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Sonjel Vreeland

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a mother, a wife and a bookworm but professionally she is a museologist and a library technician. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.

Cloud9: Barbara Talley’s Poetic Approach to Racial Unity

Cloud9 is a podcast produced by Baha’i Teachings. Its aim is to feature interviews with artists and discuss what inspires them to make a positive contribution to the world. In this episode, Baha’i Teachings’ arts editor Shadi Toloui-Wallace interviews American poet, keynote speaker, author and social justice activist Barbara Talley. Born into a large family, Barbara was exposed to poetry at a young age through her father. Her yearning for social justice and her poetry accompanied her on this search for truth. At the age of 12 Barbara discovered the powers of poetry in transforming and inspiring change in the people around her, a skill that continues to drives her work. Today, Barbara has published more than 1000 poems, and has written several books such as Superwoman Doesn’t Live Here AnymoreOn Track, On Fire, On Purpose; and Miner Miracles. Continue reading

Why the Wounds of Racism Take So Long to Heal

In this panel discussion, produced by, Masud Olufani, an artist and activist from Atlanta (USA), and Maya Mansour, a model from Chicago (USA), talk with Iranian immigrant, Payam Zamani, about racism, immigration and why the wounds of racism take so long to heal. Their frank, challenging conversation cultivates a sense of urgency around healing issues of race—not just as a theoretical supposition, but as a living, breathing reality we can all own. Continue reading

Starting with Me: A Guidebook for Anyone Interested in Finding a Partner

A new resource for anyone thinking about finding a marriage partner is hot off the presses! Susanne Alexander, Johanna Merritt Wu, and Jeremy Lambshead teamed up to write a book called Starting with Me: Knowing Myself Before Finding a Partner. Its tagline is “9 transformative steps based on the Baha’i Faith’s teachings about relationships and marriage”. This fantastic book is inspired by the Baha’i Writings and draws on the authors’ collective experience as a marriage and relationship educator, psychologist, and writer respectively.

Susanne, Johanna, and Jeremy were happy to tell us how their book came together. Here’s what they shared with us:

Baha’i Blog: What inspired you to put this book together?

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BWNS: Counsellors’ Conversation on Spiritual Transformation and Social Change (Part 3)

Members of the Continental Boards of Counsellors joined in a conversation with the Baha’i World News Service in a podcast about the impact of spiritual and moral education programs offered by the Baha’i community on youth and the communities in which they live. In this podcast episode, Counsellors from Asia, the Americas, and Australasia explore the relationship between worship and service and discuss family life, community, and race unity.  Continue reading

Personal Reflections on the Baha’i Faith from Around the World: Collection 9

“Personal Reflections on the Baha’i Faith from Around the World” is a Baha’i Blog initiative in honor of the Bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, Prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith. 

In this initiative, we share portraits of Baha’is and their friends from different countries and territories all over the world, and accompanying their photographs are a few of their words about what the Baha’i Faith means to them or how it has touched their lives.  Continue reading

Purposeful Parenting – A Talk by Dr Melanie Lotfali [Audio Only]

The Gold Coast Baha’i Community in Australia hosts information evenings that seek to explore a Baha’i perspective on topics that relate to the life of society. In this talk given on 30 August, 2018 titled “Purposeful Parenting” we hear from Dr Melanie Lotfali about parenting at this challenging time in the history of humanity. She explores such questions as: What is the purpose of parenting? What does it mean to strive to fulfil the potential of our children? What kind of relationship do we want our children to have with the society around them? What value do we assign parenting at a time when the value of so many aspects of our lives is determined by their dollar value?

Drawing on the Teachings of the Baha’i Faith, along with recent scientific research, and personal experience from two decades of parenting, Dr Lotfali provokes reflection on the practical aspects of one of our most sacred responsibilities.  Continue reading

Cloud9: Unity, Beauty & Service – Jack Lenz’ 3 Themes for Every Artist

Cloud9 is a podcast produced by Baha’i Teachings. Its aim is to feature interviews with artists and discuss what inspires them to make a positive contribution to the world. In this episode, Baha’i Teachings’ arts editor Shadi Toloui-Wallace interviews Canadian producer, composer, and musical director Jack Lenz. Jack shares his theory about three universal themes for artists, inherent and embedded in Baha’u’llah’s Teachings: unity, beauty and service. Shadi and Jack discuss these themes and how he strives to weave them into his own work as a composer; how he’s learned to rely on prayer and call on spirits and souls in the next world to guide his creative process. They talk about the importance of routine to excel in one’s craft, and learn about an exciting new songbook project that he’s just completed, as well.  Continue reading

Our Seven Families – A Book About Interwoven Social Worlds

In Our Seven FamiliesElaine McCreary describes invisible human worlds so clearly that you can see them for yourself. She does this with an easy-flowing narrative through scholarly content in a manner described by Dr. Janet Khan in the book’s forward:

Drawing on her experience as a social scientist and on insights derived from a deep study of the Baha’i Sacred Writings, Elaine McCreary offers a fresh perspective on human affairs, revealing new hope and opportunities for action.

This book strikes me as unique, not only in the content it offers, but also in the way it is structured as it moves through seven different worlds that we all live in. Doesn’t that sound fascinating? Elaine agreed to tell us all about her new book, what it explores and how she presents her ideas!

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

From earliest childhood I was aware of the reality of God, at first as Jesus, then as the presence of a Holy Spirit that was something beyond the Person of Jesus. This conviction about spiritual reality never left me, but as a young adult I stepped out to find God elsewhere and practiced a refined form of Raj Yoga (hatha, bhakti, jnana, and karma yogas) for 19 years, accepting Lord Krishna as an avatar in the same station as Lord Jesus, before finally accepting Baha’u’llah at the age of 42. A complete reading of Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah convinced me that He is indeed the Lord of the Age and His Revelation has indeed unveiled a completely new perception of the world.

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Extra Features to ‘A Widening Embrace’: 3 New Short Films

Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community

The Baha’i World Centre has announced the release of three new short films, companion pieces to A Widening Embrace, an innovative documentary film commissioned by the Universal House of Justice about the community-building efforts of the Baha’i world, as seen through the eyes of local populations. The three films are titled Nurturing Younger Generation, Exploring the Empowerment of Junior Youth, and Communities Learning to Advance Together. Their total running time is approximately 32 minutes.  Continue reading