Category Archives Interviews

Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 17: Mary & Clark

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’m in Toronto, Canada interviewing husband and wife Mary Darling and Clark Donnelly. Besides having more kids than I can ever keep track of, they have their own media company called WestWind Pictures, which aims to promote themes of beauty and unity. Among many other things, they are known for their popular TV comedy series called Little Mosque on the Prairie, and I ask them how the series started and what sort of impact the show has had. They share the challenges of working on a comedy that deals with things that are sacred, and how they bring Baha’i principles into the creative process. We discuss the importance of consultation, what it’s like working as a husband and wife team, the role of a producer, and how they each became Baha’is. They also share what books they’re reading, what they personally strive to be better at, and their favorite Baha’i Writings. Continue reading

“The Baha’is” – A Documentary by Mary Darling & Clark Donnelly

The Baha’is is a stunning introductory documentary about the Baha’i Faith produced by Canadian couple Mary Darling and Clark Donnelly. Known for their popular sitcom Little Mosque on the Prairie, Mary and Clark are the brains and heart behind Westwind Pictures, an independent production and distribution company with an emphasis on works that promote beauty and unity.

Originally aired in Canada on Vision TV, The Baha’is is now available for purchase from 9StarMedia and it’s an excellent way to explain some of the fundamental principles, the history, and the current activities of the Baha’i Faith.

Mary and Clark are really such a power-house of a couple and truly a joy to be around! They’ve also really been an inspiration for me personally when it comes to exploring the use of various forms of media and how they relate to the Baha’i Faith and its Teachings. I was able to spend a lot of time with them while on a recent trip to Toronto, Canada, and they agreed to do an interview with Baha’i Blog about this film.  Continue reading

7 Valleys: An Album by Paloma Marin

Paloma Marin is a pianist, visual artist, and jeweler based out of Bogota, Colombia, and she’s recently released a beautiful instrumental piano album called 7 Valleys, which is inspired by Baha’u’llah’s mystic and poetic work, The Seven Valleys.

The sound engineer and producer of the album Daniel Badi Rinaldi, told me that when recording the album, they made sure the whole process was a spiritual one. Before recording, they both read all of The Seven Valleys.

I caught up with both Paloma Marin to find out more about her new album 7 Valleys: Continue reading

Jena Khadem Khodadad’s ‘The Dynamics of Growth’

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.

Continue reading

Jim Dennis’ Latest Album ‘The Daystar of Baha’

Jim Dennis is passionate about pioneering new soundscapes when it comes to Baha’i-inspired music and his latest album, The Daystar of Baha, does just that. Jim has six albums available for download on Bandcamp and his latest is his second album with a deep connection to the Writings of the Baha’i Faith (his first is called Spreading Rays of Light and was inspired by his desire to better memorize the quotations found in the Ruhi books). Jim graciously agreed to tell us more about his music, his creative process, and how it all comes together in his studio:  Continue reading

Baha’i Tools: A Resource for Elevated Group Discussions

There are a lot of wonderful Baha’i resources available online (many of which we list here in our directory) but in this article we wanted to highlight one site in particular that aims to help groups have spiritual conversations. The site is bahai.tools and they offer more than 70 discussion guides on topics ranging from “The Eye of Oneness”, “Science, Faith & Reality” to “A Hero for Every Season”. The guides are made up of slideshow presentations that include talks, quotes and questions to generate elevated group conversations. To help you out, each presentation is summarized, its target audience is explained and a list of the technological requirements you’ll need is provided. Steve Moses and Caleb Gilleland, the dynamic duo behind bahai.tools, kindly shared the details behind this great resource!  Continue reading

Year of the Nightingale: A New Album by Luke Slott

Last year, singer, songwriter and composer Luke Slott wanted to record an album dedicated to the bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah taking place in 2017. To do this, he decided to team up with music producer Kelly Snook and create a 30 day Kickstarter campaign in order to raise enough funds to make the album happen, and let’s just say the show of support was staggering. Within 23 hours of launching the campaign, he met his goal!

The album, aptly titled Year of the Nightingale, has just been completed and Luke is releasing the tracks one at a time on his YouTube channel during the month of the Baha’i Fast.

I decided to catch up with Luke to find out more about the album: Continue reading

Melissa Charepoo’s Children’s Books for Ayyam-i-Ha, the Fast & Naw-Ruz

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?

Continue reading

Cellar and Sky: An Album by Yosi Mesbah

I’m so excited about featuring Yosi Mesbah’s album, Cellar and Sky, on Baha’i Blog. It’s a hauntingly honest, uplifting and moving album where her folksy and jazzy timbered voice beautifully sings about dealing with life’s tests and difficulties in a lyrical but down-to-earth way. I can’t help but feel moved when I hear her album, and I had the pleasure of meeting Yosi at the recent Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference in Arizona a couple of months ago. As you know I love asking artists about their creative process and was glad when Yosi agreed to tell us more about her album and her experiences in putting it together. Continue reading

Shirin Sabri’s ‘Companions of the Crimson Ark’

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