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Going to Sky Creek PDF Print E-mail
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Being unaffiliated
Written by Karen Hayre Bacquet, Karen's Thoughts   
Sunday, 14 December 2014

All I know is that by time it was over, my dance with the Divine Beloved was done

Exactly how I made the journey from unenrolled Baha'i to Buddhist is kind of hard to describe. It's something that I never thought would happen, and was not at all my intent when I began looking for local places where I might find a group to meditate with. These groups don't get hung up on what you believe, specifically. The only question I have been asked is whether or not I'm a beginner at meditation – because the practice is the center of what you're doing there, not teaching or reaffirming yourself in a particular set of propositions. Even textual study is done with a critical eye – it's not at all uncommon for me to hear someone say that they just flat disagree with a passage in the Tao Te Ching. But it would be wrong to call it irreverent – it's a very respectful atmosphere. Nobody bows as much as Buddhists do. Sometimes I'm not all that sure what we're bowing to – the room, the statues of the Buddhas, the current teacher, each other, or just to the East. In any case, I could have retained Baha'i belief and meditated with these folks, and no one would have had a problem with it because beliefs of any kind are rarely discussed.

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Just Robin White PDF Print E-mail
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Art and Literature
Written by Diana Dekker, Stuff   
Saturday, 13 December 2014

Artist Dame Robin White with her work at Pataka.

Dame Robin White's artwork "Ko e Hala Hangatonu: The Straight Path" is 25 metres long. It runs, in a copper-coloured avenue of painted tapa, at Pataka Museum of Arts and Cultures in Porirua. It is White's most ambitious artwork and took two years to complete. She created it in collaboration with young Tongan artist Ruha Fifita and a community of other Tongan women.

...it could equally reference White's undeviating Baha'i faith, coupled with an irregular life path.

The Straight Path, with its hand-worked patterns, relates to a world journey – but it could equally reference White's undeviating Baha'i faith, coupled with an irregular life path.

Pataka is close to where White taught art at Mana College after her "golden years" at Elam School of Fine Arts. It is also close to where she lived, as a teacher, as part of one of the country's wildest early conglomerations of young idealists and intellectuals.

Poet Sam Hunt was there at Bottle Creek, Paremata, not far from her corrugated iron shack, and so was the late historian Michael King along with unfurling wordsmiths Jack Lasenby, Fleur Adcock and Alistair Te Ariki Campbell. They came and went, loved, discussed and created their way through the late 1960s and 1970s.

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 13 December 2014 )
 
How a perversion of human nature PDF Print E-mail
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The Subject of Boys
Written by Lukas Jung, Zeit Online   
Friday, 28 November 2014

[automatically translated from German to English by Google Translate]

I'm gay and a follower of the Bahai religion. A dilemma in that the Baha'is do not allow homosexuality.

Bahai temple in New Delhi | © Shilpa Anand / Reuters

A few years ago I resigned from the church and converted to the Baha'i faith. Baha'is believe that the Divine for humans is not clear but is revealed through spiritual personalities in different cultures and eras. These figures include not only Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Baha'i faith, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Krishna, and the founders of other religions.

The aim of the Baha'i Revelation is the unity of mankind in diversity. Bahai not proselytize why. They recognize the other religions unconditionally and enter into a dialogue with them. You want to build a peaceful and united society of people in all their diversity.

These views and the lived spirituality in the form of simple devotions, prayers, meditations and the service of the people told me too much. In a pretty young church I learned to better understand the scriptures, to broaden my horizons to develop myself spiritual, human and intellectual further. Soon I also took over functions in the community. I became a member of spiritual councils, even once chairman of such Council. It was a wonderful time.

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City seeks to get handle on local homeless situation PDF Print E-mail
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Social Action
Written by John Stroud, Post Independent, Glenwood Springs, USA   
Thursday, 27 November 2014
One of the many faces of the homeless population in Glenwood Springs, Paul Wilm, shown here on a snowy Tuesday morning near Ninth and Blake, recently returned to the area while awaiting word on VA benefits that he is hoping will help ease his own situation.

An unsuccessful attempt to land a job in Denver recently while working to line up benefits through the Veterans Administration ultimately landed Paul Wilm back on the streets of Glenwood Springs Monday night.

It’s the place Wilm has called “home” since 2009 when he first came to Glenwood after a divorce, and amid dealing with lingering trauma from three years of active military duty with the Army National Guard, including a tour in Baghdad, Iraq.

Wilm said he often gets steered toward Christian-based assistance agencies. But as a practitioner of the Bahai’i Faith, he said he feels alienated

But “home” is a relative term for the 37-year-old veteran, since most of his time here has been spent living out of his vehicle while trying to get his life back together.

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Ledoux, Urbain (1874-1941) PDF Print E-mail
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Individuals and groups
Written by "Encyclopedia of American Recessions and Depressions", edited by Daniel Leab   
Thursday, 27 November 2014

A flamboyant self-promoter, many of whose charitable activities skirted the edge of legality and incurred the wrath of the authorities, he dramatically publicized the plight of the unemployed especially during the economic downturn of 1920–1921. Ledoux credited much of what he did for the down and out, in bad times and good, to his Baha'i faith (with its emphasis on good works and on ending extremes poverty and wealth). Ledoux was one of Baha'i's earliest practitioners in the United States and Canada

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 27 November 2014 )
 
Bahais demand minority status PDF Print E-mail
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Community and administration
Written by Abantika Ghosh, Indian Express   
Sunday, 23 November 2014

Less than a year after the UPA government declared Jains as a minority community, the Bahai community has reignited its demand for the status. The community much like the Jains is affluent, but it asserts that the status is a matter of recognition rather than plea for help.

We had asked for more information from the community and they did submit some… But, that was not enough for the commission

Bahai representatives had met Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla in this regard and she, it was learnt, referred the matter to the National Commission for Minorities. The matter was also taken up by the NCM in more than one meeting, but the commission felt that it did not have enough data on the socio-economic condition of the community to make a concrete recommendation. It is now for the Ministry of Minority Affairs to take a call. There are around two million Bahais in India and the community is perhaps best known for the Lotus Temple. The religion traces its roots to Iran — the birthplace of Bahaullah, its prophet.

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Station of scholars and historians in the Baha'i faith (1999) PDF Print E-mail
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Baha'i studies
Written by Juan Cole, Talk.Religion.Bahai   
Saturday, 15 November 2014

Many Baha'is from the global South have grown up in dictatorships or their parents did, and they think about the institutions of the faith as like the governmental dictatorship they experienced. Dictatorships typically severely restrict freedom of speech, jail academics, denounce them for undue "pride," practice censorship, and allow no public questioning of announced government policy. Many Baha'is think of the Universal House of Justice as such a dictatorial body, and believe that when they speak all must be silent.

I don't believe, however, that Baha'u'llah much cared for dictatorships, and he strove mightily to challenge the absolute monarchies of his own day, which he consigned to the dust heap of history with the advent of universal reason among the people.

Last I checked, this system does not produce chaos, and everyone seems to know what the actual law is.

There is another model, which is that of the Supreme Court in democracies. The Supreme Court's decisions stand as the law of the land. But in democracies, professors in law schools can write journal articles in law reviews that examine the reasoning of the decisions, re-examine the law, and come to a different conclusion. As long as the Supreme Court does not find these arguments persuasive, they remain nothing more than obscure journal articles. The Supreme Court's decisions define the law. Sometime the court will take up a law review article and incorporate its reasoning into their new decision. But they don't have to. It is the decision of the Court. Nevertheless, they do not seek to prevent the law professors from writing their articles. Last I checked, this system does not produce chaos, and everyone seems to know what the actual law is.

I think this is a much better model than that of the supreme dictator (like the Shah or Khomeini) for the Baha'i community. So, my answer to your question is very simple. The Universal House of Justice has the authority to decide such issues as whether women are admitted to that body, and as long as they stick to their decision that is Baha'i law. But they do not have the authority to prevent the free and conscientious expression of other views, as long as these are advertised merely as personal and non-authoritative opinion. Thus, historians may examine the evolution of the gender issue in Baha'i institutions, and freely publish their results, but these results do not have to be adopted by the House of Justice.

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 15 November 2014 )
 
What does Baha’i Scripture say about homosexuality? PDF Print E-mail
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The Subject of Boys
Written by Sonja van Kerkhoff, Just a Bahai   
Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Nothing.

Nothing. For Baha’is, Baha’i Scripture is everything penned by The Bab and Baha’u’llah, and the interpretations by Baha’u’llah’s son ‘Abdul-Baha, and where Shoghi Effendi (‘Abdul-Baha’s grandson) wrote in his capacity as official interpreter of Baha’i Scripture. It is a source of pride for many Baha’is to be able to state that we have authoritative scripture. That is to have access to the actual texts (or accurate translations of texts) as the sources for Baha’i Scripture.

“Unity of doctrine is maintained by the existence of the authentic texts of Scripture and the voluminous interpretations of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi, together with the absolute prohibition against anyone propounding “authoritative” or “inspired” interpretations or usurping the function of Guardian. Unity of administration is assured by the authority of the Universal House of Justice.”

Universal House of Justice, to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Netherlands, March 9, 1965: Wellspring of Guidance, pp. 52-53

The only mention of homosexuality in authoritative Bahai text (not Scripture) is in five letters written by secretaries on behalf of Shoghi Effendi penned between 1949 and 1955.

 
Iran Is Using a Neocon to Hack Its Foes PDF Print E-mail
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Bahais in Iran
Written by Eli Lake, The Daily Beast   
Sunday, 09 November 2014
John Bolton

John Bolton, the former U.N. ambassador under George W. Bush, is playing an unexpectedly prominent role in an Iranian cyberspying campaign.

In Iran’s intelligence war against America, the regime has a new weapon: “John R. Bolton.”

This is what happened to Kit Bigelow, one of Washington’s leading advocates for the Baha’i...

No, Iran has not turned President Bush’s former ambassador to the United Nations into a sleeper agent. Instead, hackers believed to be connected to the Tehran government are posing as Bolton on social media platforms in a scheme to get human rights activists and national security wonks to hand over their passwords and user names.

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Taking the Diefenbunker PDF Print E-mail
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Other
Written by The Chronicle Herald   
Friday, 07 November 2014

Debert landmark fully belongs to patient buyer

Businessman Jonathan Baha’i has cleared a final hurdle in claiming sole ownership of the Debert Diefenbunker, an abandoned Cold War fallout shelter, shown in a file photo before the purchase.

Hunkered down inside the Diefenbunker in Debert, Jonathan Baha’i can finally breathe a secure sigh of relief.

“We finally stomped out the appeal,” Baha’i said Wednesday of clearing the final legal hurdle to undisputed ownership of the underground shelter.

The legal wrangling started not long after Baha’i purchased the 64,000-square-foot former military installation in November 2012 for less than $40,000 in a Colchester County tax sale.

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