Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for June 2018

June 13, 2018

June’s meeting was a discussion of the book The Anvil of the Spirit by Morris Taylor.

Book club members observed that overall, the book describes a way to revitalize Feast in Baha’i communities by encouraging members to try a variety of different approaches. They felt that the book was compelling, and saw it as having an impact in many ways. It offers a toolkit of ideas and methods to help with challenges in the community, personal lives, relationships, and at work. Many of the ideas emphasized the importance of relationships, and of specific tools such as listening, humor, building trust, and resolving conflict. Discussion participants felt that the ideas, methods, and techniques presented were applicable in their own lives as well as the Baha’i community at large.

Several members appreciated the author’s writing style, describing it as direct and clear. Following the observation that the two works by Shoghi Effendi cited by the author (The World Order of Baha’u’llah and The Advent of Divine Justice) were also referenced in one of the recent letters from the National Spiritual Assembly, there was a discussion of Shoghi Effendi’s writing style and how he used the English language by operating at the limits of what the language can offer to the writer.

By the end of the book, some readers felt connected to the characters and most agreed that the characters were true to life. Several participants read aloud sections of the book that impacted them individually. One section that was read aloud was on hurt feelings and how to look at things from a different perspective to get past them. Another was an excerpt of dialogue between characters having an extremely frank and honest conversation. The wide range of topics triggered by this book led to a discussion that was lively and insightful, and participants appeared to enjoy both the book itself and the group discussion.

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