Wednesday, August 29, 2012

On Eating Like an Egyptian: Traveling through time and space through food.

I haven't gone looking in people's lunchboxs, but I'll bet I'm the only person at my work who is eating like an Egyptian today, thanks to my wife's propensity to cook up some amazing international cuisine. Isn't it amazing how a meal can transport us to another place and time. I will be eating in Alexandria where Abdu'l-Baha visited when I eat the khoshari I've brought. After the main dish I will be traveling back to Washington State with blackberry cobbler. Yeah, Bonita and I picked 26 lbs of blackberries Sunday. -gw

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On No Hurricanes In Washington State: But we have a Hurricane Hill

We don't get hurricanes in Washington State, but we do have a Hurricane Ridge and a Hurricane Hill, where it can blow like crazy, although not the day we hiked to the top. . -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.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On Responding to the Inmost Longing of Every Heart to Commune With Its Maker: A devotional for families

We're "shaping a pattern of life distinguished for its devotional character" within the community of Tigers/ Invaders football players, coaches, and families on Tacoma's south and eastsides through the establishment of a weekly devotional. -gw
Thousands upon thousands, embracing the diversity of the entire human family, are engaged in systematic study of the Creative Word in an environment that is at once serious and uplifting. As they strive to apply through a process of action, reflection and consultation the insights thus gained, they see their capacity to serve the Cause rise to new levels. Responding to the inmost longing of every heart to commune with its Maker, they carry out acts of collective worship in diverse settings, uniting with others in prayer, awakening spiritual susceptibilities, and shaping a pattern of life distinguished for its devotional character. ... Aware of the aspirations of the children of the world and their need for spiritual education, they extend their efforts widely to involve ever-growing contingents of participants in classes that become centres of attraction for the young ... . They assist junior youth to navigate through a crucial stage of their lives and to become empowered to direct their energies toward the advancement of civilization. And with the advantage of a greater abundance of human resources, an increasing number of them are able to express their faith through a rising tide of endeavors that address the needs of humanity in both their spiritual and material dimensions.
The Universal House of Justice

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On Where To Have a Spiritual Conversation: Anywhere

On Such Clarity Above the Clouds: The appearance of that immortal Beauty

We can achieve such clarity when we get up above the clouds. -gw
By the term “clouds” is meant those things that are contrary to the ways and desires of men. Even as He hath revealed in the verse already quoted: “As oft as an Apostle cometh unto you with that which your souls desire not, ye swell with pride, accusing some of being impostors and slaying others.” [Qur’án 2:87.] These “clouds” signify, in one sense, the annulment of laws, the abrogation of former Dispensations, the repeal of rituals and customs current amongst men, the exalting of the illiterate faithful above the learned opposers of the Faith. In another sense, they mean the appearance of that immortal Beauty in the image of mortal man, with such human limitations as eating and drinking, poverty and riches, glory and abasement, sleeping and waking, and such other things as cast doubt in the minds of men, and cause them to turn away. All such veils are symbolically referred to as “clouds.”

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Friday, August 24, 2012

On She Can Change Me: The Holy Spirit as the divine feminine

She can do anything at all /
Have anything she pleases /
The power to change what she thinks is wrong /
What could she want with me yeah /
Wait just one minute here /
I can see that she's trying to read me /
Suddenly I know /
She's going to change the world [Repeat: x3] /
But she can't change me /
No she can't change me /
She has the daylight at her command /
She gives the night its dreams yeah /
She can uncover your darkest fears /
Make you forget you feel them /
Wait just one minute more /
I can see that she's trying to free me /
Suddenly I know /
Suddenly I can see everything that's wrong /
With me yeah /
What can I do I'm the only thing I really have /
At all /
Wait just one minute here /
I can see that she's trying to need me /
Suddenly I know /

Chris Cornell, "Can't Change Me" 
For possibly the first time in recorded religious history, the symbol of the Holy Spirit, as it has appeared to the Prophet, has explicitly taken form as the divine feminine. -

 The holy spirit can change me. - gw

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

On They Came From Every Direction To Be There: The friends converge for Feast in Salishan

I can assure you, Baha'i feasts never looked this way in Tacoma 5, 10, or 15 years ago. Last night we met outdoors in Salishan. Children and youth from the neighborhood came from every direction to be there. -gw

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On Become a Source of Social Good: Is any larger bounty conceivable than this

And the honor and distinction of the individual consist in this, that he among all the world’s multitudes should become a source of social good. Is any larger bounty conceivable than this, that an individual, looking within himself, should find that by the confirming grace of God he has become the cause of peace and well-being, of happiness and advantage to his fellow men? No, by the one true God, there is no greater bliss, no more complete delight.
During their weekly devotional gathering in a small apartment on the Eastside of Tacoma a group of children, youth, and adults, all members of the Tigers / Invaders football community, reflect upon becoming an even greater source of social good in their neighborhood. -gw

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

On My Favorite Jimi Hendrix: I'm gonna wave my freak flag high, high

They're hoping soon my kind will drop and die,
But I'm gonna wave my freak flag high, high.
Wave on, wave on

My favorite Jimi Hendrix, "If 6 Was 9." I like number 9 - always have. -gw

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Friday, August 17, 2012

On I Move On to Another Day: To a whole new town with a whole new way

Ice-age, heat wave, can't complain
If the world's at large, why should I remain? 
Walked away to another plan 
Gonna find another place, maybe one I can stand
I move on to another day
To a whole new town with a whole new way

Some modest rock poetry can open the door to a whole new world. -gw

Let all be set free from the multiple identities that were born of passion and desire, and in the oneness of their love for God find a new way of life.



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On Challenges to Reading the Baha'i Writings Morning and Night: Finding a quiet and seculuded place

Baha'u'llah says to pray every day and meditate upon the Baha'i Writings. Coach Matt describes a challenge he faces in his household to do so. -gw
...he sent out a letter expressing his wish to be alone for a time, in a quiet and secluded place, away from the noise and turmoil of everyday life--there to pray and supplicate and urgently beg for help from the realm of the All-Glorious. ...

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On the Tigers/Invaders Family Weekly Devotional: Letting nothing interfere with the regularity of our devotions

The football-playing Tigers/Invaders family is holding its weekly devotions after the Tigers game at Matt and Christy's in the Sunrise Apartments Saturday night, a new day, time, and place, after months of meeting at Lisa's in Salishan. We held our first one last Saturday with 19 in attendance. -gw
High seas and the complete absence of comfort could neither interfere with the regularity of His devotions nor perturb the peacefulness of His meditations and prayers.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

On Cheerleading As a Good Thing: Encourage and inspire each other with love for the whole human race

Cheerleading gets a bad rap. "Oh, he's just cheerleading." (See "cheerleading," definition 2. "one who expresses or promotes thoughtless praise; an adulator.") But, c'mon, wouldn't it be great to be greeted upon awakening by a cheerleading squad to get you started on your day? -gw
encourage and inspire each other with love for the whole human race, invoke God with perfect joy and fragrance, sing the verses, glorifications and praises of the Self-subsistent Lord and deliver eloquent speeches.

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On a Generation That Didn't Agree: We will go down in history

The political season is upon us AGAIN. These stories on NPR about the presidential campaign and these eternal stories of conflict and strife involving congress. Makes me think AGAIN of my favorite System of a Down lyric. -gw

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

On Be It the Butterfly or Bear Grass: We clamber to get to the top

At the Cluster Agencies Meeting last night, we discussed whether we achieved the goals we set out for ourselves at the beginning of our recent intensive expansion campaign.
The friends must be made to realise that the urgency of the task ... is not only acute but temporary. Once they make this final effort, and clamber to the top of their goal, they can rest. - From a letter of Shoghi Effendi
We hike to get to the top, but it may be the butterfly or the bear grass in bloom along the way that we remember the most. -gw
The complete hike...

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Monday, August 13, 2012

On Tickling and Teasing: Disrespecting young children

"We've all seen this at the beach" -- this month we spend so much time outdoors and in public recreational areas -- "screaming toddlers and preschoolers ... carried to be thrown into the water" to their intense distress. This is not how to play with a child. -gw
How does one follow the lead of the child? By respecting that young children need to explore, discover, and construct their own learning and understanding, and by allowing them opportunities to do so.
Adults need to remember that they should not over-stimulate their children. Observation is key. The clearest example of over stimulation is tickling. Kids love to get tickled. But then they reach a point where they become over stimulated and it's no longer fun for them. You have to watch for physical signs and cues that kids have reached their breaking point. Babies will turn their gaze and their bodies away, older kids will say "no," "stop" or "no more." Crying, tantrums, any behavior - even laughing - where the child's emotion is escalated indicates over stimulation. It's just another reason observation skills are so important.
... it’s certainly common for adults or older kids to tease young children unmercifully, to justify their actions by saying they’re “just teasing”, and to become angry and even punish the child who displays distress when teased intensely. School-age children exposed to this treatment usually learn how to evade the adult’s attention, but younger ones naturally respond to distress by approaching the people who ought to be protecting them--  the very ones who are tormenting them.  We’ve all seen this at the beach, as screaming toddlers and preschoolers are carried to be thrown into the water, or in other situations where an adult picks up a child and won’t put her down, or threatens to throw away a toy or harm a pet. These situations often conclude with some type of punishment of the child, who is then characterized as a “wimp” or a “sissy”.


O Thou kind Lord! These lovely children are the handiwork of the fingers of Thy might and the wondrous signs of Thy greatness. O God! Protect these children, graciously assist them to be educated and enable them to render service to the world of humanity. O God! These children are pearls, cause them to be nurtured within the shell of Thy loving-kindness.
Thou art the Bountiful, the All-Loving.

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On Sacred Music: And the no tech sound

Turn up the treble, don't forget / Getting dizzy, sitting around / Sacred trickster and the no tech sound / I wish I could be / Music on a tree / Noise Nomads and me
Sacred Trickster by Sonic Youth
Don'tcha love a lyric? - gw

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Friday, August 10, 2012

On Captured Moments: Documenting the Baha'i Institute Process


I’ve been accumulating videos that portray the expansion efforts of the Baha’is in my community since 2009.  They constitute quite a “slice of life,” each an in-the-moment recording of a bit of history unfolding. My preference will always be for “raw footage,” the spontaneous expressions of the friends. Any polishing of these clips into something more refined can be done by others at some point in the future. My interest is in capturing the moment.  Some more examples... –gw


I'm choosing to spend my free time this way

On Tacoma's Eastside we have 5 new children's classes starting or started

Henri introduces the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program

Baha'is more deeply involved in the social & economic interests of society


They who are the repositories of the pearls of His knowledge

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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

On As Local As You Can Get: Baha'is support expansion by moving into receptive neighborhoods

What a concept: Find a receptive neighborhood, find Baha'is willing to move into that neighborhood to open their home to support the core activities. When Lisa opened her home to teaching activities in her Salishan neighborhood a few years ago, our teaching effort turned a corner. In the last six months, believers have moved to apartments right in the middle of the areas of current expansion. This is Baha'i "pioneering" in this day. As local as you can get. -gw

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Monday, August 06, 2012

On the Joy of Teaching: Providing answers to questions

It is always exciting to be able to share the Baha'i vision. Knowing I'm Baha'i, a co-worker stopped by my desk today with the question: what are the similarities and differences between Unity, Unitarianism-Universalism, and the Baha'i Faith. I did my best to answer.
Yesterday it was Tyler who had all the questions. He is participating in a Baha'i study circle that includes his fiancee Michelle. Using a booklet designed for such a purpose, Rick took some time after study circle to go over the history of the Faith with Tyler. We started talking about wsebsites he could visit and then I remembered I had some books in the car about the Bab and Baha'u'llah and an introductory book about the Faith as well. I was able to pass them on to him. The Internet is great, he said, but there is nothing like a book. You don't have to plug it in. -gw

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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

On Of Times Past and Future: The prophecy of Daniel

In this meditative short video clip by my son Taraz, my grandson Daniel is featured . What a great name he has to try to live up to, considering the personage of Daniel in the Bible. - gw
The interpretation of prophecy is notoriously difficult, and on no subject do the opinions of the learned differ more widely. This is not to be wondered at, for, according to the revealed writings themselves, many of the prophecies were given in such a form that they could not be fully understood until the fulfillment came, and even then, only by those who were pure in heart and free from prejudice. Thus at the end of Daniel’s visions the seer was told:—
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. … And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
—Daniel xii, 4–9.

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On Making Mention of God: And canoeing around Herron Island

Homes line the thousands of miles of Puget Sound. Nevertheless, nature abounds for paddlers on this contorted inland sea. Here we circumnavigate Herron Island and make mention of God. -gw
Blessed is the spot, and the house,
and the place, and the city,
and the heart, and the mountain,
and the refuge, and the cave,
and the valley, and the land,
and the sea, and the island,
and the meadow where mention
of God hath been made,
and His praise glorified.

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