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Jewish Identity: Various Theologies

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  • Jewish Identity: Various Theologies

    Over the last decade, 2005 to 2014, since my retirement from FT, PT and most volunteer work, after an employment-and-student life of half a century, 1954 to 2004, I have often written about the Jews and Judaism with comparisons and contrasts to a people and a religion I have now been associated with for more than 60 years, the Baha'is and the Baha'i Faith. The following words provide a series of items containing, as they do, some of these comparisons and contrasts, among other aspects of both the Jewish world and the Baha'i world.

    I put the following compilation together after watching Simon Schama's The Story of the Jews on SBSONE TV in Tasmania, on 23/3/'14 and 30/3/'14, 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. His interest in the theology of the Jew that gets expressed in the identity of the Jew, now and in history, stimulated my own interest in the identity of the Baha'i, now and in history.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Five Epochs, 24/3/'14.
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    OUR FRESHLY MINTED TEARS

    Part 1:

    The longer I have been a Baha段 the more and more I have seen parallels between the Baha段 experience and the Jewish experience, between what it means to be a Baha段 and what it means to be a Jew. While individual experiences, inevitably, vary greatly, certain overall themes are common between the two religions: a history of persecution; a body or writings and myths that separate the believer from non-believers and that give adherents a foundation of meaning and identity in their lives; a spiritual homeland of holy places and holy men and women who act as models and metaphors for living; the importance of written history and a transcendent Being as a source of order for man and society; the importance of Torah, or Law, written law, to bring daily life into conformity with the original teachings; a foundation in charismatic revelation and a transition to an institutional theocratic state; the place of vision and a sense of the future in history and; finally, the crucial interrelationship between the individual and the community.

    I have found my Baha段 experience has been helpful in understanding general social and moral issues. I felt deeply conscious of being a Baha段, and active in spelling out what it meant. Part of the effect of this consciousness has been to make me feel out-of-place, and separate; part of the effect, too, has made me feel integrated with, at one with, the social setting wherever I went. Another effect has been to give me many definitions of homeland: house, land, word processor, place of birth, the planet and a range of serendipitous locations where chance and circumstance has brought me to be. -Ron Price, Pioneering Over Five Epochs, 2014.

    Part 2:

    This Baha段 business
    plays a role at so many
    different levels, and in
    such varying intensities.

    We have our holocaust
    on a much smaller scale,
    and our freshly minted tears,
    from innocent, bewildered
    eyes; the world痴 forgetfulness
    will not debase this coin of gold
    which enters through a portal
    from which no man returns.
    We have our prophets
    who came to this same
    grainy, parched, landscape
    and its unquenchable sun,
    and the crazed hot wind
    which mutters so very, very
    apocalyptically. They were
    placed in this oven where
    the heat consumes every
    thing but compassion.1

    Our combustible souls, too,
    vanish in a puff, but not before
    those prophets, speaking
    redemptive words of glacial
    austerity and honey-dew
    from an unseen world
    viewing the entirety of
    complex human history.

    1 Roger White, 鄭 Desert Place, Occasions of Grace, George Ronald, Oxford, p.97.
    Married for 47 years, a teacher for 32, a student for 18, a writer and editor for 15, and a Baha'i for 55(in 2014)
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