On What If We Had a Youth Conference Unlike Any We’ve Ever Had Before: Oh wait! We just did!

01-IMG_000102-IMG_000203-IMG_000304-IMG_000405-IMG_000506-IMG_000607-IMG_000708-IMG_000809-IMG_000910-IMG_001011-IMG_001112-IMG_001313-IMG_001514-IMG_001615-IMG_001716-IMG_002117-IMG_002218-IMG_0023

 

  • What if we had a youth conference that was for both Baha’is and non-Baha’is?
  • What if we had a youth conference where the focus was not on listening to a series of “big-name” speakers?
  • What if we had a youth conference where instead of “big-name” musicians coming to entertain, the participants themselves provided the music, edifying songs many of which they were responsible for creating?
  • What if we had a youth conference where the goal of a handful of adult volunteers was to “stay out of the way” so that hundreds of youth could consult together effectively and efficiently?
  • What if we had a youth conference where instead of most of the time being spent in plenary session, most was spent in small and medium working groups addressing how to build community in specific neighborhoods they have chosen to serve?
Hey wait! We just did!!
+
Check here to see our conference report, as it becomes available. -gw
+

On Good Questions: Where does this violence in the world come from? Religion?

It was a poignant meeting of cultures and minds at this week’s premiere in Israel of “The Gardener,” a documentary by Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/in-israel-a-banned-iranian-director-finds-reminders-of-his-homeland/

This clip promoting a documentary by a non-Baha’i Iranian about the Baha’i Faith asks some pretty basic questions. Where does all this violence in the world come from? Religion? -gw

+

On Instant History: Live streaming from Baha’i summer school of a talk on developments of the Faith in Iran

Live streaming from a Baha’i summer school of video of a talk by Robert Stockman on a history of developments of the Faith in Iran —  how wonderful is that! (Starts at 17 minutes 34 seconds) -gw

On the Next Time Junior Youth Are Asked What They Want To Be When They Grow Up: The answer will be different

I still try to read blogs. Saw this comment on a blog post on Reflections on Transformation about the effect of the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program to counter materialism. -gw

Another aspect of a materialistic society that I see is when I go visit my neighborhood or other neighborhoods. When I ask the junior youth who they admire, some will say my uncle. And of course, I will ask them why? And often, it’s because they are a doctor or lawyer. I will still ask them but why? The answer is because they have made money. There is nothing wrong with being a doctor or a lawyer which are wonderful professions. The root of the problem is the focus on money and materialism.

The Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program helps these friends to develop spiritual perception which is to look at the spiritual qualities of their friends, relatives, and humanity. In this way, they are encouraging each other to become better human beings and at the same time serve the world. So next time, I ask them what they want to do when they grow up after reading “Breezes of Confirmation” where they talk about professions. They will say, I want to be a doctor to help heal people, to contribute to the advancement of medicine and our society, and nothing wrong with also saying to spend on my family and loved ones.

http://reflections-on-transformation.blogspot.com/2013/04/selfless-service.html#comment-form

In our cluster, Tigers junior youth reading a story from Breezes of Confirmation

On the Love of One’s Country: An element of the Faith of God

The love of one’s country, as “an element of the Faith of God,” … should not, indeed it cannot, be construed as a repudiation, or regarded in the light of a censure, pronounced against a sane and intelligent patriotism.:”

The Wider, Inclusive Loyalty

1-IMG_2758

We were camping by a marina on a spit of land we thought would be quite isolated. As it was the 4th of July weekend, we discovered that Tokeland WA can be a very bustling place. It is a community after all, a town with people who live and work there. People came out in droves for their annual parade, a genuinely interesting experience for Bonita and me. There is something lovely about love of country, easier to appreciate perhaps from the vantage point of a small town that lies three hours away from the somewhat big city we live in, where I’ve avoided the annual all-day festival which draws hundreds of thousands. -gw

On I Heard the Call of the Firebird: Will they not hear?

3-IMG_2763

I heard the call of the firebird. -gw

2-IMG_2717

The bird of paradise is warbling; will they not hear?

Abdul-Baha 

The Huma (Persianهما‎, pronounced HomāAvestanHumaya), also Homa, is a legendary bird especially of the Persian branch of Iranian mythology[1][2] and Sufi fable

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huma_(mythology)

1-IMG_2472

On Paddling Up the Smith River With the Tide: Seeing the eagle was our lote tree

1-IMG_2908

Yesterday we conquered Smith River. For us that means we went as far up it as we could. Where the channel narrowed and had a flow, it was time to turn around. We do flatwater only.

Smith River is a tidal river, my favorite body of water. Ideally you hit a tidal river going up with the tide, and going down as the tide goes out. That means you either have to consult a tide table, or just be lucky.

I had another destination in mind for our paddle, one where the tides didn’t matter, but when I noted that we could be on the water at high high tide, as opposed to low high, the very best possible circumstance, I told Bonita we needed to do the Smith instead.

We’d done the Smith before, but the river was already half emptied out when we started, so we didn’t get very far, and we saw plenty of mud banks. This time we we zigged and zagged to the max, right to the point where the river stops being influenced by the tides, several miles up from the mouth.

Just as we approached that point, over the pool of water that marked the end of the tidal stretch, we saw an eagle, an immature that did not yet have the distinctive white head and tail. When that eagle flew away we saw a mature eagle as well join it in flight.

Our eagle sighting was the “lote tree” on our watery path. See the eagles and we could go no farther. Time to turn around. -gw

Say, this of a certainty is the Garden of Repose, the loftiest Point of adoration, the Tree beyond which there is no passing, the blessed Lote-Tree, the Most Mighty Sign, the most beauteous Countenance and the most comely Face.

Selections From the Writings of the Báb

On a Rhythm Divine: Baha’i-inspired musician featured on Australian radio

 

According to Baha’is music is a ladder for souls to rise, and this week we explore one of Asia’s growing religious communities, the Baha’i faith, through the words and music of a rising young Australian musician of Chinese heritage, Natasha Chiang. Natasha’s debut album Kindle is a collection of indie-folk devotional songs in English and Mandarin that look toward an Asian audience.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/rhythmdivine/the-soul27s-ladder/4778494

Baha’i musician featured on Australian radio, available as a podcast. -gw

About Us

The Rhythm Divine is a musical journey through the world of spirituality, exploring contemporary sacred sounds and the world’s devotional music.

From the sounds of the Sufis to gospel choirs, from tribal ambient to Nick Cave, from electronic mantras to Zen meditations, it is a soundtrack to the spirit.

The Rhythm Divine explores the deep river of music and song from the world’s religious traditions, from the new spiritual practices, and from the fusion of religion and pop culture. The music might be traditional and liturgical, part of a worship service or rite of passage. It might be worldly and popular and yet in its own way a vehicle for sacred expression

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/rhythmdivine/about/

On the End Is Near: Wear layers and take an umbrella

The end is near
The end is near

Mead — artist, Baha’i and community builder — writes a meaty blog. I love his commentaries, the day-to-day observations of a person committed to learning what it takes so that collectively we can move from tens serving hundreds to hundreds serving thousands in this process of spiritual community building Baha’is and their friends are engaged in.  Some days we may wake up and think, “the end is near.” It’s not. The end of one thing is the beginning of another. (I don’t know how many times I have returned to this theme over the course of the 7 1/2 years I’ve been doing this blog.) Mead started his day in a fog. -gw

Then, as I got ready to come into work today, it was pouring. The fog had melted away and the whole area was being scrubbed clean by the seemingly boundless rains.

Now it’s sunny again.

This is a day of unexpected change and those of us who live here have to adapt. We all dress in layers, and everyone here either has a raincoat or umbrella that they are carrying, or a frown.

And all of this reminds me of the Baha’i community today.

Change is happening, faster, in most cases, than we can imagine.

http://onebahai.blogspot.com/2013/06/ridvan-message-2013-part-3.html

Invaders vs Blitz 323
Spectators to the process of change have it coming

On Respecting Sincere Differences of View: The essence of all the Prophets of God is one

Tacoma Catholic Church spire
Tacoma Catholic Church spire

The high moral ground must be separated from the lower. Let each choose his turf. I would prefer to stand with anyone of any Faith who chooses the higher ground, always respecting sincere differences of view, learning from those whose perspective is different than my own, as I acknowledge that I surely cannot see all there is to see, for I am not omniscient. Whether there is agreement or not as to matters of Faith, it is the manner or reasoning and courteous discussion that counts highest and yields wondrous fruits, satisfying spiritual hunger. So much of our mutual Faith is in fact rooted in the same Divine Source, as Baha’is accept all of the Prophets sent by God in the Old and New Testaments, and seek still to understand them more fully in light of what they regard as the fulfillment of that which has been written of Those Who were yet promised to come in those same Holy Books.

“Know thou assuredly that the essence of all the Prophets of God is one and the same. Their unity is absolute. God, the Creator, saith: There is no distinction whatsoever among the Bearers of My Message. They all have but one purpose; their secret is the same secret. To prefer one in honor to another, to exalt certain ones above the rest, is in no wise to be permitted. Every true Prophet hath regarded His Message as fundamentally the same as the Revelation of every other Prophet gone before Him. If any man, therefore, should fail to comprehend this truth, and should consequently indulge in vain and unseemly language, no one whose sight is keen and whose understanding is enlightened would ever allow such idle talk to cause him to waver in his belief.”

http://forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=10914475&postcount=278

Interesting discussion going on on the Catholic Answers Forum. -gw

Haifa is a city of Arabs, Jews AND Christians
Haifa is a city of Arabs, Jews AND Christians