Image by seier+seier (Flickr)
The Baha’i Faith is a global religion. It is acknowledged today as one of the most wide-spread religions – present in over 200 countries and territories, with its central texts translated into over 800 languages and its adherents hailing from diverse traditions and cultures. This is something that many of us Baha’is are proud of and see as a testament to our diversity and universal worldview.
However, wherever you may encounter the Baha’i Faith, sooner or later you’re bound to encounter Baha’is from a Persian background. They will vary in their relative “Persian-ness”. Some will be second or third generation immigrants with a strong cultural foundation in their new country, such as my husband who is more Australian than he is Persian. Others will be much more culturally Persian and might tarof with you every chance they get. You’ll also find people like me, who are a good old mix of a lot of different things. (I am one quarter Persian, although most people wouldn’t know it, and often assume my last name is taken from my husband.) There are also those who have no ethnic links to Persia or Iran, but may have Persian names after early heroes of the Faith’s history, like Vahid or Tahirih.
So what is the relationship between the Baha’i Faith and Persian culture?
Tumblr is an online service that lets you create a very trendy minimal sort of blog where you can post up quotes, images, links, video, audio and longer form posts. The service is free to use and wildly popular. In fact if you’ve ever wanted to start your own blog, then a Tumblog is a pretty cool way to do so.
There are already lots of Baha’is on Tumblr, so I went looking for a few Tumblogs to showcase. Much to my delight, I found lots of interesting blogs and became totally engrossed and lost reading them all. Eventually I managed to pull myself back out to finish this post, so I’m happy to present six of the best I came across.
If you’re a Tumblr user you can choose to ‘follow’ these and other Tumblogs, and if you’re just a casual browser like myself, then you can just bookmark them! Either ways I highly recommend supporting them, and if you know of more please do leave a comment and link! Continue reading
Photo by Leila Barbaro
Singer-songwriter Omid Master lives in Port Douglass, a small coastal town popular with the tourists in the tropical north-east of Australia. Omid has been strumming and thumping out the tunes with a rock band for years, and having already released a few commercial albums with tracks successfully hitting the local charts, he’s recently taken it down a notch and recorded an acoustic album with the help of a few friends.
The album’s called Acoustic Baha’i Devotions, and that’s exactly what it is – Baha’i Prayers and Writings set to unplugged, down-to-earth acoustic guitar and other instruments.
I decided to catch up with Omid to talk about the album and his career as a musician in general. Continue reading
Photo: Baha'i Media Bank
With Ridvan, The King of Festivals, upon us, we start to rejoice and reflect on all things Ridvan. With the Northern Hemisphere bursting into the full bloom of spring we start daydreaming about what it might have been like to be in the presence of Baha’u’llah, in the garden of Ridvan.
This brings us to an interesting point: there are in fact two gardens of Ridvan amongst the gardens of holy significance to the Baha’is. What the two have in common is that they were both blessed by the presence of Baha’u’llah and that they both were places of beauty and joy for Baha’u’llah and His followers. Continue reading
Every year, Baha’is the world over gather in their local communities on the first day of Ridvan to elect the nine members of their Local Spiritual Assembly. Every adult Baha’i at the age of 21 is eligible to be voted for, and they have the responsibility to participate and vote for these nine members of the community who will volunteer their time to run the administrative affairs and assist in the spiritual well-being of their respective local communities for the year ahead.
When one thinks of elections, perhaps for many of us what immediately comes to mind are political parties and candidates, expensive campaigns, televised debates, the digging up of dirt on the opposing party, and copious amounts of campaign flyers and confetti.
This is not the case however with Baha’i elections. There are no political parties or independent candidates. Rather than debates, there is community consultation. Rather than smear campaigns, there is encouragement and accompaniment. Rather than campaign flyers and confetti, there are prayers and personal meditation. Continue reading
Grab your video camera because the Tony Blair Faith Foundation has announced its call for entries to all young filmmakers for this year’s Faith Shorts film competition!
Faith Shorts is a global film competition that provides young people with the opportunity to express their faith through film, and anyone between the ages of 14 and 27 can submit a short film showing how faith impacts their life and the lives of those around them.
Last year young Canadian Baha’is Blair Cameron and Nadim Merrikh won the competition with their rap video about the importance of young people being agents of social change. Continue reading
100 years ago, ‘Abdu’l-Baha arrived in America. It was a turbulent time in American history – an election, the struggle for civil rights, American soldiers on foreign soil.
When ‘Abdul-Baha arrived in America, newspapers called him the “Apostle of Peace.”
He “will surely unite the East and West,” the president of Stanford University remarked, “for he treads the mystic way with practical feet.” “There is no doubt, among thinking people,” a famous columnist wrote, “that this man represents, in great degree, the growing and evolving spirit of our times.” “Let him visit any bank, factory, office building, church, and everything is laid aside, and eyes bulge and ears listen until he takes his departure.” 239 Days in America
Now, thanks to a fantastic social media documentary called 239 Days in America, you can feel like you were right there during this fascinating period of history and witnessing it with your own eyes and ears!
239 Days in America follows ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s 1912 journey across North America in real time (but exactly 100 years later), essentially reconstructing this little-known period in history hour-by-hour, for the entire 239 days of ‘Abdu’l Baha’s travels in America. It describes how ‘Abdu’l-Baha reached across political, religious, racial, class and gender divisions within American society with a bold vision of unity. Continue reading
Over the past week, Christians have been commemorating Easter (which fell on 8 April this year) and Jews have been commemorating Passover (which goes from 6 to 14 April this year). Just as Easter is of great theological significance to Christians, Passover is of deep spiritual and historical significance to Jews. Passover commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery. For Christians, Easter is about the resurrection of Jesus three days after his crucifixion.
The repeated overlap of Easter and Passover, however, has historically been a source of tension among some Christians and Jews. Interfaith Family calls this the “Passover Predicament”:
For Jews, Easter crystallizes the religious differences between them and Christians. The week leading up to Easter is filled with important historical events from Jesus’ life. From the commemoration of the Last Supper on Thursday, through observance of the crucifixion on Good Friday, to celebration of the resurrection on Easter Sunday, Christians reflect on the foundation of their beliefs — beliefs that separate them from Jews. Moreover, the legacy of anti-Semitism, rooted in beliefs of some Christians that Jews were responsible for Jesus’ death, can make Easter a particularly difficult holiday for Jews.
While people very often do prefer to focus on the beliefs that distinguish them from followers of other religions, the truth is that these religions have an incredible amount in common – more than most people realise!
Additionally, a careful study of the various traditions and commemorations which seemingly serve to highlight differences in beliefs – such as in the case of Passover and Easter – can actually, in my opinion, be a starting point to reflect on the shared heritage that all religions share.
Here at Baha’i Blog we are big believers in the power of social and online media as a way to connect and engage with people around the world on Baha’i topics and themes. That’s really the whole reason this blog exists, and why we update Facebook so regularly.
So I’m excited to let you know we have now set up a Baha’i Blog Pinterest account. We’re kicking off with four boards, you can follow any one of them, or follow the whole account and you’ll get updates from all. The four boards we currently have going are:
This is where we’ll be posting images and photos of quotes and prayers. Continue reading