Jamál, 05 Kalimát (Words), 179 B.E
This beautiful “birthday bouquet” from our daughter for her mom is now the undisputed center of attention on the kitchen table:
Dedicated the day to correspondence. Here’s a snippet from one message I sent that may be of more general interest:
It’s very important that we all know where each is coming from! And that’s the reason why I seek out and read what a wide range of writers think about, premises they make, data they present, and logic they follow. Since I see the world through a lens unique to me, I don’t often agree with others — Bari Weiss among them. But I realize that everyone else sees the world through their own lenses based on their own life experiences and their own intelligence footprints. So in that respect we’re all alike.
As we’re reminded on numerous occasions, we’re all members of the same human family. Given that genetic qualification, we all have the capability of thinking, communicating, and taking action as a separate and distinct species. But as we know from our own families, the relationships among family members can be, shall we say, “complicated.”
That said, we’re also “getting it” that we’re not going to make much headway on the issues at hand (like response to climate change) unless we work together — and that means collaborating with folks we don’t know, don’t understand, or don’t agree with.
As we consider moving “How’s The Weather?” into a much more expansive arena with “Global Rebirth,” in effect, we’re building the new as the old collapses (or as a colleague of mine used to say, “we’re fixing supper while remodeling the kitchen”). In the parlance of the title to the Weiss article, “The New Founders America Needs,” we’re “new founders” of a “new world.”
I try to imagine myself in a room with people like Ms. Weiss and it was our task to come up with the framework for a new world because the old world is dying and its charter no longer serves us. What of her article could be applied to conversations about the future that would lead us to different alternatives we could try? As possibilities, below are ten “calls to action” she presents:
While the original Declaration of Independence had one call to action, I have ten. And none of them requires you to enlist in a local militia.
- To be a founder in 21st-century America means to reject the politics of resentment and to recognize our privilege.
- To be a founder means to defend the rule of law.
- To be a founder means to defend freedom of speech.
- To be a founder means to break your addiction to prestige.
- To be a founder means to reject moral relativism.
- To be a founder means to defend witches.
- To be a founder means to use your own eyes and ears.
- Being a founder means refusing to submit your relationships and friendships to political litmus tests.
- Being a founder means resisting nihilism.
- Above all, to be a founder is to build new things.
Which of those, if any, could lead a group of diverse people to respect one another, listen to each other, understand one another, learn from one another, and agree with each other sufficiently to commit to taking steps together that bridge from the known that no longer to works to the unknown, but essential for our collective survival?
First, He has proclaimed the oneness of mankind and specialized religious teachings for existing human conditions. The first form of dissension arises from religious differences. Bahá’u’lláh has given full teachings to the world which are conducive to fellowship and unity in religion. Throughout past centuries each system of religious belief has boasted of its own superiority and excellence, abasing and scorning the validity of all others. Each has proclaimed its own belief as the light and all others as darkness. Religionists have considered the world of humanity as two trees: one divine and merciful, the other satanic; they themselves the branches, leaves and fruit of the divine tree and all others who differ from them in belief the product of the tree which is satanic. Therefore, sedition and warfare, bloodshed and strife have been continuous among them. The greatest cause of human alienation has been religion because each party has considered the belief of the other as anathema and deprived of the mercy of God.
The teachings specialized in Bahá’u’lláh are addressed to humanity. He says, “Ye are all the leaves of one tree.” He does not say, “Ye are the leaves of two trees: one divine, the other satanic.” He has declared that each individual member of the human family is a leaf or branch upon the Adamic tree; that all are sheltered beneath the protecting mercy and providence of God; that all are the children of God, fruit upon the one tree of His love. God is equally compassionate and kind to all the leaves, branches and fruit of this tree. Therefore, there is no satanic tree whatever—Satan being a product of human minds and of instinctive human tendencies toward error. God alone is Creator, and all are creatures of His might. Therefore, we must love mankind as His creatures, realizing that all are growing upon the tree of His mercy, servants of His omnipotent will and manifestations of His good pleasure.
Even though we find a defective branch or leaf upon this tree of humanity or an imperfect blossom, it, nevertheless, belongs to this tree and not to another. Therefore, it is our duty to protect and cultivate this tree until it reaches perfection. If we examine its fruit and find it imperfect, we must strive to make it perfect. There are souls in the human world who are ignorant; we must make them knowing. Some growing upon the tree are weak and ailing; we must assist them toward health and recovery. If they are as infants in development, we must minister to them until they attain maturity. We should never detest and shun them as objectionable and unworthy. We must treat them with honor, respect and kindness; for God has created them and not Satan. They are not manifestations of the wrath of God but evidences of His divine favor. God, the Creator, has endowed them with physical, mental and spiritual qualities that they may seek to know and do His will; therefore, they are not objects of His wrath and condemnation. In brief, all humanity must be looked upon with love, kindness and respect; for what we behold in them are none other than the signs and traces of God Himself. All are evidences of God; therefore, how shall we be justified in debasing and belittling them, uttering anathema and preventing them from drawing near unto His mercy? This is ignorance and injustice, displeasing to God; for in His sight all are His servants. 1
- ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 230-231. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#468345676 [return]