While Baha’i Blog is not an official website of the Baha’i community, we are very much committed to conducting our services within the framework of the Baha’i teachings and the truths they enshrine.
Voice & Expression
At Baha’i Blog we strive to reach the high standards of expression set for us by Baha’u’llah. He says that human utterance is “an essence which aspireth to exert its influence and needeth moderation”, and He urges His followers to “speak with words as mild as milk, that the children of men may be nurtured and edified thereby and may attain the ultimate goal of human existence which is the station of true understanding and nobility”. This can seem really difficult at times, but we believe that if we try to embody moderation, courtesy and humility in our posts and online discussions this will certainly set us in the right direction.
We do our best to recognise and transcend negative habits of thought and expression — often picked up unconsciously — which might colour our understanding and presentation of the Faith and which can sometimes trivialise another person, gender, community or belief.
We believe reflecting on questions such as, “How will the content of my post be perceived by someone who is not familiar with the Faith?”; “Is the type of humour employed appropriate?” and “Am I using a tone that could be perceived as irreverent or unjustifiably authoritative?” will help to make sure that our posts do not in any way compromise the significance or dignity of the teachings of the Baha’i Faith, or give offence to others. Let us rally round “an etiquette of expression worthy of the approaching maturity of the human race.”
Learning & Culture
The Baha’i community as a whole is engaged in a process of learning at the grassroots level, with individuals and communities acting as protagonists of their own growth and development. For example, the core activities of the Faith (study circles, devotional meetings, children’s classes and junior youth groups) may look very different in different places around the world.
Baha’i Blog is an Australian initiative and we focus on our audience in Australia. This means we more frequently share content about Australian Baha’is and the communities we live in. We do our best to qualify the site for users as an Australian initiative, so that users visiting from other countries see that it should be understood within the broader context of Australian culture and community.
The Universal House of Justice has warned of the dangers of allowing norms and values of one place unduly influence those in another, in the following extract from a message written in the specific context of artistic endeavours and supplementary educational materials:
“Propelled by forces generated both within and outside the Baha’i community, the peoples of the earth can be seen to be moving from divergent directions, closer and closer to one another, towards what will be a world civilization so stupendous in character that it would be futile for us to attempt to imagine it today. As this centripetal movement of populations accelerates across the globe…new elements of culture will evolve over time as people hailing from every human group, inspired by the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh, give expression to patterns of thought and action engendered by His teachings, in part through artistic and literary works… We long to see, for instance, the emergence of captivating songs from every part of the world, in every language, that will impress upon the consciousness of the young the profound concepts enshrined in the Baha’i teachings. Yet such an efflorescence of creative thought will fail to materialize, should the friends fall, however inadvertently, into patterns prevalent in the world that gives licence to those with financial resources to impose their cultural perspective on others, inundating them with materials and products aggressively promoted.” Message dated 12 December 2011 from the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies
It is therefore also important that our posts and content makes it clear that what we are offering is a personal understanding and experience of the subject matter and other views and knowledge may be equally valid. Basically, there is no formula; different communities do it differently and we want to avoid the “tendency to reduce the Faith or the process of the Divine Plan into a simplistic or prescriptive set of points or steps”.
If at any time you feel that we at Baha’i Blog are verging towards or have crossed our own editorial values please let us know, as we’d appreciate your help and input. Let’s work together to adopt the proper posture!