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Introducing Baha’i Blog’s New Podcast: The Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson

June 26, 2016, in Articles > Baha'i Blog, by

Baha’i Blog is soooo excited to launch our very first series of podcasts which we’ve aptly named “The Baha’i Blogcast” hosted by the very funny and wonderful Baha’i actor Rainn Wilson.

In this series of weekly podcasts, Rainn 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.

To kick things off in our very first episode, Rainn Wilson and I (Naysan Naraqi) interview each other. Besides Rainn making fun of my name, we talk about Baha’i Blog, education for young girls in Haiti, world citizenship, books we’re reading, being a Baha’i in Hollywood, and some of the things we’re working on within our personal lives.

We hope you enjoy the Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson, and please be sure to subscribe to the podcast to keep up with new episodes every week using the following links:

iTunes: The Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson

Soundcloud: The Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson

YouTube [Audio Only]: The Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson

You can also listen to the very first Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson episode below:

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Naysan Naraqi

Naysan is passionate about using the arts and media to explore the teachings of the Baha’i Faith. Back in 2011, Naysan started up the Baha’i Blog project, channeling his experiences in both media and technology companies to help create a hub for Baha’i-inspired content online.

Discussion 27 Comments

How cool is this! Wonderful news dearest Naysan! Sending much Aroha from Raglan. 🙂 <3

Kathy Gilbert (June 6, 2016 at 7:46 AM)

Thank you so much Kathy! Glad you like it and sending love right back at ya! 🙂

Naysan Naraqi (June 6, 2016 at 2:04 PM)

Haha! Thank you Candace! Appreciate that!

Naysan Naraqi (June 6, 2016 at 10:39 PM)

Naysan never made me cry! But, he has offered all sorts of good ideas for collaboration and mutual support. On the other hand, bringing up emotion around creativity is not a bad thing . .

Love to you both Candace

Candace Hill (June 6, 2016 at 4:08 PM)

Awesome!

Salah (June 6, 2016 at 7:04 PM)

Thank you for your support! 🙂

Naysan Naraqi (June 6, 2016 at 10:38 PM)

THIS! I have no words for how cool this blogcast was. I laughed, I cried (thankfully not because Naysan has discouraged me ;), I even shouted “YES” out loud at one point… Everything you said spoke to me… THANK-YOU!!!! I am so excited for more. Please continue to keep things real and not be afraid to tackle contemporary issues.

Janna Denton-Howes (June 6, 2016 at 7:52 PM)

AWESOME! So glad you liked it Janna, your comment made my day! Thanks for the encouragement, and I agree, we need to keep it real! 🙂

Naysan Naraqi (June 6, 2016 at 10:39 PM)

Enjoyed layed back nature of this mutual conversation and interview

Bijan zaeri (June 6, 2016 at 6:57 AM)

Thanks for the feedback and encouragement Bijan! Glad you enjoyed it! Get ready for next weeks episode! 🙂

Naysan Naraqi (June 6, 2016 at 11:55 AM)

Naysan and Rainn, your laid back, jargon-free whilst deeply meaningful conversation sets an example to everyone on teaching. Indeed, we are all trying to walk the mystical path with practical feet. And on a more personal note, both of you seem such interesting, well-travelled and kind-hearted guys. The Blogcast seems like a really worthwhile initiative. Keep up the absolutely important work that you’re doing with the Baha’i Blog Naysan.

Sam (June 6, 2016 at 2:53 PM)

Thank you so much for your kind words Sam! Really appreciate the feedback and your support and encouragement!

Naysan Naraqi (June 6, 2016 at 10:30 PM)

Great conversation about everything that is worthy for society; I felt like you two were in my living room while having a cup of Peruvian coffee. Thank you to both of you for your contribution on spreading the Bahá’í Faith and the efforts Bahá’ís are doing around the world.

Marko Sebastiani (June 6, 2016 at 7:40 PM)

That’s great to hear Marko! Thank you for your support and I love Peruvian coffee! 🙂

Naysan Naraqi (June 6, 2016 at 10:47 AM)

Rainn rocks! Naysan was great. Inspiring.

Rhett Diessner (June 6, 2016 at 11:43 PM)

Thank you so much Rhett! So glad you liked it!

Naysan Naraqi (June 6, 2016 at 10:48 AM)

Hello!
I so enjoyed your blogcast. I just finished reading Rainn’s Bassoon King and am intrigued and want to learn more about Baha’i. In doing some quick reading of history on the baha’i.org site, my first roadblock was learning that there are no women in the Universal House of Justice. Although there is some explanation of that on the site… it just didn’t fit with the rest of the message. Can you help me understand this?
Thanks!

Christy (October 10, 2016 at 10:45 PM)

Hi Christy!

We’re so glad you’re enjoying the blogcasts!

Although these are just my personal thoughts and are in no way an authoritative interpretation, here are a few of my reflections on why women are not eligible to serve on the Universal House of Justice:

The writings of the Baha’i faith are very clear and unequivocal about the equality of men and women but I think that our current understanding of what this means and how this is applied is very much a reflection of our societies, our cultures, and our histories. Our understanding right now is very limited. One of my favorite blogcast episodes is the one with Steven Phelps where he discusses how Baha’u’llah’s revelation, and the aim of the Baha’i Faith, is not only to build a peaceful, just and united world but to change our very consciousness. As our consciousness develops and matures, we will reach a point where our understanding of the equality of men and women is so advanced that the reason why women are not eligible to serve on the Universal House of Justice will be as “manifest as the sun at high noon”, as Abdu’l-Baha, the son of Baha’u’llah, assures us in relation to this question (Selections from the Writings of Abdul-Baha, 79-80).

One way in which I measure this difference between our current understanding of the equality of men and women and that time when our understanding has changed so radically that it is clear to us why women cannot be on the House of Justice, is to look at my own work as a mother. In the Baha’i writings, it is clear that my role is of vital and sacred importance. And while I live in a place and at a time where I am not denied civil liberties, the way society views my role is far from seeing it as vital and sacred. We still have far to go before we live in a world that reflects Baha’i principles.

The other thing I wanted to mention was that Baha’is view serving on institutions, such as the House of Justice, very differently. Wendy Momen wrote about your very question and you can read an abstract of her talk here: http://irfancolloquia.org/4/momen_women She said: “As a result of our Western, liberal thinking, we are apt to equate roles of responsibility with power and authority, whereas we know from the Baha’i writings that such roles are really arenas of service to the Cause and to humanity. Membership on Baha’i institutions brings no personal power and privileges; they are not to be sought. We are not looking at a question of whether women are worthy or have the necessary qualities to serve on the Universal House of Justice. We are clearly looking at some other dimension, something we cannot quite see yet. We need to change our concepts of what service on this institution means so that they are based on the Baha’i teachings and not on modern liberal Western thought.” She concludes her abstract with proposing that perhaps we need to learn more about the nature of the House of Justice before we can ask the question about women serving on it.

These are a few of my thoughts and I hope they have helped answer your question a little. Thank you for your comment and for asking this question! If you’re looking for introductory books about the Baha’i Faith, Naysan shared a list of some of them in this article: http://bahaiblog.net/2013/06/10-great-introductory-books-on-the-bahai-faith/ and if you have any further questions, please feel free to ask!

-Sonjel

Sonjel Vreeland (October 10, 2016 at 11:17 PM)

Sonja, thank you for such a full and well considered answer to my question. You gave me much to think about. I am very new to learning about the Baha’i faith and having insights like yours to ponder is helpful indeed. My best to you.

Christy (October 10, 2016 at 5:12 PM)

You’re most welcome!

Sonjel Vreeland (October 10, 2016 at 5:21 PM)

Hello Christy,
Sonjel has given you an excellent answer. It’s a complicated issue, and Baha’i women develop their own understanding about how this effects their belief, practice and participation. If you live in the U.S., there’s a Baha’i community not too far away from anywhere, and if you are interested it will be illuminating to visit with them and see how they serve each other and worship together.
I personally decided to think about this issue in two ways. First, the men who serve on the Universal House of Justice are elected by women. Women serve at every other level of Baha’i administration and so when it comes to that international election every five years, the conference is filled with women being very discriminating and thoughtful with their votes.
Also, it is the only position in the Baha’i World that is not open to women, making it clear as the noonday sun that they can and will do absolutely everything else. No job or task or responsibility any where in the world can be denied to a person because she is a woman, from the very highest international diplomatic posts to coaching soccer in the local playground. That’s exciting to think about.
Also, as an aside, there are trollish folk online who will make very sure to comment first on every Baha’i webpage or article about the women and the Universal House of Justice. What is their agenda I wonder?
Candace Hill

Candace Hill (October 10, 2016 at 11:34 PM)

Candace, My thanks for sharing your insights on this topic. I am only a week or so into my wonderings and learning about the history and faith of the believers of Baha’i. Please know that I am not a troll, although I enjoyed playing with them as a child 🙂

Perhaps the reason this question comes up often is that from a cursory look at the tenets of a faith that seems to honor all humans, especially girls and women, the only inconsistency that pops up is this matter of the Universal House of Justice and women serving there. This may indeed be something that will work itself out in a natural progression, as the world catches up with the Baha’i belief that we are all equal.

I was raised as a Christian and have been nourished and also served that community of faith for much of my life. As I have gotten older my questions and discomfort with certain issues in the church have caused me to pull away. But after several years adrift, I have an emptiness in my spirit. Chancing upon Rainn’s book I was pleased to find Baha’i doctrines that provide answers to some of those issues. I want to learn more. Thanks for your input. It is much appreciated.

Christy (October 10, 2016 at 5:35 PM)

I love these podcasts! The questions are insightful and the stories are inspiring and compelling. I love hearing from people around the world about how they’re putting the Baha’i teachings into action in their lives and their work. Thanks for the reminder that Baha’u’llah liked people to finish what they started–a great help in avoiding procrastination.

Amy Renshaw (October 10, 2016 at 9:15 PM)

We’re so glad you’re enjoying these podcasts!

And yes, I find the fact that Baha’u’llah loved the quality of finishing a task once begun very motivating. If you’re interested, Peter wrote about this quality in a bit more detail in this Baha’i Blog article: http://bahaiblog.net/2016/05/4-qualities-bahaullah-loved-see/

Thanks for you comment!

Sonjel Vreeland (October 10, 2016 at 9:18 PM)

Another interesting idea that just occurred to me is also featured in the podcast with Steven Phelps. He points out how there are many contradictions in the Faith. You may find a sacred passage that says one thing, and another passage that says the opposite. Shoghi Effendi, the great-grandson of Baha’u’llah and authorized interpreter of Baha’i Writings explained:

“We must take the teachings as a great, balanced whole, not seek out and oppose to each other two strong statements that have different meanings; somewhere in between there are links uniting the two. That is what makes our Faith so flexible and well balanced.” (19 March 1945 to an individual believer)

And:

“One may liken Baha’u’llah’s teachings to a sphere; there are points poles apart, and in between the thoughts and doctrines that unite them. We believe in balance in all things; we believe in moderation in all things…”(5 July 1949 to an individual believer)

I hope this adds food for thought to your spiritual quest!

Sonjel Vreeland (October 10, 2016 at 10:11 PM)

I love Baha’i blogcast and am super pumped to listen to the interview with Dr. Joy Degruy! Just FYI, I was worried that Baha’i blogcast had one good year and then that you guys gave up on it! I’m so thrilled that’s not the case and that I have two unlistened episodes on my phone for my listening pleasure.

Juliette (March 3, 2017 at 9:57 AM)

We’re really thrilled to have more blogcast episodes out too! And I really enjoyed listening to Dr. Joy DeGruy! Thank you for your comment, Juliette, and your encouragement!

Sonjel Vreeland (March 3, 2017 at 11:13 AM)

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