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Sonjel Vreeland

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.

Jena Khadem Khodadad’s ‘The Dynamics of Growth’

A unique Baha’i book is now available! It’s called The Dynamics of Growth: Scientific Principles at Work in the Worldwide Advancement of the Baha’i Faith. This study, written by Jena Khadem Khodadad, offers a novel perspective: it looks at growth in the Baha’i community using scientific principles. It is a book that marries, in its very content, science and religion.

A book like this does not come along every day, so I was very curious to find out more. Thankfully, Jena Khadem Khodadad kindly agreed to be interviewed. Here’s what she shared with us:

Baha’i Blog: Thank you, Jena, for chatting with us! To begin, could you please tell us a little about yourself and your work as a scientist?

My doctoral degree is in biological sciences (cell and molecular biology) from Northwestern University. My academic career as faculty of Rush (Chicago) medical college has centered on teaching cell biology and neuroscience to medical and graduate students and research on the molecular structure and properties of biological membranes. I have presented the results of my research at national and international scientific forums and published in scientific journals. A diversity of other areas of study interest me, among them: religion and spirituality, neuroscience of consciousness, philosophy of science and philosophy of religion, and interfaith understanding.

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Elika Mahony’s Song for Ridvan in 11 Languages

In 2015, Elika Mahony lovingly released “Rejoice with Exceeding Gladness”, a free downloadable song dedicated to the Festival of Ridvan. The song was a musical gift and when it was originally released, Elika generously shared the song in six different languages. This year, she has released the song in an addition five languages! The total languages include: English, Swahili, German, Chinese, French, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, Swedish, and Portuguese! Some of the talented musicians involved include Sonbol Taefi, Eric Harper, Angela Owens and Sofie Wensbo. Elika has also made an instrumental version of her song available so that you can sing it in any language. The songs can be downloaded or streamed from Elika’s websiteContinue reading

7 Ways to Celebrate the Festival of Ridvan at Home

Now that my eldest is four years old, she understands a lot more about the significance of Baha’i holy days. This has made me increasingly reflect on how we commemorate these special days as a family aside from attending our community’s events. In the first volume of The Revelation of Baha’u’llah, Adib Taherzadeh describes the Ridvan Garden in Baghdad with these words:

There, Baha’u’llah appeared in the utmost joy, walking majestically in its avenues lined with flowers and trees. The fragrance of roses and the singing of nightingales created an atmosphere of beauty and enchantment.

This year we will be celebrating the King of Festivals by adding some beauty and enchantment to our daily lives in the following 7 ways:  Continue reading

Empowering Youth to Be the Light of the World | Nava Ghalili

In this talk, produced by Bahaiteachings.org, Emmy-nominated TV journalist and researcher Nava Ghalili studies youth based on the belief that every child is potentially the light of the world, and at the same time, its darkness. She asks: “What does it look like, to be a bringer of light to the world?” She discovers that youth who are empowered to see their spiritual attributes within, and who have opportunities to put those attributes into practice, can become the world’s light-givers.  Continue reading

Jim Dennis’ Latest Album ‘The Daystar of Baha’

Jim Dennis is passionate about pioneering new soundscapes when it comes to Baha’i-inspired music and his latest album, The Daystar of Baha, does just that. Jim has six albums available for download on Bandcamp and his latest is his second album with a deep connection to the Writings of the Baha’i Faith (his first is called Spreading Rays of Light and was inspired by his desire to better memorize the quotations found in the Ruhi books). Jim graciously agreed to tell us more about his music, his creative process, and how it all comes together in his studio:  Continue reading

Baha’i Tools: A Resource for Elevated Group Discussions

There are a lot of wonderful Baha’i resources available online (many of which we list here in our directory) but in this article we wanted to highlight one site in particular that aims to help groups have spiritual conversations. The site is bahai.tools and they offer more than 70 discussion guides on topics ranging from “The Eye of Oneness”, “Science, Faith & Reality” to “A Hero for Every Season”. The guides are made up of slideshow presentations that include talks, quotes and questions to generate elevated group conversations. To help you out, each presentation is summarized, its target audience is explained and a list of the technological requirements you’ll need is provided. Steve Moses and Caleb Gilleland, the dynamic duo behind bahai.tools, kindly shared the details behind this great resource!  Continue reading

Attaining Happiness | Deborah Walters

In this talk, produced by Bahaiteachings.org, Baha’i health care professional and author Deborah Walters shares about her patients who tell terribly unhappy stories and have enormous suffering. She asks them “What’s at the centre of your life? Where do you spend your time, your money, your love?” “Life is created for happiness”, Walters says. We need to put something eternal, something light-filled, at the centre of our lives and because our existence is fundamentally mystical in nature, there is light within us all.  Continue reading