Sunday, January 31, 2010

On Counting Crows: But first the numbers

It's the end of the month. Good day to track the numbers.
In the last 27 days there have been 21,567 views to the Baha'i Views / Flitzy Phoebie photostream, photos, and sets on Flickr. What's a view, you ask?
Every single photo page can be arrived at from any other part of the internet. There's no "gateway" page they have to first enter. Thus there can [and will] be individual counts for each image, for each person who found their way there. Similarly, there will be counts for each person who arrived at your front page, with nary the two counts meeting. Each of your set pages as well, have their own unique counter.
According to Google Analytics, in January 2010 there were 4,686 visits to Baha'i Views on Blogger, 2,496 visits to Baha'i Views on WordPress, and 1,495 on Posterous. That's 1,104 to Baha'i Views on Posterous and 391 to Baha'i Music on Posterous.  I'm no longer autoposting to either Teaching the Baha'i Faith or Defense of Faith. The former is still accessible, and its archives drew 106 visits in January. So the total blog visits for the month for all of the blogs was 8,783.
Visits represent the number of individual sessions initiated by all the visitors to your site. If a user is inactive on your site for 30 minutes or more, any future activity will be attributed to a new session. Users that leave your site and return within 30 minutes will be counted as part of the original session.
Posterous provides a postviews number that is fun to watch grow. This is separate from the site visits number which Posterous also provides, as does Google Analytics. A visitor can come to the site and view multiple posts on one page or a visitor can arrive directly to a post. Those post views really add up.
Since I started Baha'i Music (first called "bahaimusic's posterous") on 9/11/09, 30,798 post views have accumlated, up from 21,198 just a little more than a month ago.  (I arrived at the numbers going through the laborious process of adding up all 123 posts.) Add to that 5,750 site views and you have a grand total of 36,548 site views and postviews combined.
By my talley today, there have been 59,954 post views on Baha'i Views on Posterous with its 320 individual posts since I started using the blogging platform on 9/21/09. Add to that number the 6,994 site views and you have a grand total of 66,958. That's up from 47,470 from late December, the last time I did a talley.
Total Posterous site views and post views to date: 103,506.
On YouTube Baha'i Views is "bahaivews" (no "i"). There are 124 video clips that have been put up. Adding up the total number of views for the first time today, I note that there have been 5,660 views total of those videos.
Enough counting visits and views for today. It's Counting Crows instead. -gw

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On a Sleepy-Time Baha'i Devotional: Liam & Cornelia join us

It was wonderful seeing Liam and his mother Cornelia arriving at Thursday's devotions with a plate of fresh-baked cookies, wonderful having them join us for prayers and sharing.

We were all a bunch of sleepy-heads that night. Accordingly, I tried to work lullabies from around the world into the musical mix, but not before I played a little Dino Five. Liam likes dinosaurs, you see.

After Cornelia sings a prayer live and in person, I play a new favorite Baha'i song by Chelsey-Lynn I think she'll like, "This is a Lamp (O My Lord)"


On My Website Is the Internet: More true today that ever before

Pioneer Baha'i blogger Barney is going to take a break from Barnabas Quotidianus...
Blogging has become kind of mainstream – not that that is necessarily a bad thing – but I feel that social networks are where it’s at right now.

BQ will remain on display for a time, but will join the legions of inactive blogs that are sitting on the web.

Find me elsewhere…

If you want to keep up with me, my life, my doings, my thoughts (not sure why you would, but just in case), you can find me on:

By the way, I can highly recommend Posterous as a blogging tool. It is both powerful and flexible and links into your Facebook page, Twitter, your blog, etc (if you want it to). It also stands very well by itself.

I certainly agree with Barney that social networking is the the dominant force on the Internet right now, and personal blogs have lost their lustre as being cutting edge. I would argue,however, that it doesn't matter how Bahai's choose to utilize the Internet, because now searches can instantly put us in touch with everything that appears using the keyword "Baha'i" in whatever format: news, blogs, videos, updates, forums, everything.
We are free to chose the vehicle that fits us best. Facebook, Twitter, and Posterous is formidable combination enough. No reason to feel like you're not doing enough through participation on even one of those.
Barney's presence on the internet has been an inspiration to Baha'is like me for years and will, undoubtedly, continue to be.
I heartily endorse Barney's recommendation re Posterous, by the way. It is my primary blog now, the way I get Baha'i Views content out to multiple sites. -gw

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On a Hike in the Forest: Getting back in shape

I know, you didn't think that wildcat's have trunks, but apparently they do. Hence the name of this trail.

My hamstring injury has healed. The 9-day intensive Baha'i teaching campaign is over. Bonita and I set aside the day for a hike in the forest.

Green Mountain State Forest
Kitsap County, Washington


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Saturday, January 30, 2010

On Increasing the Number of Baha'is Participating in the Instiute Process in Their Communities: Get down on it

During the disco and funk era, in many venues the dance floor was often located below the seating area, so to "get down" was to go down to the dance floor.

 During the Baha'i era to "get down" means to participate in the Institute Process. Tutor a study circle, be an animator for a Junior Youth Group, hold a devotional, do a home-visit, consult at your cluster reflection meeting, participate in the teaching projects initiated by your Area Teaching Committee in conjunction with the Auxiliary Board members -- in other words, "Get down on it. Get your back up off the wall. Dance, dance!"  Increasing the number of believers actively participating in the Institute Process will be key to maintaining systematic, sustainable, and signficant expansion of the Baha'i community. -gw


What you gonna do
You want to get down
Tell me what you gonna do
You want to get down
Get down on it
Get down on it
Come on and

How you gonna do if you really
Don't want to dance by standing on the wall
Get your back up off the wall

Kool And The Gang Lyrics - "Get Down On It"

The video comes via a tip from Frank who knows Montana and its bears well, having hiked just about every trail in Glacier Park and seen more than just one or two, although always from a distance. -gw

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On Baha'i Brilliant Stars in Cincinnati: Their version of "Pants on the Ground"

This is no idol version of General Platt's viral hit sung during an audition for Simon Crowell and company. -gw

This is a children's class and junior youth group from Cincinnati doing their own version of the "Pants on the Ground" song. ... They really are Brilliant Stars!

- Katherine

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On the Influence of African-American Gospel on Baha'i Musical Expression: Done made my vow to the Lord

The song is a classic of Baha'i musical expression. Here it is performed spontaneously by a locked-out choir of ostensibly white Baha'is in Ottawa, Canada. Lord done mixed things up. And I love it. -gw

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Friday, January 29, 2010

On a Willingness to Learn: Walking Together With Junior Youth

Even in today's society, when one looks across cultures, the kinds of attributes that stand out as inherent to this period of life [between the ages of 12 an 14] are enthusiasm, willingness to learn, sense of justice and a tendency toward altruism. Our programs then need to assist junior youth to adopt lofty aims, to be inspired by noble thoughts, and to develop qualities and abilities that life of service to the Cause and to humanity will require of them. -- "To the animators," Walking Together With Junior Youth
Tonight at 9:30 eight of us gathered in our living room to discuss setting up one or two junior youth groups in the Hilltop. With us was a young woman who had been introduced to the idea of participating in this core activity by a door-to-door teaching team during the first weekend of our recent Baha'i expansion campaign and visited again by a young adult team with our Auxiliary Board member the second weekend. She came over tonight with her mother. It takes some courage to go to someone else's home to discuss even such a noble undertaking as starting such a group for the neighborhood, and this radiant soul has it.
That what we are attempting to do is something being done in so many other places in the world simultaneously is awesome. -gw

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On Governing Ourselves With Justice: Bridging 'us and them'

"Friends from the other side"

Us and them. What would happen if were to embrace the other? We'd have unity.-gw

I’ve been thinking about the broader concept of “justice.” Here’s what I’ve concluded: There cannot be justice until people realize that there’s more than “just us” out there.

OK, I know that’s a play on words. But I think that the truth is within the similar-sounding words in our language. What if we made our decisions, planned our policies, governed ourselves and managed resources with the guiding principle being that it’s not “just us?”

Unity is the fundamental principle in the Bahá’í Faith. ... It makes sense to me that if we value the essential oneness of all rather than emphasize superficial differences then suitable actions can become apparent and justice can be achieved.

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On Melodious Ruhi Study in the Living Room: And malloreddus-making in the kitchen

Bonita always tells me after each Wednesday Ruhi Book 1 study circle with Kim and Rahmat how much she enjoys listening to it from the kitchen. She was making the Sardinian pasta malloreddus during this most recent one. I snuck a picture. -gw

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On No Theatrical Endeavor More Emotional Than This: The play "Mona" in current performance

The author of the play, Mark Perry, is the brother-in-law of Saeid Rezaie, a leader of the Baha'i community in prison in Iran whose trial continues on February 7th. -gw

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

On Gird Up Your Loins: Perhaps an illustration

Notice the bird flying at the top of this photo of detail of the Baha'i House of Worship in India.
Hiking up his pants. Perhaps an illustration of girding up his loins. Cute. -gw
Both photos uploaded on January 26, 2010 by doitsunosensei on flickr.
gird loins - definition of gird loins by the Free Online ...
Definition of gird loins in the Online Dictionary. Meaning of gird loins. ... 4. to prepare (oneself) for action (esp in the phrase gird (up) one's loins) ...

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On Bringing Our Intensive to a Conclusion: The 9th day

And, as promised, here are the photos and videos from the last day of our 18th Intensive Phase in Pierce County intended to expand our community of interest and extend an invitation to residents of two neighborhoods to partake of the Baha'i core activities. -gw

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On the Spirit of the Age: Hitching our wagons to His star

Back in 1979, when I was just 19, the Baha'is I got to know then often spoke about the perceived connection between the unity and solidarity of the whole human race that is expressed in Burns's poetry with the same core teaching of the Baha'i Faith. Of course, all sorts of people and ideologies - religious, political, secular, social and more - claim ownership of Burns, or have hitched their wagon to his star. His universalism (which is but one facet of his writing) took on particular significance for me when I was working on a book about 'Abdu'l-Baha's 1913 visit to Edinburgh. The Seven Candles of Unity (1991) by Anjam Khursheed, acknowledges the resonance that Scots Baha'is feel with the spirit of Burns.
Hitch up. -gw

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

On the Baha'i Process of Growth: One phase ends and another one begins

The Core Team meet tonight met to discuss follow-up to the intensive Baha'i teaching campaign just completed, while I was conducting my parenting training in Silverdale. Here are photos and videos from Saturday's gathering of the Baha'i teachers in our home. Tomorrow I'll put up Sunday's. -gw

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On More Baha'i-inspired Projekts and Artists: Chelsey-Lynn, Armin & Shahnam

Electronic Press KitQuantcast Chelsea-Lyne Heins is a 20 year old singer/songwriter, based out of Victoria, BC, Canada. Chelsea-Lyne plays piano and guitar, and writes all of her own music. In summer of 2009, she worked with Nabil Moghaddam, of NKindle Productions, to record her self titled Debut Album in Toronto. Her upcoming album is comprised of all original work, all drawing from personal experience, and is Baha'i inspired. LOOK OUT FOR THE RELEASE OF HER ALBUM Early 2010! Also, check out her youtube page @ **Music Video For Her Original Track "Running" is Soon-To-Be-Released!

So much new music. Thanks Harri. Thanks Reverbnation. Reverb the world. -gw

iTunes sell musicQuantcast Projekt Leuchtfeuer was established in 2007 by Armin Naimi and Shahnam Izadpanah. Both Artist worked together on their first album "Lightfire", which was mainly a rap album. Soon this new music project, which is inspired by the Bahá'i faith, won recognition from the audience and was a well known band in Germany. After good feedback from the young audience, they decided to make another album, which should be in interest of a broader mass of people. So within two months "Harmony" the second album was made, but this time they weren't alone. Artists from Australia, Canada and Germany supported them in the studio. In deep meditation, devotion and consultation, a masterpiece was made. The result you will listen to very soon!

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On the Ebb and Flow of Baha'i Volunteers in Service in Haifa: Coming even from the midmost heart of the ocean

All of the islands of the Pacific, including the Solomon Islands, are situated, in Baha'i terms, in "the midmost heart of the ocean," and are places where Baha'u'llah raises His Voice, proclaiming: 'I am the life-giver of the world!'” From such places Baha'is travel to Haifa to serve as volunteers at the Baha'i World Center. -gw

SERVING God in another country for three years is something John Hiona says is unforgettable.

Mr Hiona, who recently returned from Haifa in Israel, the world centre of the Baha’i Faith, shared his experience last Friday in Honiara. ...

Mr Hiona described Haifa as the Baha’i world centre where thousands of Baha’i faith followers go and visit each year. ...

Mr Hiona said Haifa world centre is a place of holiness and serving there is important because it is a historical place for all Baha’i Faith people.

He said he was one of 12 Baha’is who served in Haifa at different times in previous years.


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On Two Baha'is of Jacmel, Haiti: Moro Baruk and Paule

Moro Baruk is an artist. He was born in Egypt in 1947.... In 1979, Moro and his wife Paule, responding to a calling to serve their Faith, traveled to Haiti. ... Today, the Baruks live in a house they built in their adopted hometown, Jacmel. They employ 25 artisans, and they are very busy helping to establish the principles of race unity, the equality of men and women, the elimination of prejudice of all kind; all principles brought by Baha'u'llah the Prophet-Founder of the Baha'i Faith.
And then there was the earthquake. These are brief excerpts from an email from Moro, passed on by Irene. -gw
[From Moro Baruk & his wife Paule in Jacmel, Haiti (Baha'i pioneers to Haiti)]
At 4:53 PM on Tuesday January 12th, 2010 life had another meaning in Jacmel. I was sitting in my living room watching a silly TV show after work. Paule was out in the countryside visiting the Baha'i­s in Cayes Jacmel; when suddenly the living room started swaying softly then very violently. What! What? Ya Bahul-Abha (O Thou the Most Glorious of all Glories) It must be an earthquake! Ya Bahul-Abha Ya Bahul-Abha Ya Bahul-Abha I was shouting at the top of my lungs. Noise was everywhere; it seemed to have been generated by the earthquake itself. ...
At the time of the earthquake, Jonas (a Baha'I of Jacmel) and Hector Guerrier were standing in the street by their house. As soon as the tremor started they both dashed into their house. Hector ran downstairs and Jonas climbed the stairs fast. The House, unfortunately collapsed under Jonas' feet as he saw himself landing unhurt on top of the collapsed building. His brother didn't make it. A few tenants died as well. ...
In a Tablet of Bah'u'llah it says that if anyone would travel to another country to spread the divine fragrances of his Lord, God would send with him a company of His chosen angels, each carrying a chalice of pure light. We are very fortunate to know intimately one of them, although still living on this earth. Janjan (Jean Max Casimir) is one of these angels. He has been taking care of us from the very beginning. Without him we would have certainly endure much graver hardships.

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On Avatar Snubbed: But not for long

Re: Avatar completely snubbed at the SAG awards

by JMCompt » Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:44 am. The SAG awards is by and for Screen Actors, right? It is focused on their own assessment of the performances. I have no doubt that many of the Guild-members felt there was not enough actual screen-time for the actors and actresses to warrant the receipt of an award. Out of curiosity, how many actual animated films have resulted in SAG awards for their talent?

Also, just because you might not have heard about something does not mean that it has little to no validity. How many people here have heard about the Baha'i? I didn't really know anything about China outside of Kung-Fu flicks 10 years ago, and I only recently learned about the art of Bento. I am so very thankful learning is a lifelong task.

Sooner or later Avatar the movie will get its just due, just as Baha'u'llah, the Avatar of this age, will come to be recognized by the masses of humanity. -gw
Bahá'u'lláh - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 Later, `Abdu'l-Bahá stated that Bahá'u'lláh was the Kalki avatar, who in the classical Hindu Vaishnavas tradition is the tenth and final avatar (great ...

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Monday, January 25, 2010

On a Heaping Portion: A music night for the soul

Invite people to your home who like music. Tell them to bring some favorite songs. Intersperse the recorded musical offerings with some great live music. These are the ingredients for Music Night at Russ & Robbie's.  
I came with my son Rahmat and Selena, a Baha'i student at UPS. Kim and her friend Dylan followed us over in Kim's car. It was a special night.
My selections included Eric Harper's "Allah'u'Abha." It was a hit!

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On Herb's Backstage Photos of Sid Bulkin: "He was a great guy and even gave me drum lessons in 1950"

The blog entry is almost two years old, but as far as the Internet is concerned, it could have been posted just yesterday. Today I received a comment to the post On the Passing of Sid Bulkin: Remembered for his whole-hearted dedication to the Baha'i Faith dated March 23rd 2008. It was from someone who knew the Bulkin girls, googled their name, and came upon the post. It became a way to convey a message:

Hi Leslie and Kelly. This is Kata from Sunset high school. Sorry to hear about your loss. I lost my mother 3 yrs. ago and know the heartache. Was just curious as to your whereabouts. Would love to here from you. regards Kata

New Year's Eve I got this email from Herb who had come across the same post:

I have a couple of photos I took of Sid Bulkin when he played in the Ralph Flanagan orchestra in the early 1950s. If you give me a name and address to send them to, I'd be happy to send them. Sid was a great guy and even gave me drum lessons during 1950 and 1951. I was shocked to learn of his passing. Please E-mail reply. Thank you.

The photos above and below were taken "backstage at the Statler Hotel, or the Hotel Pennsylvania, or it might have been in Frank Daily's Meadowbrook." Thank you, Herb. I will pass them on to the family.

Herb knows his music:

Here's Ralph Flanagan & His Orchestra. Is that Sid playing drums in this video? -gw

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On Rita's Passing: She enjoyed Baha'i fellowship

Rita was a friend to the Baha’is. -gw

Dear Friends,

Our dear friend Rita passed on to the next world last Saturday, January 16.   

So many in our Tacoma and neighboring communities knew Rita over the years as she was a quick friend to everyone and enjoyed our Baha'i community and the fellowship.  She attended our Devotional Meetings at Wright Park, many Naw Ruz breakfasts at the Olsen's, Gig Harbor firesides at the Nolen's and even Ruhi study circles at the Dannells'.  She always called me to go to Azar's annual turkey feed for the 9th Day of Ridvan because she enjoyed it.  She met and adored Farshad's mother visiting from Teheran ... the stories go on and on....

Her son Michael called me to share the news, and he offered the attached link to a youTube video of Rita's life. 

I'm sorry to lose in this earthly life a dear friend, but my spirit is uplifted that Rita's spirit is now free and soaring......please offer prayers for the progress of this dear sweet always giving soul.  Feel free to forward to others I may have forgotten.

Loving greetings to all,



The following words are from her son Michael:

My mother passed away on Saturday, January 16, 2010, as she slept peacefully. Members of her family were at her side. This video was originally put together by my sister Renee, as a birthday present to my mother for her 71st birthday. It's a warm and lving compilation of family photos and memories of our mom.  Michael


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On Minority Religions in Israel: But no Baha'i community

Making up 16% of the population, Muslims constitute Israel’s largest religious minority. About 2% of the population are Christian and 1.5% are Druze. The Christian population includes both Arab Christians and Messianic Jews. Members of many other religious groups, including Buddhists and Hindus, maintain a presence in Israel, albeit in small numbers. ...
The administrative center of the Baha’i Faith and the Shrine of the Baha’i are located at the Baha’i World Centre in Haifa and the leader of the faith is buried in Acre. Apart from maintenance staff, there is no Baha’i community in Israel, although it is a destination for pilgrimages. Baha’i staff in Israel do not teach their faith to Israelis following strict policy.

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On I Need....: 8 Days a Week

I need a week off ... to blog.
Life is rich. Our intensive phase, 9 days of intensive Baha'i teaching, including 4 days of going door-to-door, is over. There are so many vivid and glorious impressions to share, hundreds of photos still to put up on flickr, just from this past weekend alone. There are some great posts for Baha'i Views and Baha'i Music in the making, thanks to kind readers who have passed on some great material. All I need is time.
Tommorrow I do another evening training for the parents of pre-schoolers for work, which is on top of the 8 hours between 8 and 5. Opps, that means the meeting at my house for setting up a Hilltop Junior Youth group needs to be moved to another location or another night. I need 8 days a week.
8 days a week
Is not enough to show I care
"8 Days a Week" by the Beatles

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Friday, January 22, 2010

On the Summoning of Iranian Envoys: World opinion counts

The Bahá'í Faith in Finland began with contact between traveling Scandinavians with early Persian believers of the Bahá'í Faith in the mid-to-late 1800s[1] while Finland was politically part of the Russian Empire.

Pray for us Letters Squamish Chief
1 hour ago - In spring of 2008, seven Baha'i leaders were arrested in Iran. ... The situation facing these Baha'i leaders is extremely threatening. ...
Finland summons Iran envoy over human rights violations ...
1 hour ago - ... the increased harassment of human rights activists and the treatment of the Baha'i minority,” said Secretary of State Pertti Torstila. ...
Iran Press Watch: Iran's Ebadi says seven Baha'is must be ...
7 hours ago - (Washington TV) — In an exclusive telephone interview with WashingtonTV on Tuesday, Shirin Ebadi, one of the lawyers defending the seven detained Baha'i ...
It's all over the Internet. -gw

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On Missing the Blessed Beauty: What we learned from the Joshua Bell performance

The video above of a street musician performing was taken during the visit my wife and I made to the Pike Place Market in Seatlle. The story below is via praveen. It is  "...something to think about..." indeed, a true story according to, which may illustrate why people are slow to recognize Baha'u'llah, the Manifestation of God for this day. -gw
Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.
4 minutes later: the violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk..
6 minutes: A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.
10 minutes: A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.
45 minutes: The musician played continuously.  Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace.  The man collected a total of $32.
1 hour: He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.
This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities. The questions raised: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?
One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:  If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made.... How many other things are we missing?     
Bangalore, KA, India  

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

On Tacoma Teaching Stories: Just compiled

World War II-Era Neighborhood Revitalization Project Garners Multiple Awards

The Salishan neighborhood in Tacoma, Washington originally provided temporary housing for shipbuilders and other industry laborers during the Second World War. After decades of decline, the 188-acre site is now being transformed into an award-winning neighborhood of low-income rental homes, market rate properties—and a healthy dose of community services and greenbelts.
Our designated storytellers have talked with the Baha'i teachers that went out into the Hilltop and Salishan neighborhods during the recent intensive and offer this combined narrative. -gw
A team went to visit a lady who one of them knows from their involvement in the neighborhood.  She is Russian-speaking, but can speak English.  She said she is Christian and was not interested, but when the other team member recited one of the Hidden Words in Russian the ice was broken and she invited them in.  They talked about Christ returning as “a thief in the night”.  She had very deep questions and agreed about life after death.  She has been wanting to have prayer gatherings with her Russian-speaking friends as they often pray about difficulties in the neighborhood, and the Baha’i friend offered her home.  She would like some Baha’i books in Russian.  This team learned what an impact it has when we use the Words of Baha’u’llah, especially in someone’s native tongue. 
Another team met a mom and her six children, ages 5-17.  They were invited in, they gave the first three sections of the presentation in the process of their discussion.  The older children were invited to come in and listen.  They felt this family was very receptive and strong.  Three learnings for the team:  driving around to get a feeling of where it would be best to start before choosing where to start; inviting the bright-eyed youth to come and hear the presentation; inviting themselves back to visit the next day.  They have a very good feeling about this family and made a heart and spiritual connection.  The family had been homeless until recently and is new to the neighborhood.  The mom wants her children to be virtuous.  A team returned to visit this family the next day.  The mom was ready for them.  The team came with children and demonstrated a children’s class.  This mom has had a lot of suffering and injustice in her life and connected with the team member who lives nearby.  This mom is open to developing a spiritual life for herself and family and needs support.  They talked about the elements of a children’s class and shared “O God Guide Me” from Spanish prayer book.  Her 15 yr old daughter checked out the Faith on the internet and liked what she saw.  The family was invited to come to neighborhood children’s classes and they will also explore the idea of doing a book 1 with the mom and older daughter. 
A team met wonderful woman who asked them to come in.  They visited, shared prayers, spent an hour there.  She liked the jr youth program and there will be follow up with granddaughter.  One team member’s learnings:  it felt clumsy, but you have to learn by doing to become more comfortable (just talking about it will not work).  It’s about connecting hearts and you have to go where the hearts want to go – making friends.  She felt privileged to be able to participate.
Another team had a wonderful exchange with a young man who was out working in his yard.  At first he was not that interested, but became more engaged as they chatted.  He was very deep, a good listener with beautiful qualities.  They gave him a card to investigate on the internet.  He is moving soon, but not far away.  He was impressed with the Faith and has studied world religions.  An experienced team member said that he is the most remarkable person she has met so far in this neighborhood and saw an aching heart in search of the Beloved.  The other team member felt that this man seeking.  He was raised Catholic but has looked into Buddhism and Hinduism.  He suggests we go back to reconnect before he moves. 
One team stopped at a home where three Christians were studying the Bible and were invited in to talk about building a spiritual community.  One team member said she usually doesn’t get far with committed Christians, but they spent and hour and a half there.  They had open hearts.  They talked about Christian topics, such as how can Jesus be God, and the return of Christ.  They read book 6 quote cards together.  They were welcomed to come back any time.  Intense!  Reading the words of Baha’u’llah had an effect on them.  
A teacher wanted to connect with a seeker he has been teaching who we met last cycle.  He was able to assist with a needed ride due to a family emergency.  A friend was also given a ride and the seeker shared about the Faith with him. 
A Baha’i met with a mom whose two children are attending CC at Lisa’s.  She gave the presentation all the way to the laws.  The mom had lots of insightful comments.  She has a Jehovah Witness background and is definitely interested. 
A team had over an hour conversation with and older African-American woman and gave ¾ of the presentation.  This lady is a devout Christian, and she reached out to hold hands as they said two prayers.  She acknowledged the truth of the words of God, and heard that Baha’u’llah is the return of Christ.  She agreed to a return visit – the team member will bring a Baha’i friend who was previously a Christian minister

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On More from Cluster 19's Intensive Teaching Campaign: Day 2 in pictures and videos

Here are the pictures from Day Two of our intensive expansion campaign both from before the friends headed out and after they returned. My experience teaching with Karen as my team partner was exquisite. Our door-to-door effort brought us into Josie's home, a deeply spiritual and dear grandmother, whose journey of investigation of the Baha'i Faith began with our visit.
These are video clips from the second day. Our numbers were smaller for our devotions and deepening in the morning, because many of the friends were supporting two simultaneous Baha'i devotionals, one at Tim & Deb's in Tacoma and one at Rocky's in Gig Harbor. Arlene went to support a presentation by Pattabi on Hinduism and the Baha'i Faith he was giving for a Jewish youth group at Temple Beth El.
The videos include excerpts from some stories by Marion drawn from her direct teaching in Guam and Alaska. Lisa describes her experiences in getting a children's class started in her home in Salishan. Arlene recounts her experience at Temple Beth El.


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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

On an Upside to Recession: More time for Baha'i

There is a benefit to being under-employed or even unemployed. There is more time for the core activities of Baha'i life. -gw
I really need to get in a routine of posting. Since I last posted the biggest change is that I am (and all my colleagues are) in what Germans call "Kurzarbeit" (literally "short work") - that is, I am to work (much) less than usual and the employment office pays part of my salary. This has given me tons of free time, which I've been filling with different activities: Mondays and Thursdays I go to the Dojo two and a half hours earlier to act as a co-trainer for the kids and junior classes; I've been attending more Baha'i activities; I've been reading more; I've been surfing more (I discovered reddit).
The reddit icon:

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On the SOHO China CEO: One of the great characteristics of the Baha'i faith is consultation.

 Extolling consultation. -gw

Are there any difficulties having two people — yourself and your husband (Pan Shiyi, who has the role of company chairman) — at the top?
One of the great characteristics of the Baha'i faith (the religion both Zhang and Pan now subscribe to) is consultation. We consult not just with each other but with colleagues. No decision is made dictatorially by anybody in this company. I think that is the real character of SOHO, it has always been very open, even more so today.

Do you think people associate SOHO China heavily with Pan and yourself?
They do, but what can you do? When you think about Apple you think about Steve Jobs. But it was very organic: it wasn't designed. We needed to sell, we needed to build a brand name, so we needed to come out and talk, and the media likes to talk to private entrepreneurs. We are not state-owned so we don't have restrictions on what to say and what not to say. We can speak very honestly and the media needs that honesty so naturally it became this way.  

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Monday, January 18, 2010

On a Purpose-Driven Life: Got one?

This is one of a series of booklets produced for use at Baha'i Nineteen Day Feasts.-gw

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On MLK Day 2010: Tacoma-style

Every year after the Martin Luther King Day commemoration in the Tacoma Dome Tim and Deb have opened their home for a big celebratory potluck. Here are photos which attempt to catch the spirit of the afternoon for the Baha'is and their friends who attended. -gw

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On Beginning Our 18th Expansion Cycle: Tacoma Baha'is visit their neighbors in Hilltop and Salishan

Our 18th Baha'i expansion cycle has begun here in Pierce County, Washington, as these photographs and videos of our preparation before going door-to-door in two of Tacoma's diverse neighborhoods -- and story-telling afterwards -- are visual proof. -gw

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On Prayers for the Yaran: Protect these Companions

The trial of the seven Baha'i leaders in Iran, referred to as the Yaran ("Friends"), began a few days before thekickoff of our Baha'i intensive teaching campaign this past weekend. These Baha'is were in our thoughts and prayers, their photograph constantly reminding us of their sacrifice. -gw

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On A Song for Martin Luther King Day: DJ Mehdi's "I Am Sombody"

One of the friends who traveled to our cluster to join us for the first day of our intensive Baha'i teaching on Saturday was named Mehdi. Nice name Mehdi. I googled it to get the different ways to spell it and came across this video. -gw

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

On Coach Charles, Baha'i teacher: Football & faith

Charles is a GM for the Tacoma Invaders professional football team. You'll see him most weekends fall, winter, and spring coaching football, either little league youth or young professionals. Coach Charles has been a regular attendee of our Thursday evening Baha'i devotional and is an active Baha'i teacher. The Baha'i friends first met Charles when going door-to-door during our last Intensive Phase three month ago. Cluster 19 is now beginning its 18th IPG. What other humble and radiant souls, like Charles, will be discovered during this cycle? -gw

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On Baha'is in Haiti: Relief and assistance

As you can imagine, it has been difficult to obtain information from Haiti. From the news we have received so far, it appears that the members of the Haitian Bahá’í community are accounted for, and none thus far have been reported killed. Of course, many others are suffering terribly at this time and a special prayer service for Haiti will be held at the Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette on Sunday afternoon.
One of our local believers inquired of the Baha'i National Center about the Baha'is in Haiti and received this information. The Mona Foundation's Anis Zunuki School, a Baha'i Social Economic Development project, is located of of Port-au-Prince. The email also noted that... -gw
...guidance on how to contribute to the relief effort there has been posted to the administrative website and to The American Bahá’í online at: (you’ll need to logon to the site to access the message).

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

On Art in Public: Bringing people together

...although sound is but the vibrations of the air which affect the tympanum of the ear, and vibrations of the air are but an accident among the accidents which depend upon the air, consider how much marvelous notes or a charming song influence the spirits! A wonderful song giveth wings to the spirit and filleth the heart with exalteth.

This is a testimony to the power of a song to bring people together. Truely this is public art. Thanks bro-in-law Frank for this. -gw

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On a Baha'i on Project Runway: She holds herself to the high standards of her faith

Hi George,

A Baha’i on our community, Pamela Ptak, is on Project Runway (reality based fashion show). She mentions the Baha’i Faith towards the end of this article, thought you might want to see it:

here’s the quote towards the end of the article:

While the invasiveness of reality TV may be daunting to some, Ptak has never much been bothered by others’ opinions about her, and as a Baha’i, she says she holds herself to the already high standards of her faith, leaving little room for anything that would paint her in a dubious light.

“If I did something like scratch myself inappropriately, that’s kind of a bummer that people would see that, but there’s really nothing in my life that I have shame about,” she says, nonetheless acknowledging that footage can be edited to change the tenor of certain situations. “You have to just be truthful to yourself. Don’t try to play an act.

“Be who you are,” she says, “and you’ll be accurately portrayed.”

I’m so excited for her, I hope she does well!

Thanks, Anne! -gw

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On the Best Ice Cream in Turkey: Sounds pretty cool

Stephanie is in Turkey as part of a school program. Here is the latest from her:
My prof said somethings really cool to me today in talking about how I
always seem to be smiling and referencing that first day in class when I got
to talk with infectious energy about the Baha'i Faith.  He said that I
presented it very well and he went home and wikipedia'd it (and a couple
other students there said they did too and agreed that it was a good
presentation).  Prof then said that if religions were like ice creams
or just something you could try, he would definitely try the Baha'i Faith
based on my recommendation ;-)  and another girl agreed that the Faith
sounded pretty cool.  Good news, right?
"Turkish ice cream," uploaded on May 5, 2009 by lizziecow on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

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