For those of you who missed last Sunday’s reflection meeting: Ottawa, our favourite “A-cluster”, has launched its first “intensive programme of growth”. What’s that? It’s a city-wide campaign to open up the Bahá’í community to the people around us through personal invitation to the core activities of the Faith – devotional meetings, children’s classes and study circles. It’s an inclusive, welcoming kind of contact which will hopefully bring each person one step closer to the healing, vivifying and transforming power of the Message of Bahá’u’lláh.
Every so often, you might hear Bahá’ís talking about “teaching the Bahá’í Faith”. Bahá’ís, far from being insular or cliqueish, must, as an integral part of their spiritual life, teach others about their Faith. Our own spiritual growth depends on it. We’re forbidden to coerce or otherwise proselytize – that means we can’t make a person become Bahá’í against that person’s better judgement, nor can we use any form of manipulation. We must present the Message of Bahá’u’lláh clearly, to the best of our ability, detached from the results; and the person who receives it is free to accept or reject it. If they accept it, that’s their choice. If they reject it, that’s their choice too. Each individual must investigate the truth for him or herself, Bahá’u’lláh says – it’s a sacred right and a responsibility, too.
So if you’re wondering what Bahá’ís mean when they talk about teaching, that’s it. Feel free to tease us about it. We love it.
On a side note: I hate fax machines. (I just had to say that.)