It’s always inspiring seeing what Baha’is around the world are doing in their local communities. This video from Bahai.us, documents the story of one of the rougher neighbourhoods in Savannah, Georgia near a Baha’i Unity Center. Local Baha’is set out to involve the community in activities, to serve the community and to create a real bond with the surrounding neighbours through their center.
For me the most inspiring part is the men’s study circle that some of the local residents form, calling themselves One of Us, and doing a huge variety of service projects including taking local kids to baseball games, visiting nursing homes and serving at a soup kitchen. Eventually One of Us starts a really awesome community event called Movies on the Wall where they screen movies on a giant wall in a nearby vacant lot. Continue reading
Image Courtesy of Seafaring Woman
Image by Seafaringwoman (Flickr)
Have you ever thought about all the different spheres of your life? Like most people you probably have work, family, friends, and if you are a Baha’i, your Baha’i life. How do these different parts fit together?
Last year while reading the Baha’i World News service, I came across the idea of “a coherent life”. The idea that these different parts of your life – work, family, friends, your beliefs and your ideals – should all make sense together.
Like most good ideas, a coherent life makes sense intuitively. In fact once you start to think about it, not living your life in this manner seems hypocritical. How can you be one person in one part of your life, and another somewhere else? Yet doing just this is surprisingly easy to do.
Image by thomasfrederick (Flickr)
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.
Image by a4gpa (Flickr)
I don’t like the word “stress”. It’s a Madison Avenue word. It’s something that can be cured with flavoured coffee and bath bubbles.
These words, spoken by the fictional President Josiah Bartlett, are – in my not-so-objective, The-West-Wing-obsessed opinion – one of the best encapsulations of how our society deals with stress.
We all know what it’s like to constantly have too much to do and too little time to do it. We’re constantly overworked, sleep-deprived, trying to catch our breath and fatigued. We live in a society that is overwhelmingly anxious and unhappy.
But perhaps what is more dangerous than all of that is our acceptance of these levels of stress as normal. Getting by on four hours of sleep and bucketfuls of coffee is something of a badge of honour in many circles. In a world where there are so many things to do, if you’re getting enough sleep, you’re probably just not doing enough. Or that’s what we’re encouraged to believe anyway.
It’s been about 16 years since the internet really started going mainstream, and these days we take it very much for granted that most organizations will have a website. Baha’i communities around the world have been slowly but steadily getting online for some time now. What is exciting to me as a web designer is that through further iterations some of our online Baha’i sites are actually starting to get pretty useful and full-featured. Continue reading
UNICEF's State of the World's Children 2011 Report
Every year, UNICEF publishes it’s flagship report “State of the World’s Children”. This report – read by thousands of people in governments, the United Nations, the media and the general public – typically examines a key issue affecting the welfare of children and strongly influences policy-makers and practitioners working in the field of children’s rights around the world.
So, it is exciting to see how policy-making at both the national and international levels will respond to the bold statement underlying the entire report: Young people, truly, can change the world.
The report , titled “Adolescence – An age of opportunity”, begins to question many of the assumptions that have been made about adolescents by society and implores policy-makers to recognise both the incredibly vulnerability of adolescents, where investments into their well-being and development have not been made, as well as the tremendous capacity of these very same individuals, where those investments have been made. (Download the State of the World’s Children 2011 report or watch the UNICEF video summaring the report.)
Ever so often, we’ll be putting up posts for our ‘Common Questions Series’. As the name suggests, these are questions about the Faith that we often get. You know those ones – where you kinda, sorta, maybe know the answer but aren’t sure if you know enough to give the asker a full response? Yeah, those ones. Baha’i Blog has decided to make a collection of those questions, which will hopefully be as helpful to you, our readers, as it is to us!
We’ve been getting a few questions recently about Naw-Ruz and its origins as a Baha’i Holy Day, so we’ll start with that!
Image by Baha’i Views / Flitzy Phoebie (Flickr)
Is Naw-Ruz an Iranian holiday or a Baha’i Holy Day?
Naw-Ruz (which in Persian literally means “New Day”) is a New Year holiday for both Iranians and Baha’is celebrated on the first day of spring but the significance and celebrations between the two are slightly different.
Baha'i Leaders in Iran Sentenced to 20 Years
According to a report by Iran Press Watch, the Appeals Court in Iran has sentenced seven Baha’i leaders to 20 years in prison. This sentence, which was initially handed down in August 2010 by Iran’s Revolutionary Court, was reduced on 15 September 2010 from 20 to 10 years. This change has since been ignored, with the 20 year sentence being affirmed today. Continue reading
Image by matio_svk (Flickr)
I’m a big fan of new years. I’ll admit it. I celebrate the new year as many times in a year as I possibly can. Growing up in a country with four officially recognised ethnic groups, I milked the multiple calendars for all they were worth. I would attend midnight mass every New Year’s Eve. I would line up for my ang bao and scarf down bakkwa every Chinese New Year. Diwali was yet another opportunity for festive fun. (One year, looking for an additional opportunity to celebrate, I attempted to appropriate the Russian Orthodox New Year. This was, however, met with some skepticism from my friends.) So the recent addition of Naw-Ruz as another new year that I get to celebrate has been a source of joy, as you might imagine.
Why the new year fixation? Simply put, I love new beginnings. I love turning a new page in the diary. I find peace in pausing for a breath and thinking about all that has been and marching forward with a plan of attack – boldly stepping into a new day.
Naw-Ruz. A new day.
Image by Mamchenkov (Flickr)
The Baha’i Fasthas just ended. I’ve been fasting for 20 years now and I’m embarrassed to say that I still find that I have to constantly remind myself that the Fast is not just about the food! Okay, so for those of you who don’t know me, you should know that ohhhh I love food! My family and I are renowned for talking about how much we like food and the different types of food we like, even while sitting around a table and having a meal together. In fact, there’s even a Tablet written by Baha’u’llah to my family some generations back, which relates to – you guessed it – FOOD!
Most of us identify the Baha’i fast with the act of not eating or drinking between sunrise and sunset. But as Shoghi Effendi explains, there’s much, much more to it than that:
It is essentially a period of meditation and prayer, of spiritual recuperation, during which the believer must strive to make the necessary readjustments in his inner life, and to refresh and reinvigorate the spiritual forces latent in his soul. Its significance and purpose are, therefore, fundamentally spiritual in character. Fasting is symbolic, and a reminder of abstinence from selfish and carnal desires.Shoghi Effendi, Directives of the Guardian