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Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 18: Khalil Fong 方大同

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 speak with Hong Kong based Chinese soul-pop superstar Khalil Fong, otherwise known in Chinese as 方大同, which is “Fang Da Tong”. Khalil has been very instrumental in bringing an eclectic mix of international styles of music to Chinese audiences, but especially Soul music and R’n’B. Besides creating hit songs, Khalil has been recognized as a positive role model for his upright character. In this interview we talk about his musical influences and what inspired him to pursue a career in music. He tells me what his songs are about and how his faith inspires his music and everything he does. We discuss spirituality in China, being a vegetarian, having his own record label, what really draws him to the Faith, the exciting new project for children that he’s working on with his mother, and the advice he would give to other aspiring artists. Continue reading

Hope, Faith, and the Afterlife – A Talk by Hooper Dunbar

This is talk called ‘Hope, Faith, and the Afterlife’ given by former member of the Universal House of Justice Mr. Hooper Dunbar at the Persian Conference in Toronto, Canada in May, 2013.

In this talk, Mr. Dunbar shares his thoughts and reflections on what makes us different from each other; forgiving and forgetting each other’s mistakes; becoming an instrument for teaching; essential pioneering in contrast to movement in the world; not giving up on ourselves, and the three stages of divine grace. Continue reading

Some Personal Thoughts on Mr. Lample’s “In Pursuit of Harmony between Science and Religion”

As the editor of the Journal of Baha’i Studies, I have the pleasure of reading hundreds of wonderful articles and papers submitted on a variety of subjects relating to the Baha’i Faith.

In the most recent issue of the Journal of Baha’i Studies (volume 26 number 4), an article by current member of the Universal House of Justice, Mr. Paul Lample, really grabbed my attention, as it is, in my opinion, a milestone treatment of the often discussed topic, and attempts to clarify what is intended in the Baha’i texts by harmony (or unity) of science and religion. Titled In Pursuit of Harmony between Science and Religion, this discussion is a highly organized and insightful rendering of a talk given by Mr. Lample on 20 May, 2016 at the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois, but it is much more than a mere transcript, and I wanted to share some of my personal thoughts on the article, which you can read in full hereContinue reading

“Educate These Children” by Erik Peterson [Audio Track]

Baha’i Blog’s “Studio Sessions” is an initiative where we invite Baha’is and their friends from around the world to come into a studio and share the Baha’i Writings put to music.

In this Baha’i Blog Studio Session, we’re in Prince Edward Island, Canada with Erik Peterson who sings “Educate These Children” based on a prayer by Abdu’l-Baha. Continue reading

“Framework for Action” – New Collection of Letters from the Universal House of Justice

Palabra Publications has released a new collection of selected messages from the Universal House of Justice from 2006 to 2016. Having access to successive years of recent guidance in a single book is a great study and reference tool and we’re excited to share the news of this volume’s publication with you.

Palabra has summarized the contents of this collection with these words:

“In 2006, at the end of the first of a series of four Five Year Plans, only the first glimmerings of an intensive program of growth had emerged, and a new pattern of action was consolidated in but a few score clusters. The first elements of an evolving framework for action had just emerged, which, in the past decade, has been more fully understood, elaborated, and exploited. Among the many important concepts and practices that received attention over this period were the systematization of cycles of growth, the learning mode, the functioning of the Auxiliary Boards, the training institute as an educational process with three distinct stages, institutional capacity at the cluster and regional levels, the movement of youth, accompaniment, a coherent life of service, social action, involvement in the discourses of society, and universal participation. The movement of clusters along a developmental path marked by a series of milestones has now become well understood, such that some two hundred clusters have been able to create a pattern of community life that embraces a thousand or thousands, while some five thousand additional clusters follow in this well-defined pattern of action.” Continue reading

The Path to Unity – A Talk by Robert C. Henderson

“The Path to Unity” is a talk by Robert C. Henderson given at the Baha’i Center in Santa Monica, California on 23 August, 2015, and the talk was given just after the United States witnessed a stream of senseless mass shootings including a church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina carried out by a white gunman who killed nine African-Americans during their bible study in church.

Henderson reflects on the tragedy, and opens the talk by saying “We are in the midst of one of the greatest transformations in human history. Profound changes are occurring in the structure of nations, in the relations among people, and in our concept of what it means to be a human being, and how we relate to others. These changes are extremely complicated, and one of the difficulties we have is keeping track of where we are in that process of transformation, and understanding what its dynamics are in helping us to learn how we transform our own cultures, our habits of thought, our habits of feelings, and our habits of behavior. When we experience such tragedies, it’s time to reflect as a nation and a community, and ask ourselves “How did we get here?” Continue reading

The Adventure of Baha’i Study – A Talk by Hooper Dunbar

In this talk titled “The Adventure of Baha’i Study” given by Mr. Hooper C. Dunbar at the Persian Conference in Toronto, Canada, May 2013, Mr. Dunbar shares his personal reflections on the proofs of the Manifestation of God, our individual duties and responsibilities while we execute the Plans through our collective activities, the importance of reading and rereading the Writings, delving and digesting the Writings, mastering the Writings and memorizing the Writings, the value of mastering the methods of Abdu’l-Baha’s talks to the public as they cannot be surpassed as a model for teaching, and the characteristics of the soul and tests. Continue reading

Journey to a Mountain: A New Book Telling the Story of the Shrine of the Bab

I can’t tell you how excited I was when my dear friend Michael V. Day first told me about the book he was writing! I had the pleasure of serving at the Baha’i World Centre with Michael and have long admired and respected Michael’s writing abilities and the eloquence of his pen, so when he told me what the book was about, I knew it was going to be great!

Journey to a Mountain: The Story of the Shrine of the Bab is a stunning book that provides the exciting historical background to the Shrine of the Bab like no other publication. It is the first in a trilogy and covers the years 1850-1921. Although part of a series, this George Ronald publication can stand alone and is captivating all on its own. The book has just been released and Michael agreed to tell us all about it.  Continue reading

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