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Northern Illinois Bahá'ís

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My Tribe: How Identity Politics Got Started

Baha'i - Sat, 12/22/2018 - 10:00am

Identity politics has become a strong force in contemporary society. But few people really understand the phrase “identity politics” or how it got started—so let’s explore it. Nobody claims to...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Sir Isaac Newton & Baha’u’llah: a Harmony of Science and Religion

Baha'i - Sat, 12/22/2018 - 8:00am

The harmony of science and religion is a basic Baha’i principle—so suppose that a renowned scientist were to weigh in on prophecy. What would that scientist say? Wouldn’t we expect...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Is Education the Key to Social Change?

Baha'i - Fri, 12/21/2018 - 10:25am

Many people think of the American educational system as the world’s finest—but we have much to improve before we reach that level of excellence. Racial segregation still plagues many communities,...

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Who Will Save the World?

Baha'i - Fri, 12/21/2018 - 8:55am

The world, this physical place we know as planet Earth, is 4.5 billion years old—at least as far as our scientists can tell. Our planet is made up of a...

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Marika Yeo’s Fascinating Exploration of Art and Social Justice

Baha'i - Thu, 12/20/2018 - 11:40am

The contemporary artist Marika Yeo examines current political and social justice systems and asks how we can remove their divisive barriers. Her art attempts to take down those barriers in...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

If Humans Are All Related, Why Do We Have Borders?

Baha'i - Thu, 12/20/2018 - 8:55am

Human beings sure have figured out a whole boatload of ways to divide and separate themselves from one another. You’re Armenian, I’m Kenyan. You’re rich, I’m poor. You’re upper class,...

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The Quiet Audience

One Bahá'í's Approach - Wed, 12/19/2018 - 11:19am
Mulla Husayn will long be remembered for being the first Letter of the Living, the first of those great souls to recognize the Bab, paving the way for all of us who came after him.

After the last of the Letters of the Living recognized Him, the Bab sent each of them on their own special mission. One was sent to Iraq. Another was to join Him on His Pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. Most were sent to teach the Faith in their hometowns. But Mulla Husayn was given a special mission, one that would have great and wonderful consequences.

He was sent by the Bab north, to spread the Cause in the cities of Isfahan, Kashan, Tihran, and Khurasan. Now this was not a random assignment. He had already made a name for himself in those areas, having visited them on behalf of Siyyid Kazim. He had proven himself an able scholar, wise, virtuous, and detached from all save God. It made a lot of sense to send him to these cities.

But, of course, there was more to it than just that. Before he left, the Bab told Mulla Husayn that one of the cities he was to visit held "a mystery of such transcendent holiness as neither Hijaz nor Shiraz can hope to rival". This meant that he would encounter something greater than either Muhammad or the Bab Himself. Hijaz, of course, referred to Muhammad, while Shiraz referred to the Bab. This, obviously, would not have been lost on Mulla Husayn. So he likely went forth not only willing to do his Lord's bidding, but eager to see what this mystery would be. He also would have been praying to God for assistance in being able to recognize it.

As you can imagine, things were very interesting wherever he went on this journey. He went to Isfahan first, being the first major city on his route. When he got there, he went to the school which he had previously visited on behalf of Siyyid Kazim, only to discover that the great teacher whose admiration and support he had won had passed away. Those former students who were now in charge of the school allowed their jealousy of his knowledge and wisdom to prevail, and denounced Mulla Husayn and his Message. One of the only people to accept the new Message in this city of scholars was a lowly sifter of wheat, whose story I shall recount another time.

From Isfahan, he went on to Kashan, Qum, and then on to Tihran.

In Tihran he took lodging at a famous religious school, directed by the leader of the Shaykhi community, the very community of Siyyid Kazim and Mulla Husayn.

This leader, however, ignored the very purpose of the Shaykhi community, namely to search for the Promised One after the passing of Siyyid Kazim, and was too caught up in being the head of it, instead. When Mulla Husayn delivered his Message, this teacher ignored the Bab's claim and instead rebuked Mulla Husayn for abandoning the Shaykhi community.

As you can imagine, Mulla Husayn delivered his message with wisdom and courtesy, and likely responded to the criticism with detachment. He left this leader to his own devices, and proceeded to spread the Message of the Bab in other parts of the city, leaving the school's lodgings early in the morning and returning late at night.

One of the students, however, Mulla Muhammad of Nur, had overheard the discussion between his teacher and Mulla Husayn. He was deeply touched by this new Message, and ashamed of the arrogance shown by his teacher.

On his own, around midnight one evening, Mulla Muhammad sought out Mulla Husayn in his rooms. Despite the late hour, he found him awake and seated by a lamp. Mulla Husayn greeted his unexpected guest with such loving welcome that this man was even further moved by his Message.

"I can now see", Mulla Husayn told him, "the reason why I have chosen to dwell in this place. Your teacher has contemptuously rejected this Message and despised its Author. My hope is that his pupil may, unlike his master, recognize its truth."

The conversation which followed led Mulla Husayn to recognize that great Mystery hidden in Tihran. But like the story of the Sifter of Wheat, that is for another time.

What is interesting here, and deeply relevant to our own circumstances today, is this encounter with Mulla Muhammad.

Many times we will find ourselves in a conversation, showing a truth or presenting a cogent argument, with someone who is just not open to the idea at all. And often during these moments we may be inclined to push a point or react with either dismay or anger. But most of the time the impact of the conversation will not be with the person with whom we are speaking. It will be with someone who just happens to overhear it. And if we push our point, or show anger at their "not getting it", then we are no different than anyone else. but when we respond with calm courtesy, and dignity, we can stand out.

I remember being in a used bookstore in San Diego many years ago, and looking through the religious section. Another customer came over to me and showed interest in the fact that I was interested in religious studies. We began to talk, and in the course of the conversation I naturally mentioned that I was a Baha'i. Things, as they say, went south from there. He began to chastise me, yell at me, tell me that I was going to hell, and so on. A preternatural calm came over me during this time, which is most unusual for me, and I responded to his comments with quiet courtesy, and simple points referenced from the Bible itself. Each of my comments had the singular effect of making him more and more upset. My calm reaction to his tirade did nothing but further fuel his anger. It finally got to the point where the owner of the store came over and proceeded to kick this poor man out. I, in the meantime, went back to looking over the section, wondering why I was so calm.

The owner came over and apologized profusely for this whole scene, which was no fault of his own. I assured him of this point, and thanked him for his intervention. Then, to my surprise, a few moments later, a woman came from the other side of the bookshelves and said, "I heard what you were saying about the Baha'i Faith. And if this faith leads you to remain so calm under such an attack, I want to know more. Can you tell me about it?"

Whether it is in a bookstore under circumstances like this, or on-line in a conversation in which someone has posted a prejudicial comment, our calm reaction to such things is probably not going to teach the person showing such hatred or anger. It can, however, teach those who are watching.

And in the case of Mulla Husayn, it led to him being able to share the Message of the Bab with Baha'u'llah Himself.
Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

How to Grow Love Through Community Development Projects

Baha'i - Wed, 12/19/2018 - 10:29am

A couple of nights ago, at a meeting with a few other Baha’is, we reflected on our efforts to improve the spiritual and social conditions in our neighborhood. We talked...

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What Does Prosperity Mean to You?

Baha'i - Wed, 12/19/2018 - 8:00am

Hoping to better organize my home office, I got an additional bookcase this week—and now I can readily see several of my old books on the theme of prosperity. Much...

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Táhirih proclaims “the Day of Resurrection” – ‘Abdu’l-Baha describes the circumstances

Bahá'í Stories - Wed, 12/19/2018 - 3:30am
In Badasht there was a field with a stream running through it and gardens to either side. Quddús remained concealed in one of the gardens, and Táhirih resided in the other. A tent had been pitched for Bahá’u’lláh on that field, and the other believers were also housed in tents erected on the same field. In the evenings Bahá’u’lláh, Quddús, and Táhirih would meet. Bahá’u’lláh made a solemn agreement with them that the truth of the Cause would be proclaimed at Badasht, but no specific day was designated.

Then, by chance, Bahá’u’lláh fell ill. As soon as he was informed, Quddús emerged from his concealment and entered Bahá’u’lláh’s tent. Táhirih sent a message saying: “Either bring Bahá’u’lláh to the garden where I reside or I will come myself.” Quddús said: “Bahá’u’lláh is unwell and cannot come”, which was a signal. Táhirih, seizing upon the opportunity, arose and, unveiled, came forth from the garden. She proceeded towards the tent of Bahá’u’lláh crying out and proclaiming: “I am the Trumpet-blast; I am the Bugle-call!”—which are two of the signs of the Day of Resurrection mentioned in the Qur’án. Calling out in this fashion, she entered the tent of Bahá’u’lláh. No sooner had she entered than Bahá’u’lláh instructed the believers to recite the Súrih of the Event from the Qur’án, a Súrih that describes the upheaval of the Day of Resurrection.
In such wise was the Day of Resurrection proclaimed. The believers were seized with such fear and terror that some fled, others remained bewildered and dumbfounded, and still others wept and lamented. Some were so dismayed that they fell ill, and Hájí Mullá Ismá‘íl was so overcome with fear and terror that he cut his own throat. But after a few days, peace and composure were regained and the confusion and anxiety were dispelled. Most of those who had fled became steadfast again, and the episode of Badasht drew to a close. - ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a talk, new resources prepared by the Baha’i World Center; Online ‘Baha’i Reference Library’)
Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

14 Books About the Baha’i Faith and Christianity

Baha'i Blog - Tue, 12/18/2018 - 6:43pm

As many friends of Baha’is around the world prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and in the spirit of celebrating the divine origin of Christianity, we thought we’d share a short list of books about Christianity and the Baha’i Faith. The list includes titles written by Abdu’l-Baha and by early Baha’is as well as some fresh off the printing press; you’ll find books about the fulfilment of prophecy, and books that examine the Sacred Writings of both faiths. This list is by no means exhaustive, but we hope it gives you a glimpse of some of the titles out there on this subject.

1. Talks by Abdu’l-Baha: The Spirit of Christ

This spiritually uplifting and thought-provoking collection contains talks given by Abdu’l-Baha that pay tribute to the spirit of Jesus Christ and the significance of His teachings and station.


2. Some Answered Questions by Abdu’l-Baha

Some Answered Questions is a collection of transcriptions of table talks given by Abdu’l-Baha in Akka between 1904 and 1906 in response to questions posed by Laura Dreyfus-Barney, an American Baha’i resident in Paris, and first published in 1908. This work features a section of talks relating to Christianity. It can be read in full on the Baha’i Reference Library.

3. 1844: Convergence in Prophecy in Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Baha’i Faith by Eileen Maddocks

In this work you can explore the prophecies of Daniel and successive Revelations and read how they are all linked.


4. Light of the Kingdom: Biblical Topics in the Baha’i Writings by JoAnn Borovicka

This book explores is the Baha’i Writings. Its unique approach is that it does that through the organizational framework of the Bible and through high interest biblical topics. If you’d like to know more, we interviewed JoAnn here on Baha’i Blog.

5. The Half of It was Never Told by Carolyn Sparey Fox

This book is set in the 19th century, when many were filled with excitement and expectation that the prophecies in the Bible and the Quran would be fulfilled. Carolyn’s book charts the stories of three men who never met, William Miller, Joseph Wolff and Mulla Husayn, who were all dedicated and devoted to their quest of finding the Promised One. Only one of them found what he was looking for. If you’re curious to know more, we interviewed Carolyn Sparey Fox here on Baha’i Blog.

6. In the Glory of the Father: The Baha’i Faith and Christianity by Brian Lepard

This is a personal story of spiritual search and discovery that connects the relationship between the teachings of Christianity and the teachings of the Baha’i Faith. Author Brian Lepard begins by drawing on his childhood religious experiences and his study of the Bible and holy books from other world religious traditions. He recounts his own personal spiritual journey and discovery of the Baha’i Faith.

7. Commonalities: A Positive Look at Latter-Day Saints from a Baha’i Perspective by Serge van Neck

By highlighting the many principles Mormons and Baha’is have in common, and by providing an in-depth look at core Mormon beliefs and scriptures, this book aims to increase common understanding.


8. Promises Fulfilled: Christianity, Islam and the Baha’i Faith by Nabil Hanna

Nabil Hanna’s work examines the promises made in both the Bible and the Koran concerning the coming of the Promised One and it highlights the agreement found in the Sacred Texts of all three of the world religions explored.


9. The Baha’i Proofs by Mirza Abu’l-Fadl

The Baha’i Proofs is specifically compiled for anyone seeking clarification on the relationship between the Missions of Christ and of Baha’u’llah. It not only explains the timelessness of the Baha’i Faith, but it also addresses many theological questions related to Christianity.


10. The Wine of Astonishment by William Sears

A classic and popular book re-printed by popular demand that demonstrates that Baha’u’llah has fulfilled all of the promises in the Bible. It offers proof that in His teachings you will find the wisdom, love, guidance, and assurance the peoples of all religions have been waiting.


11. Thief in the Night by William Sears

Perhaps the greatest mystery story of all time, that of Christ’s return, is presented here. Hand of the Cause of God William Sears presents questions and evidences that are very thought provoking.


12. He Cometh with Clouds: A Baha’i View of Christ’s Return by Gary Matthews

Gary L. Matthews’ popular book investigates the Bible’s teachings about the Second Coming and explores the relationship between Christ and Baha‡’u’ll‡ah.


13. The Heart of the Gospel by George Townsend

Hand of the Cause of God George Townsend shares the story of the spiritual evolution of humanity using Bible texts.



14. Abraham: One God, Three Wives, Five Religions by Frances Worthington

This is a groundbreaking examination of Abraham, one of the most beloved and significant religious figures in history. Author Frances Worthington researches the three wives/concubines (Sarah, Hagar, and Keturah) of Abraham, and traces their lineage to five different religions – Christianity, Judaism, Islam, the Babi Faith, and the Baha’i Faith.

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

How Can Art Promote Social Justice?

Baha'i - Tue, 12/18/2018 - 11:04am

Can our approach to art unite us? Can art promote justice? How can individual identity be used in art as a means of bringing oneness to humanity? These are familiar...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

The Spiritual Ingredients of Life: Humans Do Not Live on Bread Alone

Baha'i - Tue, 12/18/2018 - 9:04am

I consider it a great blessing in my life that my wife and I have had some control over our career paths. We were not destined by poverty to accept...

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Why I Took a Gap Year to Volunteer in My Youth

Baha'i - Mon, 12/17/2018 - 10:44am

If you’re young, have you ever thought of taking a gap year, and just going somewhere to learn, help others and explore? Well, many young Baha’is do exactly that—commit to...

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Does the Smallest Thing in the World Hold a Secret to Our Universe?

Baha'i - Mon, 12/17/2018 - 8:00am

Abdu’l-Baha noted that the more refined matter becomes, the more closely it begins to resemble the non-particulate, non-composite properties of spiritual reality: As we look upon the universe, we observe...

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Who are the Real Life Superheroes Among Us?

Baha'i - Sun, 12/16/2018 - 9:55am

Some of the most fun movies in recent years have been about superheroes—and many of the films showcase characters from earlier comics, while others introduce new ones. In either case,...

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Why is Nationalism Making a Comeback?

Baha'i - Sun, 12/16/2018 - 8:13am

Despite the contraction of the world into a virtual neighborhood, populism and nationalism have seemingly had a recent resurgence. What explains those trends? One explanation comes from a 1997 book...

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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Equals and Partners: A Memoir by Patricia Verge About Reconciliation and Oneness

Baha'i Blog - Sat, 12/15/2018 - 6:01pm

If you’re a Baha’i Blog reader in Canada, you might know about how the country is poised to reconcile its centuries-long fraught history with Indigenous peoples and to establish justice. In this part-memoir, part-scholarly work, Patricia Verge records her decades-long friendship with the Stoney Nakoda Nation in southern Alberta, Canada. She explores how her spiritual journey has been intimately entwined with service among Indigenous people and she wonders about the fundamental spiritual principles that should guide this challenging reconciliation process and bring together peoples who have been separated for so long. Her book, Equals and Partners: A Spiritual Journey Toward Reconciliation and Oneness, Wazin Îchinabi, is a story of love about commitment to the principle of the oneness of humanity.

Patricia, or Pat as she’s lovingly called, happily shared a little about her new book and the creative process behind it. Here’s what she shared with us:

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am Canadian of Croatian ancestry on my mother’s side, and Irish ancestry on my father’s. I encountered the Baha’i Faith while living in Germany and became a Baha’i in Halifax many moons ago. My husband and I have two children and four grandchildren.

For nearly four decades, I‘ve been connected to the Stoney Nakoda people who live just west of where I live now, in Cochrane, Alberta, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Baha’i Blog: For those who may not know, could you tell us a little bit about what Reconciliation means?

Reconciliation is a vast subject, with many aspects, as we move forward to create better, healthier and more just relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada. As your readers may know, there has been a lot of separation and injustice that has occurred in our history, particularly with regard to residential schools. Much healing is required. For the book, I found two definitions to be helpful. One is a quote from Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).  He said: “Reconciliation turns on this concept: I want to be your friend and I want you to be mine. And if we are friends then I will have your back when you need it and you’ll have mine.” The second is from the submission of the Baha’i Community of Canada to the TRC in September 2013, which states: “When we speak of reconciliation we are referring to the movement towards peace and unity, and the individual and collective transformation that is required in order to achieve that goal. Reconciliation involves a process that contributes to the achievement of progressively greater degrees of unity and trust. Fundamentally, reconciliation is a spiritual process. It is the process of realizing the essential oneness of humanity in all dimensions of human life.”

Baha’i Blog: What inspired you to put this book together?

Author Patricia Verge

There have been Baha’is on Stoney Nakoda First Nation since the 50’s, and I was asked to write the Baha’i history. As I set out to do it, I realized that, despite being involved for so long, I was quite ignorant of the history of the settlement of Canada. I felt very inadequate. So I began to dig into it, broadly, and then specifically into some of the history of the signing of Treaty 7 in this area, and of the Nakoda people themselves. I was also able to attend three sessions of the TRC meetings. Finding out the history was quite devastating, but explained so many of the conditions I had encountered. I do feel also that we all need to do a learning journey about the history. This is happening much more now, thank goodness, even at the school level across Canada and will help a great deal, I believe, in fostering understanding and better relationships.

Baha’i Blog: What’s something that you learned during the process of putting this book together?

I had to struggle to figure out what form the book should take, and I finally settled on the memoir. It became a story of my own spiritual journey and how it has been entwined with Indigenous people, and what I have learned and am still learning. In many ways, it is a tribute and a love story to the Nakoda people, who have been so kind to me and my family. I realized I couldn’t tell their story, only mine, that it will be up to them to tell their own stories.

Baha’i Blog: What do you hope people will take away from this book?

My story is very personal and there are also others involved with Baha’i processes on the reserve, both souls from the community, and a few youth and older folks from nearby who are learning to accompany them. In the book, there are reflections on how many Baha’i principles relate to this area of service, spiritual prerequisites for building strong bonds of friendship, and how the Institute Process empowers all people to take charge of their own intellectual, spiritual and social development.

Though the book is my journey of learning, I am hopeful it will be helpful to others. By the way, “Wazin Îchinabi” means “oneness” in the Stoney Nakoda language!

Baha’i Blog: Thank you so much, Pat, for sharing this with us!

You can purchase Equals and Partners here on Amazon. You can also find out more about Pat and her work on her website:


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Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

The Spiritual Effects of Expressing Gratitude

Baha'i - Sat, 12/15/2018 - 10:00am

Known for its ambition, New York City overflows with people who put their heads down and work, work, work until they reach their goal. Those of us who live in...

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Is Life an Illusion? The Spiritual Meaning of ‘The Matrix’

Baha'i - Sat, 12/15/2018 - 8:02am

I’ve been reading the bestselling book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari—but I find myself questioning some of the author’s key premises. This well-written book is...

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