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Let’s Pray: A New Album by Gary Sterling

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If you have the opportunity to attend one of the Sunday morning programs at the Baha’i House of Worship in Sydney, Australia, you may have the fortune of hearing the thundering and captivating voice of Gary Sterling singing a solo part in the choir, giving you goosebumps from head-to-toe.

Born in Savannah, Georgia, USA, Gary Sterling grew up on traditional gospel music, where he started singing in a Baptist Church at the age of ten. His whole family are singers, but he is the only one who ventured into the field of the performing arts, and he says that although he grew up poor in the material world, spiritually he was privileged to be nurtured in the love of God, and Gary talks with a great deal of love and affection for the spiritual lessons his dear Baptist mother taught him.

Now a Baha’i and living in Sydney, Australia, Gary describes his music as inspirational gospel-style music for the nourishment of the human soul. Continue reading

#NotACrime Campaign: A Collection of Street Art (Part 1)

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Shown above is the work of Leonardo Donanzan painted on a wall in Americana, Brazil, and this painting is one of many being carried out around the world as a part of the #NotACrime campaign.

#NotACrime is a global campaign which uses street art to raise awareness about the denial of education for the Baha’is in Iran and in this Baha’i Blog Image post, we’ve decided to showcase some of this wonderful artwork going up on walls around the world. Continue reading

Raising the Quality of Our Systematic Action: Reflection and Planning

Participants of a Study Circle in Preah Vihear, Cambodia (Photo credit: Baha'i World Centre)

Participants of a Study Circle in Preah Vihear, Cambodia (Photo credit: Baha'i World Centre)

All of us feel the sadness and pain that the peoples of the world are experiencing in this day and age. Yet as Baha’i’s, we know we must not lose sight of humanities’ bright future, focussing our energies on contributing our part to building a flourishing spiritual and material civilization. In it’s 2015 Ridvan message, the Universal House of Justice wrote: Continue reading

The Spiritual Appeal of Star Wars

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There is surely something beyond fascinating characters and an exciting if familiar story that has been attracting people by their millions to see the new Star Wars movie.

My feeling is that a big part of the appeal is “the force”, the ongoing theme in the Star Wars series that gives the latest film its name: The Force Awakens.

In the Star Wars movies, the force seems to me to be roughly equivalent to the creative energy that pervades the universe, but there is also a dark side to it.

What might that mean in Baha’i terms? We are fine with the idea of a creative force and are familiar with the concept that “good has a positive existence; evil is merely its absence”. We could view the “dark side” of the force as the absence of the creative energy, a black hole of evil.

So, apart from the other factors mentioned, why do millions of people get attracted to a movie that has “the force” as an ongoing theme in the story?

Hard-wired into us all is a desire to transcend the mundane, the temporary physical realties of our lives. In my view, that desire is intended to motivate us to seek and ever approach the ultimate, everlasting reality, God. Continue reading

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