Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Fellow Blogger Declares on 19th Anniversary of Hearing of Bahá’u’lláh

A seeker found our local webpage (for Madison, WI) and dropped in at the Center for devotions. It was one of those Sundays when there were very few Baha’is present. The small group didn’t seem to bother him and gave those present a chance to get to know him. We chatted over coffee.

He had grown up in Illinois and had seen the House of Worship from the park across the street at night and remembered its beauty. He learned about the Faith when he lived in L.A. back in 1989 and read “Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era” and the “Kitáb-i-Iqán” at that time. He was raised Protestant, became Pagan/Unitarian, and for the past several years had belonged to a small religious group with origins in Japan. He was the only member of that group in Madison and planned to start a group here. But his mother died recently and he began thinking about afterlife issues and looking for community.

During that week I sent him a note, a copy of our calendar, a brochure from the House of Worship and a prayer card. I asked our Ruhi coordinators if they could start a Book 1 for him. This seeker came to devotions regularly. One day, after devotions, I went over some of the basics with him and another seeker. He checked “Gleanings” out of our Center’s library. Following that, he read Hatcher & Martin’s “Emerging Global Religion”. When I asked him if he had heard about the study circle yet, he said no, but that he would email the coordinators because he wanted to start right away. He completed Book 1 over the next few Sundays and helped prepare devotions as his practice. He emailed me with questions about spiritual paths other than those started by the Manifestations as described in the Writings. I wrote back about the “Divine Physicians” and the “ever-advancing civilization”, mentioning the likely existence of pre-history Manifestations. He mentioned that he thought Bahá’u’lláh would have a problem with the leader of the group he has been following.

He gave me his blog address and asked me to take a look. A good portion was talking with great love about the Faith and his path toward it. He emailed me that he would not be at devotions the next week because he was going to Chicago and hoped to visit the House of Worship and also let his previous religious group know that he is leaving it.

He also mentioned that he planned to declare his Faith, but wanted to choose a significant day and time to do so. On Nov. 19 he called to tell me that at 7:52, alone on the shore of the lake, on the 19th anniversary of his first hearing of Bahá’u’lláh, he signed his card. He brought the card to Feast on Nov. 23 and said he hoped to have a party at the co-op where he lives to celebrate and to let his friends know about the Faith and meet some of the Baha’is. This is already a very active believer!

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