Saturday, April 19, 2008

On Saying Goodby to My Old Familiar Friend Blogger: Join me at my new home

The moment has arrived for me to say goodbye to my Blogger site. It is hard to tear myself away from its big goofy comfort. It has served me well, but it is time to move over to my new home on Wordpress.

I invite you to join me there.

All of the Baha'i Views posts going back to the very first are on the new site. The old Blogger will remain up. The mirroring I have done for the past two weeks, of carrying stories on both sites, has ended. You will note that I have simplified layout in the new posts on the new site. The typeface is more readable than in the posts I carried over from Blogger. I welcome your feedback as I continue to make adjustments. I will continue to have a blogroll of blogs featured, as the basic re-posting format of Baha'i Views remains the same.

Dearly loved loyal visitors, consider subscribing to Bahai Views. It helps to boost awareness of the site and ensures that you get updates emailed automatically and for free each day. Just push the button on the sidebar at the new site.

Thanks to David Henderson of for his assistance in this move.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

On the Use of Study Circles in the Baha'i Community: Grassroots moves

The following appeared as a comment back in January to a post on , the editor of which has included it in a new post, "Worldwide Grassroots Moves Towards Participatory Democracy." It is certainly a wonderful description of Ruhi study circles as are in use throughout the Baha'i world today. -gw

"Fundaec study circle - completed"

Without wishing disrespect to anyone’s views or beliefs, it is interesting to note that the Baha’i community world wide uses study circles to great effect as a means to develop spiritual insight and better understandings of both the history and nature of the Baha’i community, its aims and teachings as well s prepare participants for service-orientated activities.

There are a series of 8 study circle guides which were originally developed by the ‘Ruhi Institute’ in Columbia and which are sequentially based on developing an increasingly mature grasp of the Baha’i Faith. Each is linked to serve-based activities - for example holding a devotional meeting or running a children’s class; and whilst these may be things of importance only to the Baha’i community, of equal importance might be the structure and character of these study circles (and yes, they have always been referred to as ’study circles’) which sees them as sequential, based on developing a spiritual motivation (a recognition that one’s responsibilities extend beyond one’s immediate needs) and linking this to a specific activity.

Equally the Baha’i community operates on a process of consensual decision-making: there is no individual leadership, no clergy in the community, and decisions are made through a process of ‘consultation’. Small as the import of those decisions may presently be, nevertheless, the skill and discipline that develops as a result of this is having a profound effect on the participants, which of course is the purpose of religion - to provide daily habits and practice (prayer, meditation and participation in community activities) by which one can acquire spiritual virtues - love, compassion, humor etc that distinguish us all as human beings - and which in turn support, sustain and propagate civilization. For the Baha’is the ultimate outcome of this being a global society: ‘The world is but one country and mankind its citizens’.

The effect these study circles have had on even the most impoverished and remote of participants (from my own experience in Papua New Guinea, and accounts from Africa, India and S. America) has been remarkable in galvanising them into service-driven activities, self-development and self-improvement.

It is worth then examining this community and its methodologies and democratic processes more closely. Study circles, children’s classes and devotional meetings in particular are open to public participation.

Over 90% of the children attending children’s classes offered to Secondary schools are not Baha’is, such is the regard that parents have for the programme offered. Interestingly because these classes are offered by volunteers, study circles are an important means of increasing the number of teachers and assistants required.

Top photo: Uploaded on March 8, 2007 by jpeter smith on flickr, licensed uner Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
Thumbnails are all from photos of Baha'is in Papua New Guinea taken in 1984 taken by Owen Allen. Click over and see them all full size in their glory:

On Paradox: A higher frame of reference exists wherein conflict is resolved

thecommanderdia goes to a Baha'i devotional meeting on the relationship between religion and science and posts this. -gw

Then, a day came when some scientists, theologians, philosophers and mystics came to understand that their many trees were one TREE located at the intersection of the four paths to knowledge. They then agreed to study the TREE OF TRUTH in collaboration and cooperative good will. They shared their frames of reference and the ladders of their insights with each others without egotistic attachments and were amazed at how quickly higher and higher branches came to be within their view. They learned that for every apparent paradox, there exists a higher frame of reference wherein the conflict would be resolved. They further understood that at the tip of the tree perfect unity would be found.
"The very tip-topmost apex branch of the tree outside our third floor apartment's kitchen window." Uploaded on April 3, 2005 by DWinton on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic

After Preaching Being Visited by a Sort of Baha'i "Evangelist": If you don't know anything about the Baha'i Faith, google it

Audacious Baha'i. -gw

I received an e-mail after preaching a sermon on the beginning of relationships (Genesis 1-3) from a 25 year old guy who was in the service that morning, who is of the Baha'i tradition. It took a couple weeks for us to finally meet up, but we eventually did get the chance to sit down in a coffee shop and chat about religion. Essentially, it seems that he is some sort of Baha'i evangelist or something, not trying to "convince" me of anything, but rather trying to "reveal" the "real truth" to me.

If you don't know anything about the Baha'i faith, google it and read up on it, it's slightly interesting but incredibly inconsistent in fundamental beliefs, from what I have gathered (I'm certainly not an expert). This study has had me thinking on the cultural beliefs of this country/continent...

On Religious Debate on TV: I was very impressed with the Baha'i and Catholic guests

The political season is filled with TV debates. Religion, it can be argued, is never really out of season, and you can find a debate or two of the religious kind on TV as well. -gw

The Illustrious Ya
I have been watching the debates of John Ankerberg. He is an Evangelical Christian TV host of his own ... TV programme. What I love about some of his programmes is that he'll bring on people of other faiths to debate with Christianity. He is obviously biased BUT he does let the other faiths speak! I appreciate that he lets his "opponent" guests speak without interruption, and that if one of the Christian guests is getting uppity, he'll stop the squabbling. ... I was very impressed with the Baha'i and Catholic guests. ...
The evangelicals were also horrible against the Baha'i guests. The Baha'i layed out their beliefs very clearly and succinctly. Then the evangelical went BUT NO YOU'RE WRONG. It all came down to how to interpret the Bible, with one side interpreting one way, and the other side a different way. Throughout the entire debate, you could hear the evangelical go "you are so funny. You are speaking, but I hear no words." ex:

"We believe that Baha'ullah was the return of Jesus Christ, one of many incarnations of God to teach Man."
"We believe that Baha'ullah and Jesus are the same person."
"Two different names, sir."

On a Baha'i-Inspired Drum: 9-point rim, dreamcatcher-style star

Mini 6" Baha'i Inspired Drum (Item number: 330227617944)
Handmade drum
Material: brown bear hide, and cedar 9 point rim, dreamcatcher style star with 19*5 beaded
Style: Naive, Primitive

Caught my eye. -gw

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

On mOna Flags Down the Divine Essence: God is alive on her journal

mOna sends encouraging words. She is that kind of person.

Her LiveJournal "Inkblot: Interpret as you will" site is substantial. A few months ago mOna took herself into account and concluded...

My new pillar of faith might just be the phrase "True loss is for him whose days have been spent in utter ignorance of his self." ...

Do you know what my priorities should *actually* look like? Well here's an idea:
1. Spiritual awareness (mostly maintained through meditation and prayer)
2. Teaching the Faith (to receptive people)
3. Being of service to others; bringing people joy
4. Doing well in school

Here is a subject mOna addressed yesterday... -gw

God Speculation
The premise: The concept of God is ridiculous because people claim that everything was created by something much more complex than us that we can’t understand…but then that would necessitate something even more complex creating that “God,” and you have this fantastic chain of “Creators of Creators.” Well, I’m not going to lie. That is quite ridiculous.

Michael relayed to me a concept embodied in the phrase “Ground of Being,” basically stating that everything more complex was built up from simpler things, down to energy and whatever is even more foundational than that. Instead of a most complex creature, we have the “Ground of Being,” the most foundational condition of reality. So he’d say something like, “I don’t thank God for creating me…I give thanks to the Ground of Being for giving me Being.”

"Flagging down the divine essence"
WELL…you know what? I would say “yes, right on.” Why? Because the Baha'i writings don’t define God as some more complex creature; rather, God is the “Divine and Invisible Essence,” the “Preexistent Reality.”

“Preexistent Reality” and “Ground of Being.” Think about it! Both imply a sort of foundation of existence. And, as in my previous speculation, I will carry forth the point that whatever you may call the foundation of existence, on which all existence depends, it must of a certainty encompass all possibility.

In other words, that which is more foundational encompasses the possibilities of whatsoever complex manifestations are derived from it. To specify is to define, and to define is to limit. Hence, the foundation of all being is the most undefined and the most limitless.

On the Definitive Large-Picture Version of a Year of Service Remembrance: Louhelen '04-'05

This post is sepia tony, tonie, tone. Click on the link and the loading alone may tax your patience. Your computer screen may be stretched to the max. Here is the large-picture version of a Year of Service remembrance. In this case, service of a Baha'i youth at Louhelen.

Instead of "Stop, drop, and roll," the watchword is "Load and scroll." Scroll down to the first pic and then text. The site, Servant in Training, is what happens when your dearly loved middle son plays with code. But you gotta admit, the effect of the large pic-format is transporting. -gw
"Spiritual gifts" of service "have been the means of spreading unity and concord on earth"
- Abdu'l-Baha

On a Temple Trophy: It's only appropriate that the winner should return with fond memories of India

This is four-month old press release for a story that was carried on a number of golf sites. It's old news, but not to me. Thanks, Barmak, for passing it on. -gw

BANGALORE – The EMAAR-MGF Ladies Masters trophy, a stunning piece of art, was unveiled on Friday at the Eagleton Resort clubhouse.

Senior officials of Ladies European Tour, golf in DUBAI, the promoters and organisers of the first Ladies Euopean Tour (LET) event ever to be held in India, and Women''s Golf Association of India were present at the ceremony.

Speaking on the occasion, Mohamed Buamaim, vice-chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAI, said: "The trophy has this Indian feel to it as it is designed in the shape of Delhi's world-famous Lotus Temple."

Since the tournament is being held India, it's only appropriate that the winner should return with fond memories of India," said Buamaim, who was flanked by, Alex Armas, chief executive of LET, Champika Sayal, secretary-general of Women's Golf Association of India, and Anjani Desai, the senior lady of Indian women's golf.

The Lotus Temple is a very recent architectural marvel of the Bahai faith, located south of Delhi. Shaped like a half-opened Lotus flower, this temple is made of marble, cement, dolomite and sand. It is open to all faiths and is an ideal place for meditation and obtaining peace and tranquility. Since its inauguration to public worship in December 1986, the temple has drawn more than 50 million visitors, making it the most visited edifice in the world.

Fariborz Sahba, a Canadian architect of Iranian origin, spent 10 years in designing and project management, and with the help of a team of about 800 engineers, technicians, artisans and workers brought to realisation one of the most complicated constructions in the world.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

On a Pilot Project in the Phillips Neighborhood: A lil about the Baha'i Faith

This guy has the outward orientation of a Baha'i teacher. And I love the fact that he really mixes up the type sizes and typefaces on his blog. -gw

Beginning a Jr Youth class is amazing. It can be so intimidating, but once action takes place, the momentum is really driving.A friend and I just had the bounty of helping to start a new Jr. Youth class in Minneapolis in the Phillips neighborhood. How fun. Seriously! We met with the parents last week and they were all excited. We taught them a lil about the Baha'i Faith, they all seemed relatively interested, and signed all the kids up.Total kids- 6 Total time-7wks (pilot project)
Reflections on Teaching with Anna's Presentation I

Have you counted your b-lessons today?
Where I spell out realizations, events, epiphanies which I believe are both lessons of life that are helping me progress, as well as blessings of God in my life. Peace on that.

On Daft Like Dar: Every column began with a news item and a Baha'i principle

A Yale Baha'i looks at his world through the lens of his Faith. -gw

The historical Darius
My column, “Daft Like Dar,” has been my attempt to engender dialogue inconspicuously. My pieces are an extension of the conversations that have enriched my life at Yale, forced me to reckon with the formerly unknown and hopefully shown others a perspective and a lifestyle they hadn’t yet encountered. When I wrote about Internet neutrality, I drew on the Baha’i principle of independent investigation of the truth; my thoughts on the presidential election reflected the Baha’i admonition that partisan politics are inherently divisive. Every column began with a news item and a Baha’i principle. If these columns spoke to you, I recommend you look into both.

18 months later, a voice of the Bahá’í Faith signs off
Dariush Nothaft
Daft Like Dar
Published Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I can only hope that the combination of sincere dialogues and an unfailing sense of moral rectitude in politicians can take its effect sooner rather than later. The world faces many challenges today; to overcome them, we must first overcome our own divisions and prejudices. As is written in Baha’i scripture, “The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.”

Candidates’ loyalties should lie with all humanity
Dariush Nothaft
Presidential candidates should ideally appeal to a loyalty to humanity, rather than one to party. Only then will we unlock the true capacity of American loyalty. Only then will we witness the American dream fulfilled.
Shifting focus from anti-terror to pro-alliance
Dariush Nothaft
America can be the ethical leader we imagine it to be; I’m sure many people like my grandfather are just waiting to be convinced.
Emphasis on The Canon glorifies Us vs. Them
Dariush Nothaft
The question is not which philosophy is read, but rather how the ideals of each — most of which are unfulfilled — can be used to realize their promises in a way that benefits everyone.
Advice for America: Align by ethics, not policy
Dariush Nothaft
Alliances between democracies can be more difficult at times, because other countries may disagree with the American agenda. But in today’s world, an ongoing conversation is infinitely better than a schoolyard posse.
Vigil-goers express solidarity, open conversation on race
Dariush Nothaft
I am proud to have gone to the vigil, and was profoundly touched by the words I heard strangers and friends speak. I hope that if any of you shared the sentiment of the News, you ask your friends, neighbors or colleagues about the vigil. Be ready to listen. This is an ongoing conversation.
Iran should not deny education to Baha’i
Dariush Nothaft
The case of the Baha’is in Iran reminds us that we must sharpen our wits when dealing with repressive regimes, lest they take our trust as naivete and use our good intent against those they repress. We must use the avenues of
international diplomacy to remind Iran that what they are doing is wrong, so that these avenues can become well worn, and can be more easily used for future issues. This would benefit all minorities worldwide, not only Baha’is.
'Virtual' religion raises interesting questions
Dariush Nothaft
The concept of Internet-administered
religion merits further scrutiny.

On Ridvan: He forbade the use of the sword

On Ridvan. -gw

The First Day of Ridvan Holy Day ... marks the end of the dispensation of the Bab and of the first epoch of the Heroic or Apostolic Age of the Baha’i dispensation (BBD 72-79 cited in Campbell and Momen 1996: 69).

“On the same day Baha’u'llah [made] three important statements to His followers:

1. He [forbade] the use of the sword.
2. He [stated] that no other Manifestation will appear before one thousand years. This is later reiterated in the Kitab-i-Badi and the Kitab-i-Aqdas.
3. He [stated] that from [that] moment, all the names and attributes of God are manifested within all created things, implying the advent of a new Day" [RB1 278-80] cited in Campbell and Momen (1996: 70).

Maureen Flynn-Burhoe

Source: Campbell, Glen; Momen, Wendi. 1996. A Basic Baha’i Chronology. Oxford: George Ronald.

{Photo: "The Swords of Qādisīyah, Baghdad," Uploaded on October 4, 2007 by James Gordon on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic}

On Human Cells, a Lotus flower, and a 9-Pointed Star: Inspired combination

Human cells, a lotus flower, and a 9-pointed star -- combine for inspiration. -gw

After many long hours and annoyances with Photoshop I finally finished my Business Card and Logo. I wanted my logo to combine spirituality and science, so I used a nine pointed star which is the symbol of the Baha'i faith and reshaped it to resemble a lotus flower. I then used a microscopic photo of human cells on a petri dish as a pattern to fill in the nine pointed lotus shape.

{Re-posted with permission}

Monday, April 14, 2008

On Green Faith Heros: Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Baha'is in service together

Youthful Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Baha'is gathered together to perform remarkable service, as described by Anne on her blog Let It Shine with LOTS of wonderful pictures. -gw

Today about 100 youth from the Interfaith Youth Group of Greater Philadelphia became Green Faith Heroes by cleaning up Cobbs Creek Parkway in Philadelphia. Participating congregations included the following: White Rock Baptist Church, Quba Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies, Al Aqsa Islamic Society School, Beth Am Israel synagogue, West Catholic High School, First United Methodist Church of Germantown, Mishkan Shalom synagogue, Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Germantown Jewish Centre, Masjidullah, Masjid Mohammad, Main Line Reform Temple, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Archbishop John Carroll, Villanova Foundation for Islamic Studies, BAWA Fellowship and the Bahai Fellowship.
{Re-posted with permission}

On Divine Phenomena: We accept any sign from God to encourage us in our way

Ethiopians looked to the sky and what did they see?

"The ring of light caused by sunlight refracted by ice crystals hung in the sky for almost an hour before it finally faded and disappeared."

Baha'i Views is the place to come for calamitous news of blight and other catastrophes, rings around the sun and other signs from God. Here we sit in wonderment, grateful to God. Thanks to Barmak Kusha for passing on this bit of news from his virtual stomping ground, Northeast Africa. -gw

Churchgoers who had flocked to see the visiting Patriarch of Alexandria, Pope Shenouda, acclaimed the phenomenon as a miracle, or at least a sign of a blessing from God.

Pope Shenouda himself believed it was a signal from above.
"We accept any sign from God to encourage us in our way," he said, "and confirm that we are going right in our way."

Abuna Paulos, the Patriarch of Ethiopia, added his voice to those who believe in signs from God.

"If God reveals himself from the sky," he told a press conference, "we believers do not get surprised. We only rejoice and double our efforts to thank God. Thank you, God, for revealing a sign."

On Responding to Aggressive Questions: A much-loved Baha'i video classic shows how

Message from Marco. -gw

I found amongst my old VHS tapes, one with a BBC Northern Ireland program called "A to Z of Belief - The Baha'i Faith". It was broadcasted in 1990. I remember how I enjoyed this program in those days. I also remember how some friends were shocked about the "aggressive questions" being asked. Some friends from Northern Ireland commented that programs about other beliefs were far more aggressive. I converted this VHS tape to a MPG file and uploaded into YouTube. Because the tape was an old one, the sound is far from perfect. You may see the video here:

Warmest greetings,
Marco Oliveira

On Baha'iBlogs on iPhone: That's Baha-iBlogs

iPhone lovers who love blogs can stay abreast of the latest post on their most favorite site. Yes, that's Baha'i Barney's site up on the screen.
The new Baha'i Views at is all plugged in for iPhone.
Thanks to David of for the photo. -gw

Sunday, April 13, 2008

On the "New" Baha'i Views: Free sneak preview

Have you seen the "new" Baha'i Views? Sneak preview, here. Grand opening coming soon. -gw

{Photo: Uploaded on October 14, 2006 by Ran Yaniv Hartstein on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic}

On Creating Communities: Many tents, one campground

There is a new look to Baha'i Library Forum. The logo for phpBB graces it. The administrator Jonah has seen fit to utilize software from phpBB, which has at its theme "creating communities." That'a a phrase that goes right along with the fundamental purpose of the Baha'i Faith. Baha'u'llah gathers many communities into one campground, thereby bringing peace to the world. -gw

Since its creation in 2000, phpBB™ has become the most widely used Open Source forum solution. ... With millions of installations worldwide, it is no wonder phpBB™ is one of the most popular ways to create and support a community.

On the View From Within the Baha'i Paradigm: There are no sides or feuds here

My perusal today of the Baha'i Library Forum reveals content of great merit. Brettz9 is masterful and succint in his summary as to why the application of the terms "liberal" and "conservative" are inappropriate for use "within the Baha'i paradigm" and in his discussion of different uses of the term "enemy" in relation to the Faith. He builds his case by incorporating the Writings and has pulled together relevant quotes.
Here is my red letter edition of his text. -gw

here are no sides or feuds here, no liberal or conservative camps within the Baha'i paradigm. The only possibilities for those within the Faith are Baha'is who seek to adhere to the Baha'i Administrative Order, those who are yet unaware of the teachings on the subject, and those individuals who try to subvert the faith to their own ends (whether they become Covenant-breakers, leave the Faith, become inactive, or return to the Faith). This Faith, even more so than any before it, has an ultimate authoritative voice on what is or is not allowed, as well as who or who is not a member, so it cannot be compared to Christian or even Muslim sects where the passing of the Founder led to unclarity about the rightful Succession.

nemy belongs to a special category of words which can sometimes indicate a mutual relationship and sometimes not. It is also used in the Writings both in a sense such as a categorization to avoid:

Let them see no one as their enemy, or as wishing them ill, but think of all humankind as their friends (Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, sec. 1)

yet the word is also used to describe a condition of opposition by at least one party:

This revelation have We given thee in Our holy Tablet, lest thou sorrow for what hath befallen Our House through the assaults of the enemy (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, section 58

umerous and powerful have been the forces that have schemed, both from within and from without, in lands both far and near, to quench its light and abolish its holy name. Some have apostatized from its principles, and betrayed ignominiously its cause. Others have hurled against it the fiercest anathemas which the embittered leaders of any ecclesiastical institution are able to pronounce. Still others have heaped upon it the afflictions and humiliations which sovereign authority can alone, in the plentitude of its power, inflict.

he utmost its avowed and secret enemies could hope to achieve was to retard its growth and obscure momentarily its purpose. What they actually accomplished was to purge and purify its life, to stir it to still greater depths, to galvanize its soul, to prune its institutions, and cement its unity. A schism, a permanent cleavage in the vast body of its adherents, they could never create. (World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 195)

"...the believers need to be deepened in their knowledge and appreciation of the Covenants of both Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá. This is the stronghold of the Faith of every Bahá'í, and that which enables him to withstand every test and the attacks of the enemies outside the Faith, and the far more dangerous, insidious, lukewarm people inside the Faith who have no real attachment to the Covenant, and consequently uphold the intellectual aspect of the teachings while at the same time undermining the spiritual foundation upon which the whole Cause of God rests.
In a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, 15 April 1949 to an individual believer, published in "The Light of Divine Guidance", vol. 2, p. 84)

his certainly would never justify calling someone an enemy nor feeling any personal animosity toward them, but it should indicate that there certainly can be persons who oppose the Faith, either internally or externally. For the internal cases, we know that these can never cause any permanent schism, but they can certainly cause temporary disruptions if Baha'is are not well-deepened and responsive, both as individuals, and more importantly, the institutions charged to deal with any internal challenges. ...

he House of Justice has referred to continued association with those who have attacked the Faith as being potentially "spiritually corrosive". I also don't think going out of our way to glorify such persons has any merit whatsoever. While Shoghi Effendi was willing to describe Mirza Yahya in God Passes By as "good-natured yet susceptible to the slightest influence", I don't think you'll find any dedicated tributes to the positive qualities of opponents of the Faith within his writings!

s with any human being facing someone who is actively opposing them, it might be tempting to make broad strokes against them, yet we are told in no uncertain terms to avoid doing so, and on the contrary, be willing--where called for--to indicate an enemy's merits (again, by "enemy" I am being descriptive, not indicating we should look at others as our enemies, besides acting under the statement I cited earlier about the need to be an "enemy" of the enemies of the Faith in the sense of not being content to let them spread untruths or create disruptions).

ften those will masquerade under the banner of "unity", when their intention is solely to disrupt, create doubts and divisions and nothing short of "vigilance" can avoid the commotion caused by those intent on deliberately raising havoc.

Letter photos all Creative Commons licensed:

On the Hour Is at Hand for Baha'is in Oregon, Texas, and Missouri: Dramatic expansion, vigorous consolidation

TEACHING.BAHAI.US continues to be must-reading for any Baha'i. The hour of dramatic expansion and just as vigorous consolidation, is at hand. Here are snippets from recent postings. Click over and get the complete scoop.-gw

Experiencing the Receptivity in Portland
Breaking news—Portland, OR (A) is on fire! On fire with teaching, that is. This cluster just recently launched its first Intensive Program of Growth, and the inspiring stories of the direct teaching efforts of the friends during their first expansion phase are flowing in. ... And like numerous clusters around the country, they are keeping a wise balance between expansion and consolidation activities.

Campus Course Bridge to Teaching
...they approached the Comparative History of Ideas Department (CHID) about offering a Spiritual Empowerment course on campus, which would include Ruhi Book 1. Today was the second day of the course. During the first class we did introductions and a brief power point presentation to the Faith (a multimedia Anna's Presentation, if you will). The course has 15 participants - 8 Baha'is and 7 non-Baha'is. None of the non-Baha'is are personal contacts! For today we assigned One Common Faith and the 2002 Letter from the Universal House of Justice to the world's religious leaders.

Overcoming Fears, Finding Joy
Over and over, we are receiving accounts from the friends whose initial anxiety about door-to-door teaching was replaced by enthusiasm after they participated on a teaching team.

Unity of Spirit in Jackson County
We are now at three new Baha'is! There are 19 different seekers that have attended firesides to date during this effort. 6 more have attended devotionals. All have been through personal contact.

Breakthrough in St. Louis and Kansas City
St. Louis had 29 new believers during its just-concluded expansion phase. Kansas City saw 9 in the first two days of its newly-launched expansion phase.

Breakthrough in Tarrant County: 39 Declarations
Our cluster was blessed to have been selected along with two other clusters from the Dallas area by members of the Continental Board of Counsellors for a training field for Auxiliary Board members and resource people from all over the Country. They participated two full days in a Seminar followed by two days of teaching in each of the three clusters along with a few local members from each cluster. The result was astounding as there was a total of 59 individuals in three clusters who accepted the message of Bahá’u’lláh after receiving Anna’s Presentation. 39 of these souls live in our cluster.

Opening the doors to a declaration
Here is a truly moving account of a declaration during the first expansion phase of the Intensive Program of Growth in St. Louis, MO (A).

{Photo: Uploaded on May 21, 2007 by dklimke on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic}

Saturday, April 12, 2008

On Keeping Note of the Baha'i Holy Days: The Baha'i calendar for Mac iCal

The official calendar of Baha'i Holy Days is available as a download for users of Apple Mac computers only at (see the link in the sidebar of the site). -gw

On Making Mention of God: Recite ye the verses

Baha’u'llah said …

Recite ye the verses of God every morning and evening. Whoso reciteth them not hath truly failed to fulfill his pledge to the Covenant of God and His Testament and whoso in this day turneth away therefrom, hath indeed turned away from God since time immemorial. Fear ye God, O concourse of My Servants.
Let me make mention of Baha'i Words - Each day, a new prayer or words from Baha'u'llah or Abdu'l-Baha will appear. Visitors can subscribe and have all updates delivered automatically each day via email. Pretty neat, huh! -gw