Friday, December 29, 2006

On Blogging Is Cool: Letting Go of the Important Work

Blogging is cool! I enjoy every minute of it. I'm not going to stop, but I am shifting my priorities around a little bit.

Blogging is a cool medium. I think it was my wife who first enunciated this truth for me, sharing something she'd read. It's cool, as in "indirect," cool as in "not warm." Face-to-face is warm.

Blogging serves a wonderful purpose in the world for Baha'is in advancing the Cause. But blogging for teaching purposes depends on Baha'i "boots on the ground," so to speak. It is in face-to-face and soul-to-soul communication that the growth of the Faith ultimately depends.

I have the privilege of living in a very special community. WA Cluster 19 is a so-called "A-cluster." It's potential for growth is extraordinary. Accordingly, I'm going to be giving greater priority in my discretionary time to participation in the core activities of my community. This blog may remain relatively dormant for a while. But it's for a good Cause.

Check out from time to time my other blog, Teaching the Baha'i Faith, to see if I am following through on my intentions.

There is a Baha'i saying: "When the most important work is at hand, let go of the important work."

On Baha'is in Egypt: A Cartoonist Joins the Discourse

Thanks to Marco for finding this and getting permission for bloggers to re-post. -gw

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

On Christmas', Solstices and Yalda Eves (Just) Past: A Collage of Reflections

Here is a Christmas collage of "Baha'i" mentions with a "Yalda Eve" mention thrown in for good measure. -gw

I am not a Baha'i, but I have family and friends who are. This Christmas I received a wonderful gift of a small Baha'i prayer book.

Kelly, "Merry Christmas, everyone," Jitterbug's Beat: We're all God's children in the dark.

21st of Dec. was the winter solstice.... anyhow, as of 22nd of Dec. the position of the earth with respect to the sun will change and the days start to get longer and longer.

it was a very important eve in the ancient era in Iran and perhaps in other old civilizations. they celebrated it as the "Eve of the Sun" or the "Festive of the Sun" in Iran. they kinda believed that sun is born/reborn at this time. that's why it was called "Yalda Eve", Yalda is a Persian word with Arabic roots, which means "birth/rebirth". the Iranian calendar at the time had 7 months only, and the 22nd of Dec. was the first day of the year.

it is also said that later they celebrated it for 40 days, since they believed on the 40th day the sun would shine better and brightier, and the dark days of the winter are gone...some other historians believe that since Christians didn't know the exact birthday of the Jesus, they took this great eve as the time Jesus was born, and celebrated it as such.

years passed, "Yalda Eve" still remained as an important day in Iran, but the Iranian calendar got 5 more months added to it gradually. and interestingly enough, they now believed that on the 40th day after 22 of Dec. a savior will be reborn to bring peace and justice into earth. seems they got this back from the christians then!

many years passed until the Iranians changed the new year's eve to 21st of March, although the Yalda Eve is still celebrated as the longest evening/night of the year! HAPPY YALDA/ THE EVE OF THE SUN TO EVERYONE!

Paradox, "Off and On," Paradox

Today was Christmas, and I received many lovely, lovely gifts. I adore my new charms, I'm going to have them put on my bracelet on Wednesday. Charms are always my favorite gifts, because they're so hard to find these days, so when anyone puts the effort in to get the right charm for me, I always am so grateful. I might try to find a little nine-pointed star when I'm at Green Acre on Thursday. Anyway, everything was fantastic. I went to my step fathers house this evening and we did a gift exchange, and my brother convinced to bounce on a trampoline with him. He brings out the little girl in me. I adore my little brother. I saw he had a few bibles in his room. I had no idea! I told him how excited I was to see that as I listened to him play the guitar (he's making such progress!). I ended up leaving him some Baha'i literature. I didn't know he was seeking spirituality... I wish him all the best on his spiritual journey. He's fourteen.

I was at the Open Mic at the Chicago Baha'i Center and Emil was hosting. He said that he was going to call on people, and if they didn't have something to perform they could sing a christmas song...

Well Christmas is over, and I have to, once again, swim against the grain and say that I loved it, and I am NOT glad it is over. Sorry folks, but there it is. I was always profoundly delighted by the event, every aspect of it, and I am still childishly gleeful about the whole thing, although I do manage a greater level of restraint than I did as a kid. I am not even a Christian, and it is still amazing fun. I am Baha'i, but was brought up by atheists who did the pagan style christmas, you know trees, lights, presents, food, but no mention of any sort of god or religion.

On Learning and Serving in India: Thaddeus Is Getting Down to Earth

Thaddeus is in India, attending school and serving the Faith. You may remember him from a previous post on this blog. -gw
The semester has ended here and my fellow students are beginning to fly out and head home. I on the other hand will be beginning a journey throughout India for about a week and a half. I will be heading to Panchgani first, which is around a 18 hour bus ride from Bangalore. There is a Baha'i winter School happening there which will be three days and should prove to be quite a great experience! After that I will continue on to Pune and catch a flight to Delhi, stay there for a few days and visit the Baha'i Lotus temple, will then take a train to Agra to see the Taj Mahal and then will go back to delhi and catch a flight back to Bangalore. I then hope to go out to some remote villages which I have been invited to come to by some Baha'i friends of mine. They wish me to come out and work with the children, God willing it will work out so I can experience a part of Indian life which I have had very little contact with, that is a rural life. It is interesting because the majority of the population of India exists in the rural villages, and not the cities. I have experienced a part of India which a very tiny fraction of Indians actually get to experience and am looking forward to getting "down to earth" with how most of the populous exists.
Note: My complements to Thaddeus for the look of his blog. His adaptation of Google's venerable "Harbor Lights" blog template is worthy of emulation. -gw

Friday, December 22, 2006

On Roger Prentice's Spiritualizing Pedagogy: Education as the art of working with the human spirit

How do Baha'is conceptualize education? Roger Prentice has advanced a SunWALK model. I found it here. But it is also available here, the primary website. Below is an abstract of the dissertation by Roger outlining the model submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Sunderland for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in October 2003. -gw

This autobiographically-derived, and narratively-voiced, thesis is one teacher’s story. From the story a spiritualizing model of education is argued, toward making a paradigm shift. The suggested shift involves placing ‘technical’ learning within the context of being and becoming fully, and positively, human. Teaching then becomes a matter of enabling development of the individual’s Caring, Creative and Critical abilities, developed within the Community (the 4Cs), inspired by the light of higher-order values - the remainder being processes and content. The thesis makes an original contribution to educational knowledge through the educational life-story, and through making explicit a model out of that life-experience. The suggested model of spiritualizing pedagogy, called SunWALK, therefore is grounded in accounts of the writer’s major educational life-events. In particular it presents epiphanous encounters undergone in meeting three ‘discourse-communities’: the Baha’i Faith, the teaching of English, and Philosophy for Children. These are seen as providing the three intrapersonal ‘voices’ of human engagement, Caring, Creativity and Criticality, which correspondingly have three ways of knowing: the ‘social-others-centred’, the ‘subjective-creative-mystical’ and the ‘objective-reasoning-scientific’. A fourth discourse-community, that of holistic education, is the educational sub-domain to situate the thesis. A conceptual framework for the model is outlined, using concepts gleaned from the four discourse-communities. A view of ‘the Whole’, and of heart-knowing, is presented, to counter-balance the conceptual. Heart-knowing, the ‘subjective-creative-mystical’, is seen as an innate, intuitive way of knowing, c.f. the methods of the ‘objective-reasoning-scientific’. The third form, i.e. social knowing, is seen as deriving from the cultural interpersonal matrix of family and community relationships – internalized as Caring. The conceptual and heart-knowing are brought together, via a ‘conceptual-contemplative-conceptual’ cyclical approach, using a ‘Mandala Diagram’. The idea of ‘Dialectical Spiritualization’ is developed, as that which the four ‘Cs’ have in common. A summary and diagram, and evaluation, conclude the thesis.

Roger Prentice, "Thesis," Sunwalker's Vox

{Re-posted with permission}

Thursday, December 21, 2006

On the Baha'i Laws for Burial: Katya really liked them

What's in your wallet? If you have a Baha'i ID, what's on the back? -gw

"Cemetary, where many Bahai's are buried,"uploaded on October 15, 2006 by christine.adgirl on flickr

katya and i were sitting and waiting for the econ finals to be passed out and she started sifting through my wallet.

"what are the baha'i laws for burial?"

she had found my baha'i id, which has a request on the back that i be buried according to the baha'i laws of burial if something were to happen. uuum.... i couldn't really remember. i knew there was something about how far you can be buried from the site of your death.

"really like that"

and we launched into a discussion about how we perceive death and deal with it in our culture. death... or loss in general. why do we have so much trouble letting go of things when they're gone? just because something or someone isn't with us anymore doesn't mean all that we had is lost. katya described how, her only memory of all her cousins being together in one place at the same time was at a family member's funeral... so, in addition to being too attached to people lost, how is it that we forget to make the time for each other when we're still here? and then she said something enlightening...

"sometimes we just too caught up thinking about what could have been, instead of appreciating what was"

then our final started and we stopped talking. that's not meant to be deep, lol, it just happened.

Dorri, What Was," Ponderings

{Re-posted with permission}

On a New Blog, New Legal World Order: A think tank on the advancement of law, ethics and justice from a Baha'i perspective

Blogs are being used in many ways beyond strickly personal journaling. New Legal World Order is a case in point. -gw

Welcome to the New Legal World Order Blog created by the participants of the European Bahai Law Conference in the Netherlands on December 16, 2006.The objective of this blog is to encourage the collaborative efforts, the scholarship and network of lawyers, students, professionals, and academics interested in the advancement of justice, ethics and law.We invite you to contribute to this blog, suggest articles, review books, share experiences and or inspiring quotes, and the overall exchange of ideas.

Monday, December 18, 2006

On LJBaha'i: Genna's Testimonial

In telling her story, Genna offers a testimonial about LJBaha'i. -gw

About five or six years ago, now, I decided to become a Baha'i. This was mostly because all of the Baha'is I knew were really nice people and gave me cookies, and because all of their study groups I'd attended were interesting and historical. A few months later I realized that a whole new religion, especially one that intended to encompass all previous religions, was too much for me, and I slipped back into Christianity since, I figured, it'd be easier to find God along a familliar path.

In the meantime, though, I joined lj-bahai, which I still belong to because it's pretty much the only place I've found where, every now and then, there's sincere, yet polite, religious discussion.

Genna, "This weekend was a good one," The · World · is · Quiet · Here: The life and times of G, the Minister of Propaganda, who may actually exist

Saturday, December 16, 2006

On The Baha'i Faith in Egypt: A Sad Day for Human Rights

The blog Baha'i Faith in Egypt reports today that the Supreme Court in that country ruled against the Baha'is in their appeal...

" reverse the lower court’s ruling of 4 April 2006 that favored the Baha'is right to being identified as such for the purpose of official documents. It also ordered the Bahá’í couple who had initiated the original lawsuit against the Ministry of Interior--demanding to be granted the right to obtain identification documents--to pay all court costs."

For the full story, read Egyptian-born Bilo's blog for its current and past postings. As he notes,

"Naturally, the Baha'is are a bit disappointed, but do understand that this crisis will ultimately lead to many victories, many of which can be seen already--a direct result of their suffering."

Bilo quotes the following passage from the document One Common Faith on his side bar:

Everything in its history has equipped the Bahá’í Cause to address the challenge facing it. Even at this relatively early stage of its development—and relatively limited as its resources presently are—the Bahá’í enterprise is fully deserving of the respect it is winning. An onlooker need not accept its claims to Divine origin in order to appreciate what is being accomplished. Taken simply as this-worldly phenomena, the nature and achievements of the Bahá’í community are their own justification for attention on the part of anyone seriously concerned with the crisis of civilization, because they are evidence that the world’s peoples, in all their diversity, can learn to live and work and find fulfilment as a single race, in a single global homeland.

Friday, December 15, 2006

On Social Economic Development: A Baha'i Exemplar

Ed demonstrates the impact one person can have on the social economic development of a community. Ed is a Baha'i. -gw

I left Winnipeg to experiment with something new, also on a quest for simplicity. I landed in a little place I visited years ago in the Dominican Republic. The people here remembered me from having volunteered there long ago, and welcomed me with open arms. It's a land of coffee farmers, no electricity, beater cars (my fellow car club members), little supplies, no local super value. I have chickens running through my room, bachata playing loud at the neighbors, much smaller and less various diet but good.

After making repeated excursions from my safe hotel base in San Jose de Ocoa, to this town of LaBocaina one hour north, I was integrated in the Community as a live in guest with a family who ran the local store, which happened to be located in their house. They basically adopted me. I spent time getting to know the local people, the culture and the area as well as learning Spanish.

As a way to get more involved, as well as a way to try to help out, I engaged in growing crops with Julito, the papa, and a coffee farmer. I offered to assist other families put in crops too. They were curious as to why I would leave the land of milk and honey in order to come to the land of rice and beans - everytime I answered the same thing; something different, more quiet pace, nature, an opportunity to try small scale agriculture, the adventure. The dream of so many Dominicans is to make it to New York, and I am dreaming the opposite way, so they have accepted me as insane.I never set out to look for differences but I noticed that one does enter into a world of

'con Dios', ' gracias a Dios' or 'si Dios quiere' - a sincere expression of their richness of faith.

Ed, "The Story," Life in LaBocaina

{Re-posted with permission}

Thursday, December 14, 2006

On Random Blog Mentions of "Baha'i": Mediating conflicts, nailing exam questions, and wondering when the neighbors put up the wreath

Random blog mentions of "Baha'i" that caught my eye. -gw

We can have the Baha'i's mediate any conflicts over parking around mosque's, churches and synagogues.

Chuck Terzilla, "Say buy buy to religion," re-posted by Inked Aires on MySpace

Oops, I thought my religions exam was at 7:30 and it turns out it was 5:30 x.x Luckily Mush came back from hunting early and I got there in time. I know I nailed Islam and Baha'i cold, and I got a pretty good feeling on how did with Judaism, but Christianity is about the only thing that caught me up short... Ironic I know.

Angelique Daemon, "Things are looking up... a little...," Incoherent Ramblings of an Accused Vampire: An Upclose Look at Insanity

...I took the elevator down to the lobby with my laundry so that I could put money on the laundry card. All's well, right? Somehow I got off on the floor below mine. Put my laundry in the washer on the floor below mine. Walked back to the analogous apartment on the floor below mine. Wondered when all that plaster dust had gotten on the hall carpet outside the door. Wondered when the next-door neighboors, who are Baha'i as far as I know, had put up a wreath and ornament clings on the door. Tried the door, which wouldn't fit my key, but that was okay, because it was unlocked. And then checked the number on the door. Thank heaven it was an empty apartment under construction.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

On Doing, Living, and Loving the Ruhi Institute Process: Welcome Amanda

"welcome sister, welcome - Ashley just signed her card Saturday. Yayyyy!"
Uploaded on
February 6, 2006 by ryran on flickr
From Emma of Billy's Box of Magic Tricks this good news. -gw

We are walking
walking as one
stamp upon the ground
O people of Baha
make your mark upon this earth
we are walking
Amanda has decided to become a Baha'i.

Emma, "We are dancing." Billy's Box of Magic Tricks


Emma has been deeply involved in the Ruhi Institute process, as is Amanda now. Here is an excerpt from Emma's reflection on the process in a previous post. -gw

The sequence of institute courses does not stand alone. It is the breath that welcomes hearts into knowing the words of Baha’u’llah, into sharing the words of Baha’u’llah, and having a group of friends to share their experiences with. When I invited my friends to a book one six months ago, I had no idea that by now it would have turned into a teaching team, a junior youth program, devotional gathering, and so much more, with a growing community of interest flourishing from just a few simple practices. It doesn’t matter who has declared, or who hasn’t. They are all so supportive of each other’s teaching experiences and working together to build Baha’u’llah’s world. The longing for service within each of us just comes out like a brilliant star shining from our hearts. And so we do it. We live it. We love it.

Emma, "a talk I gave. fun stuff. I'm in love." Billy's Box of Magic Tricks

On Some Best Baha'i Bloggers: Sources of Inspiration

"Barney Leith (left) and Marco Oliveira (right) are both Baha'i bloggers. They met at the National Baha'i Centre in London," uploaded on October 10, 2006 by John Barnabas on flickr

Below are just a few Baha'i bloggers of many who have been an inspiration to me, whose presence is highly visible in the blogosphere either by virtue of the quality of their blog(s), the extent to which they include Baha'i content on their blog, the length of time they have been blogging, the number of posts on their blog(s), their presence via comments on other blogs, and/or some other distinction. -gw

Marco Oliveira


Barney Leith

Dan Jones

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

On a Poor Wayfaring Stranger: What are you doing in Kurdistan?

I visited a synagogue in Cairo today. It was very depressing. If you look carefully at the two symbols on either side of the picture, you'll see something you don't see to often here--a star of David. I wanted to see if I could go in, but the entrance was gated and covered up, with sounds of construction equipment coming from inside. Also, if you look carefully, you can see the guards in each doorway. There were about four policemen total around the building, I imagine stationed there at all times. I was across the street, kind of looking up at it and staring, when some random guy came by and said "no, no, no" and kind of waved his hands around. "It's a house of God," I said softly and slowly turned and walked away. It tears me apart to see a house of worship under armed guard and shunned by the people around it.

How many of us wish that we could travel the world? Benjamin is living the dream of many of us. Benjamin, or IwSFutCMD, has a blog on Xanga entitled I'm just a poor, wayfaring stranger, travellin' through this world alone. Here are a few excerpts providing background, his current traveling schedule, and a few paragraphs from an entry that describes a recent adventure that sounds rather harrowing. -gw

Sunday, March 27, 2005: I'm an American student in Cairo, at the American University in Cairo. I'll be here until May or June. I'm originally from California, grew up in South Lake Tahoe, live in San Diego, UCSD. I'm kind of a language geek. And I've turned into a travel geek fairly recently.

Sunday, October 08, 2006: I have a ticket to İstanbul for the 22 of November. I'll be there for a few days, then I'll be heading further into Türkiye, then, العراق (Iraq)! Well, كوردستان (Kurdistan). Yup, I'm gonna be one of the only independant travellers in العراق. I'm going to see هه‌ولێر (Arbil), سلێمانی (Sulaymaniyah), زاخو (Zakho), and whereever else is cool in كوردستان. I'd like to go to كركوك (Kirkuk), but it'll depend on how it looks when I get there. Then, after كوردستان, I'm thinking of going back to Türkiye, maybe (big maybe, just thinking about it right now) heading out to България (Bulgaria) and România for a little bit (I've got a friend in Bucureşti and I want to buy a new, nice balalaika), then (this part is for sure) flying from İstanbul to भारत (India), where I'm going to bum around for a month or so with my friend Darshana then trying to find a job, preferebly in मुंबई (Mumbai). So, if anybody reading has any cool places to check out in any of those countries (pref. in كوردستان, hard to find guides for that area!) comment me up and give me some info.

Sunday, December 10, 2006: Next, I arrive at the police station..... They start to question me.

"What are you doing in Kurdistan?"


"Where are you from?"

"California, USA"

"Why are you really here in Kurdistan?"


"I don't believe you are American."

"No no no, I'm really American! I'm from San Francisco!"

"What's your job?"

"I'm a student."

"What's your religion?"

"I'm Baha'i."

"What is this?"

I proceed to explain what the Baha'i faith is.

He seems to take an interest when I mention that our prophet is from Iran. "Why do you have this song 'Mawlay' on your iPod?" Mawlay is an Arabic song. Apparently, it's religious, but I just have it because I like the way it sounds.

This intense questioning goes on for about an hour.... Eventually, they lead me into another room, where the head of security is sitting. He then tells me that I'm a guest here, I'm not under suspicion, but the fact that I have a GPS made them nervous. Also, apparently the mosque I visited is soon to be full of pilgrims going to the Hajj. So they were just a bit nervous about a foreigner with a GPS taking pictures of a place where a bunch of people were soon to gather. After that, they let me go, even giving me a ride to my hotel.

{Re-posted with permission}

On Attachment Theory and a Baha'i View: The Wildfire Dance Theatre Visits Dr Phil

Dr. Phil offers hospitality and writes about it on his blog. -gw
It was a pleasure to have the company of the Wildfire Dance Theatre troup visiting Stratford. They came for Tuesday fireside and it was good fun, so I invited them to come back Wed eve for supper and we talked about Hope. With the topic we migrated to hope for our children (their children) and on to 'raising children', attachment theory and a Baha'i view.
{Re-posted with permission}
"The Wildfire Dance Theatre is a social and economic development project that uses the arts to explore issues and circumstances relevant to our world."

Sunday, December 10, 2006

On Baha'i Websites: Globetrotting for National Communities

As a perusal of The Baha'is website quickly indicates, the Baha'i community is global. It is possible to hop with ease from website to website around the Baha'i world by clicking on any one of the numerous national Baha'i communities websites available starting here.

Take Poland, for example. Poland is one of 37 national Baha'i communities in Europe to have its own website. Here is something I learned going to the Polish Baha'i community website. -gw

The first known mentions of the Baha’i Faith in Poland were in the magazines “Bluszcz” (1871) and “Gazeta Polska” (1875) and were written by Aleksander Walerian Jabłonowski (1823-1913). From 19th-century sources it appears that at least two Jews of the Polish regiment, stationed in Ashkhabad, were registered by the authorities as Bahá’ís. Another Polish Bahá’í, working in Russia, was Izabela Grinevskaia (1864-1944), who wrote a play about the Báb.
Nabil, a Baha'i youth from Poland, at the Acuto (Italy) 2006 conference, uploaded on August 15, 2006 by sahbapasta on flickr

Friday, December 08, 2006

On The Baha'i Calendar: Thinking of Converting?

With thanks to the blog the (new) legal writer: A collection of resources for lawyers, who write, here is a link towhere you can access "a calendar converter for converting dates between the Gregorian, Julian, Mayan, Persian, Indian, Hebrew, Baha'i, Islamic, and French Republican calendars." -gw

"The Bahá'í calendar is a solar calendar organised as a hierarchy of cycles, each of length 19, commemorating the 19 year period between the 1844 proclamation of the Báb in Shiraz and the revelation by Bahá'u'lláh in 1863."

Thursday, December 07, 2006

On Celebrating Christmas: Turning Heads and Joining Hearts

"Getting ready for Christmas?" he asked, and turned to face forward again. Some impulse made me decide to catch him by surprise.

"Actually, I don't celebrate Christmas," I responded. (I'm a Baha'i.) He jerked his head around to look at me abruptly.

Heather Brandon, "Spooky times in the 'hood," Urban Compass: Life in the City

Not celebrate Christmas? That statement may cause heads to turn in some neighborhoods.

Annie asks in a comment to a previous post why Baha'is don't celebrate Christmas. One answer might be, for the same reason that Christians don't celebrate the Jewish holidays. Sandy Mullins, the Baha'i editor at BellaOnline: The Voice of Women has a succinct article on "Baha'is and Christmas." As she points out, as Baha'is recognize the essential validity of all religions, there sure would be a lot of holidays to celebrate if we celebrated them all, although that sounds quite fun.

Maybe my wife and I can go to Annie's church again this year on Christmas. We sure enjoyed it when we went two years ago, and now the larger sanctuary is larger, so we might not end up taking away seats from the regular parishioners. I sure loved the songs and the spirit. Here is the website for Discovery Baptish Church. My dear daughter-in-law can be seen with my son Ruh'u'llah in one of the masthead pictures. -gw

On Martha Root's Example: Unloose your tongues and proclaim unceasingly His Cause

These pictures aren't from someone else's blog I'm re-posting. They were e-mailed to me today by Barry, a member of my study circle here in WA Cluster 19. He kindly granted me permission to put them out into the blogosphere for others to appreciate. -gw

I sent my son, Josh, who is in the Coast Guard stationed at Barbers Point, Hawaii, on a mission to photograph Martha Root's graveside, and here they are! - Barry

Many people's minds are on Hawaii today, December 7th. It seems fitting to be remembering a person who was forever striving to bring about the Most Great Peace on a day that for has long been associated with the start of a terrible war. -gw

On Christmas in Ireland: Makes This Baha'i Feel Cosy

"christmas yarn," uploaded on December 25, 2005 by pinprick on flickr
Some rights reserved

If it fits you, countdown to Christmas with the Knatty Knitter. -gw

So I am going to give this 'blog a day til Christmas' a try. Thanks for the idea Em, so much fun! 20 days of blogging and each blog must pertain to the number of days left. I can do that...hopefully :) I'm not a Christian and don't really celebrate Christmas, well I do but it's not strictly my holiday (does that make sense?). I'm a Baha'i and our Christmas-type holiday is in November and our New Year in March (Spring Equinox...oh yeah!) But my Ma's family are all Catholic and I used to spend every Christmas with them, going to Midnight Mass and putting up the tree, so it's part of my year and Christmas in Ireland is beautiful. It is truly a family time of year and DB celebrates it and I'm a big kid so I love the season and this festival of lights in the dark of winter. Makes me very happy and cosy feeling.

" 20 days 'til Crimbo," Knatty Knitter

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

On the Nations in Turmoil: Arthur Prays with His Grandson

Uploaded on August 23, 2005 by Michael P. Whelan on flickr
Psalms 2

Why are the nations in turmoil?
Why do the peoples hatch their futile plots?
The kings of the earth stand ready,
and the rulers conspire together
against the LORD and his anointed king.'
Let us break their fetters,' they cry,'
let us throw off their chains!'
The Lord who sits enthroned in heaven
laughs them to scorn;
then he rebukes them in anger,
he threatens them in his wrath.
Of me he says, 'I have enthroned my king
On Zion my holy mountain.
'I will repeat the LORD's decree:
'You are my son,' he said;
'this day I become your father.
Ask of me what you will:
I will give you nations as your inheritance,
the ends of the earth as your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron,
you shall shatter them like a clay pot.'
Be mindful then, you kings;
learn your lesson, rulers of the earth:
worship the LORD with reverence;
tremble, and kiss the king,
lest the LORD be angry
and you are struck down in mid course;
for his anger flares up in a moment.
Happy are all who find refuge in him.

"How does this apply now?" the blogger asks in his post "Modern Times." "In modern times men fall into ancient patterns."

This quote from Psalms is one of the many "finds" of the blogger of Thoughts on a Five Year Plan, a rich source for daily reflection, as I have discovered. The blogger, Arthur Wendover, explains, "I began this Diary on my own website four months ago and am now trying it as a Blog." His website is...
Below are recent post titles from Thoughts on a Five Year Plan. -gw
"Beachstar," uploaded on April 28, 2006 by banjosmutt on flickr
I have watched the reaction of my two year old grandson with interest. When nap time comes I say a child's prayer with him. He becomes a completely different personality. Calm, concentrated, happy, anticipating each word I say.

"O God, guide me, protect me, make of me a shining lamp and a brilliant star. Thou art the Mighty and the Powerful."- 'Abdu'l-Bahá

On Teaching Virtues to Children: Sara and Greg in Indonesia

Second row from the top, left side, in this picture from Cluster 19, Washington State, is Sara and Greg before they left for Indonesia.

Sara writes of her Baha'i activities with her husband Greg in Indonesia on her blog A World Citizen's Report. -gw

Back in Surabaya, we plunged into the planning of a special 'open house' for the parents of the students in the virtues class we've been involved with. Four mothers came. We began by telling them about the Baha'i principle that all religions come from the same God (whatever the name) and thus there were many ways to pray. After prayers, we talked about the necessity for moral education - if school can make you into a doctor, what will make you into a good doctor? If school can make you into a policeman, what will make you an honest police man, free of corruption (a big issue here)?

Immediately, the mothers began grinning, and saying that since they spent all their time in the market, that their children were lacking in this aspect and they were so happy to have sent their children. Their first response was to thank the teachers profusely. One of the mothers who had been sending her children (model students), had been previously concerned that there wasn't any writing and learning going on. When she learned about the activities, she asked if she could bring her neighbor's children. The activities include crafts, drama, songs, science and so forth to illustrate virtues like generosity, truthfulness, perseverance and cleanliness. In short, the response was so good that the man living in the house forgot all about his fears of having too many children coming to his home for the classes.

Sara, A World Citizen's Report: Follow My Travels and Adventures Living in Indonesia

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