Learner Gains New Perspectives on Interfaith and Social Justice from First Course
Introduction to the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (2020)
Faculty: Christopher Buck
Colette Harrison of Dayton, Ohio, said her very first Wilmette Institute course, on the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, gave her new perspectives on her interfaith, social justice, and racial harmony work.
“Looking back on my own posts over the weeks I can say that I no longer feel as though I’m “walking through quicksand.” What I find exciting is how the laws of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas can bring us to a new understanding of the potential civilization unfolding which is now only still in its embryonic stage. It will take time for me, at least, to more fully understand and accept how to gradually bring myself into alignment with these laws and ordinances, although I believe I have made significant progress in gaining appreciation and understanding of their purpose, wisdom, and intent, and become even more committed to sharing these insights in my social justice work. Intimately tied to this is the concept of salvation addressed in unit 4 of the course. It is something which I hope to return to with other study groups and which I hope will help inform my social justice work. In addition, while it is clear that it is NOT for any of us to interpret the Word of God as set down by His Messengers and claim our view to be authoritative in any way, as explained in Note # 130, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t discuss/deepen with each other on various passages in the Writings in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding and appreciation of their content, and perhaps discover perspectives we hadn’t thought of before. My hope is that my newfound understandings will help fuel more elevated conversations with others.”
“I feel that I have improved and fine tuned my critical thinking through my participation in the discussions in this course. I have gained a new appreciation for the depth of wisdom offered in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, not only as a “code of conduct” but as a source of inspiration for the soul and something that “binds the hearts.” Looking at the Kitab-i-Aqdas from this newfound perspective, I begin to have a better understanding of how it serves to bring about the framework for a global society to emerge.”
“I don’t believe that I have any significant changes in values or beliefs as a result of taking this course, although I do have a deeper appreciation for the guidance given to us for personal and collective comportment through a more thorough understanding of the laws and ordinances of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.
I am still working on a course project that will reflect my new learning, perhaps regarding some of the ordinances found in the Aqdas, as well as some of the elucidations found in the Notes, as these are applicable to my work in the community. Of particular importance is my focus on the needs of immigrants and refugees and how to help local-born residents (and most specifically members of various faith communities learning to interface with each other to work more effectively together), to assist their foreign-born counterparts in the various spheres of daily life (home, school, work, etc.).”