Monday, December 31, 2007

On Blogging for Fun: End of the (Gregorian) Year Reflections

According to these guys... has a traffic rank of: 3,902,373

Yeah, no kidding! But it has been a good year nonetheless. -gw
This Year's Visits and Page Views by Month
According to
Baha'i Views is ranked 238,665. -gw

Sunday, December 30, 2007

On Maybe Why We Don't Have Religious Peace: Because Each Deity Requires Exclusive Worship - Not!

Uploaded on December 2, 2006 by beachblogger42 on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons
Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

Why no peace? Is it because every religion has its own God, and these gods don't want it? Are there many deities, or only one God? Is it the gods who are the problem, or God who is behind our difficulty? Or is the culprit humankind? -gw

Maybe We Don't Have Religious Peace Because Each Deity Requires Exclusive Worship

Listed are a few of the scriptures and their religions concerning peace.

Christianity: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."
Confucianism: "Seek to be in harmony with all your neighbors ... live in peace with your brethren."
Buddhism: "There is no happiness greater than peace."
Hinduism: "Without meditation, where is peace? Without peace, where is happiness?"
Islam: "God will guide men to peace. If they will heed Him, he will lead them from the darkness of war to the light of peace."
Taoism: "The wise esteem peace and quiet above all else."
Sikhism: "Only in the name of the Lord, do we find our peace."
Judaism: "When a man's ways please the Lord, He maketh even His enemies to be at peace with Him."
Jainism: "All men should live in peace with their fellows. This is the Lord's desire."
Zoroastrianism: "I will sacrifice to peace, whose breath is friendly."
Baha'i: "War is death while peace is life."
Shinto: "Let the earth be free from trouble and men live at peace under the protection of the Divine."

A bit of irony here. These religions have striking differences on the outside and in the eyes of others, but in their spirit they carry the same message.

Ester Davis, United Press International.
Re-posted by Zardoz X: Hope you're well, happy and prospering.

On a Song for the New Year from Egyptian Baha'is: I dream of a day

Received this email today. -gw

dear friends, although of all Egyptian Baha'i suffering, we dedicated to the world this lovely baha'i arabic & english translated song about baha'i principles.. please forword it to ur frineds & till them it is a massage of peace to the world from Egyptian Baha'is in the new year & we still hve hope to take our rights. - basma

On the Language of God: Theism, God, and Soul

The heavens do indeed declare the Glory of God (Baha'u'llah), and science and religion go hand-in- hand. From gordon on my network I learn of this site and page. -gw

Francis Collins, the former head of the Human Genome Project, has written a book presenting his case for belief in theism. ... At some point in the process (Collins identifies it as occurring ~100,000 years ago) God put a soul into a group of hominids, creating modern humans.

Book Review: The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, by Rich Deem

On Googling for iPod Help: And stumbling upon the Baha'i Faith

Apparently having iPod trouble, Visitor 30,707 to Baha'i Views (since March 2007) came to the site Googling the words "unloading music from an ipod." This was the entry that popped up. -gw
Results 1 of about 23,800 for unloading music from an ipod. (0.25 seconds)
Baha'i Views: On Songs for the Ipod: A "Shuffle Songs" Spiritual ...
Since I was given my Ipod, I have been in a daily process of loading (an unloading) songs onto it. Since I love the "shuffle songs" setting more than I love - 87k -
Cached - Similar pages - Note this
And then left the site.
The Visitor spent a grand total of 2 minutes 2 seconds on Baha'i Views. Looking for iPod help, the Visitor stumbled upon "Baha'i" instead. Such is the power of blogging. -gw

On Songs from the Sacred Texts: Nine years in the making

New Baha'i music from Louisiana. Thanks to nevin on my network, I learned of this group today. -gw

TaliaSafa *
Religious / Acoustic / R&B * "The new album is here!"
Hey! We are TaliaSafa, A.K.A. Talia Johnson and Safa Paulson. We've whipped out an album at lightning speed. It only took us 9 years!

This album has an eclectic mix of song styles and feature many talented musicians. The songs all come from the sacred texts of the Bahá'í Faith

On Sherlock Holmes and the Baha'i Faith: The Prisoner of Acca is real

The Sherlock Holmes Review Vol 3, No. 1, is up for bid on eBay. One of the articles: "Sherlock Holmes and the Baha'i Faith."
I do a keywork search to find out more on this relationship and come up with this. -gw
The following is a script by a young Baha'i Ben Roskams, a 12 year old (in 1995) from Cardiff, Wales, UK. It was the first prize in his schools drama competition and was performed, with Ben as Holmes, in front of his school and visitors.
NARRATOR: The characters in this play are completely fictional, but the Prisoner of Akka is real. He lived between 1817 and 1892.

On Μια μαθηματική απόδειξη της ύπαρξης του Θεού: The Proofs of a Baha'i Philosopher

An excerpt from a post about a Baha'i philosopher in Greek. It just seems all so appropriate somehow. -gw

Ας επανέλθουμε όμως στον Dr. Hatcher, ο οποίος παρουσίασε τις σκέψεις του για τον Θεό σε μια σειρά συζητήσεων-διαλέξεων που οργάνωσε ο εκπαιδευτικός οργανισμός Baha'i, στην Columbia των Η.Π.Α.

Εκεί λοιπόν, ο κ. Hatcher, ο οποίος δηλώνει «πλατωνιστής» παρουσίασε τη δικιά του μαθηματική απόδειξη της ύπαρξης του Θεού. Ο ίδιος δήλωσε ότι βασίστηκε κατά κύριο λόγο στην λογική του Αβικέννα για τις σχέσεις μεταξύ των αντικειμένων, παρά στην αριστοτελική που βασίζεται στην μελέτη των ιδιοτήτων τους.

Seagull, Μια μαθηματική απόδειξη της ύπαρξης του Θεού, Daily Bugle


On Going to Great Links: The Baha'i Faith Index

From I learn of great Baha'i reseources, many of which are totally new to me, such as . -gw


On Visiting Haifa: Recommended

Kevin makes a trip to Israel and is using his blog as a way to keep his friends and family informed. He visits Haifa. -gw
The Baha'i are a 100-some year old religion that is supposedly the most dispersed religion in the world. I don't know much about their practices, but they believe in a universal oneness, respecting of all religions, universal education, equality of the sexes, and much more. They have these gardens in Haifa, which is the center of their religion, that include 18 well-groomed terraces and a huge Shrine in the middle. Located on top of a hill, the gardens overlook the city of Haifa and into the Mediterranean Sea. The gardens are beautiful and peaceful and if anyone is in Haifa I would highly suggest seeing them.

Kevin, "Chofesh Part 1," Israel

{Photo: "Shrine Of The Bab," Uploaded on October 5, 2007 by nicasaurusrex on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic}

On Songs for Baby Boomers and Anybody That Believes in True Love and True Justice: Songs by, Yup! you guessed right

Found on Mininova, whatever that is. Songs by, yup! you guessed it. -gw

Seals & Crofts - Greatest Hits (1975) [ccc-Mixed]

One of the most popular singing and songwriting partnerships in pop music history, Jimmy Seals and Dash Crofts, two musicians from Texas, recorded a string of chart-topping hits from the years 1972 to 1975. Their songs are still honored today for their hits. Seals and Crofts Greatest Hits chronicles 10 of the duo's best known songs, including their smash hits "Summer Breeze" and "Diamond girl". Their unique pop/rock sound was made famous by their incredible vocal harmony, songwriting and musicianship. Their music was also distinctive for their spiritual lyrics and themes, inspired by the teachings of the Baha'i faith. Songs for baby boomers, and anybody that believes in True Love and True Justice.

On Showing Respect: Shoes Off at the Lotus Temple, Hats Off to Temple Photographers

How many of us take our shoes off when entering someone's home? I know it is cultural. My friend Polin from Cambodia does it everytimes he comes to our home. I do it everytime I go to the home of one of the Persian friends. Taking off one's shoes is a way of showing respect. -gw
[right] "Baha'i Temple India, 2007-Dec-25 (9) -
An underground room contains the deposit area for footwear. Visitors are discouraged from entering the temple in shoes and sandals."
[below] Baha'i Temple India, 2007-Dec-25 (2)

Each day when I sit down to add a post or two to Baha'i Views, I go through a routine that includes checking Flickr for the most recent pictures tagged "Baha'i." With my search today I was greeted with the following statistic. -gw

We found 17,222 results for photos matching Baha'i

Among the most recent offerings are these from dear Paul Ancheta and two other photographers. Hats off to the temple photographers! -gw


Friday, December 28, 2007

On Vices and Virtues: Every instinct can be pursued in a way that results in either virtue or vice

David's book
The Good Eye Doctor, David Khorram, writes a fascinating blog from an intriguing island. He is running a series of posts on presentations at the recent Marianas International Baha'i Winter School. -gw

So, then, what differentiates humans from animals? As a species, it would have to be the power of intellect. Humans have a higher intelligence that is an overlay onto the instincts. It's a sort of reasoning power, but also an evaluative power. It is this capacity for intellect, which is an expression of consciousness and an expression of the human soul, that allows for decision-making, free-will, and the emergence of values such as "right" and "wrong." Animals, lack this capacity of evaluating "right" and "wrong", "good" and "bad", "vice" and "virtue." And as such in their world, they are none of these. They simply exist and function at the level of instinct.

However, instinct is the source of morals, because every instinct, from the human perspective can be pursued in a way that results in either vice or virtue.

We went through an exercise of taking each instinct and coming up with the vices and virtues of expressing that instinct.

For example, the vices of "self-preservation" on an individual and a social level could include war, anger, lying, murder, exploitation, accumulation of excessive wealth, espionage, negative campaigning, backbiting, etc. While on the other side, virtuous or positive expressions of "self-preservation" could include such things as cooperation, resourcefulness, individual initiative, family, justice, hard work, good governance, and planning.

Vices related to pursuit of food could include overeating, exploitation of the environment, cruelty to animals, the proliferation of cooking shows (that one was my idea), withholding food as a means of coercion, and the like. Virtues could be health and energy, hospitality, means of sharing culture, bonding, pleasure, detachment and self-discipline, and expressions of generosity and charity.

Vices related to the drive for reproduction/sex are such things as promiscuity, prostitution, human trafficking, overpopulation, population manipulation through government policies (think "one child" policy), pornography, lust. Virtues might include love, intimacy, children, pleasure, faithfulness and fidelity.

Vices related to the territorial instinct would include nationalism, racial and ethnic discrimination, trade barriers, xenophobia. Virtues include sane patriotism, environmentalism, pride in ones culture and homeland, a sense of home and of sharing one's home.

"Bushido and the Traditional Japanese Moral Education"
The second speaker yesterday at the Mariana Islands International Baha'i Winter School was Nozomu Sonda from Japan, who spoke on "Bushido and Traditional Japanese Moral Education."
"People's Theatre"
The first speaker of the day was Sahmil Fattakhov, a Russian film-maker and journalist with background in conflict resolution....
"Injustice, Meaning and Purpose"
Barbara Jamison led a seminar studying two letters from the Universal House of Justice.
{Re-posted with permission}

On Calendars: Do you know what year it is?

Found on Math Help Forum, an online math help forum with the fastest response time on the net, this post. -gw

Math Help Forum > Math Help Forum Lounge > Chat Room
Do you know what year it is?

You might know that it is about 2008 in the Christian Calendar what about others? ... The calendars go from youngest to oldest. I never knew there were so many calendars.

*)Also known as Iranian

{Image: "Calendar," Uploaded on November 4, 2005 by rhosoi on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic }

Thursday, December 27, 2007

On Baha'is in the Bible Belt: Exhibit of Bibles Is Sponsored by Two Baha'i Communities

"Jeremiah in the well, from a 19th Century Bible" Uploaded on October 22, 2006 by seriykotik1970 on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

My friend Charles, who with his wife Peggy has moved back down to Oklahoma, reminds me that he now lives in the belt-buckle of the Bible belt. The Bible is a big deal to Oklahomans in general and to Baha'i Oklahomans as well, given the recognition by Baha'is of the essential oneness of all religions and the signficance of the scripture associated with them. -gw

NORMAN — Farhad Rohani has been collecting books for more than 40 years. His 1,500-volume collection includes a set of rare Victorian-era Bibles. ...

Now, Rohani is putting his collection on display in the Campbell Reading Room Gallery at the Norman Public Library, 225 N Webster Ave. The exhibit features examples of the ornate, opulently bound volumes that were popular in the mid to late 1800s. ...

It's so awesome, it's hard to wrap your mind around it,” [Norman resident April] Ghassemi said, eyeing a small Bible bound in purple velvet. "The people who came to these for comfort ... it's awe-inspiring.”

The exhibit, sponsored by the Baha'i communities of Norman and Moore, will be on display through Monday during regular library hours.

On Revitalizing the Fortunes of Mankind: More on the Orlando SED conference

Dear soul Child of Africa has two meaty posts up with pictures on the recent SED conference. -gw

Baha'i social and economic development conference 2007

Erica Toussaint and the unity of humankind

atoosa9 has an 58-photo OSED set up on Flickr. -gw

The Orlando Socio-Economic Development Conference, one of the most learning intensive Baha'i Conferences, takes place annually in December. Baha'is involved in development, or those who are interested in learning about the application of Baha'i principles to the 'revitalization of the fortunes of mankind' attend and learn from each other. This set includes pics from the last 4 conferences. The 2007 conference once again did not disappoint, and our experience was enhanced by
the awesome group of friends in attendance, and many adventures.
And andropolis always has the eye for a creative shot. -gw
Right before the elevator doors closed, this duck, um, ducked out and ran for the fountain in the lobby. He didn't quite make it. The Duck Herder, not breaking a sweat, rounded him up within seconds of his would-be escape. -- Baha'i Social and Economic Development Conference, 2007

On Religion and Spirituality: One Light, Many Lamps

Noted on, a link to
One Light, Many Lamps, columns by Phyllis Edgerly Ring. -gw


On the God Who Listens to Everyone's Prayers: The photographer is surprised

New "Baha'i" pic on Flickr. The photographer is surprised. -gw

On the Results of a Personal Tragedy: After the Flood

"After the flood," uploaded on September 22, 2005 by geoperdis on flickr, photo licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
We have had floods in this area recently. I was personally affected ... for an afternoon ... when I couldn't get back to my office, or even home, when the roads were temporarily flooded. I have read the paper and watched the evening news and noted the many stories of flood victims whose lives were disrupted in a much more devasting way than I was, people whose possessions were all but ruined. Below is the last paragraph of a post by Cary Enoch Reinstein aka Enoch's Vision that tells the story of a flood he experienced and its consequence. Read the whole story. Click over to the sites below. All I can say is "wow!" -gw

Because of a personal tragedy, I acquired certain skills that enabled me to perform a service. These pages are examples of what I’ve done recently:

a faded and restored filmstrip, and

a website that presents a book of historical interest. Those web pages get 1000s of visitors.

After the Flood
Posted by enochsvision on December 27, 2007

More on Baha'is and Christmas: Merry Snippets

Here's more on Baha'is and Christmas. So Merry Snippets, starting with Sean in Malaysia. -gw

Today, on Christmas Day, I joined the youths again in their outing to the Malacca Zoo since Saphira wanted to see the zoo before she leaves. Haha. It's easy to spot the Baha'i youths because everyone wore a red shirt over there including me. Really cool.

Mark's Mullin's: Merry Christmas
The message board at our local Baha'i worship center currently reads: "Jesus: A Gift from God."

Los Angelista's Guide To The Pursuit Of Happiness: Christmas + Chai + Candied Yams = Happiness
I've noticed that sometimes people think that just because I'm a Baha'i that I'm anti-Christian and therefore a Christmas hater or something. This is so not true.

iMOM: Dreaming of a Desert Christmas
We had the bounty of running into an honored friend, Ms. Erica Toussaint, who regaled us with inspiring stories from her recent travels to the Baha'i SED Conference in Orlando, while we waited for our (thankfully) on-time flight.

On Putting Teaching in Your Life: Baha'is Reflect and Inspire

Put teaching in your life. New from YouTube. -gw

Erica Toussaint at SED conference 2007
Put service to the Faith at the center of your life....Erica Toussaint SED conference 2007 Baha'i

Mahendran finds success with Anna's Presentation
of Johor Bahru talks to Suraj Chew about the success he has had teaching the Faith following Anna's Presntation model....Mahendran Baha'i Anna's Presentation

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

On Ending the Disparity between Rich and Poor: A Love for Humanity

Ending the disparity between rich and poor is a goal towards which Baha'is are committed. -gw

For Alice Thomas, there was no contradiction between the apparent glamour and luxury of fashion shows and the grim penury of the lives of the women and children which she tried so hard to change. She believed in a better life, not for some but for all and devoted her energy among the richer class to the benefit of the poorer. It was this same interplay that led her from narrow Guyanese patriotism to the broader love of humanity by being a citizen of Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean. It also led her away from the ritualism of Anglicanism to what she saw as the universalism of the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'i community, which she served as Secretary.

{Photo: "Guyanese Flag Flying," uploaded on March 28, 2006 by rustinpc on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic}

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

On Calamity: Such as to make the limbs of men to quake

“Witness how the world is being afflicted with a fresh calamity every day”, Bahá’u’lláh warns. “Its sickness is approaching the stage of utter hopelessness, inasmuch as the true Physician is debarred from administering the remedy, whilst unskilled practitioners are regarded with favour, and are accorded full freedom to act.”

One Common Faith
Author: Bahá’í World Centre * Source: Bahá’í World Centre, 2005 edition * Page: 11. Quoted from Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1983), section XVI.

More on apocalyptic thinking. The blogger on Ninth's Place has written a post outlining his speculation regarding a calamity in 2012. He cited Abdu'l-Baha.

"my growing interest in Baha'i has led me to learn of Abdu'l-Baha's prediction of a calamity such as 'to make the limbs of men quake' that must be endured before a new age of unity and peace can begin."

As I commented on the blogger's site, World Wars I and II, Vietnam, Iraq, and many other conflicts in the past 100 years qualify as "calamitous." No need to postulate some extraordinary catastrophic event a la some Hollywood sci-fi thriller. Abdul-Baha's predictions have already come true again and again.

The Baha'i view on this matter of calamity is nuanced. There are two processes at work on the face of the planet, a process of disintegration and a process of integration. Every day both catastrophe and sublimity are lived experience for the homo sapiens on this planet. The human drama playing out is real and not a movie.

I did a quick search on Baha'i Reference Library, searching for "calamity." There are 177 references. Here is a well-known passage by Shoghi Effendi. -gw

This great retributive calamity, for which the world’s supreme leaders, both secular and religious, are to be regarded as primarily answerable, as testified by Bahá’u’lláh, should not, if we would correctly appraise it, be regarded solely as a punishment meted out by God to a world that has, for a hundred years, persisted in its refusal to embrace the truth of the redemptive Message proffered to it by the supreme Messenger of God in this day. It should be viewed also, though to a lesser degree, in the light of a divine retribution for the perversity of the human race in general, in casting itself adrift from those elementary principles which must, at all times, govern, and can alone safeguard, the life and progress of mankind. Humanity has, alas, with increasing insistence, preferred, instead of acknowledging and adoring the Spirit of God as embodied in His religion in this day, to worship those false idols, untruths and half-truths, which are obscuring its religions, corrupting its spiritual life, convulsing its political institutions, corroding its social fabric, and shattering its economic structure.

Not only have the peoples of the earth ignored, and some of them even assailed, a Faith which is at once the essence, the promise, the reconciler, and the unifier of all religions, but they have drifted away from their own religions, and set up on their subverted altars other gods wholly alien not only to the spirit but to the traditional forms of their ancient faiths.

The Promised Day Is Come
Author: Shoghi Effendi * Source: US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1980 revised edition * Page 112

{Photo: Uploaded on April 21, 2006 by Olivander on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons
Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic}

On the Baha'i Faith: It reveres the books and teachings of all major religions

"Wilmette, Illinois," uploaded on March 29, 2006 by Paul-W on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Out of butter but plenty of Cranberries

On Saturday, Sarah and I went to Andrew's welcome home party/tailgate in Wilmette. On the way, we stopped at the Baha'i Temple. We didn't have much time to look around or learn about it, so we planned to bike back for a return visit in the spring. It is interesting to me that the Baha'i faith reveres the books and teaching of all major religions and preaches tolerance. Interesting, and quite different from just about every other religion in the world.

Chicago, IL, United States
I like to play Ultimate and bike around town.

Logan Square Times
During a three-month stay in Germany I posted to a blog to let people know what I was up to. To my surprise I found that I enjoyed writing, and being back in Chicago, I couldn't simply continue with the old blog. Enjoy the new one!

On Being Really Psyched about the Three Wise Men: And Zoroaster, Christ, Buddha, and Baha'u'llah

"Three Wise Men at Nativity Portal"
Uploaded on October 5, 2006 by Carlos Lorenzo
on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic

Carol-lee visits with her local newspaper reporter. -gw

I recognize in the Christmas story the appearance of the three wise men and the birth of Christ as the fulfillment of a wonderful prophecy. A lot of religions forecast the return of a prophet. Zoroaster predicted his return with some celestial certainty. The manifestations of God always predict their return. They always give clues. I have a deep and abiding love of Christ. But I believe Baha'u'llah (who founded the Baha'i faith in 1863) is the most recent manifestation of God. To look further back could be counterproductive. It would be looking backward. I want to look forward. Dad was a lay leader of the church; Mom was queen of the choir. They were central to their congregation and they set a wonderful example of commitment. I grew up seeing religion as a very real thing in the world. I needed something more; something that let me be a thinking person and a woman with my integrity intact. I believe Baha'u'llah is the return of Christ. Baha'is who grew up as Buddhists might think he's the fifth Buddha. Zoroastrians might have another explanation. My family makes a very big deal about Christmas and a lot of other holy days. We always have a Christmas tree. We do the whole Christmas thing, with a pageant. Who can resist? Especially if you're really psyched about the three wise men., original source: Burlington Free

On Baha'i Junior Youth Activities in Malaysia: Beneficial for everyone, not a waste of time

This past weekend 17-year-old Snow Dancer learned more about the Baha'i Faith. -gw

This weekends have been great for me. Learned a lot. Gaining more knowledges. So yesterday, I went for my kursus amali kereta since I passed my Undang with flying colours. Muahaha. So..It's lame. 3 hours of lame jokes by the penceramah. Lol. After that, in the afternon, I waited for another 3 hours till my turn to drive since I'm in the 2nd group. Need to complete the 6 hours course and I will be getting my L license. Haha. So all went well. Drove like a pro. I change to gear 3 without instructors permission. He was not there mah. Take advantage lor... Met Hamster Lam..OPPSSS...I meant Ester Lam there. Her driving not bad lar...Still not as good as me yet.. Enjoying myself laughing at her. Haha. It ends at 6.30. Dead tired after that. Later on, I join Nicholas and the Baha'i youths for some of their activities. It's really cool. Met some people, really nice people. Haha. Overnight at Nick's house last night since this morning they have this Junior Youth thing. It's great! Splendid. Learned more about Baha'i Faith.
Let me brief you a little about what it's all about. Baha'i Faith is an independent world religion which is founded in 1844 in Persia. Like other teachings, it touches nearly every aspect of human life and are centered on three essential truths:

The Oneness of God
The Oneness of Religion

The Oneness of Mankind

Su Ling and Aunt Irene brief me about their religion. Beginning to understand more. Everyone stresses on the importance of unity. Without unity among people in the world, nothing is achievable. So, that was last night. Today, is another wonderful day. Saphira, a female youth from Australia, who's also a Baha'i, shared her ideas and experiences there. I had the chance to gain more insights of the Baha'i Junior Youth roles. It's something like what I've been through during the LaSallian convention process but this is much more. Anyway, my journey is still far ahead. A long way to go and much to see or gain. I began to realize much more about my role in the surroundings. It's like a spiritual reflection. In fact, attending all this functions and activities is not a waste if time. It's indeed beneficial for everyone. I had fun too. Su Ling took pics of me. A crazy girl. Haha. When it ends at 5pm, I went to the photo studio and took personal photos for my L license. Thank God I looked good in the photos. Haha. Then, I went to Jusco with my family to get myself a pair of new shoes and slippers. Bought lots of jellybeans too. Yummie.. I guessed that's all for now. Had a great weekend. Didn't waste my time lepaking. Spent my time for good use. Lol. K, goodnight..will update tomorrow. Toodles..

Posted by Snow Dancer at 11:04 PM on Cloud Dancer ~ Blog with a purpose... Giving life to all...

Teh Tarik Corner: Hi! My name is Ong Teck Peng. Sean Ong Teck Peng to be more precise. I'm just a simple guy from Malacca, Malaysia.

{Re-posted with permission}

Cloud Dancer

Monday, December 24, 2007

On Married in December: Leila and Shaun

Photo: Flitzy Phoebie
Leila and Shaun are in the right front in this photo taken in our home. They have been married for two years, as this incredibly beautiful, photo-filled post celebrates. Do click over. -gw

dear shaun love from leila
[luhv frʌm ˈleylə]: a gallimaufry

On the End and Beginning: Apocalypto Now

I haven't seen the 2006 movie Apocalypto, and probably never will, but Keyvan has and liked it, writing about it on Baha'i Library Forum. -gw

So I just watched the Mel Gibson movie Apocalypto, and for anyone who has seen it, its clear that the movie's themes are very parallel to Baha'i teachings. That is, the whole emphasis of Apocalypse meaning the coming of a new beginning, led by mankind's self-destruction, and not a supernatural "end of the world," which is the dogmatic understanding. I found this interesting considering Mel Gibson is known for being a devout Christian and thus one would assume he would more likely illustrate the dogmatic understanding of apocalypse - a total end.

Apocalypto / Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 11:26 pm, by Keyvan / Joined: 25 Sep 2005 / Posts: 152 / Location: Los Angeles. Keyvan is on Mypace at http:/

See on YouTube:
Mayan Indian prophecies fulfilled

Video made in the Maya Mountains, Cayo district, Belize, Central America. This is a discussion done in the Mayan language between two Mayan Indian Baha'is about Baha'u'llah and the Baha'i Faith as the fulfillment of both the Mayan prophecies and the Bible prophecies. For more info go to
There's Mel Gibson's movie Apocalypto, and then there is Jimmy Buffett's song "Apocalypso," which treats the "dogmatic understanding" of the apocalypse satirically. Who said everything is serious here on Baha'i Views? -gw

"Waiting for the apocalypse," uploaded on 24 September 2007 by materija folle on flickr
licensed under Creative Commons AttributionNoncommercial 2.0 Generic
Apocalypso Lyrics (Jimmy Buffett)

They say this universe is bound to blow
But I say we crank up the calypso control
Apocalyp, apocalyp, apocalypso

Now I'm no dancer as dancers go
But this is one step that you need to know
Apocalyp, apocalyp, apocalypso

We'll be dancing when we go
Planets come and planets go
Undisturbed the dancers flow
Old galaxies can be cold
So I'll hold you close
When this earthly light is burning low
This dance will take you to the next plateau

On Blog Mentions of "Baha'i" at Christmas-time: Deep Feelings

Here is a Christmas collage of blog mentions of "Baha'i". Christmas-time brings up a lot of feelings for a lot of people, both Christian and Baha'i. -gw

I can’t believe how many churches there are in Renton! A quick count brought me to about ninety. Ninety! Well, now I’m beyond thinking about sitting and singing hymns and hearing a great message of hope and renewal. Now I’m on to thinking “ninety churches”! How many people does that represent? I know it’s a huge number of people who probably attend church on a somewhat regular basis. And that doesn’t even count the people who attend another house of worship; folks who are Muslim, or Buddhist, or Jewish, or Sikh or who follow the Baha’i faith, or any of the other people who follow their own brand of living a good life. It makes me think what if we all, all of us from all of those churches and all of those houses of worship and all of us who don’t get to GO to church but live lives committed to love and compassion, if all of us took the spirit of Christmas to heart. We could change our city, and our whole world to be a place of care, and compassion where no one ever went hungry and no one was ever old and alone.
I asked my Baha'i friend how he celebrated the season. He laughed "Mostly meeting the expectations of our non-Baha'i family members". In other words, while Dec. 25 is not a focal point in his religious calendar, sharing in family celebrations in the spirit of joy, hope and peace is perfectly in keeping with his faith. Those who struggle with the over-commercialization of the holiday would be particularly comfortable with the Baha'i value of avoiding excessive materialism and greed. One Baha'i description of God's design is "to give and be generous are attributes of Mine". Like many people, I've started giving the kind of Christmas presents that can't be wrapped up - donations that provide something to people I've never met in the name of people I love. I try to fit the gift to the recipient. This year in my book-loving sister's name I am giving a solar panel and light so that someone in the Costa Rican rainforest can read at night without the dangers of an open kerosene lamp. My Baha'i friend, living out his faith, will be taking these lights personally to Costa Rica. He'll be training local indigenous people on maintenance and micro-finance to help make this economic development project truly self-sustainable. I think my sister will approve.
Grey Bruce - Ontario, CA
Although I am a Baha'i, my family always celebrated Christmas. I have always celebrated the TRUE meaning of Christmas along with the giving of gifts.
I had said Ya Baha'u'l'Abha at work a little while back (shortest Baha'i prayer) and he was wondering what it meant and how to say it. Well, he passed out Christmas cards this morning and mine says: Merry Hullabullub Kilikiwa. I was laughing for a good 5 minutes.
I always felt that by celebrating Christmas I was turning my back on Islam, and I was. But being Baha'i I can openly embrace all traditions, and not feel bad about it. This will be loverly.
Being Baha'is, my parents and I stopped really celebrating Christmas several years ago, though. So it's pretty easy to feel like an outsider when most people around me are gearing up for a grand shared experience. I will, as usual, be revisiting O. Henry's "Gift of the Magi," which is by far my favorite Christmas story (followed closely by Laura Ingalls Wilder's recounting of the year that Pa and Mr. Edwards rode out and returned with the Christmas gifts).
In case there is any confusion, Christmas is not celebrated within the Baha'i community, although Baha'i's individually are free to celebrate it, as they feel moved. -gw

“As regards the celebration of the Christian Holiday by the believers; it is surely preferable and even highly advisable that the friends should in their relation to each other discontinue observing such holidays as Christmas and New Years, and to have their festival gatherings of this nature instead during the Intercalary Days and Naw-Rúz….”

And then there is this reference in a tablet of Abdu'l-Baha to the Christmas tree, for Baha'is, and mentioning Green Acre Baha'i School. -gw

O thou artery pulsating in the body of the world!

Verily I read thy recent letter which indicated conscious joy and abundant happiness from the glad-tidings of the Kingdom of El-Abha. Know, verily that the feast is the day wherein God opened thine insight through the Manifest Light, showed thee unto His Great Kingdom and granted to thee to drink from the chalice overflowing with the wine of divine guidance among the maid-servants. Is there a feast more happy and more noble than this? No, indeed, by the Lord of Heaven, it is a day wherein the thirsty one attaineth to the Spring from which gusheth forth cool and refreshing water, the lover meeteth his Loved One and the sick one is healed by the remedy of the Physician. Blessed art thou for attaining unto this!

Verily, the people who rejoice in the day of the feast and enjoyed the tree (1) (which) was decorated, following the custom of ancient times, are the people of superstitions. By the Majesty of thy Lord! Were they in the time of Christ, they would turn their backs and would not behold His smiling, glorious face; but today they play in the shallow waters of their superstitions without discretion.

Therefore, thank God for His having privileged thee to attain nearness to the Blessed Tree which is grown upon the highest Sinai
and is set aglow with the fire of God’s love, calling unto responsive listeners. I supplicate God to heal thee from all troubles and diseases and make thee a sign of guidance and a standard of the Supreme Concourse in those regions and particularly at Green Acre.
(1) Christmas tree.

"HOMELESS," Uploaded on September 20, 2007 by Hulagway on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.
"Sunrise from the summit of Mount Sinai," uploaded on January 17, 2006 by Bouldering Monkee on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic