05 March 2011

Knock, Knock, It's the Assembly!

Many Local Spiritual Assembly members struggle to balance their work as part of an institution of the Faith with their personal and team teaching goals and the need to model participation in the goals of the wider community. Home visits are an ideal way to integrate the basic practices of the Ruhi Institute and the goals of the cluster into the work that must necessarily fall on the shoulders of the Assembly. Here are 10 ideas for incorporating home visits into the business of the LSA:
  1. Visit with engaged couples to deepen them on Baha'i marriage and provide counseling and encouragement.
  2. Visit community members to deepen on recent guidance from the Universal House of Justice and encourage the development of individual teaching plans.
  3. Visit to welcome new members to the community and assess their needs and hopes (deepening, children's classes, avenues of service, etc.)
  4. Veteran Assembly members visit the newly-elected in order to help them grow in their role, and those who formerly held a certain office (such as treasurer) visit new officers in order to ensure an effective transition.
  5. Visit those who were unable to attend a Cluster Reflection or Feast to fill them in on the details and receive their input, sharing knowledge of the nature and importance of these gatherings as needed.
  6. Visit the hospitalized and homebound to strengthen their sense of community, especially on Holy Days.
  7. Visit with 14-year-old Baha'is in the community in order to have a discussion about the nature of the age of maturity and the ways in which the Assembly can assist them in their endeavors as youth.
  8. Visit members of the Core Team to pray for the advancement of the Cause in the region, and to build stronger bonds of unity and fellowship between the institutions.
  9. Visit community members who have relocated from elsewhere in order to help them find their place and path of service without their having to scramble for information about their neighborhood, cluster, or available resources.
  10. Visit with friends who are struggling with a particular aspect of Baha'i law, especially when a specific visitor or visitors (one that is the same gender as the community member to be visited, or who has struggled with a similar issue, or who is a personal friend) might be more appropriate for a first conversation than the Assembly as a whole.
This is, of course, just a jumping-off point. Any other suggestions? How does your Assembly integrate home visits into its business? In what ways would you like it to?

Watching Libya Burn

The government of Libya in the past few days has accumulated massacres that are blatantly counter to any international standard of legitimacy. I feel the situation is already an avoidable stain on the pages of human history.

The resolution to the problem seems so simple. A dictator losing his mind is using extreme violence and outright lies to keep himself in power. He has given orders to bomb and machine-gun down unarmed civilians in mass. Today his troops rushed through the town of az-Zawiyah shooting dead any person they saw. At one point the troops broke into a hospital and began executing patients in their beds. There is no need to insinuate anything, he has openly admitted that he plans on killing as many people as possible if he is forced from power. He relies on blatant lies and bribes to keep his few supporters going, but those few have incredibly powerful weaponry. Clearly the international community should step in to prevent the massacres, put Qaddafi on trial for crimes against humanity, and restore order and justice.

The condemnation from outside of Libya has been strong, but it's been little more than sharing words, freezing assets, and starting an investigation. Some countries are simply more concerned about the flow of oil than the flow of blood. China is far more concerned with quelling any internal unrest than it is with preventing a massacre in Africa (Chinese reporting about Egypt and Libya have only focused on the scared Chinese nationals fleeing the chaos). As usual, China is trying not to set a precedent for the international community to step in and prevent governments from violently suppressing protests. This almost total avoidance of military intervention in any country by a permanent member of the UN Security Council has been a drag on the effectiveness of the UN, just as the United States' total reluctance to allow condemnation of Israeli transgressions has allowed injustice to continue in Palestine far too long.