Individuals and groups

Individuals and groups whose story doesn't fit into any other category.

A Christian life, a Baha'i life in sickness

When we talk about spirituality, we think of temples and churches. Let us not forget the self. Believing is not enough. We need to apply spiritual lessons in our lives. And that is easier said than done. Even the act of sharing and teaching should be done with the purest intention. We must detach from the outcome. Share and teach for the joy of teaching. So that when our teachings do not bear the desired result, we are unperturbed and not discouraged. But so often we speak with an urgency to impose our opinion, hoping we would be acknowledged and accepted. This is not good.

I believe my life here on earth is to seek God and to know God. Sickness is a life condition just as richness, poverty, happiness, and grief is a condition. One may be physically healthy but ill with grief. I am determined to rise above my sickness, and not let my sickness define me. There have been many people who achieved greatness in the face of sickness. Today I watched Beautiful Life, about John Nash Jr. the American Mathematician who figured out the Nash Equilibrium and won the 1994 Noble Prize. Nash suffered from Schizophrenia but he learned to ignore the voices in his head and bury himself in research.

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An Interview with Alison Marshall

This interview was conducted for another blog project of mine that I have since dropped for the time being. However, it was an extremely interesting interview, so here it is. Bear in mind that I did not finish conducting the interview, it might have been twice this length by the end.

{josquote}I think the House of Justice unintentionally created the category of ‘unenrolled Baha’i’ by following a policy of forcing believers it disagreed with out of the community.{/josquote}

Alison Marshall is an unenrolled Bahá’í. What this means is that like me she has a deep love for Bahá’u'lláh, but unlike me she is not a registered member of the community led by the elected body known as the “Universal House of Justice”. Many Bahá’ís consider membership in that community to be synonymous with belief in Bahá’u'lláh. Alison was removed, in the year 2000, from the membership of the Bahá’í community. While I respect and stand by the decision to remove her, as I view the “Universal House of Justice” as infallible, that does not stop me from respecting her greatly. Despite our differences in belief, I greatly enjoyed interviewing her, and I hope it is an interesting read.

As with all those I intended to interview, Alison is a blogger, you can read her thoughts on life as a follower of Bahá’u'lláh on her blog Meditations on Baha’u'llah.

For any Bahá’ís reading this, bear in mind that Alison is not a Covenant Breaker, the Universal House of Justice did not label her as such, merely as a person whose personal beliefs did not coincide with those of the Bahá’í Community.

Most Bahá’ís convert into the Bahá’í Faith, and you are no exception - what sort of religious background were you raised in?

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Wire windows

[Direct quotes from "Wire windows" removed at the author's request]

Josie Two Shoes writes about her introduction to the Baha'i Faith in the early 70's - a tumultuous period in her life.

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Alma matters!

EARLY FAVORITES. MIT alumni have the mechanical advantage over the other teams, but do they have the fighting spirit?

Sitting with a gaggle of perky Penn alumni at the Herzliya Marina, I stare into my cup of coffee, wondering what will happen to the hot, sloshing liquid in my belly once I set out to sea in a flimsy sailboat.

It's a perfect day to go for a leisurely sail: letting the wind carry the boat along before gliding back to shore. But at the Penn Israel Regatta, where alumni from seven Ivy League universities (plus a dashing, shirtless MIT contingent) have gathered, it seems that overachieving continues long after those shining four years of grade grubbing, all-nighters and elitism.

As the Penn alumni begin to discuss the stomach bug wreaking havoc in Jerusalem - the particulars of which lead me to abandon my coffee - a lithe Yale alumna approaches to conspire. "We make sure Harvard doesn't win today. No matter what," she says in a low, raspy whisper. The Penn alumni nod, like henchmen accepting their latest assignment.

{josquote}The Harvard alumni pop their own champagne and pass it around. Al [Albert Lincoln?], class of '67 and secretary-general of the Bahai Temple in Israel, takes a swig and takes the wheel.{/josquote}

Despite being a recent alumna of an Ivy of my own, I still can't grasp the rivalry that these alumni are engaging in: half a world away and, for some, half a century later. The winning yacht receives champagne for their victory and, as the event's organizer Dov Hoch put it, "bragging rights for at least one more year."

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Fitting in...

Well ok, lets see- I had these thoughts moving around in my head and decided to write them down to see if anyone else every felt the same way.

I live in a city of 2 million people and sometimes it seems like those 2 million are all trying to get away from the other 2 million (me included). Why do I live around so many people and yet half the time feel like I don’t know that many people and like I can’t ever seem to connect with any of them.

I have been reflecting on feelings of exclusion and fitting in. And why i don’t feel like I fit in- what ever that means. Like I am too young, too poor, too right brained, too unsophisticated, too thrift store shoppingish (if that makes sense) to be able to hang out with the crowd of people who are older, career oriented, have money and nice clothes, nice strollers, are super sophisticated …

I guess I have never fully delt with those issues from when I was a kid in elementary school. Our family was always a little different. Growing up a baha’i we moved to a small town in Alberta, Canada from San Diego, California so that my dad could work on the Native reserve close by. The schools I went to were french catholic conservative as were most of the other people living in the town. We were dressed in second hand clothes and ate health food while the other kids laughed at my clothes and ate fruit loops and white bread for lunch.

{josquote}My parents really were amazing examples of inclusion and acceptance.{/josquote}

I guess I lamented over my situation as a kid, but looking back I am so grateful for those opportunities, being exposed to both the white conservative world and also the rich native culture. My parents really were amazing examples of inclusion and acceptance. They didn’t see ethnicities of people, or socio economic differences, or language barriers, they excepted everyone and really included them in our lives. When I was 9 years old we moved to Vancouver Island, BC so my parents could work at a baha’i int’l boarding school. The school was chalk full of people from all over the world trying to live together in a unified way and trying to practice the principles of the baha’i faith. I always remember my mom going out of her way to become friends with the volunteers who would had come from different countries, most of them did not speak alot of english or have alot of money. My parents always really encouraged us to become friends with and include those who had been excluded from the ‘intimate circle of friends’. I remember really thinking about that and trying (not all the time but…) to include those people who were kind of on the outskirts of the ‘in crowd’.

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