Perhaps you are like me. Perhaps there have been times when you have been asked what the Baha’i Faith is and the minute the word “religion” leaves your lips, your listener becomes apprehensive. Perhaps they reply that religion is an opiate for the masses, that it is an outdated fiction that does not meet the needs of today, that it is the cause of unnecessary bloodshed and war, that religion breeds intolerance for people of other religions, or that faith in something greater than ourselves shouldn’t be organized and administered. In honour of World Religion Day, I thought I’d explore what “religion” means in the context of the Baha’i Writings. Continue reading
The dictionary definition of compassion is “concern for the misfortunes of others.” Synonyms include empathy, mercy, and charity. However, to truly observe compassion in action, I need not look further than my own community. Continue reading
As the activities of the Baha’i community have grown and developed in complexity, a pattern of action has emerged. Baha’is all around the world are engaged in cycles of activity that are guided by reflection, planning and action. This creates a collective rhythm and unifies a diversity of activities, such as devotional meetings, children’s classes and study circles.
I learned from the fifth book in Ruhi Institute sequence of courses, Releasing the Powers of Junior Youth, that living an integrated life means placing service at the centre and integrating other facets around it. To me, this means that we can benefit from using these three capacities and can add the rhythm of reflection-planning-action to our personal lives. In addition to service, we can also focus on other things we wish to include and develop in our daily lives. Continue reading
What does it mean to forgive those who wrong us personally or do terrible things to others in the world? Abdu’l-Baha affirms that,
Inasmuch as God is clement and loving to His children, lenient and merciful toward our shortcomings, why should we be unkind and unforgiving toward each other?
Let not your heart be offended with anyone. If someone commits an error and wrong toward you, you must instantly forgive him. Do not complain of others. Refrain from reprimanding them, and if you wish to give admonition or advice, let it be offered in such a way that it will not burden the bearer. Turn all your thoughts toward bringing joy to hearts. Beware! Beware! Lest ye offend any heart.
Netiquette is a popular term used to describe guidelines for polite and courteous online dialogue. While there is no prescriptive “Baha’i Netiquette,” there are spiritual principles found in the Writings of Baha’u’llah that we might apply to interactions online. After much personal reflection, we’ve decided to provide our thoughts and observations on this topic, as well as some of our favourite quotes. We hope that it will contribute to an ongoing conversation. Continue reading
In its Ridvan message of 2010, The Universal House of Justice cautions the Baha’is to avoid “false dichotomies,” or simplifying complex phenomena into either/or propositions. At times, I’ve found that my reflections on my own spirituality can slip into this way of thinking. Am I a good person? Am I sufficiently deepened in the Faith? Am I serving enough?
After the announcement that Bob Dylan had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, the media began quoting people who had listed their favourites Dylan songs.
Fans, and I include myself here, love his lyrics and melodies. We enjoy listening to his often idiosyncratic singing voice, his skill on his instruments, and his excellent bands. His memoir, Chronicles: Volume One, is superb.
If asked to name what I think is the best of the best of his works, I would go straight to one song, one that I believe has a deeply spiritual theme and which resonates with me as a Baha’i. Continue reading
Language is one of the most striking features that distinguishes humans as the beings that we are. It is the tool that has allowed us to achieve so much, both in the world of thought and material development. It is clear that language has immense power. As Baha’u’llah says, “it is through its potency and animating spirit that the people of the world have attained so eminent a position.” But what are the best ways to use, and not abuse, language? Here are a few of my thoughts on Baha’u’llah’s guidance: Continue reading
Although it is not an authorized quote of His teachings, Juliet Thompson recounts in her diary how Abdu’l-Baha said:
Man must always associate with those from whom he can get light, or be with those to whom he can give light. He must either receive or give instructions. Continue reading