Thursday, June 27, 2013

On a Rhythm Divine: Baha'i-inspired musician featured on Australian radio

According to Baha'is music is a ladder for souls to rise, and this week we explore one of Asia’s growing religious communities, the Baha’i faith, through the words and music of a rising young Australian musician of Chinese heritage, Natasha Chiang. Natasha's debut album Kindle is a collection of indie-folk devotional songs in English and Mandarin that look toward an Asian audience.

Baha'i musician featured on Australian radio, available as a podcast. -gw

About Us

The Rhythm Divine is a musical journey through the world of spirituality, exploring contemporary sacred sounds and the world’s devotional music.

From the sounds of the Sufis to gospel choirs, from tribal ambient to Nick Cave, from electronic mantras to Zen meditations, it is a soundtrack to the spirit.

The Rhythm Divine explores the deep river of music and song from the world's religious traditions, from the new spiritual practices, and from the fusion of religion and pop culture. The music might be traditional and liturgical, part of a worship service or rite of passage. It might be worldly and popular and yet in its own way a vehicle for sacred expression

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

On the End Is Near: Wear layers and take an umbrella

The end is near
The end is near

Mead -- artist, Baha'i and community builder -- writes a meaty blog. I love his commentaries, the day-to-day observations of a person committed to learning what it takes so that collectively we can move from tens serving hundreds to hundreds serving thousands in this process of spiritual community building Baha'is and their friends are engaged in.  Some days we may wake up and think, "the end is near." It's not. The end of one thing is the beginning of another. (I don't know how many times I have returned to this theme over the course of the 7 1/2 years I've been doing this blog.) Mead started his day in a fog. -gw
Then, as I got ready to come into work today, it was pouring. The fog had melted away and the whole area was being scrubbed clean by the seemingly boundless rains.

Now it's sunny again.

This is a day of unexpected change and those of us who live here have to adapt. We all dress in layers, and everyone here either has a raincoat or umbrella that they are carrying, or a frown.

And all of this reminds me of the Baha'i community today.

Change is happening, faster, in most cases, than we can imagine.

Invaders vs Blitz 323
Spectators to the process of change have it coming

On Respecting Sincere Differences of View: The essence of all the Prophets of God is one

Tacoma Catholic Church spire
Tacoma Catholic Church spire
The high moral ground must be separated from the lower. Let each choose his turf. I would prefer to stand with anyone of any Faith who chooses the higher ground, always respecting sincere differences of view, learning from those whose perspective is different than my own, as I acknowledge that I surely cannot see all there is to see, for I am not omniscient. Whether there is agreement or not as to matters of Faith, it is the manner or reasoning and courteous discussion that counts highest and yields wondrous fruits, satisfying spiritual hunger. So much of our mutual Faith is in fact rooted in the same Divine Source, as Baha'is accept all of the Prophets sent by God in the Old and New Testaments, and seek still to understand them more fully in light of what they regard as the fulfillment of that which has been written of Those Who were yet promised to come in those same Holy Books. 
"Know thou assuredly that the essence of all the Prophets of God is one and the same. Their unity is absolute. God, the Creator, saith: There is no distinction whatsoever among the Bearers of My Message. They all have but one purpose; their secret is the same secret. To prefer one in honor to another, to exalt certain ones above the rest, is in no wise to be permitted. Every true Prophet hath regarded His Message as fundamentally the same as the Revelation of every other Prophet gone before Him. If any man, therefore, should fail to comprehend this truth, and should consequently indulge in vain and unseemly language, no one whose sight is keen and whose understanding is enlightened would ever allow such idle talk to cause him to waver in his belief."

Interesting discussion going on on the Catholic Answers Forum. -gw

Haifa is a city of Arabs, Jews AND Christians
Haifa is a city of Arabs, Jews AND Christians

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

On Primitive New Testament Christianity With Universalist Baha'i Overtones: An alternative to Mormonism

 Roger's answer to the question "If you left Mormonism and went to any other religion, what would it be?" -gw

Roger on June 24, 2013 at 8:50 AM 
I guess I’d retreat to some form of primitive New Testament Christianity with universalist Baha’i overtones. I do crave majestic choral pieces of music. So I’d probably sit out on the patio, reading and listening to CDs

  CDs on the floor

Saturday, June 22, 2013

On Hiking a U.S. 1930's-era Pubic Works Irrigation Canal: Brings thoughts of an aqueduct in Acca



Hiking a 1930's Sinlehekin Valley pubic works irrigation canal, a set on Flickr.

A portion of the hike we took in the Sinlehekin was actually inside an irrigation canal that had been constructed in the late 1930's as a depression-era public works effort. Overgrown and encroached upon as it was, it was especially eery to traverse. There was no water running in it now. It was lined with dirt instead.

Oh, the effort that humankind has gone to to move water for drinking or farming! The canal seemed so out-of-place, as the Sinlehekin seems so remote, but people have been engaged for decades to make fertile and productive the land around the town of Loomis to the north. Productive it is, with irrigated crop circles and extensive orchards in the vicinity that makes good use from water that is available today, although not from the canal we encountered.

The industriousness necessary to construct the miles of concrete of the canal reminded me of the industriousness it must have took to build originally, and then to have restored at Baha'ullah's request, the aqueduct that brought fresh water to 'Akká on the opposite side of the world. -gw

Such was the devotion gradually kindled in the heart of that governor, through his association with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and later through his perusal of the literature of the Faith, which mischief-makers, in the hope of angering him, had submitted for his consideration, that he invariably refused to enter His presence without first removing his shoes, as a token of his respect for Him. It was even bruited about that his favored counselors were those very exiles who were the followers of the Prisoner in his custody. His own son he was wont to send to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá for instruction and enlightenment. It was on the occasion of a long-sought audience with Bahá’u’lláh that, in response to a request for permission to render Him some service, the suggestion was made to him to restore the aqueduct which for thirty years had been allowed to fall into disuse—a suggestion which he immediately arose to carry out.

Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By

On When This Baha'i Would Bear Arms: When there is bear danger



We were alone of the Sinlehekin Trail, we thought, until a teenage girl with a backpack and a gun in a holster came up the trail while Bonita and I were resting under the shade of a rock. She had been dropped off by her parents so she could hike to their campsite at Blue Lake instead of be driven there, as we learned in our brief visit with her. We were envious of her gun, as we were in prime bear and moose country, and all we had was the bear spray that Bonita wears on such occasions. Would I consider investing in a gun for protection against wild animals in nature? Yes, I would. Would I consider investing in a gun for protection against people in the city? No, I wouldn't. A gun in the city would make me feel unsafe. Guns are dangerous to people. Only in nature is the danger offset by the benefit of having a gun.

Brent, an attorney by profession, has written cogently on about the authoritative position of the Baha'i Faith towards bearing arms. His entire comment is worth reading.
The guidance of the House is an official pronouncement, and it is intentionally in the form of a recommendation. If it's a recommendation, that's what it is, not a prohibition. The House of Justice knows the difference. The guidance of the House of Justice is based first of all on what Baha'u'llah says in the Most Holy Book, and this guidance is found in Note 173 to the Most Holy Book. The House first quotes the verse in the Aqdas from Baha'u'llah in Paragraph 159 of the Aqdas, "It hath been forbidden you to carry arms unless essential." The guidance prepared under the guidance of the House then states, "Bahá'u'lláh confirms an injunction contained in the Bayan which makes it unlawful to carry arms, unless it is necessary to do so. With regard to circumstances under which the bearing of arms might be "essential" for an individual, Abdu'l-Bahá gives permission to a believer for self-protection in a dangerous environment. Shoghi Effendi in a letter written on his behalf has also indicated that, in an emergency, when there is no legal force at hand to appeal to, a Bahá'í is justified in defending his life."!topic/soc.religion.bahai/rf-qfWq1RW4


As we were talking about bear danger, we happened upon this chewing tobacco lid stuck in a dead log along the path. Thanks for the chuckle, whoever put it there. -gw


Thursday, June 20, 2013

On Such Drama in Nature: A mystery play at Forde Lake


Canoeing Forde Lake, a set on Flickr




Canoeing at dusk, with the threat of rain, in a shallow lake full of aquatic plants so thick that, in protest, the canoe refused to glide. And the birdlife -- yes, goldeneyes in the goo goo muck, red-winged blackbirds hovering menacingly overhead at the one moment and looking as if in prayer at another, and flycatchers at the ready but with no flies to catch. Such drama in nature. It is of the utmost importance that we learn what nature has to teach us, as Adib Taherzadeh points out in The Covenant of Baha'u'llah. Nature is an unfolding life and death drama, a mystery play in its own right. -gw
A painter asked: “Is art a worthy vocation?” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá turning to her impressively, said: “Art is worship.” An actor mentioned the drama, and its influence. “The drama is of the utmost importance.” said ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. “It has been a great educational power in the past; it will be so again.” He described how as a young boy he witnessed the Mystery Play of ‘Alí’s Betrayal and Passion, and how it affected him so deeply that he wept and could not sleep for many nights.
Abdul-Baha in London