I was just having a conversation with a friend about the progress of the Baha'i world right now. It got us thinking that there are two dynamics of the emerging pattern of Baha'i life that can easily contradict each other. One is the desire to reach out to new contacts, share Baha'u'llah's teachings with others, and work with them to improve the life of our communities. The other is the desire to exemplify a lifestyle of devotion to God, detachment from instant gratification, and consecrated service to the plans set out by the Universal House of Justice. Baha'is are called to engage the broader society, while living lifestyles that are very different, often incomprehensible at first, to individuals unfamiliar with the Baha'i Faith.
It seems to me that this twin dynamic is set up by breaking down certain barriers with the broader society, while at the same time, throwing up others. By no means, do I think this is a self-defeating process, quite the opposite. But my friend and I certainly noticed that this change of culture is not something we can learn overnight.
What are your thoughts on this?