On Saturday, Feb 17, the Baha’i Center of Washtenaw County held its monthly unity dinner. The sponsoring hosts were Mr. and Mrs. Nelson and Jean Freeman of Pittsfield Township. Baha’i Center Committee members and friends had decorated the foyer and lower level dining area with colorful Chinese artifacts, décor for Chinese New Year, and various ceramic dogs, as 2018 is the year of the earth dog.
A Healthy Approach to the Baha’i Fast
By Saeid Mirafzali, M.D.
This book is a quick read, but is full of useful information and ideas for preparation and observation of the Baha’i 19-Day Fast. It is well-organized and clear, and addresses both the physical and spiritual aspects of the Fast. The information provided is reassuring in the area of health, emphasizing the balance and moderation in the Baha’i approach, and specifying that the physical aspect is secondary to the spiritual.
February 14, 2018
February’s meeting was a discussion of the book Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson. Although the group was small, the discussion was lively and engaging, with personal stories sprinkled throughout the conversation. Topics were wide-ranging, and covered many aspects of the subject matter, including history, racial identity, colonization, and how groups may be more effective in society than individuals at times. Members felt that the author’s use of the jeremiad was an effective form to convey the message and intent in the thoughts and arguments he presented. The group saw that the impact on the reader is strong, and they shared quotations and read passages from the book aloud.
The following article is from bahai.org.
Despite the widespread acceptance of gender equality in principle—and the advancement of political and civil rights for women in many countries—full equality has not yet been achieved. In this statement issued in 1997, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States emphasizes the full and equal participation of women in all spheres of life.
The emancipation of women, the achievement of full equality between the sexes is essential to human progress and the transformation of society. Inequality retards not only the advancement of women but the progress of civilization itself. The persistent denial of equality to one-half of the world’s population is an affront to human dignity. It promotes destructive attitudes and habits in men and women that pass from the family to the work place, to political life, and ultimately to international relations. On no grounds, moral, biological, or traditional can inequality be justified. The moral and psychological climate necessary to enable our nation to establish social justice and to contribute to global peace will be created only when women attain full partnership with men in all fields of endeavor.
The systematic oppression of women is a conspicuous and tragic fact of history. Restricted to narrow spheres of activity in the life of society, denied educational opportunities and basic human rights, subjected to violence, and frequently treated as less than human, women have been prevented from realizing their true potential. Age-old patterns of subordination, reflected in popular culture, literature and art, law, and even religious scriptures, continue to pervade every aspect of life. Despite the advancement of political and civil rights for women in America and the widespread acceptance of equality in principle, full equality has not been achieved.
This book presents a fictional account of a weekly youth gathering through the eyes of a young Baha’i who has initiated it. He enlists the aid of his parents in arranging the comfort of his guests with refreshments and an inviting space, and two older Baha’i youth who agree to act as facilitators. As the story develops, the young man and his friends explore the stories of several early Baha’is, in the context of an overall discussion of virtues and how to practice them in daily life. Each week, two members who have researched an individual historical Baha’i present the story of that person’s life, and the group decides which virtue that person exemplifies. The early heroes and heroines they learn about are William Sears, Dorothy Baker, Martha Root, Louis Gregory, Fred Mortensen, Florence Mayberry, Músá Banání, May Maxwell, and Rúhú’lláh Varqá. Their presentations include both basic information about their subject, as well as lesser known anecdotes that provide additional interest.
January 10, 2018
The theme for the January meeting was ‘Multicultural’. Members brought four selections for discussion. The first of these was African America: Celebrating 400 Years of Achievement by Kenneth Estell. This book is a collection of over 500 biographical essays about African Americans and their accomplishments. The sheer number of entries showcases the wide range of contributions African Americans have made to our society. The book is organized by area of accomplishment, such as politics, performing arts, medicine, religion, literature, etc. Each entry includes biographical information and contributions made by the person, as well as vignettes giving important details to better understand their life and times. The book club member bringing this book to our attention chose to present on Dick Gregory, well-known comedian and activist. His biography included many other facets his life, such as his time as an entrepreneur and health educator/promoter.
The following article is from bahai.org.
Truthfulness and trustworthiness involve much more than not telling lies; they embody the overarching capacity to discern, value, and uphold truth itself. Without these spiritual qualities, neither individual nor social progress is possible. Justice is vital to the establishment of unity and harmony at all levels of society, as it provides the standard by which individual conduct and collective effort are judged. A requirement for living a life of service to humanity, then, is constant effort to develop truthfulness, trustworthiness, and justice, ensuring that they are ever-present in thought and action.
December 13, 2017
cancelled due to snow
November 8, 2017
The theme for November’s meeting was Spiritual Principles. Members brought three selections for discussion. The first of these was Two Wings of a Bird by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States. The discussion focused on the need for the equality of men and women, and the ways women still need to access full equality. Inequality in the economic sphere, discrimination in social roles and vulnerability demonstrated in the #MeToo campaign, the role of education, control of sexuality issues such as birth control and pregnancy, and the role of education were all parts of the conversation.
The following article is from bahai.org. Photo above: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá walking outside 7 Haparsim Street in Haifa, c. 1919, © 2017 Bahá’í International Community
“SELDOM HAVE I SEEN one whose appearance impressed me more,” said Professor Edward G. Browne of Cambridge University after meeting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. “About the greatness of this man and his power no one who had seen him could entertain a doubt.”
Yet, however magnetic ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s personality or however penetrating His insights, such tributes cannot adequately capture such a unique character in religious history. The Bahá’í Writings affirm that “in the person of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá the incompatible characteristics of a human nature and superhuman knowledge and perfection have been blended and are completely harmonized.”