A unique Baha’i book is now available! It’s called The Dynamics of Growth: Scientific Principles at Work in the Worldwide Advancement of the Baha’i Faith. This study, written by Jena Khadem Khodadad, offers a novel perspective: it looks at growth in the Baha’i community using scientific principles. It is a book that marries, in its very content, science and religion.
A book like this does not come along every day, so I was very curious to find out more. Thankfully, Jena Khadem Khodadad kindly agreed to be interviewed. Here’s what she shared with us:
Baha’i Blog: Thank you, Jena, for chatting with us! To begin, could you please tell us a little about yourself and your work as a scientist?
My doctoral degree is in biological sciences (cell and molecular biology) from Northwestern University. My academic career as faculty of Rush (Chicago) medical college has centered on teaching cell biology and neuroscience to medical and graduate students and research on the molecular structure and properties of biological membranes. I have presented the results of my research at national and international scientific forums and published in scientific journals. A diversity of other areas of study interest me, among them: religion and spirituality, neuroscience of consciousness, philosophy of science and philosophy of religion, and interfaith understanding.
When Melissa Charepoo couldn’t find resources to explain Ayyam-i-Ha, the Fast and Naw-Ruz to her children, she went out and made them herself! I admire her gumption and devotion tremendously! She wrote and illustrated two books: Celebrating Ayyam-i-Ha Around the World and Observing the Fast and Celebrating Naw-Ruz Around the World. I am excited about Melissa’s accomplishments and wanted to hear more about the process of putting these books together.
Baha’i Blog: Hi Melissa! Thank you so much for joining us! To begin, could you please tell us a little about yourself and your work writing children’s books?
One Common Faith is a document commissioned in 2005 by the governing body of the Baha’i community, the Universal House of Justice. It follows an open letter sent three years earlier by the same institution to all the world’s religious leaders which called on them to reflect on the meaning and implications of the truth that the religion of God is one and reminded them of the danger of sectarian hatred.
By reviewing passages from both the Writings of Baha’u’llah and the scriptures of other faiths regarding the role of religion in relation to the conditions of contemporary society, One Common Faith provides profound insights about how religion affects the advancement of society. Continue reading
I’m very excited to tell you about Companions of the Crimson Ark by Shirin Sabri. It’s the first in a new series of books for youth and junior youth and it includes stories of early believers from the time of Baha’u’llah. This book is an excellent way to learn about Baha’u’llah, His station, and the spiritual transformation He inspired in those around Him.
I think this book is arriving at the perfect time as we prepare ourselves for the bicentenary of Baha’u’llah’s Birth to be celebrated in October. Shirin was happy to chat and share with us a little about her latest publication and I hope you enjoy our conversation!
Baha’i Blog: To begin, could you please tell us a little about yourself and your work as a Baha’i writer? Continue reading
This is the second in the "Virtues Seeds" activity book series by Elaheh Bos
The wonderfully talented Elaheh Bos has recently released three virtues activity books. The series is called Virtues Seeds and each book is geared towards a different age: the first book is for littles ones aged three to six; the second, seven to 11; and the third book is for those 12 and older. These work books provide a variety of activities, games, stories, dialogue prompts, exercises and, for those who are younger, colouring sheets to help children learn about qualities such as honesty, forgiveness, helpfulness, trust and unity and how to manifest these attributes in their daily lives.
Elaheh kindly agreed to be interviewed and to share with us a bit about her new books.
Baha’i Blog: Thank you, Elaheh! To start, could you please share a little bit about yourself. Continue reading
John Kolstoe is an American pioneer and writer whose name is found on the spines of many Baha’i Books. He has authored Consultation: A Universal Lamp of Guidance, Healing and Beyond: Exploring the Long Healing Prayer, Crazy Lovers of Baha’u’llah: Inspirational Stories of Little Giants, Pondering the Fire Tablet, Compassionate Woman: The Life and Legacy of Patrician Locke – to name a few! The Covenant and You is his recent George Ronald Publication.
I think the essence of this book, which is the application of the Covenant and how it can be an active part of our lives, is best explained by Billy Roberts in his foreword:
True acts of kindness once completed are seldom mentioned again. But here I choose to make mention and celebrate acts of consequence made quietly over many years by John Kolstoe, which inform his capacity to invite us to draw nearer to the Covenant. Inspired by service, his view of the Covenant allows the topic to take flight from a mere recitation of ideals to a pattern leading to a life filled with joy and purpose. Kolstoe infuses into the language of this book, the spirit of love, fidelity, and longing held within his heart.
A view of the Shrine of Baha'u'llah in Bahji, Israel. (Photo: courtesy of Chad Mauger)
In honour of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, I have been reflecting on my personal connection to Him. Shoghi Effendi described Baha’u’llah with these towering words:
preeminent in holiness, awesome in the majesty of His strength and power, unapproachable in the transcendent brightness of His glory.
There are many ways to connect the heart with Baha’u’llah and to begin to understand Shoghi Effendi’s words. For example, you can read and reflect on Baha’u’llah’s Writings, study the events of His life, or cherish stories about Him. Continue reading
You may be familiar with John Hatcher’s work. He is a seasoned and prolific writer with many Baha’i publications to his name. They range from books of poetry — both works of poetry penned by himself or about the poetry of Tahirih — to philosophical and theological treatises like From Sin to Salvation: The Ascent of the Soul, The Purpose of Physical Reality, and One Reality: The Harmony of Science and Religion. He has also written for junior youth, such as Ali’s Dream: The Story of Baha’u’llah, and its recently published sequel Healing Hasan’s Heart.
I was happy when John agreed to tell us about his new novel for junior youth, the ideas behind it, and his profession as a writer of Baha’i books.
Baha’i Blog: Thanks, John, for speaking to us! For those who may not know you, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your work as a writer. Continue reading
Shoghi Effendi tells us that The Seven Valleys is Baha’u’llah’s greatest mystical work, “which He wrote in answer to the questions of Shaykh Muhyi’d-Din, the Qadi [judge] of Khaniqayn, in which He describes the seven stages which the soul of the seeker must needs traverse ere it can attain the object of its existence.” A testament to the power of Baha’u’llah’s revealed words are their profound impact and effect – even if you are reading His words in a translated language and have no knowledge of its historical or literary context. However, I thought I would write a bit about the historical and literary context of The Seven Valleys so that I could better understand what makes it Baha’u’llah’s greatest mystical work. Continue reading
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.