by JoAnn Borovicka, May 2016
The book "Light of the Kingdom: Biblical Topics in the Bahá’í Writings" originated in the Bahá’í Bible Study project - a series of workshops initiated in the year 2000 in response to requests from several Bahá’ís and friends of the Faith in South Carolina who wanted to improve their ability to engage in uplifting religious dialogue with their Christian family and friends.
I was approached to design a participatory dialogue-based workshop to this end for three reasons: I am a Bahá’í with a strong Christian education background, at the time I was engaged in an intense study of Bahá’u’lláh’s Tablet to the Christians (Lawh-i-Aqdas), and professionally my specialty is dialogue-based workshop design and evaluation. I agreed to create and facilitate a 4-hour participatory workshop on certain topics of great interest to the friends, particularly Bahá’í teachings on baptism, the Resurrection of Christ, antichrist, and Satan.
The first workshop was held in Lydia, South Carolina. We had a lively session with many joyful tears and insightful moments. Numerous weekend workshops followed as well as weekly Bahá’í Sunday School classes. Over a few years the original 4-hour workshop evolved into a series of thirty-four 60 minute workshops organized in a three-part series: "The Nature of the Bible," "The Image of God," and "Evil Concerns" -— all molded by the needs and interests of the workshop participants (see "Bahá'í Bible Study Series").
For me, part of the joy of facilitating these workshops was being privileged to hear all the questions that arose in response to the Bahá’í and Bible Scriptures. "Questions" (Masá'il) have a special place in the Bahá’í Faith where the word is a name and attribute of God as well as the name of one of the months in the Bahá’í calendar. From the year 2000 I collected questions from these workshop conversations and eventually assembled them —- with brief responses from the Bahá’í Writings -— in one resource volume which is the recently published book entitled "Light of the Kingdom: Biblical Topics in the Bahá’í Writings."