A Celestial Burning: A Selective Study of the Writings of Shoghi Effendi

I recently had the opportunity to attend the 37th Annual Association for Baha’i Studies Conference in Irvine, California, and during the conference I was able to meet J.A. McLean, the author of A Celestial Burning.

This recently published work is a comprehensive study of selected writings of Shoghi Effendi, and the book won the Association for Baha’i Studies 2013 “distinguished scholarship” award in the book category, and according to the Academic Director of the Association, Dr. Pierre-Yves Mocquais, the award was a unanimous decision by the judges.

J.A. McLean spent over a decade working on A Celestial Burning, and there’s no doubt that readers will develop a deeper appreciation for the writings of the Guardian through this book.

I decided to catch-up with J.A. McLean to find out more about the book and his experience in taking on this important work:  Continue reading

Six Simple Steps to Contentment


One of the things I’ve personally struggled with, and I’m sure others have as well, is being content with one’s life. Not only do I frequently find myself wanting material things, like a new car, but I also frequently feel that something is missing from my life – something I can’t quite wrap my mind around.

Some might argue that the lack of contentment is just the nature of a human being, and that it’s a good thing because it pushes one to excel and be prosperous, but I don’t necessarily agree with that notion. After all there are plenty of very rich and successful people in the world that are dissatisfied with their lives, and plenty of poor people that are perfectly content.

Contentment is encouraged in the Teachings of the Baha’i Faith, for instance in one of The Persian Hidden Words of Baha’u’llah, He says:

O QUINTESSENCE OF PASSION! Put away all covetousness and seek contentment; for the covetous hath ever been deprived, and the contented hath ever been loved and praised.

I feel that I should be content, after all I live in a great country, I have a career I love, and I am surrounded by wonderful friends and family. So what is it that I’m yearning for, and what can I do to find my own inner peace and contentment?

I’ve listed six simple things which have helped me personally, and maybe they can help you too: Continue reading

Holy Recollections: An Interview with Ian Huang

Holy Recollections is a new film by young Californian Baha’i Ian Huang, and some of you may recognize him from his part in Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s recent film about the Faith called The Gardener.

Ian Huang’s film is a very personal documentary where he shares with the audience his reflections on the time he spent as a volunteer in the Baha’i Holy places in Israel, and his narrative is interwoven with the beautiful images of the Baha’i gardens and Holy Places.

I decided to catch up with Ian to find out more about Holy Recollections and his experiences in the Holy Land: Continue reading

New Zealand Celebrates 100 Years of the Baha’i Faith: A Personal Reflection

The first Baha’i Feast in New Zealand 1923. Hands of the Cause John Henry Hyde-Dunn and Clara Dunn are pictured in the back row, fourth and fifth from the left respectively.

For much of the world, New Zealand is known as the scenically spectacular location of the Lord of the Rings movies.

But for me it is the place of my birth and where I heard about a different lord, a nobleman named Baha’u’llah, who founded the Baha’i Faith.

This year, the New Zealand Baha’i community is celebrating its centenary, so by the late 1970s when I first encountered some of its members, the Baha’i Faith was well-established.  Continue reading

114 Youth Conferences Still Rockin’ the World!

Youth Conference in Helsinki, Finland (2-4 August 2013).

The 114 Youth Conferences currently taking place around the world has Baha’i communities buzzing with excitement and activity!

Brisbane, Australia just had theirs over the weekend, and so far 86 of the 114 youth conferences have already taken place leaving 28 still to go!

These conferences were first announced by the Universal House of Justice in February this year, and the aim of these conferences is to promote an understanding of how youth can help contribute to society in a positive and meaningful way through the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment ProgramContinue reading

Beautiful Baha’i Stamps from Around the World

Whether you fancy yourself a bit of a philatelist or just enjoy exploring Baha’i history, you’ll be interested to see that there have been a variety of Baha’i stamps and postal items through history. Often celebrating Baha’i Houses of Worship, important Baha’i historical figures, or simply the Baha’i Faith itself, these items are certain to be staples of Baha’i philatelic collections for years to come.

Continue reading

Divine Collaboration: An Interview with The Descendants


When three really close friends from California – Bella Blue, Aubrey Wood and Gia Sky – hear about the 114 world-wide Youth Conferences announced by the Universal House of Justice, they decide to get together to see what they could do to support it – oh, and did I mention that they’re all professional musicians!?

What resulted from their get-together was the creation of a music group called The Descendants and the release of a wonderful debut album called A Divine Collaboration.

The lyrics of their songs are all taken directly from the Baha’i Writings, prayers and holy texts, and the group sets them beautifully to uplifting contemporary music.

Since the launch of their album the group has been busy performing, but I managed to get them to squeeze in an interview with Baha’i Blog so we could find out more about the group and their awesome debut album. Continue reading

How to Make Inspiring Baha’i Quotes in Images

Putting inspiring Baha’i quotes against beautiful visuals to compose a graphic representation is a novel way to share our Holy Writings. It’s also really easy to do thanks to all the tools and resources out there! Today we’ll give you some tips on how to create your own quotes in image form from your phone. From there you can turn them into wallpapers, share them with friends, post them to social networks, or even print them. Let’s get started!

Continue reading

6 Ways to Polish Our Mirror


Last week, I learned you could trap those pesky, ever-multiplying fruit-flies with a bowl of vinegar and plastic wrap. It worked. But this is not your typical how-to guide, as matters of the spirit can sometimes seem much more complicated – but they don’t have to be.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we can work on becoming a better person in a very real and practical sense, and I keep thinking about the analogy of us being like a mirror, and how we need to constantly work on polishing it.

Dean Frasier said,

[we] see the world, not as it is, but exactly as we are. The whole world is our mirror, to the many renounced and rejected aspects of ourselves.

Ouch.

The German writer Goethe was a little more subtle when he wrote,

[a] man sees what he carries in his heart.

Yeah, psychologists call this ‘projection’, and its embarrassing when someone points out that we may be doing just that. I don’t know about you, but what’s in my heart, on its less-than-pure days, is not always pretty. Luckily, Abdu’l-Baha tells us we can change this:

The most important thing is to polish the mirrors of the hearts in order that they may become illumined and receptive of the divine light…

Now this all sounds awesome, but how do we actually do this?

So here are a six things that work for me and help me polish my mirror: Continue reading

9 iPhone Apps for Baha’is

placeit (2)Nowadays you can find mobile apps for just about anything, and thankfully mobile apps related to the Baha’i Faith are slowly on the rise.

It’s been over a year that we posted about 5 Unique Baha’i Apps for Android and 5 Unique Baha’i Apps for the iPhone, and with iPhone continuing to dominate the mobile app market, we thought it was time to write up another list of some more Baha’i iPhone apps to serve as a resource for all you iPhone wielding Baha’is out there.

If you’re an Android user, no need to fret, as most of these apps can also be found on Android as well.

Let’s begin!

1. When is the next Feast?

For those of you who, like me, can never remember when the next 19 Day Feast is, this great little app tells you when the next Feast or Holy Day is, and how many days to go. Its built in calendar lets you explore the full calendar of Baha’i special days.

View the ‘When is the next Feast?’ App in iTunes.

Continue reading