech. I have seen archival documents that likewise are grammatically "wrong", but which reflect the written Arabic of Egyptian bureaucrats of the time. These people were negotiating between colloquial, spoken Arabic and the standardized classical Arabic of the clergy. The situation is even more complex in Iran, where Persian, an Indo-European language, had an impact on the way many Iranians wrote Arabic (a Semitic language). In Iran, much Arabic was taken into Persian, but was grammatically transformed. Thus, in Arabic one would say al-hubb al-ilahi for [the] divine [the] love. The "al-" is like "the" and has to be repeated in the adjective. But Persian lacks a definite article (as most American Baha'is will have noticed). You would say hubb-i ilahi for divine love. But where Iranians brought an Arabic phrase into Persian they would write hubb al-ilahi. From an Arabic point of view this is a mistake, since it omits the first definite article. But that is good standard Perso-Arabic. The Bab does this sort of thing in his purely Arabic writings, eliciting objections from those who used standard classical Arabic. Some of the grammatical "errors" in the Bab's writings derive from this Perso-Arabic milieu and might be seen as a form of "interference." Some derive from the fact that he was a merchant, not a cleric, and, like the Cairo bureaucrats, there were elements of grammar he did not think important. Some of the "errors" appear to derive from his practice of "automatic writing" (like that of Yeats) in which his subconscious became the vehicle for revelation. Some come from a deliberate attempt to disrupt ordinary reality, which I have compared to Dadaism (the Bab speaks of the letters "rebelling"). Note that grammar is a largely left-brain activity, and the Bab was clearly a mainly right-brain author. The point is, however, that the Bab created a one-man dialect. And if one wished to make it the basis for a new standardized Arabic, one could. Grammatically, it would probably be simpler. Language is arbitrary. Finally, I would like to point out to Christian critics of the Bab's Arabic (!) that the Greek of the New Testament leaves a lot to be desired by the standards of classical Greek. cheers Juan Cole, History, University of Michigan From Alethinos@aol.comWed Nov 29 10:40:08 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 01:45:26 -0500 From: Alethinos@aol.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: It's 3 O'Clock in the morning and their screaming in Bakersfield, CA. First thank you Terry, thank God I am always certain what it is you're trying to say. I guess what I am saying, and please Terry pay close attention here - the subtelty make get squeaky tight - is that Talisman is a wonderful sandbox where a number of people can whine and complain and set the tone that essentially dominates the list. Doubt me? Read over the past six months and see how many posts have dealt with complaints about the inistitutions, about *threats* to academic freedeom, about removal of rights, *heavy-handedness* etc, etc, etc. When it was repeatedly pointed out that there was a whole lot of complaining going on and that nothing constructive was rarely if ever offered; that such whining and crying was leading nowhere the tone changed so as to legitimize continued complaint. *Reforms* became the big topic. But the goal was the same. To focus as much blame and attention on the *enemy*. The poster plastering of martyrs to the cause of academic as well as individual freedoms greeted our eyes nearly each day when pulling down the list. You echoed Juan's supposedly exasperated plea "what next?!". You can't possibly be that naive. Or has the desire to simply seek a narrow agenda so darkened your sight that you can only see the course that has so superimposed itself on this list for so long? WHAT NEXT?! For God sake what should be done? Continue to bitch and moan and complain and lambast and accuse and impute?? Shall we continue to see a list that could be used as a powerful tool to actually affect change - real change - that could be used to plan and connect and inspire - shall we continue to see it used for the express purpose of a few who feel the overwhelming need to never let go of whatever wrongs have been done them, to continuously seek to punish and in so doing spread anger, distrust, and dispair? In the semi-immortal words of my favorite ex-Eagle GET OVER IT! Is there desire to see real change here - from these very people who now tout reform? What is the use in pushing for reform when they know, we all know that the Faith in America is essentially dead in the water and has been for a long time? Reforms for Who? For What? No one reading this list and knowing these conditions can possibly believe for one moment that these suggestions for reforms will have any attractive capacity at all? What, so Americans will come rushing to a Faith that more closely resembles the Church of the ACLU? The problems of immaturity can and will be dealt with - when we actually have a serious pressing need to deal with them. No one doubts for a moment that there has not been and still is problems. Do you really think that such pathetic crying will somehow shake the leathergy and apathy on the one hand, or the incredible naivete and *got-their -head-in-a-cloud* blindness on the other from the vast majority of the Baha'is in this country? Your depth of understanding of the problems facing this country cannot possibly be that shallow! So tell me, in clear language, anyone. How do you see the recent pattern of discourse here on this list affecting the hearts and minds of the believers? How is this to inspire them to arise? In rebellion perhaps? Perhaps they will boycott their LSAs because they feel _they_ have been treated unfairly? They could convince a significant number of their fellow community members to turn a deaf ear to the patriarchal, power-hungry near-fascist regimes that have erred so greviously? Really - let me ask you NOW WHAT? What wonderful spirit-cleansing solutions have been offered here to lead this nation toward its destiny? Where has been the continuous discourse that would lead toward a building of a solid unity of thought concerning the Guardian's vision for America and the role it must play in unfolding the Cause of God across the globe? Where is the frank discussion of the problems and mistakes that have been made - tempered with the compassion born of a realization that we are ALL human, that NO ONE has a complete picture of the Warp and Woof of this Cause - a discussion that will lead us quickly into action that can counter those errors and impel us forward? Where is the healing hands that can AT ONCE tear away the veils of ignorance before the eyes of the multitude of the believers and offer a light out of the darkness? WHAT NOW?! What now . . . How about now we set aside all this childish adolescent temper tantrums and pouting and actually get to work? Or would it be better for all concerned to continue on in their dream-state, suffering under the self-delusion that somehow they are actually accomplishing great things here - while the world continues to rip itself apart and the spiritual physicians most needed reside in a nightmare of their own making? jim harrison Alethinos@aol.com From email@example.comWed Nov 29 10:41:38 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 23:03:37 -0700 From: Henry Miller To: sabredance <firstname.lastname@example.org> Cc: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Re: my goodness sakes Dear Janine, regarding your posting, excerpted as follows: >It is also a realisation of mine, and this may sound harsh, that no new world >order is built without people getting scars. It is part of the process, yet it >is damn painful. >I have come to believe, after many tests, that trust, compassion and love are >some of the true gems and riches in life. After all, these are what the soul >will take with it, after leaving our bodies..... and these will give us >happiness, true happiness, while still in this world. > >This all is not intended to silence the mouths of those who *do* suffer! Often >realisation is only born after we have heard the painful stories of others. >much love, >janine van rooij >amsterdam, the netherlands Your posting moved me to take down from my bookshelf The Seven Valleys, by Baha'u'llah. I was looking for the following: "The steed of this Valley is pain; and if there be no pain this journey will never end. " (Valley of Love, from The Seven Valleys, page 20, 1992 Centenary Edition, Nightingale Books) and: "Wherefore must the veils of the satanic self be burned away at the fire of love, that the spirit may be purified and cleansed and thus may know the station of the Lord of the Worlds." (Valley of Love, from The Seven Valleys, page 26, 1992 Centenary Edition, Nightingale Books) I recall another posting in which Phillip B. was responding to Robert J. about "scars." I believe perfect healing (no, not physical immortality :-] ) is possible in spite of (and often, perhaps, only because of) scars accumulated during our striving and struggles. Pain, if reframed and redeemed, becomes the opportunity for integrating more of "my-self." The Long Healing Prayer is one of the most potent prayers given us, is it not? How many of us are still struggling to "overcome," rather than giving into our pain, praying for healing, (as opposed to giving way to sorrow, which is not what I am suggesting)? In my experience it was the cracking of my body "armor" and the opening of my heart (a kind of heart attack, if you will) that allowed my pain to surface, and when I sobbed and wept and gave myself over to Baha'u'llah, only then did I start to appreciate my true helplessness......"to my powerlessness and to Thy might." Again, from The Seven Valleys: "Love accepteth no existence and wisheth no life: He seeth life in death, and in shame seeketh glory." (Valley of Love, from The Seven Valleys, page 22, 1992 Centenary Edition, Nightingale Books) The time in my life when I experienced the felt pain of perceived shame and humiliation the most fiercely was also the time when I felt Baha'u'llah's buoying presence in the most raw yet energetic sense. If I had not accepted that "eating of my hat," or of my "shadow," as Robert Bly might say, I might well have lost a precious opportunity as I now perceive it, looking back. One of the keys, as I see it, is in the acceptance of an energy which is deeper and yet fuller than my ego's controlling parameters. If the intact, healthy ego can be given to the flames, after sufficient heat and inner focus can be generated within - through prayer, meditation, and service - then that painful process of coming to grips with loss, abandonment fears, and other traumas, etc. can be allowed residence within one's heart on a conscious level. Unless we were born inwardly and outwardly united, how can we escape this passage? In fact, all the fears, traumas, etc. are already there; it is just (a painful 'just') the self's saying "yes" to opening the door to the heart and allowing that "shadowy stuff" to be acknowledged, sorted out/ worked with, and thus purified and redeemed. Janine, in another posting today, that of Juan Cole (12:16 AM 11/28/95, knowing the self / Zen & Baha'i) to Talisman, he stated: > I don't >think we yet fully understand within the Faith what psychological >effort and spiritual attentiveness might really mean. But these are Sufi >technical terms, and I do not think Baha'u'llah meant by them a sort of >"Protestant go-to-church-on-Sunday and occasionally say a short >prayer" spirituality. It is in this particular area of study, as pointed to by intimation in Juan's sentences above, that I think we need to concentrate. ( This not so much in scholarly or academic journal terms as a first priority - and that is not to say those terms are unimportant - but in an existential, experiential, human development sense before anything else. ) It is a spiritualization of the individual question, just as it has always been in the sense of the "perennial philosophy." It is Zen, it is Baha'i, it is Buddhist, it is "esoteric psychology" coming out of the closet. It is the stuff of self-transformation by way of the mental focus, "spiritual attentiveness,"(as Juan terms it), and psychological work which an individual attempts within the context of daily life and community. It is, of course, still permeated with mystery as well, but it is emerging as the subject/object of an integrative science of a cross-disciplinary sort. Enter the scientists and scholars now, please. Of necessity, they bump into the dilemma of what it means to "prove" something, and they are faced with all the requisite definitions of terms, and epistemological work which goes into the "owning" and "grounding" of knowledge by scholars, researchers, and investigators, first for peer-review, and later for general consumption. Many new journals dealing with this integrative field, the area in which religion and science meet and confound us, are appearing. For example, the journal entitled Subtle Energies is published by the International Society For The Study Of Subtle Energies And Medicine. There is the Journal of Consciousness Studies, and many others. The Institute of Noetic Science is working in this area. Biofeedback was, perhaps, the first real popularized Western science response to "capturing" and applying the effects of mind-body unity, if I am not mistaken. Yogis, mystics, indigenous peoples, shamans, and others have claimed to have experienced in various ways this "guiding" and "directing" of energy (towards the ongoing goal of a changed, transformed self, in terms of human development and evolution) as one effect of inner self-transformation. They have done it without boxes and wires, because their cultural myths, maps, and icons around "Science" have been different ones. Individuals, however, have allowed themselves to be subjected to measurements and tests, demonstrating thereby an ability to modulate heart rate, brain waves, and other physiological processes. As with a miracle, unless one has experienced it, the effect lands on deaf ears. Even if an investigator is curious, the "effect" can be ignored or soon forgotten since it does not fit into his/her schema or paradigm. The materialistic investigator will return and deny the validity and importance of "subjective" and personal experience - "prove it," he/she continues to say, unable to allow into the mix a possiblity of other factors at work. With the beginnings of biofeedback, however, and the introduction of accupuncture, accupressure, etc. and martial arts-derivative cross-fertilizations from the more inner-oriented East, we are starting to see a shift towards greater admissibility of "subjective" data as an object of research in the science/religion field, and away from polarized, detached outllooks which require fragmented study rather than attempts at synthesizing. (This is an aside, really, but perhaps a more "inner" investigation is just as scary and threatening for some of us, as the type of more "outer" related historiography dealing with the nitty-gritty of the past is for others of us. The inner game is like Hide The Thimble, and the outer game, it seems to me, is more like Pick Up Sticks). Every question is ultimately a philosophical question, though, and we each independently must develop our own perspective on a philosophy of history. One of the keys to staying on track, I think, is in being wary of confusing mere statements or "beliefs" with work"accomplished," or experience "integrated," or facts "established." It is an ongoing dialectic of sorts in which the individual is asked, implicitly and explicitly, to explain himself, or exhibit DEEDS, either in the upright character of his worshipful work, or right down to the cellular integrity of his very physiology - breath, heart beat, thought patterns, and so on. We can trust, however, since we have the reassurance that this is the Day of God, the day in which all things shall be made evident in good time, no matter how painful. No matter. Whether approached from an Eastern perspective, or from a Western perspective, which*are* cultural realities since we still carry acculturations and legacies of training and upbringing, the reality is really just One perennial reality. Isn't our goal to "ingather" (is that from Gerard Manley Hopkins?) more of this "reality", thus facilitating change, development, and evolution? (I have to go back and find the prayer in which the Faith of God is referred to as "neither of the East nor of the West." This is the day of Oneness, is it not?! Perhaps many of the postings on Talisman which reflect irritation with the outward- reaching discussions about "reforms, courts, perceived and/or real injustices, etc." are really reminding us that the journey to the love, tenderness, and harmony of a new world doesn't have to be SUCH a painful journey of community development. I think it is painful for certain, but it is also a process originating at least as much from acceptance of painful *inner* change as it is from the focus on outer adjustments. We do have the wisdom, hopefully, to alleviate and lessen the pain we bring upon ourselves and others near us - especially our friends. Balance requires that we play both games at times - Hide The Thimble *and* Pick Up Sticks. We need the precision of Pick Up Sticks, but that surgical and uncovering skill needs to be floating in the love and comaraderie of a game of Hide The Thimble......"warmer, warmer, warmer,....yes!....hot, hotter...!" At any rate, thanks for your loving posting about the "riches" of pain, Henry Henry W. Miller Martinez, California,U.S.A. email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org 510-372-0709 From email@example.comWed Nov 29 10:43:09 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 02:00:51 -0500 (EST) From: Juan R Cole To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Re: Talisman rights Friends: Please help me out here. It seems that 1) I cannot tell right from wrong because I do not have a degree in ethics (though I should say that a good deal of my education in Philosophy, Religion and Islamics did deal with ethics). 2) Violating persons' human rights is not wrong if a Baha'i institution did it. 3) All Baha'is are to turn a blind eye to injustices within the Baha'i community, committed over and over again--in perfect confidence that these will be righted by persons wiser than we. We are to be fatalistic, accepting whatever our institutions decree as the will of God, keeping our silence, blindly obedient to these institutions which have absolute authority and are in possession of the full facts. But this is not a totalitarian system. [Except what do I do about Baha'u'llah's explicit abolition of absolute authority [as-sultah al-mutlaqah] on the basis that Reason has become manifest among all [zuhur al-`aql bayn al-kull]? Has this passage of Baha'u'llah been abrogated? By whom? When? What do I do about `Abdu'l-Baha's insistence on the right of freedom of conscience (azadigi-yi vujdan)? About his desire that elections be so arranged as to make elected officials act justly for fear of being unelected (Secret of Divine Civilization)? If all injustices are covered up and remain private and we all keep our silence, then how exactly can `Abdu'l-Baha's principle be implemented? What do we say about Shoghi Effendi's explicit statement that he was not empowered to legislate, or about our own knowledge that he was not empowered to abrogate Baha'u'llah's principles, though as Head of the Faith he could legitimately set them aside for practical reasons at any one point?] The system that has been described in 3) is incompatible with the most profound principles Revealed by Baha'u'llah, and with those enunciated by `Abdu'l-Baha. It is also incompatible with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the Universal House of Justice has endorsed as a cornerstone of world peace. 3) Derives largely from an authoritarian, acontextual and tendentious reading of the practical suggestions of the Guardian at a time when there were *very* few Baha'is and the US was more like a face to face community. With the emergence of a Baha'i civil society, of a public sphere in cyberspace, of a very large world Baha'i community, we need to rethink how to achieve *Baha'u'llah*'s goals in the 21st century. And although it is painful for some Baha'is to admit this, the very best guide to how to achieve those goals may be neither the historically conditioned decisions of a Guardian functioning without an authoritative legislative body, nor the policies adopted after his death, which on the whole literally replicate bounded decisions of the 1930s and 1940s, without thinking how these correlate with the Revelation of Baha'u'llah over the long run. Cheers, Juan Cole, History, University of Michigan From email@example.comWed Nov 29 10:46:54 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 20:31 GMT+1300 From: Alison & Steve Marshall To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: institutional power/ trusting the institutions "I wish you had something more useful to contribute, Steve, than these infrequent letters in which a censorial introversion is veiled by wishy-washy and confused arguments." Dear Robert, I am deeply hurt by what you have said, and am at a loss to understand why you felt it was necessary to say it. Don't years of friendship and working together count for anything? How is that you can blithely say cruel and cutting things, when you have sat in our lounge, drunk cups of tea and laughed and shared life with us? Alison -------------------------------------------------------------- Alison and Steve Marshall Email: email@example.com 90 Blacks Road, Opoho, Dunedin/Otepoti, Aotearoa/New Zealand -------------------------------------------------------------- From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 10:48:37 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 00:05 PST From: Burl Barer To: email@example.com Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: anti-Baha'i file When I first unzipped the Covenant Breaker material I wondered how in the world did those whacko Montana nutcakes get my e-mail address, especially this one (I have two) which I only use for communicating with my talispals and fellow mystery writers -- and I don't think the Mystery Writers of America are promulgating this spiritual virus. Then it dawned on me that someone on Talisman may have sent me this. I certainly didn't request it! For those of you who don't know what it is, it is *not* anti-Baha'i material (vanilla: Baha'u'llah is not a prophet and the Baha'is are wrong and bad and or confused) but full-blown brains to pluto CB garbage which I have had the displeasure of seeing before. Before curiosity gets the better of you - or the worse of you- I will give the cut to the chase bottom line: The bottom line: An ex-convict in Montana claims to be Jesus, and also happens to support the absurd Covenant Breaker reasoning of the late Mason Remey. For complete details on Mr. Remey's assault on the Covenant, read all about it in graphic detail in "The Covenant of Baha'u'llah." It will answer all your questions. 2. Now, this guy in Montana claims that he is Jesus, that no one can come to the Father except through him. He insists that God's Holy Mountain is in Montana, and that most of the Bible prophecies are about Butte, Missoula, etc. and that the prophecies of the Great Pyramid prove that he is really the return of Jesus and that he is supposed to be the head of the Baha'i Faith, and not the Universal House of Justice. He has, "as promised" , appeared in Deer Lodge, Montana to establish the "true" Baha'i Faith with him as, surprise, the one to be worshipped and adored. If we don't, we will all be killed by a comet, earthquake, or nuclear explosion. I didn't have to read the file to figure this out because it is nothing new. As this group invokes and quotes from Baha'u'llah, Abdul-Baha, Shoghi Effendi, it is sickening -- it is truly like poison -- it turns my sensitive stomach to see this garbage, so I choose not to read it when I come across it, which I do often because they keep sending me this stuff by snail mail , and now by computer. I believe that the soul gags when it sees the Holy Words of Baha'u'llah, the Master, and The Guardian defiled in this manner. It causes aggitation and dismay. Phoooey! Nothing against Montana, but Burl thinks the arc looks better on Mt Carmel, thank you. These nuts love to also send out press releases claiming that the "Head of the Baha'i Faith" insists the world is going to blow up on Tuesday. Of course, it doesn't and people think that we Baha'is are nuts, not realizing that this joker in Montana is not a Baha'i, let alone the leader of our Beloved Faith. So it goes. It is a sick, sick, use of the Baha'i Holy Writings to have the Will and Testament, etc., mangled into some hodge-podge to "support" this character's bizarre absurd ramblings about Pyramid, comets, Mormon visions, the primacy of Montana in the Book of Revelation (!) and other such hoo-hah. I wish they would stop sending me this stuff but I don't know how to get my name off their mailing list. As I am no longer working for the Protection Board, I should not have to be subjected to it. Now, however, I have seen the light -- I would rather get 100 copies of The Seed of Creation annotated with complete biological footnotes plus 5,000 editions of "Sherman's Great Thoughts: Catnip and the Covenant" than ever have to deal with this! Burl PS: were it not forbidden, we could dispatch Linda Ninja to Deer Lodge and have her go at him with her 9" nails. Oh well, now we know why we have a Protection Board and a delete key.. ******************************************************* Order MAN OVERBOARD, the new book by Burl Barer today! ******************************************************* From email@example.comWed Nov 29 10:49:17 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 17:31:11 JST From: "Stephen R. Friberg" To: TLCULHANE@aol.com Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Wilmette , Berlin and America Dear Terry: > To Stephen : My rousing defense of America will have to wait until I > return from a two day business trip. Aw shucks! > The general outline will go something > like this as a thought experiment. Suppose there was a member of a religious > community who decided to live in a socio cultural setting that was not > native to him or her. Suppose further that this missionary informed the > natives that their legal, political, religious, cultural life in general > was gravely deficient . But gee! I always rather liked the Pilgrims! > Suppose further that our missionary informed the > natives of that land that our hero had something that was perfect in every > way and that true bliss and salvation awaited the natives if only they would > reject their gravely deficient ways, legal, political, religious, and > cultural and all of its attendent history . The Maiden? > Suppose further that the natives > did not rush to embrace the "truth " of this perfect way brought to them by > our missionary from abroad . In fact they, being reasonably tolerant beings > in the face of such affronts to their honor and identity , just ignored both > our hero and his / her message . So now what ? The natives were forcibly converted, or killed, and then they were put on reservations, no? Terry, are you sure this is a good ole' patriotic American story? Yours, Steve From email@example.comWed Nov 29 10:49:30 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 18:00:13 JST From: "Stephen R. Friberg" To: Robert Johnston Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Institutional power / trusting the institutions Dear Robert: Really a low! Why so hard-hearted? Give us a poem, a simile, a dance in the rain, light upon light, the Marlboro man, steaming up the jungle, death in the alley. But not dismissal . . . I hide in shame and disgrace. Steve From email@example.comWed Nov 29 10:49:42 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 18:08:45 JST From: "Stephen R. Friberg" To: Alethinos@aol.com Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: It's 3 O'Clock in the morning and their screaming in Bakersfield, CA. Dear Jim: > I guess what I am saying, and please Terry pay close attention here - the > subtlety may get squeaky tight. What subtlety? Steve F. From email@example.comWed Nov 29 10:50:02 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 23:31:29 +1200 From: Robert Johnston To: "Stephen R. Friberg" , firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: strung like piano wires (was: Institutional power / trusting the institutions) Dear Steve and Steve and Alison, Stephen F wrote: > >I hide in shame and disgrace. If that's the effect of my letter on our inevitably fair physicist friend from from Japan, (echoed in Alison's equally heart-rending letter) then I'll have to admit to being somehow badly wrong. It must have been an evil day inside Johnston's head. I guess the fan belt broke and the radiator boiled. Sorry. I'll try to do better. Robert (strung like piano wires) Johnston. From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 10:50:28 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 00:43:14 +1200 From: Robert Johnston To: email@example.com Subject: enigmatically physicistic, imagining a red sun.... As I grow older my soul gathers in on itself and is a clumping peasant with a Heidegger face. Where is that true poet Dave who called me so correctly a pumpkin when he could have said bumpkin? I first met Alison before Zohar stuck her finger in butter and upset me in the lost years, up Central. Steve then lived in the far south next door to Linda Hight, And I sometimes stayed in the house. Steve smiling. Ahh the passage of time...Sen built a boat in his back yard, and Sonja, even then, walloped me like a zen nun... *************** Emily Dickinson XVI. The Wind. It 's like the light,-- A fashionless delight It 's like the bee,-- A dateless melody. It 's like the woods, Private like breeze, Phraseless, yet it stirs The proudest trees. It 's like the morning,-- Best when it 's done,-- The everlasting clocks Chime noon. From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 10:51:03 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 95 18:35:09 PST From: email@example.com To: Milissa Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re:uppitiness On Tue, 28 Nov 95 16:33:02 CST Milissa wrote: >Hi Philip! > >Just wanted to drop you a line to say thanks for your response. It really >makes me feel better to know you guys are alright and not upset at the idea >of a female Manifestation. :) > >Uppitiness is a good attribute! > >Milissa Hi Milissa! 1) Isn't uppitiness the most amazing word when you see it in print! 2) Actually, I think the pre-abramic manifestations were female. I think the next round will be a couple. The manifestation gives witness to his/her/their message with his/her/their whole life. The greatest mystery is getting along with a separate 'nother person. It really is astounding how few couples there are in all history and even mythology, compared to the individual heros. The only current ones I can think of are the show business partners. Hume Cronin and Jessica Tandy. some others. None recently. George and Barbara didn't do it for me. I had hopes for the Clintons. I think some of the Christian televangelist have been working that for a while. Dr. and Mrs. Ruhe are a trip and a half! 3) I grew up in a Jewish Family where the men were all artistic and flighty, or retiring and gentle and the women were decisive, practical and in complete authority. Uppitiness is not a word I would ever apply to a woman taking charge. The men handled the big questions like , the true meaning of Passover, and the women handled the little questions like, rules for the kids, how money was spent, whether to move to a new neighborhood. When grandma didn't want to deal with a salesman she would tell him, "You better speak to my husband." He was a tailor and the salesman would speak to him as he worked at the sewing machine. Grandma knew that sometimes he liked company. 3) is UKAN in Kansas or the United Kingdom? Beloved in Brattleboro, Philip ------------------------------------- Name: Philip Belove E-mail: email@example.com Date: 11/28/95 Time: 18:35:09 This message was sent by Chameleon ------------------------------------- Things should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler -- A. Einstein From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 10:53:23 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 07:00:26 PST From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: talisman rights, cov.breaker readings, etc. Dear all, The more I read these postings, the more I am convinced that Jaun's is a critically important voice in the future of the faith.At least in the future of the faith in my life.s I would have left long ago rather than subscribe to certain viewpoints that seems to surface here. It's helped me to read widely among these postings. I've begun to appreciate how some of the positions taken by Bahai's are not authoritative, but merely someone's wishful thinking. I have many friends amoung the Friends who would have not read the posting because someone "told her not to. "they told us not to and so I didn't." and it comes across to me with an air of "truer devotion than thou. Here is how I handled it, here is how it should be handled, let this be an example to you." But it is not an example I would choose to follow. Brent, I think it was, pointed out that his preferred reading was "advised us against." I can live with that. Once when I was interviewing various clergy folk in the community I interviews a minister who insisted on the world being 5000 years old and the fossil record being placed there by God to challenge our faith. I asked him, why is it that you, an intellingent and scientifically minded man who hold to such a cumbersome and questionable belief? He said he preferred believing as he did about evolution to allowing his trust in the veracity of scripture to be challenged. And that made clear to me a certain dimension of Fundamentalism. I called it,"militant Naivete." Robert Bly had an opinion about naivete. He felt it occured in men who had not yet faced their shadow, acknowledged their pain and wounds, and had not yet developed the capacity to be abhorred by their own actions. (He was speaking in Iron John specifically about men and didn't comment whether he extended his observation to women.) These observations are in the personal realm, although I think they could be extended to Fundamentalist movements in the social realm. I think it is characteristic of fundamentalisms to be militantly naive, to have a severely limited capacity to view their own shadow sides, to acknowledge and accept their woundedness, and, most importantly, to be aware of, and genuinely afraid of, their own capacity to harm others. "When you've been a Bahai as long as I have, then you'll understand better." The more I think about this sentence, the more monstrous it becomes. Love, Belove ------------------------------------- Name: Philip Belove E-mail: email@example.com Date: 11/29/95 Time: 07:00:26 This message was sent by Chameleon ------------------------------------- Things should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler -- A. Einstein From DAWNLIQU@fllab.chass.ncsu.eduWed Nov 29 10:58:26 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 08:10:06 EST From: QUANTA DAWNLIGHT To: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Response to Dan Dear Dan, I read your response to the letter of UHJ regarding homosexuality.. I have very dear friends who are homosexuals. I attended a few workshops on the subject to understand the issues and individuals who are affected by them. No matter how liberal minded a heterosexual is, deep down inside the act of homosexual behaviour does seem repugnant to them. I'll be honest it is easier for me to be friends with a gay guy than a lesbian woman. It just feels uneasy. But, I will do anything to defend them as human beings without accepting and understanding the behavviour itself. It is also difficult to understand the analogy between being a black person and a homosexual. One is behavior oriented the other is nature. This is my view. Please help us to understand and don't be angry. To really tell you the truth I was just heart broken to find out that Rock Hudson was gay As to the Aids epidemic. Would the Homosexual community and Hollywood be just as eager to help victims of Aids if there were no effects on gay community? I lost a niece of 9 years old to aids who was hemopphiliac and received contaminated blood. In less than a year later her mother died from a broken heart. So, we are all affected by this one way or another. lovingly from the ignorance ghetto, quanta...(*_*) From LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.eduWed Nov 29 11:05:42 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 09:52:44 EWT From: LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: breathing space Dear Jim, you are so emphatic that we all really should know exactly what we should be doing and go out and DO IT! Well, to tell you the truth, I know longer know just what it is I am supposed to do. Am I supposed to go invite people to join a religion where I see my friends being excluded for being "different," for having exploring minds, for speaking out on issues that they believe in? Jim, if this is supposed to be the religion for all people, a religion that truly believes in the diversity of humanity, then we are going to have to have to have an administrative system that is highly flexible, that accepts diversity (and I am not just talking about us having different shades of skin color), and is not threatened by differing viewpoints. It is one thing to say, let by-gones be by-gones. I am perfectly willing to do that. However, the same offenses seem to be arising on a daily basis. Only yesterday I learned of a case of someone losing his voting rights because he was accused of an immoral sexual act. The accuser, interestingly, changed his story a couple of times and was also suffering from a debilitating illness. The accused never had an opportunity to defend himself. The accusation came and a letter was sent to the accused telling him that his rights as a Baha'i had been lifted. He was also told that it was highly unlikely that they would ever be re-instated. BTW, there were no witnesses to this action. The accuser said that it was done in private. No matter. Case closed. This case follows several others of late in which the accused has no recourse. In one case, an individual was told in writing that he could not see the evidence against him because he "already knew what he had done." Actually, this person, whom I know, hadn't a clue as to what Baha'i law he had ever broken or what he had ever done to shame the Faith. He thought he was serving the Faith and the Baha'is. He is a heartbroken man. And, tell me, what is Dan Orey supposed to do? Did Dan wake up one morning and say, gee, I think I'll be gay and see how the Baha'is are going to handle THIS one? I think not. From my communication with Dan (e-mail and a telephone conversation - and by the way, I have only met about three members of Talisman face-to-face), I think I can say that he is not a person who goes around flaunting his sexuality. He is not making a disgrace of himself. He is not touting sexual promiscuity. He simply is what he is. What should he do about this? Hate himself? He amazes me that he is still willing to patiently educate the Bahas and to bear the criticisms. Now, to change the subject a bit. Quanta, I thought your comment about gay men and lesbian women was very interesting. Since we are bearing our souls, I will tell you that I have exactly the same experience as you. I feel far more comfortable with gay men than with lesbians, something I am not particularly happy about. However, I don't believe that it is helpful to deny one's feelings. With lesbians I often have the sense that there is a degree of hostility towards both men and towards femininity that I am uncomfortable with. I do not sense anti-female or anti-male attitudes in gay men. It is not as though I have a great deal of experience and knowledge in this matter. This is simply based on the experience I do have. Also, I have read that women are far more likely to become or to realize their homosexual orientation later in life - often in their post child bearing years. Men, on the other hand, seem to recognize (at least at some level) their homosexuality early in life. This leads me to wonder if male and female homosexuality aren't two quite different phenomena. Dan mentioned Middle Eastern homosexuality in his posting. He raises a very important point. "Homosexuality" is not a single thing. It takes different forms. We should remember that in Baha'u'llah's day it took the form of grown men having sex with young boys. Perhaps that is why Baha'u'llah speaks so strongly against it. Must go. Linda From email@example.comWed Nov 29 11:05:49 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 07:48:27 -0800 From: "Marguerite K. Gipson" To: StrayMutt@aol.com, Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Re: Baha'i singles ads Hello all, We have the Bahai Singles email forum, and will have our first wedding from that next month.... There have been a few more unions from people on Bahai Singles, but they had already met the intended one. The one piece I like about it the forum is that you get to know the personality and character thru the written word, and never have to worry about the physical attraction part just yet. I read on some forum about the test??? was that here??? Where a man was waiting for his beloved, each had signs (his: a book, hers: a rose) to watch for the other, and he spotted a young woman first, and an older one too wearing her rose like she said... and he passed the test..... Back in 1983 or 84, a women from Florida develop a company for Bahai's to run ads to seek out potential mates... A newsletter was formed, and you got the news letter and then you wrote letters to each other. A few married from that too.... Warmly, Margreet... Matchmaker, Matchmaker Make me a match..... At 12:11 AM 11/29/95 -0500, StrayMutt@aol.com wrote: >In some recent postings on the topic of Baha'i singles, it was suggested that >The American Baha'i run a "personal ads" section to help unmarried Baha'i men >and women find one another. If such a thing were to come to pass (seems kind >of unlikely), would the results look something like this? > > Desperately Seeking Spirituality > >Can you handle 230 lbs of all man? Just think of me as the Most Great Body. > I'm a marriage-minded guy with no bad habits who is dangerously handsome. > I'm looking for a good, virtuous woman. No smoking, pets or kids. And no >low-fat diet types, either. > > > Looking For Mr. Good Guy > >Spiritual Sagittarius and a Southern belle, as well. Seeking respectable, >attractive professional man who prefers women who value sensible shoes, >higher consciousness and old-fashioned virtues. No kinky stuff and no easy >familiarity. > > > In the Valley of Search > >Cultured, single Baha'i female seeks man of same inclinations. My idea of >fun is firesides and deepening classes, reading aloud from the Writings, >strict chastity and fasting. > > > Nice Baha'i Boy > >Well, I used to be one once upon a time. Now, what the hell, I'm on the >wrong side of 50 and twice divorced. Looking for a babe who's blonde all >over. Object: pioneering / missionary position. > > >(Anonymous Donor) > From Alethinos@aol.comWed Nov 29 11:06:09 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 10:48:53 -0500 From: Alethinos@aol.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: breathing space Linda: THERE is no doubt that we are suffering . . . but what exactly we are suffering from and the *cure* IS the debate I wish to engage in here - this continued complaining _serves no useful purpose_! It takes us nowhere. Hell no I don't want to invite my friends to the Faith as it stands in America now - but the fault lies not in the _institutions_ but in us as AMERICANS. Read what the Guardian warned us of - really read it - and you will realize he predicted we would be here - just as we are now - and that THIS is the trap - and the solution he give also - a solution too radical for must of us to swallow. gotta go too, jim harrison From email@example.comWed Nov 29 11:10:26 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 23:45:04 -0700 (MST) From: "[G. Brent Poirier]" To: Juan R Cole Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: The Bab's Grammar As a non-Arabic speaker, I want to express my gratitude to Juan, and also to Chris in his book "Symbol and Secret," for explaining some of these language issues that are so important in the Faith. I greatly appreciate the intellectual bridge you provide. Juan, thanks too for the Zen-Baha'i comparison that I thought was right on. Brent From email@example.comWed Nov 29 11:11:01 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 95 17:47:39 From: "Stockman, Robert" To: Juan R Cole Subject: Re: Talisman rights As one who knows as many fact as Juan, I disagree. I have yet to see any of the allegedly totalitarian actions he implies are emanating from Baha'i institutions. Are we to assume the House of Justice turns its back on injustice; or is totally ignorant of blatantly unjust actions carried out by its most important NSA; or is incapable or recognizing injustice when a few academics with no training in ethics can see it; or simply doesn't care? I am afraid I disagree. I do think that the word "Covenant" become operative in some sort of theological sense at this point; unless, of course, we are to conclude God doesn't act either. -- Rob Stockman ______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________ Subject: Re: Talisman rights Author: Juan R Cole at INTERNET Date: 11/28/95 9:21 AM Stephen: I am sorry you were earlier misunderstood. All of us have been misunderstood. But no one more than John Walbridge at this juncture. Tomorrow things may be clearer. I actually hope not. *But*, with all due love, affection and buddha-mind, I must take the strongest possible exception to your statement that my proposed bill of rights would have made John Walbridge's actions impossible. This is simply not true. A bill or rights does not revoke criminal law; it simply ensures that people are not treated like criminals for thinking, writing, & etc. I have no problem with Baha'is having their administrative rights taken away for a long-term and embarrassing alcohol problem, spousal abuse, or felonies. Neither would a Baha'i bill of rights. Threatening a member of Talisman because of his posting is the equivalent of a crime. It is like reading an article you disagree with, and, instead of replying with better arguments and documentation, deciding to go over to his house and break his legs with baseball bats. No bill of rights would protect you from prosecution if you bullied someone like that. And when the police arrested the guys with the baseball bats, you would not normally expect the ACLU to get too excercised about it. The cries of outrage over John's reconsideration of subscription rights of persons who work for the issuer of the threat would be much muted among civilized persons if the full facts were known. cheers Juan Cole, History, University of Michigan Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 10:53:53 -0800 From: an assistant to the ABM To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: RE: Re: Baha'i Bill of Rights/criminal code Dear Juan, There is some progress here, despite the polemics, and I'll get to the substance of that question in a minute. There is, however, a very grave misunderstanding on your part with respect to my position. I don't believe that the secrecy surrounding issues involving administrative rights is good or bad. That is a value judgment which I will specifically disavow. There is only, and there should be only, the statements of `Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice regarding the proper conduct of an institution's administrative affairs, and whether or not the institution's conduct (or the conduct of the members of that institution) is in accordance with the guidance laid down by these heads of the Faith. Now, you wrote: From: Juan R Cole[SMTP:email@example.com] >> In US courts of law, there exists a notion of burden of proof. >Oh, if I were putting someone on trial, I would want to have better >evidence than I do. But the evidence I have is perfectly respectable as >a basis for coming to journalistic and historical conclusions, such as >that the system is dysfunctional with regard to intellectuals. First, it's not the nature of the conclusions themselves that is problematic. It's what you have chosen to do with those conclusions, or, to put it slightly differently, what you can do with those conclusions and still remain within the bounds of proper conduct for an individual member of the Faith. If you state these conclusions in a letter to a member of the Auxiliary Board or the Continental Counselors or the Universal House of Justice, then there is no problem. However, if you want to express them in a public forum, then a higher standard of evidence applies. At all times, and under all conditions, your conduct must remain within the very clear bounds outlined in documents like _Individual Rights and Freedoms_. You have proposed a solution to the problem, but, because of the rather lax standard of evidence you are using for your conclusions, you really haven't a clue as to whether your solution will improve things or hurt them in some other way. It seems to me as though you'd like to have an open forum in which you could state your conclusions as they stand (and without the benefit of stronger evidence). But, doesn't this constitute a trial in the court of public opinion? Indeed, this is one of the repugnant features of the US system. The authority of this government's institutions has slowly been eroded away over the past 30 years by a free press that sees fit to air all sorts of accusations and ridiculous claims based upon a standard of evidence sufficient to support a "journalistic" conclusion. Please, don't inflict this ridiculousness on Baha'u'llah's Administrative Order. If that weren't enough, your theory that the Administrative Order is dysfunctional with respect to intellectuals doesn't have an adequate explanation for some observed phenomena (e.g. Peter Khan, Adib Taherzadeh and Bahiyyih Nakhjavani to name but a few). You might try to fit the existence of these persons into your model. It would go well toward strengthening your arguments. >I know this is hard for you to understand, but try to walk a mile in my >shoes. Why should this be important, Juan? I'm not judging you. I'm judging the efficacy of your ideas and the strength of your arguments. Are you claiming some form of gnostic ability to present ideas without having to justify those ideas because of your experience? I have not told you anything of substance about my own experience for the very reason that this is a subtle form of ad hominem argument. Were I to relate some of my experiences during the more than 25 years that I've been a believer in Baha'u'llah (I don't remember a time when I did not believe in Baha'u'llah), I think you'd reconsider your conclusion that I find this hard to understand. As for the notion of having some incompetent idiot review the code I write, it doesn't quite compare to a policy set down by the Universal House of Justice. As I might be annoyed by the former, _any_ idea I have which is manifestly at variance with something stated by the Universal House of Justice gets immediate reconsideration (and that reconsideration does not consist of finding ways to convince myself that I'm right and that the Universal House of Justice is wrong). I'm not fond of running into brick walls. >Your general point appears to be that I should sit down, shut up and let >wise persons such as yourself "handle" the problems, about which I cannot >possibly know enough to form a considered judgment, even when they >directly impinge on me and my close friends. This is a more subtle form of the polemics of which I spoke earlier. Have I ever claimed wisdom? Have I ever said that you should not discuss the broader issues? If I thought that you should sit down and shut up, would you and I be having this discussion at all? Juan, you can take what I've said seriously or not. That's up to you. On the other hand, I care about you and the things you are capable of doing for this Faith. Let me put it this way. This is the Cause of God we're talking about. It will survive no matter what [we] do. I have neither the need nor the ability to protect this Cause. Why, then, do you suppose I continue to participate in this discussion? Warmest Regards, From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 11:57:21 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 11:10:13 -0500 (EST) From: Juan R Cole To: "[G. Brent Poirier]" Cc: email@example.com Subject: Re: The Bab's Grammar Brent: While we're on the subject of important contributions, I want to express my gratitude publicly to you for your engaged openness, moderation of tone, intelligent argumentation with careful use of sources, and profound sincerity of belief. You are a paragon of Baha'u'llah's instruction that when we see a spiritual truth someone else does not, we should offer it to them gently. much love Juan On Tue, 28 Nov 1995, [G. Brent Poirier] wrote: > > As a non-Arabic speaker, I want to express my gratitude to Juan, and also > to Chris in his book "Symbol and Secret," for explaining some of these > language issues that are so important in the Faith. I greatly appreciate > the intellectual bridge you provide. > > Juan, thanks too for the Zen-Baha'i comparison that I thought was right on. > > Brent > From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 15:30:25 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 11:58:52 EST From: QUANTA DAWNLIGHT To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Affection of Talismanian mummies Ahmad Anis wrote: Dear Talismanians, Dear Quanta, >Having got ready on Sunday morning to go to the Australian >emple for service, I was stoped by the buzz of the phone. By fairy GOD MOTHER YENTLE knowing you are going to Temple and wanted to ask for some special prayers. > you still have a chance with Ayla. Oooops! phone lines were not working. I think she said Ayla is interested in people her own age. But, Yentle will find you someone else. Just send me your picture and I shall begin the search. >Having heard all that then I departed to go to the temple with a content >heart. Let me tell you I had your family in my thoughts. Thank you kindly. How so very nice of such a gentleman. > Quanta wrote: The rapist left his > "seeds of creation" all over her body and the blanket Ahmad wrote: >May I correct your story and suggest that men do not possess seed of >creation in them, as seed of creation physically means a fertilised egg. >men's sperm does not qualify for this. This response is very disconcerting to me. I was not expecting a continual defense of your theory, just compassionate note on how terrible it must been for this young mother to be in this horror. But, as I stated before we have a long way to go. lovingly, quanta...(*_*) From sindiogi@NMSU.EduWed Nov 29 15:32:08 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 10:13:14 -0700 (MST) From: "S. Indiogine" To: Juan R Cole Cc: Burl Barer , firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: The Bab's Grammar Regarding Juan's final comment on the quality of Greek in the New Testament. The Greek of the Gospel of Mark is very 'coarse'. Indeed, Luke and Matthew who used this gospel did make often the correct grammatical changes to the parts of GoMark that they included in their gospels. The Greek style and grammar of the Revelation of John is horrible. This is also why the Eastern, Greek speaking, Church rejected this book for centuries. The Latin speaking west read this book as a 'polished' translation (Vulgata) and accepted the book much earlier than the East. Eric Indiogine (email@example.com), Las Cruces, New Mexico ## True loss is for him whose days have been ## ## spent in utter ignorance of his self ## -* Baha'u'llah, Words of Wisdom #21 *- From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 15:33:07 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 12:22:12 EST From: Christopher Buck To: Talisman@indiana.edu Cc: Christopher Buck Subject: Mani a Manifestation? Ishraq-Khavari (I'll have to search for this reference) has stated that the Baha'i Writings are neutral as regards Mani. *World Order* published an article some years ago: *Mani and Manichaeism: A Study in Religious Failure*. In an unpublished letter to the editor, I took issue with the several grounds on which Mani's inauthenticity was being argued by the author of that article. One of the Baha'i criteria against which Mani's claims were measured was that a Manifestation of God--in particular, the founder of a religion--ought also to have been the founder of a civilization. The fact that Manichaeism had been adopted as the state religion of two Central Asian states more or less refuted such a disqualification. In *In Iran* (ed. Peter Smith, Studies in the Babi and Baha'i Religions, vol. 3), I argued that Mani really afforded the only phenomenological parallel to Baha'u'llah's proclamation as a world prophet, since Mani appears to have been the first to unite Semitic and Aryan religious systems in both his proclamation and liturgy. On several occasions, I have been privately criticized for drawing such a parallel, but I stand by my comparison (see *A Unique Escatological Interface: Baha'u'llah and Cross-Cultural Messianism* in *In Iran*). Since the term *Sabian* quickly became the Procrustean, catch-all quranic term for minority religions that did not otherwise fit into the Arab view of their manifest destiny, I will not take issue with John's identification of Manichaeans as Sabians, except to say that, based on the Cologne Mani Codex and other evidence, I think the *authorial intent* of the Qur'an was that, by the term *Sabians*, the Qur'an meant *Baptizers*--to wit, Mandaeans (as attested by Baha'u'llah in the *Kitab-i Badi`* and elsewhere). One could also make a case for including the Elchasaites (the Baptist religion in which Mani was raised) as quranic Sabians, but I doubt this on other grounds (See my article, *The Identification of the Sabi'un: An Historical Quest* in the July/October 1984 issue of *The Muslim World*.) I think we can suspend judgement on Mani, and tentatively concur with Alessandro Bausani's classification of Manichaeism as a *Failed Monotheism* in his elegant typology of monotheisms (which I think Baha'i academics ought to consider adopting) as summarized in Bausani's classic *Numen* article, *Can Monotheism Be Taught?* Christopher Buck ********************************************************************** * * * * * * * * * Christopher Buck Invenire ducere est. * * * Carleton University * * * * * * Internet: CBuck@CCS.Carleton.CA * * * * * * P O Box 77077 * Ottawa, Ontario * K1S 5N2 Canada * * * * * * * * * ********************************************************************** From email@example.comWed Nov 29 15:33:36 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 12:52:57 EST From: RUTH E CLARK To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: re:the truth Dear People, I had to make a choice of hiding my association with Quanta The Yentle, or hide from the list. Quanta forgave me for my jokes. She really is an unusual sort of person, I mean in a good sense. I'll tell you one little story about her. Quanta and I were walking on a street near the campus one afternoon. She said "Ruth don't be scared, this ruggedy looking guy is gonna jump up and hug me right now, so be cool". Sure enough, this one homeless fellow breaking his conversation with his friends on the side-walk jumped and yelled "hey little lady! ( Quanta is the size of a fifth grader) where you been honey!" then telling everyone how she has helped him on several occasions and how he would die for her. I must say, I was a bit uncomfortable being surrounded by bunch of homeless guys with alcohol breath. But, not Quanta. We keep telling her to be careful when she keeps carrying on with her compassion business. Please pray for her. She has an unusual comfort relating to bunch of different folks without fear. To tell you the truth, that is not Ruth. Now the reason I call her Yentle. You see I am really opposeto these arranged marriages. It is the Westerner in me I guess. Especially a young lady being married to an old man, NO! I don't think so. I am sorry I can't say much about all these going ons on Talisman that I don't really understand a bit. But, I'll say that Baha'is are really nice people. I enjoy seeing so many different people at least trying to work out their differences honestly here on talisman and elsewhere. Of course, talisman is a different story alltogether. Sorry, for taking long, cheerfully yours, Ruth From email@example.comWed Nov 29 15:34:23 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 09:50 PST From: Burl Barer To: Dan Orey Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: A gay Baha'i Responds >Dear Dan: I think your characterization of the guidance from the The Universal House of Justice is more you and not much UHJ. Had I not the letter in front of me, I would gather from your post that God speaks with prejudice and disdain -- I don't see that at all: "To regard homosexuals with prejudice and disdain would be entirely against the spirit of Baha'i Teachings. The doors are open for all of humanity to enter the Cause of God, irrespective of their present circumstances; this invitation applies to homosexuals as well as to any others who are engaged in practices contrary to the Baha'i Teachings." I still find an analogy in the enigmatic condition of being a "drug addict" -- a practice contrary to the Baha'i teachings -- a condition to which a person is pre-disposed by birth, or is actually born that way, or acquires the condition via medical treatment, or via injury, or for reasons which no one fully understands. Say "crack smoking drug addicts" and the mental images are, to most people, more scary than saying "gay real estate agents" or "homosexual midgets" or "lesbian ecologists" -- and there are far more drug addicts than homosexuals. In the Baha'i community, those afflicted with this genetic defect, psychological whatever, or acquired propensity are often loath to be forthcoming about thier "test." They run the risk of arrest, even if they are white collar, white skinned, upper middle class, although being of color increases the odds of bieng busted, and are liable to lose their rights if they are obviously altered on a consistent basis--flagrant disobedience. Now, I am a delightful person, and except for my table manners, I am not too disgusting -- at least not often -- but it takes daily vigilence and sacrifice of my "natural" inclination to avoid doing that which Baha'u'llah forbids. I have not always been successful, but I strive with greater and lesser degress of successs. I once managed to not use drugs for almost 13 years! Then there have been times when I could not manage 13 days, 13 hours. I know folks who have left the Faith or hide thier faith rather than bring the Faith they love into disrepute by their actions or risk getting railroaded out of the Cause by over zealous local custodians..I know addicts who killed themselves out of desperation and shame. I can't (won't) do that -- because I am dedicated to this Cause of God and it is my lifeline and absolute reality -- I see in this letter from the Universal House of Justice manifest love, wisdom and compassion -- it is not just a letter about homosexuality, but all manner of human imperfections, be they inborn or acquired, which require dedication on the part of the individual and compassion and patience on the part of the community at large. As the Source of All Good says in the letter: "All of us suffer from imperfections which we must struggle to overcome and we all need one another's understanding and patience." For me to attempt rounding up all the "chemically challenged" Baha'is and have them petition the Supreme Body to change the Faith's teachings about use of habit forming drugs and intoxicants because we have "good reasons" for being who we are, and that we have medical reasons for our condition, and we are not disgusting people at all -- we have clean clothes, decent manners, never double-dip our chips, and own Volvo station wagons -- (obviously Baha'u'llah was thinking only of Iranian opium dens) -- is as silly as homosexuals petitioning the Supreme Body to change God's mind about that behaviour. My opinion. Burl (no, I am not on drugs today, except nicotine and caffeine) Barer PS: The Volvo blew up -- I must call AAA and have it towed. This is obviously the work of Satan, my sworn enemy. It is easier to call AA than AAA -- you just call them and cry "my car broke down and I want to drink over it" and right away three big hairy guys run out and fix your car for free and then take you out for ice cream and coffee. Doesn't work that way with NA (Narcotic Anonymous) -- if you call them, the three hairy guys run out, take the car "to get it fixed, you wait here by the side of the road in the dark and don't move" and then sell it for dope and never even come back and share it with you! That a joke for all you NA members in the audience who are now mad at me for portraying addicts as dishonest and disguting...:-) then there is the one about calling GA (gays anonymous) but you can see where all this stereotyping leads.... ******************************************************* Order MAN OVERBOARD, the new book by Burl Barer today! ******************************************************* From email@example.comWed Nov 29 15:35:36 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 12:59:44 EST From: Christopher Buck To: Talisman@indiana.edu Cc: Christopher Buck Subject: Baha'i Peer Review As an interim reform of an interim Baha'i review system, I propose that Baha'i review of academic work on the Faith be formally converted into a Baha'i peer review system. Under Dr. Robert Stockman (now Associate Professor at De Paul University in Chicago), my impression is that this kind of system has already been informally functioning along these lines for some time now. I propose that we simply formalize it. As to peer review in the academic world, it's not so perfect either. I believe that Hinnells should never have allowed MacEoin to have made this kind of statement in a scholarly publication: *Baha' Allah's later writings are strongly marked by the influence of modernist ideas, revealed in his increasing concern with such issues as disarmament, world government, and inter-religious harmony, which replace the mystical themes of his earlier writing. These later writings are, however, rather jejune and stylistically impoverished in marked contrast to the vigour of his earlier works." (MacEoin, s.v. *Baha' Allah* in J. R. Hinnells (ed.), *Who's Who of World Religions* (London: Macmillan, 1992): 44. One further proposal: I reiterate my proposal that, under a Baha'i peer review system, a Baha'i academic who passes formal review three times ought to receive the confidence of the system in being exempted from further review. I believe that issues of accuracy are adequately addressed here. (Issues of *correctness*, however, are distinct from accuracy, and this, I think, constitutes the unstated agenda of review. I state this with all due respect.) Finally, I would like to encourage Counsellors, NSA members and World Centre staff to enrich the discourse on Talisman, which I am afraid to say is gaining a rather jaded reputation in Baha'i administrative circles, so far as I can ascertain second-hand. (I consent to the forwarding of this letter to other Baha'i mailgroups, if someone wishes to do so.) If, as LSAs are encouraged to do, NSAs could take their constituencies into their confidence, we would all have a fuller appreciation of why certain policies are the way they are, without prejudice to the tabling of new proposals. The problem I have with the theoretically democratic aspect of Baha'i administration is that, while it is electorally democratic, I am not convinced of its efficiency as a system of democratic input. The closest example to democratic involvement at the ideological level I have seen is the House's semi-private circulation of a pre-publication draft of *The Promise of World Peace*. I think this was extraordinary. It was the ultimate informal peer review, as it were, and an exceptionally democratic act (a non-electoral *vox populus*) within the context of Baha'i administration. Christopher Buck ********************************************************************** * * * * * * * * * Christopher Buck Invenire ducere est. * * * Carleton University * * * * * * Internet: CBuck@CCS.Carleton.CA * * * * * * P O Box 77077 * Ottawa, Ontario * K1S 5N2 Canada * * * * * * * * * ********************************************************************** From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 15:35:46 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 07:37:32 PST From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: the Montana Bahais Thanks Burl about the montana Bahais. I had wondered. There was a humorous essay in the Altanta Magazine, or Harpers maybe in 1995 about the "head of the Bahai faith announcing the end of the world" and I wondered what the hell that was about. Belove ------------------------------------- Name: Philip Belove E-mail: email@example.com Date: 11/29/95 Time: 07:37:32 This message was sent by Chameleon ------------------------------------- Things should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler -- A. Einstein From Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nlWed Nov 29 15:36:54 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 19:26:27 +0100 (MET) From: Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nl To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: What's T good for? Jim has a rather low opinion of the functionality of the critical function which is so abundantly exercised here, and also of the various reforms which have been suggested (although we are still waiting to hear the details of his own proposed alternatives). Specifically he asks how "the recent pattern of discourse here on this list affecting the hearts and minds of the believers?" If I may offer a sample of one, it has affected me by making me resolve to apply the principles of the *Universal* declaration of human rights in the institutions with which I am involved. Perhaps others may be moved to do the same, and the number of things which people have to 'get over' in the next generation might be a little lower. Perhaps some local assemblies might even endorse the declaration of human rights as assembly policy? Remember the nuclear-free zone campaign? It started with cities and villages and led to national and even continent- wide and effective bans. As of now I am a one-man human rights violation free zone. One has to start somewhere, and it is clear that such an initiative is unlikely to come from the top in our community. I don't see any chance that the wrongs of the past will just go away unless 1) there is structural institutional change to ensure they do not recur, at which point we will not need to use the various 'incidents' as concrete evidence of the need for such change, and 2) there is something like a truth commission to redress past wrongs. Apologies might be in order, explanation certainly. I don't believe that a nation or a community can achieve lasting and effective unity by forgetting their past. And not all of these 'incidents' are remotely distant anyway - would that it were so. Anyway, I think the ball's in Jim's court - just HOW could the list 'be used to effect change'? To 'plan' what? to 'connect and inspire' for what purpose? And once the details are out, why should this occur on Talisman specifically? I for one subscribe for the titbits of Middle-eastern studies and Baha'i theology that come our way, and the dead- duckedness or otherwise of the American community may not be a pressing concern for subscribers from other parts of the world. Sen ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sen McGlinn ph: 31-43-216854 Andre Severinweg 47 email: Sen.McGlinn@RL.RuLimburg.NL 6214 PL Maastricht, the Netherlands *** When, however, thou dost contemplate the innermost essence of things, and the individuality of each, thou wilt behold the signs of thy Lord's mercy . . ." ------------------------------------------------------------------------\'1a From email@example.comWed Nov 29 15:37:15 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 13:33:48 -0500 (EST) From: Donald Zhang Osborn To: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Institutions/Reform/Trust/Love Allah'u'abha! Thanks to all for the different points of view, quotes, etc. on the Baha'i institutions. One dimension that should not be forgotten is that of love. Building trust, asking questions, discussing reforms, understanding the nature and future of the administrative order are all essential, but without striving to love the institutions (as well as each other), whatever the imperfections, where will the energy come from for growth and maturation of the institutions and the community as a whole? I do not mean to overlook that there are some people who feel hurt and believe that injustice has been done--only to reiterate what most already know better than I, but which should not escape mention: that love is possible and necessary even in these situations ... love of justice and love for the Divinely-ordained institutions. Don Osborn firstname.lastname@example.org -- From ZIBA@msn.comWed Nov 29 15:48:20 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 19:13:10 UT From: Brian Armstrong To: 'Talisman' Subject: Bio ... Allah'u'Abha. After being on Talisman for about three months now as merely an observer, I somewhat hestatingly upload my Bio. Hesitatingly, because of all the confusion and sorrow that I see propogated here and less and less deepening on our own Faith and more concentration on the Faiths of others; although I do see this study as necessary I feel there is a large detraction from the real serious studies of our Faith. I am a Professional in the Computer Industry with various credentials to back that up. I currently am employed by the Ministry of Forests of British Columbia, Canada (no jibes please!) as a Systems Analyst and an Windows NT Network Administrator, and also have on my off-work hours my own company called ZBA International (pronounced Zee-bah), which provides many services of which software development and Consulting/Servicing are the primary business functions. I have been a Baha'i since 1991, and before that was not as much practicing any one particular Religion as I was studying the Esoteric and Mystical ideologies such as the Theosophists, and was mostly a youth who enjoyed going to places spiritually since I could not afford to go there physically. I have studied many languages, including Greek, Hebrew, Arabic/Farsi, Hieroglyphic Egyptian, Sumerian, Coptic, and Latin, with a touch of French, and a smidget of Mayan. Now, this does not mean I am an expert in any of them, nor do I claim to be, it is just an inkling of where my mind was at during various stages of my life, and what interests I have had. I am still battling with learning Farsi, and have the great blessing of being married to a beautiful, caring, and spiritual women who just happens to be Persian. Her family heritage hearkens back to the time of Shaykh Tabarsi, where her great-great-great-Uncle was one of the Martyrs. Her father also died at the hands of the Iranian government nearly six years ago, when they performed the cruel bastinado on him suffering him to live the two weeks hence in misery, as his nervous system disintegrated, he became paralyzed, and his lungs collapsed causing him to expire. I am sorry for the graphic representation but I feel that these events that shape our Baha'i World are the exact events that guide our Institutions, our communities, and our spiritual life. The Martyrs surround us and protect us always. Currently, I am developing software with a fellow Talismanian, and a very good Friend, Cary Reinstein, that we hope will be a turning point for the Baha'i' Writings into our digital universe. I have been steadily programming this software with hopes of having it ready for late winter or early spring of 1996. It will initially be only for the Microsoft Windows line of software (i.e. Windows 3.x, Windows 95, and Windows NT), with Unix and Macintosh development slated for summer and fall of next year. This information is strictly for information purposes only and is not meant as an advertisment. We will be soliciting testers next month and in January, to determine if the product's direction is the right one, and whether the features can be enhanced or added. We will keep you posted. It has been disconcerting for me to say the least, and my wife, considering her family history and her lineage, to have to witness the disintegration of conversations on Talisman. A list of whose members we were told, were scholars, counsellors, Auxialary Members and Assistants, members of National Spiritual Assemblies, and individuals from the World Centre. Many a time I have been poised on the brink of sending that infamous UNSUBSCRIBE message only to find a spark of verite, that equiescence of truth, that glimmer of hope, when my yesteryear studies after a scholarly fashion sat up and took notice of someone's post. it happens so infrequently that it begs one to differ whether it is worthwhile getting the 20 or 30 messages a day from this list (too much for the poor content that surfaces). If angels weep at hearing people backbite and say nasty and cruel things to each other, then the angels must be weeping a mighty sorrow at this moment. I don't claim to be a perfect Baha'i (if there is any in the world today that can stand in the shadow of 'Abdu'l-Baha, then let them stand), but I do know when enough is enough. Sure we can debate endlessly over what we feel the Institutions of the Faith should be doing, should be saying, and should be writing, but there is one important thing that must be understood - they were elected in a Baha'i Election by the Baha'i community. They weren't elected by one individual, or one group of people who reside under the banner of Baha'i, but who think they are the most spiritual. It is not a question of who is right or who is wrong, it is a question that the Institutions of the Faith are the direct descendents of the Guardian, and should be seen as the light bearer's, the harbingers of truth and not the masterminds of a plot to discredit or harm Baha'is. Lately, a few posts have centered on whether or not "Covenant-breaker" material was being passed around, and whether or not it was wise to read and comment on it on Talisman or in your own Forums of private or communty discussion periods. It was was also straight-way rebuked by the Auxialary board for Protection as being defintely "Covenant-breaker" material and not fit for Baha'i consumption by any means. What other message is it that you as Baha'i's are waiting for? Are you indeed awaiting a message from the august pen of the Universal House of Justice? Is it not sufficient that the Auxialary Board, a Board that has been established and maintained by the World Centre, that get's its direction straight from the World Centre, that draws on the collected and majestic Baha'i teachings of Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha, the Guardian, the Universal House of Justice, and the Hands of the Cause of God good enough for you? If they make a decision be certain that there is no private agenda, they have been established to look after the best interests of the Cause and of all Baha'i's the world over. To me, too many friendships, to many spirits, are sent wandering farther from the light. Is the light to bright to handle? Is it that the mirror or truth shows your own inadequacies, and illuminates the dark shadows and corners of your own spiritual neglect? I pray for you all. What happened to the Baha'i World I fell in love with when I first became a Baha'i. What happened to those stalwhart pioneers, to those Martyrs of yesteryear, those Knights ... are they all to be forgotten? Have we indeed turned a mighty corner, and are we liked the Egyptian snake who eats his own tail? I for one am ecstatic to be a Baha'i. I want my actions, my example to be a teaching for my children, for the children of the world. I pray that you all want the same. My friends, I am not entertaining accusations this week, nor am I entertaining a flooded mailbox. My Bio stands as both who I am and what I stand for. I am a Baha'i. I choose to follow the guidance of the Institutions of the Faith. If there are individuals who serve on those Institutions, and influence the decision-making of the Institution to something that is contrary to Baha'i teaching as outlined in the Writings of our beloved Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi or the Universal House of Justice, then these must be seen as a Protection issue and echoes those words of Shoghi Effendi that claim we will experience attacks from within. I pray the Institutions who have experienced this malfunction will embark on a mission to correct it and pray for guidance in all their decision-making processes. May Baha'u'llah guide you and bless your every step! With Warmest Baha'i Love, Brian Armstrong.Brian Armstrong, ZBA International Ent. From email@example.comWed Nov 29 15:48:57 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 14:39:07 -0500 (EST) From: Richard Vernon Hollinger To: firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: email@example.com Subject: Re: the Montana Bahais Phillip, The Montana "Baha'is" to which reference has been made are followers of Leland Jensen, originally a member of one the groups in New Mexico that accepted Mason Remey as the second guardian. Jensen left that group, formed his own "Baha'i" group in a college town in Montana, making vague but increasingly grandiose claims for himself, most recently culminating in his claims to be the return of Christ. His teachings follow a trajectory that is discernible in Mason Remey's later writings--catasrophism. Remey, since the end of World War II, had been convinced that there would be a nuclear war that would change the face of the planet. I have forgotten the date that Remey predicted this would occur, but he closed is papers until 1995 in part because he thought the the nuclear conflict would have already taken place by then. Jensen has predicted the end of the world several times--his followers seem to believe, like Remey, that the some sites in the Rocky Mountains would be safe from the forthcoming nuclear war. Recently, he gave a date for the destruction of New York City (about a year ago, I think). When the date passed, his followers asserted that the prediction was *not* a mistake. They were right of course, New York City was destroyed, but no one noticed. Richard Hollinger >From the ruins of New York City From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 15:53:10 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 15:06:06 -0500 (EST) From: Richard Vernon Hollinger To: Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nl Cc: email@example.com Subject: Re: MacEoin, Afnan & Hatcher On Wed, 29 Nov 1995 Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nl wrote: > I think Seena is right - the Maceoin vs Afnan & Hatcher > debate (a series of attack & reposte articles) did more > public damage to the Faith than the Hinnels intervention, > and presumably contributed to the polarized and polemical > approach which followed. But - correct me if I am wrong - > aren't Afnan and Hatcher also "Bahai academics"? Their > intervention was very unfortunate, but can hardly be used > as an example to show that there should be MORE > consultation with academics. I do not believe that either of the authors are academicians in the field of Middle Eastern Studies, or a related field. I remember seeing a copy of this piece a few weeks before it was published, when I was a graduate student in Middle Eastern History at UCLA. Dismayed at the approach it took, and unaware that it was about to go to press, I began preparing a written critique that I intended to forward to the authors. While I was preparing this, I ran into one of the authors at an ABS Conference. He told me that it had already been typeset--or, at least, that it was too late to make changes--and, furthemore, that the article had been reviewed and approved by the Baha'i World Centre. I am not sure what the latter assertion meant, exactly, since the BWC does not normally conduct reviews of English-language materials, but it seemed to me at the time that the author was implying that no revisions in the article needed to be contemplated. I cannot believe that anyone in the field of Middle Eastern Studies, or for that matter any field of history, would have found this article up to academic standards. The authors, as I recall, tried to respond to MacEoin's use of primary source materials with reference to *God Passes By,* while ignoring MacEoin's orientalist approach [Orientalists would typically attempt to explain all social phenmonon in Islamic societies by referring to the Qu'ran or other Muslim texts]. MacEoin attempted to explain events in Babi history by referring to the writings of the Bab, without providing any evidence that the Babis who participated in these events were even aware of these writings. Richard From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 15:54:03 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 13:30:44 -0700 (MST) From: "[G. Brent Poirier]" To: Burl Barer Cc: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: anti-Baha'i file On Wed, 29 Nov 1995, Burl Barer wrote: > These nuts love to also send out press releases claiming that the "Head of > the Baha'i Faith" insists the world is going to blow up on Tuesday. Of > course, it doesn't and people think that we Baha'is are nuts, not realizing > that this joker in Montana is not a Baha'i, let alone the leader of our > Beloved Faith. Back in the late '70s or early 80's this group made a similar announcement. I recall -- it might have been on NPR -- a reporter visiting Missoula. The leader of the group, Leland Jensen, had declared that an atomic war was about to happen, and that everybody but his group would get fried because *his* group had filled their attics with dirt and pebbles to stop the gamma radiation. You could hear raucous laughter in the background as their group had a party celebrating that they were right and protected, and everybody else would soon be toast. The program ended with the sounds of the party, and the reporter saying, "So as we leave Leland Jensen with rocks in his attic..." From email@example.comWed Nov 29 15:54:22 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 15:33:42 -0500 (EST) From: Donald Zhang Osborn To: Christopher Buck Cc: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Mani & Smith Christopher Buck wrote: > In *In Iran* (ed. Peter Smith, Studies in the Babi and Baha'i > Religions, vol. 3), I argued that Mani really afforded the only > phenomenological parallel to Baha'u'llah's proclamation as a world > prophet, since Mani appears to have been the first to unite Semitic > and Aryan religious systems in both his proclamation and liturgy. Allah'u'Abha! A Baha'i friend, who is not a religious scholar but has spent a lot of time with the Writings & talking with people of different religions, speaks similarly of Joseph Smith ("prophet" of the Mormon faith, who the Guardian said *might* be considered a "seer" (I don't have the reference)) saying that in a way he provided a "bridge" between the religious systems of the East and the Americas. I am not that clear on her idea but I wondered if in regards to "prophethood" (or not) Mani and Smith might be considered to have had similar stations... Don Osborn firstname.lastname@example.org From email@example.comWed Nov 29 16:02:39 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 15:53:14 -0500 (EST) From: Donald Zhang Osborn To: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Sexuality (in part) a vain & idle imagining? Allah'u'Abha! To what exent can the concept of "sexuality" be considered a "vain and idle imagining"? Let me clarify that I am not asking if "sexuality" per se is a vain and idle imagining (since at its core it refers to that aspect of human personality relating to sex, and it has many legitimate uses) nor am I trying to downplay or deny the role of sex in human existence. Rather I am asking what parts of this concept--which seems to have come to prominence in public discourse and been expanded in the last two or three decades--can be considered distractions from a more whole and healthy personal development (physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual). My concern is with the social construct of "sexuality" in the contemporary West which focuses on sexual activity as an end in itself or at least an indispensable part of personal growth and fulfillment (ultimately drawing our sight to "things below" as the Writings counsel us not to do). This question occurred to me last spring when I heard on NPR a promo for a series on "sexuality" in which a woman spoke in very strong terms about how important she felt her "sexuality" to be. My first reaction was to wonder about the seemingly ideological fervor of her statement, then I began to wonder if in the West "sexuality," or at least fixation on it, IS a sort of ideology. Anyway, the distinction I am thinking about is something like that between "sane and intelligent patriotism" and "nationalism." Currently popular notions of and approaches to "sexuality" in the West seem to go to extremes like the latter. Don Osborn firstname.lastname@example.org From email@example.comWed Nov 29 16:02:50 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 13:55:55 -0700 (MST) From: "[G. Brent Poirier]" To: Richard Vernon Hollinger Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: Re: the Montana Bahais On Wed, 29 Nov 1995, Richard Vernon Hollinger wrote: > writings--catasrophism. Remey, since the end of World War II, had been > convinced that there would be a nuclear war that would change the face of > the planet. I have forgotten the date that Remey predicted this would > occur... In one published document, he said it would occur around April, 1963. How grievous a slam at the House of Justice he was so jealous of. From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 16:03:16 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 13:38:20 -0700 (MST) From: "[G. Brent Poirier]" To: Juan R Cole Subject: And rugged good looks On Wed, 29 Nov 1995, Juan R Cole wrote: > Brent: While we're on the subject of important contributions, I want to > express my gratitude publicly to you for your engaged openness, > moderation of tone, intelligent argumentation with careful use of sources, > and profound sincerity of belief. Love Brent From MBOYER%UKANVM.BitNet@pucc.PRINCETON.EDUWed Nov 29 23:40:35 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 14:31:36 CST From: Milissa To: Maziar Ostovar Cc: email@example.com Subject: Re: sex and shame in the Kitab-i-Aqdas Hi Maziar-- I wish I could answer the concerns you raised in this post but I admit to having some of the same concerns as you, and don't really know what to make of them. However, a couple of things seem to really stand out to me. First, it appears that in order to "get caught" one would have to be violating the laws regarding sex in a blatant way. Otherwise, the Assembly would have to spy on people to know if they are breaking any Baha'i Law. However, blatant seems to have its own problems....obviously if you are caught doing it in the park or become a porno star you are breaking a Baha'i Law. On the other hand, what if a teenage couple make a mistake and the girl ends up pregnant. Well it would be obvious that she and her bf had broken the Law, although technically the act was not blatant, even though the result (pregnancy) is. It is in this kind of situation that I am most concerned....since she is pregnant she can't claim she didn't have sex (it worked for Mary but nobody else!) but lets say she wanted to protect the father of the child, for whatever reasons, and would not give out his identity (ala Scarlett Letter). Do we force her to tell or give a DNA test so we can hunt him down? Can the punishment for adultery be imposed on only one of the two parties involved? And then there is that virgin- ity law in the Aqdas where your husband can claim you weren't a virgin and get rid of you. Would you then be punished twice, having the adultery penalty imposed after your new husband has dumped you? It seems that God has a double standard, according to some Baha'is, and thinks chastity is more important for women than for men....see the introductory book by Ferraby as an example. On the other hand, it could be worse. A fine is definitely not as bad as 100 lashes! Sincerely, Milissa Boyer firstname.lastname@example.org From email@example.comWed Nov 29 23:41:24 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 17:44:47 +0000 From: Chris Nelson To: firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: email@example.com Subject: Militant Naivity vs Sombre Cynicism Dear Philip and Talismanians, After spending the younger years of my life as an angry cynic, sick at heart at not being able to trust anyone or any thing in the world it was a relief to fall into the arms of the Bahai Faith. How much are we to trust the institutions and other Bahai's? To return to cynicism would hardly benifit individuals, but obviously blind faith in human beings is the wrong path also. I have heard that the Sufi's had a saying that went something like: "Freedom is the absence of choice." Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to trust totally?!! Chris. > I have many friends amoung the Friends who would have not read the > posting because someone "told her not to. "they told us not to and so > I didn't." and it comes across to me with an air of "truer devotion > than thou. Here is how I handled it, here is how it should be > handled, let this be an example to you." > > But it is not an example I would choose to follow. > Brent, I think it was, pointed out that his preferred reading was > "advised us against." I can live with that. > > And that made clear to me a certain dimension of Fundamentalism. I > called it,"militant Naivete." > "When you've been a Bahai as long as I have, then you'll understand > better." The more I think about this sentence, the more monstrous it > becomes. /One World /One People /One Family Bahai From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 23:42:00 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 16:55:42 -0500 (EST) From: Stephen Johnson To: Christopher Buck Cc: Talisman@indiana.edu, Christopher Buck Subject: Re: Baha'i Peer Review Christopher, Allah'u'Abha. Always enjoy your thoughts friend. I am very intruiged by your proposals for peer review and, in general and with limited experience, agree with many of your assertions. However, I would like to kindly disagree with the following: > One further proposal: I reiterate my proposal that, under a > Baha'i peer review system, a Baha'i academic who passes formal > review three times ought to receive the confidence of the system in > being exempted from further review. Regardless of a person's scholarly prowess, there tend to be articles which do not live up to a high standard even in the most renowned scholars. I take my experience mostly from a physics standpoint where I have \ \ knowledge of fine physicists whose work on a particular topic did not stand under scholastic scrutiny. Peer review in general sounds good, but I object to a type of 'review tenure'. Thank you though for your well thought out suggestion. Has an official proposal ever been drafted for further thought from the Universal House of Justice? stephen johnson From email@example.comWed Nov 29 23:44:43 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 15:15:04 -0700 (MST) From: Sadra To: TLCULHANE@aol.com Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: re: neoplatonism pt 2 My most dearest saintly soul-brother, Terry-- Shabestari's Gulshan-i rAz has been translated a couple of times. The translations aren't all that great, though. But you'll be happy to know that the Paulist Press, Classics of Western Spirituality series will be putting out a brand new translation of Mahmud Shabistari's _Rose Garden of Mysteries_ by Seyyed Hossein Nasr sometime in the next year or so together with an anthology volume of early Sufi texts by Michael Sells. Terry jan, I seem to have a different edition of the Gleanings from you - could you please give the number of the specific gleaning you're referring to. Thanx! > Now if Avicenna identifies the Active Intellect with the Angel Gabriel > with the Source of Revelation would it not be safe to say that I can > identitfy the "Maiden " with the Active Intellect as the Source of Revelation > ? A further fascinating tidbit along this line is the ancient Babylonian > goddess Ishtar. She is the lawgiver and judge as well as the god of love . a > la Baha u llah in Epistle speaking as the "lawgiver " and " truth seeker > mystic " . Sure, I don't see why you can't identify the Angel of Revelation, the Maiden, with the Active Intellect (al-aql al-fa''al) - I do! Both Avicenna & Suhrawardi identify it in different ways - see for instance Corbin's translation of the text and commentary on Hayy ibn Yaqzan in Avicenna and the Visionary Recital. The Divine Feminine theophanic symbol shows up all over the place - sometimes in unexpected places. I particularly like the way it's discussed in Vedanta as the pivotal, receptive nature of the Divinity. In Tantra it is called the archetypal yoni; in the Tao, the yang aspect of existence. I seem to recall Meister Eckhart saying something to the effect that the unmanifested nature of the Godhead in the the station of revealed ipseity (seems kinda paradoxical, no? "the unmanifested Godhead as manifested ipseity") is feminine and that the "uncreated intellect," the uncreated spark in the soul (what he also dubbs in its active manifestational mode as "the birth of the Son in the soul") as being feminine in its relation to the Essence - the logos in Eckhart is also feminine btw. On a somewhat unrelated note: Frithjof Schuon (known by his disciples as Shaykh Issa Nureddin al-Alawi), the current hierophant of the perennialist school, is head of a Sufi Order, the Tariqa Maryamiyya (The way or Order of Mary), that exclusively emphasizes the Divine Feminine - for those interested, Frithjof Schuon traces his lineage through the Algerian Alawi branch of the Shadhilliyyah Order; his Sufi Shaykh was the late Shaykh Ahmad al-Alawi, the subject of Martin Lings' book, _A Sufi Saint of the Twentieth Century_. > Suhrawardi - Could you elaborate a little on the essence /existence issue > which you said Mulla Sadra reverses ? The subject of Universals is a very important yet complicated issue in both Islamic and Western Medieval philosophy - the Scholastics ended up getting most of their propositions condemned as heresy by an ecclesiastical council in the 13th/early 14th century. As far as the Master of Illumination goes he held that the quiddities/haeccities (if I'm understanding him correctly - John can help out here) are manifestations of the Platonic forms, the Lord of the Species, and are thus primary. The that-ness (mahiyyah) of an entity as opposed to its such-ness or being (wujud) comes first than its existence, although this dichotomy is a mental abstraction and the process of existentiation and entification occur simultaneously - John what does Suhrawardi say about this in the Talwihat and Muqawwamat? Mulla Sadra holds the very opposite formulation: Being (wujud) is primary and the essences/quiddities are the non-existent (in the sense that they do not maintain essential existence) facets of the One Being in His vertical levels of Self-Manifestation. For Mulla Sadra and Ibn `Arabi there are 2 aspects to the quiddities: 1. as the immutable entites (a'yan ath-thabita) "...that have not tasted the smell of existence..," the Platonic Forms (kinda, but not quite), and 2. the actual things as they exist here as specificied individualities. Suhrawardi's position is known as the asalat al-mahiyyah (primacy of essence); that of Mulla Sadra, asalat al-wujud (the primacy of being/existence). Btw, Shaykh Ahmad Ahsai seems to have held the primacy of both essence and existence - at least that's what Izutsu says about him in his _Concept and Reality of Existence_. There's a very valuable article authored by Seyyed Hossein Nasr I encourage you to read on the history of Universals in Muslim thought: Existence (wujud) and Quiddity (mahiyyah) in Islamic Philosophy, International Philosophical Quarterly, vol. xxix, no. 4, issue no. 116 (December 1989), pp. 409-428. > Also you mentioned a similarity in the roor for "Ishraq" and " Mashriq " > . If I understood correctly then the "house" the dawning point is intimately > connected to "illumination " or the "enlightenment" Juan is referring to in > his Zen comments . I know exactly what you're hinting at and I totally agree. The word Mashriq'ul-adhkar sounds awfully Ishraqi to me too. One way I've been rendering the word lately is "The Remembrance (adhkar, from dhikr) of the Dawning Light of the Orient" (Mashriq, from sharq - the east)" (the Aurora Consurgens Corbin can't seem to stop talking about in all his studies on Suhrawardi). The word constantly invokes images of Mt. QAf or nA-kojA-AbAd (no-where-land) as well as reminding me a lot of the conclusion to the Shaykh al-Ishraq's important mystico-symbolic recital, Qissat Qurbat al-Qarbiyyah (The Tale of the the Occidental Exile). Allow me to get on a Coomaraswamyian tangent. The Mashriq'ul-adhkar of Baha'u'llah represents the sacredotium that "orients" its subject towards the orient of being, the cosmic North (nA-kojA-AbAd), represented by BAHA"U"LLAH and the Maiden respectivelly. This sacred space created by the Temple represents the celestial body of the Manifestation Himself, the Haykal-i Mubarak, and is analogous to the Church representing the Body of Christ in Christianity (although this is usually associated with the sacraments), the stupas the Buddha-nature, the Ka'aba the various modes of God's manifestations (tajjaliyat), the prophets and the primordial (hanifi) religion, and the Hogan of the Native American Navajo people, the cosmological six directions of being (north, south, east, west, right and left) the apex of which represents the Great Spirit - symbolized by an Eagle. If you haven't already, you should read Titus Burckhardt's _Sacred Art East & West_ Perennial Books (1987). Another side note: in his other book, _Sienna: City on a Hill_, Burckhart compares a 10th century Gothic Cathedral to a Romanesque Church of a couple of centuries later. In the Gothic, there are hardly any anthropomorphic figerines (sp?) or sculptures inside the interior of the Cathedral. But there these light niches throughout the building that were structured such that at sunrise and sunset you get a fascinating light-show of various vertical leveled order of lights harmoniously cadencing one upon the other - sound familiar. Well, the niches were strategically placed so as to get a Neoplatonic emanation scheme effect. In the Romanesque and Rennaisance structures all of this is missing. > Back to * The Presence of Being * - I am still *tasting* this one wow > ! . How does this relate to essence / existence ? Since I talked your ear > off this week end perhaps you will indulge me and talk mine off on this > subject . As I mentioned i am trying to make sense of my experiences and as > Juan noted we lack a " Pir" I must rely on some of the philosophers/ > theosophers to help me sort this out . In the imaginal world if it is > related to Plato's forms- would the pure intelligences be similar to the > "Names " or forms of my Lord/ Being ? Perhaps my experince has something to > do with that ? Al-hadara'l wujudiyyah (The Presence of Being) or fi hudur [or muhadara(???)] lil-wujudiyyah (In the Presence of Being) (is this grammatically/syntactically (sp?) a correct construction - John, Juan?) undoubtedly has a lot to do with the existence/essence question. The Five Divine Presences (al-hadarat'ul illahiyata'al khams), for instance, are according to the school of Ibn `Arabi the various stages which things move more and more from the states of subtlety (jabarut & malakut) to concrete materialization in this world and back up again after they've fully descended, ad infinitum; each being moves down in an arc of descent and an ascent back towards progressively more sophisticated states of being, culminating with the Perfect Man - this is Mulla Sadra's theory of transubstantial movement (harakat jowharriyah). Terry, you should read the Seven Valleys in conjunction with Ibn `Arabi's _Journey to the Lord of Power_ and whatever text you can get your hands on which specifically discusses the ahwal al-murid (the states of the seeker on the path). Be eclectic and syncretistic - why not?!?! I agree with Baha'u'llah and Juan that the time for Shaykhs, Gurus and Pirs is over in this day and age. Once upon a time it played an important role, but now it is for the most part redundant and can even prove counterproductive for a truly sincere, aspiring seeker - remember I was thrown out of a khanaqah here Albq earlier this year because the murshid found out I'm a Baha'i. The experiences you've recounted to me are so profound and powerful in nature that I will not do them the injustice of my limited exegesis. Personally, I believe you've experienced a Baha'i form of annihilation (fana). Can't say the same about myself, though! I'm still stuck in the Valley of Knowledge :) Regards, Nima --- O God, cause us to see things as they really are - Hadith "In the mirror of their minds, the forms of transcendent realities are reflected, and the lamp of their inner vision derives its light from the Sun of Universal Knowledge" - Secret of Divine Civilization From email@example.comWed Nov 29 23:46:02 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 17:01:10 -0600 (CST) From: Saman Ahmadi To: talisman Subject: Appeals to the Universal House of Justice Dear Friends, Whie stories of the actions of NSAs with regards to individuals have been shared, I am wondering about the result of the consequent appeals to the Universal House of Justice? A while ago one Talismanian shared how he was told, while en route to Haifa, that he could not go on pilgrimage. He immediately appealed the decision and was granted a 3-day visit. regards, sAmAn From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 23:46:38 1995 Date: 29 Nov 95 15:05:07 U From: Dan Orey To: DAWNLIQU@fllab.chass.ncsu.edu, email@example.com Subject: Re: Response to Daniel Reply to: RE>Response to Daniel Quanta gets a gold star for loving honesty..... here goes (again my thoughts) ....... Nature nurture thing is a toughy, I can say that I was nurtured to be a straight man and I was raised in a straight family - Presbyterians (God's frozen people). No one in the right mind chooses their orientation, at least I think the letter agrees with that. Think about it, why would some one CHOOSE to not have any human rights? For sex, please, it has never been THAT good.... at least for me. It is unfortunate that the term homosexual is used, I am more of a homosocial - sex has very little to do with my life, and is why I say that the letter / teachings do not decribe my reality, nor that of my friends. Rock Hudson is an interesting story - it is a classic example of how homophia and lying kills. If a person can be honest and open - as straight people can - they tend not to delve into the dark side. When your relationship is respected, and honored, you do not have to hide - you can share things about your evening at home, your kids, your family - many gay folsk can not do that. When you do not have to hide and things are in the open, you dothings that are bad for you...... gay people are no more or less scandalous than straights (this is homophobic - witness soap operas, and most movies, books, and the like - most of it is straight "porn". Would the Homosexual community and Hollywood be just as eager to help victims of Aids if there were no effects on gay community? - yes, the evidence is in the civil rights marches of years ago - they were well supported by many gay folks - and staffed by many in the gay & hollywood (how did these two groups get lumped togther?) communities. The AIDS pandemic its mostly a straight people thing world wide (would the good people in Africa like to share some stats?). lovingly back at cha with a big hug - Daniel (silence = death) Orey From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 23:47:31 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 18:41:01 EST From: Christopher Buck To: Stephen Johnson Cc: email@example.com, Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Re: Baha'i Peer Review Stephen Johnson writes: ______________________ Thank you though for your well thought out suggestion. Has an official proposal ever been drafted for further thought from the Universal House of Justice? ______________________ No. But I encourage further discussion of the proposal. If more discussion encourages an individual such as yourself to draft a letter to the Universal House of Justice, the idea could then be formally presented and considered. Baha'i review poses certain difficulties for Baha'i academics. One reason why there is no *imprimatur* on my book *Symbol & Secret* is that its academic standing could be seriously compromised in the eyes of non-Baha'i academics. Therefore, the concern you've rightly expressed for accuracy could end up being rather moot in the case of academic writing. Of what value is a perfectly *accurate* book if no academician reads it? My proposal that Baha'i review of academic work be formally conducted as academic peer review at least lessens the embarassment and possible discrediting of a Baha'i-authored academic work should Baha'i review become an issue. The second part of the proposal--that the Baha'i review system exempt a Baha'i academic from review after three (or, five, or some other finite number) of publications--is, after all, in the interests of the Faith as well. Let me explain why. The Universal House of Justice has, on several occasions, stressed the importance of Baha'i scholarship. If review is antithetical to this objective, I submit that a compromise be negotiated in order to meet both objectives--accuracy and the promotion of Baha'i academic scholarship. My proposal endeavors to work within the system. It is a proposal for reform that brings into relevance other objectives of the Baha'i Faith. If accuracy were the only objective, perhaps mandatory review in perpetuity would be justifiable. Note that I am not even raising issues of academic freedom here. The review system at some point, I firmly believe, ought to repose its confidence in the integrity of a Baha'i academic who, presumably early in his or her career, has risked being scandalized by non-Baha'i academicians for submitting to Baha'i review. After having demonstrated fidelity to the Covenant in this way, I think that the wider interests of the Faith are better met if the goal of accuracy is coordinated with, even subordinated to, an overarching objective of furthering knowledge of the Baha'i Faith at the university level. Thank you for your thoughts on this matter. Christopher Buck ********************************************************************** * * * * * * * * * Christopher Buck Invenire ducere est. * * * Carleton University * * * * * * Internet: CBuck@CCS.Carleton.CA * * * * * * P O Box 77077 * Ottawa, Ontario * K1S 5N2 Canada * * * * * * * * * ********************************************************************** From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 23:48:14 1995 Date: 29 Nov 95 18:31:58 EST From: sabredance <email@example.com> To: talisman Subject: re comparing apples to oranges < > Linda, Since you choose to reply to my personal post to you on talisman, i will do the same, although i did not want to bore other talismanians with this. There was simply no time for mr Singh to change his tone, because some of the people here on talisman got over the top by taking a remark of him, directed at me, in the wrong way, without consulting me first. Then he had to defend himself. This all happened during the time John was away, when John came back emotions had gotten so high already that he hastily decided to get rid of this seemingly unwanted person. Then, after a long and trying time for mr Sing, in which he tried to get John answering his polite mails about why he got so suddenly unsubscribed, without a good time to defend himself, Mr Singh finally got angry yes and maybe he wrote some mails which you decided to call threatening. Burl just seems to be more able to cope with Americans than Mr Singh was. And I still am very angry because of the whole situation, where people who make terribly false assessments on other peoples character are still able to post and receive talisman mails and other people who sent very insulting mails full of F... yous privately are still here and even adored. Not to mention several threatening telephone calls Mr Singh received from Bahais of the US. It is time we become much more tolerant. This all started as a storm in a glass of water and ended in a hurricane, doing great injustice to somebody because of some cultural misunderstandings, which were not properly examined. Now, will you also reply to comparing the situation of John and the situation of the Institutions, or do you want to deny that as well? Sorry other talismanians, that this subject has come up. I tried to fight it out with Linda off talisman. I just cannot stand injustice and people hiding behind each others back. And yes, I *am* very angry. I always get very angry by displays of intolerance and huge prejudice, especially when displayed by people (and I am talking in general now, not necessarily pointing a finger at Linda) who profess to believe in unity in diversity and love. Our world is getting more and more complex. Come and live in Amsterdam for a while to experience the difficulties of a multi-racial and multi-ethnical society, with many many people from completely non-western background (WestAfricans, North Africans, Central Africans, South Africans, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Latin-Americans, some from the jungle, Indians, Surinamese, Caribean, Eastern Europe, Middle-Easterners) suddenly are picked up and placed in this big city. This could teach all the prejudiced people some lessons in tolerance, patience and understanding. So, now more emotional upset is added to talisman. I am sorry, yet staying silent would create the impression that I agree with Linda, or be silenced by her words. Please try to be more tolerant and patient to each other. I am trying too, very hard, and I know how difficult it is. I am excellent in the art of fault-finding and having prejudices! janine van rooij amsterdam, the netherlands From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Nov 29 23:48:41 1995 Date: 29 Nov 95 15:52:45 U From: Dan Orey To: LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu, email@example.com Subject: Re: breathing space Reply to: RE>breathing space I think it has something to do with our hypothalimises.... - Daniel ( who is really a lesbian in a gay man's body - he likes to ski, ride mountain bikes, camp, doesn't mind thrid calss busses and hotels in South America, and has limited decorating taste - that part of the gene is defective he was told by a dear old gay mentor of his) From PIERCEED@sswdserver.sswd.csus.eduWed Nov 29 23:49:17 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 15:52:17 PST8PDT From: "Eric D. Pierce" To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: talisman archives/ Re: Peace by 2000? What is that! Greetings, I'm still catching up on last week's talisman messages! Yes, as stated previously I'm archiving everything that I get from Talisman (compliments of the taxpayers of the State of California) here at work. The only problem I anticipate is that my wife would like me to accompany her and our 2 year old son to her native land of Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain) next summer for at least 2 weeks, and I don't know if the email gateway between the University's internet connection and my department's local area network/database server will handle huge amounts of unread mail while I am gone. The good news is that once we have departed I will be lighting up a fine Cuban cigar (still illegal in the USA, so of course I never bring any back through customs) and contemplating the scenic and tranquil Mediterranean amidst the banter and bustle of the peoples of the former Roman Empire. BTW, based on my scanty knowledge of Franco- Iberian linguistics, there were at least 5 main latin/Iberian language groups: Castillian, Aragonese, Galician, Portugese, and Catalan. Basque is not related to any other European language groups. Catalunya and Aragon were separate kingdoms until the 1500s. In southeast France, Occital is an intermediate dialect type similar to Catalan but probably having as many characteristics similar to the dialects spoken in Provence as Catalan. Andorra is the only country to have Catalan as the official language. I greatly enjoyed Juan and Sandy's comments on language and intercultural issues. On another topic, I am aghast at realizing that Sherman may be anti-snow (undoubtedly a result of being nefariously subjected to counter-antiestablishmentarian mind control experiments at University of Cal., Santa Cruz), and must have hatched a plot to subvert the ski-mountaineering auxiliary of the february '96 Bosch mysticism conference. Or perhaps less ominously, too many vegetarian tablescraps in the Bosch dining room may have resulted in Sherman having digestive eruptions (as reported on the tv show "Sightings", a scholarly feline wearing a turban has been seen levitating in the Redwood forests around Bonny Doon) that have disrupted the ozone and blown the jet stream north thereby bringing on drought conditions and a negligible snowpack in the Sierra Nevada? EP (PierceED@csus.edu) Engineer of Data Sanitation > Date sent: Thu, 23 Nov 1995 18:47:52 +1200 > To: email@example.com (Don Peden), firstname.lastname@example.org > From: email@example.com (Robert Johnston) > Subject: Re: Peace by 2000? What is that! > Dear Bev, > If you are not keeping copies of your letters, then I hope Eric's > got them safely tucked away. I simply do not know how you manage to write > so much with such fluency and colour. Historians of the future will use > the letters/record, surely, and, in the meantime, if your painting muse > ever deserts you, you could write a smashing book... > > If what I am saying detracts attention from the seriousness of your "Peace > by 2000? What is that!" letter, then I am sorry. > > from the temperate zone, > > Robert. > > > Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 15:31:18 -0800 From: an assistant to the Auxiliary Board To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: RE: RE: Re: Baha'i Bill of Rights/criminal code Dear Juan, Let me get some peripheral issues out of the way before getting back to the core issue. First, Brent's recent posting should serve as adequate response to your complaint that I've left the Writings of Baha'u'llah out of the list of items worth consideration. More important than the content of that list is the order in which I wrote them. Specifically, it started with the Universal House of Justice and worked backwards. The order was purposeful. I'll allow you to consider what that means in light of Brent's recent article. Second as to engineers and intellectuals, the whole analysis smacks of prejudice (not intended, mind you, but prejudice none the less). I sense a significant misunderstanding of what it's like to operate as an engineer. The best engineers (and I have no idea how to classify the likes of Peter Khan and Adib Taherzadeh if I'm not allowed to include them here) have managed to not allow themselves to be limited by any notions of what "can't be done." Engineering is, fundamentally, a creative process. At the very core of this process lies the act of questioning fundamental assumptions. You can see Peter Khan do this in a number of his most recent talks. Note that I've discussed the "best" engineers. It shouldn't take you a great deal of time to think about the effects of economic exigencies on the statistics you cited about political views and membership in fundamentalist movements and realize how such broad strokes don't help the point you're trying to make. The last peripheral issue is to answer your question about what I'd do if the Universal House of Justice ever told me that I should write code in some different way and in a manner which would indicate that they didn't understand what I do. Obviously the issues are complicated and simple answers don't always apply. However, I don't think my original answer changes all that much. I still have to question where I'm at before all else, and that questioning cannot have any trace of effort to convince myself that I'm right and the House is wrong. In fact, it should go exactly the other way around. In fifty years, the world won't care whether X wrote decent code or whether X wrote any code at all. That implies a certain set of priorities which won't map very will to the kinds of priorities you might have. However, I still have to believe that there's some mapping which isn't completely meaningless. Now, to the core: From: Juan R Cole[SMTP:email@example.com] >1) Writing letters to Counsellors and the NSA and the House does not >work. I have little doubt that recent efforts haven't produced the result you have expected. The reasons for this, I believe, lie at the very heart of this discussion. An increased effort to try to understand how the House views the issues would, I believe, produce a different result. >2) Nothing I have proposed could possibly make things worse. From the standpoint of the maturation of the institutions, a process to which the House has repeatedly drawn our attention in the most strenuous way, the view is certainly not as clear as your statements would imply. Do your suggestions increase or decrease the pace at which this maturation occurs? Do they produce short-term benefits at the expense of long-term well- being of the community as a whole? Are the problems you've identified really structural or are they the result of a general lack of maturity on the part of the institutions involved? These are questions you've not answered. Clearly your proposals would reduce the number of mistakes that occur. But one wonders whether the child needs a walker when the most important thing is for the child to learn how to walk. >In other words, you think Bernstein and Woodward were wrong to report on >Nixon's wire-tapping, the break-in at Watergate, the dismissal of Labor >Department statisticians, and the enemies list. Unexamined power >corrupts absolutely, Rick. Certainly an unexamined power corrupts absolutely. That isn't the issue. When we are dealing with cases of administrative rights, the question isn't whether or not the exercise of authority should or shouldn't be examined. The question is, upon whom devolves the responsibility of conducting the examination? The US government doesn't have a Divinely created, Divinely guided, infallible institution to conduct that examination. The Administrative Order of the Baha'i Faith does. That strikes me as a rather important distinction. Warmest Regards, From DAWNLIQU@fllab.chass.ncsu.eduThu Nov 30 00:20:28 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 19:25:02 EST From: QUANTA DAWNLIGHT To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Goldstar? not a slap? Dear Dan, Could you imagine the distance between a goldstar and a slap? For me it is between the earth and the sun! Your loving response is only an encouragement to be more honest in my relationships. But, then again not everyone would be as generous as yourself which does not matter in the long run anyway. Honesty in and of itself is the reward without external conditioning. Thanks for understanding. your loving friend, quanta...(*_*) From email@example.comThu Nov 30 00:22:14 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 19:34:51 EST From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com Subject: Zen/The Baha'i Faith/Angels For a moment, it seemed a little more than surreal... I'd down loaded Mr. Cole's article comparing certain principles of Southern and Northern Zen practices with excerpts from Baha'u'llah's writings on the subject of --he who knows himself knows God--and taken the four pages with me to work...we'd just opened a sugary musical called "The Littlest Angel" for the tourist trade here in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. All the cast running around in white, with their large feathery wings, and halos above their heads singing: We give him gifts for it is known, He'll someday give a gift of His own. His very life He'll sacrifice, For eternal life in paradise, To all who believe in him alone. (How did a good Baha'i get into a spot like this?) I noticed as I came into the dressing room one of the Angels reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Another was gluing feathers back onto his wings. I had ten minutes perhaps before having to go back on so I sat for a moment to look carefully at Juan's thoughts. Behind me, the angel hot gluing feathers suddenly yelled "ouch". He burned himself with the glue. "I must be earning karma points," he said. The other angel responded, "I don't think it works that way. We can't earn our wings." I turned and said, "let me read you something..." So there in Heaven, with the Book of the Dead and Angels all around, we read of the Moon reflecting in the water and Baha'u'llah. What's the Baha'i Faith they asked.... Dare I say: "The answer." ? Angelically yours, Bill *-----------------------------------------------------------------------------* * Phone:610-867-9251 William George Fax:610-867-3169 * * Theatre Artist * * 908 E. 5th. St. * * Bethlehem, Pa 18015 U.S.A. * *_____________________________________________________________________________* From B.M.Elsmore@massey.ac.nzThu Nov 30 00:27:03 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 01:18:28 +0000 From: Bronwyn Elsmore To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Introduction Greetings! I have followed the debates on Talisman, more or less, for about four months. Usually less rather than more, as I often delete whole lists unread when my workload doesn't permit any further input, or when a screen message reports that memory is dangerously strained. Though there have been many times when I could have replied, I've held back till now as I had not introduced myself. But despite the fact you haven't heard from me before, I have appreciated your insights, empathized with many of you, both gained strength from and despaired at recognizing parallels between yours and some of my own experiences as a Baha'i, and wept with some of you. Basic bio details - Bronwyn Elsmore, female - that's for you Americans who don't know the name Bronwyn which is not unusual in other English-speaking countries but apparently almost unheard of in USA as I've found on visits. It's a very common Welsh name. However, I'm not Welsh, but 5th-generation New Zealander and very proud of that even though I understand I am not to glory in loving my country - but we do call it "Gods-own" here! For many years of my adult life I was a freelance and contract writer, creative writing tutor, publishing editor, etc. In my own time I still try to keep up with some personal writing - short stories, plays, articles, whatever, much of it humour. My fulltime job is Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at Massey University which is in the small city of Palmerston North. Another explanation for Americans who don't understand the term lecturer (also found on visits) - a Senior Lecturer is equivalent to your full Professor. We have a very small department of Religious Studies at this university - just 3 of us who, in order to offer a full programme (undergraduate to PhD) each spread ourselves over various teaching areas. The up-side of this is the variation is good and stimulating, the down-side is it means we don't have the luxury (?) of specializing. So while my current teaching areas are Hinduism, Islam, Chinese and Japanese religion, women in all religions, all religions as they're practised in NZ, prophecy and prophetic movements, religion in current issues, consequently I wouldn't call myself expert in any. The only area in which I suppose I could claim the designation world expert would be in NZ Maori religious movements which was my own graduate area of research for Masters and PhD, and two of my 4 books are on that topic. My 5th book went to the printer yesterday, hence my giving myself a little time to indulge myself with such pursuits today. Title: "Creedism - Religious Prejudice in New Zealand", which is the report of a study I conducted on that topic. I hope my sixth may be a collection of my short-stories - I do like to keep a balance of academic and creative in my life. The other two books are children's books! When possible I try to get my interests to coincide - in January I'm presenting a paper on "Religion in the Theatre" at a conference in Sydney, Australia. I have been a Baha'i for 25 years. In July of this year I was cruising in the Java sea and visiting exotic places such as Borobudur (I also teach Buddhism sometimes) and had the pleasure to meet an Amercian Baha'i brother and photographer of note, Paul Slaughter of New Mexico, who told me of Talisman - thanks, Paul, for that and the photos if you're tuned in. Now, a request - In 1996 I have sabbatical leave due and will be off in the second half of the year to places yet undecided. Does anyone know of any interesting/relevant conferences that I might be able to include in my itinerary between July and December? Offers of guest lectures, perhaps? Paradisiacal places to study at little expense? Any ideas will be considered - irresistible offers particularly welcomed. Best wishes to you all. Bronwyn Elsmore B.M.Elsmore@massey.ac.nz From email@example.comThu Nov 30 00:28:22 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 21:17:18 -0600 From: Carl Hawse To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Back Later Due to the high volume of email, I've signed off the list. My email program cannot differentiate easily between talisman mail and other mail--perhaps our esteemed List Owner could look into LISTSERV options such as digest-mode or fiddling with the FROM and REPLY-TO headers to separate talisman mail? Anyway... I'm dedicating the next month to studying web publishing and revamping my pages. FYI: The list rules are at http://www.grapevine-sys.com/~carl/talisman.html and I'm interested in hearing from anyone interested in starting a baha'i scholarly-type web-zine or otherwise posting stuff on the net. But I need material in electonic form only. Much thanks for the drama and excitement! (As well as ever-thoughtful posts of a more scholarly nature!) Aside: Has anyone out there seen a great way to indicate diacriticals and underdots over the net? Peace. ------------------------------------ Carl Hawse email@example.com http://www.grapevine-sys.com/~carl ------------------------------------ From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Nov 30 00:43:29 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 09:02:11 PST From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: Group Think Just came across this interesting list. Seem relevant. The source is Irving Janis's book :: Victims of Group Thinking: A psychological Study of Foreign Policy Decisions and Fiascoes. Houghton Mifflin, Boston 1983 Group Think Signs and indicators Group members think the group and its members are invulnerable to dangers Members create rationalizations to avoid dealing directly with warnings or threats. Group members believe their group is moral Those opposed to the group are perceived in simplistic, stereotyped ways Group pressure is put on any member who expresses doubts or who uestions the grup's arguments or proposals. Grup members censor their own doubts. Groupmembers beleive all members are in unanimous agreement, whether such agreement is stated or not. Group members emerge whose function it is to guard the information that gets to other members of the group, especially when such information may create diversity of opinion. Consequences Group limits its discussion to only a small number of alternative solutions Group does not re-examine its decisions Group spends little time discussing why certain intiial alternatives were rejected. Group memabers are extremely selective in the informaiton they consider seriously. ------------------------------------- Name: Philip Belove E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: 11/29/95 Time: 09:02:11 This message was sent by Chameleon ------------------------------------- Things should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler -- A. Einstein From email@example.comThu Nov 30 00:43:59 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 23:32:55 PST From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: Chris Nelson Cc: email@example.com Subject: RE: Militant Naivity vs Sombre Cynicism On Wed, 29 Nov 1995 17:44:47 +0000 Chris Nelson wrote: >Dear Philip and Talismanians, > >After spending the younger years of my life as an angry cynic, sick >at heart at not being able to trust anyone or any thing in the world >"Freedom is the absence of choice." > >Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to trust totally?!! > >Chris. > Dear Chris, It would be bliss, I'm sure. What a difficult challenge, to be content with the will of God, the four valley. I think , alas, I'm back in the second one, again. It's a terrain I know quite well, but, I guess not well enough. In valley one, I remember, the first puncture in my cynicism. That's the valley in which you have to willing to consider almost any damn thing because the one thing you know is that you don't know anything that works any more. And so you are willing to look in places you would have never looked ( Like an obscure persian religion with odd names.) ... until I catch a wiff of the beloved one. Then I'm hooked. shit! and in for a lot of pain. I hate it! No. Total trust is a long way off. I'm in the fire. But I don't know how this fits with militant naivete in your thinking. In my thinking, the people into militant naivete want to skip over valleys two and three and go straight to four, whatever they imagine that to be. They tell lies about spiritual realities. Cynicism is better. I think of that as the shadow side of the valley of search. You know, rejecting everything and looking, looking, looking for something. In the same way, hatred is the shadow side of the valley of love. Hatred is a kind of profound ambivalence, a clumsy attempt at detachment. whatever. Sorry, I'm in a black mood. Belove (sometimes even the name is a weight) Philip ------------------------------------- Name: Philip Belove E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: 11/29/95 Time: 23:32:56 This message was sent by Chameleon ------------------------------------- Things should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler -- A. Einstein From email@example.comThu Nov 30 11:04:57 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 01:24:49 -0500 (EST) From: Juan R Cole To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: short story Widget Goes to the Moon I. Donna religiously watched television shows about uppity working- class women, such as Roseanne and Grace under Fire. She had become a grease monkey. She sometimes had to be strict with the other mechanics, especially if they had too many beers for lunch. She is built like an armored car, with short red hair and no-nonsense hazel eyes, so she only had to tell any of them off once. Donna has a special talent at fixing widgets. Somehow they fit right into the palm of her meaty hand, and unless they're cracked or something she can readjust one in a second. That was how she got rich and started watching Frasier and Ellen, yuppie shows, instead. See, the government has a trillion widgets, and a lot of them need adjusting, and one of the guys who actually read the paper saw an ad one Sunday for a GS-13 Widget Engineer and told her about it. She was nervous about the idea of having to commute into D.C. and no one in her family had ever been more than a GS-4, so she barely got up the nerve to apply. But she got the job. Contrary to popular opinion, a GS-14 can spot a useful team member in a second, since hiring a widget whiz makes you look good and you might even make GS-15 out of it. Donna was once taken to a top-secret base where the widgets were largely out of whack. She took one look around and saw what the problem was. "Your techtrons were installed 30 years ago, and the vibrations have loosened all the widgets. Don't you ever tighten them?" The sleepy sergeant in charge looked at her blankly with his pale blue eyes. So Donna had all the widgets on all the techtrons tightened, and it kept the base from going up in a big fireball. After that she was lured away from the government by a big multinational corporation that had twice as many widgets as even the government did. II. Donna started her own Widget Consultancy firm when she was 40. She was tired of working for someone else, and had figured out that you make the real money by owning a business, not by taking a salary from one. One of her first jobs was a contract with the First Church of Widgets. They had church-owned facilities and had noticed that the techtrons had started sputtering. Donna came in with her team and took a look around. "I can tell you what the problem is," she said. The Priest of Widgets raised one hairy eyebrow, as though a caterpillar moved up his brow. "These techtrons were installed 50 years ago and the vibrations have loosened the widgets. If they're not fixed quick, this place is going to look like the Bikini Islands shortly. Ka-boom!" "Oh, you're quite mistaken." The priest lowered the errant eyebrow so that he now had a furry ridge all across his brow. He was one of those people who, annoyingly, lack any space between their eyebrows. "You see, the High Priest installed these widgets himself. They can't be tampered with." "Look buster." Donna even after she got rich still called people "buster." "I don't care if the Dalai Lama used his own plumbing wrench to put those babies in, they've vibrated loose. Then was then, now is now. They have to be tightened." The priest blanched. "So." he raised the left side of his lip slightly. He was one of those people who didn't have to move their whole lip to accomplish this gesture. "You think you are better than the High Priest of Widgets. His work was quite perfect, you know." Donna raised her chin at her work crew, and they went to the widgets and started tightening them. "Stop! This is sacrilege!" The priest began ringing the bell and monks poured onto the shop floor. They subdued the four mechanics and unceremoniously ushered them off the premises. Donna and her team returned to the office and called the city inspection office to warn it of the unsafe conditions. But while she was hanging up the phone, she felt the floor move and heard what sounded like a Cape Canaveral blast-off. "Widget goes to the Moon," she thought to herself. But Sally Fields couldn't play those roles anymore. Juan Cole From email@example.comThu Nov 30 11:05:33 1995 Date: 29 Nov 95 22:35:16 U From: Dan Orey To: SBirkland@aol.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, DAWNLIQU@fllab.chass.ncsu.edu, email@example.com Subject: two Goldstars Reply to: two Goldstars Quanta, etal, First thank you all for the love and support, talisman is a real gem at times, and right now the shine is blinding..... Quanta asked, "Is my response stereotypical?" - kinda, but your willingness to listen is not, and I thank you. Gay & lesbian Baha'is feel that there is a "God said, I beleive it, so that settles it" mentality in the larger community. Which silences our experience. To some extent the letter tells us that that is no longer acceptable, and I am grateful. Equating AIDS and homosexuality, equating homosexuality and pedophilia, equating homosexuality and promiscuity are just some of the things that are said to make discussion difficult. When I was growing up, I lived in a little redneck town in Southern Oregon - where one could not talk of such things - I grew up with a lot of self-hatred and lothing - because all I learned about "my secret" was that I was bad, something about "goin to hell", that what I had was a sickness, etc. Never mind that there is no cure- it is these deep levels of psychological programing that make for problems later. And there were no healthy role models to look up to either (I am not a Liberace fan in the least). I beleive this is what Baha'u'llah is telling me to overcome - that even tho society and religious community find me repugnant, that I am a good and decent person, and so are my other gay and lesbian friends - that is also what I learned when I "consulted" a physician. The facts seem to suggest that there are more heterosexuals in the world with AIDs than gay men, that child molestation is done by staight men, that there are more promiscuous straights than gays...... just a few things that I think we need to be aware of if we want to rid ourselves of every form of prejudice. Keep asking, consider this a "gay" fireside - tho one can't be converted (another stereotype). I wish I could talk to you face to face, because I fear that this appears strident, I hope not. - regards, Daniel From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Nov 30 11:07:59 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 95 1:42:50 EST From: Christopher Buck To: Talisman@indiana.edu Cc: Christopher Buck Subject: Pre-Millennial vs. Post-Millennial Baha'is In this month's *Atlantic Monthly*, there's an essay by Harvey Cox on the theology of the Christian right. It's well worth the read. After reading Cox's essay, it occurred to me that there is possibly a counterpart in the Baha'i world to a theological controversy that divides the Christian right into two camps: pre-millennialists and post-millennialists. Pre-millennialists see the world as progressively decaying until Christ comes again. Decadence is upon us. it is irreversible. there is nothing we can do about it. Post-millenialists see a necessity for Christians to prepare the world for the coming of Christ by making the world a better place. This hastens the advent of the Kingdom. By way of analogy, I would characterize pre-millennialist Baha'is as those who view the old world order as decadent and dying. In a sense, Jesus will come in a cloud, but this time it will be a mushroom cloud. I myself used to be a pre-millennialist Baha'i. I was expecting the Calamity in 1984. Post-millennialist Baha'is focus on the Lesser Peace, while pre-millennialist Baha'is concentrate more on the Most Great Peace. Post-millennialist Baha'is favor social activism in an effort to *hasten the Lesser Peace* (as Shoghi Effendi says in *Messages to America*). Pre-millennialist Baha'is are typically critical of the pluralism which post-millennialist Baha'is also favor. Pre-millennialist Baha'is typically bypass the social agenda of the Lesser Peace due to a triumphalistic certitude about the Most Great Peace. Post-millennialist Baha'is differentiate between the requirements of the Lesser Peace and those of the Most Great Peace. If my characterizations are too sweeping and polarized, please blame Harvey Cox, former Presidential candidate Pat Robertson (post-millennialist), and Hal Lindsey (pre-millennialist), who ran off with his secretary in an unwitting fulfillment of prophecy. -- Christopher Buck ********************************************************************** * * * * * * * * * Christopher Buck Invenire ducere est. * * * Carleton University * * * * * * Internet: CBuck@CCS.Carleton.CA * * * * * * P O Box 77077 * Ottawa, Ontario * K1S 5N2 Canada * * * * * * * * * ********************************************************************** Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 23:45:36 -0500 (EST) From: Juan R Cole X-Sender: email@example.com To: Subject: Re: Re- Re- Talisman righ Your wonderful letter touched me. Whether we will be left alone to be a "loyal opposition" is yet unclear, but I wouldn't put a lot of money on it. cheers JRIC From Alethinos@aol.comThu Nov 30 11:11:54 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 02:07:55 -0500 From: Alethinos@aol.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: What is Talisman good for? Sen: I wondered who would be the first out of the chute to start this typical response. I guess you pulled the duty huh? In a priv. note you suggested I should tone things down a bit - lower the volume. Why? So that we can continue to hear the never-ending cry of the oppressed here? (And please people stop using or ref. to Danny O here - he and I get along quite well - corresponding in priv. and he has _yet_ to tell me he feels *oppressed* by the supposed darker undercurrents of my posts.) Sen, it was a good ploy to suggest that I have not offered anything into the vacuum I am (again supposedly) creating here. Unfortunately you and I know full well that I have repeatedly directed our attention (when we are ref. specifically to America - which is what roughly 98% of the complaining is about - re: institutions, rights, etc) to the Guardian's writings concerning America's spiritual destiny. I have, as have others, tried to engage the list members in a solid discourse in what ails the American Baha'i community, to analysis our mistakes so that we can correct them and finally, successfully arise to fulfill the Guardian's vision. You and I have actually have had som heated and interesting debates on the issues of axiology and individualism. David Taylor was certainly in on it as was Terry C., and others. No Sen, few, if any will be attracted to a *new and improved* Faith. The vain attempts here to try and dress up this Cause in a fashion that would find great favor on Oprah or in an interview with Larry King Live on CNN will not touch the hearts of the masses. No amount of placating to the PC police will insure the loyalty of an already deeply cynical and spiritual exhuasted nation. This is already a matter of history in this country - esp. among the more *liberal* protestant churches - and their numbers have been steadily declining for the past quarter century. The thing that is sad is that while these churches are in decline - those that preach intolerance have seen a dramatic rise in new adherents. Those that have complained so loudly and insistently here continue to miss the point. And the point is this: THE problem is not _in_ the institutions. The solutions are NOT in reforms. DO problems exist? Damn right they do! Is there a need for significant *maturity* (a term I prefer for various reasons over that of *reform*)? Absolutely! Will any of this occur? Nope. It will _not_ occur - not as things stand now. The problems that Juan and Linda et al continue to lament are not structural in nature. Certainly the *narrowness* of the present administrative order is a contributor to these ills. But that narrowness is the outcome of a stagnant, spiritually unconscious Baha'i community. These *problems* and miscarriages of justice stem from a national community that is frozen in fear. It is a community that so closely resembles America in general that there is no appreciable difference. It is a community that has all the spiritual instruments and medicines necessary to effect a radical change in the soul of this nation. And yet it is a community fast asleep. In ignoring the harsh glare of the difficult Vision the Guardian has called us to accept it has become a hapless victim of the same spiritual diseases that plague the greater Community around it. We as Baha'is are in just as much psychic pain as everyone else. We see it in our so-called communities, and in the eyes of many of our friends who seem increasingly disaffected toward the Faith. We see it here on this list. The way out of this is simple. We stop trying to avoid our destiny and embrace it. We stop trying to go around, over, under. We stop backing up. We stop trying to make ourselves like everyone else. The way out is to go _through_. The changes that are so desperately needed will come when we arise and shake the foundations, the false pillars, upon which this nation rests. By this I do not mean (and I believe Terry C knows this now) we beat those half-dead horses that are the favorite targets of both liberals on one side and conservatives on the other. We have spent too long either trying vainly to pretend that as Baha'is we had no political agenda, or thrusting our wetted fingers in the air to see which way the socio-cultural winds were blowing this week. (I guess there is of course the third course, made up of a not-too-inconsiderable share of the believers here in this country - those that closely resemble some kind of group frozen in time - blissfully ignorant of the Reality surrounding them - serious lala land types.) One last little point. I too love to grab the wonderful things that float by on this list. Nima and I have a wonderful time with Plato and neoplat. stuff. I love reading Juan's contributions - they are extremely thought-provoking esp. when he is tying Islam and the Faith together. When Buck tosses stuff out here and Burl too I love that. QDL's poems and and the other wonderful people here make this a great list. I would never want that to change. But we are not one-dimensional here. I think we can share all this stuff and still tackle this very large and difficult issue. And that issue is this: given what the American Baha'i Community needs to accomplish - considering the role that needs be played by this country in the unfoldment of the Cause world-wide - and given the manifest failure so far of the community in arising, HOW BEST can we, at this late hour, help out brothers and sisters arise? How can we galvanize these descendents of the dawn-breakers to stand up and truly begin a radical movement that will sweep across this country and seize the consciousness of America? How do we emulate the dawn-breakers - given that our constraints are in many ways far greater? How do we get the community to finally become Revolutionary?? Yes Sen, I have my ideas. But it isn't about my ideas, or yours. It is about Our ideas. It is about a collective undertaking. It is about forming a critical mass of friends that are so welded together through a unity of thought that we literally cause a spiritual chain reaction across this continent. You see it is a very difficult task. It is the one given us by the Guardian. And unfortunately for Juan and Linda and everyone else - it _is_ the only way we are going to ever see the _real_ changes we desire. The question is, do we have the courage to attempt it? jim harrison Alethinos@aol.com From Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 00:49:43 -0700 (MST) From: To: Juan R Cole Subject: Re: short story Juan-- I wonder how many people are going to get it - let's hope they actually do get it this time. On a different note, our conversation the other night got me thinking about posting something on Talisman to the effect of "Democratic Centralism in the Baha'i community: the Legacy of the Leninist paradigm in current Administrative praxis." What do you think? Would this be rocking the proverbial boat a little too strongly on my part? Wish X wasn't as busy so I could brain-storm something out with him. Or maybe you'd like to take it up? From email@example.comThu Nov 30 11:15:59 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 02:13:57 -0600 (CST) From: Robert Lee Green To: Dan Orey Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, SBirkland@aol.com Subject: Re: A gay Baha'i Responds Allah'u'abha Daniel, I love you and welcome you :-), and Baha'u'llah loves you and welcomes you. What more do you need. :-) ------------------------------------------------ | "O SON OF SPIRIT! | Robert Green | My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, | rlg0001 | kindly and radiant heart, that thine may | @jove.acs.unt.edu | be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable | | and everlasting." - Baha'u'llah | ------------------------------------------------ From email@example.comThu Nov 30 11:17:15 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 95 00:59 PST From: Burl Barer To: Alethinos@aol.com Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: What is Talisman good for? Jim Harrison noted about the American Baha'i community: >. It is a community that so closely resembles >America in general that there is no appreciable difference. It is a community >that has all the spiritual instruments and medicines necessary to effect a >radical change in the soul of this nation. And yet it is a community fast >asleep. In ignoring the harsh glare of the difficult Vision the Guardian has >called us to accept it has become a hapless victim of the same spiritual >diseases that plague the greater Community around it. Burl, fresh from lovingly browbeating the assembled multitude at Menucha with his vastly entertaining version of The Destiny of America, shares this: The primary responsibility of the American Baha'is is to "weed out, by every means in their power those faults, habits, and tendencies which they have inherited from their own nation....and to cultivate those distinctive qualities and characteristics so indispensable to their effective participation in the great redemptive work of the Faith" (Advent of Divine Justice p.17) Shoghi Effendi further explained that it is this "weeding out" process that will enable us to assist in the eradication of those negative tendencies fromthe hearts of our fellow countrymen. I would like to once again draw your attention to the 3 spiritual prerequisites which the Guardian stated "constitute the bedrock on which the security of all teaching plans...would rest: 1. a high sense of moral rectitude in social and *administrative* activities (this is the antidote to political corruption) 2. Complete freedom from prejudice (this is the antidote to the cancer of prejudice eating at the heart of America) 3. a chaste and holy life (this is the antidote to the moral laxity corrupting the life of America) each of these three "treatments" is the inversion of the "illness" -- replace corruption with rectitude; remove prejudice, improve morals. As this is a weeding process, it takes effort. It might make your back sore, your limbs ache. I hate yard work. My wife loves yard work. She says look at all the gardens on Mt. Carmel -- Shoghi Effendi must have loved yard work. I say, "you love yard work, you pull the weeds; I'll admire the flowers." She says it doesn't work that way on a personal transformative basis. I am supposed to work on me and it will have an effect on others. Hmmm maybe that's what Shoghi Effendi means when he talks about "genuine love, extreme patience, true humility, consummate tact, sound initiative, mature wisdom, and deliberate, persistent and prayerful effort." I am one of those obsessive compulsive folks who does silly things such as agree to ride down to Portland this Sunday to some sort of Moral Rearmement Race Unity Meeting (not a baha'i sponsored event) simply because I will be in a car for 8 hours with a man who is not a Baha'i who has asked me to teach him about America's Spiritual Destiny and the Baha'i Faith. How can I refuse? And I will go to this meeting on Race Unity and it will be wonderful, although my lower nature says I could be home watching wrestling (Lex Lugar has gone back to WCW, by the way and the British Bulldog is a bad guy now and will be going against his brother-in-law, Brett Hart for the belt. It will tear the family apart - again) . I was planning to stay home and vegetate, be morally lax and politically corrupt -- then again, going travel teaching is a good way to get out of doing yard work. Burl ******************************************************* Order MAN OVERBOARD, the new book by Burl Barer today! ******************************************************* From email@example.comThu Nov 30 11:20:40 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 23:43:41 +1200 From: Robert Johnston To: LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: dope that I am Linda, Dope that I am I lost your address again. However, if you supply it ONE MORE TIME I will send the photo tomorrow. Have been feeling really strange about Talisman, and this has been reflected in a few of my recent letters. Inexcusably obnoxious, I must admit, especially since Alison and Steve F said so! Maybe I've got talisburnout! Really I have written sooo much over the past almost year, and have reached the time to sit back a bit and watch the flowers grow. Afterall it is summer here.. With rat from a grainsack tired eyes, Robert. From email@example.comThu Nov 30 11:21:05 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 95 12:15:06 -0100 From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com Subject: Linda is not my enemy! Dear Talisffolks (sorry Robert, will pay you copyrights!), I have not read the mail on this list since my angry letter about apples and oranges, as I receive this list on another account. I am at work at this moment and do not have access to this account. So I do not know what has happened. I just want to assure those who are concerned about it that I have no animosity against anybody. It is possible to be angry at peoples actions, the thoughts they express and the conclusions they arrive at, like I am with Linda's, yet at the same time still value them and see their good sides, and truly love them. There is a distinction between condemning and disagreeing with the actions of people and condemning and disagreeing with the being of a person. At least that is how I feel it. So, I still love you Linda and I think you are a warm- hearted person. Just a trifle biased, I believe. much love to all, janine janine van rooij firstname.lastname@example.org amsterdam, the netherlands ============================================================================== Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid De Boelelaan 1105 1081 HV Amsterdam Nederland ============================================================================== From email@example.comThu Nov 30 11:21:31 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 09:00:01 -0500 (EST) From: Joan Jensen To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: gold stars Dear Dan, > Keep asking, consider this a "gay" fireside . > I wish I could talk to you face to face, because I fear that this > appears strident, I hope not. Not the least bit strident, but warm, sincere and honest, and oh so necessary for me, at least, to learn. So many of my women friends are gay, and in many ways I can understand them not wanting to have anything to do with that group of people (men) who rape, plunder, revel in war, think so linearly and communicate so harshly (lets see.... how many stereotypes did I miss? Oh yeah, "All men are dogs!") The homophobia in these United States is somehow gentler on lesbians, which may be why they have not explained things to me in just the way you are describing to us here. So please allow me to ask questions, also. You mentioned the spiritual anguish and despair, leading to withdrawal, sometimes suicide, and the sense society gives of being somehow "wrong". To me this has meaning that I cannot appreciate, in the sense that I cannot fully walk a mile in yours shoes. Its different from the anguish someone might feel who was too fat, or too tall, or too black, or too poor; those external variations not within society's accepted standards of normal, because we know that this physical body will eventually be discarded. Its different from the person who lies, steals, cheats, whose actions are the result of volition. It sounds more like the anguish that Bud Polk was describing feeling *before* he was diagnosed as bipolar, except that its society that is saying you are somehow wrong, but it doesn't necessarily "feel" wrong, which his situation certainly did. Maybe the closest is what Cary has shared with us, which I appreciate but again cannot imagine what that is like. Despite my recognition of negative male characteristics and stereotypes, I am very attracted to them. I try to imagine what it would feel like if I were told that this attraction was against the law of God, and that there was no legitimate sexual way I could act on that attraction. Please forgive me, please help me to understand how this is different than what women have been told within the Christian tradition for generations, which you can understand with your straight-laced Christian upbringing? Let me speculate that it is somehow less painful for heterosexual women to be told this than for men, because our sexual responses are different than mens. I remember reading recently that men think about sex many more times a day than women (the actual numbers escape me, but are stunning) as well as other differences regarding arousal. I am assuming here that you don't have difficulties with the Baha'i laws regarding chastity... heaven knows I haven't had any for over three years, since my separation and divorce, and although I'm restless I also recognize the real possibility that I may *never* have an outlet for my sexual expression. This law applies equally to both of us, and I have not heard you saying you had a problem with it. I've always had the fond and probably naive hope that homosexuality was a response to society's not allowing a legitimate outlet for the love that men can feel for one another, and lacking this socially acceptable outlet, men then begin to think of themselves homosexual because they have these feelings. The love I feel for women is almost palpable, but that love has always seemed okay to me, and doesn't evoke a physical response, so maybe I'm way off base. Precious Dan, I feel very honored that you are sharing so frankly with those of us who are struggling to understand. Thank you. Warmly, Joan ------------------------------------------------------------------- Joan Jensen Baltimore, Maryland USA ******************************************************************* "...love and affinity are the fruits of a gentle disposition, a pure nature and praiseworthy character..." Selected Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 287 ******************************************************************* From email@example.comThu Nov 30 11:23:45 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 95 08:03:38 PST From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com Subject: I can't do this Dear Friends, This for me is the other side of the issue that (I think) Juan, Linda and others have so valianted crusaded about. On the one hand there is the argument that we must think for ourselves and know with our own knowing. (Even though, for our knowing to be true our hearts must be pure.) On the other side, with equally compelling reasoning I find this: On Wed, 29 Nov 95 19:13:10 UT Brian Armstrong wrote: > Is the light to bright to handle? Is it that the mirror or truth shows your >own inadequacies, and illuminates the dark shadows and corners of your own >spiritual neglect? I pray for you all. > >What happened to the Baha'i World I fell in love with when I first became a >Baha'i. What happened to those stalwhart pioneers, to those Martyrs of >yesteryear, those Knights ... are they all to be forgotten? >I for one am ecstatic to be a Baha'i. I want my actions, my example to be a >teaching for my children, for the children of the world. I pray that you all >want the same. > I choose to follow the guidance of the >Institutions of the Faith. If there are individuals who serve on those >Institutions, and influence the decision-making of the Institution to >something that is contrary to Baha'i teaching as outlined in the Writings of >our beloved Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi or the Universal House >of Justice, then these must be seen as a Protection issue and echoes those >words of Shoghi Effendi that claim we will experience attacks from within. I really envy this kind of steady faith. I think again of the seven valleys and see that this attitude is farther along than I am. I am not capable at this time of that kind of trust.I wish I were. Or I wish I didn't need to make so much noise about how I'm not. Philip ------------------------------------- Name: Philip Belove E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: 11/30/95 Time: 08:03:38 This message was sent by Chameleon ------------------------------------- Things should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler -- A. Einstein From email@example.comThu Nov 30 11:23:59 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 95 07:56:42 PST From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: Robert Johnston Cc: email@example.com Subject: RE: dope that I am On Thu, 30 Nov 1995 23:43:41 +1200 Robert Johnston wrote: w. Afterall it is summer here.. > >With rat from a grainsack tired eyes, > >Robert. > > Amazing and magical world of Talisman. Frost covers the lower half of my windows, Snow on the evergreen branches and, unbelievable, the swans float in the unfrozen corner of the pond, white like snow. A cold draft pours off the windows into my lap. And it's summer for you. ------------------------------------- Name: Philip Belove E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: 11/30/95 Time: 07:56:42 This message was sent by Chameleon ------------------------------------- Things should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler -- A. Einstein From email@example.comThu Nov 30 11:25:13 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 11:05:51 -0500 From: LuAnne Hightower To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Group Think, etc. Dear Philip - In what way was the Group Think description relevant to talisman? I'm trying not to take this personally. I don't think of myself or the majority of folks on this list as doclie sheep in denial of our doubts and questions. What is the point? You: "Cynicism is better. I think of that as the shadow side of the valley of search. You know, rejecting everything and looking, looking, looking for something." My experience of cynicism is rather that of being open to nothing, ready to reject darn near any point of view before I can even hear it. Maybe skepticism is what you meant? It might be cold out, but the sky is blue. Love, LuAnne From JWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.eduThu Nov 30 11:26:14 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 95 10:29:15 EWT From: JWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu To: email@example.com I have been getting reports of Talisman messages addressed to "undisclosed-recipients". I suspect it is a glitch in the system, and not a manifestation of some sinister plot, but I will check with the computer people here. john walbridge list owner From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Nov 30 11:37:31 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 95 19:25:47+030 From: Don Peden To: email@example.com Subject: Four Noble Truths Dear Bruce: I have not ignored your posting, but I have been studying it and trying to absorb what it is saying. So, once again, please be patient. It seems that suffering is very important to the Four truths, and the Five Groups of Existence. Since it seems to cover everything from conception to death, and all manner of activities inbetween, it begs the question as to what the word "suffering" means in Buddha's teachings. It must encompass more than our usual concept of suffering. This is interesting, because Baha'u'llah also talks A LOT about suffering. So often the prayers say, "Suffer me to know Thee". It seems that suffering has a big spiritual value which is worth exploring more. Sorrow, Lamentation, Pain, Grief and Dispair seem to be responses to suffering. Buddha also talks about our wanting to "wish" these responses and suffering away, and then tells us that not getting to wish them away is also suffering. He then talks about our different faculties, and how certain responses are defined within the faculty used to perceive them. That seems straight forward on the surface. The interesting bit comes in when he talks about the functioning (harmonious functioning) of these faculties are what dictates how perceptive we are, or what state of consciousness we can achieve. He then spends a long time talking about each faculty, and the capacity of each faculty, their inter-relatedness, and that we can not gain consciousness without using all of them. What about people whose faculties are impaired? Does that mean that they are incapable of achieving consciousness? Are there no faculties they possess which allow them to be spiritually enriched? The next bit is on Existence, and needs some more time. Mishkin is busy talking in my ear, and I am not able to give this the consideration it deserves, so I will continue later. From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Nov 30 11:55:50 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 95 19:30:05 JST From: "Stephen R. Friberg" To: email@example.com Subject: On review Dear Chris: I would like to reply on the issue of review. I haven't done so before because it is such a highly emotional issue for many on Talisman, and I didn't particularly relish being attacked. For Baha'i academic publications, or Baha'i studies publications, I believe that review should generally be required, but that the review should be of an academic nature. There certainly should not be waivers for those who have published more than three articles, in my opinion. To do so would be depart from the nearly universal standard for publication in scholarly journals: that regular articles should always be subject to review. By an academic review, I mean that qualified reviewers should check manuscripts for significance, accuracy of quotations, errors, academic integrity (i.e., no ad hominen attacks, etc.) and other issues. These are quality control steps to make sure that readers' time is well spent, but they also are the setting of goals and standards. Should this review include Baha'i editorial review? Should articles be vetted on the basis of whether or not they are accurate reflections of the Baha'i teachings? For Baha'i institution sponsored publications, clearly the present answer is yes. Now, for the hard part. What about Baha'is submitting articles on the Faith to non-Baha'i publications and publishers. Currently, we are required to submit them for review to the Baha'i institutions. Suppose a publication is to be sent to an academic journal. Then, it will be reviewed twice: once by the appropriate Baha'i institution, and once by the publication. In the best of all possible worlds, this would not present problems. Baha'i reviewers could help the writers, and so. But in the best of all possible worlds, it also wouldn't be necessary. In the current world, review is established, according to the House of Justice, as a protection from the unwisdom of the friends. Anybody who is naive about the friend's unwisdom hasn't been reading his Talisman. We have an incredible diversity of naivety, all of it claiming to be the correct interpretation of the Faith's truths. What are the arguments against this double review? There are several: - Review prevents an effective Bahai presence in the intellectual, academic, and scholarly communities of the West. As a result of the zeal to protect the good name of the Faith, capable, proven academics are hindered from particating in the intellectual arena. This has proven especially bothersome, as it has not allowed the effective countering of scholarly misinformation about the Faith (MacEoin). - Review stifles the expression of diverse points of view. Only a standard and a very cautious discussion of the Faith is allowed, diversity is suppressed. - Review is often incompetent or subjective. Reviewers are often unaware of the nature of academic discourse and how it is carried out, but unaware that they are unaware. - Review appears to be censorship. In the eyes of the general academic and scholarly community, review generates more harm than it does good, because review for dogmatic accuracy has long been rejected by the scholarly community. Certainly, there are more arguments than these, but they are represented quite well by those listed above. What emerges when we consider them? Clearly, they take the stance that competence is being checked in its efforts to proclaim the Faith in its area of expertise. In other words, the arguments against review are based on the belief that there is a capable, responsible, and self-regulating group of scholars wishing to publish. While they may make mistakes now and then, that will "come out in the wash", be negated by the nature of the free market of ideas. The "three reviews and then your free" point of view is an attempt to establish a criterion as to who is in this group of competent scholars. So clearly, there are two stances at work here. One wishes to protect the good name of the Faith from incompetence within, the other wants to protect valid intellectual endeavors from incompetence within. (Both are agreed about the incompetence within!) My own views? I am naturally conservative about these issues, and I certainly don't want certain people's opinions voiced about as if they were the Baha'i point of view. But, just in the same way that a mother has to loosen her apron strings and allow her children a bit of freedom, I think that it is necessary to give our budding scholars a bit more leeway. Yes, I know that there will be mistakes. But mistakes, regardless of how much care is taken, are inevitable and necessary. Is this is to be done where Baha'i national communities are very immature? Maybe not. Caution is still very much needed. BUT! I think that if those with scholarly capabilities and intellectual leadership potential were viewed as being as sensible, nonextremist, caring, and without a highly personalized agenda, it would help things immeasurably. This is where Talisman enters the picture. It is both an indicator of the level of maturity of a highly-visible part of the Baha'i intellectual community, and an arena where we can nurture our intellectual and emotional maturity. The excitement of fresh thinking is very much in evidence, but it is also clear that we are only now emerging from a kind of "name-calling" and "labelling" phase. This is very encouraging, but we need to continue to move forward. Concluding, I think that continuing to invest our energies in Talisman and working to make it shine with a special Baha'i virtue is one of the best things that we can do to make things better. Yours respectfully, Stephen R. Friberg From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Nov 30 11:56:44 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 11:35:15 -0500 (EST) From: Juan R Cole To: email@example.com Subject: widget goes to Indiana With regard to my little short story, Rob Stockman offered a theological reply. > > It's too bad the high priest of widgets didn't have infallible divine > guidance; furthermore, it's too bad he didn't believe in consultation; > and even sadder, that he didn't consult. > --Rob Stockman 1) Don't you think that you are reading the high priest of widgets in a literalist way as having a single referent easily identified and defended with reference to infallible divine guidance? There are some possible referents for this character of which this would not be true, after all. :-) 2) I regret to report that the high priest had on numerous occasions consulted with the monks about the problem, and they had concluded after consultation that nothing could be touched, and that this consultative process did not in the end prevent them from being blown to kingdom come. Apparently the problem is that mere consultation is not a guarantor of being right. And while the monks usually benefit from pulling behind their leaders and following the results of consultation, there also has to be a mechanism for *evaluating the outcomes of consultation* in the short and the long run, and of *reconsidering decisions and policies that appear to have flaws.* Otherwise, kablooie. :-) cheers Juan Cole, History, Univ. of Michigan From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Nov 30 11:58:59 1995 Date: Mon, 27 Nov 95 20:12:15+030 From: Don Peden To: Juan R Cole Subject: Re: talisman rights Dear Juan: What is "Panopticon"? It sounds like it has a root in some kind of "canopy", "covering", umbrella like structure, but it isn't in my dictionary. Sorry to have to ask. Your comments, however, do hit cords in me. How would you say the Baha'i community is doing in its attempts at education? Now that we are forming schools, it has been our experience that punitive measures, restrictions, isolation of the "offender" and long "paroles" where the "offender" is expected to crawl to the authority figures and "beg" to be taken back, promising ideal behaviour and "shining examplehood" are the chosen ways at some institutions in which to assist our youth to become "disciplined". They are then amazed at rebellion within the ranks of students. If they tow the party line, however, no problem. If they sing and dance, even better. This helps to raise up a "new race of men". (Luckily, the Canadian N.S.A. dealt with the institute in question rather thoroughly, but it is still very scary to think that this is lurking behind the good intents of some rather prominent educators.) Am I out to lunch on this one? There is also a form of behaviour modification which was written about in the early 70's (can't remember who or where; came across it when I was working in the ed psych department at the University of Alberta), where the inmate would be deprived of every and all sensory stimulus, right down to a stool, a plate, clothing, etc. These things would be "earned" back by "good behaviour". I guess it is what they were hoping to do with the isolation blocks at alcatraz. Scary stuff. Love, Bev. >Those who have read Michel Foucault's *Discipline and Punish* might enjoy >the image of the Panopticon here, Jeremy Bentham's plan for penal >reform. You see, you not only lock up criminals, but you set up >observation booths so that they are under constant observation and >deprived of any privacy at all. They will then not dare do anything >wrong. And after a while, this fear of doing anything wrong because it >would be observed will become internalized, and they will go straight. >Foucault thought that the disciplinary institutions--medical, >psychiatric, educational, governmental--of modern society themselves >formed a sort of panopticon. And, of course, Foucault interrogates the >authority of these institutions to determine right and wrong. The Baha'i >panopticon is quite extensive. Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 20:15:36 -0800 From: an Assistant to the Auxiliary Board To: email@example.com Subject: RE: Re: Baha'i Bill of Rights/criminal code Dear Juan, I'm glad that you're encouraged by my message. I wish I could say the same about yours: From: Juan R Cole[SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org] >As for how I know what I know, the rule in history and in good journalism >is that if three independent sources confirm an account, you can go with >it. Also primary documentation is given great weight. You'd be >surprised what can be found out about contemporary history in a small, >connected community such as the Faith. So the argument that I "can't >know" what happened doesn't fly. First, I don't believe you understand the argument. Regardless of what you do know, and you may have knowledge of a large number of facts and documentary evidence, there are two entire classes of evidence which is quite simply not available to you. The extent and content of the information which is out of your purview could have significant impact on the conclusions you've reached. I believe I've demonstrated this to be the case on more than one occasion (your conclusion about the salary of the secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly and your conclusion that the House has not overturned some unknown decision regarding the voting rights of the editors of Dialogue are but two examples of this). In US courts of law, there exists a notion of burden of proof. In order for one to satisfy a particular burden of proof, it isn't enough to simply weigh the evidence one has. One also has to consider the weight of evidence that one does not have (or, to put it differently, the weight that a particular piece of evidence might have if one were to have it in one's possession). I have little doubt that you've fulfilled the first step. I'm inclined to believe that you've given little or no consideration to that second part. Secondly, this is only one amongst a number of other points I've raised. We should, perhaps, come to some common understanding on this issue, but let's not forget where it falls in relation to the other points I've raised. I'm still proofing that letter. I expect to send a copy later on tonight. (I'm still at work, and the letter is on my computer at home. I'll have to dial in and send it from home.) Warmest Regards, From email@example.comThu Nov 30 11:59:18 1995 Date: Tue, 28 Nov 1995 01:06:36 -0600 From: Bruce Burrill To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: The Four Noble Truths Bev, > "Four noble truths, please." < What follows is from Nyanatiloka's translations from the Pali Canon collected in a work called THE WORD OF THE BUDDHA, long gone out of copyright. The translation is a little dated, but certainly still quite useable. Bracketed material is Nyanatiloka's commentary. I'll get the rest of your msg and what I want say about Dharma tomorrow. ------------------------ D. 16: THUS has it been said by the Buddha, the Enlightened One: It is through not understanding, not realizing four things, that I, Disciples, as well as you, had to wander so long through this round of rebirths. And what are these four things? They are the Noble Truth of Suffering, the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering, the Noble Truth of the Extinction of Suffering, the Noble Truth of the Path that leads to the Extinction of Suffering. S. LVI. 11: As long as the absolutely true knowledge and insight as regards these Four Noble Truths was not quite clear in me, so long was I not sure, whether I had won that supreme Enlightenment which is unsurpassed in all the world with its heavenly beings, evil spirits and gods, amongst all the hosts of ascetics and priests, heavenly beings and men. But as soon as the absolutely true knowledge and insight as regards these Four Noble Truths had become perfectly clear in me, there arose in me the assurance that I had won that supreme Enlightenment unsurpassed. M. 26: And I discovered that-profound truth, so difficult to perceive, difficult to understand, tranquilizing and sublime, which is not to be gained by mere reasoning, and is visible only to the wise. The world, however, is given to pleasure, delighted with pleasure, enchanted with pleasure. Verily, such beings will hardly understand the law of conditionality, the Dependent Origination of every thing; incomprehensible to them will also be the end of all formations, the forsaking of every substratum of rebirth, the fading away of craving; detachment, extinction, Nirvana. THE NOBLE TRUTH OF SUFFERING D.22: WHAT, now, is the Noble Truth of Suffering? Birth is suffering; Decay is suffering; Death is suffering; Sorrow, Lamentation, Pain, Grief, and Despair, are suffering; not to get what one desires, is suffering; in short: the Five Groups of Existence are suffering. What, now, is Birth? The birth of beings belonging to this or that order of beings, their being born, their conception and springing into existence, the manifestation of the groups of existence, the arising of sense activity-this is called Birth. And what is Decay? The decay of beings belonging to this or that order of beings; their getting aged, frail, grey, and wrinkled; the failing of their vital force, the wearing out of the senses-this is called Decay. And what is Death? The parting and vanishing of beings out of this or that order of beings, their destruction, disappearance, death, the completion of their life-period, dissolution of the groups of existence, the discarding of the body-this is called Death. And what is Sorrow? The sorrow arising through this or that loss or misfortune which one encounters, the worrying oneself, the state of being alarmed, inward sorrow, inward woe-this is called Sorrow. And what is Lamentation? Whatsoever, through this or that loss or misfortune which befalls one, is wail and lament, wailing and lamenting, the state of woe and lamentation this is called Lamentation. And what is Pain? The bodily pain and unpleasantness, the painful and unpleasant feeling produced by bodily contact-this is called Pain. And what is Grief? The mental pain and unpleasantness, the painful and unpleasant feeling produced by mental contact-this is called Grief. And what is Despair? Distress and despair arising through this or that loss or misfortune which one encounters, distressfulness, and desperation-this is called Despair. And what is the "suffering of not getting what one desires?" To beings subject to birth there comes the desire: "O that we were not subject to birth! O that no new birth was before us!" Subject to decay, disease, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair, the desire comes to them: "O that we were not subject to these things! O that these things were not before us!" But this cannot be got by mere desiring; and not to get what one desires, is suffering. THE FIVE GROUPS OF EXISTENCE And what, in brief, are the Five Groups of Existence? They are Corporeality, Feeling, Perception, [mental] Formations, and Consciousness. M. 109: Any corporeal phenomenon, whether one's own or external, gross or subtle, lofty or low, far or near, belongs to the Group of Corporeality; any feeling belongs to the Group of Feeling; any perception belongs to the Group of Perception; any mental formation belongs to the Group of Formations; all consciousness belongs to the Group of Consciousness. DEPENDENT ORIGINATION OF CONSCIOUSNESS M. 28: Now, though one's eye be intact, yet if the external forms do not fall within the field of vision, and no corresponding conjunction takes place, in that case there occurs no formation of the corresponding aspect of consciousness. Or, though one eye be intact, and the external forms fall within the field of vision, yet if no corresponding conjunction takes place, in that case also there occurs no formation of the corresponding aspect of consciousness. If, however, one's eye is intact, and the external forms fall within the field of vision, and the corresponding conjunction takes place, in that case there arises the corresponding aspect of consciousness. M. 38: Hence, I say: the arising of consciousness is dependent upon conditions; and without these conditions, no consciousness arises. And upon whatsoever conditions the arising of consciousness is dependent, after these it is called. Consciousness whose arising depends on the eye and forms, is called "eye-consciousness." Consciousness whose arising depends on the ear and sound, is called "ear-consciousness." Consciousness whose arising depends on the olfactory organ and odors, is called "nose-consciousness." Consciousness whose arising depends on the tongue and taste, is called "tongue-consciousness." Consciousness whose arising depends on the body and bodily contacts, is called "body-consciousness." Consciousness whose arising depends on the mind and ideas, is called "mind-consciousness." Whatsoever there is of "corporeality" in the consciousness thus arisen, that belongs to the Group of Corporeality. there is of "feeling"-bodily ease, pain, joy, sadness, or indifferent feeling-belongs to the Group of Feeling. Whatsoever there is of "perception"-visual objects, sounds, odors, tastes, bodily impressions, or mind objects-belongs to the Group of Perception. Whatsoever there are of mental "formations" impression, volition, etc.-belong to the Group of mental Formations. Whatsoever there is of "consciousness" therein, belongs to the Group of Consciousness. S. XXXII. 53: And it is impossible that any one can explain the passing out of one existence, and the entering into a new existence, or the growth, increase, and development of consciousness, independent of corporeality, feeling, perception, and mental formations. THE THREE CHARACTERISTICS OF EXISTENCE A. III. 134: All formations are "transient"; all formations are "subject to suffering"; all things are "without a Self-entity." S.XXII. 59: Corporeality is transient, feeling is transient, perception is transient, mental formations are transient, consciousness is transient. And that which is transient, is subject to suffering; and of that which is transient, and subject to suffering and change, one cannot rightly say: "This belongs to me; this am I; this is my Self." Therefore, whatever there be of corporeality, of feeling, perception, mental formations, or consciousness, whether one's own or external, whether gross or subtle, lofty or low, far or near, one should understand, according to reality, and true wisdom: "This does not belong to me; this am I not; this is not my Self." S. XXII. 95: Suppose, a man who is not blind, were to behold the many bubbles on the Ganges as they are driving along; and he should watch them, and carefully examine them. After carefully examining them, they will appear to him empty, unreal, and unsubstantial. In exactly the same way, does the monk behold all the corporeal phenomena, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and states of consciousness-whether they be of the past, or the present, or the future, far, or near. And he watches them, and examines them carefully; and, after carefully examining them, they appear to him empty, void, and without an Self. S.XXII.29: Whoso delights in corporeality, or feeling, or perception, or mental formations, or consciousness, he delights in suffering; and whoso delights in suffering, will not be freed from suffering. Thus I say Dhp146-8: How can you find delight and mirth, Where there is burning without end? In deepest darkness you are wrapped! Why do you not seek for the light? Look at this puppet here, well rigged, A heap of many sores, piled up, Diseased, and full of greediness, Unstable, and impermanent! Devoured by old age is this frame, A prey of sickness, weak and frail; To pieces breaks this putrid body, All life must truly end in death. THE THREE WARNINGS A. III 35: Did you never see in the world a man, or a woman, eighty, ninety, or a hundred years old, frail, crooked as a gable roof, bent down, resting on crutches, with tottering steps, infirm, youth long since fled, with broken teeth, grey and scanty hair, or bald-headed, wrinkled, with blotched limbs? And did the thought never come to you that also you are subject to decay, that also you cannot escape it? Did you never see in the world a man, or a woman, who being sick, afflicted, and grievously ill, and wallowing in his own filth, was lifted up by some people, and put to bed by others? And did the thought never come to you that also you are subject to disease, that also you cannot escape it? Did you never see in the world the corpse of a man, or a woman, one, or two, or three days after death, swollen up, blue-black in color, and full of corruption? And did the thought never come to you that also you are subject to death, that also you cannot escape it? SAMSARA, THE WHEEL OF EXISTENCE S.XV. 3: Inconceivable is the beginning of this Samsara; not to be discovered is any first beginning of beings, who, obstructed by ignorance, and ensnared by craving, are hurrying and hastening through this round of rebirths. [Samsara-the Wheel of Existence, lit., the "Perpetual Wandering"-is the name by which is designated the sea of life ever restlessly heaving up and down, the symbol of this continuous process of ever again and again being born, growing old, suffering, and dying. More precisely put: Samsara is the unbroken chain of the fivefold Khandha-combinations, which, constantly changing from moment to moment, follow continuously one upon the other through inconceivable periods of time. Of this Samsara, a single lifetime constitutes only a vanishingly tiny fraction; hence, to be able to comprehend the first noble truth, one must let one's gaze rest upon the Samsara, upon this frightful chain of rebirths, and not merely upon one single lifetime, which, of course, may be sometimes not very painful.] Which do you think is the more: the flood of tears, which weeping and wailing you have shed upon this long way-hurrying and hastening through this round of rebirths, united with the undesired, separated from the desired this, or the waters of the four oceans? Long time have you suffered the death of father and mother, of sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters. And whilst you were thus suffering, you have, verily, shed more tears upon this long way than there is water in the four oceans. S.XV 13: Which do you think is the more: the streams of blood that, through your being beheaded, have flowed upon this long way, or the waters in the four oceans? Long time have you been caught as dacoits, or highwaymen, or adulterers; and, through your being beheaded, verily, more blood has flowed upon this long way than there is water in the four oceans. But how is this possible? Inconceivable is the beginning of this Samsara; not to be discovered is any first beginning of beings, who, obstructed by ignorance, and ensnared by craving, are hurrying and hastening through this round of rebirths. S. XV. 1: And thus have you long time undergone suffering, undergone torment, undergone misfortune, and filled the graveyards full; verily, long enough to be dissatisfied with all the forms of existence, long enough to turn away, and free yourselves from them all. SECOND TRUTH THE NOBLE TRUTH OF THE ORIGIN OF SUFFERING D. 22: WHAT, now, is the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering? It is that craving which gives rise to fresh rebirth, and, bound up with pleasure and lust, now here, now there, finds ever fresh delight. [In the absolute sense, it is no real being, no self-determined, unchangeable, Ego-entity that is reborn. Moreover, there is nothing that remains the same even for two consecutive moments; for the Five Khandhas, or Groups of Existence, are in a state of perpetual change, of continual dissolution and renewal. They die every moment, and every moment new ones are born. Hence it follows that there is no such thing as a real existence, or "being" (Latin esse), but only as it were an endless process, a continuous change, a "becoming," consisting in a "producing," and in a "being produced"; in a "process of action," and in a "process of reaction," or "rebirth." This process of perpetual "producing" and "being produced" may best be compared with an ocean wave. In the case of a wave, there is not the slightest quantity of water traveling over the surface of the sea. But the wave structure, that hastens over the surface of the water, creating the appearance of one and the same mass of water, is, in reality, nothing but the continuous rising and falling of continuous, but quite different, masses of water, produced by the transmission of force generated by the wind. Even so, the Buddha did not teach that Ego-entities hasten through the ocean of rebirth, but merely life-waves, which, according to their nature and activities (good, or evil), manifest themselves here as men, there as animals, and elsewhere as invisible beings.] THE THREEFOLD CRAVING There is the "Sensual Craving," the "Craving for Eternal-Annihilation." Existence," the "Craving for Self-Annihilation." [The "Craving for Eternal Existence," according to the Visuddhi-Magga, is intimately connected with the so-called Eternity-Belief," i.e., the belief in an absolute, eternal, Ego-entity persisting independently of our body. The Craving for Self-Annihilation is the outcome of the so-called "Annihilation-Belief," the delusive materialistic notion of an Ego which is annihilated at death, and which does not stand in any causal relation with the time before birth or after death.] But, where does this craving arise and take root? Wherever in the world there are delightful and pleasurable things, there this craving arises and takes root. Eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind, are delightful and pleasurable: there this craving arises and takes root. Visual objects, sounds, smells, tastes, bodily impressions, and mind-objects, are delightful and pleasurable: there this craving arises and takes root. Consciousness, sense impression, feeling born of sense impression, perception, will, craving, thinking, and reflecting, are delightful and pleasurable: there this craving arises and takes root. M. 38: If, namely, when perceiving a visual object, a sound, odor, taste, bodily impression, or a mind object, the object is pleasant, one is attracted; and if unpleasant, one is repelled. Thus, whatever kind of "Feeling" one experiences, pleasant, unpleasant, or indifferent-one approves of, and cherishes the feeling, and clings to it; and while doing so, lust springs up; but lust for feelings, means Clinging; and on Clinging, depends the "Process of Becoming"; on the Process of Becoming (Karma-process), depends (future) "Birth"; and dependent on Birth, are Decay and Death, Sorrow, Lamentation, Pain, Grief, and Despair. Thus arises this whole mass of suffering. This is called the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering. INHERITANCE OF DEEDS (KARMA) A. X. 206: For, owners of their deeds (karma) are the beings, heirs of their deeds; their deeds are the womb from which they sprang; with their deeds they are bound up; their deeds are their refuge. Whatever deeds they do-good or evil-of such they will be the heirs. A. III. 33: And wherever the beings spring into existence, there their deeds will ripen; and wherever their deeds ripen, there they will earn the fruits of those deeds, be it in this life, or be it in the next life, or be it in any other future life. S. XXII. 99: There will come a time, when the mighty ocean will dry up, vanish, and be no more. There will come a time, when the mighty earth will be devoured by fire, perish, and be no more. But, yet there will be no end to the suffering of beings, who, obstructed by ignorance, and ensnared by craving, are hurrying and hastening through this round of rebirths. THIRD TRUTH THE NOBLE TRUTH OF THE EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING D. 22: WHAT, now, is the Noble Truth of the Extinction of Suffering? It is the complete fading away and extinction of this craving, its forsaking and giving up, the liberation and detachment from it. But where may this craving vanish, where may it be extinguished? Wherever in the world there are delightful and pleasurable things, there this craving may vanish, there it may be extinguished. S.XII. 66: Be it in the past, present, or future, whosoever of the monks or priests regards the delightful and pleasurable things in the world as "impermanent," "miserable," and "without an Ego," as a disease and cancer; it is he who overcomes the craving. And released from Sensual Craving, released from the Craving for Existence, he does not return, does not enter again into existence. DEPENDENT EXTINCTION OF ALL PHENOMENA S. XII 43: For, through the total fading away and extinction of Craving, Clinging is extinguished; through the extinction of clinging, the Process of Becoming is extinguished; through the extinction of the (karmic) process of becoming, Rebirth is extinguished; and through the extinction of rebirth, Decay and Death, Sorrow, Lamentation, Suffering, Grief, and Despair, are extinguished. Thus comes about the extinction of this whole mass of suffering. S. XII 30: Hence, the annihilation, cessation, and overcoming of corporeality, feeling, perception, mental formations, and consciousness, this is the extinction of suffering, the end of disease, the overcoming of old age and death. [The undulatory motion, which we call wave-which in the spectator creates the illusion of a single mass of water moving over the surface of the lake-is produced and fed by the wind, and maintained by the stored-up energies. After the wind has ceased, and no fresh wind again whips up the water, the stored-up energies will gradually be consumed, and the whole undulatory motion come to an end. Similarly, if fire does not get new fuel, it will become extinct. just so, this Five-Khandha-process-which, in the ignorant worldling, creates the illusion of an Ego-entity-is produced and fed by the life-affirming craving, and maintained for some time by means of the stored-up life-energies. Now, after the fuel, i.e., the craving and clinging to life, has ceased, and no new craving impels again this Five-Khandha-process, life will continue as long as there are still life-energies stored up, but at their destruction at death, the Five-Khandha-process will reach final extinction. Thus, nirvana or "Extinction" (Sanskrit: to cease blowing, to become extinct), may be considered under two aspects: 1. "Extinction of Impurities," reached at the attainment of Arahatship, or Holiness, which takes place during the life-time. 2. "Extinction of the Five-Khandha-process," which takes place at the death of the Arahat.] NIRVANA A. III. 32: This, truly, is the Peace, this is the Highest, namely the end of all formations, the forsaking of every substratum of rebirth, the fading away of craving: detachment, extinction-Nirvana. A. III. 55: Enraptured with lust, enraged with anger, blinded by delusion, overwhelmed, with mind ensnared, man aims at his own ruin, at others' ruin, at the ruin of both parties, and he experiences mental pain and grief. But, if lust, anger, and delusion are given up, man aims neither at his own ruin, nor at others' ruin, nor at the ruin of both parties, and he experiences no mental pain and grief. Thus is Nirvana immediate, visible in this life, inviting, attractive, and comprehensible to the wise. S. XXXVIII. 1: The extinction of greed, the extinction of anger, the extinction of delusion: this, indeed, is called Nirvana. THE ARAHAT, OR HOLY ONE A. VI. 55: And for a disciple thus freed, in whose heart dwells peace, there is nothing to be added to what has been done, and naught more remains for him to do. Just as a rock of one solid mass remains unshaken by the wind, even so, neither forms, nor sounds, nor odors, nor tastes, nor contacts of any kind, neither the desired, nor the undesired, can cause such an one to waver. Steadfast is his mind, gained is deliverance. Snp 1048: And he who has considered all the contrasts on this earth, and is no more disturbed by anything whatever in the world, the Peaceful One, freed from rage, from sorrow, and from longing, he has passed beyond birth and decay. THE IMMUTABLE Ud. VIII. 1: There is a realm, where there is neither the solid, nor the fluid, neither heat, nor motion, neither this world, nor any other world, neither sun, nor moon. This I call neither arising, nor passing away, neither standing still nor being born, nor dying. There is neither foothold, nor development, nor any basis. This is the end of suffering. Ud. VIII. 3: There is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed. If there were not this Unborn, this Unoriginated, this Uncreated, this Unformed, escape from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed, would not be possible. But since there is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed, therefore is escape possible from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed. FOURTH TRUTH THE NOBLE TRUTH OF THE PATH THAT LEADS TO THE EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING THE TWO EXTREMES AND THE MIDDLE PATH S. LVI. 11: TO GIVE oneself up to indulgence in sensual pleasure, the base, common, vulgar, unholy, unprofitable; and also to give oneself up to self-mortification, the painful, unholy, unprofitable: both these two extremes the Perfect One has avoided, and found out the Middle Path, which makes one both to see and to know, which leads to peace, to discernment, to enlightenment, to Nirvana. THE EIGHTFOLD PATH It is the Noble Eightfold Path, the way that leads to the extinction of suffering, namely: 1. Right Understanding, 2. Right Mindedness, which together are Wisdom. 3. Right Speech, 4. Right Action, 5. Right Living, which together are Morality. 6. Right Effort, 7. Right Attentiveness, 8. Right Concentration, which together are Concentration. This is the Middle Path which the Perfect One has found out, which makes one both to see and to know, which leads to peace, to discernment, to enlightenment, to Nirvana. M. 139: Free from pain and torture is this path, free from groaning and suffering; it is the perfect path. Dhp 274-5: Truly, like this path there is no other path to the purity of insight. If you follow this path, you will put an end to suffering. Dhp 276: But each one has to struggle for himself, the Perfect Ones have only pointed out the way. M. 26: Give ear then, for the Immortal is found. I reveal, I set forth the Truth. As I reveal it to you, so act! And that supreme goal of the holy life, for the sake of which, sons of good families rightly go forth from home to the homeless state: this you will, in no long time, in this very life, make known to yourself, realize, and make your own. From Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nlThu Nov 30 12:02:37 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 19:27:58 +0100 (MET) From: Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nl To: email@example.com Subject: MacEoin, Afnan & Hatcher I think Seena is right - the Maceoin vs Afnan & Hatcher debate (a series of attack & reposte articles) did more public damage to the Faith than the Hinnels intervention, and presumably contributed to the polarized and polemical approach which followed. But - correct me if I am wrong - aren't Afnan and Hatcher also "Bahai academics"? Their intervention was very unfortunate, but can hardly be used as an example to show that there should be MORE consultation with academics. It's one of those cases which show how the review process could sometimes be positive: if Afnan & Hatcher could have been persuaded not to reply or at least to restrict themselves to real weakness in the MacEoin 'Holy War' article (and I think there was only one, and that not serious) without the ad hominem attacks, the cause of Bahai studies, and, not incidentally, the public image of the Bahai community, would have suffered much less damage. On the other hand, if other Baha'i academics had pitched in to offer other viewpoints, we could have given evidence of diversity. And personally I prefer the free market to the planned economy approach. For those interested, the articles are - MacEoin, The Babi concept of Holy War, Religion 12 (1982) 93-129 - Afnan & Hatcher 'Western Islamic scholarship and Baha'i origins' (vol 15, 1985 29-49). - Denis MacEoin, Baha'i Fundamentalism and the Academic Study of the Babi movement, *Religion* vol 16 57-84, 1986 - Afnan and Hatcher, Note on MacEoin's 'Baha'i Fundamentalism', *Religion* vol 16 187-192 - MacEoin, D., Afnan, Hatcher and an Old Bone, vol 16 1986 193-5 There were also another *Religion* article by MacEoin in 1983, 219-255, 'The Baha'i Faith and its critics', but I don't have a copy of this. Sen ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sen McGlinn ph: 31-43-216854 Andre Severinweg 47 email: Sen.McGlinn@RL.RuLimburg.NL 6214 PL Maastricht, the Netherlands *** When, however, thou dost contemplate the innermost essence of things, and the individuality of each, thou wilt behold the signs of thy Lord's mercy . . ." ------------------------------------------------------------------------\'1a From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Nov 30 12:03:03 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 13:22:30 -0700 (MST) From: "[G. Brent Poirier]" To: Juan R Cole Cc: email@example.com Subject: There's your problem, right there. On Wed, 29 Nov 1995, Juan R Cole wrote: > Please help me out here. > [Except what do I do about Baha'u'llah's explicit abolition of absolute > authority [as-sultah al-mutlaqah] on the basis that Reason has > become manifest among all [zuhur al-`aql bayn al-kull]? Has this passage > of Baha'u'llah been abrogated? By whom? When? [...] > What do we say about Shoghi Effendi's explicit > statement that he was not empowered to legislate, or about our own > knowledge that he was not empowered to abrogate Baha'u'llah's principles, > though as Head of the Faith he could legitimately set them aside for > practical reasons at any one point?] > ... we need to rethink > how to achieve *Baha'u'llah*'s goals in the 21st century. > ... the historically conditioned > decisions of a Guardian functioning without an authoritative legislative > body My suggestion is that you re-evaluate the Guardian's statements and look for their unity with the statements of Baha'u'llah. I suggest that you have grievously misunderstood Shoghi Effendi if you believe that he set aside any of Baha'u'llah's principles; he expressly disavowed doing such a thing. Much of the guidance we seek from the House, and which the friends earlier sought from the Guardian, was to determine which principle applies to a given situation. As you are well aware, in American law the Supreme Court decides where freedom of speech ends and duty to government begins, for example. These various Baha'i principles intersect with one another. While this is basic jurisprudence, what I am saying is that my understanding of the power of the Head of the Faith to guide, means that the Guardian and the House are empowered to correctly choose and apply which of these competing principles applies to a given situation. The Guardian stated in the Dispensation that the House possesses the power to not only supplement the laws of Baha'u'llah, but to apply them; and it is this power of application that I think you are addressing. Your naive friend in New Mexico Poirier the Lawyer From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Nov 30 12:05:45 1995 Date: Wed, 29 Nov 95 22:37 PST From: Burl Barer To: email@example.com Subject: Re: A civilised conversation >Concerning your comments on the Bab's grammer, Judy wrote back and said: >Dear Burl-- > >A very pretty piece of work. > >However, I don't think it solves the problem. In fact, I really think it >finesses the problem. Here's why: > >Q: Why does one care about how "grammatical" the Bab's Arabic was? > >Answer: He was a Manifestation of God, writing in the Holy Language of God. > >Q: How do we know this is the Holy Language of God? > >Answer: Because that's the language of the Qur'an. > >But if that's the case, then the Bab CANNOT write in some idiosyncratic >one-person Arabic, or Persio-Arabic--all this cuts no mustard; what is the >sign and prrof of his being a Manifestion of God is that he can write in the >same classical, perfect Arabic of the *Qur'an*. If God has an "accent" >depending on local ways of speaking, God might as well speak Persian! > >This is not the same problem for the New Testament! No one cares, except >maybe ardent fundamentalists, that the Greek of the NT is the common, >"coarse" Greek of the ordinary people of the day. No one is suggesting God >"spoke" Greek, and the idea is that people are "inspired" to write by God, >not that they took down God's exact words. Textual criticism has a long, >honourable history in the Christian tradition, and the Koine Greek is simply >not a puzzlement or problem--it's not inherent in the faith. > >It IS, however, a problem for a Muslim--or for a product of a Muslim culture. >Why do you think all those Indonesian and African boys learn Arabic? Why do >you think translation of the Qur'an was resisted for so long? And is still >not viewed as the "real" Qur'an? > >Did you get the paper? We had a problem with the address, so it took awhile >to resend it. > >Warm regards-- > >Judy > > ******************************************************* Order MAN OVERBOARD, the new book by Burl Barer today! ******************************************************* From Alethinos@aol.comThu Nov 30 12:06:18 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 02:07:55 -0500 From: Alethinos@aol.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: What is Talisman good for? Sen: I wondered who would be the first out of the chute to start this typical response. I guess you pulled the duty huh? In a priv. note you suggested I should tone things down a bit - lower the volume. Why? So that we can continue to hear the never-ending cry of the oppressed here? (And please people stop using or ref. to Danny O here - he and I get along quite well - corresponding in priv. and he has _yet_ to tell me he feels *oppressed* by the supposed darker undercurrents of my posts.) Sen, it was a good ploy to suggest that I have not offered anything into the vacuum I am (again supposedly) creating here. Unfortunately you and I know full well that I have repeatedly directed our attention (when we are ref. specifically to America - which is what roughly 98% of the complaining is about - re: institutions, rights, etc) to the Guardian's writings concerning America's spiritual destiny. I have, as have others, tried to engage the list members in a solid discourse in what ails the American Baha'i community, to analysis our mistakes so that we can correct them and finally, successfully arise to fulfill the Guardian's vision. You and I have actually have had som heated and interesting debates on the issues of axiology and individualism. David Taylor was certainly in on it as was Terry C., and others. No Sen, few, if any will be attracted to a *new and improved* Faith. The vain attempts here to try and dress up this Cause in a fashion that would find great favor on Oprah or in an interview with Larry King Live on CNN will not touch the hearts of the masses. No amount of placating to the PC police will insure the loyalty of an already deeply cynical and spiritual exhuasted nation. This is already a matter of history in this country - esp. among the more *liberal* protestant churches - and their numbers have been steadily declining for the past quarter century. The thing that is sad is that while these churches are in decline - those that preach intolerance have seen a dramatic rise in new adherents. Those that have complained so loudly and insistently here continue to miss the point. And the point is this: THE problem is not _in_ the institutions. The solutions are NOT in reforms. DO problems exist? Damn right they do! Is there a need for significant *maturity* (a term I prefer for various reasons over that of *reform*)? Absolutely! Will any of this occur? Nope. It will _not_ occur - not as things stand now. The problems that Juan and Linda et al continue to lament are not structural in nature. Certainly the *narrowness* of the present administrative order is a contributor to these ills. But that narrowness is the outcome of a stagnant, spiritually unconscious Baha'i community. These *problems* and miscarriages of justice stem from a national community that is frozen in fear. It is a community that so closely resembles America in general that there is no appreciable difference. It is a community that has all the spiritual instruments and medicines necessary to effect a radical change in the soul of this nation. And yet it is a community fast asleep. In ignoring the harsh glare of the difficult Vision the Guardian has called us to accept it has become a hapless victim of the same spiritual diseases that plague the greater Community around it. We as Baha'is are in just as much psychic pain as everyone else. We see it in our so-called communities, and in the eyes of many of our friends who seem increasingly disaffected toward the Faith. We see it here on this list. The way out of this is simple. We stop trying to avoid our destiny and embrace it. We stop trying to go around, over, under. We stop backing up. We stop trying to make ourselves like everyone else. The way out is to go _through_. The changes that are so desperately needed will come when we arise and shake the foundations, the false pillars, upon which this nation rests. By this I do not mean (and I believe Terry C knows this now) we beat those half-dead horses that are the favorite targets of both liberals on one side and conservatives on the other. We have spent too long either trying vainly to pretend that as Baha'is we had no political agenda, or thrusting our wetted fingers in the air to see which way the socio-cultural winds were blowing this week. (I guess there is of course the third course, made up of a not-too-inconsiderable share of the believers here in this country - those that closely resemble some kind of group frozen in time - blissfully ignorant of the Reality surrounding them - serious lala land types.) One last little point. I too love to grab the wonderful things that float by on this list. Nima and I have a wonderful time with Plato and neoplat. stuff. I love reading Juan's contributions - they are extremely thought-provoking esp. when he is tying Islam and the Faith together. When Buck tosses stuff out here and Burl too I love that. QDL's poems and and the other wonderful people here make this a great list. I would never want that to change. But we are not one-dimensional here. I think we can share all this stuff and still tackle this very large and difficult issue. And that issue is this: given what the American Baha'i Community needs to accomplish - considering the role that needs be played by this country in the unfoldment of the Cause world-wide - and given the manifest failure so far of the community in arising, HOW BEST can we, at this late hour, help out brothers and sisters arise? How can we galvanize these descendents of the dawn-breakers to stand up and truly begin a radical movement that will sweep across this country and seize the consciousness of America? How do we emulate the dawn-breakers - given that our constraints are in many ways far greater? How do we get the community to finally become Revolutionary?? Yes Sen, I have my ideas. But it isn't about my ideas, or yours. It is about Our ideas. It is about a collective undertaking. It is about forming a critical mass of friends that are so welded together through a unity of thought that we literally cause a spiritual chain reaction across this continent. You see it is a very difficult task. It is the one given us by the Guardian. And unfortunately for Juan and Linda and everyone else - it _is_ the only way we are going to ever see the _real_ changes we desire. The question is, do we have the courage to attempt it? jim harrison Alethinos@aol.com From email@example.comThu Nov 30 12:06:37 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 11:58:47 -0500 (EST) From: Farzin Barazandeh To: Talisman Subject: Re: It's 3 O'Clock in the morning Jim, I like your passionate writings and they do invigorate the Babi inside of me at the Fortress which has a clear mission and fighting the infidels that have not yet recognized their destiny and mission, but help little with the Baha'i inside of me that must understand and consort with the same infidels. It might be true that "we are changed more through loving and being loved" and less through emotional appeals. Furthermore, it appears that our attitudes and perceptions are profoundly affected when faced with truth in the presence of love and understanding and not much through mental persuasion. Farzin From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Nov 30 12:08:57 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 11:55:31 -0500 (EST) From: Juan R Cole To: "Stephen R. Friberg" Cc: email@example.com Subject: Re: On review Stephen: I promise not to attack you, but I do have to disagree with you on this issue. And I guess I also have to point out that since you do not publish academic works on the Baha'i Faith, you do not face the problems involved and so it is easy for you to hold the views that you do. The main problem you do not deal with is the one of conscience. As an academic historian, employed by the people of the state of Michigan to tell them and others about the history of the modern Middle East, I have a professional responsibility to maximize information. It would be wrong of me to suppress a passage I had written in an academic paper because the NSA asked me to, except in some rare instance such as that it might endanger the life of someone. Academic historians take a sort of implicit oath not to suppress relevant information, not to let third parties interfere with free inquiry; and the Standards and Practices guide of the American Historical Association encourages historians to seek the least possible restraints on their writings and to be careful fully to report any restraints that exist. For an academic in the humanities or social sciences, official Baha'i Review is rather analogous to asking a physician to break her Hippocratic Oath. If the goal of Review is as stated, to ensure dignity and accuracy, then ordinary academic peer refereeing will anyway perform that function for academics. If the goal is something more sinister, such as control of information by the Baha'i authorities or ensuring that everything published is good for Public Relations, then the practice is unethical. Either way, it should be abolished. I don't believe `Abdu'l-Baha envisaged that at the end of the 20th century Baha'i institutions would be vetting Baha'i academic books! I do think that in the past 30 years Baha'i Review has been reconceived as something close to censorship in part by powerful elderly Iranians, whose main experience has been with Pahlevi and Khomeinist Iran and Israel, all of which are heavily censored societies. As for Baha'i intellectuals needing to be on their best behavior so as to "prove" their worthiness to be released from Review, I believe you are still blaming the victims. If Review is lifted, it should not be because anyone is deemed "mature" but because the Baha'i Faith stands for freedom of conscience and freedom of expression, and these are the bedrock principles of our religion to which Review was a temporary *exception.* I did not say it; `Abdu'l-Baha said it: At the Central Congregational Church in Brooklyn on 16 June 1912, he said: "Just as in the world of politics there is need for free thought, likewise in the world of religion there should be the right of unrestricted individual belief. Consider what a vast difference exists between modern democracy and the old forms of despotism. Under an autocratic government the opinions of men are not free, and development is stifled, whereas in a democracy, because thought and speech are not restricted, the greatest progress is witnessed. It is likewise true in the world of religion. When freedom of conscience, liberty of thought and right of speech prevail--that is to say, when every man according to his own idealization may give expression to his beliefs--development and growth are inevitable." (PUP 197) We don't want Baha'i "development" to be "stifled," now do we? cheers Juan Cole, History, University of Michigan From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Nov 30 12:10:47 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 10:57:37 -0600 (CST) From: Saman Ahmadi To: talisman Subject: Framework for Baha'i Civil Discourse Dear Friends, I think we need to do a deepening on Consultation - any takers? One important thing that email lacks is a prayerful atmosphere. I have a suggestion: that each day (or every few hours as the case may be :-) that we check our email, we say the "Remover of Difficulties" before envoking the command to check our messages. regards, sAmAn From email@example.comThu Nov 30 13:56:06 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 11:21:39 -0600 (CST) From: Saman Ahmadi To: Juan R Cole Subject: Re: Framework for Baha'i Civil Discourse > Saman-jan: Wouldn't this procedure risk making half the messages go away? > > :-) > > > Juan > Dear Juan, Ahhhh... the unexpected outcomes of prayer!:-) take care, sAmAn From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Nov 30 13:58:18 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 11:03:04 -0600 (CST) From: "Mark A. Foster" To: email@example.com Subject: Open Letter to Rev. Moon To: firstname.lastname@example.org Talismanians - In view of recent discussions on issues such as a Baha'i court, a Baha'i bill of rights, etc., I thought that the following post (taken from the New Religions List), which was written by a "dissident" member of the Unification Church, interesting. What I think that this message shows is that virtually the same sorts of discussions which we have seen on Talisman are part of a broader "culture wars" phenomenon which extends beyond the Baha'i community. Actually, many of the perspectives expressed on this list are, I think, a mirror of what can be found in many religious movements - including the Unification Church (which I have been studying since 1975 - seriously since around 1980). Perhaps it can be a caution to us. What, I think, we see happening on Talisman, as I think will be shown in this post, is a general social trend - especially in religious movements. I have seen similar debates on the Meher Baba list, the two Unification Church lists, and the Quaker list. If we are to be about the business of building a New World Order, then perhaps we ought to be cautious that we do not fall into the cultural quick sand which has engulfed so much of the religious world. Mark (Foster) --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 29th November 1995 London. I do feel that my following letter may be of interest to scholars of NRM's for a number of reasons. For example: 1: The fact that NRM's are rarely stagnant organisations but that like any religion they evolve and that at certain stages in their development their membership can become polarised into liberal/reformist/revisionist/modernist/anti-literalist and conservative/fundamentalist factions that the world's larger religions are divided into. 2: The Unification Church which has been one of the major NRM's that has opened itself up to allow studies of itself by sociologists of religion is now at a major cross-roads where internationally the internal division between the two camps is becoming more radically pronounced; at least in Western Europe and America in particular. I see little evidence however of internal dissent happening to the same extent in, say, the Japanese movement, though I have relatively no contact with any Japanese members who are interested in an honest an open discussion of issues. I would hold that the image of the adherents of the Unification faith as an uncritical cult of personality around its founder only holds true for a certain Unificationists; a great many others, particularly among those in the West who have been in the movement the longest, have come to find the neo-Confucionist emperor-worship aspect to be highly offensive and to be a major source of the problems which the movement now faces in this stage in its growth. I might also add that the posting of this letter on the Unification internet forum sparked a call for my expulsion from the forum, as I am no longer considered 'friendly' to the Unification Church, at least by certain Unificationists, though it must be said that I and others have disputed this. In addition I have been described in writing by certain Unificationists as 'apostate,' as a 'child of Satan,' and as a 'Judas,' and the taking of such a perspective has, in my opinion, been a cause of past apostacy by the movement's internal critics. Such 'critics' have in the past faced similar anathematisation for daring to question the movement. If the Unification movement refuses to objectively submit itself to such internal soul searching and dialogue with its own internal critics then I see little hope for its positive evolution and its ability to change the more questionable aspects of its nature. My desire is to see the Unification Church evolve itself into an which reflects the substantiation of Unification idealism; an idealism which originally attracted so many of its international membership, including myself. I have edited the letter since its original posting a few weeks ago, and I omit certain specific allegations of corruption and the abuse due to the understandably litigation sensitive nature of (NUREL-L, for example). It has been requested by members of the Unification Church that I make it clear that I no longer speak as a member of the Unification Church, and so I'd like to make this point clear. This is much to my regret, as I feel that the Unification movement has failed to substantiate its admittedly high idealism; an idealism which originally attracted me to the movement some 16 years ago. _____________________________ An Open Letter to the Reverend Sun Myung Moon (edited) 10th November, 1995. On the Reformation of the Unification Church Dear Reverend Moon, Having been associated with the Unification Church since 1979 and having, I believe, some understanding of the internal problems which the movement faces, please allow me to draw to your attention some matters which I consider to be of the greatest importance to the future of the movement. Please further allow me to offer what I consider to be the only possible solution to the current situation facing the Unification Church. The Introduction of an Ecclesiastical Court, or a similar system of internal discipline. I wish in this short letter to request the introduction of an system of internal discipline in the Unification Church which will help to avoid current abuses. Recently a number of issues have been discussed by members of the international movement concerning abuses within the Unification Church. These issues include, for example: A: The issue of an act of violence (albeit a rare and isolated occurrence) perpetrated by YYY (a member of the Moon family) against a long serving member of the Unification Church. ******** What follows in my original letter to Reverend Moon is approximately a page of known instances of abuse within the Unification Church. As it is not my intention to feed the tabloids, but rather it is my intention to bring reformation to the Unification Church, it is my intention to deal with the cause of these problems - the lack of public accountability - and not the specifics of the effect.. The specifics of such abuses are anyway not wholly unique to the Unification Church. ******* These and a number of other issues have been widely discussed on the Unification internet forum, and if I may, I wish to propose what I see as the only possible solution to the current dilemma. I would propose the instigation of an ecclesiastical court. Let's take, for example, the issue of the blatant corruption of XXX. In this circumstance the ecclesiastical court, which would be officiated by elected representatives, could on the request of church members, call upon XXX to explain himself. He could offer a defence, and likewise his accusers could similarly offer their case. If he refused to attend such a court, or if found to have behaved in a manner inconsistent with his position, the court could recommend that he be dismissed from the ecclesiastical hierarchy. The transcript and judgement of the court would be made entirely public. What would be the consequence of this? Well, if the media were to raise the issue, it would only be raising the issue of the corruption and exploitation of members by one individual and not by the ecclesiastical institution as such; nor could it claim that the ecclesiastical structure permitted such a thing to happen. The media would thus find it hard to accuse either yourself or the Church of perpetrating such an offence. Similarly in the Catholic Church, many priests behave in an indecent manner, but if there is a process of discipline, the offender may be removed from his office, or disciplined, thus disallowing any criticism of the institution and protecting the integrity of the Church. Let's take the scenario of YYY (a particular known abuse by a member of the Moon family). Recently a number of members of the Church have attempted to encourage the victim of this to remain publicly silent on this issue. I however would encourage the radically opposite approach. Let's say that the media reports the alleged incident and then has to say that the offender, YYY, was severely reprimanded by the Unification Church's own internal ecclesiastical court, and fined an appropriate sum; the record being made entirely public. Would the media then be able to attack either you or the Church. No, the Church's integrity would be intact; it would be seen to have acted justly and fairly. Let's say, however, that the media reported the actual situation, that the victim received a letter from Zin Moon Kim, Tyler Hendricks and James Baughman, leaders of the American Church, defending the perpetrator of this crime and virtually anathematising the victim. How does the church look? Is its integrity protected. No, not by any means. Thus the absence of a system of checks and balances, of public accountability, is indeed, in my opinion, the major flaw of the Unification Church, and a flaw which if the current situation continues, will only further enhance the reputation of the Church as a rather unrespectable cult religion which exploits its members, asks them to follow their leaders unquestioningly, without formal means of redress, and with a neo-fascist cultic devotion. The recent withdrawal of your European Union visas appear to me to further highlight the situation that the Unification Church is failing to lose its status as a bizarre religious cult. The establishment of an ecclesiastical court would be the first step in turning the movement away from this trend and to allow it to scrutinise itself before the general public. I urge you to instigate such a system and allow the Unification Church to become an instrument for goodness. I truly believe that if such a similar system is not initiated, that the Unification Church may be unable to reform itself and will become increasingly attacked by the media for entirely valid and fitting reasons. I believe that if such an internal reformation does not take place that the Church will become an increasingly unattractive option in the free marketplace of religion, that division among the membership which is already apparent will increase, that the Church may face formal division, increasing apostasy and disillusionment among its membership, and that judgement will be brought upon the movement from both within and without. Charitable Trusts The next step would be the establishment of independent national and international charitable trusts with elected officers which would oversee the financial affairs of the movement and would decentralise financial control away from you and your family. The reasons for this should need no elaboration. Brazil I would also urge you to reconsider the building of a 'model city' in Brazil and to invest your available resources into projects which will contribute to world peace and to the building of an ideal world in general - a concept consistent with the idealism which attracted so many of us to the Unification movement - and not the initiation of a separatist and isolated religious community or the establishment of a world media and industrial empire. The Brazil issue is anyway a public relations nightmare and the media can hardly be blamed for comparing this to the Jonestown attempt to build a 'model city.' Saeilo I would also urge you to discontue production of the Kahr K9 semi-automatic pistol at the company Saeilo Inc (USA) run by your son and staffed by Church members. I might ask if you, as the founder of a religious organisation which has 'world peace' as one of its goals, consider it appropriate to manufacture weapons for sale on the mass market? I might add that I see an inherent contradiction between the kind of religious idealism which attracted myself and a number of my closest friends to the Unification movement so many years ago, and the current guns and money undercurrent within the Unification movement. Yours Sincerely Martin Boyd. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Martin Boyd (email@example.com) London United Kingdom 'Religion itself is outraged, when outrage is committed in the name of religion' M.K. Gandhi ""..for I believe neither in the infallibility of the Pope nor that of the Councils, since it is established that these have often made mistakes and contradictions........My conscience is taken captive by God's word......for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen. Martin Luther ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Nov 30 13:58:59 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 12:17:54 -0500 (EST) From: Farzin Barazandeh To: Talisman Subject: Re: Wilmette ain't Berlin There were two students and both dedicated to their ways. Naturally, conflict arouse and they decided to go to the Shaykh which was known for his wisdom. The first one went to the Shaykh's chamber and explained his ideas and the Shaykh after a long pause said, "you are right my son." He left the chamber happily. Then the second student entered and he too explained his ideas and the Shaykh after a long pause said, "you are right my son." He too left the chamber happily. The Shaykh's wife heard the conversation and was perplexed, so she approached the Shaykh and asked, how he could tell both of them that they were right even though they had opposing ideas. Shaykh paused for a long time and then replied, " you are right too." Brent, You are truly loved and appreciated for writing such a powerful msg. However, your msg proved my naivete because I can not fathom anybody in this forum would compare the NSA with Nazi with the spirit and characterization which you implied in your message. Perhaps, what hurts the Faith the most, might not be the remarks of some individuals towards some aspects of the Administration or their unique interpretation of the writings, but the unnecessary reactions to those remarks which create the unfortunate hurt and disunity and also gives the undue legitimacy, power and influence to those remarks. We might like to consider the possibility that some remarks as repugnant they might be to some ears, could be good for the Cause in the larger scheme of things as fire is, sometimes good for the forest. It appears that we can not have the luxury of being offended and yet being truly faithful to the mission of this Cause. Farzin From email@example.comThu Nov 30 13:59:18 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 09:42:55 -0800 From: DEREK COCKSHUT To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re . widget goes to Indiana, My dear Juan You do not fool me for a moment . The theme of the story is based on cross references which only point to Linda 'recreated by Burl into a wild religious Ninja ' Walbridge . I see I depart for two days and my inbox is full of Talisman messages . I know you are all dying to know where I went it was to Oregon . Kindest Regards Derek Cockshut On Thu, 30 Nov 1995, Juan R Cole wrote: > nowhere for a good 15 years. So, I'm Acting Up for Baha'u'llah. Maybe I'm > a fool. But maybe it will have a good effect. I don't mind being a fool > for Baha'u'llah, as you once also said. :-) From email@example.comThu Nov 30 14:07:31 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 09:56:59 -0800 From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: RE: Framework for Baha'i Civil Discourse Dear Talizens and sAmAn, From: Saman Ahmadi[SMTP:email@example.com] >I think we need to do a deepening on Consultation - any >takers? Count me in! >One important thing that email lacks is a prayerful >atmosphere. I have a suggestion: that each day (or every >few hours as the case may be :-) that we check our email, >we say the "Remover of Difficulties" before envoking the >command to check our messages. It's not an altogether bad idea to say one or two before hitting the send key on that heated message (advice I should follow myself, no?). Warmest Regards, Rick From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Nov 30 14:09:25 1995 Date: 30 Nov 95 12:56:32 EST From: "H.C. deFlerier deCourcelles" <email@example.com> To: Talisman Cc: sabredance <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Madame Linda Walbridge Subject: comparing apples to oranges TO: Talisman, INTERNET: TALISMAN@INDIANA.EDU Re: comparing apples to oranges FROM: sabredance, INTERNET:email@example.com TO: talisman, INTERNET:TALISMAN@UCS.INDIANA.EDU DATE: 30-11-1995 01:06 Re: re comparing apples to oranges > < > please. Mr. Singh, no doubt, will find other company more suited to his > "humor." > t he was offending me, he would comply with my wishes. Mr. S. did not. >> > > Linda, > > Since you choose to reply to my personal post to you on talisman, i will do the > same, although i did not want to bore other talismanians with this. > There was simply no time for mr Singh to change his tone, because some of the I presume that this is a reference to the incidence that had been boiling over when I first started reading this newsgroup. If so, it seems to me that the Mr. Singh referred to above is actually Monsieur J.K.A. Singh-Rathore who apparently does not have access to this bandwidth. For many reasons, I am not in a position to judge the rights and wrongs the rights of his access. However, when he in his final messages offered to provide with the archives upon request, I was among those who procured them promptly in order to understand what might have transpired before I imported this forum into our network. For the kind information of those who may not have not yet have had the opportunity of seeing the contents of that archive, I would like to specify that it carries the posting bearing the original one line complimentary remarks that Monsieur Singh-Rathore made toward Madame van Rooijen, the angry and insulting response made against him by Monsieur David Taylor, followed by similar responses from a few others and those posted by one demanding Monsieur John Walbridge to expel Monsieur Singh-Rathore. Quite amazingly, in one of the headings concerning him, he was even referred to as a psychopath - and in another subject post, Monsieur or Doctor David Taylor proceeds to present an indepth psychoanalysis of Monsieur Singh-Rathore. It also contains the series of responses Monsieur Singh-Rathore made towards some of those aggressive and insulting remarks that were directed at him. The above appears to have taken place on the public bandwidth. Now, the archive also contains messages that seem to have been exchanged on private bandwidth. I have gone through them again. All the messages, in chronological order form a cohesive thread. However, what seems quite shocking to me is the contents of the messages sent to on the private bandwidth. I shall refrain from pointing my finger at the authors of those words in order to allow the atmosphere to cool down. However, it is my opinion that words addressed to him on the private bandwidth are something that would never have come from persons (at least two in this case) with even a small iota of sense of civilised conduct. As for those of Monsieur Singh-Rathore, it is clear visible that his disposition gradually transforming from a jocular to irritation to indignation as justified by the words directed at him that range from insults to threats on his life (to which he responded to the sender drawing his attention to the legal course of action that his threats are likely to provoke. Immediately following that are the list owners announcement that Monsieur Singh-Rathore was being expelled from this newsgroup and the ensuing correspondence between the two gentlemen. It also contains some of the private correspondence privately exchanged between Madame Linda Walbridge and a few other members of this newsgroup where the subject matter is Monsieur J.K.A. Singh-Rathore - and one message written by him to Madame Walbridge. I needed to explain what (the above) I have read so that the readers know what my opinions are based upon. Now I only have more questions about the Baha'i Faith and the practices of its followers: I have not found one single word written by Monsieur Singh-Rathore which can even barely qualify to have been called as profane or threat as Monsieur et Madame Linda Walbridge seem to have construed - or in the least - to have been led to conclude. Even under serious insults and threats to his life he has not employed a single word that can qualify his remarks as being either profane or insulting. His responses in private to the privately issued insults and threats on his life are as firm and direct as the situation warranted. It is not a joke when an Iranian national threatens to "talk to his European connections with Hezbullah" and have Monsieur Singh-Rathore, (a a high profiled volunteer with the UNHCR) assassinated. Monsieur Singh-Rathore's words that private warning to the Iranian gentleman is question is legitimate and do not appear as threat against a fellow member as Monsieur et Madame Walbridge seem to have concluded, but as an essential and legally permitted course of action essential to safeguarding his personal safety. Now to the questions: This newsgroup professes its allegiance to the Baha'i Faith. One of the principles enjoined by the Founder of the Faith is: Independent Investigation of Truth, which has also been underscored by His Own Pen in His Hidden Words somewhat to the effect of "see through your own eyes and not through the eyes of your neighbour." In the archives I was able to obtain from Monsieur Singh-Rathore, I have not found a single line from the listowner inviting his version of the chain of events. However, I do find a series of perfectly polite and courteous messages Monsieur Singh-Rathore has addressed to Monsieur John Walbridge wherein he explains his version of events. In the archives concerned, I have not found a single reply from the addressee. The next question: The Founder of Faith has also enjoined His followers to refrain from backbiting. Presently, Monsieur Singh-Rathore does not have access to the material posted on this forum. His character and personality are being cast in his absence in the most formidably dark light without even a chance for him to present his defence (which seems to be the main force propelling my response). Before I My personal connections with the Baha'i Community started with the friendship between a couple of Baha'is and my late grandfather nearly 75 years ago. Those links have continued till today with me having many Baha'is as my close friends, colleagues and business associates whose most "kindly radiant hearts" I cherish - and with who I sometimes share the essence of not only this forum, but also other Baha'i forums, leading to lengthy discussions and various degrees of enlightenment. To my understanding that I have gathered from those talks and the Baha'i Scriptures, I have gathered that Baha'U'llah and His Successors enjoin the followers not to engage in any backbiting in any form. In passing this is also an apt moment to allude to a recent political tragedy that has touched the hearts of all peace lovers Worldwide: The Assassination of the Hon. Prime Minister Monsieur Yitzak Rabin. Most of us have heard the outcries that ensued and how many leaders, religious and political, attributed to the backbiting the noble victim had been subjected to by some groups and how it has stimulated the assassin to act on their behalf. When the non-Baha'i world which may not even have received the message of Baha'U'llah stands up condemns backbiting as the root cause of this most heinous cold blooded murder of a Jew by a fellow Jew, I am asking myself, how the Baha'is should rise and stand up against backbiting of Baha'is by fellow Baha'is. Then after reading and rereading the archives I obtained from Monsieur Singh-Rathore as well as the remarks made on this forum by Madame Linda Walbridge, I have come to certain conclusion which I believe would be in the interest of the sound image Baha'i Community in the scrutinising eyes of the public who have either direct or indirect access to the materials that appear on this forum. I feel convinced that, as far as Talisman is concerned, he has been nothing but the victim of backbiting, serious lack and lapses in the correct procedures essential to the management and peaceful resolution of interpersonal conflicts and disputes. In my opinion, this is a failure that your fellow Baha'is I know seem to feel utterly ashamed of. In conclusion: All I can say is that every human being, whether a Baha'i or not, would make a great contribution to World Unity and Peace, if only they would heed to Baha'U'llah's Most Famous First Counsel dispensed through His Hidden Words. Perhaps, I have a favourable prejudice for this First Counsel. It was the best that my grandfather liked, and though not a sworn Baha'i, had it engraved on a brass plate which till today hangs above the door of the study and my eyes stand glued to it since much before I learned to read. His words (my grandfather's) ring in my ears. "That is they key to your happiness!" he would say pointing to it and explaining its meaning and implications while I sat in front of him in the visitors chair. It is much more easy to make ourselves worthy of the love of others than to love them. Loving others depends upon the challenges their human frailties we encounter. We have no control over that. Nevertheless, we have, if not full, a better control over our own thoughts, speech, deeds and character. By influencing those that is in our immediate control, it is possible to make ourselves more loveable (again the First Counsel). That way, we are more sure of producing the love that is essential to the Cause of Peace and Unity in the Human Society. Once again, some verses from the Hidden Words of Baha'U'llah ring in my ears: O SON OF MAN! Breathe not the sins of others so long as thou art thyself a sinner. Shouldst thou transgress this command, accursed wouldst thou be, and to this I bear witness. Each night before I retire, I count my sins and I would feel so ashamed if I should claim to be virtuous. Then I think of the First Counsel, fall asleep with those words ringing in my dreams and wake up with those words ringing in my ears feeling a little bit better in the conscience than the night before - only to tread through the little challenges of the day and evading the little temptations that are hurled in my way - sometimes evening succumbing to some of them, only with a promise that when the night comes I shall admonish myself once again. According to the above verse from Hidden Words of Baha'U'llah, I may never attain the status from where I can breathe the sins of others. And what about the words of my Beloved Jesus Christ? Let the one that has never sinned pelt the first stone! No! Not really. Just wanted to say that we have no control over other people's hearts. Nor their thoughts, speech, deeds nor their character. But on our own, we surely do. Let's work together on those... and the rest will take care of itself. Was my grandfather right? I don't know for sure. But I think that those are the words I shall remember him from. Then something in my heart says without words that he was right! Paris Avec tres chaleureuses amities 30-nov-'95 H-C. de Flerier From LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.eduThu Nov 30 14:13:01 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 95 12:28:36 EWT From: LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: if only I would be... Dear Jim, after reading your posting this morning, followed by Burl's, I felt it was important for me to inquire as to your exact meaning. Let me get this straight, if I were more chaste, had a higher moral rectitude, were less fearful and more courageous (some might say it would behoove me to be less so), and spent more time helping my fellow creatures, then I would be on the right track and doing my part to transform the world. Jim, I cordially invite you to spend a week - or as long as you would like - in our home. You might be in for a bit of a surprise. I am confused about one thing. Are we supposed to be more or less prejudiced? Seems like the churches that are growing are of the "more" variety, yet I believe Burl's list showed that we should be less so. Perhaps if I started hanging out with Norwegians rather than Arabs, Persians, Afhans, and the rest of that sort, I would be considered less prejudice. I am sure that my affinity for people from that disreputable part of the world has only harmed my chances of drawing the high and noble sort of people that we want in the Faith. Trying very, very hard to let my good nature show through - Linda P.S. I publicly apologize to Janine for having replied to her private posting in public. I thought that she had posted to all of Talisman, so I responded likewise. Anyway, the heading on my e-mail does not always allow me to tell if I am receiving something privately or openly on Talisman. I also have some comments on the issue of homosexuality but don't have time now. More later. From email@example.comThu Nov 30 14:15:45 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 11:55:06 -0700 (MST) From: "[G. Brent Poirier]" To: Farzin Barazandeh Cc: Talisman Subject: Re: Wilmette ain't Berlin On Thu, 30 Nov 1995, Farzin Barazandeh wrote: (Re: The Shaykh story about everybody being right) > You are truly loved and appreciated for writing such a powerful msg. > However, your msg proved my naivete because I can not fathom anybody in > this forum would compare the NSA with Nazi with the spirit and characterization > which you implied in your message. OK, that might have been an extreme characterization of what has been said. And your point is well taken that exaggeration from any quarter hurts people. My point was that I find that reading the accusations against the institutions literally hurts. I distinguish this from the kind of hurt that I find healthy. For example, it may hurt the NSA to read what the House wrote to it in May of 1994; but that was offered not only frankly, but in an atmosphere of perfect support for that body. I feel that that kind of hurt is the "pain" of the steed of the Valley of Love. I welcome the kind of "hurt" from my friends that exposes my ignorance, prejudices, inaccurate assumptions, flaws, and the like; all of which I possess in marvelous abundance; the proof being that if I didn't I'd be manifesting Satori and contributing more effectively to the energizing of the Baha'i community that Burl and my old roomie Jim Harrison, graduate of the Baskin Robbins School of Sufism (ascending the Chakra Chips), have described. I have seen us in frustration describe one another, and Baha'i institutions, as autocratic, fascist, Covenant-breakers, fundamentalist, etc., all of which we wrap up with, "Now, I don't mean that in a *bad* way." When we reach the end of our rope, instead of doing that (and I am as guilty as anybody else, mea culpa) somewhere inside of us we have to turn to our inner light for guidance, learn from one another, look for the truth in what the other is saying, and if we're not standing on the truth, move. Thanks, Farzin. What did I miss in what you wrote? Brent From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Nov 30 14:26:43 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 95 08:05 GMT+1300 From: Alison & Steve Marshall To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Baha'i bill of rights / criminal code >I have a list of Membership statistics from National date April, 1979, >for the U.S. It shows 75, 448 Baha'is with administrative rights and >1,948 (nearly 2,000!!) without administrative rights. This is an >expulsion rate of 2.5%. But note that Baha'is with known addresses >were only 48,357, and the ones who were expelled ipso facto belonged >to the group the NSA could find. So the true percentage of the active >community expelled was more like 4% or one in every 25 persons. >Obviously, this is quite high. It would be like having 3,200,000 U.S. >Catholics excommunicated. I do not know what the percentages are >today. I asked my National Spiritual Assembly for the equivalent New Zealand figures. I got a reply a shade over 24 hours later -- that's service! Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 14:52:11 +0000 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bev Watson) Subject: Statistics To: email@example.com 30 November 1995 Ref.1503/95 Mr Steve Marshall Dear Baha'i Friend, Thank you for your email dated 29 November 1995, requesting statistics about the number of Baha'is with administrative sanctions placed against them in the New Zealand Baha'i Community. In the last 15 years, 67 believers have lost their voting rights. There have been an additional four believers who have had partial sanctions placed against them which have prohibited them from being elected to institutions. Nine of the above believers have applied to have their voting rights restored. Five of these were restored, and four are still undergoing the prerequisite process for restoration. The majority of those who have lost their voting rights have had very little contact with Baha'is and so, even if they have corrected the situation which led to the loss of their voting rights, they have not requested to have them restored. The number of believers in New Zealand is currently 3,970, made up of 2,394 adults, 429 youth and 1,147 children. Sanctions have only ever been placed against adults believers. Hope this is helpful. We would be very interested to know the reason for your request. Warmest Baha'i Love, NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY Suzanne Mahon Secretary -------------------------------------------------------------- Alison and Steve Marshall Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 90 Blacks Road, Opoho, Dunedin/Otepoti, Aotearoa/New Zealand -------------------------------------------------------------- From email@example.comThu Nov 30 14:36:14 1995 Date: 30 Nov 95 14:11:56 EST From: sabredance <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: talisman Subject: Worthy of the love of others (was:apples and oranges) << It is much more easy to make ourselves worthy of the love of others than to love them. Loving others depends upon the challenges their human frailties we encounter. We have no control over that. Nevertheless, we have, if not full, a better control over our own thoughts, speech, deeds and character. By influencing those that is in our immediate control, it is possible to make ourselves more loveable (again the First Counsel). That way, we are more sure of producing the love that is essential to the Cause of Peace and Unity in the Human Society. Once again, some verses from the Hidden Words of Baha'U'llah ring>> M. de Flerier wrote the above. I want to make one remark: No matter how good we are, without love for others in our hearts, others will never love us. They may admire us, envy us, but never love us. To make yourself worthy of the love of others starts by loving them, unconditionally. At least that is my opinion. From email@example.comThu Nov 30 16:32:13 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 14:49:34 -0500 (EST) From: Donald Zhang Osborn To: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Qur'anic quote in Kitab-i-Iqan Allah'u'Abha! In a polemic against the Faith one author (Alpha-Nazirou Thiam) claims that there is an error in a quote from the Qur'an used in the Kitab-i-Iqan. What refutation is there of this argument (which I assume is not new or infrequent among Muslim polemics)? Since he writes in French, I dug up English quotations to explain this claim (thanks to Web sites at U. of N. Carolina & U. of Michigan): "Even as He saith: `None knoweth the meaning thereof except God and them that are well-grounded in knowledge.'" (Kitab- i-Iqan, p. 17) [Qur'anic quote is between single quotation marks] "But none knows its interpretation except God, and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge say: We believe in it, it is all from our Lord; and none do mind except those having understanding." (Qur'an III, 7) Thiam argues that the "waw" (="and" in Arabic) was misunderstood as a "conjunction of coordination" in the Iqan quote, and that the accepted reading of the passage uses it as a "conjunction of subordination." Hence in the latter only God really knows and the truly knowledgeable accept, while in the former both God and the truly knowledgeable know. Subtle but significant difference, which Thiam calls a grammatical error. It would seem, however, to be a point that could be argued either way; but I am schooled in neither Arabic nor the Qur'an... "Say: We believe in it, it is all from our Lord ...." What is (are) the Baha'i response(s)? Don Osborn firstname.lastname@example.org From email@example.comThu Nov 30 16:32:24 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 09:15:00 +1200 From: Robert Johnston To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: To see beauty is to be beautiful.(was: I can't do this) Dear Philip, You have a mind which interests me very much. Did you send our bio to Talisman? If so I must have missed it, and am sorry that I did. Regarding the fact that you are now in winter: Please remember that I had to endure all the northern hempishere tales of summer while I froze down here. I did not tell David Langness how much I envied him his trip into the wilderness... Swans are a beautiful symbol of the soul's immortality, I think. To see beauty is to be beautiful. Robert. I really liked Saman's letter of today. From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Nov 30 16:34:53 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 16:20:47 -0500 (EST) From: Stephen Johnson To: Donald Zhang Osborn Cc: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Re: Qur'anic quote in Kitab-i-Iqan Allah'u'Abha Don. I have heard this quote from the Qur'an used by Shi'is as an explanation of the powers of infallability of the Imams. According to some, this verse allows for explication of the Qur'an by the Imams who are those "well-grounded in knowledge". Therefore, a rereading of the verse which others consider incorrect due to a misunderstanding of the 'conjunction of coordination' actually explicates the infallable interpretation of the Imams similar to that of the Blessed Guardian: > "Even as He saith: `None knoweth the meaning thereof except > God and them that are well-grounded in knowledge.'" (Kitab- > i-Iqan, p. 17) [Qur'anic quote is between single quotation > marks] As you say, I believe that it could be argued either way...however, I'm waiting for Juan or Chris to respond.... helllllloooooo! :) stephen From email@example.comThu Nov 30 16:35:41 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 14:25:04 MST From: Stephen Bedingfield To: Talisman Cc: Bijan Ma'sumian Subject: Texas ABS Conference To all the Talisfolk who gathered at the Texas ABS Conference, and to our extended family, Greetings: Well, finally I arrived home on Wednesday and re-subscribed to Talisman, and although several days since the close of the Texas ABS Conference, I wanted to say to y'all how wonderful it was to put a face to your names. You were all quite different from what I had imagined. Especially Nima! Several of us remarked that we had thought of Nima as a woman, from Talisman that is, but in fact in person she is a he! And Terry, you couldn't hid your gentle, embracing spirit under your quiet reserve if you tried. Glad to have met you. The presentations were quite good, ranging from Chris Buck's presentation of some of his research to the lower-end akin to deepenings (IMHO). And dear Mark. We sacrificed that poor goat prior to his presentation, to give him the extra edge after an excellent presentation by that other metaphysicist, Nima :-) BTW, I had the pictures developed. The one of smoked brisket of goat on the dinner table in front of a beaming Mark Foster did not turn out well. I had promised to scan it in and post to Talisman; I'll see how the scanning turns out first before proceeding. And perhaps a warm thank-you to Bijan for all the hard work he put into organizing the Conference, and Hashim Taqvi as well. All of the general session presentations, except for one, were from Talisfolk. Loving regards, stephen -- Stephen Bedingfield | "We desire but Box 115, Cambridge Bay NT X0E 0C0 | the good of the world and Canada (403) 983-2123 | the happiness of the nations" email: firstname.lastname@example.org | - Baha'u'llah From email@example.comThu Nov 30 18:32:13 1995 Date: 30 Nov 95 17:17:32 EST From: sabredance <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: talisman Subject: sex and shame in the kitab-i-aqdas And then there is that virgin- ity law in the Aqdas where your husband can claim you weren't a virgin and get rid of you. Would you then be punished twice, having the adultery penalty imposed after your new husband has dumped you? It seems that God has a double standard, according to some Baha'is, and thinks chastity is more important for women than for men....see the introductory book by Ferraby as an example. On the other hand, it could be worse. A fine is definitely not as bad as 100 lashes! Dear Melissa, The above example is only valid when the marriage was conditioned on virginity. A fine does not have to be paid, the dowry simply has to be given back, according to Synopsis and Codification of the Aqdas. Furthermore it is said that to conceal this matter (discovering the woman is no virgin anymore) is highly meritorious in the sight of God. I do not think God has a double standard on this matter. I think that the Bahai faith is for many cultures and in many cultures virginity of a woman is very important. I see it more like condescending to this fact, knowing that the Bahai faith began at a period of transition for humanity. Sorry, just wanted to clarify :) janine amsterdam, the netherlands From email@example.comThu Nov 30 18:40:06 1995 Date: 30 Nov 95 17:22:56 EST From: sabredance <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: talisman Subject: Copy of: Open Letter to Rev. Moon ---------- Forwarded Message ---------- From: sabredance, 100725,315 TO: "Mark A. Foster", INTERNET:email@example.com DATE: 30-11-95 22:54 RE: Copy of: Open Letter to Rev. Moon << Perhaps it can be a caution to us. What, I think, we see happening on Talisman, as I think will be shown in this post, is a general social trend - especially in religious movements. I have seen similar debates on the Meher Baba list, the two Unification Church lists, and the Quaker list. If we are to be about the business of building a New World Order, then perhaps we ought to be cautious that we do not fall into the cultural quick sand which has engulfed so much of the religious world.>> Mark (Foster) This is exactly what I have noticed too, on several lists of the Bahais, and in the Bahai community. There are social trends going on, indicating that we as humanity are all in a certain phase and that we are all struggling with the same problems. If people want to make a difference, and in order to get universal peace really happening, we need to change our focus, our thoughts and our minds. The key is unconditional love, i feel. And that involves feeling pain as well, however, also great happiness. See also Henry Millers post of yesterday. No other thing will work as powerful as unconditional love and acceptance of each other (acceptance does not imply total agreement). Failing all the time myself, yet trying, janine amsterdam, holland From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Nov 30 18:40:28 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 16:40:17 -0600 (CST) From: Saman Ahmadi To: talisman Subject: Re: Qur'anic quote in Kitab-i-Iqan Dear Donald and All, I think the verse you quote comes after the statement regarding two types of verses in the Quran: allegorical and fundamental. The verse goes on to say that people want to interpret the *allegorical* when only God and those who are knowledgeable can only do this. Anyway, I believe different translation of the Qur'an treat the structure of the sentence differently: Pickthal's, I believe, is the same as how Baha'u'llah wirtes in the Iqan while Yusuf Ali breaks the sentence, starting a new one with "Those grounded in knowledge...". I am curious about a more thorough answer as well. regards, sAmAn From PIERCEED@sswdserver.sswd.csus.eduThu Nov 30 18:41:28 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 15:25:51 PST8PDT From: "Eric D. Pierce" To: email@example.com Subject: pawpaws and rutabagas/ Re: comparing apples to oranges Bon Jour H.C. (and talismanians), Your message lightened and warmed my heart. Thanks for the charming and well thought out analysis of the unfortunate "Singh Rathore" business. As an added note, the situation was somewhat complicated by the fact that it is possible to *forge* email, and if I recall correctly, at least one of the recalcitrants in this matter indicated that nasty private messages reportedly originating from them (and passed on to others and/or posted to the list) were indeed forged. Of course we have no way of knowing if something was forged or not, and a false claim of forgery could be used as a smokescreen if one wished to lie or cover one's tracks. While I enjoyed the idiosyncratic and frequently humorous (and possibly misunderstood) messages of our dear exasperated Mr. Singh Rathore on this and the "SRB" Usenet group, I certainly wouldn't expect there to be a wide lament about the loss of his contribution to the discussion of scholarship here. I have no interest in deflecting his opinions about the ill effects of american culture, but would like to mention that it is very problematic to directly impugn Persian culture in a forum whose Persian members have probably been subject to racism and nationalistic hostility from society at large. Given that once again, the "facts" relating to a list expulsion were not clear (and maybe never could have been), the valued and tenderly held personal relationships between some of the members who have been on the list longer than Mr. Singh apparently took precendece over Mr. Singh Rathore's "rights" to a fair hearing. I am of course a typically utilitarian american, and have probably come close to seeming rude in the rush to get on with "things" here on talisman, perhaps at the expense of a proper civilized valuation of cyber-relationships. Best wishes for success and blessings in all your endeavors, Eric D. Pierce (PierceED@csus.edu) Database Technician California State University, Sacramento (USA) > Date sent: 30 Nov 95 12:56:32 EST > From: "H.C. deFlerier deCourcelles" <firstname.lastname@example.org> > To: Talisman > Copies to: sabredance <email@example.com>, > Madame Linda Walbridge > Subject: comparing apples to oranges > TO: Talisman, INTERNET: TALISMAN@INDIANA.EDU > > Re: comparing apples to oranges > > FROM: sabredance, INTERNET:firstname.lastname@example.org > TO: talisman, INTERNET:TALISMAN@UCS.INDIANA.EDU > DATE: 30-11-1995 01:06 > > Re: re comparing apples to oranges > > > > < > > > please. Mr. Singh, no doubt, will find other company more suited to his > > "humor." > > t he was offending me, he would comply with my wishes. Mr. S. did not. >> > > > > Linda, > > > > Since you choose to reply to my personal post to you on talisman, i will do > the > > same, although i did not want to bore other talismanians with this. > > There was simply no time for mr Singh to change his tone, because some of the > > I presume that this is a reference to the incidence that had been > boiling over when I first started reading this newsgroup. If so, it seems to me > that the Mr. Singh referred to above is actually Monsieur J.K.A. Singh-Rathore > who apparently does not have access to this bandwidth. > ... snip > > Paris Avec tres chaleureuses amities > 30-nov-'95 H-C. de Flerier > > From email@example.comThu Nov 30 18:48:36 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 18:39:56 -0500 (EST) From: Juan R Cole To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: moonies Mark: Thanks for this informative posting. I don't draw the same conclusions from it as you do, though. Don't you think it is a bit unfortunate that any Baha'is would *have* to be making the same sort of human rights arguments that the poor Moonie liberals (now that's a small and stubborn bunch!) do? Shouldn't the Revelation of God for this age automatically have *higher* standards than an ultra-rightwing authoritarian Korean sect? There *are* problems in the Baha'i Faith just as there are in all religions, in entering the age of human rights. Catholic human rights activists have also questioned Catholic canon law. We are all human beings here, striving to obey God's will. But that Will is for there to be human rights, as I have shown over and over again from the Writings, and where we fall short in that regard we must strive to do better. And some of the striving is best done in the form of accomplishing structural changes. Heartfelt calls for us all to be better human beings are wonderful, but let's back them up with institutional and legal improvements. cheers Juan Cole, History, University of Michigan. From Member1700@aol.comThu Nov 30 18:49:16 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 18:36:18 -0500 From: Member1700@aol.com To: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Re: It's 3 O'Clock in the morning Dear Jim: Well, thank you very much for reply to my inquiry, which I must admit I find just as mystifying as all the others. The message does come through loud and clear that you don't like Talisman very much and that you hold most of those who are posting here, particularly those interested in reforms in Baha'i Administration, in utter contempt. One wonders why you keep reading. In any case, you seem to be under the impression that we all spend our lives (or at least our Baha'i lives) glued to computer screens bitching about the Baha'i community. An odd notion. I suppose we could all list our various services to the Faith, past and present. But that would be a little self-serving, wouldn't it? I, at least, prefer to refrain. But since you seem to feel that there is a magic formula which, if only implemented, would instantaneously and completely transform the Baha'i community--and perhaps the American nation (and the world?)--bypassing all this messy human stuff . . . well, if you would be so kind as to let us know what it is, I am sure we would be happy to try it. Warmest, Tony From email@example.comThu Nov 30 19:15:09 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 95 18:47:05 EST From: Christopher Buck To: "Stephen R. Friberg" Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: On review Stephen Friberg thoughtfully writes: ___________________________________ For Baha'i academic publications, or Baha'i studies publications, I believe that review should generally be required, but that the review should be of an academic nature. There certainly should not be waivers for those who have published more than three articles, in my opinion. To do so would be depart from the nearly universal standard for publication in scholarly journals: that regular articles should always be subject to review. ____________________________________ To clarify, I was not suggesting that Baha'i academics be free from peer review when submitting articles to academic journals, be they secular or Baha'i-sponsored. I was merely suggesting that *double-review*--as you have aptly characterized it--need not be required of Baha'i academics after a finite number of reviews. While Juan argues on the basis of professional ethics, I am trying to find a pragmatic solution, one that strikes a compromise between professional ethics and Baha'i administrative concerns. Where Baha'i review and peer review do coincide is when an author submits to the *Journal of Baha'i Studies*, because JBS performs, in practice, an *in-house* review. Of course, none of the reviewers, to the best of my knowledge, are non-Baha'i, and therein lies the difference. I believe that, short of total suspension of Baha'i review for Baha'i academics--which is not likely to happen very soon--a compromise ought to be considered. It is a compromise that will satisfy neither the canons of professional ethics--which Juan has convincingly argued--nor the safeguards required by Baha'i review. A compromise, I suppose, is sort of like *kissing your sister* as us ex-athletes used to be told what a *tie* was like in competition. But such a compromise renders Baha'i review, in this special case, as the temporary measure that it has always claimed to be. Protection of the Faith is a fundamental principle of Baha'i review. If, in the interests of protecting the Faith, we harm its reputation along the way, then we are shooting ourselves in the foot. The best way to protect the Faith against possible inaccuracies written by Baha'i academics is to allow only peer review, and only for a limited number of reviews. Ideally, we envision a time when no review is necessary for Baha'i academics, who, of all people, have a vested, professional interest in maintaining the highest standards of accuracy, except in cases of bias, as is evident in certain cases of scholarship on the Faith written by certain non-Baha'is. Now that I appear to have enlisted your support for peer review of Baha'i academic work, I hope that you will consider why a compromise is perhaps the only pragmatic solution to the Mexican standoff between professional ethics on the one hand, and a possibly narrow view of protection of the Faith on the other. Baha'i academics risk being scandalized by Baha'i review. Denis MacEoin has, in several articles and rejoinders published in academic venues, publicly scandalized Baha'i scholarship. My solution is far from ideal. It is the kind of solution I might imagine my good friend and bosomless buddy Robert Stockman to come up with, although I certainly cannot speak for him nor can I make any presumptions concerning him. I certainly invite Robert to weigh in on this proposal. I would not be offended if he argued against it for compelling reasons. But before I give up on this issue, I wonder if *reform* cannot be effected incrementally in the form of a compromise? Christopher Buck ********************************************************************** * * * * * * * * * Christopher Buck Invenire ducere est. * * * Carleton University * * * * * * Internet: CBuck@CCS.Carleton.CA * * * * * * P O Box 77077 * Ottawa, Ontario * K1S 5N2 Canada * * * * * * * * * ********************************************************************** From email@example.comThu Nov 30 19:16:00 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 12:58:09 +1200 From: Robert Johnston To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: those who love and are gentle ffolks, A friend said to me yesterday that each time has its theme: the theme of our parents was leaning about technology, the theme of today is learning about relationships... Right or wrong, the observation stuck in my head.... If it is true, we can expect to see an increasing validation of relationship skills: a person with relationship skills will be considered wealthy - just as has been the astronaut or the brain surgeon... I have recently manifested a severe shortfall in this area, as many of you will know... (Already I can hear my personal trainer Stephen Friberg grimmacing at the self-flagellatory mood I appear to be in)... and I do not wish to present myself now as being a born-again S.N.A.G. (Sensitive New Age Guy) let a alone a latter day Saul tossed from his Donkey on the road to Damascus to sping forth in a miraculously sancified form -- but there is a new thought that I'd like to share...and that is this... those who love and are gentle are the true pillars of the world... If you don't know what I mean, read the letters of the Talisman women... like Joan's to Dan, or the exchange between Linda and Janine. Among the men, read the exchange between Farzin and Brent... but I must especially emphasise the perspective of women... When I was in the midst of my troubles, the other day, I received a private letter from a Talisffolk woman. The letter was like a lightening rod (Curiously, Baha'u'llah uses the same image when writing of the Cause in relation to the destruction world through technological excesses), and the process of my disarmament received a real boost. Deftly and briefly, she showed me the world through her eyes. SUCH a compassionate view. It was not that the faults weren't seen. It is just that the pain beneath the faults was more emphatically observed. The sense of the wrongdoings of the "other" was reduced, and the sense of good was highlighted. ... hmmm, let's see: from this perspective an excessively loud complainer about the way institutions function (and this is MY example, and my imperfect interpretation of this woman's vision) might be viewed pretty much the way I'd view a certain sort of drunken stand-up-and-tell-it-like-is poet (a Dylan Thomas and Allan Ginsberg hybrid, perhaps), or a radical preacher/politician. Gone is the sense of the betrayal of the station of the scholarly "learned in el abha". The poet-preacher-politician exposing his nerve to agnony is a dweller in the valley of love rather than the valley of knowledge. In this light, messages that disturb the convenantally conservative like myself, become more like works of art manfesting William Blake's view that energy is eternal delight. I hear Joe Cocker...bellowing... But let me repeat my own poetic (ha, yes!) insight... those who love and are gentle are the true pillars of the world. Robert.... From: A US National Baha'i Center staffer To: Date: 95-11-29 12:48:22 EST Are there people defending the actions as exactly carried out? I wonder. I haven't heard that. People will from ignorance, yes. , you say a lot can be learned. By whom? The British NSA may or may not have learned its lesson from the event, but they haven't told us, and they probably haven't learned anything from the Talisman discussions (which, unless they are precisely accurate, will simply muddle the issues, because people on the NSA will always be able to say they don't understand). Other NSAs probably aren't learning anything from Talisman, except that there is a bunch of angry academics who feel everything institutions do is messed up. This will make them suspicious of anything said on Talisman, and they will want to ask the British NSA its opinion anyway. Individual Baha'is are helpless to gather all the facts and simply must go on the facts spread on Talisman; and Talisman, lately, has not been all light and goodness. So where does that leave the friends? Wondering what institutions have done or haven't done, and having no way of knowing. That generates suspicion, either of the NSAs, or of the people posting the information about the NSA Either way, the result is suspicion and lack of trust. Communities cannot function when trust breaks down. Do see where I am going with this: that a "free" discussion can end up spreading misinformation and confusion and can do great harm to individuals and to the communities they form? Think about it. From DAWNLIQU@fllab.chass.ncsu.eduFri Dec 1 00:47:56 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 20:19:26 EST From: QUANTA DAWNLIGHT To: email@example.com Subject: dancing or fencing (poem) The angel of inspiration is dictating; According to Webster, sabre is: in fencing, a type of weapon, heavier than foil, used with slashing, as well as thrusting, to strike, to wound, or kill with... Blessings be upon the dancers of PEACE, adorned with weapons, filling the screens with acts of LOVE? in a mysterious PLAY! -lovingly and mystified, quanta...(*_*) From firstname.lastname@example.orgFri Dec 1 00:53:14 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 18:11:26 -0800 From: DEREK COCKSHUT To: email@example.com Subject: RE . Baha'i Bill of Rights debate. As the debate on the Baha'i Bill of Rights and Criminal Code keeps flowing , I am looking at the varied postings and trying to obtain some new information and I will post something substanial later . However for the record , contrary to many statements , there is a policy and procedure that the USA NSA always follows prior to the removal of an Individual's full administrative rights . A person does under goes due process . As a result rights can not be removed upon a capricious personal whim . A person except in extreme and rare cases receives 3 separate normally written warnings. It is only in the case of persistent , flagrant violation of Baha'i laws are rights removed . The reason there is a department of Community affairs is to counsel and encourage in order a person does not lose their privileges . In most cases that are brought to the attention of the NSA when the person acknowledges their wrong- doing no further action is taken . When action is taken for example with a child molester or a person who commits spousal abuse . A condition for the reinstatement of rights is that the person must undergo therapy to help with that condition. I am sorry to say the discussion has really missed the whole point . The vast majority of removal of rights occur because of actions of a reprehensible personal nature against the laws of our Faith and are done in a Flagrant manner. Not because a person disagreed with an NSA decision or an NSA member , it is really infantile to keep inferring that and in certain cases stating it as fact . Kindest Regards Derek Cockshut From firstname.lastname@example.orgFri Dec 1 00:54:42 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 15:28:15 +0600 From: Adrian Hindes To: talisman Subject: Bio O Son of Justice Wither can a lover go but to the land of his beloved, and what seeker findeth rest away from his hearts desire. To the true lover, reunion is life and seperation is death. A myriad lives he would forsake to hasten to the abode of his beloved. I'm in love with the revelation of Baha'u'llah. What more can be said? This is not an intellectual speaking and these words should be ignored as degenerate ramblings of a drunkard intoxicated with the wine of mystic communion. Once before becoming a Baha'i I became a hermit and meditated on the hills above Aramoana. For 2 years I just sat and watched the wheels of human endeavour turning. Then something welled up from within and said "enough!!, its time to take your place in the world again". Why I was permitted to have a momentary glimpse of Baha'u'llah a few months after my return is still a mystery. Now as a Baha'i for six years I've just discovered Email. For one week now Talisman letters have rolled off the screen and into the trash can. Yet a few gems of wisdom, come wit have left a lasting impression. My academic qualifications are few. I'm a science graduate midway through a medical degree at Otago University, New Zealand. Music, Christianity, healing and Maoritonga are special interests of which I don't necessarily have any knowledge of.So....perhaps some of us have a few things in common and we can learn from each other. email@example.com From firstname.lastname@example.orgFri Dec 1 00:55:09 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 95 19:44 PST From: Burl Barer To: Member1700@aol.com Cc: email@example.com Subject: Re: It's 3 O'Clock in the morning Tony, gleefully expressed the following verbal motif: >there is a magic formula which, if only >implemented, would instantaneously and completely transform the Baha'i >community--and perhaps the American nation (and the world?)--bypassing all >this messy human stuff . . . well, if you would be so kind as to let us >know what it is, I am sure we would be happy to try it. > > Tony: the magic formula, if implemented, would do as you ask with the results you describe...but it involves messy human transformation, striving, dedication, etc. which you know, from experience, is so time consuming. I earlier shared the Guardian's 3 point plan for shifting the balance of power in America..like all plans, it must be implemented...and finding people who are actually "happy" to try it, as opposed to begrudgingly not hampering its progress, is the hardest part...or as Tom Petty sang: The waiting is the hardest part....and Abdul-Baha is waiting, patiently waiting. Burl (lines seem longer when you're alone) Barer > > ******************************************************* Order MAN OVERBOARD, the new book by Burl Barer today! ******************************************************* From Alethinos@aol.comFri Dec 1 00:56:28 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 00:18:19 -0500 From: Alethinos@aol.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: It's 3:00 in the a.m. and I am in your house Buba . . . Tony: My my my . . . aren't you the honey tongued one?! Are you always this sweet, or did I catch you on a particularly gooooooood day, hmmmm? Your post would have been excellent, had it been written by one of my freshman college students . . . it was concise in its nastiness . . . and at the same time did a wonderful job at misdirection, how do you do it?! Let's see - you are, as usual you claim, baffled and perplexed by my post, your confusion on par with someone trying to read the singles ads in Greek. Yet somehow you were able to read INTO the letter all sort of stuff I never said, nor implied, nor even hinted at . . . amazing. I supposedly don't like Talisman very much, or at all. Where did I say this? Forget your inference to my supposed underlying message - please show me where I said this. Well let me save you the time Buckie. I didn't. As a matter of fact I said the exact opposite today. Didn't catch that post huh? Probably too busy trying to read between the lines. Get some glasses, you'll need 'em. And why yes, how astute of you to notice where I cleverly managed to trash each and everyone here on Talisman. Incredible how you picked that one up . . . damn I didn't even see that one. And the magic formula I have . . . yah right! Like I'm gonna let that out to just anyone! How did you know I had it? I tried so hard to diguise that . . . I kept talking about the tests and trials we would all face in trying to achieve the Vision of the Guardian, how difficult it would be to clearly discern the problems that have so far held us back, and the courage we'd need to overcome them and face an America that in many ways would oppose us. But damn you're brilliant!! You saw through all the BS and realized it was a lie on my part! You could see right through me and know I held the real answer! And this without ever having spoken to me or laid eyes on me! Wow, I gotta meet you man, you must be some spiritual giant! Or a real ass. I am betting on door #2 here. You see your pathetic attempt to be the *voice* for the list is one of the first things any lil' demagogue tries. I have seen it on so many other lists. It rarely works. When it does the list eventually collapses - people desert it left and right. Your attempt wasn't even noteworthy for its snide craftiness. You patently have lied about what I said. You took outrageous liberties in insinuating things I clearly did not and would not have said. You have tried repeatedly to call into question my mental health by suggesting that I rant, that my posts are tortuous and lack any pattern of clear thinking. DING! Thank you for playing LET'S SLAM 'EM! [tm] Tony but I am afraid you've been eliminated in the first round! But we do have a wonderful consolation prize right over here, just step this way . . . If you can't run with the big dogs T. than you better stay on the porch. You have not once tried to answer any of the points I have raised. You have failed to show why striving for the Vision the Guardian and the Master laid out for us is the _wrong_ way to go. You see that is what I am suggesting here. Not once have I said that change (reform if you will) is not needed. And if you had read carefully you would have seen that. Not once have I said there is anything *wrong* _with_ Juan, Linda et al. I have objected to their continuous complaining and attacks on the institutions - but hey, I have a lot of reasons to be p.o.'d at the NSA etc too. But no amount of whining is going to change the fundamental problems Buba - I mean that is what we tell our children to expect with regard to those things not easily changed in life, do we not? You do have kids don't you Tony?? If not run right out and pick some up - WONDERFUL for slamming your face into the world of reality . . From Member1700@aol.comFri Dec 1 00:56:42 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 00:45:10 -0500 From: Member1700@aol.com To: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Re: It's 3:00 in the a.m. Well, Jim, I am sorry to have offended you. I still cannot understand what on earth you are talking about. But, since you are a big dog and I am not, I guess I will stop trying. It only seems to upset you, anyway. Warmest, Tony From email@example.comFri Dec 1 01:38:50 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 23:54:49 -0600 (CST) From: "Mark A. Foster" To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: moonies To: email@example.com Hi, Juan - Thanks for your thoughtful message. I agree that Martin's post was informative. I happen to know him to some extent (though it was the first time I have seen him post on this particular list) and have had considerable correspondance with him - both through being on a few of the same Internet lists and by participating in the on-going discussion in the Unificationist folder on America Online. Actually, the two of us get along very well. However, quite obviously, he is not much liked by the top leadership of the Unification Movement. You wrote: J >I don't draw the same conclusions from it as you do, though. Don't you J >think it is a bit unfortunate that any Baha'is would *have* to be making J >the same sort of human rights arguments that the poor Moonie liberals J >(now that's a small and stubborn bunch!) do? Shouldn't the Revelation of J >God for this age automatically have *higher* standards than an J >ultra-rightwing authoritarian Korean sect? Yes, certainly. However, there are more of these _radically_ thinking Unificationists than one might suppose, and they tend to be the long-time members - those who have witnessed first-hand the alleged abuses by "central figures" (a term used to refer to whoever is in some supervisory capacity over other members). While Martin is among the most controversial Unificationists in the U.S. (probably the world), he is not alone. And the number of folks who think like him is growing rapidly. To a great extent, Moon himself created this problem when he opened his Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown, New York, and encouraged as many members as possible to attend. Since most of the seminary faculty were *not* Unificationists, church members, often for the first time, became exposed to a broad spectrum of Christian theological approaches. The result was a liberalization in the thinking of many of the most active Unificationists. Likewise, I agree with you that there are problems in the Baha'i community. However, such problems are, I feel, bounties. If we recognize them as tests, they can be transformed into opportunities for learning and growth. Without mentioning any names, the American Baha'i community was guided early on by some believers with strong authoritatarian personalities. I have met a few elderly Baha'is who said that, although these strong-willed individuals rendered invaluable services, they were exceedingly difficult to get along with. Using the Guardian's distinction, some of them may have been quite heroic but perhaps not too saintly. Actually, earlier generations of the friends consisted of many such persons. IMV, they were necesary for the growth of the Faith at that time. Now, I think, we have reached a new stage where people possessing that personality type are no longer as needed as before. However, making significant changes are rarely uncomplicated and, as Ogburn showed, culture lag is inevitable. One of the indications that change has taken place, IMO, has been the establishment of terms of service for members of the Continental Boards of Counselors and their Auxiliary Boards. Getting an appointment as an ABM used to, for all practical purposes, give one a life-time position, and I would guess that, like me, you probably assumed that if someone's service as an ABM were terminated, she or he must have done something wrong. Now, it is often difficult to keep up with all the changes in board membership. Obviously, I agree with you that there are problems in the Baha'i community - though we might not see eye to eye on what some of them are. What I do feel, however, is that the best way to tackle these problems is by loving (linking with) our administrative bodies - especially with the Universal House of Justice. If we feel that some particular problem needs to be addressed, then, from my POV, the best course of action would be to write to the House and then, as best we can, to let go of it - trusting implicitly in their decision - regardless of whether we find it to our liking. While criticism of present-day Baha'i policies on an Internet list may be cathartic and intellectually stimulating, I question whether it will, in the long term, be productive of changes in policy. From my POV, our love for the Supreme Body should be so all-encompassing, that, as we contemplate making some suggestion, our only motivation should be to serve the needs and wishes of the House - and not in order that a particular policy will be changed or reform implemented. With loving greetings to you, Mark __ From TLCULHANE@aol.comFri Dec 1 01:42:30 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 01:07:20 -0500 From: TLCULHANE@aol.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Defense of America Dear Stephen and all , Steve you asked if I thought my thought experiment was a patriotic song . My goodness no ! It was meant as a description of how Bahai's teach in America and why the population does not respond . It could also be read as a pondering on pioneers to Japan and the manner in which not to teach . To my friend Jim H. You are absolutely right that it is 3am and they are crying in Bakersfield and Omaha . . and Bosnia and Indonesia and Brazil and Cambodia and . . . You also wondered if i was naive or had a shallow understanding . It is a fair question . I think people often assume because of my mythopoetic ruminations or what I would call, folowing the Guardian " . .a sane and intelligent patriotism " that I must be naive. The America I love and embrace is an ideal and I embrace the pain of its and the worlds history as well . That way lies redemption and transformation as well . A piece of biography : I am most certainly not naive about America or the world . As a teenager I was involved in the anti war movement , spent a good deal of time with the civil rights movement - for years I kept the blood stained shirt from the beating a took by a policeman - and worked for five years as a civilrights investigator for the State of South Dakota . I have been shot at in combat situations and as I posted in Sept my recollection of Viet nam 25 years later and my dear dear friend Dave from Houston I know first hand the horrors of war . My mysticism is not an intellectual exercise nor is it some version of Bahai pollyanna . As I said in my comments about Dave, as he died in my arms , they lied when they said dead men dont speak . So I will come out of the closet on this a little more .This is something I have been reluctent to speak about . Nima encouraged me this past week end in Austin so we can blame it on him . I have prayed with my friend Dave , more than once, in the alam al mithal in the 25 years since his death . I consider it one of Baha u llah's greatest gifts to me for the loss of my friend . I have had occasions where every allusion and attachment I could imagine has been stripped away or unveiled and all that remained in the midst of my mental terror and grasping was Baha u llah and She would wrap me in a "Robe of Light " and I dont mean I was dreaming . More on that if anyone is really interested . Now on to the subject at hand . All my remarks need to be understood in the context of teaching and living the Faith of Baha u llah in America and what is likely to work and what is not . I have spent 24 years listening to variations of the old order sucks or America sucks . I think the fruit of that understanding is evident . It is a long path to nowhere . What follows is this puny mortals attempt to make sense of being a Bahai at the edge of history and the 21st century . The Defense : Abdul Baha is reported to have said " The continent of America is in the eyes of the one true God the land wherein the splendors of His light shall be revealed , where the mysteries of His faith shall be unveiled , where the rightous will abide and the free assemble . . . For America has developed powers and capacities greater than and more wonderful than other nations . .It will lead all nations spiritually ." For many years i have pondered this thought of Abdul Baha 's and wondered what he had in mind and why he said it . A number of options come to mind . I do not assume they exhaust all the possibilities just that these are the ones I have heard and reflected upon . 1) Abdul Baha being an astute student of human affairs and master salesman simply told the "people " what they wanted to hear . Pandered to them if you will . I reject that interpretation . 2) Abdul Baha being old and not having been all that well traveled around the globe was simply unaware of all the other magnificent locations on the planet that apply equally to his characterization of America . I reject that interpretation . 3) Abdul Baha being a wise philosopher and astute political ecomomist recognized the potential financial and industrial power of America to shape the world and hoped his Fathers message would tame and redirect the energy he found in America. This would rebound to the benefit of humanity . I find merit in this interpretation . 4) Abdul Baha being the Center of the Covenant and privy to the inner vision of Baha u llah and the structure and nature of *Reality * recognized ( both intellectually and as Irfan ) that there were some things happening in America that corresponded to his Father's vision. I agree with this interpretation . So what did Abdul Baha recognize? He had after all been to England , France , Austria , Hungary , Egypt and lived for years under the despotic yoke of Ottoman and Shia tyranny . In 1912 America was experiencing the effects of a huge wave of immigration . The peoples of the earth were present in America . Humanity in all its glorious diversitywas here . The religious experience of Humanity was also present . Virtually every known religion was resident in America by 1912 . The Christain Syrian Church the oldest in Christendom was established here by 1920 . The East was truly "becoming" present in the West . As Abdul Baha understood perfectly well that the pivot around which all the teachings of Baha u llah revolved was the oneness of human kind ; he understood that human kind was right here now . In 1875 Abdul Baha Abdul Baha had written Secret of Divine Civilization approving of a number what we might call liberal reforms . He had written of religious freedom and political liberty . And lest we forget he spent his entire adult life in a world where both of these were denied . I think what he recognized was the potential of a democratic republic to "lead all nations" once it took on the Irfan of His Father . He was resent at the height of the Social Gospel movement in Christianity , he was present for an American version of socialism heavily influenced by Christian ethics . But most important he recognized that humanity in its ethnic and religious diversity was present in America . It still is ! I believe he understood that a nation which had as its founding document a statement such as " We hold these truths to be self - evident that all men are created equal , that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life , Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" ; that this was a nation grounded in the evolving structure of Reality. I think he understood that democracy was in accord with his Father's vision . Remember that at the time of the appearence of Abdul Baha there was a robust public debate in this country about democracy , immigration, assimillation versus pluralism . It was a public debate and one can find in his remarks in PUP frequent references to the issues that were being discussed as part of this public debate in newspapers , jounals and magazines of popular opinion . He also undestood that America had not yet fulfilled the promise of the Declaration of Independence . Yet here was a marvelous laboratory of humanity with a political and social structure which made possible this debate and and in which organized groups of, people where pressing forward with the promise of the Declaration . It was both an ideal and a critique . And it still is ! He understood , as do I , that every evil known to humanity has been perpetrated in America . It had raped ,pillaged and plundered people and the earth just as had EVERY GROUP OF HUMAN BEINGS TO HAVE EVER LIVED ON THE PLANET . So the sins of America evidently did not blind Abdul Baha to the promise of America . This was and is a nation steeped in materialism , racism and all manner of ills . It is also a nation steeped in a long tradition of critiquing those same evils from both a religious and political standpoint. Most importantly is was a nation ,at the time of Abdul Baha , engaed in a debate about democracy not simply as a form of government but as a way of life . And lo and behold their were intellectuals, political and religious figures championing the capacity of ordinary people to participate in their own governing . They were championing a capacity in the rank and file of humanity to engage in what his Father called "Consultation". This belief in ordinary people keep in mind was taking place at a time of very diverse ethnic immigration to America . In short it was a belief in the capacity of the members of the entire human race to participate in the creation of their lives and society . It is and was about the oneness of humanity . And it is and was right here in America . There has been opposition throughout American history to fulfilling the promise of the Declaration . That such opposition has existed is about as much a proof of its lack of truth as opposition to Baha u llah constitutes proof of the inapplicability of His vision. What about that vision ? The vision of Baha u llah in my view is about a marriage of Ibn Arabi and Thomas Jefferson . The Irfan of Ibn Arabi and the Democracy of Jefferson . I believe Abdul Baha understood this perfectly well based on interpretaion # 4 . Baha u llah advocated the consultation of the people which presupposes that such a human capacity exists among the generality of humankind . Baha u llah advocated the primacy of agriculture . Baha u llah advocated that craftsman / tradesman were to be treated with respect . In short the value of honest labor or a variation on work is worship . All work that is performed in the spirit of service; not simply certain kinds of work performed by certain classes of people but the work of tradesman . Baha ullah advocated religious liberty . Baha u llah advocated the seperation of church and state. Baha u llah advocated the education of the masses and that the acquisition of knowlwdge was incumbant upon everyone . Baha u llah abolished the social role of the clergy , related to the point on education and acquisition of knowledge . Baha u llah advocated that the material benefits of life were to be extended to and made available to every human being . Baha u llah advocated the equality of the sexes . Baha u llah prohibited the use of alcohol and drugs . Baha u llah advocated that the means of livlihood be available to all members of society that they might busy themselves with their own concerns and not the concerns of others. Baha u llah advocated the notion that a amns honor and dignity lay in " his knowledge , his upright conduct , his praiseworthy character, his wisdom and not in his nationality or rank ." Each of the issues mentioned above has been passionately debated throughout American history . Each of these issues was at the forfront of debate in America at the time of Abdul Baha's presence . I believe he was well aware of that and most impressed . One reason he could say "It will lead all nations spiritually ." Thomas Jefferson advocated the primacy of agriculture, known to us as Jeffersons yeoman farmers . Jefferson advocated the value of tradesman and craftsman; the dignity of honest labor not simply the labor of certain aristocratic forms of work ( he like baha u llah were members of an aristocratic class ) Jefferson advocated universal education and valued the acquisition of knowledge considering its acquisition incumbant on a free people . Jefferson advocated religious liberty . Jefferson foresaw the abolition of the social role of the clergy . Jefferson advocated the seperation of church and state. When one reads thru the multiple volumes of the Adams - Jefferson correspondence as I have over the past 25 years one is struck by the spiritual struggle to achieve *virtue* in a Republic and the concern that mere gratification of material desires ( what we call materialism) would overwhelm the dream of a visionary republic. I believe Abdul Baha was aware of these links between the democratic vision of Jefferson and the "Irfan Republic " vision of Baha u llah . I believe this is another reason he said "It will lead all nations spiritually ." What Baha u llah brings to America is the means by which the promise of the Declaration can be redeemed and fulfilled . I believe that is why Abdul Baha said " it wil lead all nations spiritually." What Baha u llah brings to America is the Houses of Worship and the Houses of Justice the respective centerpieces of two larger institutional complexes known as the Mashriqu l Adhkar and the Administrative Order . The House of Worship stands as a testimony to the Oneness of God ( tawhid) and the House of Justice stands as as testimony to the Oneness of Humankind . These "twin " institutions are meant to model the spiritual and political promise if the Declaration of Independence in a multicultural nation and religiously pluralistic society and planet. In short they are meant to "bear witness" to the Day of God - not a theocracy but a theophanocracy- the outpouring of the Spirit into all aspects of human life . Baha u llah brings to America , like democracy, a Cause which " may not be made a plaything of your idle fancies nor is it a field for the foolish and faint of heart." Baha u llah brings to America a mandate to "adorn the temple of dominion "- civil government- " with the ornament of justice " and the "remembrance of your Lord" and the command to "bind the broken with the hands of justice" and to "crush the opressor" . This is the role of civil government . It is a role that still remains unfulfilled but that has travelled a long way and accomplished much since its arisrocratic beginnings two hundred years ago . Baha u llah brings to America the statement "By the rightousness of God ! It is not our wish to lay hands on your kingdoms . Our mission is to seize and possess the hearts of men . Upon them the eyes of Baha are fastened ." And as Abdul baha understood perfectly well " In reality the radiant hearts are the Mashriqu l Adhkar . . and that when the hearts find such an attainment they will exert the utmost endeavor and energy in the building of the Mashriqu l Adhkar ." This is the institution that stands as a testimony to the Unity of God and before all else it is about God . It is about a spiritual democracy , a Theophanocracy - the marriage if Irfan and democracy . We have no clergy remember . We have no aristocrastic class remember . It is about the Mashriqu l Adhkar both inwardly and outwardly . What America needs is the Irfan of Baha u llah wedded to and in an intimate embrace with the evolving democratic tradition of America . It is about the hearts and it is first and foremost an affair of the heart . It is here in the microcosm of humanity ethnically and religiously that is America where the vision of Baha u llah for humanity can produce a model that " will lead all nations spiritually." I believe that the future of the Baha i Faith in America, and by extension of the world, lies in redeeming the promise of the Declaration " we hold these truths to be self evident that all men ( Humankind- since they are all here-) have been endowed by their CREATOR with certain inalienable rights . ." It is about an Irfan Republic ! And I believe it is about fulfilling the command of Baha u llah to the peoples of the world " Build ye Houses of worship throughout the lands in the name of Him Who is the Lord of all religions . . " for " by His remembrance the eye is cheered and the heart is filled with light." If the Bahai community wants to be faithful to the covenant of Baha u llah and if it intends to be a model to the world and redeem it ; that comunity had best get busy with the process of seizing and possessing the hearts and the hearts are we know the "Dawning Place " . It is in the hearts that lies the way to transformation . It had best get busy with building houses of worship and modeling the universal worship and service associated with that institution. If the hearts are the mission of Baha u llah we ought not to look elsewhere for redemption whether that be administration , rules , and surely not exclusivist visions . One of the great things about democracy that Josiah Royce and John Dewey understood well was that in a democracy you could not demonize your opponents .There are no and cannot be enemies in a democracy just as there are no ememies in Ibn Arabi's and Baha u llahs Irfan . I must conclude that there are and can be no ememies in an IRFAN REPUBLIC . I believe it is this marriage that has been and will be the America for which I hold an endearing " sane and intelligent patriotism." Royce and Dewey were making those remarks BTW at the time Abdul Baha was visiting America . These great philosphers of American democracy understood what Juan has called "standpoint epistemology" . And it would seem Abdul Baha and Bahau llah understood it quite well also . This is the Faith that I teach the republic of Jefferson and the Irfan of Baha u llah . The Defense Rests : ( at least temporarilly :) ) I will now entertain the arguments of the prosecution . However please dont assume Jeffersons contradictory actions on slavery invalidate his position. I would then have to raise the issue of the position of manifestations on this subject as well . warm regards , Terry From email@example.comFri Dec 1 01:42:48 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 95 15:33:31 JST From: "Stephen R. Friberg" To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Defense of America Dear Terry: I have a problem with your posting. I agree! How can I offer new insight and strong criticisms, and pungent remarks and all the trappings of oh so critical whatever when I agree! Now, if we could get you and Jim talking . . . Seriously. If there is some points where you want critical discussion, say so, and I'll concentrate my attention there. Steve From email@example.comFri Dec 1 01:45:24 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 01:36:28 -0500 (EST) From: Juan R Cole To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: defending the Institutions Jim: In our earlier discussions I came genuinely and deeply to admire your spirit and devotion. I really must object, however,to your saying that anyone on Talisman (and you mentioned me in particular) has "attacked" the Institutions. This sort of language is inflammatory and unfair and can do no good to any one. I have over and over again expressed my love for and devotion to the institutions ordained by Baha'u'llah. I admire the people who serve on them for the time they take out of their private and professional lives, and I know they do much good. Shall I name them again? Firuz Kazemzadeh played a key role in having the US Congress pass the genocide bill into law; Robert Henderson has been a powerful voice for ending racism at a time when closet racism of the ban-affirmative-action sort has reentered the mainstream of American political life; the Nelsons have been key voices for justice for Middle Eastern Baha'is; I don't know some of the other NSA members well enough to praise them properly. Shall I go on, about how impressed I am with Hooper Dunbar, Hushmand Fatheazam and other devoted souls in Haifa? With the many important policies of the Universal House of Justice, from encouraging vocational schools in the global South to working tirelessly for world peace? I have criticized individual decisions or policies, it is true. But I have not meant in any way to detract from the authority of these institutions. I simply do not believe that blind obedience is mandated in the Baha'i scriptures; it has to be obedience through understanding, an obedience of conscience. Nor do I believe that discussing openly certain decisions is an act of disloyalty. Rather, it is an opportunity to improve the functioning of the community and of the institutions and so to strengthen them both. Cyber-Consultation has arrived, and it has been explicitly allowed by the Universal House of Justice. Mainstream Baha'i culture is stiflingly paternalist. "The poor common people would not understand criticism. It might undermine their faith." This is why, apparently, all official Baha'i publications have to be full of nothing but cheerleading. Cheerleading has its time and place, but only and always cheerleading begins to breed certain problems that we now see. Talisman is a more rough and tumble sort of world, where decisions are subjected to scrutiny; reasons are asked for. You can either write off most Americans (and most of them feel as I do about wanting to be led by someone who can explain his policies and make a case for them), or you can start *really* leading. You don't get people's loyalty by enforced cheerleading, or by silencing them or intimidating them or monitoring them or simply ordering them around. And you have to be careful not to act in ways that appear arbitrary, lest you undermine their trust. So, I am quite happy to be led by the institutions. But their members do have some responsibilities of the sort I have outlined. And they shouldn't be so thinskinned as to over-react to every little quibble. American intellectuals quibble all day about Washington, but the Right appears rather solidly in control. It is much safer to let intellectuals talk and critique than to alienate them as a class; if we go by contemporary politics in democratic countries, they do not have a prayer of being more than a minority voice anyway, at least for the foreseeable future. We are blessed in this Faith not to be ruled by a priestly class of the sort that has so tyrannized some Christian and Muslim groups. We have the basis for the first genuine religious democracy, as ordained by Baha'u'llah (with, of course, an "aristocratic" heritage in the past in the form of `Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effenci, and an "oligarchic" heritage in the form of the Hands; but the present-day, actually-existing institutions are elective or derive their authority from the elective ones). But democracies require hard work. They can easily slide, as with England under Thatcher, into elective dictatorships, or, as in the US Congress, into plutocracies, or, as in India, into facades for an entrenched elite. Our challenge as Baha'is, a challenge thrown down by the Holy Figures themselves, is to have our institutions be "democratic in their methods." That's all I want, and all anyone on Talisman wants, and it is not an attack on anyone. And if it can be achieved, then you will witness the true efflorescence of the Baha'i Faith in America. much love, Juan Cole From DAWNLIQU@fllab.chass.ncsu.eduFri Dec 1 10:43:41 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 01:57:34 EST From: QUANTA DAWNLIGHT To: email@example.com Subject: global therapy (poem) Dear Jim and all: Oh! my friend, I saw my flaws, looking at your mirror, behind the veil. Aha! that's the meaning of reflective- global-therapy! Yes!! the healing began. Please! tell us more. It's okay by me! I'm listening to all what you say, according to your way. Thank you, please continue. lovingly, quanta...(*_*) From firstname.lastname@example.orgFri Dec 1 10:45:15 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 95 22:50 PST From: Burl Barer To: email@example.com Subject: Manifest Destiny Forgive me for posting again so soon. However, I just read Mr. Harrison's message regarding America's Spiritual Destiny. I don't agree 100% with Jim about 2/3 of the audience tearing their garments and rendering their fat when hearing the Advent of Divine Justice's words of wisdom whispered in their collective tympanum. I think the subject's reaction is determined to a significant extent by the presentation. A confrontive wake-up call has the same effect as an alarm clock -- it stimulates, but it alarms. The first response to the alarm clock is to hit the snooze button. A sunrise stimulates, awakens, and warms. Too often, I feel that we confuse arousing the Baha'is from their slumber with shocking them from their sleep. Having been aroused from my slumber in the more worldly sense, and being shocked from my sleep as well, I can vouch for a significantly more enpowering experience, and a definate sense of mission, when I have been aroused by someone summoning me to fulfill an act of destiny for which I feel a near Messianic zeal. Then again, were I jolted from my pillow by a sharp switch to the behind and then confronted with a summoner holding a basel thermometer in one hand and various charts, graphs, and manuals in the other, stating cooly "You have not done it right yet" I would also wilt in the manner Jim Harrison described with his lengthy post. [note: this type of experience does not bother the British, who are quite used to it] "At this exact time in history...despair threatens to eclipse the light of hope, there must be revived among the individual believers a sense of mission, a feeling of empowerment to minister to the urgent need of humanity for guidance and thus to win victories for the Faith in their own sphere of life." Universal House of Justice, 5/19/95 At the recent Menucha Winter School, we spent five hours on this topice and we had *fun* and we laughed and we consulted and we looked for ways each of us in our own sphere of life could win victories for the Faith by doing exactly what the Guardian calls for us to do in Advent of Divine Justice. The final hour was all about empowerment, a sense of mission, urgency, and victory promises if we will but arise to greater heights of consecration to the service of our beloved Cause. The purpose of all this was not to "make them feel good about where they were" ( more frosted flakes for the soul when it craves some hot cream of wheat) but rather to make them feel wonderful about the adventure of transformation on which they have decided to embark! Of course, my approach is not everyone's 6-pack of Cola or bowl of granola. and I may be too flip, too concise in my truncation of Shoghi Effendi's prose when I cut to the chase -- but this is a long distance cross country relay race and we are the short sprinters on the long and winding road to the unfoldment of America's Spiritual Destiny. Burl (who will try to not post for at least a few minutes, but I have this...what others call a Rabbinical Standpoint or a Missionary Postition... a Baha'i Perspective) Barer ******************************************************* Order MAN OVERBOARD, the new book by Burl Barer today! ******************************************************* From firstname.lastname@example.orgFri Dec 1 10:57:21 1995 Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 23:11:47 -0800 From: DEREK COCKSHUT To: Juan R Cole Subject: Re: RE . Baha'i Bill of Rights debate. You wrote: > My dear Juan The major thrust over the last two weeks is that there is no due process . There is is the point I was making. What you are refering to is exceptions to the process . I believe you need to be more precise give me some facts and I will see , whether there is a case for in my view that proceedure and due process is not being followed. You do not have to give me names but of course if you do , it will go no furhter than myself.In certain caes the NSA has to act in a speedy manner but even then it has been my experience to take 4 to 5 months before the persons rights were taken away.I can not see how a free speech matter is an emergency as a matter of principle . Warmest Regards Derek > > >Derek: I have rather good documentation on at least two cases where the >"due process" to which you referred was not followed, and which are >clearly free speech cases. > > >cheers Juan > From Alethinos@aol.comFri Dec 1 10:59:37 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 02:20:43 -0500 From: Alethinos@aol.com To: email@example.com Subject: Re: It's 3 O'Clock in the morning Dear Farzin: Thank you for the post. It always amazes me when anyone suggests a *strong* course of action the first objections raised are ones that suggest that somehow we will be running over people, leaving them behind, be insensitive to their *needs* etc. Odd that this never seemed to be a major issue for the Babis? I don't mean to make light of things here - but really, these objections are the first to be raised in every community - all the reasons *why* we can't *push* things, or take a radical stand, or make waves, or stand up and be counted. There is always this desire to hold everyone down. And so often it is voiced in the terms you seem to be suggesting. I am not doubting your motives here; I don't know you at all - it is just that I have heard so many similar things from so many quarters in my 20 years as a Baha'i. Odd that Abdu'l-Baha' never suggested to the American Baha'is that we be sheep. Strange that the Guardian never said, in effect: "Well, what we really need here in America is a radical departure from the cultural norms - we need a new crop of dawn breakers, but hey, someone's liable to get run over in the process, or get their feelings hurt so . . . well we better not risk it." You know, this country which everyone that has been touting refoms loves to hold up as a type of model - this country would never have come to be if the Founding Fathers and a helluva lot of other people wern't willing to take risks. Friends turned their backs on one another - because one wished for freedom and had caught a glimmer of the Vision and the other could olny hold on to dear old Mother England. Families were torn apart. people died. No one said anything about stampeding over the weak, or those in the minority. If we would all strive to truly act in the nature of the dawn breakers, of the Master, then we would all be much better equiped to pick up those who need a helping and protecting hand along the way. Instead we play the now fashionable American game. "Oh my, if we do _anything_ it may offend or upset _someone_." We're starting to sound more like politicians every day. But I will promise you this Farzin: I will be the first to stand over and protect the rights of _any_ person who is assulted for any reason. But there is a huge difference between injustice and socio-political whims. jim harrison Alethinos@aol.com From Alethinos@aol.comFri Dec 1 11:07:52 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 02:20:37 -0500 From: Alethinos@aol.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: defending the Institutions Juan: While I certainly agree with much of your concerns regarding the institutions in America (as you well know, since we have priv. discussed them) I am afraid that is not the issue here. I used the word *attack* because it is an accurate description of what has been occurring here. And by this I mean exactly what I have already stated - repeatedly - enough of the complaining. Enough of the citing of individual cases of injustice. Enough of the suggestions for reforms - as appropriate as many of them may be. We know there are problems. And who the hell said anything about cheerleading?? I can't stand cheerleaders. But that's a story Burl knows about, anyway . . . We, here on the list, are getting nowhere going on and on about the NSA and the institutions and reforms etc. This _isn't_ the crux of the problem. You all would have it believed, so it seems to me, that a few tweaks here and there and it is smooth sailing. Let's deal with the fundamental problems facing the community - those that have held us in near check for so long. Let's deal with those and these other problems will be dealt with by force of the Movement we create. Things have not changed so far Juan because there is no _compelling_ reason for them to change - everything is wonderfully status quo and has been kept that way by various forces who wish it so. Read the Guardian and it becomes so clear WHY we are in this condition now - why we have these problems - and what we must do to deal with them. Jim harrison Alethinos@aol.com From email@example.comFri Dec 1 11:08:31 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 00:29:37 -0700 (MST) From: "[G. Brent Poirier]" To: Robert Johnston Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: The Hands Robert wrote: > But let me repeat my own poetic (ha, yes!) insight... those who love and > are gentle are the true pillars of the world. Many of us have met Hands of the Cause. The kindest and most loving people I've ever met were Faizi, Khadem, Muhajir... Yet, when Mr. Khadem learned that the former Iranian consul general had moved next door to the Bosch School and was wandering around the grounds (during the time just after the Revolution, when he was very much persona non grata back in his homeland) Mr. Khadem called all of us Bosch staff into the library and gave the most marvelous talk on protection of the Faith I've ever heard. Basically he talked about and demonstrated kindness and love, but that all of that is over-ridden by the need to protect the Cause, and in those days, the Iranian friends. So he said we should discourage the association. My question is this: Why in the Master's Will does He say "... the Hands (pillars) of the Cause of God..." Is that an alternate reading of the word? From TLCULHANE@aol.comFri Dec 1 11:09:53 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 02:43:30 -0500 From: TLCULHANE@aol.com To: email@example.com Subject: Sexuality/Community'Identity Dear Friends, Sorry to be days late in commenting on this but I have been out of town and promised Stephen F. a defense of America . I have been pondering the letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice with regard to homosexuality . I found it balanced all in all and was especialy pleased that it mentioned that Assemblys are not go around prying into the lives of individuals . The paragraph about the community being disgraced internally even if in the eyes of the world it was not struck a cord with me . I understand the theological and sociological principle involved here and agree with it. What has always surprised me though is why this principle is referenced with respect to sexuality . This is not something unique to Bahai's. A few months ago our family moved to the central part of Omaha. I had expected disparaging comments from some of my yuppie acquaintances as did my children. We left a uppperincome section of the city for a middle income section of the city . It is also a racially integrated area of Omaha . At a recent Feast held jointly with members of surrounding communities some people felt it appropriate to raise this issue during consultation . Why would the Culhanes move to where they did after all this was a a part of the city home to "Black people and Mexicans" . I was asked this on three seperate occasions. If flagrant acts of homosexuality can be a disgrace to a community why do we not have a letter that points out that flagrant acts of racism are a disgrace to the community? Why would it be assumed that such prejudiced speech - which is also an act - is not deserving of of the same administrative sanctions . I thought the pivot of our faith was about the oneness of humankind . Does this not stick at the heart of a Baha i communtiy and disgrace it far more deeply than an act of flagrant homosexuality whatever that is .? I have also wondered why flagrant acts of materialism as conspicuous consumption are are not considered a disgrace to the communtiy . When people parade to Feast or Holydays or Conferences in auto mobiles that cost more than the majority of Americans earn in a year - not to mention the world- objects which are clearly meant to be status symbols and to elevate some and make distinctions based on material wealth, or dress in very expensive designer clothing that is has no value from a quality standpoint but is meant to make a status statement ; why is this not a disgrace to a community in which the Founder disapproves of the pagentry of wealth and riches. Perhaps the repeated pagentry of wealth at Bahai gatherings so clearly contrary to the Bahai teachings should be subject to administrative sanctions . I am wondering what is the dynamic that asumes that homosexuality is a threat to the well being of the commmunity but does not seem to percieve the same threat in gross materialism and racism ? This "disgrace" statement seems to me to assume a context in which a true community exists and there is not the neccesity for humn beings to hold to less inclusive forms of identity. Such a community it seems to me would be one in which a human being was "recognized" as first of all a spiritual being and had the opportunity to " observe" the commandments of God in that context of recognition . When such a community exists there may be a basis for not supporting less inclusive forms of identity and a basis for disgrace - that is the absence of the presence of Grace among a people . The most disgraceful "act" I can imagine in a Bahai community is the demonizing of another human being - the infidelity to the Great Covenant ; the opportunity for every human being to hear and answer the call of the Beloved " AM I not your Lord ? Yea . yea I testify that thou art ! " Maybe this is what the source of true covenant breaking or lack of firmness in the covenant is all about ; the denial , the non recognition of the divinity in every human being. One small thought I have with regard to sexuality and identity and community is this . What would happen if Bahai community built its life around recognition and observance as Baha u llah suggests in the Most Holy Book . If all that community did for one year was focused on the soul of every human being as a mirror of the beautific vision and recognized each soul as what it is in reality a Mashriq u l Adhkar. During that same year the dialogue and deepening centered around all the ordinances of God - which pivot around the oneness of humankind - and not just on those related to sexuality or personal status issues . My sense is we would as a community no longer notice whether someone was gay or straight and those with varying\ \ orientations in this regard may not have to hold to them so strongly in order to be recognized and have the opportunity to observe. If a human bings identity is clearly as a "House of Worship " how important would the identities growing out of our biology as ends in themselves become ? It seems to me humans form less than universal community and identity when the community around them does not recognize their humanity and allow the observance of that humanity in service to humanity. warm regards , Terry From Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nlFri Dec 1 11:12:10 1995 Date: Fri, 01 Dec 1995 10:42:36 +0100 (MET) From: Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nl To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: from Sonja: customs Re: meat eating African women: Actually, Betty's first response was to say that every valley or village has its own customs, so I then showed her your posting where you did mention this applying to women in EAST AFRICA. If what you wrote was referring to just Kigezi, then there is no problem, but you should have stated this in your posting. When I read this posting I was surprised at how sweeping your statements were about something I was sure was not so clear cut (this from my acquaintances in other East African countries -not Uganda, and then Betty turned up and I asked her.) She not only found the idea funny but had never heard of such a restriction for women in the villages that she has visited - but she has since returned to Kampala so I can't ask her any more- perhaps you can if you meet her. Betty, is not only a lovely person, but a very perceptive one, and who spent the last 2 years coordinating Women's conferences in East Africa to build up a delegation of women going to the Beijing conference. I'm mentioning this not to prove how capable she is, but that you and anyone else reading this may find it interesting to know that she was one of the women behind coordinating the various platforms/representations that women from East Africa made, and she visited the UN offices in New York early this year as part of this work. While she was there, she also contacted the office for the aadvancement of women at BIC, with the idea to coordinate something at Beijgeng for the Bahais collectively, but there was no interest in this idea. A great pity I think, but I am sure this sort of response happens all the time. She was in the Netherlands this time at the invitation of the dept of internal affairs. >No, I didn't say that women >everywhere in Africa don't eat meat, But you said women in East Africa which is why I responded. You'd be more aware of the vastness of these countries than I. I am not saying that you are not correct in saying that women in general have poorer nuitrition than men. This is the case in many countries around the world. But what I found so difficult about this posting was that you spoke of the diet of East African women as if this was a rule that all lived by. And also the way you wrote about it, gave me the feeling of someone looking from the outside and making value judgements about what another culture is doing, when I was not convinced that the facts that you were sharing were such universal ones. Not that there is anything wrong with this, and we are always making value judgements about everything we experience anyway -only that there is a danger of jumping\ \ to stereotypes. Yes, you are right Betty doesn't live like a 'typical' poor African women, but that doesn't disqualify her from being an African women, nor being one who may know something about their eating habits. How are the art gallery and the artist workshops going? much love, Sonja From Geocitizen@aol.comFri Dec 1 11:26:22 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 06:45:55 -0500 From: Geocitizen@aol.com To: email@example.com Subject: Destiny/America/Institutions Esteemed denizens of the realm of Talisman, My apologies for seeming to drop out of this discussion so often; there have been interruptions in my access to email, and in my having time to read it. Having spent at least four hours today getting partly caught up, and now having just read the recent postings of Juan, Burl, Jim, and Terry, it seems to me that we are closer -- in some ways -- to achieving a rudimentary form of unity of thought on these issues than we have ever been before. Most of us here certainly agree that if the Baha'i community of America fails to undergo a significant transformation, it can achieve little of benefit even to itself, much less to the generality of humankind. Likewise, we generally agree on what the symptoms of this need for change are: the stagnation of the community's numerical growth and internal development, the stifling (whether intentional or not) of creative impulses both in scholarship and in community activism, the repression of insufficiently conformist individuals by both communities and institutions, and so forth. What I find encouraging is the latest near-breakthrough here on Talisman: the beginning of grudging recognition that we really do agree on these points. :) In fact, I submit to everyone involved in this discussion that we are in greater agreement than some of us may realize -- a fact that is frustrating to watch, as much of the "clash of differing opinions" seems to illuminate little more with its "shining spark of truth" than the infinitesimally subtle differences between six and half a dozen. I hope I can be clearer now than I was the last time I brought this up, for at that time the only response was what seemed to be a patronizing pat on the head from Professor Cole, who clearly appreciated the measured tone of my post but otherwise seemed to find little of interest in it, and dismissed its central argument with a single-sentence explanation of how things are "in the real world." I am well aware that in the real world, and indeed even in our discussion of America's spiritual destiny, there are definite differences that must be worked out and cannot be sidestepped by a naive attempt to focus exclusively on a few points of agreement. At the same time, the necessary hashing out of these differences will be greatly facilitated if we can distinguish between the differences that are *real* and those that are *illusionary.* To return to my hard-working and humble metaphor, there is scant productive gain in knowledge from debating the difference between six and half a dozen. Certainly, such a debate may generate startlingly inspiring arguments, such as Terry's spirited defense of America. As I read it, I was struck by the beauty of its truths and of the strength of justified conviction behind it -- but I was also struck by the fact that, all in all, it ended up saying many of the same things, and even with the same emphasis and priority, that had been said by the supposed "attackers" of America, especially Jim. To summarize, this argument is that America is a nation of great virtues which are sadly clouded by great sicknesses, and that the proper approach to healing this nation is to attack the sicknesses, not to attack the nation itself. In this exchange a powerful and critically important truth has been restated by both sides as the central argument in what they seem to believe is a disagreement between them. Is it naive to think that the holders of this view could achieve more by working together on their vision, recognizing that it is indeed the same vision and working out the differences of approach they might have, than by declaring each other's visions erroneous? The focus of the debate between Juan and others on one "side," and Burl, Jim, and others on the other "side," is different and more complex, but a large portion of the problem is still the same: there is an unrecognized degree of agreement between the two "sides," and the failure to recognize that agreement greatly hinders the constructive resolution of the very real differences between them. On this subject I could and should write a great deal more, but my alarm clock is set to go off just under 3 hours from now, so I will try to hold my thoughts for expression in a more wakeful hour. Now I will simply suggest to everyone involved in these discussions that a conscious and explicit effort to recognize the points on which we are all agreed might render far more productive our discussion of those points on which we continue to differ, and perhaps allow us to more quickly find the truths so sorely needed at this critical juncture in the development of our beloved Faith. with love and deep respect for all of you, Kevin Haines From Geocitizen@aol.comFri Dec 1 11:26:59 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 06:45:45 -0500 From: Geocitizen@aol.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: It's 3:00 in the a.m. In a message dated 95-12-01 00:47:07 EST, Tony writes: >Well, Jim, I am sorry to have offended you. I still cannot understand what >on earth you are talking about. But, since you are a big dog and I am not, I >guess I will stop trying. It only seems to upset you, anyway. Perhaps, Tony, if you clearly *were* trying to understand, Jim would not be offended. Perhaps what has offended him is your seeming tendency to misread his arguments in the worst possible light, and then to respond by composing condescending, oversimplified, and inaccurate summaries of his statements, concluding it all with a salutation that can only seem transparently insincere after what has preceded it: >Warmest, >Tony Of course, I can't read Jim's mind, but your recent approach to this discussion has definitely offended me, and I was not even the direct target of your method. Likewise, I cannot read your mind, so I cannot know whether you intended to be as unconstructive as you have been in this dialogue. So I have phrased this as neutrally as I could, letting you know how your words come across, and tried to leave out any unwarranted assumptions about your motives. just offering another perspective, Kevin From DAWNLIQU@fllab.chass.ncsu.eduFri Dec 1 11:37:26 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 09:24:15 EST From: QUANTA DAWNLIGHT To: email@example.com Subject: my turn to yell Dear Jim, You had your say, now it is my turn. First, I'll tell you this, if, you ever came to a feast and any other meeting around here and had a burst out like that you would be the next person on talisman whining and writing fluffy things. You are damn right I am gonna have a little tea-party and write fluffy poetry and tell sad stories of oppression felt. Hell! for twnty odd years I talked like you acted like you as I am now. Then at times I served the best way I could. I raised hell on committees (not bahai) about the issues you speak of. I made enemies from the feminists, environmentalists, liberals and conservatists, and been told that I fit nowhere. I was shunned for everyone for a speech and reading "worshipping false profits." I had to pay for my own copies as the committee said. I don't think even Ralph Nader liked my questions about green bureaucracies. After I put myself through school without a penny of assistance (I don't believe in welfare) the only paid job I get is a temporary jerk. But, everyone likes a volunteer spirited woman. Sto, stop ruining my tea party and your poignant remarks of fluffiness. How arrogant of your highness scholarliness. Wish you a nice day with your pay, which is mostly likely better than mine. How would you like to not see your mom, dad and brothers and sisters for ten years, for wanting to sacrifice for the Faith? As to backbiting. That explains the pains in my back. I wish someone could bite a big chunk out of my right kidney and take out the stone. I can't afford health-insurance. bye friend (if you still are) quanta...(*_*) From MBOYER%UKANVM.BITNET@cmsa.Berkeley.EDUFri Dec 1 11:39:10 1995 Date: Fri, 01 Dec 95 09:08:51 CST From: Milissa Boyer To: Talisman.at.Indiana.firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: sex and shame in the kitab-i-aqdas Resent-Date: Fri, 01 Dec 95 09:17:41 CST Resent-From: Milissa Boyer Resent-To: email@example.com Hi Janine-- thanks for your insights and I understand the cultural context you were trying to put it all into. I guess I perceive this as a Law that can only hurt women, however. I mean, where is the equality? Can a marriage be annulled if the wife discovers her husband wasn't a virgin? Granted the dowry part wouldn't apply, but what about the invalidating the marriage part? And if it really is so great in the eyes of God to conceal it, why have the Law in the first place? Maybe I am being paranoid, but I can't see any equality or benefit to women in this Law, so hopefully someone will point it out! Thanks for responding! Milissa Boyer firstname.lastname@example.org From LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.eduFri Dec 1 11:40:06 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 95 09:41:54 EWT From: LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu To: email@example.com Subject: little interruptions Here I was in the midst of a lovely brawl with Jim, when I was interrupted by a Widget story by Juan (to think he was on my Ph.D. advisory committee!), interjected with literary interpretation by our dearly loved Derek (who was even more dearly loved when he was on holiday). No, the "Donna" of the story is not Linda Walbridge. Anyone who knows Linda Walbridge knows that she could not tighten a widget to save her soul. You'll have to look more deeply at the obscure "clues" in Juan's story, Derek (and we will all hope that Juan sticks to writing detailed historical treatises.) Then, there is the "limmerick" by Burl. Something about a woman named "Lin" who is putting someone or something "in," but heck if I know what is going on. Please, Burl, when these little moods overwhelm you, go help your wife with the gardening. However, thank heavens that Terry saved the day. Baha'u'llah is the "Irfan of Ibn Arabi wedded to the Democracy of Jefferson." Words such as these must be immortalized somewhere. As I was reading Terry's posting, I was exclaining, "yes, yes, this is it!" I too love the ideals of America. Wedded to the high moral standards that Baha'u'llah has set for us, what could work more beautifully? Thank you, Terry. Linda From LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.eduFri Dec 1 11:40:42 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 95 10:04:46 EWT From: LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: a quick response Dear Jim, I really don't want to be in a "lovely brawl" with you. I would just like to say that, while I am also repulsed by moral depravity, gross materialism, indifference to human suffering, etc., I don't think that this need blind me to other issues that need to be addressed. If one thinks about how religions develop and flourish in this world, he or she sees that one of the most important ingredients is to give people the space and trust to develop a full blown religious culture. This will mean that there will have to be some religious syncretism - combining old religious forms that have deep meaning to people with new forms. It will also mean giving people the freedom to develop ideas and approaches to religion - through theology, law, arts, scholarship of all sorts. When the artists, intellectuals, and others complain of feeling constricted, when they feel that they must remain silent to be "accepted," then there is something wrong. It is incumbent on those to whom we have entrusted with the responsibilities of administrative leadership to be alert and attentive to these complaints. It will only hurt the religion if they are not. We are all in this together. Either we allow a very broad net to encompass all of us or we so narrowly define ourselves that we will be nothing but a little "ethnic/religious" enclave. It is up to us. Linda Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 11:33:13 -0500 From: To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Confidentially Yes, I would expect X to be on the side of the enforcers. But I wonder about a crackdown. I think we can just expect more of the same. Perhaps a general letter from the House of Justice that is sort of anti-free-speech. Do you think that they are actually planning to throw people out? I doubt it. But, I think that we should start arguing that trust in a community is not created by silence, censorship, lack of information, and threats of expulsion. It is created by openness and consultation and access to good information. Warmest, From firstname.lastname@example.orgFri Dec 1 12:01:14 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 10:39:59 -0600 (CST) From: Saman Ahmadi To: talisman Subject: Re: sex and shame in the kitab-i-aqdas Dear Melissa, Your wrote, > Can a marriage be annulled if the wife > discovers her husband wasn't a virgin? I think so - the "mutandis mutatis" principle, I think, can be applied here. > Granted the dowry part wouldn't apply, > but what about the invalidating the marriage part? If the above holds, then yes. > And if it really is so great > in the eyes of God to conceal it, why have the Law in the first place? I think this is an example of Baha'u'llah teaching us to be moral, chaste on the one hand and not to judge others on the other. > Maybe I am being paranoid, but I can't see any equality or benefit to women > in this Law, so hopefully someone will point it out! > I am not sure if I helped any. take care, sAmAn From email@example.comFri Dec 1 12:01:27 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 10:51:33 -0600 (CST) From: Saman Ahmadi To: talisman Subject: Consultation -> Baha'i Civil Discourse Dear Friends, What I am going to quote everyone knows but here goes anyway: Abdul Baha: Two conditions for consultation: 1) Absolute love and harmony among the participants 2) Turning of faces towards God Five rules of procedure: "They must then proceed with 1) utmost devotion 2) courtesy 3) dignity 4) care 5) moderation regards, sAmAn From firstname.lastname@example.orgFri Dec 1 15:25:32 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 10:23:08 -0700 From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com\ \ Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: RE: Re: recently emailed anti-Baha'i file Dear Rich, I appreciate your concerns. But sometimes it is not practical to send a file to those requesting it. In which case I would suggest that the header should carry a warning such as 'Re: Whatever, WARNING contains CB materials' Alma At 06:47 PM 11/28/95 -0800, email@example.com wrote: >Dear Safa and Friends, > >From: SAFA SADEGHPOUR[SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org] >>It is under no conditions prohibited to forward or send >>any message regardless of its content. Everyone has their >>own right to read whatever pleases them to read. > >I think we need to identify two principles, here. First, >sending and forwarding items to an e-mail list is rather >like a broadcasting. There are those who are very sincerely >trying to adhere to the guidance about covenant breaker >material, and, when we are broadcasting messages, we >should take their rights into account. > >This can be accomplished by saying "I have such-and-such >material and will provide copies to anyone who requests." >This allows us to satisfy the second principle: that people >be allowed to read whatever they chose to read. > >One has no more right to inflict this material on others >as others have to prevent one from reading the material >if one chooses. > > >Warmest Regards, >Rick Schaut > > > To tread the path of Love Alma Engels Is no mere game. email@example.com For only one Out of many thousands Can persevere in His Love. (Tahirih) From firstname.lastname@example.orgFri Dec 1 15:26:57 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 10:23:02 -0700 From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: RE: recently emailed anti-Baha'i file Dear Rich, A belated thanks to you and to those who privately emailed me on this subject. You confirm and expand on what I had thought, that is we CAN read these materials and distribute them if we choose though we are warned about the spiritually corrosive nature of the contents. In this world many things come with warnings such as check downloaded files for viruses, the stove when lit is hot, etc. We protect infants and small children from all dangers but there comes a time when one must decide for oneself if the risk is worth the gain in such situations. And we must let our children learn to make such decisions gradually. Otherwise they will be ill prepared to make them when they reach an age where we no longer can control them. I asked these questions here because on another list the response was similar to the outburst by one Talismanian here. Similar but not so strident. Those there seem to want to take anyone with a 'name' in Baha'i as an authority whose words are to be followed when they comment on anything. I am not implying that these people do not have valid opinions and express them with enough details so that those in attendance can form an opinion to accept their judgement. But what happens is that they are cited as an authority without any supporting data. This was evident in the initial post which I included in my email. A vague reference to an Advisory Board member is not sufficient in my opinion. (Having just finished an episode with one who seemed dedicated but because he was new, fumbled [in my opinion] the handling of the issue in that it took him three months to tell me that there was no merit to associating my email forwarded to him with infirmness in the covenant, I know that whatever infallibility and inerrancy the UHJ may have, it does not filter down to lower levels of the Administrative Order.) To her credit, the original emailer did send a follow up giving sufficient details so that one could see that these were indeed covenant breaker writings. Again many thanks, Alma At 05:41 PM 11/28/95 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote: >Dear Alma and Talizens, > >From: email@example.com[SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org] >>Now I have some questions for all ye learneds and not so learneds here. > >I'll try to answer your questions, but you should understand that >these answers come from Rick Schaut and not from any institution >of the Faith. There is some specific guidance available from the >Universal House of Justice. If I don't see copies in the next day or >so, I'll see if I can't find them. > >>1. Just what makes something 'covenant breaker material' as opposed to >>plain vanila anti-Baha'i material? > >Any material which advances a claim made by a covenant breaker is >covenant breaker material. (Well, not just _any_ claim, but a claim >which runs counter to some provision of the Covenant.) For example, >any material which argues that some individual should be regarded as >the Guardian of the Faith would be covenant breaker material. > >>2. Just what makes someone a covenant breaker rather than simply someone >>with an anti Baha'i point of view unless the Universal House of Justice has >>declared that person has that status? > >The short answer to this question is "nothing." The House doesn't make >the actual declaration (small technical matter), but any declaration is >subject to the approval of the House. > >>3. What right does any Baha'i have to try to impose restrictions on other >>Baha'is such as occur in the first email? > >I actually think there's a bit of miscommunication going on here. It's >generally understood that reading covenant breaker material is very >strongly discouraged. It is not, however, banned. There are some >enemies of the Faith who will claim that some books have been >banned, but this isn't true. (Indeed, some Baha'is have to read >covenant breaker material in the course of carrying out their duties >as members of one of the institutions, both elected and appointed.) > >When people, such as a member of the Auxiliary Board or a member >of the National Spiritual Assembly, say that we should not read >something because it's covenant breaker material, they are merely >reiterating this rather strong message of discouragement. It's a >case of "proceed at your own risk." > > >We should be mindful that association with covenant breakers has >been strictly prohibited by `Abdu'l-Baha. In unequivocal words, He >has told us to shun them. This is, however, not the same thing as >reading their material. > > >Warmest Regards, >Rick Schaut > > To tread the path of Love Alma Engels Is no mere game. email@example.com For only one Out of many thousands Can persevere in His Love. (Tahirih) From DAWNLIQU@fllab.chass.ncsu.eduFri Dec 1 15:27:16 1995 Date: Fri, 1 Dec 1995 12:41:32 EST From: QUANTA DAWNLIGHT To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: it's not me, her or him Whenever someone writes anything subjectively claiming objectivity, then he/she should not come back and publicly say, "Oh! I did not mean you Linda, Juan", etc.etc.. So, did you mean the rest of the people on talisman? When you say it, own up to it. Or, don't say it at all. I agree with all the issues you raise. I love making the comfortable uncomfortable and giving comfort to those in discomfort too. When you make qualifying statements you are taking a sniper approach and if I see you on top of the roof, you bet I'll shoot you. I'm a street smart kid, not a scholar or, fluffy poet. lovingly not always gently, quanta...(*_*) From email@example.com Date: Sat, 12 Nov 1994 10:50:35 -0500 (EST) From: Juan R Cole To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: 70s youth exodus I'd be interested in knowing from Rob and Richard whether they think there was objectively an exodus of youth from the faith in the late '70s. I was pioneering and so did not know about it if so. My own suspicion is that the Baha'i faith is partially a revolving door anyway; when we had thousands coming in we had thousands going out. Still, the over-all size of the community quadrupled in the 70s after having doubled in the sixties, so someone stayed. Also, youth get older; I vaguely remember that there were about 10,000 Baha'i youth in 1974, and only 3,000 in 1979 when I got back from Beirut. But in 5 years the 17-year-olds were no longer youth. What is clear is that Generation X wasn't nearly as interested in oriental religions as had been the baby boomers. The nexus of the Vietnam War, the draft, and the youth culture had produced widespread alienation, as Paul says. That historical moment ended and so did, with it, the impressive growth in Baha'i numbers. I am surprised to hear, also, that the Aqdas synopsis had been greeted with dismay. I was studying it in Arabic by 1974 and was (and am) enthralled by it. But I admit that I do read it differently than many American Baha'is. For instance, I read the prophecy about the people ruling in Tehran as an endorsement of popular sovereignty, and see LSAs as religious bodies while parliaments are mandated as having their own legitimate sphere. The Aqdas is in many ways a remarkably democratic document to issue from a Prophet. Even the devolution of vast areas of decision-making on consultative LSAs is quite incredible. As if instead of leading the Jews in Sinai Moses had said, `discuss among yourselves.' But since I went to the MIddle East in 1974 and stayed there five years straight, I am out of touch with what happened among the youth after the great influx. cheers Juan }