What Happens When Your Faith is Tested – A Personal Reflection

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There are many ways in which your faith, your belief in Baha’u’llah and His teachings, can be tested. In its most outwardly violent form, some of us are publicly persecuted, discriminated against, or pressured to recant. Some of us are tested by calamities and intense physical suffering, like the loss of a loved one, or the destruction of everything you own. For some, other people — including other Baha’is — are a test of faith. Who hasn’t experienced difficulties with someone who just “rubs you the wrong way” or whose understanding of a teaching stands in sharp contrast to your own? And we can all be a test to ourselves. I was once asked, “What do you do when there is an aspect of your religion that troubles you? What do you do then?” I mumbled through an answer but studying excerpts from the 19 April 2013 message from the Universal House of Justice has helped me think through my answer to this question more profoundly. Continue reading

Esto es Fe: A New Album by Leonor Dely & Millero Congo

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Esto es Fe (which is Spanish for “This is Faith”) is the new album from Leonor Dely & Millero Congo, a Baha’i-inspired group coming from the musically rich South American nation of Colombia.

You may have heard the music of Leonor Dely & Millero Congo in the Frontiers of Learning video in the segment about Colombia, and Esto es Fe is Leonor Dely & Millero Congo’s fifth album, which takes the listener on a spiritual journey that combines drums, vocals, native flutes and harmonies releasing the sounds of Colombia’s rich Afro-Latin heritage. The album is a continuation of four previous albums: Amame, Talisman, Ora Tambo, and Makerule – all produced by Grammy-award winning KC Porter.

I decided to catch up with Leonor Dely to find out more about her and the band, and about this wonderful new album: Continue reading

Leaves of Wisdom: A Baha’i Colouring Resource for Children

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Monika Mackenzie is the artist behind the newly released Leaves of Wisdom: A Baha’i Colouring Resource for Children (Volume 1), which contains over 100 illustrations. She’s also the illustrator behind the Facebook page Bahai Colouring Pages, where you are warmly encouraged to save, share and print what’s posted. Her work includes beautifully illustrated quotations from the Writings, or phrases like “Happy Naw Ruz”, and is a wonderful resource for parents, children’s class teachers or for programs for little ones during Holy Day celebrations, Feasts or other gatherings. Leaves of Wisdom was launched on Ridvan and I was delighted when Monika agreed to tell us a little bit about herself, her unique artwork, and her desire to share it with everyone. Continue reading

Exploring the Baha’i Concept of Life After Death

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Religions are often perceived as a means to answer questions about what happens after we die. Will it be absolute non-existence after our body’s last breath? Is there life after death at all? And if there is, will we remember our life on this earth? Do we really go to heaven or hell?

Shoghi Effendi states:

Evolution in the life of the individual starts with the formation of the human embryo and passes through various stages, and even continues after death in another form.

In order to understand better the concept of life after death and what could be meant by “another form”, it can be helpful to start by looking at the reality of the human soul. Continue reading

Baha’i Blog Presents “Studio Sessions” – A New Series on our YouTube Channel

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As someone who’s had the opportunity to travel a whole lot over the years, I’ve had the fortune of attending a variety of different Baha’i-related gatherings around the world, and one of the things I’ve enjoyed immensely is being able to listen to songs performed by members of these various communities, who have been moved to put the Sacred Baha’i Writings to music.

I’ve always wished others could hear these songs, and so now we’ve started what we call Baha’i Blog’s “Studio Sessions” in order to share some of these beautiful compositions with the rest of the world. In this new series of videos found on our YouTube Channel, we invite individuals or groups to come into the studio to perform a song or two while we record and film it. Continue reading

Introducing Baha’i Blog’s YouTube Channel!

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Laaaadies and Gentlemaaaan, Baha’i Blog is extremely excited about introducing to you all, our very own Baha’i Blog YouTube Channel! Yaaaaay! (Listen to that crowd going wild!)

On Baha’i Blog’s YouTube channel we’ll be creating a variety of original, Baha’i-inspired video content for your viewing pleasure, and we could really use your help by having you ‘SUBSCRIBE’ to our YouTube Channel as we need at least 500 subscribers to unlock certain admin privileges on YouTube. Continue reading

How Baha’i History is Charted

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The Revelation of Baha’u’llah redefines everything, including how history is charted and mapped. The sacred history of the Faith was (and will continue to be) delineated into cycles, ages, epochs and stages as explained by Abdu’l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi. This conception of time is both linear and cyclical, and in this article, I’ve attempted to briefly outline how Baha’i history is charted. Continue reading

The Second City: An Interview with Shameem

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Over 12 years ago while visiting Perth, Australia, I met an amazing young Baha’i who was singing her heart out at the Baha’i Centre of Learning there. Her name was Shameem, and even though she was only in high school at the time, it was immediately clear that this enthusiastic and talented young singer, songwriter and musician was really going places with her music!

Now on her third album, and with a bunch of awards under her belt, Shameem continues to bless the stage and the airwaves with her wonderful soulful sound.

I recently caught up with Shameem again to find out more about her and her music: Continue reading

Shoghi Effendi: Through the Pilgrim’s Eye – A New Book by Earl Redman

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Earl Redman is the author of an exciting volume about the Guardian that is fresh off the press called Shoghi Effendi: Through the Pilgrim’s Eye. You may already be familiar with his work; in celebration of the centenary of Abdu’l-Baha’s visit to the West, Earl Redman gathered together all the historical accounts of the Master’s travels and put them into chronological order in Abdu’l-Baha in Their Midst. When I contacted Earl about a possible interview, we discovered we had a mutual friend — my grandma and writer, Claire Vreeland. She compiled a book of pioneer stories (entitled And the Trees Clapped Their Hands) in which both of our families’ pioneering accounts are included. Linked through stories, I was keen to ask Earl about his creative process and the legwork behind his fascinating new book.

Baha’i Blog: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Earl. To begin, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your work as a writer?

In 1977, I fell off a mountain. Or rather was invited to fall off the mountain when a friend I was roped to was blown down a steep, icy face on Mt Foraker in Alaska. We fell about a thousand feet and, during the fall, I left my body. The body was on its way to death, but I didn’t care. When I finally stopped the fall, I had two powerful emotions. First, while the body and the soul were separate, I was absolutely disgusted because I was back in, at that time, a rather battered body. That was followed, after the soul rejoined the body, by a feeling of absolute delight that I was still alive.

Knowing that the body and the soul were separate, I was prepared to listen when I met a Baha’i named Sharon. She talked of the Faith and, on the day we were married in 1980, I became a Baha’i. Since then, we pioneered in Chile for six years and have now been pioneering in Ireland for sixteen years.

I have always like to write, though I never expected to write a book. Some of my early stories somehow ended up in a book called And the Trees Clapped Their Hands. I also contributed to the Alaska Baha’i News. Professionally as a geologist, I wrote many reports and my first published book was about the history of the mines and miners in Southeast Alaska, based on many old newspaper stories. I never set out to write books on Baha’i history. They all just sort of appeared on my computer screen, quite to my surprise.

Continue reading