Tuesday, July 30, 2013

On Don't Blink (-182): It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

The band's studio autonomy, tours, managers and personal projects stalled the recording process, which lasted from shortly after the band's February 2009 reunion to July 2011. The band developed Neighborhoods in separate studios and regrouped at various periods to record. The band's numerous delays in the recording process resulted in the band canceling a European tour and the label setting a deadline for the album to be due. The trio wrote lyrics regarding such subjects as isolation, confusion and death. The band infused inspiration from each member's various musical tastes to form a unique sound that recalled their separate upbringings, leading the trio to compare the album to separate neighborhoods.

Neighborhoods (Blink-182 album) 

As this excerpt from an article on a music abum by the pop punk band Blink 192 intimates, neighborhoods can be different. At one end of the scale are nieghborhoods with far too much "isolation, confusion and death." On the other are neighborhoods that are relatively healthy. How can we heal "sick" neighborhoods? Baha'is and their friends are engaged in an effort to do just that. -gw

There’s a reason Nwandi Lawson titled her workshop at the recent Rabbani Trust [Baha'i] Conference [on Social and Economic Development] in Orlando, Florida, “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”

She hopes each of us becomes the kind of neighbor the late Fred Rogers was to generations of young television viewers and their parents.

“Doesn’t he just epitomize neighborhood?” asks Lawson. “He’s really excited to be your neighbor. 
“He’s not saying I’m doing you a favor by coming to your neighborhood. No, he says, I have always wanted to live in the neighborhood with you, always wanted to have a neighbor just like you.

“To me, you can just hear in his song the importance of being neighborly. He actually begs you to be his neighbor.”

And Lawson says that spirit can infuse our own efforts to reach out to neighbors and initiate core activities aimed at making the neighborhood a better place.

No more towers: Approaching neighborhood service

On Things We Used to Do: Baha'is and their friends are living experimentally

Did people like the pimento loaf?

Did people like the pimento loaf?

Baha'is and their friends are living experimentally. Our community building projects are arenas for learning. What we're doing today, we won't necessarily be doing tomorrow. Take our quarterly Cluster Reflection Meetings. We used to do skits. Then it seemed like just so much entertainment, taking away from the primary purpose of reflection. Used to be we'd spend most of our time in large group. Now it's mostly small group -- teaching teams organized around working in neighborhoods. That's how we roll now. -gw

Assisted Living Baha'i Reflection Meeting 001Assisted Living Baha'i Reflection Meeting 002Assisted Living Baha'i Reflection Meeting 003Assisted Living Baha'i Reflection Meeting 006Assisted Living Baha'i Reflection Meeting 007Assisted Living Baha'i Reflection Meeting 008
Assisted Living Baha'i Reflection Meeting 009Assisted Living Baha'i Reflection Meeting 011Did people like the pimento loaf?Assisted Living Baha'i Reflection Meeting 013Assisted Living Baha'i Reflection Meeting 017Assisted Living Baha'i Reflection Meeting 018
THEN: The "assisted living" Baha'i reflection meeting, a set on Flickr.

To learn about what Baha'is are up to THESE days, see: 
All ages embrace learning in Phoenix neighborhood

Monday, July 29, 2013

On What If We Had a Youth Conference Unlike Any We've Ever Had Before: Oh wait! We just did!

Preparations, a set on Flickr.

  • What if we had a youth conference that was for both Baha'is and non-Baha'is?
  • What if we had a youth conference where the focus was not on listening to a series of "big-name" speakers?
  • What if we had a youth conference where instead of "big-name" musicians coming to entertain, the participants themselves provided the music, edifying songs many of which they were responsible for creating?
  • What if we had a youth conference where the goal of a handful of adult volunteers was to "stay out of the way" so that hundreds of youth could consult together effectively and efficiently?
  • What if we had a youth conference where instead of most of the time being spent in plenary session, most was spent in small and medium working groups addressing how to build community in specific neighborhoods they have chosen to serve? 
Hey wait! We just did!! 

Check here to see our conference report, as it becomes available. -gw

Conferences for youth striving to serve their communities begin

Thursday, July 18, 2013

On Good Questions: Where does this violence in the world come from? Religion?

It was a poignant meeting of cultures and minds at this week’s premiere in Israel of “The Gardener,” a documentary by Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, at the Jerusalem Film Festival. 

This clip promoting a documentary by a non-Baha'i Iranian about the Baha'i Faith asks some pretty basic questions. Where does all this violence in the world come from? Religion? -gw

On Instant History: Live streaming from Baha'i summer school of a talk on developments of the Faith in Iran

Live streaming from a Baha'i summer school of video of a talk by Robert Stockman on a history of developments of the Faith in Iran --  how wonderful is that! (Starts at 17 minutes 34 seconds) -gw

Monday, July 08, 2013

On the Next Time Junior Youth Are Asked What They Want To Be When They Grow Up: The answer will be different

I still try to read blogs. Saw this comment on a blog post on Reflections on Transformation about the effect of the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program to counter materialism. -gw

Another aspect of a materialistic society that I see is when I go visit my neighborhood or other neighborhoods. When I ask the junior youth who they admire, some will say my uncle. And of course, I will ask them why? And often, it's because they are a doctor or lawyer. I will still ask them but why? The answer is because they have made money. There is nothing wrong with being a doctor or a lawyer which are wonderful professions. The root of the problem is the focus on money and materialism.

The Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program helps these friends to develop spiritual perception which is to look at the spiritual qualities of their friends, relatives, and humanity. In this way, they are encouraging each other to become better human beings and at the same time serve the world. So next time, I ask them what they want to do when they grow up after reading "Breezes of Confirmation" where they talk about professions. They will say, I want to be a doctor to help heal people, to contribute to the advancement of medicine and our society, and nothing wrong with also saying to spend on my family and loved ones.

In our cluster, Tigers junior youth reading a story from Breezes of Confirmation

Sunday, July 07, 2013

On the Love of One's Country: An element of the Faith of God

The love of one’s country, as “an element of the Faith of God,” ... should not, indeed it cannot, be construed as a repudiation, or regarded in the light of a censure, pronounced against a sane and intelligent patriotism.:"
 The Wider, Inclusive Loyalty


We were camping by a marina on a spit of land we thought would be quite isolated. As it was the 4th of July weekend, we discovered that Tokeland WA can be a very bustling place. It is a community after all, a town with people who live and work there. People came out in droves for their annual parade, a lovely experience to behold for Bonita and me. There is something lovely about love of country, easier to appreciate perhaps from the vantage point of a small town that lies three hours away from the somewhat big city we live in, where I've avoided the annual all-day festival which draws hundreds of thousands. -gw

On I Heard the Call of the Firebird: Will they not hear?


I heard the call of the firebird. -gw


The bird of paradise is warbling; will they not hear?

The Huma (Persianهما‎, pronounced HomāAvestanHumaya), also Homa, is a legendary bird especially of the Persian branch of Iranian mythology[1][2] and Sufi fable


On Paddling Up the Smith River With the Tide: Seeing the eagle was our lote tree


Yesterday we conquered Smith River. For us that means we went as far up it as we could. Where the channel narrowed and had a flow, it was time to turn around. We do flatwater only.

Smith River is a tidal river, my favorite body of water. Ideally you hit a tidal river going up with the tide, and going down as the tide goes out. That means you either have to consult a tide table, or just be lucky.

I had another destination in mind for our paddle, one where the tides didn't matter, but when I noted that we could be on the water at high high tide, as opposed to low high, the very best possible circumstance, I told Bonita we needed to do the Smith instead.

We'd done the Smith before, but the river was already half emptied out when we started, so we didn't get very far, and we saw plenty of mud banks. This time we we zigged and zagged to the max, right to the point where the river stops being influenced by the tides, several miles up from the mouth.

Just as we approached that point, over the pool of water that marked the end of the tidal stretch, we saw an eagle, an immature that did not yet have the distinctive white head and tail. When that eagle flew away we saw a mature eagle as well join it in flight.

Our eagle sighting was the "lote tree" on our watery path. See the eagles and we could go no farther. Time to turn around. -gw

Say, this of a certainty is the Garden of Repose, the loftiest Point of adoration, the Tree beyond which there is no passing, the blessed Lote-Tree, the Most Mighty Sign, the most beauteous Countenance and the most comely Face.

Selections From the Writings of the Báb