Friday, November 16, 2018

"For this—mastery of the Teachings—there is no effective substitute."

© 2018 Chuck Egerton

"The Universal House of Justice has received and read with interest your letter dated 10 December 1995 seeking its guidance in regard to the work of achieving race unity in the United States. We have been instructed to send the following reply.

Since the Writings contain so much material on this subject, already brilliantly
summarized and expounded by the beloved Guardian, the House of Justice does not feel it would be feasible or useful to rehearse that with which you are already very well familiar. The friends, generally, need to digest this material, to study and internalize it, until they have a profound grasp of the Bahá’í perspective on the matters which you have identified as ones on which there is no true unity of thought. For this—mastery of the Teachings—there is no effective substitute.

In essence, the House of Justice feels that methods should be subordinated to purposes and goals, and are to be selected, adapted or discarded, as they show themselves to be effective or not. In this regard, it has often been observed that attempts which set out, self-consciously, to arrive at unity often lose momentum, unless they lead beyond discussion to some form of action. With respect to principles, it will assist the friends greatly if the issue of addressing race unity can be formulated within the broad context of the social development of the community. The distinctiveness of the Bahá’í approach to many issues needs to be sharpened. In our public outreach, we need to correlate the Teachings with current thought, and be very clear about the bases and assumptions upon which various conceptions rest, and not swallow uncritically whatever ideas happen to be in vogue. Likewise, as a community we need to be future oriented, to have a clear vision and to think through the steps necessary to bring it to fruition. This is where consultation with the Bahá’í institutions will provide a critical impulse to your own efforts."

-Written on Behalf of the Universal House of Justice, from a letter dated 25 February 1996

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