Thursday, September 28, 2006

On Baha'i Feast: Cornerstone of Baha'i Community Life

"The beautiful Baha'is of Hays, Kansas, at the Feast of Azamat,"
uploaded on May 18, 2006 by *EriQ*

Carissa notes: "the Baha'i community here is changing little by little and yesterday's feast stood out above others."

[I thought I had lost this post in its bare-bones form when Blogger was having some issues, but lo and behold, it popped back up. Then I took it bacck to draft to add some more stuff to it, in consideration of the suggestions of the first commenter.

Any chance you can blog about the practice of 19-day Feast? What it is? How to do/enhance it? Maybe throw in some quotes from the writings as a foundation, and then invite comments from the friends on what their communities do so as to continually renew this cornerstone of community life.

Friday night I went with my friend Polin to a Seattle sector feast. (In Seattle they have so many Baha'is, they divide the city up into neighborhoods, and have a separate feast in each sector.) Boy, was it a wonderful! Great music, great prayers and meditations, great food, great people in a great small space, including a brand new two-week-old Baha'i.

Enhancing the quality of the Baha'i Feast is the goal of this website

Here is The Baha'i Feast Book, "quotations for all 19 Feasts, nicely laid-out with graphics and suitable for printing."

Here are more Feast programs. -gw]

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

On Blog-searching Ruhi Study Circles: A Lot So Fast

London Ruhi 6 last session,
uploaded on March 25, 2006
I went on Technorati and searched for "Ruhi study circle" and came up with 112 citings. That's a lot! I went on Google Blog Search and came up with 71 mentions in .26 seconds. That's fast! Ruhi is growing like wildfire. Here is one of the many mentions. -gw

I am doing Book 1 again tonight. I am actually looking forward to it. Anyone in my group who isn't family is a seeker or a new Baha'i, which is so awesome because they are really excited about learning about the Faith. Lots of great stories, especially from one guy who has been investigating the Faith for about 2 years. It seems the only reason he hasn't signed his card is because his parents are really adamant Christians, as in they would probably disown him if he changed religions. Not so much about what makes him happy, but what makes them happy. I know how that is.

A blogger, "My new minimum wage job!" LiveJournal

{Re-posted with permission}

On Encountering Baha'i: Viewing It as a Major Religion

Blogs are being used for purposes beyond just personal self-expression. The blog format is being used in education. Students are being asked to create a blog as a vehicle for responding to class assignments. It makes public a discussion which otherwise would be limited to a classroom or just between teacher and student.

Melinda's comments, excerpted below, are from her blog entry for a course entitled "Method and Theory in the Study of World Religion, RLG404H." Googling the name, I find that there is a course of that name taught by a Frances Garrett at the University of Toronto. Dr Garrett is a scholar of Buddhism, the study of which the University of Toronto is apparently quite a center. Reading of this professor's various awards, I see that she was nominated for a National Technology Innovation Award for the project "Use of Blogging to Facilitate Engaged Learning" in 2005. Pretty neat, huh! -gw

Melinda's LiveJournal pic

My first encounter with 'world religions' was in a grade eleven high school classroom. ...

It is through this high school class that I first came into contact with Baha'i. Our final assignment was to choose a religion not included in our 'major seven world religions' and to research it. I find it particularly interesting that this 'minor' religion (as it would have been classified in my high school class) now often finds its place in the table of contents in many 'world religions' textbooks that are produced today. It would be interesting to track the development of a religion as it makes its journey from being minor to major. What qualifying features did Baha'i have to acquire or promote in order to be included among the elite? ...

Years later I wonder how the Baha'i girl who sat in front of me in grade eleven religion class was affected by the fact that her religion had not yet graduated to the accepted list of 'major world religions' even though it possessed several of the required qualifications.

Melinda, "My First Encounter with World Religions," Method and Theory in the Study of World Religion

Monday, September 25, 2006

On Baha'i Beliefs: Very similar to LDS beliefs

midnightmirage did some research on religious beliefs and came across Baha'i. -gw

I did some study on the Mind, Soul, Spirit, and all that encompasses yesterday. I researched certain beliefs such as the Christians, Egyptian, Budda's and even one called Baha'i' (which is very simliar to the LDS beliefs). All of it was very educating.. but the only thing after reading so many documents left to come up with is that - you can only find out what those things are by your own experiences and thoughts.

midnightmirage, "Who Wants Some Country Music," Just Dream

On Praying with Baha'is: Does that count?

"Ruhi Rainbow," Uploaded on February 5, 2006 by dragfyre

The doors of the Faith are wide open. Baha'i study circles are not just for Baha'is. -gw

Baha'i group went really well! Reid didn't order the books in time, so we'll have them next week. So this meet was mainly spent learning history and hearing stories about the Bab, Baha'ullah, and Abdul Baha (sp? ;__;). I loved listening to them! We went over the beliefs as well; all of this an intro for Rhett and Brittany who Mallory dragged along as well. Mark kept showing off my painting, and how he's working on framing it REALLY elaborately, and I'm just going: Ugh, this is why I HID IT in an ENVELOPE and sneakily left it! I didn't want to be pointed out! However, I took it all a lot better than I expected. It was so nice getting to see everyone again, I hadn't realized how much I missed them.

I skipped out on the prayer vigil because I didn't get home until 11:30, and I'm tired. I prayed with the Baha's; does that count?

alchera, "O Baha'i. I Missed Ye." Ordered Chaos

{Re-posted with permission}

On Loving Christ, Baha'u'llah, and Our Parents: Forgive me, my parents, and those who have entered the abode of love

I BEG Thy forgiveness, O my God, and implore pardon after the manner Thou wishest Thy servants to direct themselves to Thee. I beg of Thee to wash away our sins as befitteth Thy Lordship, and to forgive me, my parents, and those who in Thy estimation have entered the abode of Thy love in a manner which is worthy of Thy transcendent sovereignty and well beseemeth the glory of Thy celestial power. -The Bab

Baha'is are to love their parents. Sometimes we must love them in the face of their opposition to what we hold most dear, as Andrew mightily strives to do as evidenced by this post. -gw

They, currently, cannot accept that I can love Christ and Baha'u'llah simultaneously. To me it's all or nothing. The teachings of the Baha'i Faith enabled me to accept, unconditionally, the teachings and words of Jesus when beforehand, while attending church, I sincerely doubted there validity. If my parents wanted me to love Christ, wouldn't they want me to choose the path that leads me to love Christ in my own way? There are thousands of sects of Christianity, what's one more variation of thought on his station in this world?

Andrew, "750 Miles and Counting," This Is Not Reality

{Re-posted with permission}

On A House Divided: Anthem for the World

Thanks Deb K for the heads up about "Anthem of the World "by Mathew Levine, a flash movie/song available in its entirety and just a click away. Levine has released the album A House Divided which includes the following songs: 1. A House Divided, 2. On The Fence, 3. Seven, 4. The Mother Tongue, 5. The Hunter, 6. Children of the Amazon, 7. Trio, 8. The Man Upstairs, 9. Wherever You Are, 10. Beautiful, 11. A Home That Forever Will Stand. -gw

Saturday, September 23, 2006

On family fotos: Rooted in Love

Check out family foto and text of best blogger Leila of love from leila. So moving. -gw

On the Persecution of Baha'is in Iran: Whereas...

Recent steps were taken to call attention to the persecution of the Baha'is in Iran by the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress. -gw

2d Session
H. CON. RES. 415
September 20, 2006
Received and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations
Condemning the repression of the Iranian Baha'i community and calling for the emancipation of Iranian Baha'is.

Whereas in 1982, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, and 2000, Congress, by concurrent resolution, declared that it deplores the religious persecution by the Government of Iran of the Baha'i community and holds the Government of Iran responsible for upholding the rights of all Iranian nationals, including members of the Baha'i Faith;

Whereas on March 20, 2006, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Ms. Asthma Jahangir, revealed the existence of a confidential letter dated October 29, 2005, from the Chairman of the Command Headquarters of Iran's Armed Forces to the Ministry of Information, the Revolutionary Guard, and the Police Force, stating that the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, had instructed the Command Headquarters to identify members of the Baha'i Faith in Iran and monitor their activities;

Whereas the United Nations Special Rapporteur expressed `grave concern and apprehension' about the implications of this letter for the safety of the Baha'i community;

Whereas in 2005 the Iranian Government initiated a new wave of assaults, homes raids, harassment, and detentions against Baha'is, and in December 2005, Mr. Zabihullah Mahrami died after 10 years of imprisonment on charges of apostasy due to his membership in the Baha'i Faith; and

Whereas beginning in October 2005, an anti-Baha'i campaign has been conducted in the state-sponsored Kayhan newspaper and in broadcast media:

Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress--

(1) condemns the Government of Iran for the October 29, 2005 letter, calls on the Government of Iran to immediately cease such activities and all activities aimed at the repression of the Iranian Baha'i community, and continues to hold the Government of Iran responsible for upholding all the rights of its nationals, including members of the Baha'i community; and

(2) requests the President to--

(A) call for the Government of Iran to emancipate the Baha'i community by granting those rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international covenants on human rights;

(B) emphasize that the United States regards the human rights practices of the Government of Iran, including its treatment of the Baha'i community and other religious minorities, as a significant factor in the foreign policy of the United States Government regarding Iran; and

(C) initiate an active and consistent dialogue with other governments and the European Union in order to persuade the Government of Iran to rectify its human rights practices.

Passed the House of Representatives September 19, 2006.

On Baha'i Choirs: Celebrating the International Day of Peace

flickr is always a good source for Baha'i pics. -gw

Uploaded by John Bryden on 21 Sep '06, 4.45am PDT. Tags:

Auckland Interfaith Council
International Day of Peace
United Nations
United Nations Association of NZ

Friday, September 22, 2006

On New Blogs by Baha'is: The Faith is the pearl that is formed in the shell of the heart

From Nani, Perle De Sagasse, comes a new blog in French. La Foi est la perle qui se forme dans la coquille du coeur. » The Faith is the pearl that is formed in the shell of the heart.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

On Brunching with Baha'is: I have a good feeling about it

dubietytolight, the Ashley who describes her brunch with Baha'is in the following post, has started a blog just for her religious questions, A Spiritual Quandary. She invites the Baha'is especially to offer their thoughts on the questions she poses, somewhat reminiscent of a blog previously featured on Baha'i Views, T-Mac's Questions and Answers about the Baha'i Faith. -gw

So, yes, this morning I went to a Baha'i brunch. And it was awkward, to say the least, since I was virtually the only non-baha'i there, but they were as accomodating as they could be. More than accomodating, actually. The secretary and I talked for a long time about Psychology since she is also majoring in that, and I spoke briefly with a girl named Sonya, a freshman here who has already made herself at home with these people. The best part was the very long talk I had with a woman named Stephanie, who does not go to Columbia, was just visiting the Nancy, the president of the club. She was amazing, she listened to all my concerns, she actually pulled a Baha'i prayer book and something called The Seven Valleys out of her purse and told me to keep them. She was all around wonderful to me. She also sent me an essay her brother wrote on why the Baha'i faith is not a cult for me to show to my roommates. I gave her the link to my new blog too. I have a feeling she'll be understanding of all my concerns because she says it took her eight years to convert to the faith. Eight years! So, that actually really made me more at ease.

I did tell them a little about Mana, but not much. They all shared their sympathies, but admitted that death is an unusual way to learn about the faith. But only one girl was even partially Persian, and she said she might cook some Persian food sometime. That would be nice. Oh, and Sonya, the Freshman, and I might be putting together a weekly study circle, that another girl, the half-persian who is also a Barnard alum would tutor, although they asked if I could bring some friends to it, and honestly, my friends will want nothing to do with this, so that just isn't going to happen. But there were also NYU Baha'is there and we might network the study circle with them. Too soon to tell.

I'm writing all of this from the library where I *should* be catching up on my work. But anyway, this is all very exciting and confusing and disorienting for me all at once. I felt really out of place, yet something still felt right. How can you feel both things at the same time? I don't know.

My studies call to me. I don't know where all this will head. But I have a good feeling about it.

Ashley, "The University Baha'is," O Look How She Listens

Thursday, September 14, 2006

On Making Birthing Pain-Free: The Power of Prayer

On Naw Ruz, March 21st, I posted an entry that included an excerpt about a lovely new baby named Mona. Mona is now six months old, as the blog in her name reports. Wow, how time flies both for babies and bloggers. Mona's mother reflects on the birthing experience. -gw

One thing that I was very touched by and will always, always remember is the fact that so many people from around the world (people that I don't even know personally were praying for me on the early morning I gave birth. I have heard stories of how a wonderful Baha'i lady in Morocco (who is an online friend of my dad's) was praying all night long for me and the baby! Family and friends in the Holy Land (Haifa, Israel), in Canada, Malaysia, USA, Mauritius, France, Chilli, Iran, just to mention a few, were praying for me! I sincerely believe that was reason why my birthing experience was so quick and without any pain!!

Sabby, LIFE WITH MONA: When a child is born, a mother is born!

On World Peace: From a Servant in Training

My son Taraz is getting married this weekend. He and his bride Megan are in my thoughts and prayers. Here is a post from one of Taraz's blogs on world peace.

On Rootedness: I Am From the Baha'i Faith

"I am from the Baha'i Faith," is her answer.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

On Godsmack and Sunday School: One quiz I took suggested my beliefs are Baha'i

Kelly took a silly quiz and was surprised. -gw

Current mood: crazy

Current music: I Tunes on random :) but currently Godsmack

I really need to work on my Sunday School lesson. It's on the light-hearted subject of Theology. I find myself, however, thinking more about Spirituality today. I like taking silly quizzes online because they usually don't surprise me. (Although, one quiz I took suggested that my beliefs resembled those who practice the Baha'i faith).

Kelly (onedrunkcat) wrote,@ 2006-09-09 18:40:00

On Interfaith Dialogue: Oh my God, unite the hearts of thy servants

Blogger Bass-I-Am, a.k.a. bjbass, is a bass player. He is not a Baha'i but has contact with Baha'is through an interfaith choir he is in. -gw

Yesterday was the OHF lunchtime performance for the Interfaith Mission Service workshop. There were only two other groups: a children's choir, Rick's "praise band" which consisted of Rick, his son Ben, and Me, and OHF.

Our OHF choir is not all that big, generally about 8 or 9 people, and we're in kind of a "rebuilding year" with several new people singing and several of the more experienced people having become less active or having dropped out. But the Nashville chapter showed up, so we probably had 20 people on stage. And there are some strong voices in the Nashville group. We sounded good.

Rick and Ben and I opened the show. At the last minute, they had asked that we not do "Jesus songs" since the group really has grown into being interfaith. I haven't played this stuff much with Rick lately, so I had gone over some of the old praise-band repertoire we used to do, but we didn't do it. We did songs like Van Morrison's Have I Told You Lately That I Love You, pop songs that work in the (interfaith) praise environment. I was playing my 5-string, which I shouldn't do for music I'm rusty on, because I don't play it enough and sometimes the notes are just in the wrong places. But it went OK.

The children's choir sang their songs, and then OHF was on. We had three songs prepared, two of them relatively easy upbeat hand-clapping pieces. The other is a hauntingly beautiful, slow, soulful song called the Unity Prayer. It's difficult, but we've worked a lot on it because we like it. I was surprised (I had left the OHF warm-up early to set up with Rick) when we started off with the Unity Prayer. I guess the thinking was that if the program was running long, they'd stop us at one or two songs (it has happened before), and we wanted to make sure the Unity Prayer was on the program. Both because we like to sing it, and because it is particularly appropriate for this group. More on that later.

Rick, Ben, and I did one more song, Get Together, to finish the program. OHF came up and sang behind us, which was pretty neat and kind of unexpected.

We had a pot-luck get together at our house afterwards. I hadn't had time to make up maps, so I led a 9-car caravan to our house. I was amazed we all made it. The IMS used to be pretty much a Christian group, "interfaith" mostly meaning interdenominational. A few years ago, a mosque joined the group, and there was a bit of an uproar. One of the big Baptist churches left and took its substantial financial support with it, and it was rough going for IMS for a while. It is now on the rebound, and it brings together Muslims, Jews, Baha'is, as well as many flavors of Christianity.

OHF is not a Baha'i choir -- although people keep calling us that -- but it did grow out of the Baha'i tradition. Our group is about half Baha'i. The Unity Prayer is based on Baha'i scripture ("Oh my God oh my God, unite the hearts of thy servants..."). Baha'is believe that all religions are legitimate, and that they should strive to work together. That's why this song was particularly appropriate for the IMS workshop.

Bass-I-Am, "Singing and Playing at the IMS Workshop," BJ Bass

Blogger's bio:

I spent most of my life in Wisconsin and Michigan, and found myself living in the south about a decade ago. I have degrees in physics and atmosperic science. I work for an Army contractor, building computer models of smoke and atmospehric effects.

In my spare time, I'm a bass player. I play upright and electric in a wedding band (jazz and retro rock), a big band (Ellington to Setzer), a community orchestra, musicals, and the occasional opera. I also sing (not very well) in a gospel choir.

{Re-posted with permission}

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

On Teaching the Baha'i Faith: The cupbearer proffereth not his cup till he findeth a seeker

I got an invitation to consider being a guest on "The Narrow Mind" radio show today. While I was honored to be asked, I felt I needed to decline. Interfaith dialogue is valuable, but adversarial debate doesn't bring humanity closer together.

I've been reflecting a lot about teaching the Faith lately. Here are a few excerpts from the Baha'i Writings on the subject. -gw

We should never insist on teaching those who are not really ready for the Cause. If a man is not hungry, you cannot make him eat. -- Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny

You should exercise your judgement and tact in delivering the message. You should make an effort to understand the character and mind of the seeker before you speak to him on the Cause. -- Shoghi Effendi, Arohanui: Letters from Shoghi Effendi to New Zealand

The Bahá’í will, however, on no account force his ideas on those who do not wish to hear them. He will attract people to the Kingdom of God, not try to drive them into it. He will be like the good shepherd who leads his flock, and charms the sheep by his music, rather than like the one who, from behind, urges them on with dog and stick.

Bahá’u’lláh says in the Hidden Words:—
O Son of Dust!The wise are they that speak not unless they obtain a hearing, even as the cup-bearer, who proffereth not his cup till he findeth a seeker, and the lover who crieth not out from the depths of his heart until he gazeth upon the beauty of his beloved. Wherefore sow the seeds of wisdom and knowledge in the pure soil of the heart, and keep them hidden, till the hyacinths of divine wisdom spring from the heart and not from mire and clay.

Again He says, in the Tablet of Ishráqát:—
O people of Bahá! Ye are the dawning-places of the Love and daysprings of the Favor of God. Defile not your tongues with cursing or execrating anyone, and guard your eyes from that which is not worthy. Show forth that which ye possess (i.e. Truth). If it be accepted, the aim is attained. If not, to rebuke or interfere with him who rejects is vain. Leave him to himself, and advance towards God, the Protector, the Self-Subsistent. Be not the cause of sorrow, how much less of sedition and strife! It is hoped that ye may be nurtured in the shade of the tree of Divine Bounty and act as God has willed for you. Ye are all leaves of one tree and drops of one sea.

J. E. Esslemont, "Teaching," Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era

Monday, September 11, 2006

On Crystal Blue Persuasion: There will be peace and brotherhood

"Crystal Blue Persuasion"

(Tommy James and The Shondells)

Look over yonder
What do you see?
The sun is a'rising
Most definitely
A new day is coming
People are changing
Ain't it beautiful
Crystal blue persuasion
Better get ready
To see the light
Love, love is the answer
And that's all right
So don't you give up now
So easy to find
Just look to your soul
Open your mind
Crystal blue persuasion
Mmm, mmm-mmm
It's a new vibration
Crystal blue persuasion
Crystal... blue persuasion
Maybe tomorrow
When he looks down
On every green field
And every town
All of his children
And every nation
They'll be peace and good brotherhood
Crystal blue persuasion
Crystal blue persuasion
Crystal blue persuasion
Crystal blue persuasion

This song is a blast from the past, at least for someone my age, as it dates back to the late 60's. There are Baha'i songs and there are "Baha'i" songs, and all have a usefulness for conveying the spirit of the Faith. This is one of a multitude of songs that moves me spiritually and may be of use in teaching the Baha'i Faith when incorporated into the Baha'i practices of devotional meetings, children's classes, and study circles. -gw

Friday, September 08, 2006

On Livin' in Harmony: A Baha'i Blog

Another new blog that leaps out from the computer screen with brilliant visual splendor is Living in Harmony. The blogger's current post incorporates into a quiz quotes from various religious traditions on the subjects of "progressive revelation, the only way, salvation, foregivness of sins, everlasting life, the unity of God, God the Unknowable, [and] the quest for peace." Check it out here. -gw

On New Blogs: Incorporating the Baha'i Practices

Baha'i study circle at our home

Teaching the Baha'i Faith is really about sharing stories. It is through stories that hearts are touched.

As I struggle to incorporate the Baha'i practices of holding devotional meetings, conducting home-visits, assisting in children's classes, and promoting study circles into my daily life, I've decided to turn my experiences into personal stories, posting them on a separate blog Teaching the Baha'i Faith. Teaching stories are to be found everyday on blog postings from all over the world. May the Internet be filled with these stories day in and day out right on through to the dawning of the Most Great Peace.

Here is the first blog entry. What is your story? -gw

On Baha'i Home-Visiting: My second visit wasn't scary at all

{Re-posted from Teaching the Baha'i Faith. -gw}

The home-visit I made last week was a little scary. Thank goodness my second visit last night to the home of Cindy (not her real name) and her father wasn't scary at all.

Our meeting time had been delayed from 7:00 to 8 p.m. Cindy was practicing driving with her father in preparation for taking her driver's test. Cindy is 16. This is also the first week of school, and she was switching schools, so it was a busy day for the two of them.

Of course, it was a busy day for me, too, and for Megan and Taraz who joined me for the weeknight home-visit. Megan's work hours and commute from Seattle can mean she doesn't get home some nights until 7:30. Taraz gets off work at 7 p.m. normally. I wasn't home until 6:30, a little later than usual.

No sooner was I in the door than Bonita was saying she needed a steak. Cindy's call earlier moving our meeting an hour later gave Bonita and I just enough time to have dinner together at the Outback. Taraz touched base by phone during the meal. He and I were to touch base about 3 more times before the evening was over.

I was on my way to Cindy's when I got the call that she still needed a little extra time to put her house in order. We agreed that 8:30 would work fine. OK, enough time for me to return the music CDs to the library, but afterwards on the freeway I took the left lane when I should have taken the right and ended up going miles out of my way, the whole way my thoughts alternating between prayer and the-opposite-of-prayer, but I still made it to Cindy's by 8:35. Whew!

No Megan and Taraz yet, though. They were delivering a birthday cake to
Sandy, whose own arrival home had been delayed -- did I say we live busy lives? -- but they would be on their way shortly.

I was warmly greeted by Cindy. Her father was seated in the living room busy on a project. I couldn't tell exactly but I imagined that he was cleaning his weapons. That was what had been scary about last week.

Here I was doing a home-visit to a teenager, yes, one whom I had talked to before, and, yes, a teenager whose father, according to her, was open to her having Baha'is visit, but I am not a teenager myself, in case anyone is wondering, and I felt awkward from the get-go of that first visit.

I had arrived five minutes or so before her father came home. As he walked in the door he was sizing me up, no doubt. There was no smile of greeting, just a big man with a brusque manner, taking off his coat as he crossed the room, his handcuffs at the ready behind his back and his revolver in its holster, a man who lay what looked like a gun with a foldable stock down on a side table, and then sat down very straight-faced. Yeah, it had been a little scary.

I had talked fast and smiled a lot. I'd brought some teaching materials, Book Zero, but we never got to it. We chatted instead, talking about family mostly. I found I was directing many of my comments to Cindy's father. I could feel more comfortable with him than Cindy because he and I are about the same age. He appeared to warm up. He told me where he worked and what he did. He owns a security business. Hence, the weapons. Aha!

We talked about religion. Cindy's father is a Mormon although not currently practicing. He had never heard of the Baha'i Faith until Cindy told him about it as part of asking permission for me to come over.

I had wished I had had a teaching partner with me last week. I couldn't arrange one, despite a few last minute calls. But yesterday I did have support. A little after 9 p.m. in walked my son and Megan. I was already having a great time.

Before they arrived there was some chit-chat, but this week we actually got down to study. I had the pages of Book Zero out, the ones with simple line drawings. I was using those pages to tell the story of the Bab. Cindy was nodding as I talked, which was very reinforcing. It seemed her father was entirely focussed on the story as well.

Taraz pointed out the picture of the Shrine of the Bab on his shirt. We talked about Haifa for a little bit, Megan mentioning that she and Taraz might be going on Pilgrimage next Spring with her family. Cindy's father noticed Taraz's shoes and that Megan spoke softly. He seemed pleased and impressed with these Baha'i young adults.

Next time I'll tell the story of Baha'u'llah.

posted by george wesley at
6:47 AM 2 comments

Thursday, September 07, 2006

On Brilliance: A Tribute to Parisa



From Archived this tribute. -gw

well well well, im here because i am just paying tribute to an AMAZING individual who is doing her thang currently, and making a riot!

parisa nourani, she is absolutely brilliant. skipped grades, graduated early, is only a little older than me (two months i think). plays the violin, does beautiful works of art, is an abosolutely positively devoted bahai and spiritual being. right now she is in costa rica on her year of service (this is where a person goes for a year to serve a community, such as put on childrens classes, manual labor, etc.), and i was looking through random stuff, and found some of her art work. im putting these ones up because they are so good, and amazing, and i hope one day she becomes a tattoo artist! (im sure her parents are counter hoping my ridiculous hope, but she is so gifted in abstract forms of art.)
here she is doing her thang:

and here is the work in progress:

here is another project:

and here is some more of her...crazy talent:

now, i hope these pictures come out, because its a pain...when they dont.
isnt that so crazy??? shes only 16 right now? maybe 17, at the oldest. I think that if there is one thing that inspires me and allows me to have more faith would be certain individuals like her who have so much talent, and are guided by Baha'u'llah to do such great things. Its so beautiful, and it really helps me to see past such stupid things that I let get to me and creep into my heart.
Going to Israel was a miracle. I met so many people, and since then I have learned so many lessons. I hope that everyone can be healed, and that this world becomes a better place.

Archived, ";asldt," MySpace

{Re-posted with permission}

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

On Introductory Baha'i Websites: A Big Welcome from Rocky Mountain Baha'i

How is this for an expansive view? This is the view you get at the top of the page when you click on, a site intended to provide an introduction to the Baha'i Faith especially for the Christian. I counted about 30 pages of very interesting content. The blog design is also outstanding. -gw

About Rocky Mountain Baha'i

The purpose of this site is to assist you in your investigation of the Baha’i faith by presenting evidence that proves:
1. The prophet of the Baha’i faith fulfills Biblical prophecies for the Return of Christ.
2. As the Return of Christ, the prophet of the Baha’i faith has already brought the laws and teachings to unify mankind in a global civilization under God.
3. If these teachings were followed by all mankind, they would be the Cause of the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. We hope you enjoy your journey through this site!

Friday, September 01, 2006

On Cynicism: I wonder which father I'm going to be

Pain and suffering has a purpose: to get us to move towards the light. A "living hell" is living far from the light. abberantepistle writes frankly about his life in a long post from which I have excerpted two brief paragraphs. -gw

One of the other things mentioned in our late-night discussion was my apparent depression. According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) the number of ambulatory care visits to health care providers regarding depression in the year 2004 was 21,000,000. It also makes mention of some 10,403,000 prescriptions in 2005 for anti-depressant medications. That's more people than practice the Baha'i faith, and those guys give out balloons at the county fair.
Now that I'm a father, I wonder which father I'm going to be. I've been assured by some that the birth and parenting of a child gives you hope for a brighter future and a sparkly outlook on the way things might turn out. Conversely I wonder ...what I've gotten my poor, innocent baby into. And I definitely want him growing up with a healthy sense of skepticism about anyone who has a rosy... viewpoint. I don't want him cynical either. Cynicism given here to mean "An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others." Even if it might be a very realistic view, I'd rather he ended up one of those people that possess that sickening optimism that makes me want to whack them with a mallet.

abberantepistle, "Repression, Ruffles, Remorse," Incoherent Ramblings of a College Dropout

On Hairdressers as Natural Helpers: She then asked me about Baha'u'llah

When I begin my master's program I took a course on counseling that referenced the significance of "natural helpers," those who provide emotional support to others as a natual part of their jobs. A hairdresser or barber often can have a positive effect on the mental health of many people over the course of a day. Dear blogger friend and hairdresser Jess is such a natural helper.

A truth for me, working in the mental health field, is that following a religious practice is an enormous assistance to maintaining a positive mental state. Jess has written about how she provides a listening ear for her clients but that people in her profession usually need to avoid the subject of religion with their clients. As she writes in this post, when there is receptivity, even this rule of thumb can be ignored. -gw

I had a client here today who is a very nice woman but she has a lot of personal problems, the two significant ones being that she battles an eating disorder and her marriage is in a rough patch. I put some foils in her hair and began to work on her daughter's hair so she went into the playroom off the kitchen to watch TV. Bob's and my Ruhi study books are on a bookshelf in the playroom and she picked one up and flipped through it.

Earlier we had been talking about church. She asked me if I had been lately and when I responded, "no", she said she hadn't either and she felt guilty. She mentioned that she needed an evening study group more than a weekend sermon to help her along and I told her a little about the Ruhi group Bob and I participating in. She seemed vaguely interested but I didn't push the issue because it isn't my place as her hairstylist to be discussing her spirituality with her.

So, I guess after our brief chat she saw the Ruhi books, picked one up and leafed through it and then returned to me with questions. The most notable being, "Do Baha'is believe Jesus is the Son of God and He died for our sins?" I answered her as best I could telling her that yes Baha'is do believe Jesus is the Son of God and died on the cross but their interpretation of the resurrection is a bit different than the evangelical Christian one. I briefly explained how Baha'is accept many faiths as leading to the same God, Christianity being one of them. She then asked me about Baha'u'llah, who He is and what He had to say. Oh, boy. I told her a bit more that I know and gave her a comparison of sorts to help her understand. I told her that Baha'u'llah is considered by Baha'is to be the most recent Prophet from God. The Bab could be compared to John the Baptist, Baha'u'llah to Jesus and Abdu'l-Baha to Paul.

She had many more questions and wanted to know about my study group. I then told her I thought the best thing to do if she was really interested would be to take one of my Baha'i books to read and if she still had questions or was interested in exploring further to let me know. She took Moojen Momens The Baha'i Faith with her when she left. I also gave her information about Ocean, the online concordance of sorts for all religious texts.

We'll see what happens. I have to admit I felt unprepared to answer her questions because I am still new and learning myself. And I am not a Baha'i!

Jess, "And so it begins..." Tangential Thoughts

{Re-posted with permission}