The following article was printed in the Subud Bulletin, September 2002
About information, advertising and new members
I'd like to share a few thoughts and observations with you after BIG 2002 (if you don't know me, look at last Bulletin's blue Sica page): I came to this gathering convinced, that there would be a working group on the area how to enable the people who are ready to find Subud. When the international helpers organised to split up into thematic groups, I choose "members". I finally found myself alone in the meeting room - later 3 helpers popped in, 2 of them left, when they noticed that there was not much interest. This empty room made me wonder why not more Subud people are interested in members; it seems to reflect the fact, that the numbers of new members joining are stagnating - and nobody cares.
Why is this so? It may well have to do with the attitude of Subud members. I remember someone in Cambridge told me, that several years ago she asked what Subud was about and was given the answer: "we are not allowed to talk about Subud".
I'd like to clarify two things:
Advertising is using leaflets, posters, TV or radio ads, Internet banners and throwing them at the broad mass, whether they are interested or not, e.g.: handing out leaflets on a market place, ads in the local newspaper; it is rather loud, invasive and aggressive.
Information is providing information about Subud in places, where spiritual seekers are likely to search: the local library, book shops, body, mind spirit fairs and Internet listings on spiritual and religious pages - they have to pick up the information themselves; it is rather quiet and not intrusive.
I assume, that we all agree we don't want to advertise Subud - and we all agree we want to provide information about Subud. We are not a secret order or strange sect which needs to hide. Think of the spiritual seekers out there, who are ready for Subud: it is our job to provide the information so they can find it! Leaving all work for God to do seems to be more of an excuse for laziness - we need to make the first step.
I am very much looking forward to receiving a well designed basic information leaflet about Subud, which is suitable to be placed in the places mentioned under 'information' above, and I wish the future information officer a good hand and inspiration to do this job, which is long overdue!