Saturday, June 14, 2008

Why I am bearded

Marie has collected together some photos of Dunnville's famous Mudcat festival and parade last week. The shots of the giant beer can, the horse and the kids bowling were taken by me, the rest by others. They are at:


I want to talk about the Master's Will and Testament this morning, but before I do I wanted to share reader feedback, and first of all, some rather embarrassing personal information. Normally I would keep it private but people keep stopping me on the street, saying, "You are so amazing, John, why only two kids? Why not have more?" Others write email campaigns, sign petitions, and so forth, saying that I am under what Kant would call a deontic imperative to enrich the human gene pool with more issue. So in the end I have no choice but to divulge the decisive reason that I cannot have more children. As a side benefit, it also explains why I now wear a beard.


What happened was that we were getting ready to celebrate the birth of Thomas Hujjat Elson Taylor, the first and only boy of his generation in this family. I wanted to look my best so I had a bath, got out, and while still nude started shaving with a straight razor. Unfortunately, I was all soapy and the razor slipped out of my hand, fell down and before hitting the ground, it lopped off my penis. I got dressed, put it in my pocket and took a cab to the emergency wing of Dunnville Memorial Hospital. When I got there the attending doctor asked to see my organ, so I reached into my pocket and handed it to her. "This is not a penis," she said. I looked down. She was right. "This is a cigar!" I was flummoxed for a second. Then I remembered. I told her, "That must be what I was smoking in the cab!"


Jimbo shared a document written by a climate denier, commenting,


"Hi John!  What do you make of this reverse argument on the "climate crisis"? (see attached document). This kind of thinking is spreading quite rapidly as it denies there is any problem at all, which is what most people want to hear. This reminds me of the kind of arguments that go on forever in the health field, where there is no agreement on anything at the end of the day."


Actually, as I recall, the doctors in the ER that day eight years ago all seemed rather adamant that cigars cannot be attached to human bodies. But that is a minor quibble. Jimbo continues,


"Truthfulness, honesty and sincerity all become meaningless when it appears that nobody knows what they are talking about, because there is always a powerful contrary opinion. It makes people suspicious of any proclaimed truth whatsoever. That's why I say that the Universal House of Justice is really the only reliable body that can comment on all the formidable or not so formidable issues facing humanity at this time. Humanity keeps swaying and our youth are confused by these strong mixed messages when all they are wanting is clarity."


I think, Jimbo, we would get a lot more clarity if we got rid of structural corruption. As Buckminster Fuller said, the press is our most polluted natural resource. I think we can do the same, that is, get focus with our reading. Over the past decade I have learned that the main purpose of reading is not so much for information as inspiration. If you want to do something about the environment, read book after book on the environment. Myself, I skip over the depressing part and go straight to the solutions they propose. The books you read turn the till of the row that you plan to plow. Ditto with music, you do not listen to what you need to hear now, or what you enjoy or need now, you listen to pump you up for what will happen a few hours from now. So when, strolling through the bookshelves at our local library, I think, "What does the world need the most?" Usually I end up in the environment and God section lately.


Anyway, the Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha. Older readers will recall Bill Sears going around with this little chart of the structure of the Administration. He always put the learned, the Hands, Counselors and Board Members directly under the Guardian. He did this right to the end, long after the passing of Shoghi Effendi. I remembered reading somewhere in the Writings that it is that way, the learned go under the Guardian rather than the UHJ, but I could not remember where it said that. This is not trivia. Baha'is believe that although there is no living Guardian, this institution is a spiritual reality that continues on in the Administrative Order. So for decades it sat, galling, in that horrible limbo known contemptuously by all believers in Baha'u'llah as "Kitab-i-Hearsay." Finally, finally, I came across the documentation when I was going quickly over the Master's Will, looking for something else. Here it is. Welcome home. The latter half of this quote seems to be talking about the duty of the Guardian, and the Learned under him, to urge forward the processes of peace.


"This body of the Hands of the Cause of God is under the direction of the Guardian of the Cause of God. He must continually urge them to strive and endeavor to the utmost of their ability to diffuse the sweet savors of God, and to guide all the peoples of the world, for it is the light of Divine Guidance that causeth all the universe to be illumined. To disregard, though it be for a moment, this absolute command which is binding upon everyone, is in no wise permitted, that the existent world may become even as the Abha Paradise, that the surface of the earth may become heavenly, that contention and conflict amidst peoples, kindreds, nations and governments may disappear, that all the dwellers on earth may become one people and one race, that the world may become even as one home. Should differences arise, they shall be amicably and conclusively settled by the Supreme Tribunal, that shall include members from all the governments and peoples of the world." (Abdu'l-Baha, The Will and Testament, 13)


I am being called away, and will have to continue to cover more of this wonderful document in a future installment. We can close with this prayer from there -- we so often read our prayers torn from all context, and it is nice to know where this familiar prayer comes from.

"O Lord, my God! Assist Thy loved ones to be firm in Thy Faith, to walk in Thy ways, to be steadfast in Thy Cause. Give them Thy grace to withstand the onslaught of self and passion, to follow the light of Divine Guidance. Thou art the Powerful, the Gracious, the Self-Subsisting, the Bestower, the Compassionate, the Almighty, the All-Bountiful." (Abdu'l-Baha, Will and Testament, 14)

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