Creative design has an important part to play in the Faith. There’s a small army of creative Baha’is who labour hard to communicate the message of the Faith on screen and paper. The Designing the Faith series showcases some of their ingenious work in film, fashion, the internet, architecture and more.
In the second part of the series, we look at architecture.
Armed with pencils, paper and AutoCAD, Baha’i architects set out to design buildings that are not merely spaces for interaction with friends, institutions and God, but also seek to embody spiritual principles.
The designs of the Baha’i Houses of Worship reflect local cultural influences. The House of Worship in Germany blends the Bauhaus and European post-war styles. The Samoan House of Worship captures the simplicity of life in the tropics. The Wilmette Temple displays symbols of Native American traditions alongside the star of David and the cross.
Beyond the Houses of Worship, however, are numerous lesser-known gems of Baha’i architecture.
Image from bahaichildrensclass.wordpress.com
At Baha’i Blog, we like our blogs. You’ve heard us wax lyrical about the importance of encouraging Baha’i blogging. A few months ago, we featured Blog The Faith, a fantastic resource for Baha’is who want to use blogs as a form of social discourse. In addition to its very helpful Baha’i Blogging 101, with tips for those new to blogging, the website also features examples of 8 great Baha’i Blogs to inspire you and get you started on your own.
Recently, I came across a fantastic blog by Leyla Neilsen from New Zealand devoted entirely to one of the core activities: children’s classes! It’s a fantastic resource – not just for lots of creative ideas for really great children’s classes, but also as a source of inspiration and motivation for everyone out there who currently runs, or is looking to start, their very own children’s class!
I think Leyla’s blog is a fantastic example of how blogging can support and enhance the service that people are doing all over the world. And so, I caught up with her to have a quick chat about her blog, her children’s classes and her thoughts on blogging the Faith!
Image by d3l (Flickr)
As a new Baha’i, there were many principles of the Faith which I came across which leave me thinking and sometimes lost for words. One of the principles that first left me pondering was the Baha’i prohibition on backbiting. Baha’u’llah says:
Backbiting quencheth the light of the heart, and extinguisheth the life of the soul. Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah
Backbiting can be defined as malicious talk about someone when they are not present. It comes under the same umbrella as gossip, spreading rumours or tittle-tattling. It refers to any word used in a critical and negative manner to undermine a person. Growing up, I was always taught not to speak ill of anyone. We were always instructed by parents or teachers not to backbite. But in a world where there are entire industries built on the act of backbiting (such as the media), it is easy – as creatures of our environment – to become blinded and think that such behaviour is acceptable. Continue reading
Navid Bahmani (AKA Navid B) became a Bahá’í about two years ago, and he recently founded his own record label called Bluebottle Records. I’ve known Navid B for some time now and I’ve been fortunate enough to be on the sidelines of seeing his musical career unfold. Bluebottle has just released their debut album called A New Dawn, so I sat down with Navid B and got him to tell me a little bit about himself and what he’s trying to achieve through his record label:
Baha’i Blog: So tell us a little about yourself and how you got into making music?
I’m from Sydney, Australia and I’m actually a hairdresser by trade, but music has always been my passion. Even though I haven’t been musically trained, a few years back I finally decided to buy a keyboard and to just try and express myself musically, so I started playing around with different tunes and beats and I just started posting it up online. Before I knew it I was contacted by an independent record label in the US asking me to release an album through them. That really gave me the confidence to keep working on my music and I guess I’m still learning a lot and I just try to keep working at it.
Baha’i Blog: So tell us why you started Bluebottle Records and what you hope to achieve with it.
Bluebottle Records aims to create hip-hop, R’n’B and soul music with a conscious twist. I wanted to start a label which would give myself and my friends an avenue to release our music. I wanted to have complete creative control as well as contractual control so our dealings would be fair.
As a label we want to create a movement of consciousness! People of all walks of life today are sucked into materialism, and unfortunately a lot of music often reflects this, so we are trying to put the ‘soul’ back into music! Continue reading
It’s been three months since Baha’i Blog’s official relaunch and what an amazing three months it has been! We’ve really grown rapidly in a short span of time, thanks to the amazing support of our lovely readers who have given us constant encouragement, some really great feedback and have spread the word by following us on Facebook and telling friends about us.
Everyone at Baha’i Blog is really excited about being involved with the larger efforts to encourage blogging among Baha’is. It’s been incredibly heartening to see the Baha’i Blog team start to grow from just 5 people in Melbourne, Australia to a dynamic and international community of readers and contributors from all over the world!
If you’re a fan of Wikipedia (or any of their many other projects) then you’ll be interested to know that this year’s official Wikimedia conference, dubbed “Wikimania“, is being held in Haifa, Israel right around the corner from the Baha’i gardens! From their website:
Wikimania is the annual international conference of the Wikimedia community. It’s organized by a different local team each year – in 2011 the conference is taking place in Haifa, Israel. Wikimania allows the community and the general public to learn about and share their experiences with free knowledge initiatives all over the world.
While there are a few sites for finding Baha’i jewellery online (such as Baha’i Gems), another great way to find Baha’i craft, including jewellery is through the craft marketplace Etsy. A quick search on the word ‘bahai’ yields lots of great stuff, I’ve collected nine of my favourites to showcase here, but I highly recommend heading over and finding your own favourites.
And if handmade is your kind of thing, show your support for these talented Baha’i artisans by purchasing an item or two!
Just months after the sentencing of the Baha’i leaders in Iran to 20 years imprisonment, Iran has once again come under international scrutiny for its long-standing persecution of Baha’is. On 21 May, a coordinated series of raids were carried out in various locations in Iran on the homes of Baha’is who have been involved with the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE).
The BIHE was established in 1987 as a way of providing an education to young Baha’is who have been systematically denied access to higher education by the Iranian regime. Baha’i Thought has a great article up discussing the raids and the Iranian regime’s violation of a number of universal human rights such as the right to freedom of belief and the right to education.
As Baha’is, it is only natural that the issue of the persecution of Baha’is in Iran weighs heavily on our hearts. It is always distressing to be reminded of how rampant war, persecution and injustice still is in today’s world. In this case, it’s particularly devastating to us – as Baha’is – to see the friends in Iran suffer so terribly for a faith that simply embraces all humanity and affirms the value and worth of each individual. Some of us are even friends or family of those in Iran who have been directly affected, making it all the more heart-wrenching.
A few days ago.,I came across a fantastic essay by Matthew Weinberg (published in 1997) which looks at contemporary human rights discourse from the perspective of the Baha’i Writings. I found it to be a fascinating read and it made me reflect on the way in which I – as a product of the society we live in – talk about and understand human rights.
Image by Lorenia (Flickr)
A few days ago we published a post here on Baha’i Blog featuring 6 Baha’i iPhone Wallpapers, however I noticed a few Facebook and email comments pointing out that perhaps it’s not appropriate to have The Greatest Name or a photo of the door to the shrine of the Bab used in this manner. This seems sensible, so I first wanted to let our readers know that we’ve now updated the post with two fresh wallpapers featuring Baha’i quotes replacing the other two wallpapers. And second of all I thought I’d share some quotes that my fellow Baha’i Blogger Naysan found on the subject of The Greatest Name and its usage. Continue reading