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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.

Love in Motion: A Conversation with Occupy Love Director Velcrow Ripper PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 7
Entries - Art and Literature
Written by Darrin Drda, Reality Sandwich   
Thursday, 01 May 2014
Velcrow Ripper

"Power without love is reckless and abusive. Love without power is sentimental and anemic." These words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King echo throughout Occupy Love, the latest documentary by Velcrow Ripper, and by all accounts they serve as a guiding principle in the Canadian filmmaker's own life.

Raised in the Baha'i faith, Ripper gained an early appreciation of religious unity that was later infused with the edgy individuality and creativity of the punk rock scene, from which he gained both his name and his passion for social justice. Since that time, he has been crafting award-winning films that explore the rich overlap of activism and spirituality.

Full story...

Wilmette residents say traffic problem at Baha'i worsening PDF Print E-mail
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Entries - Buildings
Written by Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune   
Wednesday, 30 April 2014
Wilmette residents living near the iconic Baha'i House of Worship, pictured here, tell village officials that parking congestion on their street is growing worse.

Wilmette residents living near the Baha'i House of Worship gathered at Village Hall recently, voicing concerns that a proposal to reconfigure the iconic venue's parking lot could ramp up traffic on what they say is an already-congested local street.

Despite a negative recommendation from the village's Zoning Board of Appeals, the Wilmette Village Board voted 5-1 in favor of granting a request from Baha'i officials to eliminate six of its regular parking spots in its visitors lot to accommodate bus parking and to make room for an Americans with Disability Act-required accessible ramp and parking spaces.

Scott Conrad, project manager for the Baha'i House of Worship, said the increase in the number of vehicles parked on Linden Avenue partly is related to the closure of the parking lot since 2011, which was prompted by a Metropolitan Water Reclamation District project to reconstruct the sanitary canal and Wilmette Pumping Station.

The district owns the parking lot land, which is leased by the Baha'i, Conrad said.

When you live near the temple, you start to think of it as an attractive nuisance.

But Wilmette resident Martin Dawson said parking-related headaches on Linden have been a chronic problem for years, and predate both the water reclamation project as well as the recent construction of a 16,000 square-foot, Prairie-style Baha'i Welcome Center, which is slated to open in the fall.

Full story...

Reflexive Spirituality: Seeking the Spiritual Experience in a Modern Society PDF Print E-mail
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Baha'i Life - The spiritual path
Written by Kelly Besecke, Utne Reader   
Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Somewhere between modernity and religious tradition lies a middle road known as “reflexive spirituality” that pulls from pluralism, reflexivity, and modern society. Those who practice reflexive spirituality draw equally on religious traditions and traditions of reason in the pursuit of transcendent meaning. In You Can’t Put God in a Box (Oxford University Press, 2014), Kelly Besecke provides a window into the theological thinking of these educated spiritual seekers and religious liberals, and shows how they have come up with a unique way of addressing the problem of modern meaninglessness. The following excerpt, from Chapter 1, explains the background and attitudes of those who practice reflexive spirituality.

Reflexive Spirituality: Finding Meaning in Modern Society

How can I find a spirituality that makes sense to me intellectually? How can I have an intellectual life that speaks to my soul? How can I find meaning in my life and in my religion?

These questions are central to the lives of educated spiritual seekers who find little meaning in either ordinary secularism or traditional religion. On one hand, secular life can seem spiritually empty, focused on the material, the practical, and the expedient, to the exclusion of deeper meanings. On the other hand, religious life can seem intellectually untenable, focused on lists of required beliefs, and dogmatic in a way that leaves no room for critical inquiry. Educated spiritual seekers are looking for something more than these two alternatives offer. They’re looking for a spirituality they can sink their intellectual teeth into and a worldview that puts the mundane into meaningful perspective. Educated seekers are looking for the intersection between “what’s inspiring” and “what makes sense.”

Full story...

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