Thursday, May 31, 2007

On a Personal Attempt to Understand: Neysn Is Sharing

The increasing quality of Baha'i blog content is amazing. Another case in point: Caring is Sharing: a personal attempt to understand by neysn in the Czech Republic. Check out these post titles and see if you can resist clicking over to read these quality reflections. Betcha can't. -gw

do we need Baha’u\'llah?
the challenge: from global warming to ruhi

“He taught me how to teach”:
our dominating passion a challenge?

contemplating prayer and lip service:
the Bible and Baha’u\'llah

a hybrid of starfish and spiders:
what Toyota and the Baha’i Administration have in common

a church in search of itself?
Prophecy Fulfilled

Photo: Hluboka, Czech Republic, uploaded on February 12, 2007 by Hamy_Hai on flickr

On Truths of the Day: Just because I follow one set of beliefs doesn't mean that the beliefs of another person are less sacred to them

The Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois, never fails to teach. -gw

We enjoyed lunch together at Chipotle, after which the ... guys went with me to buy a pair of hiking shoes. Once I was freshly shod, we were off to the Baha'i Temple in Wilmette. We only had to go a couple stops North on the "L", walk a couple blocks, and we were there. Standing in front of that building was an awe-inspiring experience. People who practice the Baha'i faith believe that all prophets (examples of people they include among prophets include: Jesus, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Mohammad, etc.) bring us closer to understanding God. The buildings they construct are meant to inspire unity among all people. I can't see myself converting, but I love love love how the Baha'i faith doesn't devalue the primary figures in other religions. Just because I follow one set of beliefs doesn't mean that the beliefs of another person are less sacred to them.
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Friday night we went to the Intervarsity fellowship Dave and Steve belong to. That was definitely a nostalgic experience. Watching them set up the auditorium and jam for a couple hours made we think about my time with Cornell's Intervarsity fellowship. Good times.
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{Re-posted with permission}
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Photo: Tags - "intervarsity, urbana, 2006," Uploaded on March 29, 2007 by calivcf on flickr

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

On Baha'i Summer Schools: Bangladore Summer School 2007

Summertime, summertime, sum- sum- summertime. Well, not exactly by the calendar, but close enough. Time for Baha'i School in Bangladore.Praveen provides a great slide show. -gw


Praveen (spraveenitpro) wrote,@ 2007-05-30 14:22:00
Current mood: artistic

Floatin like a leaf on the river of life....
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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

On Godmothers and Wise Women: Formidably strong and delightful and brilliant enough to let me ride in their slip-stream

Oreneta gives thanks to Godly women. -gw

http://orenetaaground.blogspot.com/2007/05/my-godmother-and-others.html

My Godmother is here visiting, as I have mentioned before, and I am having a marvelous time. There is a story of the beginning of our relationship. I know one side. I should ask for her version. What I know is that when I was a baby my parents did not have me baptised. Now you may ask yourself how I came to have a Godmother in that instance, but my Godmother felt that since I would not have a Godmother, and as far as the story I know goes, she would be unlikely to garner any Godchildren so I was chosen by her. Can't say that I had all that much to do with it at the time, but one of the lovely things about having her here is that it is the longest time that we have gotten to spend together since I was a child. She lived in Germany for as long as I can remember, and she now lives in Latvia so we have only seen each other on brief visits; but she has always turned up in my life periodically and my parents are still friends of hers, thankfully. I am pleased to feel that she is a friend of mine too.
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She knows mountainous volumes about literature and art and music, and I am deeply enjoying talking with her about it all, my knowledge is much less extensive as well as more restricted to the English speaking world, and especially North American literature. She, along with Beth at Books Etc have gotten me started on my second Atwood novel, the first was a disaster and I swore I would never pick up another...but...We both drink at least a litre of tea in the morning.
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Neither of us can remove a stain from clothing for love or money. I love her taste in clothes, she always manages to look both cool and comfortable and herself. She has taught English for many many years, and I am teaching English as well, and we both share a fascination with words and language.
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One of the things I am enjoying immensely is her astute outlook on many issues. I am also trying not to talk her ear off. I fell into this trap when I was travelling alone. I would find someone I could speak to, and who interested me, and who seemed at least faintly interested, and I hadn't talked to a soul in a meaningful way in SOOOOO long... I just about talk their minds out the other side of their heads I think. I am finding myself consciously holding back sometimes now. It is so nice to have another adult to talk to. No slagging my husband here, he is the best, but there is no way on God's green earth that any one person can fulfill every single need of another, and it is too much to ask.
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I have other informal God mothers, though I am not sure that they are old enough to count...maybe mentor-friends...? I feel very lucky to have these other women in my life, and I miss them badly. I worked with one for years. She is a deeply philosophical thinking human being. There is not a move she makes that is not a direct reflection of her values and beliefs; and she is the one who let me in on the Baha'i faith. She is a good person, a great person, and very dear to me.
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I have a friend I met sailing years and years ago who can face, as far as I have seen, almost any adversity with a sense of humour and inborn wisdom that I find hard to match. I aspire to it. Her kids are also about five years older than mine, so when something weird starts up, or I lose faith in myself and my knowledge and decisions, she is a sounding board that is both funny, wise and experienced.

"Wise women," Uploaded on July 7, 2006 by Omabluebird on flickr
I have another friend, also a Baha'i, who lives an intensely generous life. She is phenomenally talented as a writer, actor, dancer, teacher, choreographer....and she gives and gives and gives, of herself, her creativity, her intellect, her will, her determination to make everything around her better for her having been there, and she succeeds. I love her directness, and brilliance, and her perspective and honesty and her deep down integrity to what she believes in and what she does.I am lucky to have any number of other fantastic friends, and soul mates, and kindred spirits who all fill me with joy and delight. I am just thinking at this moment of my nominated mentors, my unspoken teachers. Some of the wise women I am lucky to call friends, who are further along the path, be that intellectual, spiritual, with wisdom or humour and perspective, because they are so closely linked..., and who have been formidably strong and delightful and brilliant enough to let me ride in their slip-stream for some time.
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These are women who have managed, either directly or indirectly to influence who I am, and how I see the world, and what I know and think and reason for the better.
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Oreneta, "My Godmother and others," oreneta aground: Hola, bon dia. Que tal? Ohhhhhh, una pregunta petita....... on es la nostre barca de vela?

{Re-posted with permission}

On Michael's Ruhi Albums: Heavenly souls must needs quicken

Album:
Ruhi, Book 6
8 of 20


Michael, photographer and lover of light, who created the slide above, carries around with him the Baha'i Writings in their entirety on his Palm Pilot and in his heart, as I learned over fried fish, eggs and rice yesterday morning. -gw

{Re-posted with permission}

On Personal Stories: My husband gave me the greatest gift, introducing me to the Baha'i Faith

Getting to read blogger's personal stories to the extent they wish to share them is one of the bounties of blogging. The blogger of e's knitting and spinning blog is currently working on the Katherine Hepburn cardigan sweater. -gw

"Closeup of the Katherine Hepburn cardigan, dry blocked," uploaded on May 16, 2007 by taniadebrown on flickr

Seven unusual things about me:

1. I grew up in a rough part of Detroit. My parents grew up there and we just didn't move until I started college. I still have nightmares about people breaking into our house. It made me a pretty aware person though.


2. This leads me to my next one which is I attended High School in Canada. I lived in Detroit and attended Catholic Grade school there but it was still pretty rough. We are talking about drugs in a catholic grade school 30 years ago. So my parents gave me a choice -all girls catholic school in the burbs or go to my uncle's Canadian Alma Mater. Not much of a choice eh.

3. Which leads to my third one. I'm only second generation american(my mom and her siblings were sent to boarding school in Canada because my grandparents were originally from europe and that is just what they did. Thankfully by the time I went there it was only a boarding school for boys so I commuted.)

4. Which leads to the next one. My parents both being first generation american, my life style and views were not so far from 'the old country' so when I moved to Indianapolis and started attending college I was kind of a misfit. I was much more comfortable with the foreign students. It was there I met my now American but then Iranian husband:-)

"Scuba Diving Great Barrier Reef Australia ,"
Uploaded on December 2, 2006 by
jessicablemberg on flickr
Which leads me to 5&6. My husband gave me the greatest gift (although I love him dearly it was not his love), he introduced me to the Baha'i faith. I think deciding your faith as an adult is unusual. I was always unsatisfied with my Catholic faith though I loved it and repected it, I felt something was missing. When my husband and I got into religous discussions I was shocked to find his religous beliefs were mine. I couldn't belive there was an actual religion for what I believed. I don't think of it as converting, I think of it as embracing.

Six is that I speak Farsi fluently. Unfortunately I can't write or read yet.

7.We haven't been able to do it lately but I love scuba diving. My husband and I both love the water and animals so scuba diving was not a surprise:-) Unfortunately living in the midwest with small children is not conducive to scuba diving. We are hoping to do the Great Barrier Reef next year. Inshallah!!

e, "The computer is being mean!" e's knitting and spinning blog

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{Re-posted with permission}

On Uganda's Baha'i House of Worship: Where Nature, Faith, and Artistic Beauty Reign

From Gary, who got the link from Lenore, this article on the Baha'i House of Worship in Kampala, Uganda, Africa. -gw

Uganda's Bahá'í Temple
The Bahai Temple: Where nature, faith and artistic beauty reign.

By Gerald Rulekere
First published: September 7, 2006

It has been hailed as one of the wonders of not only Uganda, but of Africa as a whole. The Bahá'í Temple, about 7 kilometers from Kampala city center has awed and amazed many visitors not only because of its architectural splendor, but also because of the beautiful natural environment in which it majestically stands. Perched at the top of Kikaya hill, it can be seen from any of Kampala's hills...

http://www.ugpulse.com/articles/daily/homepage.asp?ID=491

Photo: "The one and only Baha'i temple on the African continent. Its lucky home is in Kampala, Uganda." Uploaded on December 11, 2005 by beccabug on flickr

On Baby Adam: Resting in Peace


Thanks to Natascha, here is an update on Baby Adam, lovingly cared for by Daphne, a Baha'i youth. -gw

Dear George,
I got this google alert in my inbox today about a baby boy, Adam, who had passed away in Malaysia


It rang a bell and I remembered that you had posted a story and link about this same baby last October…

It is a very touching story, with a beginning and an end in this earthly life.

With Bahá’í love,
Natascha

On a Week Without Blogging: It Didn't Kill Me

http://blog.myspace.com/tarazullah
A week away from blogging. Hard to believe it happened. It didn't kill me. The world went on in God's good hands. The Cascade Mountains and the waters of Lake Wenatchee, esp. the west end wetlands, reminded us of Him. Birthdays were celebrated. Kids and some parents had their camera's going, the results of which have already made it to ... blogs here and here. -gw

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

On Watching the History Channel and Googling a Religion: Any Baha'i "Worships" Nearby?

Cameron from Clemson catches a program on TV, hears of a new religion, and googles it. She is feeling pretty open about what she believes. -gw

"Clemson University Walkway to English Department," uploaded on April 8, 2006 by tikpaklong on flickr

I heard mention of this religion while I was watching the history channel the other day so I decided just to Google it and see what it was all about. It is called the Baha'i faith and I am not going to attempt to explain everything about it right now. But, it believes in a united global community and bringing people together through religion. It could definitely be considered as controversial by some because of all the religions it incorporates but I really can appreciate where they are coming from. I am looking into it to see if there are any Baha'i "worships" nearby so that I can check it out for myself. I am still trying to find out what I believe so I am feeling pretty open.

On Wanting to Explore Other Religions: Does this make me a heretic?

Richie has been thinking about his religious views. -gw

I'd like to explore other religions as well. I'm really interested in learning about the Baha'i faith. The Baha'i faith sees religious history as an evolving educational process for mankind, through God's messengers. These messengers include Buddha, Jesus, the Hebrew prophets, etc. The religion teaches tolerance, unity, the elimination of prejudice, and peace. There is a Baha'i temple in Wilmette, not very far from the high school I used to attend. I've been there once on a field trip, but I'd like to go there for service sometime. Does this make me a heretic? I don't think so.

Richie's Bio: "I play RPGs. ... Long live Suikoden and SMT!"

On Visiting a Baha'i Center with Andrea's Religious Education Class: They were willing to talk seriously about religion

Unitarian Univeralists celebrate many world religions. -gw

Yesterday I went with Andrea's RE class to a Baha'i Center. They were the nicest people! They fed us breakfast and led us through their typical Sunday morning services. Then they split up into groups for classes and we had a really interesting discussion. I thought it was so cool that they were willing to talk seriously about religion with us. They even seemed interested in coming to visit our church.

Rachel, 21 May 2007 @ 10:52 am, socially retarded butterfly

Photo: "This ornament ... is the symbol of UUism-- it represents religious freedom and the never-ending search for truth," uploaded on December 21, 2006 by NancyTwink on flickr

Monday, May 21, 2007

On the Holding of Baha'i Devotional Meetings: From Coast to Coast

"Open Mic Night at the Baha'i Center: David,"
uploaded on August 2, 2006 by neda_zali on flickr

I hosted my first devotional this morning, at the Baha'i Center. It is normally Luke and Diane's week to host a devotional at the center, but since they were out of town, I put together some music and prayers and relied on serious moral support and evening prayers and morning prayers with Nick. But it went off just wonderfully, and had a nice showing.

It's a time of firsts. Over on the East Coast dear Ashley hosted her first devotional meeting at her local Baha'i center. Bonita and I recently started our first weekly Baha'i devotional in our home on the West Coast.

We've had firesides over the years. I was DJ ("Devotional Jockey") George for a monthly devotional meeting sponsored by our community for more than seven years. But never before have we had regular devotions for friends and neighbors in our own home until Myong brought it to mind.

The holding of devotional meetings is a Baha'i "core activity", after all. We're glad to be participating in this fundamental activity along with Baha'is in a multitude of other localities across the planet, feeling at one with the world.

Uploaded on May 21, 2007 by figurita_nl on flickr
Just like days of old, when I would draw together songs for interspersing with the spontaneous devotions of participants at Wright Park, I am once again putting together a CD song list for our home devotions. Given Myong's 12 years of teaching piano in Korea, my selections of late have been a lot of solo piano pieces by the likes of Listz, Chopin, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, and Beethoven, something of a departure from the roots music, black, white and brown, offered at the community devotions. I'm growing quite fond of Listz.

I can't describe how thrilling it is to hear Myong say Baha'i prayers, whether in English or Korean. I just wish we had a piano so Myong could play the songs in between live and in person. That song she played at our First Day of Ridvan Holy Day celebration was a delightful surprise. -gw

On Wearing Korean Traditional Clothing: Scoring big points with Buddhist nuns, senior citizens, and the Baha'is

Traditional Korean dress, uploaded on June 1, 2006 by stewils on flickr
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Our family has special interest in things Korean since we have been getting to know our neighbor Myong who has been studying the Faith with us. From Korea comes this blog entry from Lex. -gw

Today was the Baha'i Northern National Conference, any Baha'i who had the day off and wanted to hear all about last year's statistics and the growth of the Baha'i community in Korea could go. This year there were two conferences - one for the folks who live north of Daejeon and one for the people who live to the south.

I like these kinds of meetings. You get to hear the wrap up of the last year and receive a copy of all of the financial transactions and find out who moved into the country and out of the country and how many Baha'is died and were born, and who went on pilgrimage. It's an event worthy of getting dressed up for.

Korean culture has existed for thousands of years, as has Korean weather. So naturally, you would think that the best clothes to wear here would be the ones that have proven to be effective over the last 30 hundred years, right? Korean traditional clothing is beautiful and modest and made to suit the weather here. I love seeing old people wearing it around, not just for weddings. But that's it, ONLY old people wear it, and that's really a shame. I would love more people alive in Korea today to take stock of traditional Korean things that are really good and to not toss them aside just for the sake of modernity.

I am trying to live by the motto: Be the change you want to see. So, today I wore a blue linen dress and a traditional bamboo-cloth overshirt. First of all, this is the coolest overshirt in the whole world because it is big and boxy and stiff and has big sleeves and it is off-white and somewhat transparent, which makes it extremely cool. The rough weave of the fibers make any slight breeze intensified in the heat and it circulates air on hot days perfectly. And you know how I made all those cool pins, well I put 3 blue pins on the overshirt to make it look uber-fashionable and left the house not knowing what people would think. Like I said, Ive only seen people over the age of 65 wear stuff like this outside, and culturally, I had no idea how people would react to seeing an American in a traditional over shirt.

I am getting to recognise some of the people in my neighborhood, and one of the first people I ran in to on my walk to the subway station was one of my favorite grandmas. I think she might even be a great grandma. She's very old. When I saw her face light up with joy, I figured that I was safe. Most people on the subway under 50 pretended not to notice me, like usual, but everyone over 50 definitely took notice and 5 people even came up to talk to me, and one very old man even pinched my cheeks in a super-cute grandfatherly way. The Buddhist nuns were also quick to beam huge smiles at me, and in a land of very few huge smiles, I was really happy to see that.

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However, no one loved to see me wearing traditional clothes more than the Korean Baha'is.

That's me, over here in Seoul, wooing religionists and old ladies like usual.

Lex, "Scoring big points with Buddhist nuns, senior citizens and The Baha'is," Hello to you: the person reading this! I like you

{Re-posted with permission}

Sunday, May 20, 2007

On "Barnabas Quotidianus": Baha'i Bloggers Gather in England for "5 Keys" Presentation

More on blogging... Great post on Barney's blog on Thane Terrill's visit on behalf of the Baha'i Internet Agency with Baha'i bloggers in England with lots of pics.
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Let me also note that I finally got the spelling right on the link to his blog on my side bar: It's Barnabas Quotidianus, "the Daily Barnabas," always a fount of inspiration.
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Luke speaks of the "other" Barnabas as a "good man" (11:24). That description fits the Baha'i Barnabas as well. -gw
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Photo: Detail, St Barnabas Church, Jericho, Oxford, uploaded on February 7, 2007 by Oxfordshire Church Illustrations on flickr

Friday, May 18, 2007

On the World As an Internet Cafe: Guidance for Baha'is

Below is the letter that a few short months ago caused Baha'i bloggers hunched over computer keyboards from Baltimore to Beijing to experience mysterious bouts of bodily tingling, especially in the tips of their fingers. -gw
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"Cyberness Cafe 4," uploaded on February 11, 2007 by Junior Productions on flickr
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Japanese internet cafe, uploaded on February 11, 2007 by Hapax Legomenon on flickr
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Indian internet cafe, uploaded on August 17, 2005 by Marc Shandro on flickr
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Taiwanese internet cafe, uploaded on November 14, 2004 by jared on flickr
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11 December 2007
Transmitted by email

To selected National Spiritual Assemblies
Dear Bahá’í Friends,
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With the emergence of the Internet as a primary information resource for growing numbers of people worldwide, and more recently as a means of facilitating social networking and novel
forms of collaboration, new ways of sharing Bahá’í precepts, perspectives and experiences with a range of audiences have become possible. It has become evident that to take full advantage of these opportunities a concerted thrust to foster individual initiative on the Internet is necessary.
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In a recent communication to the Bahá’í Internet Agency, the International Teaching Centre ndicates that
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the essential aim of this new thrust would be to produce a groundswell of information about the Faith on the Internet through the flourishing of Web sites, blogs, podcasts, and other appropriate formats, in a range of key languages.Although this focus will undoubtedly incorporate developments under the auspices of Bahá’í institutions, including the establishment of a much greater number of national Web sites, the major and most dynamic thrust is envisaged through the stimulation and support of individual initiatives, particularly amongst the youth. This will necessitate an orientation that fosters creativity and a spirit of enterprise within a broad set of guidelines and recognizes that learning through mistakes will be an inevitable part of the process.
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The Teaching Centre also notes that an increased presence of the Faith on the Internet can serve "as both an effective form of defence and a means of exploiting opportunities afforded by growing media exposure."
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Toward this end of generating an expanding range of quality content about the Faith, we have attached background material and suggestions about new modalities of Internet participation such as blogging and podcasting. This information can be freely shared with the members of your communities. We especially encourage you to cultivate the involvement of youth in this arena of action. Sessions or workshops at youth conferences might well offer useful venues to create awareness and capacity in this regard. To promote learning about promising approaches, we hope to establish an ongoing exchange with you concerning innovative ideas carried out by individuals that increase the visibility of the Faith on the Internet or draw inquirers into Bahá’í community activity.
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Internet initiatives should of course be carried out within the framework of institutional guidance and in light of cardinal Bahá’í principles such as moderation, courtesy, probity, fairness, dignity and wisdom. Individual and institutional undertakings on the Internet are complementary in nature—activities to be pursued in consonance with the overall objectives of the current global Plan. In this respect, the International Teaching Centre emphasizes that "the presentation of the Faith on the Internet, and through other media, will undoubtedly prove an important area of experience and learning in advancing the process of entry by troops—the singular aim of the Five Year Plan."
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With loving greetings,
Bahá’í Internet Agency
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"My Hmong girls at the internet café,"
uploaded on May 14, 2007
by kekekekekekeke on flickr

On a Blog of Extraordinary Quality, "Baha'i Epistolary": The astonishments of life as a Bahá'í

Flamenco dancer, uploaded on September 24, 2006 by 45street on flickr

A Baha'i blog of the most extraordinary quality is Ismael Velasco's Baha'i Epistolary, which he describes as "reflections written in the midst of conversation about the astonishments of life as a Bahá'í." Every word on its pages glisten with wonder, deep personal insights, and devotion to the Cause of Baha'u'llah.

This dear soul is not afraid to approach any subject. He has, for, example, focused on these issues of great import involving the Baha'i communuity: culture, due process, growth, the institute process, intimacy, mass teaching, Native Americans, non-core activities, prejudice, racism, and Ruhi. He also addresses the social-political issues of political activism and homosexuality. Under the heading of spirituality, he addresses failure, grace, martyrdom, and vulnerability.

Canaries, Uploaded on October 13, 2006 by oscarromulus on flickr
Baha'i Epistolary deserves readership from thoughtful souls in all parts of the world. I love, too, that this blog comes to us from the Canary Islands, evoking both a lovely image and metaphor. Here is Ismael's "About Me" and his blog description. -gw

Ismael Velasco
Tenerife, Canary Islands,
What can I say? I'm a Mexican cosmopolite, an aspiring Bahá'í, a writer, poet, essayist; tentative Bahá'í scholar in the areas of history and scripture principally; a social and economic development professional specializing in social exclusion, action research and participatory democracy/user involvement; a social entrepreneur; a budding arts producer; professional translator; a guitar dabbler and former hot-dog seller (best in the island). I have two stunning daughters, aged 7 and 10 at the time of writing (Ana-Sofía and Lucía respectively). I love music, of all kinds, but my heart snapped when I encountered flamenco as lived by the gyspsies of Spain, and am determined to dance it well enough for a passing gypsy to laugh only a little when I torture a bulería. Without prayer, I would not survive. No exaggeration. I think life is beautiful, and very, very hard. My heart is prey to love, perhaps to excess, and the figure of Bahá'u'lláh fills me with longing, and makes a great, soul deep love well up in me toward the Universal House of Justice. I have no clue whatsoever about how I'll make good before I go. Wish me luck.


Bahá'í Epistolary:
These are reflections written in the midst of conversation about the astonishments of life as a Bahá'í. A collection of efforts to hear and answer beyond words the questions and responses of another soul - a vulnerable yet sincere epistolary seeking truth, hoping to resonate in this space with other yearnings and astonishments amidst our ever diverse and ever approximate responses to the immensity of life itself. It is humbly dedicated to the Universal House of Justice. - Ismael Velasco

Thursday, May 17, 2007

On Free-Range Baha'i Parsley: Another Random Blog Mention

While the subject covered here is serious, racial profiling, Manish's post is tagged "humor." -gw

I dunno about you, but I’m ordering Hindu vegetarian from now on. Or kosher. Or free-range Baha’i parsley.

Manish, "No halal soup for you," Ultrabrown

"Cucumber or parsley," uploaded on December 21, 2005 by Wesley Chu on flickr

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

On the Noise and Distraction of This World: Taraz's Video Reflection

Assist me, by Thy strengthening grace, O my Lord, to do what Thou didst will, and withhold not from me the things Thou dost possess. So enravish me with the wonders of Thine utterances that the noise and distraction of this world may be powerless to deter me from turning unto Thee, and may fail to shake my constancy in Thy Cause, or to distract my gaze from the horizon of Thy grace. Aid me, then, O my God, to do what pleaseth Thee, and to carry out Thy will. Write down for me, moreover, the good of this world and of the world which is to come, and ordain 115 for me a seat of truth in Thy presence. Potent art Thou to do what Thou willest, and to rule as Thou pleasest. No God is there but Thee, the Inaccessible, the All-Glorious, the Most Great.

Baha'u'llah, "LXIX: “Glorified art Thou, O Lord my God! My tongue,…” Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 114-115.

Taraz'u'llah gave Flitzy Phoebie the scoop on [click here to play] his new video "trailer" experimentation, but I can't resist jumping on the bandwagon. Note: loading may take a minute or two. -gw

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

On Preternaturally Unperturbable Faiths: Bahai and Amish

"Amish School," uploaded on November 10, 2006 by cindy47452 on flickr

How is this for a descriptive phrase for Baha'is: "preternaturally unperturbable"? What a lovely
complement, and certainly something to aspire to, as in, to be "radiantly acquiescent"! -gw


The atheist seems to suffer from the curse of all humanists: namely the lack of any gift of discernment between religions (or cultures for that matter.) That Hitchens, et al. would lump preternaturally unperturbable faiths such as the Baha'i or the Amish in the same category as radical Islam suggests a seemingly deliberate effort to make their point by obfuscation rather than argumentation.


Walter, "The atheists are coming!! The atheists are coming!!" Matters of Manner and Type
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"Leaves of One Tree Baha'i School," Flitzy Phoebie

On the Ontological Circle: Onto God Do We Return

"Santa Cruz (Insights Conference) 010, Counselor Aghdasi"
Uploaded on April 16, 2007 by Alyosha19 on flickr

I have had a link to "The Ontological Circle" on my favorites for a year and only today had the chance to peruse it. Profoundly insightful. -gw

Ontology is the study of "being", Epistemology is the study of "knowing". In Ontology the question is what actually exists, meaning that it has an independent external existence and is not imaginary or merely a construct of our minds. So for example among the philosophers there are those who are materialists (they believe that only physical matter exists and everything else is a figment of our imagination), idealists (who believe that ideas exist in a more concrete sense than do material objects which are viewed as only existing apparently, having no substance), dualists (who say that both matter and spirit exist independently) and monists (who say that both matter and spirit are aspects of the same underlying reality). Most people from Abrahamic traditions subscribe to dualism, while those from Eastern religions lean more towards monism. ... My understanding is that the Baha'i writings are unique and do not fit nicely into any of these old philosophical categories. So it is best to describe the Baha'i view in its own term rather than by comparison with the old world categories. ...

Now, consider a circle. On the top put God, and at the bottom put the creation. Divide the creation into 4 groups: Mineral kingdom, vegetable kingdom, animal kingdom, and human kingdom. Consider the half circle on the right, lets call this the arc of descent (coming down). And the half circle on the left is called the arc of ascent (going up). As you go round the circle in a clock wise fashion we can say that we come from God, and unto Him we return. The journey from God to man on the right of the circle depicts the stages of creation, and the journey from man back to God on the left side of the circle are the stages of our spiritual maturation, our journey back to God....

[T]he arc of assent is sometimes 7 valleys, at other times it is 4 valleys, etc. So we must understand these terms to be relative in nature. ...

In popular conception many Sufis have said that through purification man can annihilate his self and effectively "become God". The most important feature that separates Baha'i conception from typical Sufi or Neoplatonic ideas is that the start of the arc of decent is the Will of God, and the ultimate stage of the arc of ascent is unification with the Will of God. Because there can not be any direct link between the Essence of God and His creation the Primal Will of God becomes both the source and the ultimate goal of the ontological circle. In the Iqan this Primal Will is the Manifestation of God. The Primal Will is also referred to as the Command (amr) or the Word of God.

...[T]he active force that affirms all the different stages of creation is the Word of God. There are many statements in the Writings on this subject, and they contain an inexhaustible source for inspiration and contemplation.

Warmest Bahai Love

Farzin


http://www.bci.org/bahaistudies/courses/Iqan/ontological.htm

Monday, May 14, 2007

On Milestones Along the Way: Gerald Declares

"Crimson Threshhold," uploaded on April 20, 2007 by tamilajoon on flickr

Gerald just sent this good news in a comment to a previous post. -gw

I declared on the 12th day of Ridvan. I have allot to learn, and I look forward to it. I can't say that there are not things I wil have to learn to better understand, but Baha'u'llah is the Manifestation of God for our age, and the Bab his forerunner as well as an Independent Manifestation, and nothing but the Reality of god is truer to me, so I have no doubt I will figure those things out.

Friday, May 11, 2007

On Speaking of Religion: Being open-minded and contemplative

"Boo at Work"
Uploaded on September 17, 2005
by Starnasia on flickr
Tags: Baha'i, tatoo
Rhonda's grandparents are supportive of her spiritual journey. Her grandfather is a Baha'i. -gw

I suppose it is enough that my religious grandmother told me that she wouldn't say my getting the tattoo was wrong as she knows plenty of prophets in the Bible who were asked by God to do things that seemed quite strange to others. She said that she considers me to be a spiritual person walking a path towards realizing God.

For her to say that to me, after all this time, is a blessing I can't even begin to express. It has been very hard to talk about my religious life with others. I find religion to be just as polarizing as politics in polite conversation, which is usually why I tend to avoid both.

My grandfather has also been extremely supportive. He is an active member in the Baha'i Faith. However, when we speak of religion, the conversation is so open-minded and contemplative. Mostly, neither of my grandparents nor my father, for that matter, consider me "weird" in my intellectual pursuit of enlightenment and spiritual growth.

Rhonda, "Awakening, Laughter and other Enigmas," A Day in the Life of an Imperfect Mother: Everybody loves the fashionable elegance of Mrs. Cleaver's size 8 shoes. Too damn bad I wear a size 10...

{Re-posted with permission}

On Resisting Divisive Influences: God Unites, Man Divides

Thirty-three students, 33 blogs. Alex posts thoughtfully about "Baha'i" for his religious studies class and kindly gives me permission to link. -gw

Thanks, Alex. The Baha'i perspective is one of evolution. Everything changes and moves on, even religion. There is Baha'i scriptural support for the legitimacy of the "Book of Nature" as a basis for religious belief. In this sense there have been many "peoples of the book."

Even the concept of God evolves. I often find myself telling people, "I don't believe in the God you don't believe in."

The Book of Nature, Flitzy Phoebie

As Bob Dylan wrote in a song "You gotta serve somebody."
http://bahaiviews.blogspot.com/search?q=gotta+serve+somebody
Whatever it is we live for, that's our "god," it can be argued.


From many gods to one God - this defines an evolutionary path.

Theology is rich, heady stuff, which can be divisive. God unites, and man divides. That has been the tendency over the centuries. We have reason today to resist that tendency.

All the best to your and your classmates,

George Wesley

Thursday, May 10, 2007

On Finding Signs in Everything We Do and See: What we are best in

Baha'i youth of People's Theater in Europe find ...
the proverbial nine-spoked wheel. -gw


The last week I spent in Luxembourg "touring" the country performing 7 shows daily and having a blast. This trip once again showed what we are best in ...... chilling /sleeping anytime and anywhere ... being tired ... finding Baha'i symbols or "signs" in everything we do or see ... being SILLY!!! ... and of course being happy!! :)
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monarey, "What we are best in...," monarey: mona - (from arabic) wish/desire - I guess you could also call it obsession

{Re-posted with permission}

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

On Harmfully Divisive Influences to Humanity's Unity: Unlearning the the prideful nationalistic feelings that drive us apart

lyricalabyrinth continues to reflect on a Baha'i presentation she attended a few weeks ago, posting her thoughts on LiveJournal - gw
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...we three went to this place in Costa Mesa called Evocal that has artwork on display, speakers, and live music. Tonight we listened to this man talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how Palestinian homes are being demolished by Israelis and this event is supposed to raise money for this one organization that is going to go over there and rebuild homes for the Palestinians. So yeah I bought this sweater from that place it's this teal/aqua/turquoise color that I really like and on it it says "freedom of expression" I really like it. Anyway the talk was interesting. I remember bits and pieces of stuff like the West Bank and the Gaza Strip from 9th grade Cultural Geography class hahah. Anyway I thought it was interesting when the speaker talked about the concept of nationalism and how that is a modern movement that can divide people, and how can we unlearn the prideful nationalistic feelings that drive us apart as a people of the world. That reminds me of that Baha'i event I went to because it's kind of a similar idea. That the world is one and that we are all part of the human race and everything else is socially constructed and potentially harmfully divisive to humanity's unity. After the speaker finished, there was live music and I really liked this Japanese band that played, they're called "Oto," their music sounds very soft and ethereal and sort of trancy/poppish but very dainty...
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{Re-posted with permission}
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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

On Blogging Is Powerful: "Cultivating the Roots" Workshop Tells Why

"presentation set-up," uploaded on May 5, 2007 by dragfyre on flickr
"Baha'i niners: long live bahainine.com!"
Uploaded on May 7, 2007 by dragfyre
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I am deeply grateful to the friends who attended the "Cultivating the Roots" conference and posted about it. The conference was not to be missed, but I had to, unfortunately, and I feel terribly about it. However, the text and pictures from Laina and dragfyre, posted via their blogs and dragfyre's flickr site, give me the feeling of almost having been there. -gw

Laina, "Baha'i Computer and Communications Association (BCCA) successfully renewed with new energy and ideas with conference at Bosch," Unity Blog: Personal experiences and views shared as Baha'is and as global citizens

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"plenary session," Uploaded on May 5, 2007 by dragfyre on flickr

On True Love from the Heart of the Ocean: Bula Vinaka Fiji !!

Southie posts from Fiji on Oceantrue. What a great name ... Oceantrue. -gw
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Pizza Party at our home with our Junior Youth Group :) Head Chef David 'headed' the project with lots of zeal, passion and onions! We made tuna and lamb sausage pizzas.


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"David, Sothie & Shamim ... seeking the unknown!"