The Shrine of the Báb

The following article is from bahai.org. Photo of the Shrine of the Báb copyright © Bahá’í International Community


During the darkest nights of His incarceration, bereft of contact with His devoted followers, the Báb was refused even a lamp by His captors. Today, however, hundreds of thousands of visitors a year are able to view the luminous Shrine that encloses His earthly remains. Bathed in light, each and every night, the Shrine of the Báb is a singular point of attraction on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land. The building’s location and harmonious blend of Eastern and Western architectural styles have made it a familiar and well-loved landmark on the Mediterranean coast.

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Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for June 2019

June 12, 2019

June’s meeting was a discussion of the book Becoming by Michelle Obama. Most members were able to finish the book, but a couple came to hear about it in advance of reading it. Response to the book was overwhelmingly positive. Readers felt that Ms. Obama was a good writer, portraying events clearly as seen through her eyes, with power, honesty, and grace. They felt the book was easy to read and well worth the time.

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Art: A Gift of the Holy Spirit

This month we are featuring an article by Jennifer Campbell from BahaiTeachings.org.


Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. – Pablo Picasso

My paternal grandmother gave neighborhood piano lessons; my paternal grandfather taught art in high school, and painted, sculpted, and played French horn. That’s why my sister and I grew up learning about art and music–and we also enjoyed making pots in Grandpa’s kiln. My family is full of artists, musicians, and educators; so the arts have always played an important part in my life.

Before I studied psychology, I majored in art (because I wanted to be an art teacher like my grandpa). Before that, I majored in English (because I wanted to be a writer, too). Like a typical college student, I changed my mind a few times about my future goals and major course of study. Despite my changing college majors, the arts were always part of my studies.

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Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for May 2019

May 8, 2019

Last month’s meeting was a lively discussion of several books brought by members and addressing the theme of “women who make/made a difference”. Book choices included memoirs, autobiography and biography, fictional heroines, and collections discussing women by cultural area. All of the women portrayed displayed admirable qualities, and the diversity of choices made for many interesting questions and follow up.

Here are the titles and authors discussed:

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Youth

The following article is from bahai.org.


“Although your realities are shaped by a broad diversity of circumstances, yet a desire to bring about constructive change and a capacity for meaningful service, both characteristic of your stage of life, are neither limited to any race or nationality, nor dependent upon material means. This bright period of youth you share is experienced by all—but it is brief, and buffeted by numerous social forces. How important it is, then, to strive to be among those who, in the words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘plucked the fruit of life’.”

— The Universal House of Justice

Youth have played a vital role in Bahá’í history. The Báb Himself declared His mission when He was but twenty-five years old and so many among the band of His followers were in the prime of their youth when they embraced His Revelation. During the ministries of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, young people were at the forefront of efforts to proclaim the message of the new Faith and to share its teachings with others.

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Seizing the Opportunity: Redefining the Challenge of Climate Change

This month we are featuring a 2008 statement from the Bahá’í International Community.


“The search for solutions to climate change has revealed the limits of traditional technological and policy approaches and has raised difficult questions about justice, equity, responsibility and obligation. What is required is an approach based on the unity which connects us as the inhabitants of one biosphere, the citizens of one world and the members of one human civilization.” ~ Bahai.Org

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Featured Book: A Child’s Baha’i ABC

Please come and check out our newly reorganized bookstore at the Baha’i Center of Washtenaw County!

The bookstore at the Bahá’í Center of Washtenaw County features a variety of books of interest to the members of the Bahá’í community. Prayer books and selections from the writings make up the largest section, and you will also find books on Bahá’í history and current topics. In addition, there are books and materials in languages other than English, interfaith materials and Ruhi books for purchase, as well as a small collection of used books.

The children’s section has been moved to another area of the bookstore, with more space so that books can be easily reviewed. They are also now more accessible to children, and hopefully will generate interaction and questions from children in the community. With that in mind, our featured book this month is a children’s book:

A Child’s Baha’i ABC

By Joan A. Featherstone

This book is a typical alphabet book for young readers, but in place of the more typical objects, the author has substituted Baha’i concepts, important figures, and virtues, with an explanation for each. She has also placed a pertinent quotation from the writings on each page facing the individual letter pages. This is an illustrated book that appears simple at first, but the ideas and history presented is complex enough that a child would most probably read it over and over. The quotations add another layer that will make the book rewarding for adults as well. This book would be a welcome addition to any Baha’i child’s library.

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Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for March 2019

March 13, 2019

Members discussed two books on Baha’i fasting at last month’s meeting: Happy Fasting by Saied Mirafzali, and Fasting, A Baha’i Handbook by Duane L. Herrmann. Members found both books helpful, but in different ways. Mr. Herrmann’s book includes quotations about fasting and the Fast, organized by which figure of the Faith authored the quotation. Dr. Mirafzali’s book provides some quotations, but takes a pragmatic approach as well, with discussions on topics such as what foods to choose during the Fast that members found especially helpful. Members shared personal experiences with fasting, such as recognizing another person was a Baha’i because they were fasting too. They also discussed their own helpful hints, such as what made them look forward to the Fast, what they preferred when breaking the Fast in the evening, and their own practices to encourage staying healthy.

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Participation in the Discourses of Society: A Series from the Baha’i World News Service

This month we are featuring a series of articles from The Bahá’í World News Service (BWNS) – the official news source of the worldwide Bahá’í community.


Representatives of a number of national Baha’i communities recently gathered at the Baha’i World Centre to reflect on the past several years of experience learning about participation in the discourses of society. The Baha’i World News Service took the opportunity to interview groups of representatives about the experiences and insights they have gained in this area of endeavor.


PART ONE: Contributing to social transformation—reflections on Baha’i participation in discourses

2 December 2018
 
BAHA’I WORLD CENTRE — In recent years, national Baha’i institutions and regional agencies have been systematically participating in the discourses of society, such as migration and integration, social cohesion, race unity, the role of religion in society, and climate change, to name a few.

The phrase “participation in the discourses of society” is being used more and more to describe the involvement of the Baha’i community in the broad conversations focused on social betterment.

Discourses take place at different levels. Individuals can contribute to discourses in their professions or fields of study. Many individuals and communities are drawn into discourses on issues vital to their neighborhoods and villages. Non-governmental organizations inspired by the Baha’i teachings—for example, in the area of social and economic development—contribute to discourses related to their efforts. The Baha’i community’s formal involvement in discourses related to the well-being and progress of society is facilitated at the national and international levels by offices of external affairs and the Baha’i International Community, respectively.

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Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for January 2019

January 9, 2019

January’s meeting was a discussion on individual selections of books on the theme of stereotypes and the elimination of prejudice, and included sharing personal stories and experiences in this area as well. The conversation moved across the globe from the United States to Japan (where very close attention is paid to blood types when deciding who to marry), to the caste system in India, to the mistreatment of Baha’is in Iran. Participants pointed out that stereotypes and prejudice are not only about color, and there can be social prejudice about intellectuals versus non-intellectuals, and even against non-drinkers of alcohol. Overall, the discussion was lively, thoughtful, and far-reaching, so that time ran out before some of the books members brought could be discussed (Life on the Color Line by Gregory Howard William and The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan). The discussion included presentations by book club members of The Content of Our Character, by Shelby Steele (twin brother of the author of our February selection) and The Nature of Prejudice by Gordon Allport.

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