Bahá'í Blog

Do We Transform Through Effort or Grace?

4 days 4 hours ago
As humans we appear to be unique. As far as we know, we are the only creatures on this earth with rationality and the ability to consciously direct our lives. In other words, we have free-will. But of course, despite our ability to make conscious decisions, in another real sense, we are at the mercy of the world. Even when it comes to our own beings, we are constrained by our physical and psychological makeup. This makes me wonder, to what extent is our spiritual transformation in our “own hands”?
Peter Gyulay

The Trumpet Blast – A New Book About Tahirih

1 week 3 days ago
Roya Akhavan has written a book about Tahirih that shares never-before seen excerpts from her discourse. It is called The Trumpet Blast: Removing the Veil from the Advent of the Promised One. I will readily admit; I knew very little about Tahirih other than a handful of facts and one particular oft-quoted translated poem. Roya’s book is thrilling in what it uncovers and shares, and her process of putting the book together is exciting in its own right. We are very grateful to hear from Roya about the import of this new publication and how it came to be:
Sonjel Vreeland

Monthly Reflection: Azamat (Grandeur) – On the Power of the Sun

1 week 6 days ago
Next week Baha'is and their friends all over the world will celebrate the Declaration of the Bab. There is something sublimely magnificent about this historic anniversary that commemorates what happened in those quiet hours of the night in Shiraz in 1844. My mind can't take in the magnitude of what being in the presence of the Bab and receiving His Message might have been like; attempting to comprehend it is like trying to look directly at the sun and study it.
Sonjel Vreeland

A Love Letter to Mothers

2 weeks 2 days ago
Dear mothers, I struggle. I struggle with deepening my understanding and carrying out my sacred role as a mother, without allowing feelings of guilt, inadequacy, or pressure to get the better of me.
Sonjel Vreeland

Zia’s Search – A Book About Mulla Husayn & Spiritual Maturity

2 weeks 5 days ago
Linda Ahdieh Grant is always cooking up wonderful projects! Her most recent work is a book published by Palabra Press about Mulla Husayn and about becoming a youth and reaching the spiritual age of maturity. It's titled Zia's Search: Learning from Mulla Husayn. My kiddos and I really love when historical stories and Baha'i concepts are presented through the eyes and questioning minds of contemporary protagonists -- for example, we love Linda's book about Fujita called Sometimes I Made Him Laugh. I'm thrilled Linda was able to share with us all about her latest book!
Sonjel Vreeland

What My Morning Coffee Teaches Me About Sacrifice

3 weeks 4 days ago
I often feel overwhelmed by how much change is required for transforming both myself and society. Reflecting further on the Universal House of Justice’s guidance, it becomes evident that these dual transformative responsibilities are inseparable. A cell cannot separate its impact from the rest of the human body. So being as a cell, I understand this to mean that I cannot do or be whatever selfishly suits my ego and expect the matrix of the world to become a better place. I am accountable at every moment for what is in my heart and the actions that come through my volition. I must be willing to sacrifice whatever is of me that is harmful to anyone or anything else in order for the world to prosper and be transformed through this cell’s life.
Pamela

Ten Angels – A New Album by Grant Hindin Miller

1 month ago
I know I am not the only one who considers Grant Hindin Miller to be musically legendary. I remember when I mentioned to a fellow youth that I hadn't heard of him before and they replied, "You haven't heard of Grant Hindin Miller?!" His soulful acoustic sounds have accompanied my life ever since. It's a joy to hear from Grant about his latest album called Ten Angels, released during this historic 40th anniversary of the execution of ten Baha'i women in Shiraz.
Sonjel Vreeland

Monthly Reflection: Jamal – On Expressions of Beauty in the Life of Effie Baker

1 month ago
Baha’i Blog produced a short documentary film about the life of Effie Baker just as I was preparing to write this newsletter. Learning more about her life has helped me to become more conscious about how I can more intentionally reflect the perfection of the natural world through my creative work, and how striving to acquire spiritual virtues can magnify the beauty of the divine, so I wanted to share a little about what the film has taught me.
Ariana Salvo

Hush Harbor – A Novel About Justice, Sacrifice & Love

1 month 1 week ago
Anise Vance, a biracial Baha'i living in the United States, has written a debut novel about racial justice. Hush Habor was long-listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and was listed as a "Most Anticipated Book" in The Rumpus as well as a "Most Anticipated Crime Fiction Book of Fall 2023" in CrimeReads. Published by Harper Collins, this book explores issues of resistance, belonging, and justice in the context of police violence on black bodies.
Sonjel Vreeland

Horizons – A New Australian Baha’i Website

1 month 1 week ago
Australian Baha'i Horizons is a brand new online magazine of insights, stories and reflections from the Australian Baha'i Community. The site exists to share news, community-building endeavours, individual initiatives, events and announcements from across the country in a public, easily accessible format.
Collis Ta'eed

Baha’i Holy Day & All Occasions E-Cards by Maya Jaros

1 month 2 weeks ago
Maya Jaros is the heart and mind behind Near&Dear, a company that creates e-cards for Baha'i holy days and special occasions of other faiths and secular societies. Her e-cards are joyful and vibrant; they offer a splash of colour and a dash of love in our current virtual ways of communicating.
Sonjel Vreeland

The Paramount Project: Devotional Songs for Community Singing

1 month 2 weeks ago
Dr. Michael Knopf is a concert guitarist and composer, a dedicated teacher and a music researcher living in South-East Queensland. Michael has many, many compositions and projects to his name and we were recently delighted to learn about a 38 song collection of devotional music called "The Paramount Project".
Sonjel Vreeland

Monthly Reflection: Jalal – On Creative Expressions That Manifest Glory

1 month 3 weeks ago
In the Oxford Online Dictionary “glory” is defined as high renown or honour won by notable achievements; magnificence or great beauty; praise, worship, and thanksgiving offered to a deity; a luminous ring or halo, especially as depicted around the head of Jesus Christ or a saint; and the act of taking great pride or pleasure in something. In this month’s newsletter, I thought I would highlight some new Baha’i Blog content that introduces us to a group of writers, illustrators, musicians, and storytellers who are using their art forms to celebrate human achievements, praise God, and offer worship and thanks—all while taking tremendous pleasure in the process.
Ariana Salvo

My Experiences of Interracial Marriage in Promoting Unity

1 month 4 weeks ago
With its inherent capacity to foster fellowship and understanding, I’ve found that interracial marriage serves as a powerful embodiment of the Baha’i principle of the unity of mankind, how it strengthens the recognition of the human race as one global family, and ripples outward in my interactions with others to influence greater circles of understanding, harmony, and love.
Nava Khorram Ahmad

Stories of the Master – A New Podcast Series

2 months ago
You can imagine the thrill when I learned about a new podcast series featuring stories about Abdu'l-Baha put together by Sana Vasli. The episodes are accessible for young listeners but are truly enjoyable for all ages and they can be listened to on Spotify or Apple podcasts. I am delighted Sana was able to share with us all about "Stories of the Master":
Sonjel Vreeland

Attorney for Racial Justice: The Story of Elsie Austin

2 months ago
I love the Change Maker biography series for preteens that Bellwood Press, an imprint of the US Baha’i Publishing Trust, have released and Attorney for Racial Justice: The Story of Elsie Austin is their latest title. It is penned by Gwendolyn Etter-Lewis and she kindly agreed to tell us about it. Can you tell us […]
Sonjel Vreeland

Monthly Reflection: Baha (Splendour) – On a New Year & New Habits

2 months 1 week ago
It’s a new day and a new year! One of the wonderful things about this time of year is the opportunity it offers to reflect on the year that’s just past. Creating a habit of reflection is so important in our growth and development. In The Hidden Words, Baha’u’llah writes: O SON OF BEING! Bring thyself to account each day ere thou art summoned to a reckoning; for death, unheralded, shall come upon thee and thou shalt be called to give account for thy deeds. This always leaves me thinking, if we’re to reflect at the end of each day, how much more might we reflect at the end of each month, or each year?
Collis Ta'eed

When a Spiritual Teacher Passes Away: Reflections From a Student

2 months 2 weeks ago
When great teachers die, it is as if access to a whole library of knowledge is now denied to us. That certainly is the case for many Baha’is in New Zealand who learned so much from Gary Corson. He passed away in Invercargill in the South Island of New Zealand last year.
Michael Day

Crash and the Human Continuum – A Baha’i-Inspired Novel About AI

2 months 3 weeks ago
AI and the ethics behind it is a super relevant topic. We’ve shared a little bit about it on Baha’i Blog when Ruha Benjamin asked if technology is our slayer or our saviour and when Matt Weinberg spoke on the BWNS’ podcast about how our values, our aspirations, and our needs are integrated into the […]
Sonjel Vreeland

Monthly Reflection: Ala (Loftiness) – On Characteristics I Hope to Nurture During the Fast

2 months 4 weeks ago
I think each of us has a sense, as we near the beginning of the month of Ala or Loftiness, that we are approaching a kind of spiritual threshold. A couple of weeks before the Fast begins I start to ready myself for the blessings and rigours that are latent within every minute, hour and day of the month ahead. Baha’u’llah has told us that “[e]ven though outwardly the Fast is difficult and toilsome, yet inwardly it is bounty and tranquility,” ((Baha’u’lláh, The Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting, XVI)) and “Thou hast endowed every hour of these days with a special virtue, inscrutable to all except Thee.” ((Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, US Baha’i Publishing Trust, 1987, p. 143)) For me, the 19 days of the month of Loftiness are a yearly rite of passage that give me time to prepare for the demands and opportunities that the new year will undoubtedly place before me as I emerge from my month of fasting, meditation, prayer, reflection and mindful acts of service. It is an invitation to briefly quiet the noise of the outside world and tune into the world of the spirit; a time of gathering of energy and refilling of both individual and collective wells. As Baha’u’llah tells us: 
Ariana Salvo
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1 hour 37 minutes ago
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