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Loving and Reflecting on the Bahá’í Writings

Nov 30, 2020

Course: Writing About the Writings: The Art and Craft of the Personal Reflection Piece (2020)
Faculty: Sandra Hutchison

Editor’s Note: What follows is James Braun’s Learning Self-Assessment, submitted in November 2020 for the above-mentioned course.


Reflect on what you have learned in this course.  Look again at your Personal Learning Plan.  Did you accomplish these goals?

My PLP was very simple. I was to fulfill the assignment of writing about one of the Bahá’í Writings and rewrite it as necessary to make it coherent and readable. I did this.

Share some of the understandings and insights you have gained.  

I learned several things about myself. Sometime in week 4 or 5 I was just going to quit. I looked inside myself and felt completely inadequate to the task of writing a personal reflection piece that could possibly be something anyone would want to read. I felt stuck, I didn’t know how to proceed, and I felt sheepish and ashamed that I thought I could write. Then I tried to put ideas together. I had to tell myself over and over again that these are my thoughts and ideas. My thoughts don’t have to be profound; they just have to be mine, so that what I think about this particular passage has meaning. How does it move me; how can I put those thoughts and feelings into words? So, I did. It’s not great but it does reflect my thoughts and my reflection. I have reflected deeply.

Have you acquired or improved any skills?

I believe that my ability to read and study the Writings of the Bahá’í Faith has improved.

Have you experienced any new feelings or attitudes about this subject?

I learned that loving the flow and rhythm and images in the Writings does not mean that I have reflected deeply on their meaning. I am even more deeply moved now by the passage I chose to write about. It has more meaning to me. I see how this technique could be applied more consistently to my study of the Writings.

Has there been a change in your values or beliefs?

I think that, if I really study the Writings and apply the principles of exegesis more often, my understanding of the Writings will deepen and my appreciation of the Writings will grow.

Now that the course has ended, what are the ways you can apply or use what you have learned in the future?

I am going to share this reflection with others, especially in my Bahá’í community and with other friends with whom I am moved to share it.

Contributors

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James Braun

James became a Bahá’í in 1972. He retired in 2016 and has since served the Faith, with his wife, working in a neighborhood in Springfield, MO, to establish children's classes, devotional gatherings, junior youth groups and study circles. He loves to travel to other communities to get to know those working to strengthen communities through the spiritual upliftment of the population. He also enjoys nature photography.

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