Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 21: Sara & John Barton

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 have an awesome conversation with my wonderful Christian neighbors Sara and John Barton. Sara is an author and likes writing poetry and hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains, usually at the same time, and she serves as the University Chaplain at Pepperdine University in California, where she oversees worship services and pastoral care in the community. John is Director of the Center for Faith and Learning at Pepperdine University where he also serves on the faculties of the Religion and Philosophy Division and the graduate program in Social Entrepreneurship and Change. John also speaks and conducts research in the areas of African philosophy, ethics and philanthropy, Christian studies, interfaith dialogue, and Christian/Muslim interactions. The three of us talk about the station of Christ, the importance of service to others, and why interfaith dialogue and learning about religions is important in society today. They share the importance of being an active part of wider communities while maintaining their Christian convictions and commitments. They also tell me about the nonprofit they helped start and what their eight years in Uganda taught them. We discuss the importance of the community over the individual, prayer and meditation, why they love working with college students and have hope for the future. Sara even shares a wonderful poem she wrote just for the Baha’i Blogcast as well, so I hope you enjoy the conversation.

To find out more about Sara and John Barton and some of the things we covered in this podcast, check out the following links:

* You can read more about Sara Barton here, and John Barton here.

* Here’s a link to the nonprofit they helped start and continue to work with called the Kibo Group:

* Sara is the author of A Woman Called: Piecing Together the Ministry Puzzle, an open and honest memoir of her call to ministry, a role that women are often forbidden to answer.

* John mentions the book Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty by Mustafa Akyol.

* John mentions The Persian Bayan by the Bab. You can learn more about the Bab here, and more about The Bayan from this Baha’i Blog article: An Introduction to the Bayan.

* I shared the following quote about the station of Jesus Christ from the Writings of Baha’u’llah:

“Know thou that when the Son of Man yielded up His breath to God, the whole creation wept with a great weeping. By sacrificing Himself, however, a fresh capacity was infused into all created things. Its evidences, as witnessed in all the peoples of the earth, are now manifest before thee. The deepest wisdom which the sages have uttered, the profoundest learning which any mind hath unfolded, the arts which the ablest hands have produced, the influence exerted by the most potent of rulers, are but manifestations of the quickening power released by His transcendent, His all-pervasive, and resplendent Spirit.

We testify that when He came into the world, He shed the splendor of His glory upon all created things. Through Him the leper recovered from the leprosy of perversity and ignorance. Through Him, the unchaste and wayward were healed. Through His power, born of Almighty God, the eyes of the blind were opened, and the soul of the sinner sanctified… We bear witness that through the power of the Word of God every leper was cleansed, every sickness was healed, every human infirmity was banished. He it is Who purified the world. Blessed is the man who, with a face beaming with light, hath turned towards Him.”

* You can find out more about the Station of Christ from this Baha’i Blog article: The Station of Jesus Christ in the Baha’i Faith

* Sara mentions my book of memoirs called The Bassoon King.

* I make reference to one of my previous interviews with Native American Baha’i Kevin Locke which can be found here: Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson – Episode 19: Kevin Locke

* Here’s a nice interview with John Barton on the Pepperdine Newsroom website called Setting the Open Table

* Sara has written about their family’s commitments to hospitality across religious divides in this Huffington Post article: Biblical Hospitality: What Happened When Our Christian Family Stopped Inviting Our Church Friends to Dinner

* I share the following quote from Baha’u’llah:

“O SON OF SPIRIT! My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting.”

* Here’s the poem Sara recited in the interview:

Facing window, entering world,
armed not with weapons but with questions,
it tosses peace grenades
to explode hearts for God.

Listening outside, tuning in
to stories that fill souls with hope,
it releases them to float
with clouds of sound.

Honoring past days without fearing last days,
engaging spiritual journeys now days,
it wonders- as time clicks,
what makes people tick?

Joining creation, generating words that serve,
broadcasting, podcasting narrative digital art,
it does its part to light someone’s dark.
And so may we.

Be sure to ‘subscribe’ to the Baha’i Blogcast for more weekly episodes on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify and Soundcloud.

Thanks for listening!

-Rainn Wilson

About the Author

Naysan is the editor of Baha'i Blog and he has worked in various avenues of media for two decades. He’s passionate about using the arts and media to support and explore the teachings of the Baha’i Faith and he has produced and collaborated on popular music projects like the "DawnBreaker Collective" and the successful Ruhi-inspired sequence of "MANA" albums. His experience as a producer for CNN was invaluable while working on a number of special projects for the Baha’i World Centre, including the "Building Momentum" and "Pilgrimage: A Sacred Experience" videos. If there’s a media-related Baha’i project out there, chances are that Naysan was involved with it somehow!

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Discussion 5 Comments

  1. Die Ära Jesus Christus ist vergangen. Ich bin mit den Missionen im Kloster aufgewachsen. In der heutigen Zeit ist nichts spirituell, und es gibt heute keine spiritueller Weg für mich , als den Weg zu Baha’u’llhah. Shoghi sagt: die Heiligsten in dieser Welt sind GOTTLOS. (Die unschätzbare PERLE. ) Rabbani Haifa

  2. What a wonderful, inspiring conversation. I must admit, at first I thought about skipping it and listening to another Bahai-speaker, but from the first moment on, I enjoyed it so much. I truly thank you Sara and John for what you are doing and the way you are serving God and Jesus. I have learned a lot, greetings from Germany from a devoted listener 🙂

  3. An inspiring conversation from our Christian friends! I used this Podcast Episode as a Learning Resource Material for the Senior High School students in our district comes the 2nd Semester of this Sch Year.

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