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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Universal Peace

(The following article is from bahai.org)

The teachings of Baha’u’llah are vast in their scope, exploring as they do such themes as the nature and purpose of Revelation, the inherent nobility of the human being, the cultivation of spiritual qualities, and humanity’s interactions with the natural world. The Bahá’í Writings are also replete with references to universal peace—“the supreme goal of all mankind”—as well as explanations of the social principles with which this peace is associated.

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Falling Into Grace By Justice St. Rain

Falling Into Grace: The Trials and Triumphs of Becoming a Bahá’í
By Justice St. Rain

This book is directed to those new to the Baha’i Faith. Its focus is on examining the process of becoming a part of the Baha’I Community, and attempting to make that process smoother and easier for the new believer. Written with candor and humor, the author’s perspective makes this book a valuable read whether one is a new Baha’i, a member of long-standing, or someone in between. It contains a wealth of well-organized information, as well as insights for how to approach difficulty whether struggling with an issue oneself, or attempting to assist someone else in the Faith. And it also speaks at length to the blessings of membership in the Faith and the value of approaching difficulties from a positive perspective. Although Justice St. Rain is very clear that the book is written from his individual perspective, and that readers should practice independent investigation of truth, his experience and insight make for thoughtful reflection and increased understanding of a reader’s own personal experiences as a member of the Baha’i Community.

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Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for December 2016

November 9, 2016

The bookclub met last month on November 9 and discussed several items presented by individual members. First up was a New York Times article written by Harry Belafonte about what was at stake in the election from his perspective. He made use of a poem by Langston Hughes about how people of color, specifically African-Americans, relate to America as a country and an ideal not yet realized (“Let America Be America Again”). Members shared the poem and their responses to it, information about Harry Belafonte and his obvious talents as a writer, and a discussion of his ideas as presented in the article.

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