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Six Months of Baha’i Blog: Your Favourite Posts Are….

Having just passed the six-month milestone just days ago, we’ve decided that it’s time for another round-up of Baha’i Blog’s top 10 posts in the past three months! Before we get around to your favourite posts so far, here are some interesting stats of where we’re at.

As of now, we have:

  • 43,195 pageviews to date
  • 970 followers on Facebook (and we’re gonna be doing something pretty cool when we hit 1000 – stay tuned to find out more!)
  • readers from 171 countries out of the world’s 196 (up from 129 countries just three months ago)!

The top 10 posts on Baha’i Blog based on our stats were….

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5 Unique Baha’i Apps for Android

5 Unique Bahai Apps for AndroidSome time back, we published a post about 5 Unique Apps for the iPhone. For all the Android users among our readers – we haven’t forgotten about you! There are a number of really cool Baha’i apps for Android out there as well!

Here are 5 great Baha’i apps for the Android users out there. They’re all incredibly useful and, even better, free! Be sure to grab a copy and support our community of awesome Baha’i app developers.

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5 Year Plan Talks by Tom Price

Baha’i music composer Tom Price recently gave a series of three talks about the Five Year Plan at the Tennessee Baha’i School. With his permission, Baha’i Blog is pleased to share with you the talks to stream from our site or to download – and best of all, it’s completely free!

The study of the 5 Year Plan is something we’ve all been encouraged to do, and we hope these talks will help you with this. We know that anyone who has ever heard Tom Price speak will be frantically clicking away at the download buttons, and for those of you who have yet to tune in to one of Tom’s talks, you’re in for a treat!

We hope you enjoy the talks and please let us know what you think in the comments section and feel free to share this post with your friends.

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Create in Me a Pure Heart: An Interview with Luke Slott

Create in Me a Pure Heart, Luke Slott

The “Create in me a pure heart” prayer by Baha’u’llah has long been one of my favourite prayers for spiritual growth. Whenever I read this prayer, my mind is drawn to the beauty of its imagery, and regardless of how I was feeling when I began reading the prayer, I begin to feel a profound tranquility.

Luke Slott’s beautiful musical rendition of this prayer is befitting and always reminds me of one of my favourite lines from the prayer: “Let Thine everlasting melodies breathe tranquility on me”.  So you can imagine how thrilled I was to discover that Luke’s rendition of Create in Me a Pure Heart is merely part of a larger project: an album of devotional music! (Not to mention the beautiful album artwork by Shirin Sahba!)

I decided to catch up with Luke to find out more about his devotional album, his future plans, as well as his thoughts on being a Baha’i musician.

Baha’i Blog: So tell us a bit more about yourself and how you started making music.

When I was 12 years old, my father, who was a jazz trumpet player, gave me a gift of one of his trumpets and started giving me lessons. After about a year of teaching me at home, my dad insisted that I get a classical music education at an established institute. So I enrolled for trumpet lessons at the College of Music & Drama in Dublin. Around the same time, I started taking piano lessons at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and guitar lessons with a local teacher. In my teens, I started writing songs and for a few years I played in a rock band with some school friends. Continue reading

What Kind of Temple Is This?

Walking into the Baha’i House of Worship in Sydney can be puzzling for a first-time visitor.

The Temple, which celebrates its 50th anniversary from September 18 to 25, has elements of similarity to the places of worship of other faiths. Yet, it is clearly different from them. If you were to ask a newcomer to describe the building, the answer might well be this: “With its dome, it almost looks like it could be Christian. The design also reminds me somewhat of a mosque. Once inside, I find the balconies reminiscent of those in a synagogue.”

Then the visitor would start to identify the differences. For a Hindu, a Buddhist or a Catholic, it might seem strange that there are no statues. There are also differences in the kind of services held there. There is no sermon or commentary. No musical instruments accompany the voices raised in prayerful song.

There is a good reason for all of this.

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In the Footsteps of Abdu’l-Bahá’s Travels in London

 

Courtesy of Baha'i World News Service

A full century has passed since ‘Abdu’l-Baha travelled to the West from Akka, to share the blessed message that His father had brought to the world. The Guardian speaks of the significance of these travels:

…Called into being this community… at the time of the inception of His Father’s Faith in the West, …tenderly and vigilantly nursed it and guided its footsteps in the early years of its infancy, …twice conferred upon it the inestimable blessings of personal contact with its members, … sustained, from His station on high, its development in the course of no less than two decades, within the framework of a rising Administrative Order, …enabled it to expand and consolidate itself within its island home, [and] launched it, subsequently on its mission overseas… . Shoghi Effendi. God Passes By

Living in London this year has allowed me to partake of this special time. As I visit the places that He went to, my heart overflows with joy and gratitude. My mind wanders as I try to imagine what the atmosphere of these places must have been like 100 years ago and the effect His presence must have had on the people surrounding him.

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Baha’i Blog Quiz: Abdu’l-Baha’s Travels to the West

This year marks the centenary of Abdu’l-Bahá’s travels from Palestine to the West, where after a life of imprisonment, He arose to share Baha’u’llah’s message of peace and unity to the people of Europe and North America.

In Bahá’í Blog’s second Quiz, you can find out just how much you know about Abdu’l-Bahá’s travels to the West, and don’t forget to share the quiz with your friends, and let us know what you think in the comments section.

Good luck!

5 Easy Ways to Involve Children in Community Activities

Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Photo: Baha'i World Centre)

Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Photo: Baha’i World Centre)

In the 2000 Ridvan Message, the House of Justice said the following of children:

Children are the most precious treasure a community can possess, for in them are the promise and the guarantee of the future. Message from the Universal House of Justice (2000)

While reflecting on this quote recently, I was inspired to think of ways we could engage the children of our community more in our activities. These are some of the thoughts that came to mind. Some are from past experiences; others are from stories I’ve heard.

1. Change the time of events

Many families with young children often find it hard to attend evening programs. A simple change in the starting time of regular community events (e.g. 7 pm instead of 7:30 pm) can go a great way in encouraging participation of young families (and hence their children) in these events. I’ve seen, in a neighbouring community, how even just a 30-minute adjustment can make all the difference!

In addition to this, any Holy Days or Feasts that fall on a weekend could be held during the day where possible, perhaps with a barbeque, picnic or big spread of kid-friendly food and activities to celebrate.

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The Bow and the Arrow: Parenting and Love

Photo Courtesy: jarnah.com

Eleven weeks, one day, eight hours and three minutes ago my life changed forever. With the birth of our first child, I went from being an independent individual – responsible for nobody but myself – to a mother.This new task of motherhood is both difficult and precious as, all at once, I have been given the opportunity – and the challenge – to shape and raise a human being.

Abdu’l-Baha says that ‘…mothers are the first educators of mankind; if they be imperfect, alas for the condition and future of the race.’ Uh oh! And as the first educators of the young, our task as mothers is to free them ‘from human imperfections and to acquire the divine perfections latent in the heart of man.’ Ah, that’s a fairly lofty goal. How and when do I rise to meet this challenge?

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