‘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
Photo by hodag
In the days before the internet, being a Bahai and trying to help the poor could be a little bit more challenging than it is today. If you want to help struggling families on the other side of the world, but don’t know where to start or how to go about it, then consider the web-based microloan service Kiva.
Kiva is a non-profit organization that helps the less fortunate via loans given by people such as yourself to help them purchase whatever they need to maintain their livelihood. You can loan as little as $25 to make a big difference in someones life. Loans eventually get paid back, and then you can re-loan the money again. Kiva has a How it Works page which explains more about the mechanics of loaning via the service.
The Bahá’is of New Zealand have launched a new website for the friends and members of the wider community to access.
The chic new look came in mid 2012 and has drastically improved the accessibility of information and Baha’i activities that are happening in New Zealand. On the home page for example, there are quick links to read a few simple prayers, how to become a Baha’i or even how to go about attending a Bahá’í event.
In 1912, Abdu’l-Bahá spent from April to December touring North America. He is shown here (at center) with Bahá’ís at Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois, USA. [Photo: Baha'i Media Bank]
In a small breakfast restaurant in downtown Chicago I received a jolt, a surprising reminder of what was really important to me.
“That’s a nice ring,” a young African-American waiter said to me, after glancing at my Baha’i ring with its symbols of unity, the fundamental principle of the Baha’i Faith.
It was the first time that anybody had ever commented on it, and the remark came when there was strong competition for my attention.
In the final two weeks of the 2012 presidential election campaign, the media drumbeat was increasing in intensity as the people of the United States were subjected to special pleading to win their votes.
It was a fascinating and important time to be in that country, but the young man’s inquiry reminded me that the eternal realities, the things of the spirit are far more enduring and significant than current contests for political power.
The many personalities being promoted for political purposes seemed almost one dimensional in my eyes compared with one who had visited the United States in 1912.
I left the restaurant, and as planned, took the train to Wilmette where 100 years ago, the head of the Baha’i Faith, Abdu’l-Baha (1844-1921), laid the cornerstone for a Temple that is now one of the most outstanding architectural features of a city that is deservedly famous for its buildings. Continue reading
Christmas is probably the time at which the theme of peace and goodwill seems to be most deeply embedded into society’s collective consciousness. For Christians, who celebrate it as a religious holiday, Christmas is a reminder of the biblical promise of peace found in the Old Testament.
For the many others who merely celebrate it as a cultural holiday, the story of the birth of Jesus as found in the gospels and depicted in the ubiquitous Christmas artwork captures the imagination and imbues many with a determination to practice charity and generosity.
The gospels tell the tale of the shepherds who were watching over their flocks out in the countryside, when an angel appeared to them bearing the good news of the birth of the Promised One.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone roundabout them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2: 8-14, The Holy Bible
Beyond this beautiful and enchanting narrative of peace and goodwill, however, comes the stark reality of what we see in our world.
Dementia is a cruel disease, robbing the person who has it of their independence, their memories and their personality. What remains is only a vestige of the person known to family and friends – a sad, rather forlorn shell of what used to be.
How then should we view this process that affects more than 30 million people worldwide and will hit 115 million by 2050?
Oneworld Publications has just released a fantastic new book called The Baha’i Faith in Words and Images.
The book combines breathtaking photography and intelligent accompanying text to produce a beautiful coffee-table book, which gives readers comprehensive coverage of the Faith’s teachings, texts, practices, community life and organization, with images reflecting its rich architectural heritage and the international diversity of its members.
Paul Slaughter spent three years travelling around the world to capture the photographs for the book, and John Danesh and Seena Fazel wrote the accompanying text. Many of you may have already seen the Youtube video where comedian Omid Djalili has a chat with John and Seena about the book (which I’ve included at the bottom of this post).
I actually just received my very own copy of the book in the mail, and a while back, I had interviewed Oneworld co-founder Juliet Mabey about Oneworld Publications here on Baha’i Blog, so I decided to get in touch with her again to find out more about this wonderful new book . Continue reading