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Old 08-24-2011, 05:12 PM   #1
04/04/2005
 
Joined: Aug 2011
From: North Carolina, USA
Posts: 45
Our struggle with living and mortality.

I've struggled with many Baha'i laws. Really, really, struggled. I still struggle. I doubt I'll never, not struggle. I feel this is due to my gross lack of religious training through out most all of my life. I'm 57 years old in October. My only religious experience and training only recently occurred during the last 5, going on 6 years since becoming a Baha'i.

I seriously doubt that I can be a great Baha'i, I'll probably only be a mediocre Baha'i. One who isn't a disaster but hopefully one who others won't have to be considering sanctions against.

I feel many if not most of us cannot see the end of our mortal life and what happens after. We struggle to make sense of living in this often harsh and dangerous life. I have come to be aware that the laws are meant to mold us to eliviate the anxiety of our death, when the time comes. To also, and this is important, to become closer to God.

If you look at the laws, don't they mainly deal with mortal issues, not the time after death?

There are many, many actions in life that most of us all can see are very bad for us and for those around us. Murder, drug addiction, violence against others. Sure those are easy, but adultery, drunkiness, harmful sexual behavior. Its these actions that we often see our parents or friends acting upon and suffering from the consequences of. (We learn from them)

Life is a struggle to control harmful actions, studying the laws, meditating on the laws can help keep us on a more healthful and spiritual path. Preparing for our deaths and our existence after.

Struggle we will, but give up we should never do.
 
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:02 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAWillsey View Post
I've struggled with many Baha'i laws. Really, really, struggled. I still struggle. I doubt I'll never, not struggle. I feel this is due to my gross lack of religious training through out most all of my life. I'm 57 years old in October. My only religious experience and training only recently occurred during the last 5, going on 6 years since becoming a Baha'i.

I seriously doubt that I can be a great Baha'i, I'll probably only be a mediocre Baha'i. One who isn't a disaster but hopefully one who others won't have to be considering sanctions against.

I feel many if not most of us cannot see the end of our mortal life and what happens after. We struggle to make sense of living in this often harsh and dangerous life. I have come to be aware that the laws are meant to mold us to eliviate the anxiety of our death, when the time comes. To also, and this is important, to become closer to God.

If you look at the laws, don't they mainly deal with mortal issues, not the time after death?

There are many, many actions in life that most of us all can see are very bad for us and for those around us. Murder, drug addiction, violence against others. Sure those are easy, but adultery, drunkiness, harmful sexual behavior. Its these actions that we often see our parents or friends acting upon and suffering from the consequences of. (We learn from them)

Life is a struggle to control harmful actions, studying the laws, meditating on the laws can help keep us on a more healthful and spiritual path. Preparing for our deaths and our existence after.

Struggle we will, but give up we should never do.
You make some good points:

Life is a struggle to control harmful actions, studying the laws, meditating on the laws can help keep us on a more healthful and spiritual path. Preparing for our deaths and our existence after.

Struggle we will, but give up we should never do.


I think overall we can get into some difficulties when we forget that what we do is part of the fabric of our lives and not just our lives but those around us.. We are in a social-spiritual matrix..
 
Old 08-25-2011, 05:11 AM   #3
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Joined: Sep 2010
From: Louisiana
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A Loving God

Quote:
Originally Posted by MAWillsey View Post
I've struggled with many Baha'i laws. Really, really, struggled. I still struggle. I doubt I'll never, not struggle. I feel this is due to my gross lack of religious training through out most all of my life. I'm 57 years old in October. My only religious experience and training only recently occurred during the last 5, going on 6 years since becoming a Baha'i.

I seriously doubt that I can be a great Baha'i, I'll probably only be a mediocre Baha'i. One who isn't a disaster but hopefully one who others won't have to be considering sanctions against.

I feel many if not most of us cannot see the end of our mortal life and what happens after. We struggle to make sense of living in this often harsh and dangerous life. I have come to be aware that the laws are meant to mold us to eliviate the anxiety of our death, when the time comes. To also, and this is important, to become closer to God.

If you look at the laws, don't they mainly deal with mortal issues, not the time after death?

There are many, many actions in life that most of us all can see are very bad for us and for those around us. Murder, drug addiction, violence against others. Sure those are easy, but adultery, drunkiness, harmful sexual behavior. Its these actions that we often see our parents or friends acting upon and suffering from the consequences of. (We learn from them)

Life is a struggle to control harmful actions, studying the laws, meditating on the laws can help keep us on a more healthful and spiritual path. Preparing for our deaths and our existence after.

Struggle we will, but give up we should never do.
Dear MA, What concerns me about your post is that I may have detected a bit of legalistic belief. That is to do right to please God. The laws are to set us free, to show us OUR limits, and for us to find out who and where we are in relationship to them. I hear sincerity in your post. I think it is so very important for you to realize that Baha'u'llah loves you right now. Some of us have to struggle more to get to the Baha'i standard. I surely did.

Yes, there are outstanding Baha'is who glow with faith and righteousness, but they often did not start below empty on the gauge of life stability. Maybe God expects more from them. AA and other 12 step programs became aware that people who had difficult fathers often unconsciously give God a similar demeanor as that earthly father. Much of the day book literature is about having the faith to learn that God is loving and with them all the days of our lives and to unlearn that misperception. This is learned less directly in our Faith, but it is written everywhere, but what is not written is what our blocks to understanding are.

I attend Al Anon at least weekly. I have learned to let go and let God...(run
my life) though there are claw marks where I have taken some things back and forth. Compatible to our Faith is the concept of God as we come to understand Him (this is so basic that God is also referred to as a higher power for those who can't accept God). The concepts of 12 step programs have taught me personal faith. I only know what I knew to do which was generally to get angry, blame others, and not take responsibility for my feelings, behavior, and happiness.

The only person we have to be better than is who we were yesterday. Another I got from "the 12" was that it is extremely unfair to judge our insides by other people's outsides. We don't know what others have been through. So, I say let up on you, accept where you are and forge on with hope. The world around us has a skewed view of happiness to the point that I hate the word "happy". G.K. Chesterton roughly said that the carpe diem mentality, live for today, is not the path to happiness, that devotion to long range fulfillment is what will bring peace.

I reccommend research on Abdul'baha and the American believers. THE HERALD OF THE COVENANT or PORTALS TO FREEDOM show how loving and understanding The Master was and that people did not instantly become Baha'is.
 
Old 08-26-2011, 05:31 PM   #4
04/04/2005
 
Joined: Aug 2011
From: North Carolina, USA
Posts: 45
Hello Ciro,
I didn't know there was a second person after my post. I'll be back after I study your posting.
Warm regards,
Michael
 
Old 08-26-2011, 06:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cire perdue View Post
The only person we have to be better than is who we were yesterday.
Gosh Cire!

That is so incredibly profound. It speaks to my heart. Your words demonstrate that this wisdom you have come to posses has been born from sheer experience - suffering, pain, weakness, humanity.

Your grief has been great in life, the burden you have had to bear has been heavy. I can see that, even just from your words on this annoymous internet forum. And yet you have a godly grief that has born much humility of spirit within you.

Always remember the words of the Apostle Paul:

"...To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong..." (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

You are testimony to the truth of this Cire.

I need not say anymore, you know. You know, that the strength which God gives to his children is more potently and more completely manifested when we feel that we are weak, when we know that we are weak. It is not imparted to those who feel that they are strong and who do not realize that they are in need of divine aid, like the Pharisees who wallowed in their vain pride and delusions. It is not so completely manifested to those who are vigorous and strong as it is to those of us who are weak, who are feeble, who are struggling and fear that we are perishing. It is when we are conscious that we are feeble, and when we feel our need of divine aid, that God manifests his power to uphold and strengthen us in our resolve, and imparts his purest consolations to us.

You know this Cire, you know it through painful experience. You need no teacher in this regard, your own experience serves as your tutor.

I couldn't agree more. What you said brings to mind the words of the 14th century author of, "The Cloud of Unknowing" that truly epic masterpiece of Christian mysticism, who said to his young, struggling student who was buckling under the weight of his guilt:

"...It is not what you are nor what you have been that God looks at with his merciful eyes, but what you desire to be..."

Yes, for such is the rich bounty of the mercy of Our God. What wonder of wonders! God does not see as we see, his ways are not our ways.

That is why Jesus said to the Pharisees, after he had saved the life of the poor woman who was about to be stoned to death after being caught in the act of adultery:

"...You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one..." (John 8:15)

I also love the Parable of the Two Sons. I think it is so apt in this regard.

"But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first, and said, 'Son, go work today in my vineyard.' He answered, 'I will not,' but afterward he changed his mind, and went. He came to the second, and said the same thing. He answered, 'I go, sir,' but he didn't go. Which of the two did the will of his father?"

They said to him, "The first."

Jesus said to them, "Most certainly I tell you that the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering into the Kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you didn't believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. When you saw it, you didn't even repent afterward, that you might believe him."


— Matthew 21:28–32, World English Bible


This stunning parable of the Lord contrasts the tax collectors and prostitutes who accepted the message taught by John the Baptist with the "religious", legalistic-minded, self-righteous people who did not - people who consider themselves to be so "good" and "pure" that they no longer have need for God's messengers in their life, and thus for God. They are so "strong" in faith, so "perfect" in morality that they consider themselves to be above others and to no longer be in need of God's grace. They boasted about their goodness and piety, whilst looking down and condemning everybody else - all those filthy "prostitutes", "homosexuals", "adultersses" and the like and yet they lacked the spiritual insight to be able to see the voice of God speaking through John and Jesus, both of whom they ridiculed and both of whom they had condemed and cruelly executed, on account of their vainglory and pride.

And yet God tells us in the Holy Bible:

"Each of the Lord's messengers succeeds at its task. Everything is held together by his word" (Sirach 43:26)

Nowhere better is this summed up - this key difference between those who are physically weak but spiritually strong and those who are physically strong but spiritually weak - better encapsulated than in Jesus' Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, the tale of a Pharisee, obsessed by his own virtue, who is contrasted with a tax collector who humbly asks God for mercy:

"He spoke also this parable to certain people who were convinced of their own righteousness, and who despised all others. "Two men went up into the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed to himself like this: 'God, I thank you, that I am not like the rest of men, extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing far away, wouldn't even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."

— Luke 18:9-14, World English Bible



During the first century, Pharisees were well known for their strict and scrupulous adherence to the Torah. The Pharisee in this parable went beyond his fellows, fasting more often than was required, and giving a tithe on all he receives, even in cases where the religious rules did not require it. Confident in his religiousity, "strong" in his faith - the Pharisee asks God for nothing, and thus receives nothing in return of spiritual benefit except his own bloated ego and illusion of self-sufficiency.

On the other hand, publicans were despised Jews who collaborated with the Roman Empire, the occupying regime. The parable, however, does not condemn the publican's unfortunate occupation but rather describes the publican as one who "recognizes his state of unworthiness before God and confesses his need for reconciliation." Coming to God in humility, in weakness and submissiveness rather than confidence and strength, the publican receives the mercy and reconciliation he asks for. He leaves the Temple with a wealth of spiritual blessings, whereas the Pharisee leaves empty just as he entered the Temple empty.

I like St John of the Cross's statement,

"At the evening of life we shall be judged on our love." (St John of the Cross)


God Bless you richly Cire, YOU HAVE GIVEN ME MUCH TO PONDER OVER TONIGHT

Last edited by Yeshua; 08-26-2011 at 06:39 PM.
 
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