Thursday, August 31, 2006

On Poetry Slammers: Baha'i Bumpershooter Anis Mojgani

It's the Bumpershoot arts festival this weekend in Seattle. Poetry-slammer Anis Mojgani is performing. According to his LiveJournal post, he is looking to be teaching at the high school level one day a week as an artist-in-residence in addition to continuing his performing. -gw

anis (mojgani) wrote,@ 2006-08-30 10:44:00

i decided to take the residency. it's more in line with what i should be doing in conjunction with the Faith. the House of Justice wants Baha'is to be focusing on youth particularly ages 12-14, and though the kids i'll be teaching will be high school, it's still more in line with what i need to be doing as a Baha'i. i should still be able to do shows though, as it's one day of teaching a week.
in other other news, i will be performing in seattle at bumbershoot on saturday (please visit and look under saturday the second under literary events to see my name in the lights)

anis mojgani, "for all you hatas out there: MICKEY DOLENZ is the man," I'm Here

Carl Hancock Rux, Anis Mojgani
Saturday, 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm @ Alki Room

Anis Mojgani is the 2005 National Poetry Slam Individual Champion. He heavily dislikes possums, has a degree in comic books, and is a member of the Baha'i Faith. A graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design, Anis has written and performed spoken word for nearly 10 years. He has shared spots on the NYC Urbana Poetry Slam team as well as the New Orleans team. A member of the 2006 Seattle team, Anis is also the current Seattle Grand Slam Champion.Anis has self-published four books of poetry, a one man show, and produced the spoken word album aeroplane. He lives in Portland, Oregon, in an art gallery called couch ( that he and his friends run together, where he is currently working on a book length poem combining both his poetry and his visual work, to be published by Mother Press Media (

Lineup and Complete Schedule, Bumpershoot 2006, Seattle Music and Arts Festival

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

On Wicked vs. Baha'i Reading Materials: Semi-inspiring me to be a better person

So Cody took lindzgoesboom69 to the Baha'i House of Worship and then bought her a book there. -gw
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, basis for the hit Broadway musical
The week Cody was here inspires me to be a better person. We went to the Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette and just basically stood in awe of it for a few hours on saturday. We also went to the book store and got some reading materials. He even got something for me and I definantly should be reading it instead of reading Wicked, but Wicked is so tempting, and is also semi inspiring me to be a better person.
I don't know what book he got her, but maybe it was The Heroic Female Spirit. -gw
The Heroic Female Spirit: A Collection of Talesby Phyllis Peterson
Softcover 204 pp. $14.00/$17.00 CAN, ISBN: 1-931847-29-0, EAN: 978-931847-28-2
In the tradition of Joseph Campbell, these stories employ many of the moral virtues found in every religion. The heroes in each tale strive to reshape and improve the world around them, showing the qualities of the heroic female spirit at work.Myths and legends have traditionally been the domain of men and boys. The gallant hero is almost always male. In The Heroic Female Spirit: A Collection of Tales, author, performer, and storyteller Phyllis Peterson shows women and girls at the center of each story-discovering their inner gifts, defying restrictive customs, and creating peace between seemingly implacable foes. These young women demonstrate that heroic qualities are not only the domain of young men and boys, but rather these qualities are within each of us, regardless of gender. Each tale shows a young woman making a difference by acting fearlessly to improve the world around her. The Heroic Female Spirit brings together enjoyable, inspiring stories that will appeal to people of all ages and will redefine the prototypical hero
Copyright © 2006 National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States.

On College Life: Having a constant attitude of egotistical nonchalance

Mona does a lot of catching up on her current post. One paragraph especially stands out, her characterization of what college life can be like, now that college students all over the country are returning to school for the fall. How can college life be spiritualized? -gw

Green Acre Baha'i School, BWNS
The sharp contrast I felt between the atmosphere of college and the atmosphere of Green Acre overwhelmed me at first. After adjusting, I realized the underlying cause of such a drastic "climate change." College was just so utterly irreverent. Nothing is sacred - the hearts of your fellow human beings, the bounty of life, the contemplation of spirituality...nothing. You're supposed to make fun of everything, have a constant attitude of egotistical nonchalance. Green Acre is exactly the opposite! The place itself is sacred, and the prevailing attitude is that of reverence and devotion, and above all, love.

mOna, "fetal embellishments yearn fervently for omniscience," Inblot: Interpret as you will

On Being Baha'i: it's more than a faith

From Wolfpack country, N.C. State University, comes this story. -gw

Being Baha'i: it's more than a faith

Technition Online

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

On War: What Has Humankind Learned?

Sites of on-going armed conflicts worldwide, Wikipedia

What have the people of the world learned from the recent war in Lebanon?

"If we had known that capturing the soldiers would have led to all of this, we wouldn't have done it," the leader of one side in the war said. The leader of the other side has expressed various regrets about the war, too.

It seems to me that each conflict or war has taught humanity something. Even negative experiences can have a positive result as humankind is nudged towards conclusions that no one had the courage to voice before a war. Little by little, humanity being nudged towards...what? Collective security, for one. During the time of the League of Nations, Shoghi Effendi wrote about the principle of collective security enunciated by Baha'u'llah. -gw

"This historic step, however, is but a faint glimmer in the darkness that envelops an agitated humanity. It may well prove to be no more than a mere flash, a fugitive gleam, in the midst of an ever-deepening confusion. The process of disintegration must inexorably continue, and its corrosive influence must penetrate deeper and deeper into the very core of a crumbling age. Much suffering will still be required ere the contending nations, creeds, classes and races of mankind are fused in the crucible of universal affliction, and are forged by the fires of a fierce ordeal into one organic commonwealth, one vast, unified, and harmoniously functioning system. Adversities unimaginably appalling, undreamed of crises and upheavals, war, famine, and pestilence, might well combine to engrave in the soul of an unheeding generation those truths and principles which it has disdained to recognize and follow. A paralysis more painful than any it has yet experienced must creep over and further afflict the fabric of a broken society ere it can be rebuilt and regenerated."

Shoghi Effendi, "Baha'u'llah's Principle of Collective Security," The World Order of Baha'u'llah

So, what are the many lessons the world has learned from the recent war in Lebanon? And what are the lessons to be learned from all of the other unresolved conflicts in the world?

Sites of armed conflicts worldwide
1964–present Colombian Armed Conflict (aka Colombian Civil War, Colombian Conflict)
1960s–present New People's Army insurgency and Islamic Insurgency in the Philippines
1983–present Sri Lankan civil war
1984–present Kurdish Separatist Insurgency, Turkey and Kurdistan
1984–present Free Papua Movement, Western New Guinea, Indonesia
1988–present Casamance Conflict in Senegal
1988–present Somali Civil War
1989-present Kashmir conflict
1993present Ethnic conflict in Nagaland, India
1996–present Nepal Civil War
1999–present Ituri Conflict (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
1999–present Second Chechen War (Russia)
2000–present al-Aqsa Intifada, in Israel and the Palestinian territories
2000–present Conflict in Laos involving the Hmong
2001–present United States war in Afghanistan
2001–present Civil War in Côte d'Ivoire
2001present South Thailand insurgency
2003–present Iraq War
2003–present Balochistan conflict, Pakistan
2004–present Waziristan War, Pakistan
2003–present Darfur conflict (Sudan)
Chadian-Sudanese conflict and the Second Chadian Civil War, extensions of the Darfur conflict
2005–present Western Sahara Independence Intifada
2006–present 2006 Israel-Lebanon crisis

"On-going wars," Wikipedia

Photos: Nepal (top), Darfur (middle), French soldiers in WW I (bottom)
From the 17 August 2006 letter of the world governing body of the Baha'i Faith:

To the Bahá’ís of the World
Dearly loved Friends,

By the grace of a merciful Providence, the month-long crisis that posed a grave danger
to life in this region, and a clear threat to the safety of the World Centre of our Faith, subsided
a few days ago. Our hearts reach out to the innocent victims on both sides of the fiery conflict
it entailed. Their relief from grief is the object of our ardent prayers.
The recent turbulence once again involving the Holy Land was only the latest among
the recurrent upheavals so characteristic of unsettled conditions that have long obtained in
the Middle East; it was only one among a mounting tide of world-shaking afflictions. To the
followers of the Blessed Beauty imbued with a world-healing vision of the Divine Plan in
its current phase, the disquiet intermittently affecting this Land of the Prophets may well be
regarded, beyond all other contexts, as a reminder of - indeed, a spur for - the efforts to be
made, the tasks urgently to be done. Press on then, undeterred by any trouble, confident of
the promised glory of the divinely assured outcome.
The Universal House of Justice

On Service to the Baha'i Cause: Joey in Bolivia

Colors and textures

Joey in Bolivia
Exquisite are his photos. His new blog is wonderfully chatty and detailed, giving the reader a sense of really being there with him. And who wouldn't want to, given the opportunities for service to the Cause there!

...this week was the anniversary week of the school where I am, jam packed with parent workshops and special presentations by students and organized by the teachers. It is interesting the way that the school attempts to engage the parents of the students both to share with them what they feel to be important pieces of advice to promote higher levels of learning among the children, and in order to learn what the parents have as suggestions too. I suppose it would work more or less like any PTA in the US, but because of the circumstances that people are living in here and because of the special interest the culture takes into the discussions, it seems a bit more interesting than a regular PTA meeting. To me at least.

... By the end of that day, when the performances in the courtyard turned into class soccer matches, I headed off to the nearby town that is about a 20 min car ride away (1 hour or so walk but the road is not so good). The Bahá'í in the community that I am living asked me to visit that town to assist them with the election of the Local Spiritual Assembly.

Joey, "Fun with Illnesses," Puka Llaqta

{Re-posted with permission}

On Fresh Produce from the Baha'i Gardens: Holy Pomegranates!

Looking like a still-life painting, the pomegranates pictured on Natascha and John 's blog The Pilgrim Notes provide an image of instant comfort. -gw

A few days ago at our local superette at the World Centre, we were able to get some pomegranates from the Baha'i Gardens. Holy Pomegranate! No...not really, just simple, nice fruits that grow on the trees in the Gardens! I like this idea of being able to get these fruits in the superette. They look nice on the trees but we might as well eat them! Why waste them?

There were also some avocados some time ago but I don't have any photos of them. They were as tasty as the pomegranates!

John and Natascha, "Holy Pomegranates!" The Pilgrim Notes

{Re-posted with permission}

Monday, August 28, 2006

On Blog Updates: Precious Monday Miscellaneous

In a very moving post, Dawn Marie or "Cuspie" of Random Expressions attends her first Baha'i function in seven years, as she had indicated she would in the excerpt featured the other day here.
Ashley or "melodicharmony" of oh, look at how she listens shares her thoughts about the family whose tragedy introduced her to the Baha'i Faith now that her summer job is coming to an end and it's time to go back to school.
Bilo provides incredible detail on the latest attacks on the Faith in the latest entries on his blog Baha'i Faith in Egypt.

Friday, August 25, 2006

On Arguments from Kindergarten: Would God send a last Prophet and then leave us forever

Here is an article read by many that calls attention to the treatment of Baha'is in Iran. Here is a wonderful response to the article. Farshid's conclusion is below. -gw

What I find amusing though is, for the lack of a better word, the childish nature of these institutions and clergy to prove that their Prophet was the best one or the most powerful one and that he was the very last one. Reminds me of arguments I would have in kindergarden about how my dad is stronger than others. Does any parent set a date on which they tell their child, this is the last advice I am giving you and this is the very last day I will care for you? No! So why would God do that to mankind by sending a last Prophet and then leave us forever.

Farshid Sedghi, "Brutilization of the Baha'is in Iran and the Failure of Past Religions," .farshid sedghi.

On Sense of Community: There wasn't a day we didn't convene in one way or another

Becoming a Baha'i is ultimately between the believer and God, but faith does not grow very well in isolation. Communing with one's fellow-believers is a special bounty for the individual Baha'i that not everyone partakes of. Sooner or later there is that need to connect. That blogging provides connection but not like face-to-face contact, is a subject I have touched upon more than once on this blog. In the entry below Dawn Marie describes the steps she is taking to connect with her new local community after having experienced years of sustenance in her old one. -gw

I am going to a Baha'i function first one since 1999. They call it a Teaching Dinner which will consist of a 20 minute discussion about the journey of the soul followed by food and socialization. I'm nervous and excited at the same time. From 1994-1999 I was a member of an extremely small Baha'i community in Council Bluffs, Iowa (I made the 9th person) and we were all a very tight family. There wasn't a day where we didn't convene in one way or another. When I moved to Florida, I distanced myself from the community because I was afraid. Afraid that the new Baha'is around me would be nothing like my Iowa friends. It has taken me this long to muster up the courage to meet other Baha'is.

A week and a half ago I was emotionally miserable and burdened with stresses of life and I suddenly realized that I didn't have that Baha'i light anymore. I felt dead inside and desperate to say prayers in a group with other Baha'is. I immediately wrote an email to one of the local members that I had a brief lunch with 2 years ago. I told her how desperate I was and that is when she told me about the Teaching Dinner. She also said that she, and perhaps some other members, would be happy to come over and say some prayers with me in the meantime.

Dawn Marie, "Baha'i," Random Expressions

Here's a photo of one of the last gatherings I attended in Iowa. This was at John and Priscilla's house before they went to China to teach. There are local, isolated and out of town Baha'is in this photo

{Re-posted with permission}

On Trouble and Suffering: Unless the ground is first ploughed up...

Mary Elizabeth posted this excerpt from the Baha'i Writings on her blog The Restoration of Me, a "blog is about all of the mistakes that I made that ruined my life AND what I am doing to clean things up." - gw
" Unless the ground is first ploughed up..."
All the Beloved of the Lord will have great trouble, but unless we suffer, we will not be fitted to receive the Powers and Gifts of God. At the time of Christ and soon after His death, those who taught the doctrine and spread the Light, were persecuted in every way, but those witnesses received great spiritual gifts which those coming after did not receive. Unless the ground is first ploughed up, it is not able to receive the seeds and bear fruit. The tree spends all its powers in growing, in trying to become taller and greater, and when the rain beats upon its leaves, it becomes all the fresher, greener and stronger.

Here are the first 18 of "100 Interesting Things about Me (100% Complete)" Mary Elizabeth includes on her Profile.

1. I believe that God is loving, caring God.
2. Seeker of life and love.
3. My kids are the best thing that ever happened to me!!!
4. I was blessed to be able to breastfeed each one of my children.
5. I have the best family & I love them!
6. My mum is 88 years old and my #1 fan.
7. I was my father's only child and he treated me like a princess.
8. I had two sets of parents:birth parents and aunt/uncle who 'adopted' me!!!
9. My friends mean the world to me.
10. I'm loving and liking myself more and more each day.
11. I love to laugh and when I laugh real hard I snort (yup, just like a pig).
12. I'm not a brave person but I do have brave moments!!!
13. I'm a bit naive at times.
14. I don't mind, actually prefer, wearing rose colored glasses.
15. However, as I get older I'm learning how to be more rational.
16. I'm a laid back, easy going person.
17. I'm a born optimist.
18. I'm a member of the Bahai Faith.

Go to her profile and read the whole list...

{Re-posted with permission}

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

On the Millenium Debate: In Shi'a Islam and Protestant Christianity

Calligraphy with the 12th Imam's name "Ya Aba Salih, al-Mahdi"
Reading "Scary Theory" on I Like Your Sleeves, then going to some of the links the blogger and provided regarding Hojjatieh, I am reminded that Islam as practiced today, like Christianity, is not monolithic in its beliefs. There are, for example, differences of opinion in Shi'a Islam over the return of the 12th Imam in a discussion that paralells a similar discussion in Christianity over the return of Christ. Baha'is believe that Christ has returned with the coming of Baha'u'llah. For Christians the debate is as follows:

The Millenium Debate
* Raptured Before the Reign (Premillenial View)
* Working Toward and Waiting for a Coming Reign of Peace (Postmillenial View)
* The Symbolic Thousand-Year Conquest of Satan (Amillenial View)

Administrator, "Proposed topics for threads - Religious Education"

Hojjatieh followers, according to the Wikipedia, believe that "chaos must be created to hasten the return of the Mahdi, the 12th Shi'ite Imam. Only then, they argue, can a genuine Islamic republic be established."

It doesn't take much to bring on chaos in today's world. In fact, the world has been in the grip of chaotic conditions for a long, long time. Misguided attempts to bring order to the world by conciously wrecking havoc causes further unnecessary suffering for humankind, given that more than a century and a half ago God sent us the Bab, the return of the 12th Imam, and Baha'u'llah, to Shi'a Islam the the return of the Imam Husayn and to Sunni Islam the descent of the "Spirit of God" (Jesus Christ). The construction of the Kingdom of God on earth is well underway. The links regarding Hojjatieh are below. -gw


When you look at these letters, what sentence do you construct?

God is no where.
God is now here.

The Bahá'í belief in one God means that the universe and all creatures and forces within it have been created by a single supernatural Being. This Being, Whom we call God, has absolute control over His creation (omnipotence) as well as perfect and complete knowledge of it (omniscience). More >

*GODISNOWHERE is the website of a Christian ministry.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

On Love: It's Pursuit in Material Culture As a Cure for Lack of Meaning

Psalm of the Platapus, the rather meandering musings of Mae, aka Siberianveggies, poses some questions for her readers to ponder about love in the excerpt below. Got any thoughts, pop on over there. -gw

August 22, 2006 by Chino's Art, some rights reserved
Wherefore, wed Thou in the heaven of Thy mercy these two birds of the nest of Thy love, and make them the means of attracting perpetual grace. —‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Prayers: A Selection of Prayers Revealed by Bahá’u’lláh, the Báb, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 107.
Speaking of love, i've been thinking about it a lot lately, the man and woman kind. Any thoughts on what love means to you, or society? How love should be pursued? The Baha'i writings say love must come with detachment, so we can examine our partner's traits (and our own) objectively to decide our suitability for marriage. By contrast, it seems that secular material culture sees love as the ultimate form of attachment, and the final cure for lack of meaning and any other problem for that matter. It's almost like a replacement for religion in some ways. Thoughts?
Mae (siberianveggies) wrote, @ 2006-08-21 10:48:00, LiveJournal

On Teaching Baha'i Children's Classes: Hannah Bahiyyih is Outstanding on the Standing Rock

HannahBahiyyih (love the name!) of Hannahxhannah is beginning a two year commitment serving on the Standing Rock Reservation, South Dakota USA. -gw

Every Sunday the Baha'i community of McLaughlin hosts regular children's classes with three age levels of some 18 kids. I got to be with the 5-6 year olds this time and learn about truthfullness.This week I will begin to visit the children, and with permission from their parents, conduct smaller chilrens classes in or around their homes. Having a children's class in the home of the children gives me a chance to work with each child one on one to learn about their specific needs while at the same time meeting their parents and giving their parnets a chance to get involved with the classes. The class will consist of a simple 15- min art project with a lesson about a virtue. If at any time the children loose intrest I will not push them to finish, but continue to spend time with them, playing and talking.

HannahBahiyyih, "Children's Classes," Hannahxhannah
Standing Rock Sioux Reservation
Tribal Headquarters: Fort Yates, ND
Number of enrolled members: 10,859
Reservation Population: 6,171
Total Area: 2,300,000 Acres

On A Pagan's View of Syncretism: Bah humbug to amorphous spamtheism

Baha'is believe that all religions are in essence one. The Baha'i Faith is not a syncretic religion. It was not created by some committee that borrowed from here and there. It is a religion revealed by Baha'u'llah who taught that God is one. To Baha'is the God of the Christians the same as the God of the Buddhists. (Buddhists believe in God, you may ask? Yes, the God concept is part of Buddhism, too, a good subject for another post.)

Including a brief mention of the Baha'i Faith, here is a discussion by a Pagan that rejects the "amorphous spamtheism that bedevils modern Paganism." (Isn't that a great line?) "The Gods are not interchangeable, and magical systems do not all harmonise with each other," the writer asserts. Indeed, different traditions don't mix. Traditions are humankind's creation. But God has always been God, and we are God's creation. God is one. -gw

Another factor at play may be the shoplifting instinct. Christianity, that most light-fingered of religions, claims to build upon the ground work of Judaism. Islam later claimed ownership of both Abraham and Jesus, adding to the list their own prophet. The Baha'is in their turn claim the previous three mystics as their own and add on a new prophet in the form of Baha'u'llah. The Mormon prophet Joseph Smith tried desperately to work Biblical figures in to the history of America, to make it into the Promised Land. The British Israelites likewise created fantasies tying up British history with the Thirteenth Tribe of Israel. Many religions take a magpie approach, grabbing anything shiny and attractive from other creeds to add to their own hoard. Modern Pagans are no different. Why settle for just druidism, or just Greek Gods, when you can grab a handful of everything and throw it into the cauldron? I am not suggesting we have to be ultra-purists, but I would prefer that those who do borrow ideas from other cultures do so with a deep knowledge and understanding of what they are taking ~ ensuring that it fits well with what they already have. Half-arsed attempts at cobbling together conflicting ideas and skills only results in Frankenstein-style disasters. The Gods are not interchangeable, and magical systems do not all harmonise with each other ~ the sooner we get away from the amorphous spamtheism that bedevils modern Paganism the better. Bah! Humbug!

Old Dotty Clutteredbucket, "The Supernatural Swapshop," in Fallen Faeries make good friends: home of the green

Monday, August 21, 2006

On School Starting and Interfaith Services: If my floor mates don't stop having drinking parties, I'm going to kill them

School has started for some, as Abby, 18, is living proof. -gw

They keep us uber busy, trying to make us absorb as much info as possible. Ooh! I went to an interfaith service this morning, it was very cool, Muslim, Bahai, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, everything. I'm off to make a few late night phone calls. I love you all. And if my floor mates in the triple down the hall don't stop having drinking party's every night, I'm going to kill them.

Abby, "FYI and Butchnell -Maze of Magic,"L.O.V.E.

On God's Religion: Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Jain, Animist, Baha'i, Sihk, or Christian?

What religion is God? Kevin Beck asks on Transmillennial.

Here are A Servant's Thoughts on the matter.

What are yours?

On E-Trends and B-Trends: Area Woman Visits Wilmette HOW

Area Woman of Area Woman Falls Prey to Narcissistic E-Trend visited the Baha'i House of Worship, posted a great close-up to it on her blog, and gave me permission to re-post it here. -gw

Lindsay, who alludes to being narcissist (but don't believe her), is an accomplished blogger who can show blogging newcomers a thing or two. Check out the bells and whistles and the breezy tone.

But Lindsay's real claim to fame, it can be argued, is that she, like Ginger, is a Teach for America teacher, working in Texas close to the Mexican border. Before doing that she hung out in places like Middlebury, Vermont, and St Petersberg, Russia, but she grew up in Northern Wisconsin, so she loves pine, she writes in her profile. (What are the chances she knew Ginger who grew up in Upper Peninsula, Michigan, and who loves trillium.)

Area Woman is a "something bordering on a universalist" Catholic, as she explains in comments to this post. From Wikipedia:

Universalists are those who believe God to be so loving that all will be reconciled to God. ...The doctrine can be traced to the earliest centuries of Church history, and was taught by both Origen and St. Gregory of Nyssa.

A loving God is the subject of this prayer by the Bab.

O God our Lord! Protect us through Thy grace from whatsoever may be repugnant unto Thee, and vouchsafe unto us that which well beseemeth Thee. Give us more out of Thy bounty, and bless us. Pardon us for the things we have done, and wash away our sins, and forgive us with Thy gracious forgiveness. Verily, Thou art the Most Exalted, the Self-Subsisting.

Thy loving providence hath encompassed all created things in the heavens and on the earth, and Thy forgiveness hath surpassed the whole creation. Thine is sovereignty; in Thy hand are the Kingdoms of Creation and Revelation; in Thy right hand Thou holdest all created things, and within Thy grasp are the assigned measures of forgiveness. Thou forgivest whomsoever among Thy servants Thou pleasest. Verily, Thou art the Ever-Forgiving, the All-Loving. Nothing whatsoever escapeth Thy knowledge, and naught is there which is hidden from Thee.

O God our Lord! Protect us through the potency of Thy might, enable us to enter Thy wondrous surging ocean, and grant us that which well befitteth Thee.

Thou art the Sovereign Ruler, the Mighty Doer, the Exalted, the All-Loving.

The Báb, "O God our Lord! Protect us through Thy grace...," Bahá’í Prayers: A Selection of Prayers Revealed by Bahá’u’lláh, the Báb, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Friday, August 18, 2006

On Reading the Encyclopedia: I'm on page 102, Baha'i

Clicking "add to favorites" happens a lot around here. Checking some favorites I'd forgotten about, I came across the following... -gw

More Evidence That I'm A Geek!

I am now reading an encyclopedia. Yep, that's right. I'm the ultimate in geekiness.
It's a 4-volume encyclopedia of religion, and you could check it out at the library, so I figured what the heck! I'm on page 102 of the 1st volume, Baha'i.
Ok, go ahead and laugh at me!

Heron By The Sea, Saturday July 8, 2006 - 12:21am, Yahoo 360

Profile Information
About Me:
I am a religious studies major. I love studying all things religious! I love learning from every religion, but my personal faith is Hinduism.

On the Metaphor of the Bridge: Between Mind and Heart

A big bridge is being built in my town, which brings up for me the metaphor of the bridge, useful in relating many aspects of the Baha'i Faith, as in these brief comments made at conference in Cambridge, Mass., last year, noted in a Baha'i World News Service article. -gw
Mr. Martin likened the process, in which small groups of individuals gather informally to pray and study the Baha'i teachings, to the building of a bridge across a chasm. As more people engage in the process, the bridge is slowly built and the separation that humanity has always made between the mind and the heart gradually disappears.

On Border Crossings: Silly invisible line, isn't it!

From Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, comes the blogger Holy Mariner. Here is a pic, a cutline, and his "About Me." -gw

This one is taken in Bhutan in January 1999. We had gone on a teaching trip right after the Vision 2000 conference. We are holding hands over the India-Bhutan border. Ajay and Fairy are in Bhutan, Sahar and I are in India. Isn't that awesome? An invisible line, that's all! And yet nations go to war for that invisible line! Silly, isn't it? :-)

The Holy Mariner, "Border Crossing," Galaxy Guide

About Me: Where can one begin? Born in the Land of Ta, grew up in a little town in the mountains of Iringa, Tanzania. Spent childhood and early teens exploring the wilds of Africa. Went to the Land of the Indus Valley for college, did electronics engineering and computer multimedia. City called Nagpur -- lovely but HOT in the summers! Traveled most of the length and breadth of India in early adulthood on various Baha'i projects and with a choir and performing arts group. Best days of my life! :-) Returned to Iringa, Tanzania in 2003, taught primary and secondary level mathematics, computer skills, music and sports. That was super in itself -- I love working with children especially! Fresh, young, innocent minds, free from selfishness, motive, prejudice and greed, vices that afflict so many "adults" in these modern materialistic days. Now in Dar es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania, working with a business machines company in Customer Care.

{Reprinted with permission}

Thursday, August 17, 2006

On the Glockenspiel and the Temple: If there is a God, I think I want to become a Baha'i

This blogger has kindly given me permission to re-post but has asked that I not give his screen-name or link to his site. - gw

I just had the most interesting experience. So for those of you who don't know, the North American Baha'i temple (like the only one that exists in North America out of the 8 in the world) is about a 10 minute bike-ride north from where I live right now.

So I had gotten home from the beach with Monica and I wanted to take a bike ride. A month or so ago, when I was still really torn up over Maggie, I did this where I just chose a cardinal direction (that time Northwest) and biked. That day turned out to be cool - I found a cute little music shop and bought a glockenspiel and playing it gave me an odd sense of calmness. So today I chose to go North and just see what happened. I tried to go North on Maple but it ended really quick. Then I tried to go North on Sherman but it hit a T intersection I was funnelled over to Sheridan. I just rode Sheridan up and up and suddenly I was in Wilmette and even more suddenly this HUGE temple thing was right in front of me. I knew the Baha'i temple was nearby but I never had gone to see it. I parked my bike, walked over to the garden and I swear it was like suddenly I was standing outside the Taj Mahal or was ridiculously beautiful and Grand.

So I walk around it a bit and I see a little entrance down into the basement so I go down and check it out...and there's a woman in there talking to another woman and she's about to show her a video. She turns to me and is like "hello do you want to see the video too?" And I say yes. So we go into this theatre and I sit down and watch an introductory video on the Baha'i.

Uploaded on June 18, 2006by wallyg
I was amazed. I didn't know anything at all about the Baha'i religion...I figured it was just some totally cracked out Indian thing or something. But turns out that Baha'i basically just takes all of the other prophets that have come, stirs them in a pot and out comes love, family, community, togetherness and faith. The Baha'i belief is that throughout time, the one true God that we all have sends his prophet who takes on different forms given the era they are sent in: Abraham, Krishna, Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Zoroaster, Mohammad are all actually the same being that God sends down from time to time to preach love and acceptance. Furthermore, there are two additional people, The Bab and Baha'u'llah. The Bab basically was a dude who was like "someone really freakin' awesome is gonna come and make everything amazing." And then Baha'u'llah was that guy who came and said what I just said in this paragraph and tried to make everything amazing.

And...I dunno it totally just sounds so right and awesome to me. And so here I was having set off to just bike North, and suddenly I was in this theatre/museum thing reading and learning all about the Baha'i religion and loving it. So I was wondering around reading all the things about the Baha'i faith and it sounded great so I asked the woman who showed me the video if there were any meetings I could go to if I wanted and she introduced me to this girl who looked like...just a totally normal girl about my age etc. Turns out she just graduated from Wesleyan and is here working as an assistant at the temple and is Baha'i. Furthermore, and this is when this day started to take on creepy levels of interestingness, she lives at xx17 Garnett (my address? xx16 Garnett), and she was leaving to bike back home. So I biked home with her and we talked a bit about the religion, how she got into it (her parents were Baha'i, and her dad's college roomate was Baha'i). And she said they have a gospel music director who's awesome, and that she'd let me know when they are doing any sort of group activities or when services were going on.
I actually will probably try to go, I think. I think that, if I do in fact believe in God, that I would be Baha'i, it really just felt like...SO right to me and made so much sense. My only issue is deciding whether or not I believe that there is that one God who really did send those prophets..because I'm torn between thinking that now or thinking that God is really still just a human construct that we created so we all had some common ground we could use to interact with each other, foster communities and friendships. (God = facebook.)

But if I do decide for certain at any point that God is in fact real, I will almost certainly become Baha'i. What an amazingly different day today was.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

On Baha'i Marriage: Partners in Spirit

From Heather Cardin whose blog was previously featured here is this announcement:

you may now pre-order my upcoming book through Barnes & Noble ( if you are interested. You can look under religion or just put my name in as your search parameter (full name Heather Cardin). The book is also listed under "Marriage". The book is actually for release in October 2006 but is available currently for online orders at a slight discount. It is being released by Baha'i Publishing (Chicago) and the full title is Partners in Spirit: What Couples Say About Marriages That Work. The book is also available through as an upcoming order under "Baha'i". In the fall, you will be able to order it through the Baha'i Publishing website, as well (

On the Possibility of Getting Detention for the Wrong Answer: Current Religious Dilemmas

Here are some more rather arresting blog-fragments, these from Fred's Adventures in Mundanity, commentary that provides a glimpse of the kind of contrasting, even conflicting, religious attitudes characteristic of the world we live in, a world in dramatic transition. Fred goes to school in Lampeter, Wales. -gw

Life is pretty full. I have the role of lead female in a Greek comedy called Lysistrata so I have lines to learn. There are RPGs. Jimbo is often awake for late night conversations and the library is open always. I'm reading The Kitáb-i-Aqdas and the first volume of the Davva-Samgaha. I also read a small bit of the Qu'ran but its long and the words are too hard. And frankly, Islam hardly has the same influence in the world as Baha'i and Jainism.
Just recently, I do not feel that I have been living up to my fullest potential. The school trip went well for the most part three former teachers decided to interrogate me about my religious beliefs in some Cathedral somewhere. They all made it out alive, but they were all apalled and came to the conclusion that I was demonically posessed. Still, the kids liked me and it was an experience. More importantly, it was an easy way to make twenty pounds, which is money I need.

That school has a Muslim kid right now who is being reminded that he should pray to Jesus several times throughout the school day. I doubt he'll survive there. Non-Christians never do. The teachers still invoke the authority of Jesus at every opportunity. "Jesus wouldn't like you standing up on the train." "Jesus has placed me in authority over you, so you should do what I tell you."

I'm going to try and get my hands on one of their "Spiritual Self-Assesment Forms." The idea of them is that you quantify your personal relationship with God by writing down how often you go to youth clubs, read the Bible, etc. The results are handed into the teacher, marked and (if its anything like it was when I was there) you can probably get a detention for giving the wrong answer.

Fred Smith, entries of 8/16/06 and 7/16/06, Fred's Adventures In Mundanity, Tales of Wales' Worst Magician

On Christ, Son of God: A Baha'i View

Here is my favorite blog fragment so far this morning. -gw

seven minus seven (sevenminusseven) wrote,@ 2006-08-16 07:57:00
my co-worker is trying to set me up with her cousin, but i don't think that's such a good idea because he's going to think i'm weird. i talked to him on the phone last night and i tried to explain to him about baha'i (because he asked if i went to church) and all he said was "but you all believe that jesus christ is the son of god, right?" i couldn't even get through that barrier... and so early on. oh well.
A seeker asks:
Do bahai's believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?

A Baha'i answered:
Jesus existed from the beginning that has no beginning. His relationship to the Father did not come into being when He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of His mother, Mary. He was the Son of God from the beginning, and His Sonship is not dependent on His having been miraculously conceived. This spiritual relationship to the Father, which you call being God's "only-begotten Son," Baha'is call His being "manifested" by God. It is a relationship entirely unlike that of the relationship between human beings and God.
We believe in the virgin birth of Christ, but do not believe that is what makes Him the Son of God. His being the Son of God is entirely a spiritual fact. We believe it is blasphemous to say that God conceived a son, though we believe that Christ had no human father.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

On Salsa Dancing In Tokyo: Adalia with the Brothas and Sistas

Adalia of Be Brave and of Good Courage, featured several times previously on Baha'i Views, has some fun shots of her visit to Tokyo. Check out her "brothas" at the salsa competion. "Salsa dancing allows me to meet some pretty cool people," she writes. Salsa dancing in Tokyo. Of course! -gw

My brotha from the same motha, Vahid. He is 3 years younger than me. He has a twin brotha, Ruhi who is in Chicago. We also have another brotha, Badi who is working on a cruise line somewhere in the vast ocean and we have a sister Ruhiyyih...she is a mad crazy salesperson at Circuit City.

On the first night in Tokyo Layli took me to an event put on by Baha'is. It was a social and I was able to meet some wonderful women. May, the beautiful woman to the far left, and I connected easily. Layli is between May and I and she is one of my closest friends since high school. The woman on my right is from Korea and I cannot remember her name. She will be starting Ruhi Book 1 soon. She became interested as a result of hearing my Baha'i friends and I talking about it. Pretty cool...YEAH!!!

Adalia, "Out with the Brothas" and "Tokyo just the beginning more to come," Be Brave and Of Good Courage

{Re-posted with permission}

Monday, August 14, 2006

On Remembering Mana: Ashley Discovers the Power of the Human Heart

Uploaded on July 7, 2005
I have made death a messenger of joy to thee. Wherefore dost thou grieve? I made the light to shed on thee its splendour. Why dost thou veil thyself ... -- The Baha'i Writings

The death of a young person is so unexpected. Ashley has kindly permitted me to draw from her LiveJournal entries that tell of the deep impact the death of an Iranian Baha'i co-worker had upon her. -gw

Ashley (melodicharmony) wrote @ 2006-08-13 16:42:00
...after work, I did some research trying to figure out what... they were saying in the funeral prayers yesterday. And finally I figured out that they weren't of the Islam faith. They are Baha'is. I became more and more understanding of why they are refugees. Baha'is have been persecuted and killed in Iran for years, executed under false charges, not allowed to attend universities or hold office. And it's gotten worse just in the past decade. No wonder they got out. It made me so sad and so insanely angry at the same time.

Especially because I'm realizing more and more that this family, they really actually followed their faith, in the sense that they all had really good hearts. It's so rare to actually know REALLY good people. You know? Everyone has a trick up their sleeve- I have a thousand. But these people are just really good people, all of them.

I'm sort of hoping I can talk to Hooman about it tomorrow. I think I'm going to write it down and ask him how to pronounce it and explain how I found it and maybe he'll elaborate without me getting all intrusive. It's difficult to explain why I'm so fascinated. I guess it's because I find myself strangely tied, emotionally wrapped up in this family. Even before Mana died I was really wrapped up in them. I didn't want to leave them because I guess I sort of felt like I was home around them. That is very, very difficult to explain, considering how much I fight with my boss and how little I say to him most of the time. A part of me thinks, and in reality hopes, that it's at least sort of a mutual feeling. Every time I remember Hooman standing across that room calling my name, I think that it's possible I've become important to the family, but I wish I could actually be with them, eat dinner with them, learn their customs, try to understand them, see the father in the hospital, I don't know why, this is all so insane, I don't even know these people, I'm just employed to them.

But that's just how I feel. I don't know how I'm going to leave them, and I have no excuse to send cards, they don't celebrate Christmas, and I want to keep in touch, but I fear that I won't be able to, and these incredible people, Hooman, his wife, his sister, Farhod, the father, everyone, will just be gone from my life, and I don't know when I'll ever be able to come across a pure heart like that again. Everything is corrupt, including myself, and strangely I desire more than anything to surround myself in something good.

The impact Mana and her family had on Ashley is described in the following post. -gw

Ashley (melodicharmony) wrote,@ 2006-08-08 19:28:00
Anyone who knows me probably knows that death is my greatest fear. So hopefully everyone will be understanding over the next couple weeks as I am dealing with a shocking death.I'm going through this third entry today to let everyone know in advance what's going on so that if I act irrational or don't answer phone calls or anything like that, you'll know why. Our headwaitress, Mana, who has become a good friend of mine this summer, died suddenly this morning. She was on her way to work at about 4:30 AM and her car lost control for reasons unknown, striking a tree, launching her from the car, killing her. She is the sister of the manager and the owner at this family run restaurant. The father, our former dishwasher, is in serious condition for other medical reasons, so my boss is dealing with an overload of emotional strife, but has decided to keep the restaurant open.

Accordingly, I'll be taking most or all of Mana's hours, which means I'll often be opening the restaurant and working seven days a week until I go back to school. Tomorrow I'll be there bright and early, trying to hold a smile as I deliver the news countless times over to each of her regulars.As for me, maybe this will sink in tomorrow, maybe the next day. I'm still in shock, and I slept the majority of the day. My boss sounds like he has been crying for hours. We're all in a sort of death-lull, trying to make this real... or make it a dream.
May 9, 2006 by fouramjava
All I will say in regards to Mana is that... she was the type of girl that you meet and immediately know has a pure heart. She was nieve, optimistic, had an amazing sense of humor, and her whole life ahead of her. She had just finished high school and was going to be heading to college this fall. We were very close, the two of us, and worked together incredibly well, and between all our joking we kept the customers constantly smiling. The last side joke we had is that we love to hate each other and love to love each other. The last time I saw her she had come into work just to visit, she was all dressed up, and she gave me a big smile. I'll miss her, and I'll grieve over this death more than others, because it is quite possibly the most unfair and tragic death I'll ever have to deal with.

There will probably be many more entries in this somber tone written over the next few days or weeks as I come to terms with all of this. But for now, the most I can do is set my alarm clock for 4, and go back to bed, with my hand grasping my wrist, counting each heart beat until I fall asleep.

Here are Ashley's conclusion about how attending the Baha'i funeral for Mana affected her. -gw

Today I discovered the power of the human heart, what it can do to the body, to the mind, and I never want to forget it, just as I never want to forget Mana. May she rest in peace.

Ashley (melodicharmony), oh, · look · at · how · she · listens, LiveJournal

{Re-posted with permission}

Windham teen killed in one-car accidentMana Yazdanpanah lost control of her 2001 Daewoo while driving east on Route 115 around 4:30 am, according to Windham police. The car crossed the center - 30k Portland Press Herald NewsWindham teen killed in one-car accident Mana Yazdanpanah was on her way to work when she lost control of her car. Staff photo by Jack Milton - 36k

Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram ObituariesYAZDANPANAH, MANA - 17, of Windham, in Windham, Aug. 8, 2006. Graveside service 4 pm, Saturday, Aug. 12, at Arlington Cemetery, Route 302 in North Windham.