Tuesday, October 31, 2006

On Millennial Fever: It comes around every now and then

Maxtopia posts on a controversial book that denies the existence of Jesus and feels icky. He introduces his subject with mention of "The Great Disappointment" and concludes with a reference to the Baha'i Faith. -gw

Its called millennial fever, It comes around every now and then. A ton of people were expecting Jesus in 1844. you can go and read about the ''Great Disappointment'' When It didn't happen the way they wanted it. ...

If you are into the whole messiahs coming to earth to help people but getting slapped in the face, read about the Baha'i Faith, they think the world has reached a new ''Aquarian'' type era too.

Maxtopia, "I feel ICKE," MySpace
If a man wishes to know God, he must find Him in the perfect mirror, Christ or Bahá’u’lláh. In either of these mirrors he will see reflected the Sun of Divinity.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

On the Impressions Baha'is Give: John-John Visits Heidelberg After Edinburgh and Thinks of His Future

Thanks to Google's Blog Search and other engines it continues to be easy to find mentions of the Baha'i Faith in the blogosphere. Sometimes the mentions are just that --in passing and brief. Consider John-John's personal travels overview "Part I, Europe." Thousands of words, several dozen paragraphs, one of which mentions a conversation he had with a Baha'i. He even spells the name of the Founder of our Faith and His Most Holy Book correctly. -gw

Heidelberg was yet another great city that I spent far too little time in. I stayed with Andreas, a friend of the family, and got the chance to meet his wife and kids. Andreas talked to me at length about the mixed feelings of Germans about the rising national pride (due to their hosting of the World Cup); I had a good chat with Andreas' wife about Baha'i, having discovered that their guest room also served as a prayer room, with a portrait of Baha'u'llah and a copy of the Kitab-I-Aqdas on the bedside table; I played a little "game" of soccer/football with their 5-year-old, Connor, after numerous requests; and their 15-year-old son Jonas (who talks and acts like he's 25, it's uncanny) took me around town and attempted to teach me some proper German pronunciation.

speed ceilidhing in the mcewan hall, edinburgh university, uploaded on March 27, 2005 by hisprincess on flickr
John-John is a long-time blogger, having posted his first entry on LiveJournal when he was 16 years-old, as he writes in his "5th Anniversary Post," an overview of his life to date written while he was living in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is from Seattle, Washington. -gw


Five years have seen my idealism shrink and cynicism rise, only to have my inner cynic once again overshadowed by his idealist counterpart. I quit my long-standing job at the radio station and took a break from school to work, applied to the University of Edinburgh, and decided to study religion rather than classics. ...

Back in autumn 2004 I'd hit rock bottom, and I decided that I needed to take charge and do something. When I decided to take time off school and apply for a year abroad, it was supposed to be about having control over my future. Yesterday, I realized that the future has been on my mind constantly, but not as a worry, not a source of stress, but as an exciting unknown gleaming with optimism, because it's my own, and I have faith that I can make something good out of it.

Edinburgh, uploaded on April 22, 2006 by dhansak79 on flickr

I've only barely begun to make something out of it, of course; a year of study in Edinburgh is hardly 'one giant leap for mankind.' But I have made a decision. For a long time now, I've been thinking, deliberating, and idly talking about joining the Peace Corps or a similar organization.


John-John, "You've come a long way, baby," LiveJournal

Sounds like an interesting guy. Thank God for these souls who see the future as "an exciting unknown gleaming with optimism." -gw

On Baha'is Who Blog: Add DailyBaha'i.com

"Coral Tree (Erythrina) by the Shrine of the Báb," uploaded on May 15, 2006 by djKianoosh on flickr

The blogger of DailyBahai.com offers encouragement to everyone on a spiritual path and specific encouragement to Baha'is to take up blogging. Those are certainly my sentiments as well. -gw

This blog is about being a Bahá’í in today’s world. I think I should first explain what that means to be a Bahá’í. For me, being a Bahá’í means the following:

1. I believe in God and my concept of God is based on a balanced approach to science, faith, reason, and spirit.

2. I believe that God sends religion for humanity’s growth, development, and improvement, and that life is better when it is lived with religion.

3. I believe that the Bahá’í Faith is the latest religion sent to the world to deal with today’s issues, and that the Bahá’í Faith will help humanity reach its greatest potential

"Why am I a Baha'i?" DailyBahai.com: Insights on the world from a Baha’i perspective

Friday, October 27, 2006

On Passion: What's yours?

Write Softly's lengthy post "What's Your Passion?" from which I have drawn a brief excerpt, is very lovely. She is so right. Raise the question "What is your passion?" and you get at the heart of what a person is all about. What's yours? -gw

I'm passionate about the Baha'i faith (check it out at www.bahai.org). It's not a people thing, but it's what I believe at my core, in my soul, with my spirit, with all my heart. The idea of unity throughout mankind is what I'm all about, as well as the basic core beliefs that men and women are spiritually equal, there's only one God and we all worship Him (sometimes from different faith perspectives), He only has one plan and He's shared it with mankind through different Holy Messengers, and that everyone should embark on their own personal independent investigations into the truth of faith and God -- those things are the fabric of who I am. I often do a crappy job of living the way God has asked me to, as a Baha'i, but I take comfort in my efforts, in the staunchness of my beliefs even when my deeds are lacking, and in His eternal forgiveness.

"What's your passion?" Write Softly

Thursday, October 26, 2006

On Baha'i Political Thought: Baha'i elections as a non-partisan form of democratic appointment of government

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States, elected in 2005. Photographer: Eric Van Zanten. Baha'i Media Bank. Photo originally in http://news.bahai.org/story.cfm?storyid=372

I voted. Actually I voted twice. Once in a recent bi-election to fill a vacancy on the local Baha'i Spiritual Assembly that came up when a member of the Assembly left to pioneer to China, and then in our District Convention to elect our delegate to the National Convention who will participate in the election for the members of the National Spiritual Assembly. Both elections were spiritual experiences for me.

It's the political season in the United States with national, state, and local elections in less than two weeks. I will be voting in these elections, too.

As I listened to National Public Radio this morning in the car, I heard a story about a controversial political "attack ad," one of many airing this year across the country. It reminded me why I am glad to be a Baha'i.

One of the best discussions about "Baha'i political thought" is contained in the remarkable defense of the Faith entitled Making the Crooked Straight: A Contribution to Baha'i Apologetics that devotes a chapter to the subject. Under a heading entited "On the Way to a New Type of Politics" are these sub-headings:

1. The concept of politics in Baha'i scripture
2. Loyalty to state authority
3. Baha'i elections: a non-partisan form of democratic appointment of government
4. A new model for political decision-making
5. Responsibility for the world we live in

Here is an excerpt from the discussion. -gw

Elections in the Baha'i system are not a struggle for political power conducted within the bounds of formal constraints. It is not the aim of Baha'i elections to measure support for rival manifestos or to represent different interest groups in a political contest. In Baha'i elections there is no nomination of candidates, no electoral propaganda, and no campaigning. Factionalism and partisanship are prohibited. It is not the aim to have one's interests represented, nor to express a preference for certain policies or political ideals, but rather to select the most suitable individuals. Baha'i elections are concerned solely with choosing personalities. Their goal is to elect those people to decision-making offices who will not concentrate on their own interests but will cooperate with their fellow members to promote the general good. Election to such an office is not a right to which an individual is entitled by virture of any special achievements, his material standing, his education or any other attributes; neither is it an honour to be striven for, and it is most definitedly not a means of satisfying one's power instincts: 'In a Baha'i election no one is trying to be elected.' Therefore, in the criteria given in the scripture for determining the suitability of an individual for electoral office priority is placed on the person's qualities of character. Only someone who is 'upright', 'loyal', 'honest' and free of 'prejudice, passion and partisanship' can hope to meet the requirements of Baha'i consultation.

Ulrich Gollmer, "Baha'i Political Thought" in Making the Crooked Straight: A Contribution to Baha'i Apologetics, pp. 472-3

On the Best from Jess: About these huge praying centers all over the world

"Lotus Temple" on flickr, uploaded on March 14, 2005 by CaritoJames

Got an email from Jess, whose blog has been a rich source of material for re-posting (see here). -gw

George, I know you collect excerpts about Baha'i for your blog. There is an very lengthy thread about the Bible and religion on my mom's board and this was a post made in the thread:

"Btw, Jess, about Bahai, are they the group that has these huge praying centers all over the world? I ask because there is a large building in Delhi India that is shaped kind of like a lotus flower. The accoustics in there is so amazing. My friend took me there and we just sat there and soaked up the atmosphere (and energy). Anyway, the energy from there was so strong it actually made me start to cry with how it was resonating around through everything. I'm getting a little teary just remembering even now years later. (A good kind of cry.) I don't think I've even been in so sacred feeling a place.

Anyway, just wondering if that's one of the places. I can't remember what the name of the organization was, but Bahai sounds right to me as being the one with that place. It was a place where you can't speak inside and they state they welcome all faiths and they have people all day just walk up and sing or chant or something."

Just thought I would share! (She gave me permission to share it with you!)

Best, Jess

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

On the Lotus Temple: Impressive to say the least

On flickr, "Lotus temple in the evening," November 3, 2005 by Jagdish Yadav
Each of the Baha'i Houses of Worship on the planet is a "silent teacher." Kurt visits the Lotus Temple outside New Delhi, India, and blogs about it. -gw

I autorickshawed it again to the amazing Baha'i Temple in the south of the city. One of my good friends (Hi Ryan!) is Baha'i, and I've always been interested in learning more about the religion. And the temple in Delhi is definitely the place to do so. The impressive structure is shaped like a lotus flower and surrounded by nine pools. The inner sanctuary holds about 2000 people, and the ceiling arches high above the chapel, creating amazing acoustics. It was impressive to say the least.

Kurt of Green Gables, "Au Revoir, India," Dooble-dooble-do

On Being Busy: Maybe a nap, Ruhi at 4:30, and possibly a Baha'i Club thingy after that

You think you're busy! How 'bout Amanda. -gw

Another all-nigher tonight...work till 4am, study histology write my EE paper and do laundry till 10am, open lab from 10am-2pm, maybe a nap, Ruhi at 4:30, and possibly a Baha'i Club thingy after that...if I don't drop dead from exhaustion.

Amanda, "This intrigues me," Some sort of fantasy...

On a Youth of the Baha'i Faith: She never has anything bad to say

A LiveJournal testimonial about a Baha'i youth in Chile. -gw

(chileancholula) wrote,@ 2006-10-23 19:16:00

Let me take a minute to describe this wonderful wonderful girl. She never has anything bad to say, I have seen and heard her play the violin and there are no words to describe how great she is. She's of Baha'i faith. She's a great dancer, not only at the clubs but I mean, she studies music theory and she can theatrically dance Indonesian and other ranges of Indo-Asian stuff. She always has an open mind, open heart, and I've never met anyone like her ever before in my life. I wish I were more like her. She dislocated her elbow bicycling in Perú. But she can still dance with it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

On Jared Quoting Shoghi Effendi: An Average Guy Investigates the Baha'i Faith

Jared describes himself in his MySpace profile as "an average guy." -gw

So Nikki told me to download Ocean. It's a complete library of religious texts ranging from Baha'i to Christianity. I'm becoming more and more interested in the Baha'i faith. I thought it would be nice to show everyone what the Baha'i religion is through a great, albeit, lengthy quote from a great Baha'i, Shoghi Effendi. Here it is:

The Bahá'í Faith recognizes the unity of God and of His Prophets, upholds the principle of an unfettered search after truth, condemns all forms of superstition and prejudice, teaches that the fundamental purpose of religion is to promote concord and harmony, that it must go hand-in-hand with science, and that it constitutes the sole and ultimate basis of a peaceful, an ordered and progressive society. It inculcates the principle of equal opportunity, rights and privileges for both sexes, advocates compulsory education, abolishes extremes of poverty and wealth, exalts work performed in the spirit of service to the rank of worship, recommends the adoption of an auxiliary international language, and provides the necessary agencies for the establishment and safeguarding of a permanent and universal peace.

I really don't know why I'm looking into the Baha'i faith. I'm really wondering if it's rebellion against what I grew up knowing or an actual interest in the Faith. I'm still trying to figure that out. The only why I know for sure is by reading the Baha'i scriptures and figuring it out from there.

Jared, "Shoghi Effendi Defines the Baha'i Faith," MySpace

{Re-posted with permission}

On Le Fleur in Malaysia: If only I had my own camera

From Malaysia another Baha'i on flickr. -gw

I'm a very sentimantle person and I crave to be back in nature, where green trees and lovely, exotic flowers seround me as if calling me back to them. I have an idea of what I want to do, where I want my life to go. I love taking photographs, if only I had my own camera!

Bookmarks I made as a "souvenir" for my brother's 18th birthday

On Daphne's Adam: An Update

From Daphne Ling in Malaysia comes the following email. -gw

Thought you might like to know that the boy (Adam) who was featured in the story you picked up from the 'Terraces of Youth' page to be put on your blog has gone to a home. In fact, he left for a home for the handicapped a week after the story was originally published in the Malaysian papers.

Many people picked up the original story because of the word 'Baha'i', but many did not pick up the subsequent piece on Adam because I did not mention the Faith the second time around.

Thought you ... might like to know what has happened to Adam, and it would be nice if you could help share this second piece because people are still asking me what happened to Adam, although I have not seen him in quite a few months.

Here's the link:

Monday, October 23, 2006

On Saying His Name: I sat there for like ever trying to say it

Here is her comment.

Well baby it certainly sounds interesting enough. But...how do you say that guys name? I sat there for like ever trying to say it and I couldn't. I deffinately want to go to one of them thingies with you and Kathy. k? K love you!

Posted by m.g.n. ♥ smunchy on Monday, October 23, 2006 at 5:39 PM

Here is the original post. -gw

Sunday, October 22, 2006

On The Complexity and Novelty of Baha'u'llah's Message: Neither Pluralism nor Exclusivism

In 2001 a remarkable piece of scholarship was published, Logos and Civilization: Spirit, History, and Order in the Writings of Baha'u'llah, by Nader Saiedi. The last paragraph ( p. 14) of the introduction provides a comprehensive description of the implications of the message of Baha'u'llah for his followers. -gw

...[E]ven while Baha'u'llah asserts His message to be the fulfillment of all the scriptural prophecies for the expected universal revelation of God, the attitude Baha'u'llah prescribes for His own followers to take toward all people and all religious communities is one not only of respect and equality but of love, fellowship, and unity. Declaring the sacredness of all human beings in the context of universal egalitarian principles, Baha'u'llah eliminates any differential social status between believers and nonbelievers. Neither the categories of exclusivism and fundamentalism nor those of pluralism and postmodernism are adequate to capture the complexity and novelty of Baha'u'llah's message, a message which is simultaneously an announcement of the unity of all religions, a rejection of relativism, and an exposition of the spiritual foundation of universal human rights.

On Pluralism: Religions under Pressure

Moojan Momen is a prolific and erudite Baha'i scholar. His 1999 The Phenomenon of Religion: A Thematic Approach is a personal favorite, unique in its approach to comparative religion. Here is an excerpt (pp. 348-9) on the theme of pluralism vs exclusivism. - gw

During this century, religions have come under pressure from the increasingly pluralistic world in which we live. This has resulted in a need to move away from the exclusivist attitudes of the traditional religious ethics. As a consequence, there has been a relaxing of these very rigid attitudes toward those who are not 'us'.... Even so, ...fundamentalist elements in each religion keep trying to draw the community back towards greater rigidity. For every scriptural verse that liberal elements find encouraging a pluralist attitude, the fundamentalists can point to another verse that is exclusivist in nature. In the Baha'i Faith, however there is a specific scriptural injunction to 'consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness' and there is therefore little scope for exclusivist interpretations.

Momen cites the following quote from the Tablets of Baha'u'llah in a note to this passage. -gw

The second Taraz is to consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship...They that are endued with sincerity and faithfulness should associate with all the peoples and kindreds of the earth with joy and radiance, inasmuch as consorting with people hath ppromoted and will continue to promote unity and concord, which in turn are conducive to the maintenance of order in the world and to the regeneration of nations.

Friday, October 20, 2006

On Pluralism: I can understand why Chuck became a Baha'i

Stella likes the phrase "unity in diversity" and feels it should apply to religious differences, too. -gw

is pluralism against my religion? because, sometimes i just want to be a pluralist. i may not believe in your faith, but i can respect it, can't i? i mean this in the sense of ecumenism really, which is, according to wikipedia: the promotion of unity, co-operation, or improved understanding between different denominations within the same religion, or sometimes between different religions. (the latter is sometimes called macro-ecumenism.)

i have faith as a christian, and i can see it growing. but, i don't see myself... how can i say this, telling people they are wrong. why? i really like the phrase "unity in diversity." yeah, religion is a really touchy topic for that... but can't we respect and perhaps even appreciate our differences? is that against my faith?

i can understand why chuck became a baha'i. simply, he believes that there is really just one religion. i don't know, i am sure it is more complicated than that, but i can understand why he chose that faith.i say once again though: unity in diversity. let's respect and appreciate the differences. life would be so boring without it anyway.

and a thought occurred to me, perhaps i should be versed in other world religions too, but it also occurred to me that i should be versed in my own faith first.

Stella Oh, "Is Pluralism Against My Religion?" Just a Girl

{Re-posted with permission}

On Pluralism: Thriving on University Campuses

Pluralism thrives on university campuses, as this description of campus life in Melbourne illustrates. -gw

On-campus religious groups are thriving, and Tuesday can be a hectic day at the University of Melbourne if you're spiritually inclined. Lunchtime spells the tough choice between unwinding at the devotional gatherings of the Baha'i Society, scrutinising the scriptures with the Christian Union, or understanding more about Judaism thanks to Chabad on Campus. With 10 religious groups operating under its clubs and societies umbrella, students at the university needn't just restrict themselves to one weekday, though, and can continue their spiritual immersion throughout the week by delving into Sufism, Islam, and Seventh Day Adventism.

From "The Search for Meaning" by Alexandra Roginski - The Age - Australia, Monday, April 10, 2006, posted on Sufi News and Sufism World Report, Thursday, October 19, 2006

On Pluralism: As Opposed to Exclusivism

Comparative religion courses provide another way for people to encounter the Baha'i Faith. Through her encounter, Jill concludes that its OK, in fact, healthy, to question her belief system. -gw

Although I am officially a Christian since 2002, I am not a religious person at all. God is the Most Mericiful and Benevolent of all. The King of the Universe. The Great Judge. However, I took a course back in 2004 called "Philosophy and Religion." At first, I did not want to take the course but I was convinced that I needed 9 Humanities credit for my transfer rather than the college mandated 6. Anyways, I took it and I've learned a lot about narrow-mindness and ignorance of "average" people and I also learned a lot about how arrogant and self-conceited I can become intellectually. I am not "perfect" nor have I ever claimed to be "perfect." Well, we have these guests who answered all our questions about their respective religion so I would research everything thoroughly so I can impress the guests with complex, thought-provoking questions. All these guests were stomped by my questions and grudgingly admitted it. I would grin with the utmost satisfaction with my trademark "I am smarter than you unless you can prove otherwise" look. Well, we finally got to the remaining unit on the Baha'i Faith. "Oh, yeah, I've heard of that back in seventh grade!" We studied it thoroughly then I felt an utter compulsion about this faith. Like Islam, the Baha'i Faith recognizes Jesus as a prophet of God and a great religious teacher and philosopher. However, unlike Christianity, Jesus is not the Messiah. Well, who is the Messiah? (I said like an angry child I can become). I mean why make me question my ancestrial faith about whether the Christ was Messiah or just another prophet. Why insult the Christ he died for our sins and for mankind to experience redemption? Why belittle the Christ ministry? Well, the whole course changed my perspective on a lot and taught me to question religion. Do I still believe in the Christ child? Yes, of course. Nevertheless, although I have this special affinity towards Christianity essentially because its my ancestral religion,


I have been studying more and more about the Baha'i Faith. I actually respect the Baha'i Faith like I respect Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and a great number of other religious traditions. I like the pluralism in Baha'i as opposed to the exclusivism you will find in other religions.

To make a long story short, it's okay to question religion and your belief system. To make your religious convictions genuine (other than my parents were that so that is why I am that), you must continue to question your beliefs and when someone comes up to you challenging your faith you must have an intellectual foundation to stand on (as opposed to say "because it was in the Scriptures."). In order to be a genuine believer, you must continue to educate yourself about your religion and be ready to defend your faith intellectually.

Jill, "My Own Intellectual Arrogance," The Intellectual Postmodern Redneck

{Re-posted with permission}

On Povo de Baha and Baha'is of Concepcion: Blogs of Great Inspiration

From Marco of the venerable and wonderful Povo de Baha, from pioneering blogger Marco who continues to raise the bar of excellance in terms of the quality of his craft and who always has his finger on the pulse of Baha'i blogs the world over, comes a heads-up re Baha'is of Concepcion, a great blog with lots of pictures, including video clips, and evidence of surging Baha'i activity occuring in Chile. It is Spanish-language with Language Tools instant English translation available. Marco's blog is in Portuguese with instant translation available as well. -gw

On More Good Deeds/Blessed Coincidences: Ashley and Celtalita Read the Baha'i Writings

Anyone who loves Baha'u'llah and believes in His transformative power will love reading Ashley's most recent posts. Here is just a smidgeon from one, but be sure and go to her site and read her posts in their entirety. -gw

Before I met up with Stephanie I was reading Baha'i prayers in Starbucks and this old lady walked up to me and in a sweet little voice she told me she thought I was beautiful, that she just wanted me to know, and then she left. I honestly feel like it was really the prayers that were beautiful, brewing around inside me.

Ashley, "Servant," oh, · look · at · how · she · listens

celtalitha read this section of Ashley's post, which prompted her to share her own story. -gw

That's beautiful. About what the woman said. I want to share a similar experience. I grew up very conservative, born-again Christian. I've always loved God, so I guess one could say I was always religious in some sense; but it bothered me that I felt I really had no way of knowing what was actually true about Him.... So one time, when I was beginning to research the Baha'i faith, I was sitting outside on a bench at my university reading "Some Answered Questions" and just really pondering it, and worrying over it, and wondering how I will ever know what's really true, and asking God to help me understand...

Meanwhile, in the background there was one of those annoying loud obnoxious Bible-thumping, screaming, you-are-all-going-to-hell kinda guys, aways away on the lawn, surrounded by a bunch of students making fun of him.

And then accross from me is this second guy, who has been reading something alone for a while, and is now talking very seriously to a female friend about the Bible-guy. I eavesdrop on this conversation for 15 or 20 minutes. This (2nd) guy is obviously a really sincere individual... a strangely sincere one. He seems to honestly love God, and Christianity, and is worried about the approach that Bible-guy is using and how misguided it is. He is talking to his friend very deeply about what they think is worth standing up for, and the way Jesus would have liked us to do it in this society. I like this (2nd) guy, but I'm thinking, I wish I could be so simple and sure of everything. I wish I KNEW...

So after the female friend leaves, said 2nd-guy sits alone on the bench awhile. I get the uncomfortable feeling that he's watching me. And eventually he speaks. Asks what I'm reading. I tell him; Baha'i philosophy. He looks slightly confused and concerned. He asks, tentatively, whether I am Baha'i (he doesn't know what that is). I say no, I'm Christian, I just enjoy studying other beliefs (a slightly sugarcoated version of the truth). He looks much relieved.

Then he says, "I don't know if this will sound weird or make you uncomfortable, but just now before my friend was here, I was reading my Bible and praying; and I felt this impression that God wanted me to tell you, good job. Encourage you to keep doing whatever it is you are doing. I didn't really want to tell you, I had no idea if you were Christian or not. But since you are, I hope it makes sense. I'm not sure what it means, but I really felt that I should tell you, you're doing the right thing."

Then he left. And I looked down at my Baha'i book, and starting shaking, until later that evening I convinced myself that I had overreacted and it was just a coincedence. But I really do not believe that it was.

celtalitha, comments to Ashley's "Servant," on oh, · look · at · how · she · listens

{Re-posted with permission}

Thursday, October 19, 2006

On Dr Phil, Pediatrician and Baha'i: A Focus on Youth

There really is a Doctor Phil in this world. He is a pediatrician and a Baha'i. He has a very interesting blog on Vox. Below are Dr Phil’s tags to date and a representative slide from his site illustrating the unique focus of his blog -gw

Dr Phil's blog

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

On First Mentions of the Baha'i Faith: Google Blog Search's First Entry

Google Blog Search permits searches going back as far as the millenium, January 1st, 2000, the first searchable date.

I did a blog search for "Baha'i" looking for the first mention of the Faith available on this search engine and came up with
"Seeking...finding" dated... January 1st, 2000. The blog is ficus religiosa, a blog apparently named after the tree, one of approximately 19 linked blogs by one blogger, æå. He has made only five entries on fiscus religiosa, one in March of this year, one in July 2004, and three on 01/01/00. Here is an excerpt from his second post "Regarding Ultimate Truth" .... -gw
Proclaim the Truth that all truth is relative.
It should be noted that, as Blogger permits the blogger to determine the date of posting, AEA's posting might not have actually appeared on 01/01/00. In fact, given AEA's apparent sense of humor, as a quick review of other blogs on his linknode will reveal, it is unlikely. Figuring all this out has been a fun puzzle, nevertheless. The blogger is A.E.Argiewicz, an artist, whose works can be seen at ArgieArt 2006. And here is what the Baha'i Writings have to say about the relativity of religious truth. -gw
The Promised Day Is Come
Author: Shoghi Effendi
Source: US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1980 revised edition
Page: 124
The fundamental principle enunciated by Bahá’u’lláh … is that religious truth is not absolute but relative, that Divine Revelation is a continuous and progressive process, that all the great religions of the world are divine in origin, that their basic principles are in complete harmony, that their aims and purposes are one and the same, that their teachings are but facets of one truth, that their functions are complementary, that they differ only in the nonessential aspects of their doctrines, and that their missions represent successive stages in the spiritual evolution of human society….

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

On Analogies for Religion: As a Multi-sided/Path'ed Mountain

"Light My Path," Uploaded on flickr October 24, 2005 by Sola Lumina Captura

There are enumerable metaphors with which to convey religious truths. The truth about religion is that it is a mountain with many paths all leading to one summit. -gw

Religion is a multi-sided mountain and for now I've wandered over to investigate the Baha'i's side of things. Will I become a Bahai? Knowing me I'll want to, but [darn it!] I'm just looking right now. I think that knowing everyone expects me to go join up with whatever I'm interested in lately makes me tend to wander in that direction. I certainly don't want to let anyone down! (LOL)

tricstmr Your analogy of religion as a multi-sided/path'ed mountain was exquisitely beautiful and appropriate. I loved it! I found myself thinking, "Yes! Yes! That's exactly it!"

Avdi calls the Bahai's the "Muslim Unitarian Universalists." It's the "world's youngest religion," having been born in the late 19th/early 20th centuries. They seem to acknowledge every major world religions Avatar as a legitimate Messenger from God. (Buddha, Zoroaster, and, I think even Krishna.)

I don't know much right now, but the little I do know I find quite interesting.

Avivah de Tabouli, "Fascinated By Flattery," It's Just Me, Blubbering as usual

On Baha'i Life: Blog One-Liners

Blog hopper that I am, I am forever inspired by the energy evident in the lives of Baha'is as reflected in their blogs. -gw

Decided I'm not going to take the practice LSAT tomorrow as then I wouldn't be able to go to the Baha'i club meeting.
Lolindir's Xanga site

Thanks to Nila and Merhdad for the awesome potluck this afternooon. It's humbling to know I have so many Baha'i friends. And if you've ever met a Baha'i you'll know what I mean.
Randy, "Thanksgiving Around Westwood," What's Your "Why"

Baha'i wise, our Cluster has just launched its 2nd IPG, so things are a-happenin here.
Silvia, "Getting Into the Routine," Sylvia's Space

Tonight I went to Ruhi Book 2, which is a Baha'i study course I'm taking in the city every Wednesday. It always really makes me rethink my life after any given session, and I'm going to try and implement the principle now that I will say nothing about a person anywhere that I wouldn't say to their face. So if you catch me doing otherwise, ... tell me to knock it off. Which is a huge thing to try and do (everyone gossips a little bit, like it or not) but I'm going to attempt to do it anyway.
Cenedra, " Yaaaaaaaaa...," Allaargando

On Kelly's Anonymous Good Deed: He had such a light, peaceful, and happy demeanor

Music producer, NASA scientist, and long-time blogger Kelly Snook writes on the back of receipts. -gw

for the landmark wisdom class (which i'm taking) we are supposed to be keeping a diary of observations relating to our initiative, and also we are supposed to be doing daily anonymous good deeds and then writing about them. since i don't have a diary, this has kind of been serving that purpose, although i haven't been writing directly about my assignments.

but i wanted to write about yesterday's good deed. i took the girls to the baha'i center, as i usually do on sundays. we actually got there before devotions started, and as we sat down, i noticed a guy walking in who sat down in front of us. he had an amazing presence - i wanted to say something, but i had the girls and other friends were coming over to say hi.

after devotions, i had to leave, and there was no chance to talk to him. so instead of just leaving, i wrote on the back of a receipt,

have a
i don't know you,
but i have to leave.
thank-you for being
here. your spirit

and i darted back into the room and handed to him before i left.

i guess that's an anonymous good deed. a note of thanks is a good deed. and it was kind of anonymous, since he didn't know me. but my name was probably printed on the receipt. good deeds are easy. anonymity isn't really all that easy sometimes.

i thought i'd write about something nice since all i seem to be able to think about is how snowed under i am with huge incomplete projects, and how tired i am.

he had such a light and peaceful and happy demeanor. and all he was doing was sitting there. i wish i could be like that.

Kelly, "(*dc) nothing." Meet Me Under the Spiral Cement Truck

{Re-posted with permission}

Monday, October 16, 2006

On Becoming a Baha'i: Mith Wows Us

Mith in Tucson, Arizona, is a man who apparently believes in the principle of "fewness of words and abundance of deeds." There are just three posts (so far) on his MySpace blog.

In the first he introduces himself with "Some things about my interests." In the second he writes:

"It seems I've found religion. I read The Challenge of Baha'u'llah by Gary L. Matthews. Yes, I am now Baha'i. It makes way too much sense for me to deny. The hardest part is giving up drinking especially so close to my 21st birthday."

In the third he wows us with the following succinct description. -gw

So I went to my first Baha'i devotional tonite. It was plain awesome. Dinner was excellent. Had some enchiladas, Persian pomegranate chicken, rice, and tadiq. Had some great Persian melange tea. I signed a declaration card and got a prayer book along with other books to read. We said our prayers on service to humanity. Everyone at the place was really cool. I met a linguist and read through a little bit of one of his books. The host was an audiophile and he and I sat and listened to music and talked music for a good three hours. Tons of fun. I have a new picture up as well.

Mith, "Wow," MySpace

Mith's has started a LiveJournal blog, too, with this as his biographical information: "I'm a Baha'i. I'm new to the faith. I'm creating this journal to track my progress through life starting from the day after my declaration." Here is the first entry with today's date. -gw

Today was my first Baha'i Feast. Last nite was my first Baha'i Fireside. The Baha'i community here in Southern Arizona has been so friendly and helpful I can't say it enough. I've met... quite a few people and I can only remember a few names. Everyone has been wonderful though.

I was given a bicycle headlamp today at the Feast but unfortunately the handle bars are a little too skinny for the clamp. I'll have to get some duct tape or something. This will allow me to get back and forth from work more easily instead of walk forever, then riding the bus, walking some more and then making my mom stay up so late to pick me up.

My mom hasn't been the most supportive but then again she is a Christian. Hopefully she'll notice the change I feel inside. Salaam.

Mithshrike, "New Baha'i," LiveJournal

On 透气: I quite agree with Baha'i's explanation

According to the translation available through Google's Language Tools, the blogger's final comment in this entry, reposted below, is: "I quite agree with Baha 'i's explanation." The blogger's name is O~fat and his blog is Ming Dynasty. He is a PhD Student at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. To see pictures of the blogger and the pictures he took of the Baha'i House of Worship in nearby Wilmette, Illinois, click here. -gw

这估计是近期唯一一个能透口气的周末,去了趟Baha'i Temple. Baha'i 的教旨宣扬所有的人不分种族同属于human race。现存的几大宗教也被其纳入体下。Baha'i fath 认为,佛教,基督教,伊斯兰教,印度教等宗教的创始人其实都是God派来的谕者,所以各个宗教所信仰的神其实是一样的。而Baha'i的创始人Baha'u'llah就是由神所派的最近的谕者。Baha'i起源于伊朗,而伊朗则至今还在打压这一新兴的宗教,并迫害了很多信徒(起码他们是这么宣传的)。Baha'i temple全世界只有8个,全美只有这一个。建筑很别致,但基调还是像伊斯兰风格。

O~fat, blog entry for 10-15-06, Ming Dynasty

Friday, October 13, 2006

On Blogs and Bloggers That Tug at the Heart: Blogs by Neha and Ashley

Over the months I have been doing Baha'i Views, and as it has evolved into a blog that reviews other blogs, I have made umpteen discoveries of moving blogs and dear bloggers whose entries I have continued to follow.

Take Far-Out Daughter of a Lung and the Ramblings of a Madwoman, the blog of Neha. Certain words and phrases stand out for me as I skim her recent offering: "ruhi study circles," "patience," "near-death experience," "running," "parent child attachment," "rollercoaster," "depression," and "the Baha'i Faith." Here is an excerpt. -gw

My Dad even expressed that he wants to meet all the Baha'is and talk to them so I hung up the Decatur Baha'i Activiites calendar on the fridge with all the numbers. Called people in the community to let them know about this exicing news. Next week when Prema and David roll through town that my Dad might be attending the musical event as well. :) Maybe he will go to the dinner afterwards as well. Maybe my Mom, bro,and sis n law will join as well.

Neha, Far-Out Daughter of a Lung and the Ramblings of a Madwoman, Oct 6th, 2006

Ashley of oh, · look · at · how · she · listens has attended her first Ruhi class. A "word salad" description of Ashley's most recent post might include these words and phrases: "Oh my goodness," "warm and deeply happy," "dysfunctional background," "train wreck," "saddest story," "beauty and goodness," "birth of the Bab," and "grateful." -gw

I think I have my Thursdays locked down in something I cannot turn my face away from. A Baha'i study circle. Oh my goodness. Where do I start.

It was just me, Luke, the "tutor" Shamim, and Luke's friend Joe (who isn't actually a Baha'i) today. But there may be two more members next week. I'm so timid with them, but I'm starting to ease out of it. It's funny because I'm not usually like that, not to that extent at least. But I am so drawn to them. I can't even explain it. Words aren't enough. Anyway, we did the whole "get to know you" bit, and they all have fantastic senses of humor. Such genuine people. After the study circle, which was very basic, and after laughing and talking for a bit, Luke invited us all to walk to this cafe down the street and meet his friend Diane. She was also an amazing, genuine person. I really enjoyed their company, despite how shy or timid or possibly reserved I find myself. It still made me feel very warm and deeply happy in a way I haven't been so often lately.

Ashley, "A Change of Scene," oh, · look · at · how · she · listens

On an Unfamiliar Religion: I have research to do now

Some people are talking about religion at work and taking their 15 minute break to blog about it. -gw

I have discovered the joy of talking about religion with our IT director. He's Jewish, but I highly suspect he's part Discordian and just doesn't know it... He's given me a religion I'm not yet familiar with to look up... Baha'i (B'ahai?) Rather like being an "eclectic mainstream religion" but I have reasearch to do now.

que sara sara, "Some Good Things," Whatever Will Be Will Be

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

On Ruhi Participants: Emma's Loving Descriptions

Emma's blog, Billy's Box of Magic Tricks, is a wellspring of inspiration with her stories and even poetry. Emma is a Baha'i youth and a Ruhi tutor. Her enthusiasm for the Faith and for Ruhi is infectious. Read her loving descriptions of the members of her Sunday Ruhi study circle. -gw

This is my other ruhi, my origional group. It is made up of my friends Aaron, Colleen, Kendra and Cameron.

Cameron is a newly declared Baha'i and so beautiful in every way, such an assistance to me when I find myself being pulled into misery, he rocks at showing me light again. and he does it simply through loving me so sincerely and purely that it just lifts me up again and empowers me to work really hard to make sure when I leave he will be able to carry on with the service he is now involved in, junoir youth and so on.

Kendra is his glorious girlfriend whose peace of mind enthralls me as she seems so quiet and then responds to life with such detachment and patience that when she speaks, there is true wisdom in her words.

Colleen is made of enthusiasm and joy, ready to leap into anything, a truly willing soul to enter a path of service. She is studying to become a Minister and is loving Ruhi and the thoughts it gives her and the willingness to express herself is really quite inspiring. She longs to give.

Aaron is like a flower. I watch him every day (sunday) as he spreads himself open just a little more, and allows a little more of his beauty to shine within the sun. I am constantly amazed at the clarity he can share the beauty of the quotes we study, and the continously expressed insight of his. I don't actually know if he sees it, but to me he is truly radiant, and will face life as a star. He's planning on going to Japan in a year, and I cannot wait to hear his tales.

Emma, "Listen to My Life," Billy's Box of Magic Tricks