Northern Illinois Bahá'ís

Bahá'í Blogs

Tahirih, the Veil and Human Rights

Baha'i Teachings.org - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 10:00am

A poet and a mystic and a renowned 19th century scholar, she heroically died for the cause of women’s emancipation – and everyone needs to know her name. In 1848,...

The post Tahirih, the Veil and Human Rights appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Apartheid Then, Apartheid Now

Baha'i Teachings.org - Fri, 09/13/2019 - 8:00am

I work at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, one of South Africa’s largest universities. Like all higher education institutions created before 1994, it has a history immersed in racial segregation.  The...

The post Apartheid Then, Apartheid Now appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Daystar – A New Album by Ali Youssefi

Baha'i Blog - Thu, 09/12/2019 - 7:47pm

My dear friend, Ali Youssefi. has warmed a lot of hearts with his music over the years. One of his most memorable works for me, as I’m sure it is for so many others, is his montage video of 50 voices from around the world singing “Unite”.

Among his many other musical contributions, Ali also played a critical role in helping record our Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions in Belgrade, Serbia (where he was living at the time), and of which he also sang two songs called “Jedinstvo (Unity)” in Serbian, and “Oh Mi Siervo (O My Servant)” in Spanish.

Ali’s soothing voice, his ability to collaborate with others, and his skills as a musician make it exciting when he creates anything new, so I was delighted to hear that he has released an album called Daystar.

I caught up with Ali to find out more about his new album and how it all came together. I hope you enjoy our conversation!

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little bit about your album?

Daystar brings together quotes of Baha’u’llah, the Bab and Abdu’l-Baha that focus primarily on our capacity to bring light and joy into the world. Through global musical collaborations, various languages, and the exploration of many instruments and sounds it addresses individual growth, overcoming our tests and hardships, turning to our Creator for guidance, and aims to instil a sense of empowerment, especially of the younger generation, as we strive to create love and harmony in our communities and in the world. Having explored music as therapy, there is also an element of healing and consolation in these songs which I hope will uplift and comfort in these very challenging days.

Baha’i Blog: What was the main idea behind the album, and why was it important for you to make it?

We are living in a historic time. With the bicentenary of the Births of Baha’u’llah and the Bab being celebrated by millions, inspired by Their lives and teachings, a transforming energy is being released into the world. At the same time, humanity is being challenged by ever-growing disintegrating forces in society. Daystar is hoped to be a small drop towards galvanizing our efforts and reminding us of our high purpose in the midst of the tribulations around us.

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your musical background?

My journey with music has been an unconventional one. My parents, particularly my mom, always encouraged music, teaching us how to sing and harmonize from a young age on long car rides. That is when my love for harmony began. I went to a music school during my elementary years, learned the violin, played in the orchestra, sang in the choir and picked up guitar (while I was supposed to be practicing the violin). But it wasn’t until I was about 18, during a year of service in Antigua, that I started to be really fascinated by the power and effect music has on us. I started dabbling in composition at that point and decided to study music therapy, always moved by the desire to more deeply understand our relationship to music and its potentially healing nature.

Baha’i Blog: What sort of effect do you hope the album will have on its listeners?

My goal has always been to transport the listener, to create an environment or musical landscape through which they can connect more deeply and be carried by the transformative words of the Baha’i Writings, which, I believe, can bring healing and solace to the soul.

Baha’i Blog: What has the response been like so far?

I have been humbled by the response to the album so far. I feel people are resonating with different songs and parts of the album depending on what they are currently going through in their lives.

Many new friendships have also sprung from people reaching out to share their feelings about it, which I treasure more than anything. I hope it continues to reach the hearts of those who need it.

Baha’i Blog: What ‘s something about the album or one of the tracks that you can share that has touched you personally?

It’s so hard to pick only one song, each has a unique story and journey of its own. For example, “Sorrow Not”, the last track of the album is an a cappella piece that came as inspiration one year during the Fast. I was pioneering in Serbia at the time, and had been very influenced by the beautiful choral pieces heard in Orthodox churches there. The first day of the Fast, during my morning prayers, I came across this quote that just moved me to tears. I read it over several times, and a melody just began to emerge. Every morning for the next few days, I continued to dedicate a bit of time to this quote and song. I managed to compose all the parts, record and release it by the end of the Fast, which is uncommon for me. I usually let things simmer longer than that before I feel confident enough to record. It felt like a gift, a gem handed to me. Creativity, I believe, is not our own, we merely do our best to try to be channels for it.

Baha’i Blog: What advice do you have to others who are thinking about recording a Baha’i-inspired album?

I love this quote of Abdu’l-Baha, where He praises the musician’s art and encourages them to:

“Play and sing out the holy words of God with wondrous tones in the gatherings of the friends, that the listener may be freed from chains of care and sorrow, and his soul leap for joy and humble itself in prayer to the realm of Glory.” – Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha

There is a need for more Baha’i-inspired music in the world, and we all have a unique sound to contribute. It’s not always an easy process, specially as we are encouraged to strive for excellence in our crafts, but luckily, we also live at a time when we have more tools available to us that help us record and share our art with the world!

Baha’i Blog: Is there anything else you’d like to share?

This album has been a particularly special one to work on. I got married about a year and a half ago, and this has become a passion that is no longer only mine, but one that my wife and I share and take on together. She is such a creative soul, I really couldn’t have done it without her!

We are currently working on a few other things, ranging from another album (this time focused on children) to more video projects. Stay tuned!

Baha’i Blog: Lastly, how can people find out more about your music and the album?

All my music and videos can be previewed and ordered on my website, or my Bandcamp page.

The best way to stay up to date with my latest and upcoming projects is to join my mailing list which you can do on my website.

If you prefer streaming, you can find Daystar on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Deezer, etc. Simply click here and choose the platform you’d like to listen to it from: http://bit.ly/DaystarAlbum

I have also recently started a Patreon Page, which is a community-centered platform that allows people to become an integral part of an artist’s creative work by providing modest, on-going financial support. It’s a big part of what made this project possible. All patrons are the first to receive my new releases.

Baha’i Blog: Congratulations again Ali on your new album, and thank you so much for sharing this with us.

You can stream Daystar here on a variety of platforms.

Here is the official music video for “Forgiveness”, one of the tracks on ‘Daystar’:

 

The post Daystar – A New Album by Ali Youssefi appeared first on Baha'i Arts, Stories and Media.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Relationships: How to See the End in the Beginning

Baha'i Teachings.org - Thu, 09/12/2019 - 10:00am

Is knowledge greater than love? We human beings often fall in love without really knowing another person, so does knowledge come after love? It certainly does if you consider the...

The post Relationships: How to See the End in the Beginning appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

What Does It Mean to Be “Trans-religious?”

Baha'i Teachings.org - Thu, 09/12/2019 - 8:00am

In July of 1947, Shoghi Effendi, in his capacity as the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, wrote “The Faith of Baha’u’llah: A World Religion” – a summary of the origin,...

The post What Does It Mean to Be “Trans-religious?” appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Negative and Positive: What’s the Best Relationship Ratio?

Baha'i Teachings.org - Wed, 09/11/2019 - 10:00am

Imagine you and your spouse or significant other attempting to solve a conflict in your relationship in 15 minutes, while a doctor watches you – and then predicts whether your...

The post Negative and Positive: What’s the Best Relationship Ratio? appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

What It Means to “Come Down from Heaven”?

Baha'i Teachings.org - Wed, 09/11/2019 - 8:00am

When Jesus Christ explained that the prophecy of Elijah had already been fulfilled by John the Baptist, the Jewish religious leaders of the time did not receive his explanation well....

The post What It Means to “Come Down from Heaven”? appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

The Transformative Power of Prayer: How Devotional Gatherings Are Taking Root in Uganda

Baha'i Teachings.org - Tue, 09/10/2019 - 10:00am

Humanity has always relied on prayer as a source of guidance and connection with God. In the latest episode of the Baha’i World News Service podcast, Charles Oloro and Michael...

The post The Transformative Power of Prayer: How Devotional Gatherings Are Taking Root in Uganda appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Happiness vs. Morality: What’s the Higher Goal?

Baha'i Teachings.org - Tue, 09/10/2019 - 8:30am

John Stuart Mill, one of the most important 19th century philosophers, believed “that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the guiding principle of conduct.”  Mill’s idea has...

The post Happiness vs. Morality: What’s the Higher Goal? appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Quieting the Mind Through Meditation

Baha'i Teachings.org - Mon, 09/09/2019 - 10:00am

My mind always buzzes with activity, taking in stimuli, analyzing, imagining, planning, and deciding—but I often feel the need to quiet its chatter to find internal peace.  My busy brain...

The post Quieting the Mind Through Meditation appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Despite Disintegration: How a Natural Scientist Keeps Hope Alive

Baha'i Teachings.org - Mon, 09/09/2019 - 8:13am

Hope has become a rare commodity in today’s world. Everything seems to be going wrong, and the forces of disintegration are accelerating.  We may wonder what will come first: a...

The post Despite Disintegration: How a Natural Scientist Keeps Hope Alive appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

7 Great Sites for Creating Invitation Cards for Your Community Events

Baha'i Blog - Mon, 09/09/2019 - 6:02am

Let’s brainstorm! What if we named some things we’d need to do when organizing an event, such as a neighborhood holy day celebration?

Perhaps, like me, you thought about the people to invite, the programme, the food, possible music to be played (such as Bahai Blog’s Studio Sessions), the location, and then what about making invitations?!

The idea of making invitations has made me panic a little in the past, but as I’ve found, there are a lot of great online resources out there now, and so, to help us all out, I’ve created a list of seven websites to help you create your invitations. Some are free and easy-to-use, some have packaged or priced options, and two of them are for those who are more comfortable with design and programs like Photoshop.

I hope this helps and you find this list useful:

1. Greetings Island

This website allows you to easily edit and customize an invitation from a wide range of templates. Requiring no sign-up or account, you can create an invitation in as little as 4 steps! The last step allows you to download your invitation (as a jpg image or PDF), print it or send it online (via email or Facebook). You can also use the search feature to find templates based on occasion, theme, colour, etc. It also comes as an app. 

View the “Invitation Maker Card Designer” app in the App Store here.

View the “Invitation Maker by Greetings Island” app on Google Play here.

Click here to try Greetings Island now. 

2. Wedding Chicks 

Even though this is a website primarily for weddings, many of its invitation templates can be used for other events. You can select a beautiful template and can edit, resize and reposition the text. Being limited to only 1 free download (png image) of your invitation, it’s a good idea to check all the details/text are correct before downloading it. With no sign-up/account required, this website may be the one for you.

Click here to visit Wedding Chicks.

3. Desygner Invitation Templates 

Similar to the others listed above, on this website you can select an invitation template to edit or select to create a your own invitation from scratch, which may take more time. You can also upload your own photos to add a personal touch. This website requires sign-up/account and offers a limited range of free templates, although it has some extra features. And it also comes as an app.

View the “Desygner” app in the App Store. 

View the “Desygner: Free Graphic Design, Photos, Full Editor” app on Google Play.

Click here to go to Desygner Invitation Templates.

4. Piktochart 

With a larger and nicer range of infographics/templates to choose from, Piktochart is a step up from the above. Although this site also requires sign-up/account, it does have the option of a useful free trial which can help you to create/edit the professional invitation you need. It’s also available as an app for iPhones.

View the “Piktochart” app in iTunes.

Click here to go to Piktochart now.

5. Canva Invitation Templates 

You may have already used Canva as it offers templates for social media graphics in a variety of sizes and formats. Creating an account is required and some templates and features are free, but not all. It allows you to not only download your invitation (as a jpg, png image or PDF), but you can also share it with others via email or a link. Canva also comes as an app.

View the “Canva – graphic Design Creator” app in the App Store.

View the “Canva: Graphic Design & Logo, Flyer, Poster Maker” app on Google Play.

Click here to use Canva Invitation Templates.

As promised, for the more advanced designers:

6. Envato Elements

Offering everything from graphic templates to music, this site claims to have over 1 million digital assets for you to use. Upon sign-up/account log-in, you are treated to some of their many complementary assets. Subscription plans are available as either monthly or yearly. Taking your invitation to the next level seems like what they do best.

Click here to discover Envato Elements now.

7. Creative Market

With design assets from over 29,000 independent creators, you may feel like you’re spoilt for choice. Invitation templates can be purchased under either standard or extended license use. And are available in a number of different formats (PSD, PDF, AI, EPS etc.). The site also has other templates, graphics and web themes.

Click here to go to the Creative Market.

 

And that’s my list! I hope it helps you start designing the invitation for your community event. You might also find these two Baha’i Blog articles about community events useful:

10 Places to Find Photos for You and Your Community

10 Tips for Taking Photos at Community Events

Please let us know if you have any site recommendations or tips for creating invites in the comments below.

The post 7 Great Sites for Creating Invitation Cards for Your Community Events appeared first on Baha'i Arts, Stories and Media.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

The Right to Cultural Identity

Baha'i Teachings.org - Sun, 09/08/2019 - 11:11am

The Baha’i principle of “unity in diversity” includes cultural diversity, too — which means that all people have the right to their unique cultural identity, now considered a human right...

The post The Right to Cultural Identity appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Raising Your Children with a Moral Foundation

Baha'i Teachings.org - Sun, 09/08/2019 - 8:11am

Back in 1969, I lived with my dad and mom in La Porte, Texas, when a Baha’i friend from Baytown suggested we visit Austin over a weekend – so away...

The post Raising Your Children with a Moral Foundation appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

In Americas, Spirit of Oneness Moves Communities in Anticipation of Bicentenary

Baha'i Teachings.org - Sat, 09/07/2019 - 10:00am

The global momentum of bicentenary preparations is building through the Americas.  Artistic expressions, thoughtful presentations on the past and present, and other activities give a glimpse of how the continent’s...

The post In Americas, Spirit of Oneness Moves Communities in Anticipation of Bicentenary appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Celebrating the Souls of Your Grandparents

Baha'i Teachings.org - Sat, 09/07/2019 - 8:38am

Tomorrow, September 8th, the United States observes National Grandparents Day, the officially-designated time of year to recognize and honor the contributions and the love of our parents’ parents. This special...

The post Celebrating the Souls of Your Grandparents appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Dr. William Smith: Founder of the National Center for Race Amity

Baha'i Teachings.org - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 10:30am

The diversity in the human family should be the cause of love and harmony, as it is in music where many different notes blend together in the making of a...

The post Dr. William Smith: Founder of the National Center for Race Amity appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

The 3 Great Early Religions of the East

Baha'i Teachings.org - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 8:12am

What defines a civilization? Usually, we think of it as a unified, organized society with a comparatively high level of cultural development, along with an appreciation of art, science, and...

The post The 3 Great Early Religions of the East appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Special Website Dedicated to the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab

Baha'i Blog - Fri, 09/06/2019 - 5:22am

To capture the jubilant celebrations occurring all over the planet, the Baha’i World Centre has released a special website dedicated to the Bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of Bab, Prophet-Herald of the Baha’i Faith. This official website, bicentenary.bahai.org/the-bab, aims to inspire and encourage and it will be featuring more and more content in the days surrounding the Birth of Bab –- so it’s definitely worth visiting over and over again!

The website currently showcases artistic endeavors created for the occasion, and articles on the lives and teachings of the Bab and Baha’u’llah. In the coming weeks, a letter from the Universal House of Justice, a feature film called Dawn of the Light, and much more will be added. The website is currently accessible in 10 different languages. We’d encourage you to explore this website now for a dose of joy and wonder, and to continue to visit it in the coming days!

To check out the official website of the bicentenary celebrations of the Birth of the Bab, please visit https://bicentenary.bahai.org/the-bab/

You can read about the website in this Baha’i World News Service Story.

 

The post Special Website Dedicated to the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab appeared first on Baha'i Arts, Stories and Media.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Crushes, Rejection, and Reframing the Friend-Zone

Baha'i Teachings.org - Thu, 09/05/2019 - 10:00am

Everywhere young people hang out, dudes and dudettes in their early twenties hunt for a mate. This perfectly normal dance has probably happened forever, in one way or another.  The...

The post Crushes, Rejection, and Reframing the Friend-Zone appeared first on BahaiTeachings.org.

Categories: Bahá'í Blogs

Pages

Subscribe to Northern Illinois Bahá'ís  aggregator - Bahá'í Blogs