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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What Christmas Means to Baha’is

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


 

Do Baha’is celebrate Christmas? This question is a bit of a tricky one to answer because Christmas means different things to different people.

Based on the understanding of Christmas as a commemoration of the birth of Christ, the day is clearly of significance to Baha’is, who believe that Christ was a Manifestation of God. Baha’is do not, however, celebrate Christmas within their communities as one of the Baha’i Holy Days.

While the principle of progressive revelation means that Baha’is believe in the divine origin of the other world religions (and consequently, the significance of each of their Holy Days), the Baha’i Faith is an independent religion with its own Holy Days. Baha’is – while believing in the divine origins of all other world religions – follow the teachings of Baha’u’llah, whom we believe to be the latest in the line of Messengers sent from God with laws to address the needs of humanity in this day and age.

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Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for November 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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Why Me? by Justice St. Rain

A Spiritual Guide to Growing Through Tests — Life Lessons Gleaned from the Teachings of the Bahá’í Faith

Justice St. Rain’s short (104 pages) but compelling volume explores the meaning of difficulties encountered in life from the Bahá’í perspective. He makes rich use of the Writings, but also provides examples, analogies, and helpful analysis to assist in understanding. The book is well-organized, presenting topics in logical order, and provides a variety of possible views for the interpretation of tests and difficulties for individuals as well as for humanity in general. The tone is overwhelmingly positive, even when dealing with subjects such as grief, anger, and sadness. Why Me? can be a quick read, but it provides long-lasting food for thought and is an excellent book for deepening, individually or in a group.

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Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for October 2016

October 12, 2016

At last month’s meeting on October 12, 2016, members discussed the book 1491 by Charles C. Mann. The book is a detailed exploration of the Americas before Europeans came on the scene, from both anthropological and archeological perspectives. Response to the book was overwhelmingly positive, although some members had not yet completed reading it. Several members mentioned that the depth of information presented required time to reflect on and process, especially as it was often quite different from history as presented in the typical American education experienced by many of those present. The general consensus was that although information was presented in almost a textbook format, the author was able to maintain interest and provide interesting as well as informative detail. The writer also presented various controversies and/or possible alternative explanations for data and discoveries that have been made up to the time of the book’s publication, and group members felt in general that this approach seemed fair and even-handed. The author seems to embody the best qualities of a teacher/writer, presenting information that is interesting and including scholarly detail, yet maintaining accessibility and providing appropriate context and explanations as needed. The overall discussion also included many individual observations of striking or unusual details noted by different members.

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The Life of the Báb

PHOTO: The Shrine of the Báb on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel — one of the holiest places in the world for Bahá’ís, by BahaiPictures.com

On October 20th of each year, Baha’is commemorate the birth of the Báb, one of the three Central Figures of the Faith. The Báb, meaning “the Gate” is the title assumed by Siyyid ‘Ali-Muhammad, who was born on October 20, 1819 in Shiraz. The following article and photos from Bahá’í.org outline the life of this important figure.

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A Safe Place to Talk About Race by Sharon E. Davis

Sharon E. Davis is host of the VoiceAmerica radio show which shares the title with her book “A Safe Place to Talk About Race”. The main body of her book is composed of ten interviews from her radio show focusing on racial healing. Ms. Davis opens the book with a personal introduction which clearly conveys her in-depth understanding of racism and what she sees that the process of healing it entails. She also includes her ideas for what the reader should expect from the book, and suggestions for how best to use it.

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