Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for April 2017

April 12, 2017

The theme for this meeting was women. Members had a choice of two books to read: Waterlily by Ella DeLoria, or My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor. Since at least two members had read each book, both were discussed.

My Beloved World is the autobiography of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. It tells the story of her life from early childhood to the beginning of her service on the Supreme Court. Ms. Sotomayor describes in detail her early family life, her Puerto Rican culture, and her development as a seeker of knowledge and wisdom. She also talks about her education, marriage, career decisions and growth. Ms. Sotomayor goes beyond mere reporting to let the reader see her feelings, reactions, and both successes and failures as her life unfolds. She also gives enough depth to the people in her life that the reader feels acquainted with her family, friends and co-workers as well as with the writer herself. Her determination in the face of difficulty, her ability to combine logic and passion about issues in American life, and her reasoned judgment have obviously served her well, but she also displays humility and empathy for others. Bookclub members saw My Beloved World as an inspiring read.

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The Bahá’í Statement on Nature

(Editor’s note: In honor of Earth Day this April 22nd, the following article from Bahai.org offers the Baha’i perspective on our approach and responsibilities to our earthly home.)



 


In September of 1986 the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) launched its Network on Conservation and Religion, bringing religious leaders representing Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews and Muslims together with environmental leaders in Assisi, Italy. Each of the five religions represented there issued a declaration on nature. As of October 1987, the Bahá’ís became the sixth major religion to join this new alliance, and put forward this statement in support of the Network’s objectives.

 

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“Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Its manifestations are diversified by varying causes, and in this diversity there are signs for men of discernment. Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world. It is a dispensation of Providence ordained by the Ordainer, the All-Wise.” ~ Bahá’í Writings

With those words, Bahá’u’lláh, Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, outlines the essential relationship between man and the environment: that the grandeur and diversity of the natural world are purposeful reflections of the majesty and bounty of God. For Bahá’ís, there follows an implicit understanding that nature is to be respected and protected, as a divine trust for which we are answerable.

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The Spiritual Design of Creation

The Spiritual Design of Creation: Solving the puzzle of human life and destiny
By Hushidar Hugh Motlagh

In its pages, the author presents his case for understanding the creation and process of our world as a spiritual enterprise. He makes his case with successive chapters employing information from a wide variety of fields of study, including branches of science such as biology, chemistry and physics, mathematics, medical specialties including neurology and physiology, and the humanities and social sciences.

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Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for March 2017

March 8, 2017

The theme for the March meeting was books about/by women. Three books were presented by club members and discussed. The first was Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. This book tells the true story of a group of talented African-American women who worked at NASA as “human computers” when the Space Race was young. The book is the basis for the popular movie, and one of the heroines profiled, Katherine Johnson, was feted at this year’s Academy Awards. Discussion of this book centered on Katherine Johnson, and her ability to perform high-demand mathematical work in her indispensable role in spite of facing Jim Crow laws and restrictions placed on female talent.

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Naw-Ruz: Spiritual Springtime

(The following article is by Preethi from bahaiblog.net)


 

Every year, on March 21st, Baha’is from all over the world and of all cultural backgrounds celebrate Naw-Ruz.

Naw Ruz has its origins as a Zoroastrian observance in ancient Iran and, to this day, is celebrated as a cultural festival by Iranians of all religious backgrounds. In addition to being celebrated by Iranians and members of the Iranian diaspora, the observance of Naw Ruz has also spread to many other parts of the world, and is celebrated a a cultural holiday in India, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Iraqi Kurdistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Naw-Ruz, which means “New Day”, is celebrated at the vernal equinox, on the first day of spring. It is a time of joy and celebration, with the darkness of winter coming to an end and the reappearance of light, warmth and the beauty of spring’s flowers. It is a day of new beginnings – of change and hope.

However, for Baha’is, Naw Ruz also has deep spiritual significance. Naw Ruz marks the end of the 19-day Baha’i Fast, which is a period of reflection and profound spiritual reinvigoration for Baha’is. Naw-Ruz was ordained by Baha’u’llah as a celebration of humanity’s “spiritual springtime”: the Baha’i dispensation.

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Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for February 2017

February 8, 2017

Last month’s meeting on February 8, 2017, was devoted to a reflection and consultation about our book club and a discussion of ideas and suggestions for how we should proceed in the coming months. We shared thoughts about what is currently working well, and what new ideas we can implement in the coming months. Suggestions were made about how best to structure our meetings and how we can invite new friends (both Baha’i and non-Baha’i) into our reading circle. Most members felt the quality of our discussions has continued to improve, and to encourage more depth, we decided to begin using themes so that the discussion can be more centered.

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What Bahá’ís Believe: Love and Knowledge

The following article is from bahai.org.



 

Spiritual qualities flourish as love and knowledge grow within our minds and hearts. In this process, we become better and better able to discern between that which is conducive to loftiness and that which leads to abasement, and we advance in our understanding of the physical universe, the human being, society, and the life of the spirit. Love grows with knowledge and true understanding is enhanced by love.

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One Reality: The Harmony of Science and Religion

Compiled by Bonnie J. Taylor
Introduction by John S. Hatcher

One Reality is a compilation of sacred Baha’i writings on the topic of the unity of science and religion as expressed in the Baha’i faith. The introduction by John S. Hatcher provides context for exploring the writings that follow in the body of the book. Ms. Taylor has arranged the chapters in an order that emphasizes developmental and logical progression in understanding the concepts presented, and the chapters are also sub-divided at times to emphasize individual ideas. The reader is presented with sequential passages that build understanding of the Baha’i perspective, and open understanding of both the concept of unity and the ways we can understand the world around us. Helpful for both personal deepening and understanding for teaching, this book is a valuable addition to any Baha’i bookshelf.

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Circle of Friends Book Club

*** Next bookclub meeting: Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 7 pm at the Bahá’í Center. All are welcome! ***
The February meeting will be a group reflection/consultation to evaluate the direction the bookclub is taking and fill in our future calendar. Please join us and add your ideas!

The Circle of Friends Book Club is one of the many groups that are meeting at the Bahá’í Center. Dedicated to exploring books of all sorts, the group meets on the second Wednesday of every month from 7-9 pm. Both Baha’is and non-Baha’is are welcome at bookclub. Please join us for lively conversation, new information about books, and exchange of ideas in a comfortable small group atmosphere. Come and enjoy light snacks and lots of laughter too!

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Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for January 2017

January 11, 2017

Last month’s meeting consisted of discussions of several books brought by individual members. Book selections were widely varied by topic and type. The first selection was The Third Reconstruction by Reverend Dr. William Barber II, Protestant minister and political leader in North Carolina. The author may be familiar due to his leadership in the Moral Mondays movement and his oratory at the Democratic National Convention last summer. Dr Barber’s book details the emergence of what he labels the “Third Reconstruction” (following the Civil War Reconstruction in the late 1800s and the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s-60s). The book is both a description of the new movement and a handbook for those seeking to find direction in implementing a program with moral and ethical methods to bring people together for change. The bookclub discussed the 14 point plan from the book to aid in the infusion of morality into groups attempting to better their communities, with particular emphasis on racial healing and voting rights.

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