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The Forerunners PDF Print E-mail
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Entries - Baha'i studies
Written by Standing Room Only, RadioNZ   
Sunday, 18 May 2014

A collective of writers, artists and philosophers formed a utopian community in Havelock North in the early 1900s, under the firm hand of English missionary Dr Robert Felkin. He even had a temple built under his house for worshippers. A new exhibition revisits the collective which was called the Forerunners.

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Leaving the surf PDF Print E-mail
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Entries - Community and administration
Written by Steve Marshall, The Cormorant Baker   
Saturday, 17 May 2014
Surfing magazine cover, 2008

When I was a practising surfer, I briefly belonged to a nationally and internationally-affiliated surfing organisation. But I realised that I had no interest in organised group surfing activities and resigned my membership. Or "left the surf" as they say in surfing circles.

Actually, they don't say that.

Surfers might ask why they haven't seen you at club meets and competitions, but the idea that membership has anything to do with the way you surf would seem ludicrous to them.

When you stop tapping the energy of the oceanthat's when you "leave the surf".

Source.
 
Church and State: A Postmodern Theology, Book One PDF Print E-mail
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Entries - Baha'i studies
Written by Sen McGlinn, Baha'i Library   
Wednesday, 14 May 2014

About (from kalimat.com): This is a political theology for the Bah' Faith, but it is also a philosophy for living in our globalized, post-modern society. The author investigates the Bah' teachings concerning the separation of "Church" and State.

Government, religion, commerce, art, education, and science are increasingly independent, have different social functions, relate differently to one another, and have different meanings for us today. This functional differentiation also drives the pluralism, relativism, and global scope of our post-modern society. In a society such as ours, in which religious ritual is the mirror of individual distinctiveness, not of collective identity, in which permanent pluralism means that no one religion can provide common norms and values, and in which the values of one sphere of life are not transferred to other spheres, religion must find a new role in society.

The twentieth century has taught us that economic affairs cannot be governed by political ideologies, that science must be free of doctrine, that the dignity and autonomy of the individual must be respected, and that church and state must be separated.

This is a political theology for the Bah' Faith, but it is also a philosophy for living in our globalized, post-modern society. The author investigates the Bah' teachings concerning the separation of "Church" and State. This is an exhaustive review of Bah' literature on the subject, but the book also inquires into the scriptures of both Christianity and Islam to find that the separations of state from religion is a universal ideal.

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A covenant PDF Print E-mail
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Entries - Ruhi
Written by Steve Marshall, The Cormorant Baker   
Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Let me talk about a covenant.

No, I promise to make it interesting, and this isn't Covenant with a capital C. It's a covenant between the leaders and the rest of us. It's an often-unspoken understanding that leadership involves doing a lot of listening, consulting and making changes as well as just plain making smart decisions.

The Baha'i Faith requires a lot of its followers. For example, there's a requirement to wholeheartedly support a decision even when people don't agree with it. So that's one half of the covenantan agreement by those who are led, not only to be obedient, but also to be supportiveeven when they don't buy the idea.

The other half of the covenant is that leaders must act like servants"trustees of the Merciful One", as Baha'u'llah puts it. He's turned top-down into bottom-up: Leaders are charged with the responsibility of being responsive to the needs of the community and putting them first.

Radical, huh? Baha'u'llah seems to be saying, and I may be reading too much in here, LSA members should be less concerned about what the NSA thinks of a decision than what the community thinks of it.

In theory, the Bahai Faith has a very devolved decision-making process. In theory, ideas expressed

  • at the feast, or
  • to a local assembly, or
  • to delegates to national convention,
filter up through the systemsome reaching as far as the House.

In theory, an individual will have opportunities to appeal any decision, because it will come from their local assembly, or occasionally their national assemblyand thus can be appealed at least once, but usually twice.

Unfortunately, the Baha'i Faith has become very top-down and one-size-fits-all:

  • Feast has become a vehicle for the NSA to promote its latest programme,
  • Bahais are removed from membership by the House with no recourse to appeal, and
  • any ideas that don't fit the current narrow Ruhi framework don't get anywhere.

Result: Individuals feel manipulated and disempowered. I think it's because the covenant (the little one) has been somewhat forgotten.

 
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