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Showing posts from February, 2009

Happy Ayyám-i-Há!

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(This was originally posted on my Facebook page by the lovely and very gracious Erica Toussaint, who is a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States. Some of this I knew. And the most significant facts about Ayyám-i-Há (otherwise known as Intercalary, or between the calendar days), mainly, the mystical meaning of the term and how significant it is, I did NOT know. I am deeply appreciative to Karla Jamir for writing this article, and to Erica Toussaint for posting it so that more people understand the Divine Origin of Ayyám-i-Há.

Here in Northern California, we tend to celebrate the days of Ha' as a time for making gifts (I'm very much challenged in the crafts department, so I don't do that), giving and receiving of gifts (I do buy some for the children), and partying. My community hosts the area's big Ayyám-i-Há party at the local park and recreation center, and lots of people come to eat, play games, talk, laugh, listen and dance to music. Yours …

News Round-up of the Seven Friends in Iran

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Phillippe Copeland's Baha'i Thought featured an excellent article written by two American Baha'i youths which was posted on Newsweek's online forum, "On Faith". The title, Then They Came for the Baha'is, was borrowed from the speech Congressman Mark Stevens Kirk addressed to the United States House of Representatives, which itself echoed a statement made by Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoller. The full text is can be read on Iran Press Watch, but I wanted to post Congressman Kirk's opening statement to Congress:

Bipartisan Resolution Condemning Persecution of Baha’is in Iran

”In Germany, they first came for the gypsies, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a gypsy. Then they came for the Bolsheviks, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Bolshevik. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics. I …

Thoughts about God's Commandments

I have Nikhil Ravi from the blog The Quest for Certitude to thank for the inspiration for this post. I had read this passage before, but as always, I was "shut out as by a veil" in my spiritual understanding. I'm not claiming that I completely understand Baha'u'llah's Words now. But as I slowly let go of my distractions i.e. addictions (also known as idle fancies and vain imaginings), I can see meaning where there was previously confusion. Or even worse, I had pride-fogged disregard of the words because I felt that they pertained to others, not me. The ego plays such subtle games with the mind.

"O YE peoples of the world! Know assuredly that My commandments are the lamps of My loving providence among My servants, and the keys of My mercy for My creatures. Thus hath it been sent down from the heaven of the Will of your Lord, the Lord of Revelation. Were any man to taste the sweetness of the words which the lips of the All-Merciful have willed to utter, he …

Meditation for today

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February 13

Son of Man!
Wert thou to speed through the immensity of space and traverse the expanse of heaven, yet thou wouldst find no rest save in submission to Our command and humbleness before Our Face.

~ Bahá’u’lláh

A letter to the leaders of the United States

My name is Angela Shortt, and I am a member of Baha'i Faith, a citizen of the United States and a resident of California. I am writing to you because of the increased oppression and tyrannical treatment that the Islamic-led government has been inflicting on the Baha'is and other religious "minorities" living in Iran. The situation has escalated to intolerable levels, and I am asking that, in the name human decency, begin some sort of dialogue with Iranian government concerning the imprisoned Baha'is immediately.

While I realize that the United States has had no formal diplomatic relations with Iran since the Islamic Revolution of the 70s, I feel that this situation requires immediate attention beyond the usual channels of governmental communication. Even letters of condemnation from our government are useless, as the zealous, fundamentalists leaders consider themselves beyond the reaches of the opinions and actions of foreign "infidel" governments. I…

It just keeps getting worse...

The news from Iran seems to be more and more depressing every time I check the updates. Originally, I had intended to post about what I see as similarities between the Iranian regime and the Third Reich. But this latest story makes it clear that I don't have write such a post. The similarities are disgustingly clear, if the reader has even a glancing familiarity with history. As those events taught the world, the worst action is no action. Apathy. Self-absorption. Few of us are doing well economically speaking, unless you happen to be one of George W.'s or Dick Cheney's cronies. But those of us living in the US still have freedom of speech, and the power that it brings to the individual and the nation at large. Many people at the time felt that Hitler was merely a German despotic politician whose dangerous ideas and policies would have no effect on America. That insane tyrant managed to pull the entire world into his madness.

We could argue that we have been duped into a…

Around the World in 80 Faiths

I grabbed this clip from BahaiPerspectives, which is an excellent site that I am heartily recommending. I would love to watch the entire BBC series, especially since I have doing a lot of thinking about the religions of the world, and how they relate to one another, even when the religious adherents do not believe there is any common ground. Such thoughts are probably common to most Baha'is, but I am also fascinated how fear of change (in the context of clinging to dogmatic rituals and teachings) creates hardship, isolation, and some cases, despair in people's lives. I can relate to the fear of change. I go through it every single day now. But I recognize it,and replace with prayers of steadfastness and protection. Change is painful, and unavoidable. For the people who cling to a past that no longer exists, the thought of completely changing their way of thinking, living, and believing in God must be terrifying. Anyway, I just wanted to share this video. I'm going to …

Could this be us here in the US?

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From the website Baha'i Words
True civilization will unfurl its banner in the mid-most heart of the world whenever a certain number of its distinguished and high-minded sovereigns - the shining exemplars of devotion and determination - shall, for the good and happiness of all mankind, arise, with firm resolve and clear vision, to establish the Cause of Universal Peace.

~ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

I might be having one of my "weird" imaginings, but I sense that all of us living in the United States of America can do what ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is saying in this quote. It's not so much that we elected Barack Obama as president because I see that as a step toward peace, not the complete solution to the ills of this country and the rest of the world. There is so much to do, and I pray that President Obama manifests courage,steadfastness, integrity, honesty, and willingness to do what is best for for both this country and the world instead of what is politically expedient. I don't envy hi…

My former English professor and mentor

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The guy is still kicking butt and taking names! (I accidentally published this before I finished the draft, and the only way I knew it was that I saw a link to this article on Phillipe's blog Baha'i Thought ! Good looking out, my brotha!) The following passage is from an article that appeared on sacbee.com:

Marc Bertonasco, a CSUS emeritus professor and co- author of "Prose Style," a popular college writing text, also sees "The Elements of Style" as too restrictive.

"Oh, it had influence on me, no question. It was the pioneer in what is unofficially called the new style – clear, straightforward writing aiming at efficiency. It's a reaction to bureaucratese," he said.

"But I'm a classical rhetorician, and my position is this: No style is better than any other."

I had to chuckle at the last quote. If that's true, Professor Bertonasco has mellowed considerably over the years. I remember sitting in the classroom and watching…