Over the weekend I attended a celebration for the Birth of Muhammad with a Muslim friend (a former neighbor) and his family. There was nothing unusual about this for a Baha’i. We consort with the followers of all religions. We frequently support interfaith activities. We invite our friends to Baha’i holy day observances, core activities and other Baha’i-sponsored events. And on occasion they reciprocate. We believe that there is only one God. We believe in progressive revelation. We even believe that at its heart all religion is one.
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I was raised in a small Texas town outside of Fort Worth as a Southern Baptist. My mother was extremely devout and as a child we spent almost all of our time at church or church related activities. When I got a little older my sister and I started taking musical theatre class (which was my mother’s other great passion) and those activities started taking up all of our time. But I always considered myself a very religious person. And amongst a theatre crowd, I was many times the only religiously inclined person so it became something I was known for. I ended up moving from a small town to the large city of Dallas when I was accepted into the Arts Magnet High School there for Theatre. The school was amazingly diverse with people from many different religious backgrounds like Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism, and many atheists – all of which were new to me. But it was high school and most of the conversations I had were about much less important things than God. Surprisingly though, one of my best friends as it turned out was something that I had never heard of before, a Baha’i. She hadn’t mentioned it to me the first few years that we knew each other because she knew I was rather attached to my own religious upbringing and didn’t want to freak me out (which was smart.) I took it in stride and didn’t really ask any questions about it. I had learned to be accepting of other people’s different religions if not entirely understanding of them. But my Baha’i friend was easily the most caring and compassionate person I knew, so I knew it couldn’t be a bad thing.
There has been a lot of discussion about forgiveness lately that started after the families of the victims of the Charleston Massacre expressing their forgiveness to Dylann Roof at his arraignment. Then yesterday a friend shared a Washington Post news article titled “Black America should stop forgiving white racists”. She then commented on the article asking the question, “The notion of forgiveness has been on mind recently -- after reading The Sunflower by Simon Wiesenthal -- on the possibilities and limits of forgiveness - "You are a prisoner in a concentration camp.
I am no spring chicken that when most of my life i was in search for a religion that promotes and teaches unity with diversity. While at the beach one day decided to look into the magnificent worship house and discovered the welcome center open to anyone. After researching thru the many books available and found transperancy and deep insight to all my questions , without any personal opinions, i became a Bahai and meet members that were inspiring for further my teaching of a world order that gives hope in knowing the love of god. rich davi
As to how I became a Baha'i, here is my story. I was raised by very religious parents of a major denomination, and I soon learned there were multiple faiths out there, each claiming that only it was the true religion and all the others were flawed in some respect. You either had to accept their prophet as Lord and Savior, or you would be banished to perdition when your time came. This seemed very judgmental to me, I did not care for it, and religion took a back seat in my life. Then several decades ago I learned of the Baha'i Faith when I stopped in to visit at
Being a Bahá’í was a choice for me, conscientiously investigated by mind and heart, and chosen. I was fortunate enough to become a part of a dedicated and vibrant group of individuals who helped me begin to appreciate the nature of the commitment I made. They instilled in me the attitude of lifelong learning and progress I needed to be a Bahá’í.
As we celebrate Dr. King's life today, I thought I'd share some thoughts on racism. If you feel like sharing, I'd love to hear your thoughts as well. These are incredibly important, albeit difficult, conversations to have.
By most people's definition, I am not a racist.
I don't know why. Only God can tell you that. But I know how: when my relationship broke up I moved into a duplex - women on one side, men on the other. I shared the top floor with Wanda and she used to allow me to browse her bookshelf for new treasures. I happened to notice an etched-glass panel she had, which I recognized immediately. 18 months prior to this day I sat in the back seat of a Karman Ghia and stared out the window at a building that none of us knew anything about. The picture that Wanda had was a view up one of the pylons of the House of Worship in Wilmette.
Here on Northern Illinois Baha'is there is a lot of mention about Ruhi classes so I decided to include this short explanation of what Ruhi is for those who are curious about it.