Monday, July 30, 2012

On Only Wanting American: Unless it is religion

"Oh, I'm not interested in an Eastern religion, only American religions."


Arlene on FB: Har! Apparently my paternal grandmother asked about Baha'i, "Is that one of those Eastern Religions?" to which my agnostic but astute father replied, "not any more Eastern than Christianity!" Bravo, dad!

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On God Has Us on This Planet To Serve: We are in paradise

God has us on this planet to serve. He rewards us in many ways, even when we feel undeserving. Bonita drinks in the view.

A tree-covered finger of water of Lake Scanewa, a reservoir on the Cowlitz River in Lewis County WA, has us gazing at the tree canopy. We are in paradise. -gw

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On Eating in the Mt Adams Cafe Again: Change and transformation are precursors of mortality

When I was a salesman selling tourism-related advertising back in the 1980s, I used to eat breakfast at the Mt Adams Cafe in Randle, Washington. Here I am again at the cafe, almost 30 years later, reflecting on my past and future, 65 years of age with my 77 year-old brother and my 68 year-old wife. Things change, but the past is still recognizable.

In the spiritual reality of man, however, all geometrical figures can be simultaneously conceived, while in physical realities one image must be forsaken in order that another may be possible. This is the law of change and transformation, and change and transformation are precursors of mortality. Were it not for this change in form, phenomena would be immortal; but because the phenomenal existence is subject to transformation, it is mortal. The reality of man, however, is possessed of all virtues; it is not necessary for him to give up one image for another as mere physical bodies do. Therefore, in that reality there is no change or transformation; it is immortal and everlasting. The body of man may be in America while his spirit is laboring and working in the Far East, discovering, organizing and planning. While occupied in governing, making laws and erecting a building in Russia, his body is still here in America. What is this power which, notwithstanding that it is embodied in America, is operating at the same time in the Orient, organizing, destroying, upbuilding? It is the spirit of man. This is irrefutable.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

On Doubling Participation in 1st Year of the Plan: Grateful wonderment

Matt and Christy hosted Baha'i Feast at Lisa's last Friday on the eve of our expansion effort, so naturally we talked a lot about that in grateful wonderment. -gw

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On He Has Found a Path of Service: 15 year-old Baha'i youth leads 11 thru 14 year-old group

Baha'i-inspired junior youth groups are for 11 thru 14 year-olds. What do you do when you turn 15? You take up a path of service, as the youth animating this JYSEP group demonstrates so ably. -gw

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On Songs At Every Gathering: The sounds of Baha'i expansion

Every good Baha'i expansion campaign needs a good song or two. -gw

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On Baha'is at the Invaders Game: Where they talked spiritual empowerment

The Tacoma Invaders played their last game of the season an hour away in Centrailia. It was a thrill to have new members of the Tigers/Invaders teaching team, Josh and Jeanne, be able to make the trek, riding with Coach Matt and me. They came early and stayed late. Josh knows his football. Jeanne has never been to a football game. Both want to serve the families of the Tigers/Invaders football community in whatever way they can. Jeanne had a chance to meet Coach Bruce before the game, and Josh had the opportunity to talk Fantasy Football with another FF aficionado, Coach Charles, afterwards. But the high point of the evening may have been the conversation that Jeanne and Josh had with the girlfriend of a player on the other team, who happens to live in Tacoma, about the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program. She is a student at Tacoma Community College where there is an active Baha'i presence. -gw 

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On One Cycle Ends and Another Begins: Cluster reflection at the juncture

The end of one cycle is the beginning of another. We reflect on the progress of our expansion at the Baha'i Cluster Reflection Meeting and outline our goals for the coming days. Then, after a week of further planning, we begin our expansion again, this time with 16 days of outreach. A new cycle begins. -gw

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On Half and Half: A balanced approach to Baha'i expansion.

There were 11 youth/junior-youth and 11 adults on the first day of our intensive campaign focusing on Tacoma's Eastside to raise up more junior youth groups and Baha'i children's classes. In our cluster youth are not just along for the ride, they are providing essential leadership and manpower. Youth have time and energy. The adults know it and have learned to follow our youthful generals. -gw

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Friday, July 13, 2012

On Tongue-twisters Are in Every Language: How much wood does a Palouse Falls marmot chuck?

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck
If a woodchuck could chuck wood?
He would chuck, he would, as much as he could,
And chuck as much as a woodchuck would
If a woodchuck could chuck wood.
How much wood does a Palouse Falls marmot chuck? Not much, as there aren't many trees around Palous Falls State Park. Yes, a marmot is a woodchuck, a.k.a. groundhog. They're pretty easy-going, wouldn't you say? You can find marmots all over the world, just as you can find tongue-twisters in every language, not just English. Take Persian, for example. -gw

Mooh as gardaneh moh koloftareh
literally: Hair is thicker than our necks
means: We’re pretty easy going

Befamee nafamee
literally: you understand, you don’t understand
means: so-so

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On They Want So Much For Their Lives: Invaders in Port Townsend

The Invaders season is moving towards conclusion. The last game played was held in Port Townsend. An historical seaport and tourist destination, Port Townsend is not thought of as a football town. Yet it has a football stadium right downtown. The Tacoma Invaders lost to the Port Angeles Eagles. A lot of Eagle players came from Bremerton, the town where I've worked for the past 20 years. Some used to play for the Invaders. As always seems to be the case with semi-pro football, there was plenty of action and drama. Injuries -- I hate it when players get hurt. Families -- a good contingent rooting for the home team. And so much food for thought -- there is so much to like and not like about American football. But I love the players. They want so much for their lives. -gw
The physical unification of the planet in our time and the awakening aspirations of the mass of its inhabitants have at last produced the conditions that permit achievement of the ideal, although in a manner far different from that imagined by imperial dreamers of the past.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

On Peace and Reconciliation on the Tacoma Waterfront: A mid-summer's date night dream

Wednesday is date night. The Tacoma waterfront is beautiful in the summer. We took in the new Reconciliation Park with its authentic chinese pagoda during our amble along Ruston Way. Something terrible happened in Tacoma in 1885. The park is a noble and beautiful attempt to rectify it. Our evening ended with Daisy Queen. -gw
The ages of its infancy and childhood are past, never again to return, while the Great Age, the consummation of all ages, which must signalize the coming of age of the entire human race, is yet to come. The convulsions of this transitional and most turbulent period in the annals of humanity are the essential prerequisites, and herald the inevitable approach, of that Age of Ages, “the time of the end,” in which the folly and tumult of strife that has, since the dawn of history, blackened the annals of mankind, will have been finally transmuted into the wisdom and the tranquility of an undisturbed, a universal, and lasting peace, in which the discord and separation of the children of men will have given way to the worldwide reconciliation, and the complete unification of the divers elements that constitute human society.

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Monday, July 09, 2012

On Do Not Allow the Inevitable Setbacks We Are Bound 2 Encounter: 2 Blur our vision


I got my head checked
By a jumbo jet
It wasn't easy
But nothing is
The track was originally nicknamed ‘Song 2’ as a working title, but the name stuck. "Song 2" was the second track on the album, Blur, and the second single from the album to be released. It is exactly two minutes and two seconds long, and is also the second track on their compilation Blur: The Best of. The song is also the second song on the second disc on the album Bustin' + Dronin'. It has two choruses, two verses and two bridges. ...
The song was meant to be a parody of American grunge music. Ironically, it was embraced by the same radio stations whose airplay choices the song was parodying in the first place. ...
The song became popular in the UK and overseas upon its release in 1997, and featured on college and modern rock radio stations in the US. It has been licensed worldwide on numerous occasions. Its first appearance came as the title music for the hit video game FIFA: Road to World Cup 98. It has been used in numerous advertisements, including commercials for the Pentium II and Nissan Sentra and television spots for the film Starship Troopers, and it is often heard in association football, ice hockey, and baseball stadiums when goals or runs are scored, or at the end of a winning game for the home team. ...
The American military allegedly requested to use the track at the launch of a new stealth bomber, but the band refused to allow this, as Albarn is an anti-war campaigner.
As is my practice, I did a keyword search on Baha'i Reference Library to find a quotation from the Baha'i Writings to go with this post. Yes, there is one result for "blur." -gw
I beseech you, dear friends, not to allow considerations of numbers, or the consciousness of the limitations of our resources, or even the experience of inevitable setbacks which every mighty undertaking is bound to encounter, to blur your vision, to dim your hopes, or to paralyze your efforts in the prosecution of your divinely appointed task. Neither, do I entreat you, to suffer the least deviation into the paths of expediency and compromise to obstruct those channels of vivifying grace that can alone provide the inspiration and strength vital not only to the successful conduct of its material construction, but to the fulfilment of its high destiny.

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Sunday, July 08, 2012

On Bird Notes: Life on the wire

A favorite program on our National Public Radio station is BirdNote. I thought of the show when I saw these birds sitting on telephone wires at Palouse Falls State Park. There were five wires on each side of the pole. From my vantage point, I was looking at bass and treble clefs, and the birds on the wires were the notes. 

There are 167 references to birds in the Baha'i Writings. That is an indication of the significance birds have metaphorically. -gw

Through the power released by these exalted words He hath lent a fresh impulse, and set a new direction, to the birds of men’s hearts, and hath obliterated every trace of restriction and limitation from God’s Holy Book.
Baha'u'llah, Tablet of the World

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On Putting the Canoe in the Tucannon: The miracle of salmon migration


We weren't in the water long. It was too windy, even with the seeming protection of an enormous hillside between us and the prevailing wind. But being on the water we had the excitement of seeing some very big fish that had traversed many a fish-ladder to get by many a dam just to be able to spawn at the very moment right in front of us. -gw


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On Souls Gathered Together: Divine bestowals descend

Baha'i quotations up at our Cluster Reflection meeting. -gw

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Friday, July 06, 2012

On Camping By Train Tracks: More appealing than you might imagine

Camping by train tracks -- that doesn't sound particularly appealing, but we've done it at least twice and loved it. The train tracks at Palouse State Park  are tucked into the terrain in a very unique way. I ran to the bridge built in the year I was born 65 years ago to try to get photos of the freight trains going under it every time I heard their distant sound. Although train travel will never be what it was -- in America at least -- you gotta love a train. -gw
[A] certain indomitable youth who, fearing ‘Abdu’l-Bahá would not be able to visit the Western states, and unable himself to pay for a train journey to New England, had traveled all the way from Minneapolis to Maine lying on the rods between the wheels of a train.

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On Enthralled Babies: Thomas suddenly stopped breastfeeding to join in the singing

I was putting baby Thomas (13 months old) to sleep and was singing our usual bedtime prayer, when Thomas suddenly stopped breastfeeding to join in the singing. He was humming along with me all the way till the end of the prayer, twice! We were singing, in French, the Baha'i Prayer for Children "O God, Guide me" written by 'Abdu'l-Baha.
A mother's song is far more powerful than any professional musical recording. So the advice to mothers is, sing to your baby. It's good for the brain and does wonders for attachment. The folks at Zero to Three, the National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families devoted an issue of their journal to the subject. -gw
[I]nfant development researchers (known to each other as “baby watchers”) [know] that babies seem to be much more enthralled by their mothers’ singing than by the voice of a trained performer.

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Thursday, July 05, 2012

On At the End of the Day: Hanging out at Gibson's yogurt shop

At the end of the day, there is one place to head for in Tacoma. It's Gibson's Frozen Yogurt shop, which has become the go-to place for participants in the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program to hang out and or Baha'i teaching teams to reflect on the day. -gw

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On Baby As a Term of Endearment: Make Thou this marriage to bring forth coral and pearls

So we were getting to the really scary part of the hike. I didn't want to go any farther. Although Bonita wanted to continue, she agreed to turn back. And then Bonita called me...
"Baby" is a term of endearment, right? If said with the right tone, I know. So which tone is she using here anyway? -gw 
O Thou kind Lord! Make Thou this marriage to bring forth coral and pearls. Thou art verily the All-Powerful, the Most Great, the Ever-Forgiving.

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On Drawing on the Creative Word: A new time and place for our Baha'i study circle

Coach Sharp has a laugh with Michelle before the start of our Baha'i study circle.
After many months meeting at Lisa's on Thursday nights, we moved our circle to Michelle's new home, a couple blocks away from her old home in Salishan, to meet on Saturday mornings now. It was great to have Michelle's 10 year-old join us. The Invaders/Tigers/Eastside Tacoma study circle is reconstituted, growing, and looking to grow even further. -gw

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