Friday, October 29, 2010

On Richard Mirkovich: His talks were full of practical daily applications of the principal of service to humanity

A lovely photographic remembrance of a Baha'i pioneer can be found on Steve Pulley's Flickr site. I googled Richard and came up with this delightful description of him from 2006 on the blog BumpaStuff. -gw
Our favorite speaker, Richard Mirkovich, came all the way out from the Island of Chira (about an 8 hr trip for him) to keep the whole crowd completely entranced with what he had to say. The theme was about the unfolding of civilizations--always being under the guidance of Spiritual Teachers. Richard is a person who has integrated the Baha'i Teachings very well in his life, so he's a wonderfully natural speaker and educator. It's truly entrancing to listen to the wonderful ideas he presents, like the latest studies he's been doing on the Indigenous cultures who inhabited this area thousands of years in the past. But his talks are full of practical daily applications of the principal of service to humanity. He has little kids, their parents, local policeman--anybody who is interested---attend his English classes on the island. They flock to him and really keep him busy. (The idea of teaching locals English stems from his idea that this will assist them to deal with the huge influx of international tourists to the area and improve their economic situation. However, he has them converse about spiritual and scientific matters while they are learning the language. If they don't understand a particular idea he'll give them a translation.) Anyway, the students are flocking to his place in a steady stream. (There's no charge, of course, and they know that the benefits are long-lasting.)

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

On Pursuing One Another Around the Board Answering Questions on Spiritual Topics: For game Baha'is

Love games? This is for you. -gw
Spiritual Pursuit is a Baha'i quiz game, played on a board. Players pursue one another round the board by answering questions on spiritual topics. The board is divided into ten sections, on subjects such as Baha'u'llah, The Writings, Administration and Other Messengers. Each player has to collect six points to complete a section, which is accomplished by answering questions.

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On More Pics From the Mystery File Taraz put on My Computer: Ethereal pilgrimage

Here are more pics from the mystery file that Taraz left on my computer during his recent visit from Denver, including, apparently, some from his Baha'i Pilgrimage to Haifa some years ago. -gw

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On Whether to Invite the Neighbors: The Baha'i campus club does it for me

I was a member of the University of Illinois Baha'i Club from 1966 to 1969. For the first two years I wasn't a Baha'i. Didn't have to be. I was a fixture at the Friday night firesides. Brought refreshments.
There are three Baha'is now on campus at the University of Puget Sound, four blocks away from where we live. There are many times more than three who have signed up this year for the Baha'i Club on campus, like last year. You don't have to be a Baha'i to participate in its activities. They did a Book 1 last year.They're studying One Common Faith this year. They're also hosting the Birth of Baha'u'llah Holy Day for our community in November. 
There are a lot of students living off campus in our neighborhood, including three living in the house right next door. I've met them all, starting with Jen,  a radiant soul, the first to arrive for the start of the school year back in late August. I've had thoughts that I should tell our new neighbors about our Thursday devotional. Haven't followed up on it though.
Tim called me tonight. Tim is a club advisor. He said he mentioned when the club met tonight the Book 1 that we are starting in our home next Wednesday. "It's just off campus at 8th and Washington," he said. One of those interested in attending said, "Hey, I live at 8th and Washington."  Who is it? It's our neighbor Jen. I knew there was something really special about her.
There's more. Tim said he suggested to Jen that she come to our devotional tomorrow. She said she would. -gw

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On Me and My No. 1 Son: Ruhullah

Me and my oldest, Ruhullah.
We're essentially a one-computer family. Well, there is the Dell laptop with the backlight that needs to be replaced. I'm using it just for music, because it has my iTunes on it, and I can't transfer the songs to a sixth computer. Darn Apple!
With one computer in the corner of the living room, it is what both Bonita and I use. And what our kids use when they visit. Taraz left a mysterious file of his photos on it the other day. Finders keepers. I love the photo of Ruhullah I found in the mix.
Speaking of family, here is a set from our  Fall Birthdays get-together. Both Ruhullah and Tarazullah are born in the fall season, and Laurel, too. -gw

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On the Education of Children: A meritorious reminder

A meritorious reminder, this quote on education from the Baha'i Writings.  -gw
"I dipped into the future far as human eye could see; Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be!"

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On a Baha'i Beatboxing: Shades of Bobby McFerron

A Baha'i beatboxing. Thanks, Afsin, for this! -gw
Beatboxing is not that different from normal human speech. You only have to start developing a rhythmical feeling and you have to stress the pronunciation of certain letters and vowels until you can talk in the beatbox language. Listen to some music by famous beatboxers such as Killa Kela, Rahzel, Roxorloops, Biz Markie, Doug E. Fresh, Matisyahu, Max B, Blake Lewis (American Idol finalist), or even Bobby McFerrin (The artist of 'Don't Worry Be Happy.' He created the whole song using only his voice dubbed on different tracks to create many different 'instruments'). Many of the techniques that are used by these beatboxers are explained here.

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On I Am a Bristle Block Booster Baha'i: A quiet constructive-type toy for children attending devotional meetings

I am a Baha'i bristle block booster. Here Liam constructs a work of art (which, according to the Baha'i Writings, is a form of worship, don't ya know) at a recent Baha'i devotional. -gw

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Monday, October 25, 2010

On Every 19-Year Old Girl's Dream: Being chased by piglets while doing Baha'i service

Last week I was chased by piglets. 10 piglets, black and white. True story.

We were walking to the bus stop in Punghe, an indigenous community, where we had children's classes and junior youth groups. Anyway, we walked by a farm where in the front meadow area were 10 piglets. Walking by, I counted... 8 black/white, 2 white. I thought to myself about their genes, trying to figure out what kind of fur their parents had because you know that's just what I like to think about sometimes while walking through an indigenous community in Ecuador (why am I so weird). But, as I was thinking, I forgot the number of white piglets and I remember wishing I could go back and count again.
I snapped out of my nerdy daydream-thought and realized Eduardo, Mauro, Val, and Monica were all looking back at me and chuckling. I thought to myself "First the female dog, then Roberta.... WHY DOES EVERYONE SEEM TO KNOW FUNNY THINGS I DON'T." So then Val told me to look behind me. I glanced back and there following my trail were those 10 piglets, trudging along with their little snouts and perky ears. Anyway, I kept walking thinking that maybe they'd stop... but nope, I glanced back again and sure enough... oink oink. Well. Eduardo suggested that I run, because apparently the owners of the piglets would think that I was trying to steal them if they saw this situation... because you know, it's every 19-year-old-foreigner-girl's dream to have 10 piglets. ...
Click over to read the rest of this story from Maryam who is supporting the Baha'i core activities in Ecuador. Reminds me of the Raffi song, "8 Piggies in a Row." Only there were 10. -gw
Play song from
Everything Grows - 1987 - 1:37

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On Proof that Tacoma is Becoming a Child-Centered Baha'i Community: Saving ourselves from extinction

I forgot my camera, but Tim took photos and let me shoot some, too, at the Baha'i Holy Day last week, and Deb has put them up on her Facebook. Here's proof that that Tacoma is becoming child-centered at long last. I counted nine adults and AT LEAST 31 children and (a few) teenagers, the fruits of the Institute Process in the Salishan neighborhood. It would be accurate to say that the Tacoma has been an aging Baha'i community, but the trend is being reversed in dramatic fashion, as we follow the guidance of the Universal House of Justice and embrace a new vision of what it means to be a Baha'i, reaching out to the children and youth in our neighborhoods. -gw

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

On How to Spend One's Saturday: Baha'i teaching or lying up in bed

Fullscreen capture 10232010 84207 AM
Today the friends gather in Gig Harbor for focused teaching in neighborhoods over there. I own't be able to join them, because I'm sick. I'll offer prayers, for them and for me. Hopefully, I'll feel better tomorrow and be able to assist in the effort on the final day of our intensive campaign. Here is evidence from last weekend of some of our preparation for teaching and reflections. -gw





Friday, October 22, 2010

On Babies, Brains and Relationships: Some take-away messages

This is re-posted from a blog I have the privilege of doing for the Peninsulas Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Group of which I am a member. As it has to do with optimal human development starting in the earliest days of life, it fits right into the mix of posts on Baha'i Views, it seems to me. -gw

The Kitsap Interagency Coordinating Council arranged to have Sheri Hill, PhD, to come to yesterday's Kitasp Interagency Coordinating Council meeting for a 3-hour training entitled "Babies, Brains and Relationships. The turnout was great, and the presentation was compelling. Here are some of the take-away messages, as gleaned from her slides. 

I have just half of the photos but none of the video clips uploaded yet. Here is the first installment, including the pics above.  -gw

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

On Cluster 19's Teaching Campaign THIS weekend: I'll be there

Dear Friends,
Just a reminder that this weekend will mark the final 2 days of our 9 day Teaching Campaign for this, the 21st Cycle!!
Please join us as we gather the group for prayers, deepening, study and lunch followed by outreach campaigns in Gig Harbor and Tacoma. There's opportunity for all to serve: as an experienced or new teacher learning by accompaniement, a member of the prayer team or assisting with hospitality or food.
Please come experience the JOY and EXCITEMENT as we share Baha'u'llah's healing message and work to build spiritual communities with the divine guidance of our beloved Supreme Institution thru the 5 Year Plan!!!
With Love,
Core Team WA 19
Yes, the joy and intensity continues throught this next weekend. Here is another installment of video from the debriefing on the direct teaching that went on this past weekend. In addition to teaching in Salishan and Hilltop, we taught in two new neighborhoods in Tacoma. At one the friends encountered many immigrants from the Ukraine and Roumania. -gw

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

On It's Dizzy Gillespie's B-day: Is he the most famous Baha'i musician?

On Salishan Children Come to the Baha'i Holy Day: In a neighborhood like the one in Shiraz

Last night the Birth of the Bab, the Baha'i Holy Day, was celebrated in the Salishan neighborhood of Tacoma. The residents there are perhaps not that much diffrerent than the residents in the nieghborhood in Shiraz where children's classes were offered by a group of mostly Baha'i youth that led to the arrest of 54 youth and the four-year imprisionment of three some years ago. A Persian believer who attended our expansion campaign on the weekend told of the impact that the arrest of these youth had on her. We were all moved by her story. -gw

I'm sure the exact attendance last night was noted by our Assembly secretary, but I am going to guess more than 40. Of those, only nine were adult Baha'is. The rest were all Salishan children and junior youth who have been participating in Baha'i core activities there, plus one parent who stayed throughout.
Are the Baha'is having an impact on the neighborhood? Ask the teachers at the elementary school nearby. They have been reported to have noticed profound changes in behavior among these same children.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

On New Baha'i Study Circle Participants Being Identified: Thank you Betty and Bernie

I  believe the success of our expansion campaigns has been directly due to Bernie and Betty --  the skit, that is, as performed at the preceeding reflection meeting to illustrate the focus of the particular intensive. I wish I had gotten each performance on video. I only have these precious few snippets and pics to show of this last skit.
Our first weekend raised up many potential participants for new study circles, in Salishan, in Hilltop, and in Central Tacoma. Who can predict the bounty of interested souls we will encounter this coming weekend? Thank you Betty and Bernie. -gw

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On Disability and the Soul: Baha'is host book launch

LONDON, 18 Oct – Donna Thomson’s son, Nicholas, severely disabled by cerebral palsy, has to be cared for 24 hours a day. What, she wonders, is the value of her – now adult – son’s life?

To explore this challenging question, Donna, whose husband is the Canadian High Commissioner in London, has written a book, which she launched at the UK National Baha’i Centre on Friday.

Around 30 people, most of them Donna’s friends, gathered in the Baha’i Centre in London’s Knightsbridge, to hear her speak about what had led to the writing of her book and to listen to a reading from the book.

Patrick O’Mara, Secretary of the UK Baha’i community’s national governing body, the National Spiritual Assembly, warmly welcomed everyone and explained that Baha’u'llah, Prophet and Founder of the Baha’i Faith, teaches that each and every soul has a unique value in the eye of God.

Baha'u'llah tells us what it means to be human. -gw

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Monday, October 18, 2010

On Rainn in Seattle: Then to L.A. for SoulPancake the book

Rainn's a busy guy, raising money for the Mona Foundation and promoting his new SoulPancake BOOK. -gw

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On the Baha'i Diet for Healthy Living: For real

There it is on Diets in Review.Com, the Baha'i Diet.  And it's a serious entry, a diet that leads to healthy living, although not intended as a weight-loss diet. The research done was correct except for the reference that water can be consumed during the Baha'i Fast. -gw

On Taking a Moment to Get the Big Picture: What's the focus of Baha'i study classes?

What is the Baha'i Institute Process? Posts here on Baha'i Views may not always give much of the big picture to the reader, whether Baha'i or not. Our focus during the current expansion campaign in our area, described in a previous post, is in raising up more study classes, with the goal of increasing the number of tutors. What's the focus of these study "circles" in the big picture? -gw

At the heart of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh is the force of transformation, both of the individual and of society.

The transformation of the individual is not an isolated process, not ascetic nor centered wholly on one’s self-fulfillment.

In Bahá'í terms, the process of one’s individual development and fulfillment is tied to the centering of one’s energies on the betterment of humankind and serving the needs of the community and the larger society.

Prayer and meditation, fighting one’s spiritual battles, living according to spiritual laws and teachings—all are essential elements in fulfilling life’s purpose, but such efforts reach their fullest transformative effect when they are dedicated to service.

Thus, Bahá'ís are actively engaged in developing knowledge, skills, and spiritual insights that enable them to act as effective human resources and which are vital to the integrated process of personal and social transformation. Presently, such collective learning takes the form of study circles—a local, collaborative, self-directed learning process being undertaken by Bahá’í communities around the world. All are welcome in the classes, regardless of their ideas or beliefs.

By learning about our spiritual reality and our individual role in the progress of society, we can better understand our purpose in life and the way to improve our own lives and the lives of those around us.

Participants in the courses learn, for example, to teach values to children, to engage in community service activities, to assist and empower others to independently investigate spiritual truths, to learn how to competently express one’s views, and to engage oneself in serving the broader needs of society for unity, justice, and equity.

Participants in study circles often experience a new sense of direction in life, better relationships with family and friends, and a fruitful re-evaluation of the contribution one can make to the wider community.

See also descriptions of two other core Baha'i activities:

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On Forced to Leave: Fanaticism drives Baha'is from the homes in Iran past and present

Here is Part II of Enayat's story on being a Baha'i in Iran as shared at last Thursday's Baha'i devotional meeting in our home. He continues telling a story (here is Part 1) of events that occured many decades ago involving his own family. Baha'is were attacked and injuries were sustained. A Baha'i defended himself and other Baha'is with unfortunate and dramatic consequences. The events he describes are reminiscent of the events that occurred in the village of Ivel in Iran recently.-gw

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On Our 21st Baha'i Intensive Program of Growth: Moving towards maturity

"You, too, could choose to be spending your time doing this." This is the invitation we extend not just to others in the Baha'i community, but to everyone we meet in the larger community as well. Building a spiritual neighborhood involves everyone, and Baha'is make no distinction.
The first weekend of our 21st Baha'i Intensive Program of Growth went fabulously. These first few photo and video clips will convey a bit of the focus and sprit. -gw

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

On a Photo Set for the Baha'i Month of Ilm or Knowledge: Mental ablutions

The end of my work week coincides with the end of one Baha'i month and the beginning of another, 'Ilm or knowledge. My friend Jamie Frank has put together another soul-stirring photo set around the theme of knowledge. View it in preparation for experiencing Baha'i Feast. It's a form of mental ablutions. -gw

the Baha'i month of Ilm ( that's eye-el-em ... ) is now in progress.... anyone know why a capital 'eye' has to be identical to lower case 'el' ?
james eugene frank · Sets

On Baha'is Prevented From Opening Businesses and Other Stories: Being Baha'i in Iran

Senators should be aware that seven prominent Iranian Baha’i leaders are currently in prison, facing sentences of up to 10 years, charged with espionage, establishing an illegal administration, and promoting propaganda against the Islamic order. These spurious charges are only the latest example of the mistreatment of the largest religious minority in Iran.
Ironically, the Baha’i faith originated in Iran during the 19th Century, separating the Baha’is from their previous affiliation with Islam. The founder of the faith, known as The Báb, was then arrested, locked in a dungeon, and executed, as were some 20,000 of his followers. These atrocities devastated a religion whose tenets include global unity, peace and diversity.
Persecution of the Baha’is in Iran continued into the next century, with the Iranian Government’s destruction of Baha’i literature in 1933, and in 1955 the demolition of the Baha’i national headquarters. Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, the government has stepped up its active discrimination against the Baha’is. Children are prohibited or discouraged from receiving higher education, Baha’is are unable to practice their faith in public, they are prevented from opening businesses or advancing their careers, and Baha’i cemeteries are destroyed. Baha’is are slandered by the Iranian media, often called worshippers of Satan.
Senator Leahy's comments in the senate are a reminder of the history of persecution of the Baha'is in Iran. Local Baha'i Enayat tells a story here of what it was like to be a Baha'i in Iran about 40 years ago when his family "pioneered" to a town to open a business and live before being driven out by fanatical elements and the local Muslim clergy after just two years. -gw

Friday, October 15, 2010

On Historical Salishan: Before Baha'i core activities came to the neighborhood

These still shots are taken of a video on the Salishan neighborhood of Tacoma that was produced by a third grade class at Lister Elementary School a few years ago. The images will have special meaning to those who have walked the streets of Salishan, where we have experienced such success in the establishment of Baha'i core activities. Among the people featured in the video is one dear Baha'i community activist. -gw

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On Increasing the number of Baha'i Study Circles and Potential Tutors: Goal of our expansion campaign

Our Baha'i intensive cycle for expansion of core activities in our community begins tomorrow. Here are two video's to give you inspiration and demonstrate the direction we are taking with this campaign. Study circles. We are looking to raise up more of them. More Book 1s will lead to more Book 7s and more "graduates" who can then take the next step of becoming tutors for their own study circles. In Pierce Peninsula, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Salishan.

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

On After L.A: Kat Key music coming to Seattle

This Saturday
Oct 1, 2010 I gave it in Chattanooga, TN; Oct 2 in Atlanta, GA. Tomorrow (Oct 14, 2010) I'll be giving it in the Los Angeles area, and November 13 in Seattle, WA. Contact me at if you are interested.
Kat is coming to the Northwest. I'm gonna go see. Hope I can help get the word out! -gw

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On Holly Reinhorn's Interview on ABC News Radio: The ABCs of Baha'i

Rainn is not the only member of the fam whose interviews spread the news of Baha'i. Holly, too. -gw

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

On Baha'i Musicians in the World: Probably a whole lot more than admit it

“Both my parents were professional musicians when I was growing up,” says Snook. “My father is a singer songwriter, my mother was a violin teacher, and my grandmother was a musician too. We all played in the orchestra together. I started learning piano when I was two or three, I did Suzuki violin when I was three, and played cello, bassoon, baritone, oboe and percussion in the marching band. In fact, my dream when I was young was to play oboe in the Boston Pops.”
Mitko tells a lovely story on his blog Befriended Stranger about Kelly and Caeli and makes a personal admition. Good going coming clean! How many other Baha'i muscians are there out there? Probably a whole lot more than admit it.  -gw
I got asked a question if I am a musician, and as always I said, “No, but I am a singer”, explaining that I could never consider myself a musician since I’d never had a formal musical education. Later,at home, we sat around the dinner table to share prayers (somehow both Kelly and Caeli picked prayers I had never actually heard!) and I sang a prayer song to wish them safe travels. Kelly complimented  me on my singing saying that she had never actually heard my voice before — I answered jokingly that I had been talking the whole evening. But Caeli nailed it down, saying directly: “Mitko, you ARE a musician; stop retelling a false story…”So, I guess it is time to admit, or rather make a statement: I am a musician!

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On Valerie and Cornelia at Baha'i Devotions: In depth spiritual conversation

Some of the video from last Thursday's Baha'i devotional meeting in our home is simply too personal to share. But here are excerpts which convey the depth and breadth of discussion.

This meeting was marked by the visit of Valerie who was doing research for a class paper she is writing for school. But it is more than just research, she said. There is strong personal interest as well.

Also present were regulars, Cornelia and Liam. Cornelia has been investigating the Faith for several years now, and has completed both Book 1 and Book 4 of the Ruhi series in a Baha'i study circle tutored by Deb, who was also present.

The format of our home devotional: a time for greetings, a round or prayers with recorded music by Baha'is interspersed, study of a prayer or brief Baha'i writing, followed by a round of "what's in your heart." It's a simple format that is really working.

Valerie said she is joining to join us again this Thursday.  I'm so glad. Hope Cornelia and Liam can come, too.
BTW, the four vidieo clips, totaling just three minutes, took all night to download. HD files are massive, something I'm not used to. I prefer quick to slow. Oh well.  -gw

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

On What Bonita Likes About Facebook Today: Her twin sister joining

Bonita being on Facebook is old news now. It's been -- what? -- three weeks now. The newest news in our extended family is that her twin sister Bonnie is on. Here is what Bonita had to say last week about her experience, namely her delight in engineering a news feed just to her "liking," pun intended. -gw

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Monday, October 11, 2010

On the "Assisted Living" Baha'i Reflection Meeting: Working in the crawl space of life with an eternity to go

Baha'i Views has gone quiet again for a couple days, pushed aside by some other tasks. I'm working in the crawl space under the house. It's yucky work, but there's a deadline -- colder temperatures.
Sunday was our cluster Reflection Meeting held this time at an assisted living faciility. This weekend begins our 9-day Collective Teaching campaign. So there is even more pressure on my time between now and then. The experience on the intensive is always precious and not be be deferred. Ah, the rhythm of Baha'i life! But, thankfully, it's truely assisted living.
And then there is the time it takes to upload HD video. I guess the videos I have been uploading to date have not been. Must have messed around with the settings on my camera. Now I am getting great quality video, but it takes FOREVER to upload to Flickr. I have so much yet to upload.  But then there is the little matter of disconcerting angles. Guess I gotta latch on to a tripod.  
The body of more than 4300 posts that is Baha'i Views is still doing its work, even when I am not posting as frequently before. Just today I got a Facebook message from someone grateful for a post I put up a year or two ago. Put something up on the Internet and it is up there forever. Just like the eternal life that is vouchsafed to each of us, the progress of which is ours to influence. -gw

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Thursday, October 07, 2010

On Guest Coming to Thursday Night Baha'i Devotions: Reflection meeting and football on Saturday

It's Baha'i devotions tonight. We'll have a guest, Valerie, grandmother and student, who is doing a paper on the Baha'i Faith. Join us and her.
The photo above was taken at the Thursday devotional before Labor Day. Charles, Cornelia, Liam, and Deb were there. You can hear  little of our study of a Baha'i prayer that evening here.
Speaking of Charles, he's been down sick with a virus for the past few weeks, I'm sorry to say. But last night Coach Charles was back at Tacoma Tigers practice, where I had a chance to say hello. Hopefully, he's getting up to speed again. The Tigers play the Lions (lions and tigers, oh my!) on their home turf at the old Truman school. Here is just a taste of what you'll find at a game (more yet to come). With our Cluster Reflection Meeting this Saturday (yaaaahh!), I wouldn't be able to attend until after 1 p.m. (and even then, only if I make dramatic progress on my project in the crawl space under our house between now and then).  The Tiger team(s) sure looked good at practice, in any case. -gw 

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

On Getting Our Business Done In Lakewood: Electing a delegate to go to the Baha'i National Convention

The Lakewood Assembly is really good at putting on our Baha'i Unit Convention. They found a lovely venue where we got our business done, electing our delegate to travel to Wilmette next spring to elect the National Spiritual Assembly. Unit convention is where we celebrate something that is unique about the Baha'i Faith, the Baha'i electoral process. It's secret ballot with no nominations. Some conventions also celebrate growth. -gw