4 Benefits of Family Consultations

Using consultation skills in family meetings is excellent for facilitating understanding and making effective family decisions. It’s also a great way to build life skills in children, no matter what their age. They can learn to contribute toward family unity and to the world around them. Meetings can be casual or formal and in any setting; it’s up to each family to explore what works for them. We facilitated an online course called “Communication Skills for Spiritually Minded Parents” at the Wilmette Institute that explored how consultation can be used in family life. In this article, we offer a few words about the importance of consultation and then explore four benefits to consulting as a family unit.  Continue reading

Ascend – An Album by James Mohajer

One of the things I love about Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions is the discovery of all the wonderful music and talented people around the world! Someone we recently learned about is James Mohajer, and you may recognize him from this Baha’i Blog Studio Session recorded in London, UK called “Apple of Mine Eye” by James & Kyan.

Well, I’m excited to share that James Mohajer has recently released an album of Baha’i-inspired devotions called Ascend, and this nine-track album is full of beautiful meditative music which will make you feel like James is with you singing at your devotional gathering.

I wanted to find out more from James about him and his album, so here’s our conversation:  Continue reading

Persian Passion: Of Gods and Gargoyles – A New Book by Tom Lysaght

Tom Lysaght is an accomplished playwright with some 30 plays in both English and Spanish to his name. He also founded “El Teatro de Pan y Paz” in rural Peru, where he wrote circus drama plays about economic and health challenges, utilizing masks, stilts, and 15-foot high puppets for open-air performances, and he’s travelled extensively to help launch similar community development theatre projects.

While his latest project is not a play, it is nevertheless dramatic. 35 years in the making, his novel, Persian Passion: Of Gods and Gargoyles, is a work of creative non-fiction set in Persia during the time of the Bab. Actor Rainn Wilson said it’s “… an expertly written look into the parallel histories of the founders of the Baha’i Faith, the Bab and Baha’u’llah. It evokes the spiritual passion and political complexity of mid-nineteenth century Persia in beautiful prose…”, and Dr. Nader Saiedi calls it “A captivating account of a dramatic summer that questioned traditionalism and patriarchy, and celebrated the resurrection of the human spirit”. This new book holds particular interest this year as Baha’is around the world celebrate the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-Herald of the Baha’i Faith, so I was excited to hear from Tom about his new novel, and here’s what he had to say: Continue reading

The Soul Salons: A New Podcast Exploring our Spiritual Heritage

It’s great to see the development of so many wonderful Baha’i-inspired media initiatives around the world, and with podcasts becoming more and more popular globally, it’s no wonder that the creation of Baha’i-inspired podcasts, like our very own Baha’i Blogcast with Rainn Wilson, are becoming more prevalent in the online space.

I was excited, therefore, to learn about a new podcast series called ‘The Soul Salons‘, created by Zarrin Caldwell, which aims to explore our spiritual world and the world of the divine, through the works and teachings of prophets, poets, mystics, and philosophers throughout the ages. Whether it’s taking a deep dive into the works of several known – and unknown – English poets, or exploring some of the teachings of Confucius, each episode is designed to reveal insights that can be applied to our own daily lives.

I caught up with Zarrin to find out more about ‘The Soul Salons’ and here’s what she had to say about her new podcast series:

Baha’i Blog: Hi Zarrin, can you tell us a little bit about ‘The Soul Salons’ podcast?

The aim of the podcast series is to look at the work of prophets, poets, mystics, and philosophers throughout the ages whose teachings have focused on our divine, or spiritual, reality. ‘The Soul Salons’ are purposefully kept short – about 12 minutes each – so that they are easy to listen to and to reflect on.

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Susan Gammage Releases 8 New Books!

Part of Baha’i Blog’s mission is to support Baha’i-inspired content online: we strive to see what’s currently out there in English and we try to lend support by highlighting initiatives, interviewing creators, and curating videos and songs. Susan Gammage has been tirelessly creating and promoting uplifting and resourceful Baha’i-inspired content for many years. When her website was hacked and taken offline, we keenly felt the absence of her online voice for many, many months — as did a whole community of people who have found Susan’s materials helpful. We are thrilled that she’s back online, with a newly designed site, and has recently released not one, but eight new books! Continue reading

They Kidnapped My Father and Killed My Dog

This limitless universe is like the human body, all the members of which are connected and linked with one another with the greatest strength. How much the organs, the members and the parts of the body of man are intermingled and connected for mutual aid and help, and how much they influence one another! In the same way, the parts of this infinite universe have their members and elements connected with one another, and influence one another spiritually and materially. – Abdu’l-Baha

Ever since small boats could sail beyond the horizon, each person who has journeyed to a new home has a unique story, with their own motivation for leaving the home of their ancestors and for starting out as a foreigner in a new land. There is sometimes a push: famine or war. There is sometimes a pull: freedom or economic stability. For Baha’is, the strongest reason for their exodus from Iran over the past fifty years is religious persecution.  Continue reading

Martha Root’s Speeches and Social Discourse: Cosmic Education for a Universal Age

Hand of the Cause of God Martha Root sitting front and center, with a group of women in Melbourne, Australia, c. 1924. Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community

A century ago, on July 22, 1919, Martha Root embarked on a 20-year journey to destinations in Europe, Australia, Asia, the Americas, and Africa. These travels were motivated by a desire to share Baha’u’llah’s teachings with diverse audiences through public speaking and writing. Before setting out, she had honed her rhetorical skills during her career as a journalist, performer, and teacher. You can learn more about Root’s purpose-driven life from this earlier Baha’i Blog article.

Root is a role model for participating in the discourses of society; she wrote countless articles and speeches applying Baha’i teachings to a host of issues, including new media (radio), intercultural communication, women’s rights, international relations, and economic inequality. For a research project, I studied 25 of her speeches. I was particularly struck by “Culture and World Peace” (also titled “What Is Culture?”), which she delivered during her final trip around the world. Between 1938 and 1939, Root gave this talk to audiences including college students in India and women’s organizations in Australia. When you read the speech (below), you will observe that she appealed to these audiences by discussing women’s role in society and higher education, among other themes.  Continue reading

Inspired By: An Album by Heart to Heart

When I heard Heart to Heart’s album, Inspired By, I felt that it was a musical expression of Baha’u’llah’s words “the earth is but one country and mankind its citizen”. Its global and diverse sounds are genuine and a credit to the band’s name. Thankfully the Baha’i community is so interconnected that, with the help of the internet, it was easy to find out more about this musical collaboration. I was able to hear from Alex Christensen about this multi-cultural, rich, and heartfelt album. Here’s what he shared with me:

Baha’i Blog: Could you please tell us who is involved in Heart to Heart?

Heart to Heart is a collective of artists living in the Vancouver area who are learning to create music inspired by their own stories and their involvement in community building efforts. For this album, the artists involved were three brothers: Eric, Alex, and Dan Christensen.

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Immortal Youth – A Compilation in Honor of the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab

Immortal Youth: A Tribute to the Life and Station of the Bab is a new volume released in honor of this year’s bicentennial anniversary of His Birth. Initiated and compiled by the editorial department of the US Baha’i Publishing Trust, this softcover book offers some sacred and authoritative texts of the Baha’i Faith that pertain to the life and station of the Bab. The 118 page book is organized in an accessible manner and is divided into sections covering the birth, declaration, martyrdom, and station of the Bab, followed by a selection of His own prayers and meditations. It includes Writings of Baha’u’llah and the Bab as well as Writings and recorded utterances of Abdu’l-Baha and writings of Shoghi Effendi.

Immortal Youth gathers together passages and Writings found elsewhere into one commemorative book: it is beautifully designed and a befitting tribute to the Bab. While neither an exhaustive or comprehensive collection, the book’s introduction explains that “it is hoped that this book will offer an opportunity for readers to reflect on the life and station of the inaugurator of the Baha’i Dispensation, the towering Figure described by Baha’u’llah as ‘the Primal Point, the Divine Mystery, the Unseen Essence, the Dayspring of Divinity, and the Manifestation of Thy Lordship, through Whom all the knowledge of the past and all the knowledge of the future were made plain.'”  Continue reading