John Taylor's Column

John Taylor lives in Dunnville, Ontario, Canada and is an essayist

Consultative Cooking

Consultative Cooking and the Principle of One God

Universal Language and the Oneness of God

By John Taylor; 2006 May 20

Oneness of God is perhaps a deceptive name for this principle. Really what seems to be meant is "Unity in Diversity of God." This I am realizing as I wade through the abstruse article "God" in Mortimer Adler's "Syntopicon." The proofs of God, for instance are either before or after the fact, that is, a priori or a posteriori. Proof does not stand on an either-or basis but on both, on the reconciliation of two ways of looking to Him. I call your attention to two thinkers who understood this particularly well. The first was Isaac Newton.

"`The most wise and excellent contrivances of things, and final causes' seem to (Newton) the best way of knowing God. `Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and everywhere, could produce no variety in things. All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being necessarily existing.'" (Adler, Mortimer, Ed., The Great Ideas, A Syntopicon, "God," Encyclopedia Britannica, Chicago, 1980, p. 553)

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Treading Down

The Day of Treading Down

By John Taylor; 2006 May 19

"At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them." (Psalms 104:7-8, KJV)

I am just finishing Moshe Safdie's "The City After the Automobile, An Architect's Vision" and I have had to make some adjustments to my master plan for reforming the world. For one thing, he proposes to solve the automobile problem with what he calls utility cars, or "u-cars," which would be along the lines of the free bicycles that you can use and leave wherever you please in cities like Amsterdam and a few others.

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Source Material on the Master

Source Material on the Master in England

By John Taylor; 2006 May 18

Those who viewed the new pilgrimage promo DVD will recall certain recommended books and other readings that they recommend in order to prepare the pilgrim for the experience of visiting the Holy Land. I was interested this morning to come across the following, which shows that the Master put Himself under fairly rigorous physical training in order to be in condition for the difficulties of this sacred act.

"Many years later during His Western visit, while crossing by ship from New York to Liverpool, He paced up and down the deck for a long time; when at last He sat down to rest, He told His attendants: 'I walked 4600 feet, the length of the road between 'Akka and the Shrine of Baha'u'llah. I want to practise walking, perchance I might be able to go on foot to the Shrine. In latter times, in the Holy Land, I was too weak to go on foot and was deprived of this bounty.' He was in His sixty-ninth year." (H.M. Balyuzi, Abdu'l-Baha - The Centre of the Covenant, p. 43)

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Ridvan 2006 Commentary

Ridvan Message, 2006; Summary and Commentary

By John Taylor; 2006 May 17

The LSA has tasked me with summarizing and commenting upon the UHJ's annual Ridvan Message for our Haldimand feast tonight, so I will lay out my notes here. Last year's Ridvan Message was the shortest in my memory, but this time around it is of more medium length. This year's Message marks the end of the old plan and inaugurates a new five year plan.

"The entire Baha'i world is stirred at contemplating the scope of the five-year enterprise that lies ahead, the depth of consecration it will demand, and the results it is destined to achieve."

Note the language, reminiscent of another five year mission of another Enterprise. Now that I think of it, Star Trek was cancelled after only three seasons, it never made it through to the end of its five year mission. God's plan, on the other hand, always does. The next five year plan will end in 2011, just before the centenary of the beginning of the Master's travels in Europe and North America. The coming plan is heavily cluster and Ruhi oriented, aimed at setting in motion mass entry in these areas. The house says,

"We now call upon each and every one of you to bend your energies towards ensuring that the goal of establishing over the next five years intensive programmes of growth in no less than 1,500 clusters worldwide is successfully met."

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First Hand accounts of the Master

ABDU'L-BAHA AT THE "SALVATION ARMY" SHELTER

London, England, Christmas Night, 1912.

By ISABEL FRASER.

(SW, Vol. 3, No. 18, pp. 8-9)

ON Christmas night Abdul-Baha visited the poor of the Salvation Army Shelter, Westminster, where each year a Christmas dinner is provided for those who have no homes and no friends, and but for the shelter would have no lodgings. There were about 1,000 present on this occasion. It was a most impressive scene—the dinner for the homeless and the Master from the East delivering Christ's message to the poor. As a true test of attention, many of the hungry men forgot to eat and listened intently.

With that wonderful tact Abdul-Baha displays on all occasions, his message to the homeless was simple, direct and short. He said:

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