Category Archives Books

Child of Mine: A Baha’i Inspired Composition for Expectant Parents

There is a wealth of information and differing opinions about pregnancy-related issues online and in print, so much so that expectant parents often feel quite overwhelmed when sourcing information. When I first fell pregnant, I avoided reading like the plague in fear that I would get confused and (more) anxious about my impending role as a parent. I decided the best way to source information was to turn to the Writings, and most other things could be learnt on the job.

A dear friend of mine, Kamelia Khoshmashrab has made it easy to find information about pregnancy-related matters from a Baha’i perspective with the release of her compilation Child of Mine. The publication brings together Baha’i Writings on a range of topics and is the perfect go-to resource for anyone who is planning, expecting or has just given birth to a baby.

Child of Mine is divided into five chapters as follows: pre-pregnancy matters, matters within pregnancy and breastfeeding, infant health, matters after birth and the spiritual environment of infants. Topics covered include (but are not limited to) chastity and the purpose of marriage, IVF and surrogacy, miscarriages, vaccinations, naming a child, godparents, and postpartum depression.

Baha’i Blog spoke to Kamelia to find out more about the new release: Continue reading

Champions of Oneness: A New Book about Louis Gregory

There are countless heroes and heroines in the Baha’i Faith, all who devoted their very lives for the progress of the Cause. Luckily, we have access to innumerable works of literature which profile these heroic figures and provide inspiration for us to serve the Cause in our own way. One such work, Champions of Oneness: Louis Gregory and His Shining Circle, does just that.

Written by American author Janet Ruhe-Schoen, the book focuses on the years between 1898 and 1921 and portrays the lives of a handful of Baha’i pioneers of race amity in the United States. At great personal sacrifice, these early Baha’is traveled extensively to share the teachings of their newfound Faith, even if it meant facing severe challenges from those resistant to change.

We caught up with Janet to find out more about her work and the inspiration behind her latest book. Continue reading

Eleven – A New Book by Paul Hanley

A friend of mine in Australia told me how he had read a book which had such a profound impact on him, and in fact he felt was so important for everyone to read, that he bought dozens of copies of it to give to all of his staff. That book was Eleven, by Paul Hanley.

Critically acclaimed as “the read of our times”, the author of Life of Pi Yann Martel said “Every concerned citizen of this planet needs to read this book.”.

Paul Hanley’s Eleven “…is an inspired map of the road ahead, drawn in lines of truth we turn our gaze away from every day. More than that, though, this sweeping book makes an audacious but coherent and thoroughly-researched case for the possibility that, by awakening to the reality of what we are doing to the earth and our own souls, we may already be getting ready to walk the road with our ‘better angels of our nature’ fully in charge.

I had the fortune of meeting Paul Hanley at the recent 2015 Association for Baha’i Studies Conference in Orange County, California, where he was the recipient of the 2015 Award for Distinguished Scholarship in the Book Category.

Paul Hanley agreed to do an interview with Baha’i Blog: Continue reading

Leaves of Wisdom: A Baha’i Colouring Resource for Children

Monika Mackenzie is the artist behind the newly released Leaves of Wisdom: A Baha’i Colouring Resource for Children (Volume 1), which contains over 100 illustrations. She’s also the illustrator behind the Facebook page Bahai Colouring Pages, where you are warmly encouraged to save, share and print what’s posted. Her work includes beautifully illustrated quotations from the Writings, or phrases like “Happy Naw Ruz”, and is a wonderful resource for parents, children’s class teachers or for programs for little ones during Holy Day celebrations, Feasts or other gatherings. Leaves of Wisdom was launched on Ridvan and I was delighted when Monika agreed to tell us a little bit about herself, her unique artwork, and her desire to share it with everyone. Continue reading

Shoghi Effendi: Through the Pilgrim’s Eye – A New Book by Earl Redman

Earl Redman is the author of an exciting volume about the Guardian that is fresh off the press called Shoghi Effendi: Through the Pilgrim’s Eye. You may already be familiar with his work; in celebration of the centenary of Abdu’l-Baha’s visit to the West, Earl Redman gathered together all the historical accounts of the Master’s travels and put them into chronological order in Abdu’l-Baha in Their Midst. When I contacted Earl about a possible interview, we discovered we had a mutual friend — my grandma and writer, Claire Vreeland. She compiled a book of pioneer stories (entitled And the Trees Clapped Their Hands) in which both of our families’ pioneering accounts are included. Linked through stories, I was keen to ask Earl about his creative process and the legwork behind his fascinating new book.

Baha’i Blog: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Earl. To begin, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your work as a writer?

In 1977, I fell off a mountain. Or rather was invited to fall off the mountain when a friend I was roped to was blown down a steep, icy face on Mt Foraker in Alaska. We fell about a thousand feet and, during the fall, I left my body. The body was on its way to death, but I didn’t care. When I finally stopped the fall, I had two powerful emotions. First, while the body and the soul were separate, I was absolutely disgusted because I was back in, at that time, a rather battered body. That was followed, after the soul rejoined the body, by a feeling of absolute delight that I was still alive.

Knowing that the body and the soul were separate, I was prepared to listen when I met a Baha’i named Sharon. She talked of the Faith and, on the day we were married in 1980, I became a Baha’i. Since then, we pioneered in Chile for six years and have now been pioneering in Ireland for sixteen years.

I have always like to write, though I never expected to write a book. Some of my early stories somehow ended up in a book called And the Trees Clapped Their Hands. I also contributed to the Alaska Baha’i News. Professionally as a geologist, I wrote many reports and my first published book was about the history of the mines and miners in Southeast Alaska, based on many old newspaper stories. I never set out to write books on Baha’i history. They all just sort of appeared on my computer screen, quite to my surprise.

Continue reading

An Introduction to The Tabernacle of Unity

The Tabernacle of Unity is a beautiful volume containing five tablets (or letters) revealed by Baha’u’llah to people of Zoroastrian background, among which are many familiar passages previously translated by Shoghi Effendi.

In 2006 the Universal House of Justice compiled this book of authorized translations and now the tablets that those passages were excerpted from are available in full in English. You might be familiar with Baha’u’llah’s powerful words “Ye are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch” and the volume gets its title from this quote in the book’s opening tablet: Continue reading

Brilliant Star – A Baha’i-Inspired Magazine and Website for Children

Pictured above is the Brilliant Star team and key contributors at their 2013 Annual Meeting. From left to right is Annie Reneau, Susan Engle, Lisa Blecker, C. Aaron Kreader, Amethel Parel-Sewell, Amy Renshaw, Donna Price, and Foad Ghorbani.

In the Baha’i Faith we know that “Children are the most precious treasure a community can possess, for in them are the promise and guarantee of the future”, so there’s no doubt that coming up with creative and meaningful ways to support our children is important, and that’s why I couldn’t wait to do a post about Brilliant Star!

Brilliant Star is an award-winning Baha’i-inspired children’s magazine and website aimed at children of all faiths, and invites them to explore concepts based on principles central to the teachings of the Baha’i Faith, like encouraging their development as world citizens, their appreciation for cultural and racial diversity, peace among all religions and nations, the equality of women and men, and the elimination of prejudices.

The magazine really had a profound effect on me when I was a child, and I remember how I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it whenever a new issue came out. Now, some 45 years on (yep, Brilliant Star first started in 1969 as Child’s Way and then became Brilliant Star in 1983), Brilliant Star continues to publish six times per year with subscribers in over 40 countries, coming from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and faiths.

I decided to touch base with Brilliant Star’s Editor and Creative Director Amethel Parel-Sewell, to find out more about this wonderful resource: Continue reading

New Book: Steadfastness in the Covenant

Steadfastness in the Covenant 350x540Dr. Abdu’l-Missagh Ghadirian’s latest book, Steadfastness in the Covenant: Responding to Tests and Tribulations, is a weighty tome. Steadfastness to the Covenant is a combination of our recognition of Baha’u’llah and our obedience to His teachings. Dr. Ghadirian says “in this context the Covenant is like a mighty tree and steadfastness is the fruit of that tree”.

There have been several books published about the unique and sacred nature of the Covenant. “Instead,” Dr. Ghadirian writes, “I have chosen to concentrate on the nature of steadfastness and the capacity to acquire it for the defense of the Cause and as our response to tests and tribulations in the path of God.” Although this is the lens with which he compiled the book, he nevertheless provides a context for the Covenant and explains its details and implications – for example, he describes the differences between the Greater and Lesser Covenants and the “twin Covenants” or the respective Covenants of Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha in terms of Their wills and testaments and appointed successors. He also provides metaphors for understanding the Covenant — such as the ocean or a pulsating artery.

Why take this particular perspective of firmness in the Covenant in the face of difficulties? Dr. Ghadirian explains: Continue reading