We need to consult, can we?

Mar 2019
@PherJVv I'm just sitting here basking in the light of your post ... my head leaning on one hand, wondering how such a wonderful thing like this could be happening to me. I'll just be sitting here for a while, immersed in the peace and joy that I'm feeling.

(later) You gave me everything I was wishing for, and more ... I was wondering how to bring my heart to the right place for this, and you did that for me
@PherJVv One of the prayers I’ve been saying is “O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Your post did that for me, so much that I was lying on my bed, sobbing, for a while
Wow! I'm humbled. Thanks for your encouragement and I'm so happy what I said brought some joy and focus to your heart. It's so easy here to downplay what we do and think we're not doing enough day to day, or always comparing ourselves to others we think are doing more or better work.

This applies way beyond the Peace Corps of course! And just as in any other social community engagement, it simultaneously is and isn't about what you're doing. Every small action and non-action makes a difference, and the totality of the work of the group can make the big difference.

More thoughts to come later... Goodnight and peace only to all
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Jan 2012
@Pete in Panama I'm still looking for writings that might apply to improving what Baha'is do in Internet discussions, but I have some more thoughts that I want to post while I'm thinking of them. I think that the framework for action that the House of Justice is promoting might do more in the long run to improve what Baha'is do online, than anything we could be doing online. Obviously that doesn't mean to me that we shouldn't be trying to do anything online. I'll be searching in the writings for ideas and inspiration about how the attitudes and behavior of Baha'is in Internet discussions might improve, and how anyone who wants to might be able to help with that. One of my ideas is to try to use what we're learning to do in our offline community building, to improve what we're doing in online communities. Another idea is what we used to to call "Each One Teach One." I've been trying to remember what Baha'u'llah says that each of us can do to help improve society and other people's behavior. Part of what is required for people to change is their own efforts in trying to learn to follow Baha'u'llah. If we want Baha'is to do more in Internet discussions that attracts people to the Faith, and less that repels them, that has to be a goal of their own, and a part of following Baha'u'llah for them. Without that, no amount of discussion is going to change anyone's behavior. Also, it might help to understand what their repulsive behavior is aimed at, and help them find better ways to do whatever they're trying to do. One way, as I said, is to learn to be a better friend to more people, to learn from them and encourage and support them, to practice our ideas ourselves, and to tell stories about our experiences that might make people want to try doing what we're doing.
Jan 2012
I want to post some ideas as they come to me. Just now I was struggling, trying to remember all the conditions and requirements for consultation, and I had the idea to just choose one at a time to try to remember. Another thing I've been thinking about is trying to remember what our scriptures say about what we can do to help promote better attitudes and behavior in the society around us. Then I had the idea not to single out what Baha'is do that repels people from the Faith, because that's drawing a line between Baha'is and other people. Then I had the idea to generalize it to what people in all religions are doing in Internet discussions, that repels people away from religion, and what people in what I'm calling the "Science Faith" are doing that repels people away from science. Now the question for me is what I can find in our scriptures about behavior that repels people away from ways of learning to know and love God, and what I can do to help change that. Then I thought of turning that around to consider what kinds of attitudes and behavior attract people to ways of learning to know and love God, and how I can help those attitudes and behavior to grow and spread. That brings me back to the framework for action that the House of Justice is promoting, and how to bring that online. Then I was thinking about the three parts of that, the individual, the community and the institutions. Before we could do what we're doing now, we had to have have all three of those in every corner of the world and every corner of society. That's what the goals were all about until some time in the 90s, I think. Then I was wondering if some day there will be Baha'i spiritual assemblies in online communities. Maybe there are already Baha'is roleplaying that in Second Life. However that may be, there might be some way we could have informal spiritual assemblies in online communities, with no administrative authority. These are just some random thoughts that are coming to me.

However all that may be, the most and the best we can do to promote attitudes and behavior online that will attract people to ways of knowing and loving God (religion and science), might be in trying to adapt what the House of Justice is promoting offline, to what we're doing online, or at least that might be a good place to start.
Jan 2012
@Pete in Panama I still want to go through the steps with you, that you've outlined. I'm just posting thoughts that are coming to me, while they're fresh in my mind. I don't even know yet if anything I'm saying has anything to do with what you wanted to do! Thinking about how to help improve attitudes and behavior in the society around us, including in Internet discussions, my first thought is that the very best we can do is whatever we can do for people to learn to love, trust and follow Baha'u'llah. That includes members of the Baha'i Faith. I don't draw any line between Baha'is and other people, in our responsibility to teach the Faith. Beyond whatever we can do for people to learn to love, trust and follow Baha'u'llah, another way to help improve behavior in the society around us, including Baha'i society, is a kind of mentoring, which looks to me like what "accompaniment" means in messages about Baha'i community building. We don't have to wait for people to be in the training programs, to start accompanying them wherever they are in their path of service. Make friends; deepen our friendships to a level where we're learning from each other and encouraging and supporting each other; work on our own character, attitudes and behavior; talk about our ideas and experiences and what we're learning.

I'd like to talk about what you've already been trying and hoping to do, for whatever it was that you wanted to discuss here. Now I'm wondering again if I'm off track. I went back to your OP, and there it looks like you want to practice consultation with other Baha''is, for other people to see it. From some of your other posts it looked like you might be concerned about debating between Baha'is repelling people from the Faith. Maybe the idea of practicing consultation for people to see was to counteract that? I thought it was for Baha'is to be doing more that attract people to the Faith, and less that repels them. Whatever you were hoping for from this, I'd like to know what you've already been trying and hoping to do about it. We could start with what you and I have already been trying and hoping to do, and then consider how we can improve on that and build on it. Like I said, I still want to go through the steps with you that you outlined, as much as you want to.
@Pete in Panama I’m still confused about what you had in mind, when you invited me to this thread. I think now that I’ve let my imagination run too wild. I’ll try again. You think that some debating between Baha’is is impeding our teaching efforts? Where have you seen that? Online? Offline? Both? Forums? Blogs? Social networks? Other? You want some Baha’is to consult with you about one of the topics that Baha’is have been debating about, because you think that will help solve that problem somehow? You were considering climate change as a topic for that discussion? I’ll go back and start over from there.
@Pete in Panama If we try to come to some agreement about what's really happening, and what the best plan of action would be for all people, in relation to climate change or any other social or global issues, in my mind it will be purely a roleplaying game. It might take dozens or even hundreds of hours, or it might not even be possible, for me to inform myself the way I would want to, for it to be anything but a roleplaying game for me, and I'm not volunteering for that. I'll do that with you if you want to, but you might need or want to know that for me, it will be nothing but a roleplaying game. That doesn't mean to me that that it wouldn't serve your purpose. Maybe it would, and I see some possible value in it even if it doesn't.

If you want to have some kind of consultation about those issues with some Baha'is, that might help remedy the problem of Baha'i debating repelling people from the Faith, one idea I have for that is to start with whatever one person thinks the facts are, and see if we can agree on some ideas that we might try, individually and together, if those were the actual facts. Then we could start again from what some other person thinks the facts are, and repeat that until we've agreed on some ideas to try based on what each person thinks the facts are. Then we could see if any of the ideas that we agreed on are the same for all the different views of what the facts are. You and I could do that even if no one else is volunteering for it. You and I could look around for some different views of what the facts are, and see if we can agree on some ideas about what we might try, individually and together, if those were the actual facts.
Thinking about it some more, if we're going to practice consultation between Baha'is about social and global issues, for whatever reason, I would rather discuss what we might be able to do to help support UN programs and international agreements related to those issues, educate people about those, and help spread the ideas coming from the Baha'i International Community, or at least start with that. If anyone has any objections to what the UN and the BIC are promoting, or other ideas they want to discuss, we could look at those and discuss what we might want to do if we agreed with them.
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It looks to me like you might be missing a lot, including a lot of what's most important to know about consulting. I'm only saying that because you asked.
You're right and thank you for getting us back on track. We'd do much better to proceed w/ a solid agreement as to what we're doing --spiritual consultation. It's something I only mentioned in passing--

...spiritual consultation and not the mere voicing of personal views in parliamentary opposition and debate.

(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 73)
--but there's a lot more to it. My wife has been studying Book 10 and the second unit is about 50 pages on the subject. The copy I got's in Spanish so if anyone can share a link to say, a pdf it'd be great. Meanwhile what I can do is pass on the references maybe.
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