Monday, November 29, 2010

On Go Figure Baha'i Girlfriend: She will defend Islam and excoriate me for criticising it

70. Thomas_L.....

My girlfriend has just, suddenly and out of the blue, broken up with me because she needs to “get back to the Baha’i Faith”. Even though Islam persecutes Baha’is mercilessly, she will defend Islam and excoriate me for criticising it. None of it makes any sense to anyone but her. So, what am I trying to say here? Go figure!

Thomas comments on Pajamas Media. The question:

Why Would a Woman Convert to Islam?
by Herbert London

Whats PM?
Pajamas Media is a media company that uses the Internet to present and comment on the news. - Wikipedia

Pajamas Media, which began in 2005 as an affiliation of some of the most influential weblogs on the Internet, has significantly expanded its reach over the years.

The PJM Portal now provides exclusive news and opinion 24/7 with correspondents in over forty countries. Its distinguished line-up of XpressBloggers is widely respected for their punditry. Pajamas Media also has its own weekly show on Sirius satellite radio – PJM Political.

In September 2008, Pajamas Media debuted its own online television network – PJTV – that broadcasts daily from studios in Los Angeles, Washington DC, New York, Denver, Knoxville and Tel Aviv.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

On I Want: Por la lucha contra la violencia hacia la infancia...

Dario Cardoso, Baha'i musician from Santiago, Chile, put up a music video on his Facebook that I recognized immediately. Thanks to the Tacoma Public Library I have the song on my iPod; "Yo Queiro," or "I Want,"  is included in Putumayo Presents: Latin Playground. It is a song against violence towards children.
One day when I was putting together a playlist for a Baha'i event, I asked our Auxiliary Board member Mauricio to review some songs in Spanish and tell me which ones were the best. He said "Yo Queiro" was especially good. Now I know why. -gw
See Counselor Daniel Duhart, Dario Cardoso, Javier Duhart and Felipe Duhart here:

On Chile's Temple of Light Is an Award Winner: And construction has begun

The design for the Baha'i House of Worship, whose construction has just begun in Santiago, Chile, has been judged best in the world for its category, Civic Buildings Unbuilt. -gw

Winners of Civic Buildings WAN AWARDS 2010 revealed

The Baha’i Temple for South America, designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects, employs both translucent stone and innovative glass technology as the means of generating and manifesting both the physiological and spiritual delights of natural light embodied in architecture.

Set against the stirring background of the Andeon mountain range, the Temple is designed as a crystallising of light-as-expression, an evanescent structure of white alabaster and glass; a place of pure luminescence. During the day, the soft undulating alabaster and glass skin of the Temple forms its outer expression. At night, the image reverses; the entire volume becomes a warm totalised glow, with the inner form of the building visible through the glass.

The inner form of the Temple, suspended within its radiant exterior envelope, is a volume defined by finely articulated tracery of wood, offering a delicately ornamental inner surface, rich in texture, warm by nature, acoustically practical and responsive to the cultural givens of the area. The Temple’s nine enfolding wings, identical in form, are organically shaped and twisted slightly to produce a nest-like structure, readable as a soft undulating dome positioned around a raised base. The Temple is to be sited amidst a radiating garden comprising of nine reflecting lily pools and nine prayer-gardens. The primary approach to the Temple reveals a sinuous, ethereal, light-washed structure.

The Temple touches lightly on the ground, its base having become virtually transparent, with each of the nine wings practically floating in the horizon. While firmly grounded, in terms of its engineering, the form of the Temple speaks nevertheless of ascendance. It is hoped that the Temple’s design will be seen as a restrained interplay of seeming contradictions; movement against stillness, the building’s profound rootedness made to seem buoyant, the building reading as a symmetrical structure that seems possessed of a performative spirit.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

On Thanksgiving at Tim and Kathy's: An evening we didn't want to end

Thanksgiving was to have been at Ruhullah and Annie's, but due to an ice storm and accompanying power outage, it was held at Tim and Kathy's, Annie's parents, instead. Also present was her brother Ben, his wife Mai and their new baby, Charlie. My son Rahmatullah, my granddaughter Daisy and grandson Daniel, and my wife rounded out the family gathering. Tim and Kathy's home has the charm that Bonita and I especially love. It was one of those evenings we didn't want to end. -gw



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On Consider the Wind: Remembering Baha'i Feast under the Twin Trees of Jefferson Park

by jenyum
on 11/16/2010 @ 9:49am
From a Facebook Friend:
"‎3 trees down in Jefferson park. One is broke at the ground, the other two pulled up at the roots."
Our son's home in Port Orchard is still without power since a wind storm on Monday, the same one that had me staying overnight at my office in Bremerton. There are a lot of trees in Kitsap County. Some 57 homes were hit by falling trees during the storm, but it was the impact fallen limbs had on power lines that had the greatest effect, with tens of thousands of residents all over the county suffering the same fate as my son Ruhullah and his family.
Monday's storm was not the first to come through the area. It was just last week that a storm knocked out power here in the city. It stopped the presses at Tacoma's News Tribune. It also brought down precious trees in Jefferson Park, under which we have hosted Baha'i Feasts in years past. Here is Tacoma Joe's pencil drawing of the Twin Trees followed by a bit of the Tribune's coverage.


And here is what our last Feast at the Twin Trees was like on a day in August. Please note that it was cold and ... windy. -gw

Be unrestrained as the wind, while carrying the Message of Him Who hath caused the Dawn of Divine Guidance to break. Consider, how the wind, faithful to that which God hath ordained, bloweth upon all the regions of the earth, be they inhabited or desolate. Neither the sight of desolation, nor the evidences of prosperity, can either pain or please it. It bloweth in every direction, as bidden by its Creator. So should be every one that claimeth to be a lover of the one true God. It behoveth him to fix his gaze upon the fundamentals of His Faith, and to labor diligently for its propagation. Wholly for the sake of God he should proclaim His Message, and with that same spirit accept whatever response his words may evoke in his hearer. He who shall accept and believe, shall receive his reward; and he who shall turn away, shall receive none other than his own punishment.
Barry's photos 001

On Discourse With Switchblade: Pastor put-down as neo-Bahá'í"

Unlike Rick Warren, McLaren isn't actually a Christian -- he's some kind of neo-Bahá'í-ist or Bhakti Krishna-ist with an interest in the Christian narrative as it relates to his own personal collected Upanishads. And the more he speaks, the less likely it is that he's going to come back around to the Christian faith which he allegedly started in before he got so wise.
The discourse on some Christian websites is a bit vicious. Who is this poor put-down pastor? I like the guy already.
Brian D. McLaren is a prominent, controversial voice in the emergent church movement. He was recognized as one of Time magazine's "25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America" in 2005, and is the founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church in Spencerville, Maryland.
Here is the Baha'i standard for speech. -gw
One word may be likened unto fire, another unto light, and the influence which both exert is manifest in the world. Therefore an enlightened man of wisdom should primarily speak with words as mild as milk, that the children of men may be nurtured and edified thereby and may attain the ultimate goal of human existence which is the station of true understanding and nobility.

Baha'u'llah, LAWḤ-I-MAQṢÚD (Tablet of Maqṣúd)

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On How the Baha'i Faith is Protected from Division and the Formation of Sects: Websites devoted to the Baha'i Covenant

For several years now I have carried on the sidebar of my WordPress version of Baha'i Views a link to a website that is devoted to  helping a visitor understand what is unique about the Baha'i Covenant in ensuring that the Faith remain united in the face of forces that in earlier religious dispensations led to division and the formation of sects. -gw 

The goal of this Web site is to provide a place to study the Writings of the Bahá’í Faith on the subject of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh. This is not an official Bahá’í site (you can find the official web site of the Bahá’í Faith here:, and while the editor/admin prefers to remain unnamed, he also wishes to make clear that he subscribes to these fundamental concepts:

  • Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb are the Twin Manifestations of God for this day.
  • Bahá’u’lláh in the Kitab-i-Aqdas and the Kitab-i-Ahd appointed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as the Center of His Covenant and the infallible interpreter of His Cause. As He said: “When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root.”
  • ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will and Testament appointed his grandson Shoghi Effendi as the Guardian of the Cause of God, the “…priceless pearl that doth gleam from out the Twin surging seas…” and said: “…the beloved of the Lord must obey him and turn unto him. He that obeyeth him not, hath not obeyed God; he that turneth away from him, hath turned away from God and he that denieth him, hath denied the True One.”
  • Since the beloved Guardian had no children (and the remainder of his family had broken the Covenant) and thus could not appoint a successor, after his passing the Hands of the Cause of God as the “Chief Stewards of Bahá’u'lláh’s embryonic World Commonwealth” called for the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963.
  • The Universal House of Justice — a body that was ordained by Bahá’u'lláh and confirmed in the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi — is now the sole and the infallible head of the Bahá’í Faith. It is to this body that all Bahá’ís must turn and in the words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: “…that House is under the protection, unerring guidance and care of the one true Lord. He shall guard it from error and will protect it under the wing of His sanctity and infallibility.” and again “…whoso contendeth with them hath contended with God…”

It is hoped that students of the Baha’i Covenant will draw from the materials gathered here a stronger connection with the infallible guidance that has been provided to the Bahá’í Community in its efforts to transform humanity. This guidance has protected the Bahá’í Faith from breaking into schism for the past 164 years and will ensure its ability to grow from strength to strength in the coming centuries. Through our understanding and deepening knowledge of this “unique and wondrous system”, we will ensure that our steps will walk firmly in the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and enable us to more fittingly protect and preserve the Cause of God.

Another highly valuable personal blog devoted to this subject is Brent Poirier's The Baha’i Covenant | “A Covenant unique in the spiritual annals of mankind”. The visual at the top of the post is from the website Baha'i Proofs. Below are links on the subject to the authoritative site for the International Baha'i Community. -gw

The Unity of Bahá'ís

In order to be effective in promoting world unity the Bahá'í Faith must itself be firmly united. Bahá'í unity has been assured by provisions in the writings of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá that establish authoritative guidance on the intent of Bahá'u'lláh's revelation and on the administration of the affairs of the international Bahá'í community. Throughout the critical first century of the Faith's existence these provisions have protected the Bahá'í community from sectarianism, and have enabled it to adapt itself to the requirements of a rapidly evolving civilization. The institutions which embody this authority are the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice .

See: The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh


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On Photos for the Month of Qawl: Good speech is like the sun which has risen from the horizon of the heaven of knowledge

Jamie's set on flickr for the Baha'i month of Qawl (or Speech) draws together on one montage photos of gatherings of Baha'is, American Indians, and Tacoma Lubavitcher Jews, photo sequences from the Pike Place fish market and of Seattle street preachers, photos of children and youth, of arguments and protests, and more, reflecting life here in the Pacific Northwest, covering a lifetime.
There is speech and there is good speech. Through affirmation and negation, his photos inspire us to good speech. -gw
Good speech and truthfulness are, in loftiness of position and rank, like the sun which has risen from the horizon of the heaven of knowledge.
“They Who are the Luminaries of Truth and the Mirrors reflecting the light of Divine Unity,” Bahá’u’lláh explains in the Kitáb-i-Íqán, “in whatever age and cycle they are sent down from their invisible habitations of ancient glory unto this world to educate the souls of men and endue with grace all created things, are invariably 115 endowed with an all-compelling power and invested with invincible sovereignty… These sanctified Mirrors, these Day-Springs of ancient glory are one and all the exponents on earth of Him Who is the central Orb of the universe, its essence and ultimate purpose. From Him proceed their knowledge and power; from Him is derived their sovereignty. The beauty of their countenance is but a reflection of His image, and their revelation a sign of His deathless glory… Through them is transmitted a grace that is infinite, and by them is revealed the light that can never fade… Human tongue can never befittingly sing their praise, and human speech can never unfold their mystery.” “Inasmuch as these Birds of the celestial Throne,” He adds, “are all sent down from the heaven of the Will of God, and as they all arise to proclaim His irresistible Faith, they therefore are regarded as one soul and the same person… They all abide in the same tabernacle, soar in the same heaven, are seated upon the same throne, utter the same speech, and proclaim the same Faith… They only differ in the intensity of their revelation and the comparative potency of their light… That a certain attribute of God hath not been outwardly manifested by these Essences of Detachment doth in no wise imply that they Who are the Day-Springs of God’s attributes and the Treasuries of His holy names did not actually possess it.”


Although some of those present urged them saying, “Say merely ‘We are not of this sect,’ and it is sufficient, and will be the means of your deliverance and protection,” they would by no means consent, but rather confirmed and declared it with eloquent speech and affecting utterance, so that the rage and violence of the Imám-Jum’ih boiled over, and, not satisfied with killing and destroying them, they inflicted sundry indignities on their bodies after death to mention which is not fitting, and of which the details are beyond the power of speech. Indeed in such wise was the blood of these two brothers shed that even the Christian priest of Julfá cried out, lamented, and wept on that day; and this event befell after such sort that everyone wept over the fate of those two brothers, for during the whole period of their life they had never distressed the feelings even of an ant, while by general report they had in the time of the famine in Persia spent all their wealth in relieving the poor and distressed. Yet, notwithstanding this reputation, were they slain with such cruelty in the midst of the people!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

On a National Day of Listening: Making November 26th even more signficant

Katherine's recommendation...
Instead of shopping on Black Friday, why not listen to one another? (Could be a great companion activity for people participating in Buy Nothing Day.)
She thinks my video clips of Rocky would fit nicely as a Story Corps entry. I agree. -gw
Of course, November 26th has another significance for Baha'is. It is the Day of the Covenant. -gw

The Day of the Covenant is the day when Bahá'ís celebrate the appointment of `Abdu'l-Bahá as the Centre of Baha'u'llah's Covenant.[1] It occurs yearly on November 26.[2][3]

`Abdu'l-Bahá had stated that since May 23 was also the day that the Báb declared his mission, and should be exclusively associated with him, that that day should under no circumstances be celebrated as his day of birth.[3] However, as the Bahá'ís begged for a day to be celebrated as `Abdu'l-Bahá's birthday, he gave them November 26, 180 days after the ascension of Bahá'u'lláh, to be observed as the day of the appointment of the Centre of the Covenant.[4] The holiday was originally known as the Jashn-i-A’zam in Persian (The Greatest Festival), because `Abdu'l-Bahá was known as the Greatest Branch; in the West, the holiday became known as the Day of the Covenant.[4]


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On Baha'i Youth: Cheering them on on Facebook

On facebook
... a message.
Allah'u'abha! I came across your blogs and your Flickr profile, and I founds your posts interesting.
I just posted links to some the videos you posted on the Baha'i Views Blog to
I've setup the Baha'i Youth Facebook Page with the idea of connecting Baha'is around the world in a way that they share pictures, videos, and news of activities of the Baha'i Faith around them, with the aim of attracting others (including their friends) to the Baha'i Faith.

I like! -gw
Nice to see the video clips shot at Tim & Deb's devotional linked on Facebook's Baha'i Youth. -gw

Monday, November 22, 2010

And Tonight the World Stands Still: Becomes motionless like unto ice locked in a frost-bound mountain

From Victoria's Facebook. Sitting in her car stuck in traffic because of the snow for 4 1/2 hours with plenty of time to send mobile uploads of her cell phone photos directly to her Facebook.
I'm blogging from the office this evening. My story is kinda like Victoria's.
Here's KC's story.
Here's Annie's story with Bonita chiming in to tell my story.
Here's Chris' story.
Here is Ruhiyyih's story over in the Tri-Cities.
And here's Rahmat's story back in Tacoma.
I was like ice as I walked up the Warren Avenue bridge with a wool blanket from the car wrapped around me on the 2 mile trek back to the warm of my office. -gw
...when He chanteth words of praise and glorification of God all Paradise becomes motionless like unto ice locked in the heart of a frost-bound mountain.
Selections From the Writings of the Báb

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

On the Gift of Rocky Stories: It makes our Thursday evenings special

Before we shared devotions and listened to some musical selections Thursday night, Rocky regaled us with stories about what life was like for his wife growing up in Mississippi where her parents were sharecroppers. I don't know why I didn't just set up the camera on a tripod and  leave it running the whole night, because the stories after devotions were just as good as those before.  Folks didn't head home until after 10 o'clock. Nobody could believe it was that late. -gw

Friday, November 19, 2010

On Baha'is Striving to Be of Service: Regardless of the costs

The photos of the three imprisoned Baha'is whose "crime" was to offer children's classes to the poor.are displayed at Intensive Program of Growth gatherings in our community. They do children's classes. We do children's classes, following their example. Because striving to be of service to humanity is is what Baha'is are called upon to do. -gw

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

On Gwen Is Looking for Junior Youth Animators: You don't have to be a Baha'i to be one

Gwen extends an invitation to work with junior youth in Tacoma. -gw

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On Facebook Is Candy: Don't put this on your blog

Facebook is candy for my mind. I go there to get the latest update on the Baha'is in Iran, click on link to protest this, endorse that, like, dislike, ROTFLMAO and to online chat with a brother in Japan, a friend in Haifa, family in DR. Its my Zen garden.
Facebook has its place. But just as blogging cannot take the place of a personal journal, FB cannot take the place of a blog. When is the last time anyone scrolled back to see what Ricky said last week? Never. When have I scrolled back to see what my Rusty guy or *G* said a month or a year ago? More often than never!
Blogging takes courage, especially when you don't delete archives and right there in front of everyone you have to eat crow. You allow people watch your thoughts change over the passage of time. You share as you become passionate about something, how it waxes and wanes until it suddenly is no longer a part of your life. You try to be ever so careful of not impinging on the lives of loved ones, all the while they are the fodder for the grist mill. Your fingers itching to scratch the words just spoken out on the smooth, empty, blog blotter. How many movies and sitcoms, at the end of a marital spat, have used the line, "Don't put this in your blog!" ala Julie & Julia?
Facebook takes a hit on Walluski Babble. My own take is that Facebook has a powerful role to play in community building. It certainly appears to do that here inCluster 19. I have my wife's recent experience of joining Facebook to reflect on. She reports that Facebook has made her feel much closer to members of our community than before. More connected. 
I remember when blogger friend Tanya encouraged me to join Facebook several years ago. I then sent out an inviation via an email list that seems like it was a 100 names long of Baha'is in the cluster. I'd be curious to see just how many on that list are not on Facebook now, but I'll bet it is a very short list.
I'm a blogger. I prefer the blog to Facebook. I feel it connects me to people I haven't met. People, in most cases, who may never let me know that they are even reading. I don't need them to. Google Analytics or Sitemeter will tell you if people are visiting, and even how long, and just what posts they are reading. So there is plenty of feedback to tell you if you are on the right track or not with your blog.
Blogging is less personal than Facebook. It's less focused on the relationship, and more on content. And I like that. But it does lead to connections made and all across the globe. I prefer reading other people's blogs to going down my Facebook newsfeed, as rich as that newsfeed can feel sometimes.
Want to have an effect on the world? A blog post can do that in a way that a Facebook entry cannot, because blog content is keyword searchable, whereas your Facebook content is not. It's fun to do a search for something and see a result come up for a post you forgot your wrote.
For me the best way to find blog content is through a Google blog search., although I actually found Walluski's post through another avenue, the Google Alert I have set up for "Baha'i." I feel connected. -gw

Monday, November 15, 2010

On the New Atheism: A Baha'i Perspective

I just noticed Ian Klug's paper The New Atheism – A Bahá’í Perspective online. I've always admired his rational arguments. There is a website for the Philosophy Special Interest Group of the Association of Baha'i Studies. Next years ABS is in San Fran, by the way. -gw

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On a Lyrical Devotional Meeting: Thank you, Kat

The devotions at Deb and Tim's were extra-special for many reasons. Katharine Key was able to join us, as hoped, and was able to share four or five songs, including some from her Intone album. One of the songs she sang, "Plexiglass," is a more recent composition, I understand. Both in terms of the lyrics and Kat's voice, it was an especially exquisite piece. What a privilege and a bounty it was to have her with us! I was able to record several of her songs on my DSLR, which I'm hoping to be able to share later in some fashion, with the artist's permission, and perhaps with some editing help from Taraz. -gw

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On Pics of the Recent Junior Youth Conference in Bangalore: In synergy

Synergy, in general, may be defined as two or more agents working together to produce a result not obtainable by any of the agents independently
The term synergy comes from the ancient Greek word syn-ergos, συνεργός, meaning 'working together'.
We've finally arrived here in Tacoma with a youth presence and a junior youth group focus, thanks to the arrival of radiant youth as pioneers AND a very active Baha'i club. It's pure synergy.
How did Bangalore gets to its high level of development. I'm guessin' its synergy. -gw
Dear Friends

Please find pics of the recent Junior Youth Conference Held Last weekend in Bangalore  at 

Warm  Greetings,

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

On Rochelle: Baha'i concert harpist

How many Baha'i concert harpists do you know? I know only one. Rochelle, member of the University of Puget Sound Baha'i Club. Here are more clips from her performance at a recent club-sponsored event on campus. -gw

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On Kat's Classic Album Comes to CDBaby: Placed on a satin pillow

Katharine Key's classic album "Intone" is now available on CDBaby. There may be a lotta places to get music on the Internet but those Portland folks are so darn convenient, expecially for people who want a physical CD of their music. They also write funny, if a little obnoxious, custormer service copy.
Your CDs have been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow. A team of 50 employees inspected your CDs and polished them to make sure they were in the best possible condition before mailing.Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CDs into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy. We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved "Bon Voyage!" to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day. We hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. In commemoration, we have placed your picture on our wall as "Customer of the Year." We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
We miss you already. We'll be right here at, patiently awaiting your return.
Kat is in the area this weekend, I'm delighted to report. She played at a devotional up north last night, and she is playing here in Tacoma at Tim and Deb's devotional in a couple of hours. We are thrilled to be able to hear Kat Music live in the City of Destiny. (Yup, that really is Tacoma's official descriptive appellation.). -gw
Katharine Key is a singer-songwriter who loves playing music to uplift people's hearts and enrich their lives. She is classically trained in piano and self-taught on guitar, but only plays so that she can sing -- her first passion. She is a Baha'i, and her music is heavily influenced by the Baha'i principles and writings. Katharine says, "if my music uplifts people's hearts, then I am happy, as I have achieved my aim."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

UPS Baha'i Club Serve at Salishan: Another visit to Lisa's house

Members of the University of Puget Sound Baha'i Club traveled to the Salishan neighborhood to conduct a Baha'i children's class at LIsa's. Lisa was sick, but still went out to gather the kids together. Then she turned things over to the students and went upstairs to bed. -gw

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On for the Holy Day: Bonita said that turkey sandwiches are best on white bread

We followed the wonderful holy day observance Thursday night, with a hike on the day of the holy day. We couldn't go far, because we couldn't get an early enough start. There's not enough sun this time of year. It is dark by 4:30 now.
But, oh, the beauty. Right in the trailhead parking lot. Clouds, trees, and some blue sky. My favorite photo is the one up top. Mosses and rocks. Succulents.
We didn't travel much distance once we got on te trail. Bonita found some huckleberries to harvest, and here it is the middle of November.
We ate some sandwiches she made before heading home. White bread sandwiches at that. Bonita says that turkey sandwiches are best on white bread. -gw

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Friday, November 12, 2010

On In Heaven With Harp: Baha'i holy day observance transports 50 people out of this world

Rochelle beamed us all up with her harp at last night's observance of the Birth of Baha'u'llah at the University of Puget Sound. Once again the lack of any barriers between those who are declared Baha'is and those who are not was supremely evident. We celebrated with willing souls here in the village that is Tacoma. We are one community. -gw

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

On For the Baha'i Holy Day: Concert Harp Music

Our community will join tens of thousands of other Baha'i communities in the world celebrating the Birth of Baha'u'llah today. What's in store for Tacoma Baha'is tonight? Concert harp music. For real. -gw

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

On Rachel Price's Disarming, Forthright Vocals: Right on Lake Street Dive

Hailing from such disparate locales as Tennessee (Price), Iowa (Kearney), Minneapolis (Olson), and Philadelphia (Calabrese), Lake Street Dive first gathered in a room together when they were students at Boston’s New England Conservatory. “Mr. McDuck assembled the four of us, said we were now Lake Street Dive, and we were a ‘free country’ band,” Bridget Kearney remembers. “He wrote this on a chalkboard in the ensemble room that we had our first rehearsal in. We intended to play country music in an improvised, avant-garde style – like Loretta Lynn meets Ornette Coleman. It sounded terrible!  But the combination of people and personalities actually made a lot of sense and we had a great time being around each other and making music together.” Lake Street Dive makes the most of pop music virtues: solid, evocative song craft; propulsive grooves; and Price’s disarming, forthright vocals. However, it’s a personal strain of pop that is refracted through the band members’ rich backgrounds
Let's hear it for Lake Street. I'm gonna download this when I get on my own computer. The Price family out of Tennesee has certainly made a lot of contributions to the world of music. Thanks, father Tom  and daughters Rachel and Emily, for your art.  -gw

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On Haiku about the Salishan Kids: Found in my gmail

The Salishan kids are on the minds of the Assembly members, all those who attended Feast, the Auxiliary Board members for our cluster, the Area Teaching Committee, the Regional Baha'i Coucil, and the Counselors, I just know it. -gw

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Monday, November 08, 2010

On Shedding the Lethargy: Light upon light in a graveyard

Weaving around between graves, on an awkward stumbling trek, Mansoureh showed me to Mrs. Afnan's grave.  She passed away a few years ago, leaving her beautiful big residence to the Baha'i community of Debrecen.  That's where I'm now staying!  So we paused at her grave and prayed for her soul too.  We were surrounded by thousands of candles wearily trying to fight back a chilly dark night, and we realized that both of our prayers mentioned light: her's I think mentioned "light upon light" and mine "plunge into the sea of light, in the world of mysteries."
A great "Day of the Dead" reflection on Shedding the Lethargy: A log of my travels and experiences on a four month adventure abroad by a Baha'i in Hungary. -gw

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On a Relaunch of Baha'i Blog: Sort of a granddaddy of them all

The wonderful thing about blogging is that you can let a blog go dormant, even for two years, and people will still come to read your archives. Come back to it with fresh ideas, and new readers will join the old readers. Baha'i Blog founded by Ryan Lash is coming back in 2011, and I'm sure it will be better than ever.
Where is Ryan today? Apparently in Kinshasa. -gw

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On the People With No Camel: If a Baha’i is murdered, no camels apply

According to the laws of Sharia in Iran, if a Muslim man is murdered, his family may be compensated according to the price of one hundred camels. If the same crime is committed to a Muslim woman, her family is entitled to the price of fifty camels. If a Baha’i is murdered, no camels apply.

I am of The People With No Camel.

Based on a true story, The People With No Camel weaves two journeys of freedom: a ten-year old girl escapes Iran in 1981 with her family, due to the heavy persecutions they face as Baha’is, carrying nothing but three little handbags, new identities, and faith. The novel then takes a turn. The girl has become a woman and the narrative shifts to a brief parable. Infused with Persian mythical characters, the woman’s quest to save her dying forest turns into her own spiritual journey – the search for ultimate freedom.

I learned about this book and trailer perusing Design the Faith. Who is Roya Movafegh? -gw

Her more recent photo publication is Wishes in Black and White, a book about race relations in America which was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

She has devoted much of her work to children by reintroducing the role of the arts as a tool to awaken the human spirit and as a means to raise social awareness. She is the co-founder of The Children’s Theatre Company of New York (, which has been featured on Good Morning America, CNN, NY1 Parenting Report, and has performed at the United Nations’ Special Session on Children with Nelson Mandela.

Roya is the founder of Nobility Within, dedicated to endeavors that highlight the inherent nobility of us all. One of its programs, Noble-icious! is a program where children explore and polish their spiritual qualities, learn about each other, and support one another in becoming agents of change in the world they are inheriting.

Her latest project is the completion of her novel The People with No Camel.

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On the Coming of the Fall Season: Prayers for the departed

Matt and Ruhiyyih were over yesterday afternoon. Matt's grandmother died on Friday. Say prayers for the progress of her soul.
There was sunshine outside, highlighting the golden leaves on the tree across the street, as viewed through the old glass of the window panes of our living room.

Our son Taraz has been experiencing fall in Denver. -gw

On Photographic Evidence of Our Advancement as a Baha'i Cluster: More (Feast of) Power to ya

Jamie's photos would have been better, but here are my photos from the recent Feast of Qudrat (or Power) in Tacoma, which still has Bonita and I ooohing and aaahing days later. -gw

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On a French version of the Baha'i Prayer "Remover of Difficulties": By the Montreal based band The Hidden Words

Adaptation française de la célèbre prière Baha'ie, chantée par le groupe Montréalais The Hidden Words.

From a show at the Ottawa Baha'i Centre, Oct. 30, 2010.
Lors d'un spectacle au Centre Baha'i d'Ottawa, le 30 octobre 2010

Great performance. -gw

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Friday, November 05, 2010

On Baha'i Plays Role With Council for a Parliament of World Religions: Robert Henderson elected a new Trustee

In a commitment to extending its reach to diverse religious and spiritual communities, the Board of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, at its October 24-25, 2010 meeting, elected seven new Trustees for a three-year term:

Ms. Anju Bhargava (Hindu)
Mr. Kirit Daftary (Jain)
Dr. Robert Henderson (Baha’i)
Ms. Mary Nelson (Christian)
Mr. Christopher Peters (Native American)
Dr. Anantanand Rambachan (Hindu)
Mr. Kuldeep Singh (Sikh)

The roots of the Council go back to the historic 1893 World’s Parliament of Religions, hosted in conjunction with the World Columbian Exhibition in Chicago, marking the first time in history the traditions of East and West met for formal interreligious dialogue.

Member of the U.S. Baha'i National Spiritual Assembly Robert Henderson has been elected to a postiion of responsibility with an historic organization. -gw
Robert C. Henderson is a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, the national governing body of the American Bahá’í community. He has extensive experience in the fields of business, government, and education. He co-founded Henderson Zorich Consulting, which specializes in management consulting and leadership and diversity training, with his daughter, Dr. Camille Henderson. His clients have included such Fortune 100 companies as Amoco, AT&T, General Electric, Hallmark, Mobil, United Technologies, and Xerox, as well as the Chicago White Sox. Dr. Henderson served as a Federal Commissioner of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission and designed and led meetings of California Supreme Court members, judges and lawyers to establish a California State Supreme Court Commission on Race and Ethnic Bias.  Dr. Henderson’s public speaking engagements are numerous; highlights include a plenary address given at the invitation of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to the international conference, “Educating Girls: A Development Imperative,” and an address to an “Education Against Hatred” Seminar at Haifa University sponsored by the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.  He was invited by President Clinton’s Advisory Board on Race to participate in the religious forum held in Louisville, Kentucky. Robert Henderson holds a doctorate in Education from the University of Massachusetts (1976).  He has published several articles and books on management systems and in-service training programs.

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On a Whole New World: Where Children Outnumber Adults at Feast

These days children outnumber adults at our Baha'i Feasts and Holy Days. Amazing, huh! It has to do with our stage of development. We're meeting more often than not now in the Salishan neighborhood, the primary site for our spiritual community-building, where we have all of the Baha'i core activities underway. In fact, last Saturday a third children's class was begun in Salishan. The majority of the children and youth participating in the core activities were at Feast last night. For many of the adults, especally those who have been Baha'is for many years, you could say our heads were spinning in awe and wonder, and ... shock.So this is the new world order! I have seen the future, and it's a whole new world. -gw
I can show you the world
Shining, shimmering, splendid
Tell me, princess, now when did
You last let your heart decide?

I can open your eyes
Take you wonder by wonder
Over, sideways and under
On a magic carpet ride

A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us no
Or where to go
Or say we're only dreaming

A whole new world
A dazzling place I never knew
But when I'm way up here
It's crystal clear
That now I'm in a whole new world with you
Now I'm in a whole new world with you

Unbelievable sights
Indescribable feeling
Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling
Through an endless diamond sky

A whole new world
Don't you dare close your eyes
A hundred thousand things to see
Hold your breath - it gets better
I'm like a shooting star
I've come so far
I can't go back to where I used to be

A whole new world
Every turn a surprise
With new horizons to pursue
Every moment red-letter
I'll chase them anywhere
There's time to spare
Let me share this whole new world with you

A whole new world
That's where we'll be
A thrilling chase
A wondrous place
For you and me

"A Whole New World," from Disney's Alladin

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