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 have an awesome conversation with my wonderful Christian neighbors Sara and John Barton. Sara is an author and likes writing poetry and hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains, usually at the same time, and she serves as the University Chaplain at Pepperdine University in California, where she oversees worship services and pastoral care in the community. John is Director of the Center for Faith and Learning at Pepperdine University where he also serves on the faculties of the Religion and Philosophy Division and the graduate program in Social Entrepreneurship and Change. John also speaks and conducts research in the areas of African philosophy, ethics and philanthropy, Christian studies, interfaith dialogue, and Christian/Muslim interactions. The three of us talk about the station of Christ, the importance of service to others, and why interfaith dialogue and learning about religions is important in society today. They share the importance of being an active part of wider communities while maintaining their Christian convictions and commitments. They also tell me about the nonprofit they helped start and what their eight years in Uganda taught them. We discuss the importance of the community over the individual, prayer and meditation, why they love working with college students and have hope for the future. Sara even shares a wonderful poem she wrote just for the Baha’i Blogcast as well, so I hope you enjoy the conversation.
To find out more about Sara and John Barton and some of the things we covered in this podcast, check out the following links:
* Here’s a link to the nonprofit they helped start and continue to work with called the Kibo Group: www.kibogroup.org
* Sara is the author of A Woman Called: Piecing Together the Ministry Puzzle, an open and honest memoir of her call to ministry, a role that women are often forbidden to answer.
* John mentions the book Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty by Mustafa Akyol.
* I shared the following quote about the station of Jesus Christ from the Writings of Baha’u’llah:
“Know thou that when the Son of Man yielded up His breath to God, the whole creation wept with a great weeping. By sacrificing Himself, however, a fresh capacity was infused into all created things. Its evidences, as witnessed in all the peoples of the earth, are now manifest before thee. The deepest wisdom which the sages have uttered, the profoundest learning which any mind hath unfolded, the arts which the ablest hands have produced, the influence exerted by the most potent of rulers, are but manifestations of the quickening power released by His transcendent, His all-pervasive, and resplendent Spirit.
We testify that when He came into the world, He shed the splendor of His glory upon all created things. Through Him the leper recovered from the leprosy of perversity and ignorance. Through Him, the unchaste and wayward were healed. Through His power, born of Almighty God, the eyes of the blind were opened, and the soul of the sinner sanctified… We bear witness that through the power of the Word of God every leper was cleansed, every sickness was healed, every human infirmity was banished. He it is Who purified the world. Blessed is the man who, with a face beaming with light, hath turned towards Him.”
* You can find out more about the Station of Christ from this Baha’i Blog article: The Station of Jesus Christ in the Baha’i Faith
* Sara mentions my book of memoirs called The Bassoon King.
* I make reference to one of my previous interviews with Native American Baha’i Kevin Locke which can be found here: Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 19: Kevin Locke
* Here’s a nice interview with John Barton on the Pepperdine Newsroom website called Setting the Open Table
* Sara has written about their family’s commitments to hospitality across religious divides in this Huffington Post article: Biblical Hospitality: What Happened When Our Christian Family Stopped Inviting Our Church Friends to Dinner
* I share the following quote from Baha’u’llah:
“O SON OF SPIRIT! My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting.”
* Here’s the poem Sara recited in the interview:
Facing window, entering world,
armed not with weapons but with questions,
it tosses peace grenades
to explode hearts for God.
Listening outside, tuning in
to stories that fill souls with hope,
it releases them to float
with clouds of sound.
Honoring past days without fearing last days,
engaging spiritual journeys now days,
it wonders- as time clicks,
what makes people tick?
Joining creation, generating words that serve,
broadcasting, podcasting narrative digital art,
it does its part to light someone’s dark.
And so may we.
Thanks for listening!