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14 Beautiful Baha’i Images of Prayer and Reflection

Prayer, meditation, reflection and reading of the Baha’i writings are all fundamental parts of our lives as Baha’is. They can be rich and powerful in experience, daily and habitual in action, and deeply contemplative by their nature.

This post is a small collection of photographs by Baha’is that helped me reflect on our relationship to the Word of God. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have, and are in awe of their creators as much as I am.


Photo by Lauren Herrmann, source Nineteen Months


Photo by Ryan Lash, source Flickr/DepartureLounge Continue reading

In Memory of Mr. Ian Semple

Mr. Ian Semple 1928 – 2011

To write a tribute for Mr. Ian Semple – a man so radiant and beloved – is a task which in itself an undeserved honour.

Mr. Semple was a man distinguished by both his exemplary character and his dedicated and unwavering service to the Baha’i faith from the days of his youth until his passing on the 1st of December at the age of 82.

Mr. Semple embraced the faith as a university student and went on to be elected to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the British Isles in 1956. He later served as an Auxiliary Board member in Europe before being elected onto the Universal House of Justice in 1963, the year of its establishment. Mr. Semple served steadfastly on the Universal House of Justice until 2005 when he was 76 years old. Continue reading

What Christmas Means to Baha’is: A Personal Reflection

Image by scottfidd (Flickr)

Do Baha’is celebrate Christmas? This question is a bit of a tricky one to answer because Christmas means different things to different people.

Based on the understanding of Christmas as a commemoration of the birth of Christ, the day is clearly of significance to Baha’is, who believe that Christ was a Manifestation of God. Baha’is do not, however, celebrate Christmas within their communities as one of the Baha’i Holy Days.

While the principle of progressive revelation means that Baha’is believe in the divine origin of the other world religions (and consequently, the significance of each of their Holy Days), the Baha’i Faith is an independent religion with its own Holy Days. Baha’is – while believing in the divine origins of all other world religions – follow the teachings of Baha’u’llah, whom we believe to be the latest in the line of Messengers sent from God with laws to address the needs of humanity in this day and age.

That being said, however, Baha’is are free to participate in the celebrations observed by their friends and family who adhere to other religions. Christmas is a tricky one because of what it has come to represent in much of Western society – the  true meaning of Christmas is, unfortunately, often lost amidst the Christmas tree decorations, Santa-and-elf motifs and endless Christmas sales advertisements. Continue reading

9 Service Project Ideas for You and Your Community

Baha'is of Wahiawa Adopt a Highway

While on holiday to Hawaii, I was driving down a highway on the island of Oahu and passed a sign for the “Adopt a Highway” program. The program is for local organizations and communities to keep their roads and areas clean and free of litter. I was really pleasantly surprised to see that this particular highway stretch had been adopted by the Baha’is of Wahiawa!

Rendering service to humanity is an important part of being not just a Baha’i, but a member of any religion and in fact pretty much any good moral code. But sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Well here are nine simple ideas to get you thinking. I’d love to hear more ideas in the comments! Continue reading

In Memory of Russ Garcia

Russell Garcia 1916 - 2011

It was with great sadness that I received the news of the passing of Russ Garcia, a man who was not only known for his outstanding career in the international music industry, but a man who was also known for his great love and dedication to the Faith.

Both Russ and his lovely wife Gina became Baha’is in 1955. They soon set sail to various parts of the world in order to spread the Baha’i teachings of love and peace, eventually anchoring and settling in New Zealand.

There are so many things I’d like to say about him. He was a man who was loved by everyone who met him.  Russ and Gina were an icon in not only the New Zealand Baha’i community, but they were well known and loved throughout the world.

I first met Russ in the early 90’s when I was working on music for the Youth for One World performance group, and Russ offered to do anything  he could to help. He offered to let us use his personal recording studio to record some songs for a musical we were working on, and I was just some kid, but we were all welcomed into his home and treated like family. Continue reading

The Resource Directory is Now Live!

Ba-bada-baaaa! Drum roll please!

Baha’i Blog is happy to announce the launch of our very own Resource Directory!

We want to build Baha’i Blog’s Resource Directory to be THE place you can find pretty much anything and everything Bahá’í related that exists online. Whether you’re looking for websites, videos, music, books, talks, apparel, organizations (and the list goes on) we  hope that the Directory will be the place where you can find what you need.

We’re always looking for more great Baha’i resources to share with our audience, so if you know of any we don’t yet have, then please let us know.

Happy resource hunting!

Dapper Rappers win Tony Blair Faith Shorts 2011

A few months ago here on Baha’i Blog we featured a YouTube music video and interview of two Canadian Baha’is Blair Cameron and Nadim Merrikh who perform under the moniker the Dapper Rappers. Since that interview Blair and Nadim have released two more songs, the most recent of which has just won both the music and overall categories at the Tony Blair Faith Shorts competition for 2011!

The Dapper Rappers entered their music video “Be the Change You Want to See” which was inspired by the recent London riots.

Continue reading

An Interview with Oneworld Publications

Co-founders of Oneworld Publications husband and wife team Novin Doostar and Juliet Mabey.

Oneworld is an independent publisher focusing on non-fiction and was founded in 1986 by husband and wife team Juliet Mabey and Novin Doostdar. Oneworld now publishes around sixty books a year and works with authors, literary agents and publishing partners around the world.

I decided to catch up with Oneworld co-founder Juliet Mabey to find out more about the work they’re doing to bring quality, consciousness-raising books to as many people around the world as possible.

Continue reading

The Spiritual Axis

Image courtesy of GuySie (Flickr)

In Baha’i Blog’s last Trivia Quiz about Baha’i Houses of Worship, one of the questions made reference to “The Spiritual Axis” and this seemed to stump a lot of people, so I thought it would be a good idea to explore what “The Spiritual Axis” is all about.

In a world where the term “axis” – as it appears in the media – has political connotations (and somewhat sinister, at that), the concept of a spiritual axis is both uplifting and intriguing.

The notion of a spiritual axis is indeed remarkable. That a spiritual axis between two far flung countries can exist and result in a capacity to advance the spiritual growth of other countries in the region and beyond is truly awe-inspiring! Continue reading

The Mystery of Abdu’l-Baha

Abdu’l-Baha returning to his home on Haparsim Street in Haifa, Israel. (Image courtesy of Baha’i Media Bank)

Abdu’l-Baha was a global revolutionary.

In the Middle East, He led a household that practiced equality between women and men. In Europe, He spoke in churches about the oneness of all the religions. And in America, He emphatically practiced and preached about racial unity.

How one man, in a lifetime lived mostly in exile and imprisonment, managed to affect so many lives around him and lead a nascent faith to spread from one corner of the globe to become a world religion, is a remarkable expression of the mystery of Abdu’l-Baha.

Born the eldest son of Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l-Baha was not a prophet, and did not have any type of ‘mystic unity’ with Baha’u’llah. But He did perfectly reflect the teachings of His father – so much so that He was titled the Mystery of God.

In Abdu’l-Baha, the ‘incompatible characteristics of a human nature and a superhuman knowledge and perfection’ were blended and ‘completely harmonised’. There are endless accounts of Abdu’l-Baha’s magnetic personage, approachability, kindliness and love that personify His mystery.

One of the early American Baha’is said it is through the heart that we best glimpse Abdu’l-Baha’s special nature. So here I’ve given my personal top 5 reasons, from the heart, as to why Abdu’l-Baha was a mystery. Continue reading

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