Published on February 4, 2009
Book 6 Refresher Guide Review To the Collaborators for your own orientation REFRESHER DISCUSSION: The International Teaching Centre talks about the importance of direct teaching and collective projects in relationship to advancing clusters. In their letter of 30 September, they wrote: Advanced clusters “that have attained a healthy, sustainable growth pattern are characterized by a focus on teaching, in particular direct teaching, and not just on extending invitations to core activities. Where intensive programs of growth have stalled at a plateau of low numbers of enrollments, the dimension missing from the framework for action is direct, collective teaching. An accent on teaching in clusters at a formative stage can consist not only of direct, individual teaching but also of small, collective efforts, which experience shows can propel the process of growth and advance the cluster in an accelerated manner.” In the 27th December letter the House of Justice wrote a paragraph about individual teaching. They stated: “Experience suggests that the more closely teaching approaches and methods are aligned with the capacity acquired from the study of the institute courses the more rewarding the results.” What does this mean? Maybe learning the presentation in Book 6 as our basis? They also said in paragraph 7 that “Increased experience enables” teachers of the Cause to “adapt their presentation to the seeker's needs, employing direct teaching methods that draw on the Writings to offer the message in a manner both forthcoming and inviting. What does forthcoming mean? In the dictionary forthcoming means ready or available when required. So in Book 6, Teaching the Cause, this is what we learn. We learn a skill, we learn to make a simple, direct presentation on the Faith so that when we are asked “What is the Bahá’i Faith?” we have available an effective answer.
Today we’re going to learn to give Anna’s presentation and make it inviting. Anna’s presentation is based on a quote from the Universal House of Justice that states what a person needs to know to become a Bahá’i. Turn to Quote on page 91 “Those who declare themselves as Bahá’ís should become enchanted with the beauty of the Teachings, and touched by the love of Bahá’u’lláh. The declarants need not know all the proofs, history, laws, and principles of the Faith, but in the process of declaring themselves they must, in addition to catching the spark of faith, become basically informed about the Central Figures of the Faith, as well as the existence of the laws they must follow and an administration they must obey.” What is reason (s) that we need to develop the skills of direct teaching, particularly now at this stage of development? Accept answers and if needed bring out the relationship between the present-day turmoil in the world and people’s receptivity to the Cause with: Quote on page 87 “The opportunities which the turmoil of the present age presents, with all the sorrows which it evokes, the fears which it excites, the disillusionment which it produces, the perplexities which it creates, the indignation which it arouses, the revolt which it provokes, the grievances it engenders, the spirit of restless search which it awakens, must, in like manner, be exploited for the purpose of spreading far and wide, the knowledge of the redemptive power of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, and for enlisting fresh recruits in the ever-swelling army of His followers. So precious an opportunity, so rare a conjunction of favorable circumstances, may never again recur.” Quote on page 11 quot;The world is in great turmoil and its problems seem to become daily more acute. We should therefore not sit idle; otherwise we would be failing in carrying out our sacred duty. Bahá'u'lláh has not given us His teachings to treasure them and hide them for our personal delight and pleasure. He gave them to us so that we may pass them from mouth to mouth until all the world becomes familiar with them and enjoys their blessings and uplifting influence.quot; Also, in the book One Common Faith, commissioned by the House of Justice it states in the opening pages: THERE IS EVERY REASON FOR confidence that the period of history now opening will be far more receptive to efforts to spread Bahá'u'lláh's message than was the case in the century just ended. All the signs indicate that a sea change in human consciousness is under way.
Let’s think about this. What does a sea change mean? The dictionary defines this as a marked change or transformation. Bahá’u’lláh has brought about this sea change through the Greater Plan of God, preparing mankind to be receptive. Let’s think about the last century, who was alive? The Hands of the Cause, Shoghi Effendi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, all were alive yet people are more receptive now than they were during their life time. “Multitudes hunger for the bread of life.” It is up to us to learn to deliver the message they so eagerly await. As we learn to make direct presentations on the Faith we also need to consider receptivity. Many of us have a concept in our mind that receptive people are actively asking questions about the Faith. However, to ask a question you have to know something. What truly does it mean to be receptive to the Teachings? RECEPTIVITY Quote on p. 86 “A receptive person may not necessarily appear to be searching for the Faith, or even be particularly interested in religion. In fact, it is important to realize that receptivity and spirituality are not the same. What is required is a condition in which a person is willing to listen to the Teachings and explore their truth with a degree of openness. As we gain experience in teaching, and as our spiritual faculties become sharper and sharper, our ability to sense this condition increases. “ CREATE SUMMARY OF CONCEPTS IN ANNA’S PRESENTATION Today we will analyze the concepts in Anna’s presentation. We know Anna’s presentation is not a formula to apply to all situations, and as we gain experience we will be able to adapt the presentation to our listeners needs, but first we need to learn the presentation. Just as in cooking you first follow the recipe to have something edible and to learn the method, once you become familiar with it you are able to adapt it and adjust it based on what’s in the refrigerator or what you like, a bit more garlic, less chilies, etc. Review concept teaching versus informational teaching using the examples in Unit 2, Section 16, p.65-67. Fallacy exists that if we present information this will lead to understanding of the concept—but this is not the case. How do we typically present the Fund? Brainstorm a list with the participants of typical information shared: o Baha’i only o Amount is discretionary
o Confidential o Voluntary o Local, national Vs. • (concept) P. 66--Contributing to the Funds of the Faith—integral part of building a better world. Tell me about the Laws. Brainstorm a list with participants of usual information shared: • No drinking • No drugs • No sex before marriage • Pray daily Vs. • P. 67—lamps of loving providence—illumine our path and lead us to true happiness, still we are not perfect—he helps us to overcome our weaknesses and gives us the strength as we make steps and pray. Bahá’u’lláh is the Manifestation of God for today. Usually we just present this as a standalone statement, but this doesn’t lead to understanding of what we mean. Vs. • P. 65, the concept of the manifestation (Note: as tutors of Book 6, incorporate the exercise we just completed in your tutoring) Review Anna’s presentation one section at a time. Note that Anna is a model of our new Baha’i who goes through the jr. youth and then Ruhi institute courses, becomes an active teacher through collective campaigns and individual effort. That would prepare her to give such a comprehensive presentation. Construct a group summary of the concepts for each section (see Concept handout) through the Unification of Humanity. Note the transitions that lead from sharing concepts to introducing the quotes. This is often where presenters struggle. These are in italic in the concepts handout. Also note the natural invitations to be a part of the Faith; these are in bold in the handout After outlining these first two sections stop and reflect on: TEACHING THE HEART FROM THE HEART What is teaching? How is teaching sacred? Quotes on page 18 (The spiritual nature of teaching)
That which He hath reserved for Himself are the cities of men's hearts; and of these the loved ones of Him Who is the Sovereign Truth are, in this Day, as the keys. Please God they may, one and all, be enabled to unlock, through the power of the Most Great Name, the gates of these cities. The things He hath reserved for Himself are the cities of men's hearts, that He may cleanse them from all earthly defilements, and enable them to draw nigh unto the hallowed Spot which the hands of the infidel can never profane. Open, O people, the city of the human heart with the key of your utterance. Thus have We, according to a pre-ordained measure, prescribed unto you your duty. This is not about memorizing Anna’s presentation or about being perfect. It is about reaching the heart. When we speak to someone how do we engage his or her heart? Accept answers, include if not offered; through our own sincerity, our own belief, when our heart is engaged We are going to practice presenting the concepts of Anna’s presentation, but putting it into our own words. Have someone demonstrate: close books, look at the first section outline and have someone present from after the first quote to the second quote. We know this information, see how easy it is to convey when we use our own words? Handout copies of the prepared outline and divide into teams, no more than 3, to work on personal presentations. One possible method that has proven effective: Each person in the group presents the first section, taking turns and listening to each other. They move on to the next section, but a different person starts. They finish all the sections in this manner. Finally, each person takes a turn at practicing the entire presentation. Repeating this process more than once would probably be helpful to many participants if time allows. Come back together to answer questions and discuss: • the law on alcohol • inviting to be a Bahá’i Law on Alcohol • Why is this law included? • Great barrier to unity • We don’t apologize for the standards of Bahá’u’lláh • Present the law with conviction • If you are not ready to do that, skip it • Story from Tacoma: o One team was presenting to a seeker whose job was as a wine specialist in the store she worked at. They prayed and decided to
present the law. Her response: you know I have a friend and when I go out with her and she drinks it makes me not want to drink. Maybe I have known her to help me understand this law. Brainstorm examples of inviting seekers to become Baha’is: • You realize that this is a process of coming to the recognition of Baha’u’llah as the Manifestation of God for today. Where are you in that process? • I’d like to invite you to become a member of the Baha’i Faith and join us in working toward unity, joining us in the circle of unity. • I’d like to give you this card so that you can enroll in the Baha’i Faith when you are ready. Once you recognize Baha’u’llah as the Manifestation of God for today, this is how we register in the Faith. (Impart knowledge of the process.) • Others ORIENTATION BEFORE LEAVING TO TEACH Who is responsible for changing the heart and drawing the soul closer to God? Accept answers, someone should say Bahá’u’lláh We must remember to be detached when we teach, detached from the results. This is not to mean that we don’t analyze our presentation or how we can make it better, but that we don’t dwell on the response of the individual. If the person recognizes Bahá’u’lláh and declares, what do you do? Say Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá and give it to God. If the person remains receptive but doesn’t declare, what do you do? Say Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá Invite to core activities, being prepared to accompany them Set up another visit to share more about the Faith, answer questions If the person shows no further interest what do you do? Say Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá, give it to God and… Quotes on page 48 Consort with all men, O people of Baha, in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship. If ye be aware of a certain truth, if ye possess a jewel, of which others are deprived, share it with them in a language of utmost kindliness and goodwill. If it be accepted, if it fulfill its purpose, your object is attained. If anyone should refuse it, leave him unto himself, and beseech God to guide him. Beware lest ye deal unkindly with him.
A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men. It is the bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning, it is the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding. Bahá’u’lláh Leave him to himself and pray for him. Above all else, what do we need to be ever conscious of when teaching? What, alone, can bring success? Divine Assistance Review and meditate on the quotes on pages 34-35 before teams leave. Say a round of prayers. Go teach SHARING, REFLECTION AND LEARNING • Each team shares their experience, o Be specific, share names and observations for the ATC o What was learned? o What are the next steps for the teachers to pursue with the seeker? • Encourage teams to share stories with their own communities o Remove names, similar to the letters from the House when they share guidance to an individual with the rest of the community. They remove the name and the location so we are not distracted but focus on the learning. o Teaching should lead to growth; we remove the names to protect the individuals from embarrassment as the stories circulate and they are present in the room! o To keep any hint of ego or personalities out of our stories we can offer them in this way: Here’s what the guidance says/experience suggest Here’s the action taken Here’s what we learned • End with prayers for praise and gratitude that we had such wonderful opportunities to teach the Faith Prepared by Chris Sheehan and Laurie King Modified 1/08
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