12 December 2010

Blogging, Discourse, and Ruhi Book 2

I love blogs.  I love the democratic explosion of writing on the internet. It has introduced me to so many great thinkers and writers and ideas that have enriched my life.  Clearly, I've got a penchant for Baha'i blogs as well.  There are a few I follow religiously (ha!), several more that I drop in on occasionally, and others that I only know from links to specific articles that have been passed on to me by friends. I enjoy contributing to Baha'i Coherence, and feel comfortable here despite the fact that my background is considerably less academic than those of many of my co-creators. I feel like this blog is a wonderful forum for sharing our early experiments in contributing to the discourses of society.

"... involvement in public discourse can range from an act as simple as introducing Bahá’í ideas into everyday conversation to more formal activities such as the preparation of articles and attendance at gatherings, dedicated to themes of social concern—climate change and the environment, governance and human rights, to mention a few. It entails, as well, meaningful interactions with civic groups and local organizations in villages and neighbourhoods."
I'm primarily concerned with the first level of "involvement in public discourse" mentioned by the Universal House of Justice in its Ridvan 2010 message, that of "introducing Baha'i ideas into public conversation," the skill taught in Unit 3 of Ruhi Book 2. Specifically, I've been taking the month of December to study through action what this means for Baha'i bloggers.

At the beginning of December, I started a free wordpress blog for personal-type content, as separate from my professional blog.  I signed up for Reverb10, a one-month challenge to reflect on the past year in blog form every day, based on a series of prompts. Participants then use a shared hashtag on Twitter to alert other participants to their daily entry, creating a sense of mutual endeavor. My goal has not been to blog exclusively about the Baha'i Faith (I follow the prompts faithfully), but to explore for myself the ways in which the lessons from Ruhi Book 2 on introducing Baha'i ideas could be integrated into a personal blog not intended for a Baha'i audience.

Almost halfway into the month, I've discussed my Baha'i wedding, my desire to eliminate backbiting from my life, my endeavors in the cluster, and a handful of other topics that relate to my life. I've infused the language of the Universal House of Justice and the Writings into my own to a degree that feels natural to me.  One positive comment, from a fellow Reverb10 participant, shared that "It's always inspirational to hear stories about how people build community where they are." Another participant shared in response to a piece on cultivating a sense of wonder, adding, "I love what you wrote about humility. That is such a huge part of wonder.  I hadn't really put my finger on that aspect of it. Thanks."

These aren't earth-shaking revelations.  I am not, at this point, building true relationships with these people.  The number of people who care to be privy to my reflections on life is of course minute.  I may develop insights into these issues as I go, but the experience of writing regularly about Baha'i life for an audience that is in no way affiliated with the Baha'i community is proving to be enlightening and invigorating to me as a writer, a tutor, and a Baha'i.  I don't have much learning to share yet, but I'll be sure to share when I do.

To take a look at my little laboratory, feel free to drop in at A Stronger Thought of Peace

Thoughts?  How do you involve yourself in the discourses of society through social media and blogging?  What have learnings have you taken from the experience so far?

1 comment:

  1. Nice post, I dig your reflection laboratory. In just a few minutes I think I learned quite a bit more about you.

    I would say my interest in blogging is two-fold, one is to help work through my own hangups through intellectual and creative exploration. The other is to encourage and highlight a diversity of ideas and forms of expression online in one platform. It has been an honor to co-collaborate with all of you here, each with a unique and indispensable voice, making "Baha'i Coherence" I think an effective medium of progressive social discourse.