Social Discourse: Blogging while Baha’i

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This post, as the title might suggest, is going to be about blogging. And why I think it’s the best thing since sliced bread.

But you already know all about that. You know what blogs do. You know what they look like. You might even have a few favourites that you check regularly.You’re an internet-savvy citizen of the world wide web with sophisticated tastes. (Clearly the case if you’re reading Baha’i Blog!) You’ve mastered the art of using Google to become a mini-expert in just about any field and you can make a sentence using “facebook” as a verb.

So, you know what blogs are about. Age of technology, yadda yadda. Online communication, blah blah blah. Really, what else possibly needs to be said about blogging? Probably not all that much. Except for this:

You need to be part of this.

Yes, you – sitting there, reading this. Why? Good question.


As Baha’is, we’re all familiar with the concept of social action. As an international community, we’re working hard to understand what a discourse on social action looks like.

Efforts to participate in the discourses of society constitute a third area of action in which the friends are engaged. Such participation can occur at all levels of society, from the local to the international, through various types of interactions—from informal discussions on Internet forums and attendance at seminars, to the dissemination of statements and contact with government officials. What is important is for Bahá’ís to be present in the many social spaces in which thinking and policies evolve on any one of a number of issues—on governance, the environment, climate change, the equality of men and women, human rights, to mention a few—so that they can, as occasions permit, offer generously, unconditionally and with utmost humility the teachings of the Faith and their experience in applying them as a contribution to the betterment of society. Letter from the Universal House of Justice to the NSA of Australia on the role of the Yerrinbool Centre of Learning, January 4, 2009

And that’s really what blogging should be about – a discourse on social action.

Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements. Baha’u’llah

As Baha’is, we’ve seen with our own eyes how the teachings of Baha’u’llah act as a remedy to the world’s afflictions. It’s one thing for Baha’is to see, in their own lives, how the prohibition on backbiting can transform communities or what friendship really looks like when your vision is world-embracing. But imagine what politics and international relations would look like if people understood the principle of consultation. Imagine what society would look like if everyone were to truly understand what Baha’u’llah meant when he said “The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens”.

Blogging is a great way to be engaging in that sort of discourse. If you want to know more about how you can effectively engage in social discourse through blogging, Blog The Faith is a fantastic resource that I highly recommend. The site has a number of very useful links, starting with Baha’i Blogging 101 which tells you all you need to know to get started.

One of Baha’i Blog’s aims is to encourage blogging and see the Baha’i blogosphere grow! Blogging does, I’ll admit, take a fair bit of time, effort and commitment. But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you don’t think you’re up for starting and maintaining your own blog just yet, here are 5 ways you can do your part as a good citizen of the online world!

1. Read, read, read

There’s some fantastic work already being done by Baha’i bloggers. Support them by adding these blogs to your bookmarks and checking them whenever you get bored or have a few minutes. (It’s a habit worth incorporating into your daily routine. The knowledge, insights and entertainment that you gain from these bloggers and their readers make it well worth it!)

Some of the blogs I read are: Baha’i PerspectivesNineteen MonthsMoving FilmsBaha’i ThoughtBaha’i Views and Yours Ambiguously, E.E. Talisman and Baha’i Coherence. Have a blog that you think we should be reading? Email us and let us know!

2. Get commenting!

In the few weeks that Baha’i Blog has been up and running, we’ve received lots and lots and lots of responses from many people – but mostly in private, rather than online. One day I was talking to a friend and she was sharing her views on one of the articles I had written. After listening to her talk for some time, I said, “You know, that’s really such a fascinating insight into it. I hadn’t even thought of that. You should totally post a comment up on the blog saying everything you just said to me so that others can read it too!”.

“Oh no, no. No, no, no. I don’t write. Or blog. Or any of that,” was her quick response.

My jaw hit the ground as I watched this incredibly intelligent person who had just been very eloquently articulating her point of view completely transform into a picture of hesitation and inhibition at the very mention of the word “blog”! And this has been the response I’ve seen time and time again over the past few weeks. What is it about the world of blogging, I’ve been led to wonder, that sends otherwise vocal and confident Baha’is into complete silence?

Blogging is meant to be fun! It doesn’t have to be formal or academic. And it only really works when people participate and share their ideas, through their own blogs or by commenting on blogs that are out there. You don’t have to pepper your comments with quotations from the Gleanings or feel like you can only post something if it offers some profound spiritual insight into The Book of Certitude. People forget how insightful and profound simple anecdotes from their everyday lives can be! So, speak up!

3. Sharing is caring

Read something you like? Pass it around! Put the link up on facebook, email it to friends and family, share what you’ve read with friends in a social setting, blog your own response to it – interact! As a writer, I can tell you that it’s always somewhat encouraging to discover that you’re not the only person reading your work! So do what you can to make sure those amazing bloggers out there are getting the readership they deserve.

4. Contribute!

Write for existing blogs. Or if you’re not comfortable writing, find out how else you can help out: research, interviews, photography, music. Get creative! (If you can think of a way you’d like to contribute to Baha’i Blog, get in touch with us.)

5. Support

There are many other ways you can be supportive of Baha’i blogging. Feedback is always good too.


Ultimately, blogging is all about community. And as far as communities go, the rules are the same for virtual communities as they are for any other. Reach out, interact, get involved!

Hope to hear from you soon!

About the Author

Preethi

In her professional life, Preethi has dabbled in various combinations of education, community development and law. At heart, though, she's an overgrown child who thinks the world is one giant playground. She's currently on a quest to make learning come alive for young people and to bring the world's stories and cultures to them, with educational resources from One Story Classroom.

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Discussion 18 Comments

  1. Thanks for the shout out for Baha’i Thought. It’s hard to believe that this September Baha’i Thought will be celebrating its 7th year! I’ve seen Baha’i blogs come and go over that time and learned a lot. This is definitely something more Baha’is need to get into and I’m glad to see that you’re encouraging that! Perhaps the new 5 year plan will inspire an explosion of Baha’i presence in public discourse on the Internet. Inshahallah.

    1. Congratulations on approaching seven years, Phillipe! That’s really something to celebrate. I’m excited to see what happens with the Baha’i blogosphere in the next five years. There are so many amazing things that come with having a stronger presence online. I think that we, as a community, need to start imagining what that looks like and really tapping into that. Thanks for stopping by, Phillipe!

  2. Great post! I can totally relate to your friend in that putting yourself out there on the net can be quite scarey. Some great ideas here on how to contribute in our own way, gaining confidence as we go!

    I am really enjoying your posts and look forward to many more 🙂

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Corinne! And yes, I think it’s natural that people feel a little uneasy because it’s putting your views out there in written form, but I think as people become more familiar with the idea of blogs and what the community of bloggers look like, they’ll see that there’s really nothing to worry about! 🙂

  3. I can dig it! I can relate to a number of the perceived barriers that one might have described above, but the grand conversation that we need to be having with our family is too important to ignore. I’ll keep up the work on my end over at oakritchie.wordpress.com!

  4. Dear friends,

    I wonder if any of you have attended, or are attending, the Social Discourse course offered at Baha’i Schools or in Haifa. What has been your experience? Would you recommend the course to Baha’i college students? If you don’t want to publish on the blog, send me an email please. Ellen

    1. Hi Ellen,

      The courses offered on social action and discourse are absoluetly wonderful. There is Discourse on Social Action, aimed for undergraduate students, and Constructing a Conceptual Framework for Social Action, aimed for graduate students, both offered online through http://www.lazoslearning.org. With each of these courses, there is also a seminar, usually held in the winter or summer, sponsored through the Institute for The Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity (www.globalprosperity.org).

      I HIGHLY recommend both the online course and the seminar in particular for college-aged youth and young adults to learn how to engage in social action and participate in the discoures of society.

      I have a blog – achievingcoherence.com – that was inspired by my participation in these courses and the seminar.

  5. Allah’u’Abha friends, I sit and read ‘this’ because I love reading, because the internet in my country though slow, works, because my friend Sandra Rowden-Rich took the trouble to asend it to me, I’d rather read this blog than any novel (though I love trivi too:D). I enjoy your blog, maybe one day I will contribute too. right now I am selfishly stuck in indulging myself with what you are giving me. Thank you. LOL

    1. Thank you Sally for your encouragement and support! It’s much appreciated and I’m so glad you enjoy reading Baha’i Blog and find it useful. Sending you our warmest regards!

  6. I’ve had a website for 17 years, a site now in its 4th editoon. I also have many blogs which can be located at this link: https://www.google.com.au/#q=Ron+Price+blogs&hl=en&tbo=d&ei=f-IBUc7JCIXemAXnxYG4AQ&start=0&sa=N&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.41524429,d.dGY&fp=a0b2ec51e8be5bd5&biw=960&bih=477 I also contribute to many discussion forums which can be accessed at:
    https://www.google.com.au/#hl=en&sugexp=les%3B&gs_rn=1&gs_ri=hp&tok=-mmDsVL93z35WJGTXBfjSQ&pq=ron%20price%20blogs&cp=16&gs_id=qe&xhr=t&q=Ron%20Price%20forums&es_nrs=true&pf=p&tbo=d&sclient=psy-ab&oq=Ron+Price+forums&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.41524429,d.dGY&fp=a0b2ec51e8be5bd5&biw=960&bih=477

    I post all of the above to give readers here at Baha’i Blog an idea of the range of available sites at which one can engage with others. The experience one has at these forums, discussion sites, message boards and blogs ranges from intellectual trench warfare to enjoyable interaction.

  7. When readers go to the links I have suggested above, they will also find the blogs and forums of other Ron Prices. There are more than 4000 other Ron Prices in cyberspace, some of fame and achievements, and others of notoriety.

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