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Light of the Kingdom: A Book by JoAnn Borovicka

Light of the Kingdom

I love books and have a particular soft-spot for Baha’i books. I was doubly happy when I heard that a friend, JoAnn Borovicka, has published a new book called Light of the Kingdom: Biblical Topics in the Baha’i Writings. I was joyful that a new Baha’i book was made available to the world, and proud of her accomplishment. To write a book is no small feat and this one is the culmination of many years of work.

JoAnn lovingly agreed to share behind-the-scenes details about her beautiful new book.

Baha’i Blog: Thank you, JoAnn! I’m very excited to hear more about Light of the Kingdom. To start, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your work as a writer?

I’m an educator; my passion is making information accessible by delivering it in digestible portions. At the time of the origin of this project I was working as a master trainer for Global Learning Partners, Inc. where I specialized in workshop design and facilitation. I was also a storyteller performer with the South Carolina Artist in Residence program—I wrote my own material based on stories of the ancient Near East. Both of these interests served me in the making of Light of the Kingdom, which strives to systematically present certain Baha’i teachings through the organizational framework of the Bible.

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CBC News: Baha’i House of Worship in Chile

A Light-Filled House of Worship

In this short video, produced by the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), we get a preview of the soon-to-be-completed House of Worship in Santiago, Chile and its surrounding landscapes. Siamak Hariri, the architect whose designs were selected for the Mother Temple of South America, discusses how light is a central component of this place of prayer, reflection, and community. Continue reading

Do Animals Have Souls?

Do Animals Have Souls

My daughter was saddened when our pet hermit crab, Betsy, died and she asked if she’d see her again in the next world. The simple Baha’i answer to her question was no, she wouldn’t. However, I found a blanket “no” with no other exploration of the topic was not only insensitive but potentially incomplete.

Baha’is are encouraged, from their earliest years, to show love and compassion towards animals. Continue reading

The Spirit of the Olympics: A Personal Reflection

The Spirit of the Olympics

Two years ago the president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, wrote to the Universal House of Justice inviting it to provide a statement on the occasion of the 20th World Cup. President Rousseff saw the World Cup as an opportunity to further the cause of peace and the elimination of prejudice.

The response from the Universal House of Justice, and its tribute to the people of Brazil, is very moving (it can be read in full here). I took the opportunity to read the letter again, as it gave me a lens through which to watch the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games. It highlights three positive aspects of the World Cup and these ideals were also demonstrated in the Olympics which just closed. They will undoubtably also be found in the Paralympic Games about to commence.

1. A Celebration of Diversity

The opening paragraph of the letter includes these words:

Few occasions can claim to embrace so wide a cross-section of humanity, comprising peoples of varied ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds. It is clear to every observer that the sport that has brought these nations to Brazil is only strengthened by the marvellous diversity of the participants. To rejoice in this fact is to reject prejudice in all its forms.

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Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 9: Tom Price

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Hello and welcome to the Baha’i Blogcast with me your host, Rainn Wilson.

In this series of podcasts I interview members of the Baha’i Faith and friends from all over the world about their hearts, and minds, and souls, their spiritual journeys, what they’re interested in, and what makes them tick.

In this episode I interview Tom Price, a Baha’i music composer, director and well-known public speaker currently living in Adelaide, Australia. We talk about his background, his travels, his experience doing music projects for global Baha’i events, and the fascinating story of how he became a Baha’i. We look at topics like the harmony between science and religion, walking and its meditative benefits, spiritual principles and how they apply to the physical world. We also talk about his experience as a public speaker whose talks have become widely shared and listened to around the world, his creative process with music, his daughter’s band Lake Street Dive, upcoming projects, some of the research he’s doing, and some of his current spiritual goals. Continue reading

Laura & Hippolyte Dreyfus-Barney: Esteemed Collaborators

Laura Dreyfus-Barney (30 November, 1879 - 18 August, 1974) and Hippolyte Dreyfus-Barney (12 April, 1863 - 20 December, 1928). These portraits of Laura and Hippolyte were done by Laura's mother, Alice, and the images are courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Laura Dreyfus-Barney (30 November, 1879 - 18 August, 1974) and Hippolyte Dreyfus-Barney (12 April, 1863 - 20 December, 1928). These portraits of Laura and Hippolyte were done by Laura's mother, Alice, and the images are courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

In the year 1900, Laura Clifford Barney and Hippolyte Dreyfus met on the threshold of the Paris home of May Ellis Bolles. Laura was on her way to the visit the Canadian Baha’i in order to find out more about the Faith – which she accepted immediately, an unquenchable fire having been sparked in her heart. Hippolyte was departing May’s company. In the months that followed, Hippolyte became the first French Baha’i and in the years that followed he and Laura would both render priceless and invaluable services to the Cause. In honour of Laura’s passing which occurred 42 years ago on August 18th, I’d like to share some facts I’ve learned about them.

Laura was born on November 30th, 1879 in Cincinnati, Ohio to a wealthy family of artists and industrialists. She and her sister Natalie lived in luxury and privilege but owing to their parents’ strained marriage, they spent their childhood in both Paris and the United States. She studied the dramatic arts and sculpture, loved the theater and wrote 25 short stories and at least two plays. Laura was keenly intelligent, serious, inquisitive and insightful – qualities for which we are all grateful.

Between 1904 and 1906, Laura travelled to Akka multiple times. She was unmarried and in her twenties and the Master was still a prisoner of the Turkish government. Dr. Youness Afroukteh (whose wonderful recollections Memories of Nine Years in Akka is a delight to read) recorded these words:  Continue reading

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