Hi MKR [In response to something he wrote on Theos-talk, July 19th 2010],
> In the recent world Congress, I thought the leaders from the Sections will
> have an informal or formal session addressing the membership growth issue. I
> am disappointed that there was none and are we to take it that Section
> leaders do not consider membership growth as a priority issue or is it
> possible the issue is too hot for anyone to touch it.
I share your disappointment, and would like to add that it’s due to Radha Burnier being unwilling to schedule any extra sessions. I know for a fact that at least one general secretary tried to organize such a meeting. The same person also tried doing conflict resolution during the General Council meeting 18 months ago BTW (with the same result: Radha Burnier being unwilling to even try).
Radha’s formalism and unwillingness to openly discuss issues is one of the causes of the lack of real discussion during the world congress.
However, of course people did informally discuss things. Some of the workshops were even actual workshops. It’s just that more would have been possible.
The one lecture that DID discuss the issues on how to move the TS forward was by Vicente Hao Chin – the general secretary of the Philippine section. He certainly knows how to make things happen, as his TOS record clearly shows. I’d personally love to see him run for president next election. He talked PR, Internet and how we’re perceived in the world. And for those who think he’s not ‘theosophical’ enough: he edited the chronological edition of the Mahatma Letters and the classic theosophy CD-ROM. I’ve personally admired his ‘Theosophical Digest’ for ages.
Vic was also the only person to interrogate me on how to do online work – I know many wanted me to have a talk with Radha on the internet, but despite me offering to talk with her: that didn’t happen.
Vic is setting up a page on the Philippine section site with how-to’s on TS work and would welcome any-body’s contribution. He’s a clear example of the fact that we really don’t need Radha to change things. We can go ‘bottom-up’. Let’s face it: our sections are independent, so are most of our lodges. Who needs Radha? More transparency on her side would help, but for most work around the world she’s irrelevant.
Some of the best TS work is done through the TOS. I think members need to stop looking at the TOS with suspicion and recognize it’s the one area of TS work that has grown in the past decade. It’s also work with a long history: Olcott started the service work (healing, setting up schools) that we now call ‘TOS’ work.
The TOS is also the one place I’ve heard of in the TS where there is a sense of knowing how to deal with volunteers.
This is a bit of a rambling post – I’m posting it here because I also posted it at theos-talk and am not sure it will stay in the archives there.