Like many others, when I heard the news about the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I wept. This was not the first massacre in the United States in recent years, but it was perhaps the most shocking.
When something like this happens, it raises a lot of questions. People begin to wonder how many more episodes of human cruelty will transpire in their lifetime, in their children’s lifetime. They wonder if humanity is, in fact, hopeless, and whether it’s even worth it to have children anymore. Just last night, one of my best friends from college told me he and many other couples he knows have decided not to bring kids into this crazy world. Continue reading
I’m sure many of you have heard the recent and exciting news announced in a letter dated February 8th, 2013, by The Universal House of Justice of “the convocation of 95 youth conferences, between July and October, planned for locations that span the globe”.
Details about the conferences are still unfolding, as the letter was released just a week ago, but the international Bahá’í community is already buzzing about the upcoming events!
Below are a few questions and answers that I have gleaned thus far about the conferences, and I thought you may find them useful. Continue reading
In the Kitab-i-Aqdas, Baha’u’llah has said “We have made music a ladder by which souls may ascend to the realm on high” and I’m sure you have all experienced this to be true at times while listening to certain music. The emotions and thoughts that music can engender in heart, mind and soul can at times be truly sublime. Now combine this with the blessed words of the Holy Messengers in a reflective atmosphere and its effects can become soul-stirring.
Over the last 8 years that we’ve been holding a monthly public devotional event called Soul Food, we have learnt how the accompaniment of music to the Holy Writings can truly uplift the atmosphere.
There is a vast ocean of beautiful music that can be used to assist. In selecting the right background music it needs to fulfil its purpose of uplifting the writings rather than overpowering it. Also the appropriate feel of music to match the tone of the quotes being read is also important. I have found that often movie sound tracks are ideal, as they tell a story and are often longer in length .
Below I have compiled a list of 10 tracks we have used in Soul Food that I would recommend as a good start for your next series of devotionals. The first five are taken from motion pictures, all of which I would also recommend to watch, and the last five are a range of music by different composers. The links for where you can purchase these tracks are also attached. Continue reading
Over the last several years, American Baha’i Warren Odess-Gillet has been hosting and broadcasting a weekly Baha’i radio program over the airwaves called A Baha’i Perspective.
The program is fascinating, as it’s based on interviews with individual Baha’is who share the personal stories of their lives and how they found the Baha’i Faith.
You dont have to tune into the radio to have a listen though, as the program is also available as a podcast on iTunes as well, and it’s a podcast I often listen to on my headphones while taking the train to work.
I thought it was time someone put Warren on the receiving end of being asked questions, so I decided to catch up with him and find out more about A Baha’i Perspective. Continue reading
Over the past few decades, The Universal House of Justice (the elected international body which guides the work of the global Bahá’í community) has outlined a vision of action for Bahá’ís that includes a number of separate but interrelated “core” activities: the gathering together of friends for the purpose of sharing prayers and reading writings of various religious traditions, the intentional study of the sacred writings of the Bahá’í Faith, programs for the spiritual education of children, and groups designed to allow pre-youth to explore themes of spiritual import and engage in service activities together.
Given the importance of these core activities to the overall efforts of the Bahá’í community, it seems prudent to discuss a concept that The Universal House of Justice describes as one of the primary impetuses behind all of these activities: engaging in “meaningful and distinctive conversations” with our friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and co-workers.
So what exactly does it mean to engage in “meaningful and distinctive conversations”? Why is it so important to do so? And what are some ways we can become more mindful of our everyday speech? Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago Baha’i Blog sponsored our very first event at the Baha’i Centre in Sydney, Australia.
It was a talk by Tom Price called Following the Example of Abdu’l-Baha and we wanted to take advantage of the fact that he was passing through Australia on his way back to the US after speaking at the two recent summer schools in New Zealand.
Baha’i Blog has posted some of Tom Price’s other talks such as The Five Year Plan (which is still one of our most popular posts), and more recently Recreating Ourselves in the Image of the Master.
Abdu’l-Baha, (also referred to as the Master) was Baha’u’llah’s eldest son and appointed successor, and He is considered the perfect example of how to live according to the Baha’i teachings.
You can listen to Following the Example of Abdu’l-Baha by either streaming it live or by downloading it – and best of all, it’s completely free! Continue reading
‘The common good’ is one of those phrases we trot out all too easily without considering in any depth what it might mean. When I was asked to give a short talk last November on the subject from a Bahá’í perspective, I had to give it some deeper thought than usual.
What, I wondered, is ‘the common good’? What is ‘good’ and who has the authority to say what is ‘good’? How common is ‘common’? Does everyone benefit from sharing the ‘good’ in question? Apart from a number of obviously common goods, such as the basic requirements for staying alive, don’t we have different needs? Continue reading
Over the past 18 months, Baha’i Blog has grown, with people from all parts of the world reading and contributing to the blog. And now, we’re looking for new contributors and writers to join our team!
Whether you’re a seasoned wordsmith or an inexperienced newbie, we would love to have you on board, so if you’re interested in trying your hand at Baha’i blogging then we’d love to hear from you.
We’ve also managed to get some funding (limited, however, as we run as a not-for-profit!) so once you’ve had your first article published on Baha’i Blog, you will be eligible to receive US$60 for each additional post of yours that gets published on the blog.
Interested in writing for us? Keep reading! Continue reading
Study the Faith is a great new site which helps you do exactly just that: “Study the Faith”.
When it comes to studying the Baha’i Writings, this wonderful new online initiative takes you through the process of familiarising and deepening your understanding of certain topics or texts within the Baha’i Faith by helping you decide what to study, how to study, and where to find more information.
The site was started by Maryam, Naeem and Neysan – three of my friends based in Germany, so I decided to get in touch with them to find out more about it. Continue reading
Around the 12th of January 1954, a sodden purse was found on a seashore. The purse had belonged to a woman travelling on a flight from Rome to London. The plane had crashed into the sea two days earlier, killing all passengers on board. Inside the purse was a pamphlet with information about the Baha’i Faith. The pamphlet was given to her by another passenger – Dorothy Baker – moments before both the giver and recipient were killed. Thus to the very end of her life Dorothy Baker was sharing the Healing Message of Baha’u’llah. Her wish to “die in her runners” was fulfilled when she died, teaching the Faith and on the way to meet her husband at their international pioneering post, at the age of 55 years.
The inspiration of Dorothy Baker’s life lies not only in the service, sacrifice and spiritual qualities she shared with her fellow Hands of the Cause. Her story also inspires through the hope it offers to those of us who have had the privilege of knowledge of Baha’u’llah’s Teachings, but who have not yet allowed the Faith to move to the centre of our lives. For Dorothy’s transformation into the “distinguished Hand of the Cause, eloquent exponent of its teachings, indefatigable supporter of its institutions, valiant defender of its precepts”, as she was described by the Guardian she adored, was neither instant nor linear. In her early life, despite being the granddaughter of a staunch and renowned Baha’i – Mother Beecher – and despite meeting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá at the critical age of thirteen years, she was at times distracted by the world around her. Continue reading