The cause of God is like unto a college. The believers are like unto the students. The college is founded for the sake of the acquirements of science, arts and literature. If the sciences are not achieved and the scholars are not educated the object of the college is not achieved.... To them the cause of God must be a dynamic force transforming the lives of men...
Ali Nakhjavani's Talk on the Institute Process Core Activities
Interesting notes from Mr. Nakhjavaji's talk (10 November 2012) at the Association for Baha'i Studies conference in Germany when was asked to speak on the Core Activities.
Mr. Nakhjavani said:
I've spoken about teaching. I've spoken about scholarship. I've spoken about understanding as distinct from knowledge. I want to tell you, friends, that unfortunately I have seen in the Baha'i community in recent years things that have surprised me. I went to the United States. I saw the problem there. I went to Japan. I saw the problem there. I went to Canada. I saw the problem there. Recently I have been traveling for three months. When I came back from my travels I was so weak I could not eat. I had lost my appetite. What was the problem? The problem was that because the House of Justice has given us the institute process that is the only thing we have to do. That is wrong. That is where the mistake is. Dear Friends, the House of Justice has never said that the core activities are the only things we have to do. There is no such thing in the writings that instead of having firesides we have study circles; that the idea of firesides is an "old stuff", this is the "old method". The new method is study circles. This is wrong. There is no such thing in the writings of the House of Justice. Never!
My dear friends, the faith of God runs on two lines just like a train. Two lines, not one line. One is institutional, one is individual. Both are meant to work together. They are not meant to cancel each other. No. They are meant to complement each other. Not cancel each other. Not nullify each other. There should be coherence. Coherence means one side should be coherent, considerate, consistent about the needs of the other. And this one should also be consistent about the work of the other. The two work together. Baha'u'llah says that you have to teach the Cause. Every individual has to teach the Cause. Every individual has to teach the Cause. Abdu'l-Baha said you have to teach the Cause in such way that you bring one person every year to the Cause.
The House of Justice has never said: "Forget the Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha. Now only core activities!" Is that what they have said? No. Shoghi Effendi praised the firesides. Is there anything in the writings of the House of Justice: "stop firesides?" Maybe an assistant of the auxiliary board member may have told you this. This does not make it text! Tell the auxiliary board member: "Show me the text!" No such thing! The House of Justice speaks about firesides as necessary.
If everything had to be abandoned and forgotten why do we have this Association for Baha'i Studies? Why have they not stopped it? Why? Why have they not stopped summer schools and winter schools? Why? It's part of Baha'i life! The House of Justice has never said anything like this. It may be this assistant of the auxiliary board member may have said this.
Please dear friends understand, the two go together. As a community we are supposed to do both. Now as an individual maybe I cannot do both. The House of Justice has told me if you cannot go and knock at doors and read Anna's presentation it doesn't matter. Don't do it. When they say don't do it does it mean go and sit at home and do nothing? No, they are not saying that! They say, if you can't do it don't do it. In other words continue doing the other thing you have been doing all your life. Instead I go: "What do I do?" I sit down and say: "Thank God there is a new method now. The old method is finished. I have nothing to do. Finished. If somebody tells me they have done this I am ready to applaud. I am ready to clap. I am ready to encourage. But I do nothing." That's wrong. Who has said this? The House of Justice certainly has not said this. There are two lines: institutional and individual. Both are important.