It’s been eight years of Baha’i Blog, and we’re super excited to have come this far! The Baha’i Blog team is honored to be able to continue creating Baha’i-inspired content in the online space and we hope you’ve enjoyed our content and found it useful, informative, and inspiring over the years.
With so much going on here at Baha’i Blog, there’s no way we can cover everything we want to share in this article, but here’s a glance of some of the things we’ve been working on over the last Baha’i year:
More Than Just A Blog
Since Baha’i Blog’s birth in 2011, we’ve been celebrating and exploring the Baha’i teachings and Baha’i-inspired ideas, news, resources, artistic expressions and personal reflections through the use of various avenues of media. We see Baha’i Blog as a “laboratory” of sorts, where through planning, action and reflection, we explore how the vast and dynamic Revelation of Baha’u’llah translates into various avenues of content creation. Whether it be through the articles we publish, the videos we make, the music we record, the podcast we produce, or even the T-shirts we print, we look at each of these avenues as projects in and of themselves.
With hundreds of posts being published each year, the core of the Baha’i Blog website is still written articles that share personal reflections, news, resources, and interviews on a wide variety of Baha’i-related initiatives and topics, contributed by a team of regular writers and guest contributors. The site has definitely evolved over the years with more sections and content to supplement our articles, such as video, audio, and image posts, and even quizzes, plus other Baha’i Blog platforms, such as our growing YouTube channel and Instagram page. We also continue to create new supplementary projects to honor special occasions, such our Personal Reflections initiative. Wherever possible, we also work behind-the-scenes to support many other “non-Baha’i Blog” initiatives from Baha’i Institutions, communities and friends worldwide. Our aim therefore, is to both support and to contribute to the ecosystem of Baha’i-inspired content found mainly in the online space.
The Baha’i Blog team also makes it a priority to hold regular meetings to plan, act and reflect on the work we’re doing, and to explore what the Baha’i Writings and other guidance from the Baha’i Institutions say about the creative and online space. We try our best to constantly evaluate otherwise-unspoken assumptions we might bring to our work, putting due consideration to our processes and practices, and to look at how they might reinforce or question those assumptions. In light of this we also reflect on both traditional, and trending norms in the world of media, making a genuine effort to ensure that we don’t fall victim to the traditions or trends that may contradict our understanding of what our values are as Baha’is.
You can learn more about some of our values here on our Editorial Values page.
Celebrating 200 Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions So Far!
If you haven’t heard of Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions, then I encourage you to check it out, but basically it’s an initiative where we invite Baha’is and their friends in different parts of the world, to come into a studio on location, to film and record them singing a song based on the Baha’i Writings or letters from Shoghi Effendi or the Universal House of Justice. We then make these videos and audio recordings available on our YouTube Channel and SoundCloud page for everyone to listen to and be inspired! We also include the quotation used and the chords to the song so you can learn them as well!
So far, we’ve published songs from 36 global locations in 28 different languages, and we’re blown away by all of the wonderful talent and songs that exist in communities worldwide! Here’s what one of our listeners had to say about the Studio Sessions series:
To me this project is nothing less than an example for unity in diversity. It’s really wonderful to see and hear so many different voices from around the globe, showing their individuality, their musical uniqueness and all inspired by the same source, the same spirit. Really amazing!
We couldn’t have come this far without the help of so many wonderful souls who have not only taken part by singing in the Studio Sessions, but to all those who have helped in so many different ways, from picking people up from a train station, to helping to edit the videos. We’d really like to thank EVERYONE who has helped so far in making this wonderful contribution to the arts a reality!
* Watch Baha’i Blog’s Studio Sessions series here on our YouTube channel.
* Listen to Baha’i Blog’s Studio Sessions series here on our Soundcloud playlist.
The Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson
In this wonderful series of podcasts, which we’ve aptly named “The Baha’i Blogcast”, actor Rainn Wilson interviews members of the Baha’i Faith and other 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.
Each episode is approximately one hour, and we’ve released 34 episodes so far. Thousands of listeners tune in from around the world and the feedback has been amazing, with so many people telling us that they love how authentic the conversations are and how they can’t wait for the next episode to be released. Here’s what one of our listeners had to say:
It’s actually been really huge for me, very meaningful, very comforting at times, very confirming and inspiring to have access to these very real, very sincere conversations and for me it’s served as a very real form of accompaniment!
You can listen to the Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson, using the following links:
* iTunes: The Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson
* Soundcloud: The Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson
* Spotify: The Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson
* YouTube [Audio Only]: The Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson
200 New ‘Personal Reflections’ in Honor of the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab
We first launched our Personal Reflections project two years ago, in honor of the 200th anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, and as this year marks the 200th anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, we decided to do it again with another 200 portraits and personal reflections.
This initiative profiles 200 Baha’is and their friends from around the world, capturing a simple portrait photo paired with a quotation taken from an interview with the person on how the Baha’i Faith has touched their life. We published the portraits on our Personal Reflections website and on social media, focusing primarily on Instagram and Facebook.
A lot of thought and consultation has gone into the development of this project, and as a result, we intentionally chose not to use the names and locations of the people photographed so that the focus remains on their faces and what they have said, rather than allowing any connotations to arise because of their names or the countries they represent. It can also be difficult to determine where a person is from and which country to label each photograph. Consider, for example, a person who grew up in Australia, was photographed in Canada, and who has a Filipino mother and an Iranian father. By omitting names and nations, countries or territories, we hope the emphasis is placed on the people depicted and how the Revelation of Baha’u’llah has touched their lives. By sharing these pictures and excerpts, we wanted to answer the call from the Universal House of Justice to communicate “a sense of what it means for humanity that these two Luminaries [the Bab and Baha’u’llah] rose successively above the horizon of the world.”1
We hope you find these portraits as eye opening and inspiring as we do, and be sure to follow Baha’i Blog’s Personal Reflections initiative by using these links:
New ‘World Citizen’ T-shirt Design… But Sadly, It’s Our Last…
Our aim in creating t-shirts, besides providing cool Baha’i-inspired apparel that you can wear, served a couple of purposes: Firstly, the sales from the t-shirts served as a sort of fundraiser, helping the Baha’i Blog team to keep doing what we’re doing. Secondly, it was a way to explore a new medium of Baha’i-inspired content. We wanted to explore how the Revelation of Baha’u’llah applies to worn apparel. For instance, some of the things we asked ourselves in this process were: “Should we use the Baha’i Writings on the apparel, or should the words we use be Baha’i-inspired?”; “Do we attribute a quotation to the author, such as Abdu’l-Baha, or do we say ‘Baha’i Writings’ instead, or simply not put anything at all?”
After the enthusiasm surrounding our previous t-shirt designs over the last couple of years, we decided to print one new design based on a “World Citizen” design which Baha’i Blog co-founder, Collis Ta’eed, made as a test several years ago when we first started Baha’i Blog.
A few years ago, when we decided to start selling shirts, we launched them at the Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference (GCBC), and created the Baha’i Blog Shop for online sales. Although the people who have bought our t-shirts have expressed to us how much they love them, unfortunately the amount of work, time and money that has gone into the t-shirts has proven to be, quite simply, too much, and we feel we should focus our limited time and resources on other projects. Sadly, we will no longer be creating and selling new t-shirts anymore.
While we still have some stock remaining, we encourage you to head on over to the Baha’i Blog Shop and get yourself and your friends some awesome limited-edition Baha’i-inspired t-shirts. Don’t forget that ALL of our sales include FREE GLOBAL SHIPPING, and all sales help us continue our efforts here at Baha’i Blog.
More Audio Readings
We’ve continued to provide audio readings of certain letters from the Universal House of Justice and the Baha’i International Community (BIC) whenever possible. The audio recording of this statement from the BIC called Beyond Mere Economics, or this Letter from the Universal House of Justice on World Peace, are just a couple of examples, and we hope you have found these useful.
You can find the playlist to all our audio recordings using the following links:
More Baha’i-Inspired Talks
One of the things we strive to do here at Baha’i Blog is to help and support Baha’i institutions and organizations with their media related initiatives and needs, including the recording and archiving of Baha’i-inspired talks. For instance we help the Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference and the Australian Gold Coast Baha’i community film and record their talks for archival purposes, and then we make a select number of them available for others to listen to on Baha’i Blog. We also take special care to ensure that all the talks we publish have the permission of both the speakers and the organizers involved, and we never publish something just because we’ve found it online. Furthermore, Baha’i Blog team members, with the help of volunteers, review the content and quality of every talk, often spending a lot of time on this process, before we publish anything.
We’ve published about 70 talks so far, and we hope you’ve found them as inspirational and informative as we have!
More ‘About The…’ Pages
Over the last year, we’ve been slowly building up our Baha’i (Badi) Calendar page with what we like to call our “About the…” pages. Surprisingly, these pages are some of the most popular pages we have on the Baha’i Blog website, with a huge amount of traffic and clicks. We’ve created these pages to serve as information and resources pages about Baha’i holy days and aspects of the Baha’i Faith, so for example visitors to Baha’i Blog can learn more About Ayyam-i-Ha, or About the Baha’i Fast and other topics.
Check out our Baha’i (Badi) Calendar page here, and be sure to click on the dropdown menu to see the list of all of our “About the…” pages.
How You Can Get Involved
We get a lot of people asking how they can help out, and we’re so grateful to all the people who have helped in so many different ways over the years. If you like what we’re doing and would like to contribute in some way, here are a few simple ways you can help:
1. Subscribe to Baha’i Blog
A simple little thing like this goes a long way! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, sign up to our email list and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Share the page or an article or video you like with your friends, and please help us spread the word by letting others know about all the things we’re doing. Every little thing counts, and it can help make a difference.
2. Write for Us
We’re always looking for potential writers and articles for Baha’i Blog, so if you’re interested in trying your hand at writing an article, check out our Write For Us page and our Editorial Values page. Once you’ve done that, feel free to send over a few article ideas listing the potential title of the article plus a few lines about what they’ll cover to: [email protected]
3. Make a Donation
Running a website with articles, videos, music and all of the things we’re doing costs money, and as a not-for-profit initiative, Baha’i Blog is made possible thanks to the financial contributions of individuals. So if you like what you see and would like to help us continue doing what we’re doing by making a donation, you can do so by donating here.
4. Stay in Touch
We really love hearing from people who use Baha’i Blog, and it would mean a lot to us to hear from you. Tell us how it’s impacted you and/or your community, and we’d also love to hear any ideas or feedback you may have, so send us an email: [email protected]
It’s also started to become a little bit of a tradition to have a cake each year for Baha’i Blog’s birthday, and we’d like to give a very special thanks to Miranda Hansen for making this year’s Baha’i Blog birthday cake, featured in the main header image above. Check out Miranda’s cakes and artwork here on her Instagram page: dotandblossom, and here’s what she had to say:
I enjoy Baha’i Blog because I like seeing the different expressions of people’s interactions with the Baha’i Writings and their perspectives on applying the principles of the Faith. It’s lovely to see so much diversity, yet also a central unity in our beliefs and devotion. I especially love the music! It’s so uplifting to hear all the ways friends are putting the Word of God to music. Happy Birthday Baha’i Blog!
From all of us here at Baha’i Blog, THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for your continued support and encouragement over these last eight years, and we’re excited about the year ahead!
- Letter from the Universal House of Justice, 18 May, 2016 [↩]