Featured Book: Happy Fasting – A Healthy Approach to the Baha’i Fast

Happy Fasting
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.

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Featured book: Diamonds in the Rough by Jenina S. Lepard

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.

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The Equality of Women and Men: The Experience of the Bahá’í Community of Canada

By Deborah K. van den Hoonaard and Will C. van den Hoonard

This book presents a sociological study undertaken by the Baha’is of Canada to examine implementation of the Baha’i tenet of equality between the sexes. It is a very detailed report that looks closely at a variety of communities and their experiences as they attempt to develop and implement a concept central to the Faith, but often not present in the external society. The authors, a married couple, are both sociologists and appear to have followed a rigorous scientific approach, with adherence to sociological and statistical norms typical in a scholarly examination. With a sample group of 119 Baha’is in twelve focus groups, the authors followed discussions over the course of a year.

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A special presentation: The Story of the Bahá’í Black Men’s Gathering

Please join the Circle of Friends Book Club for a special presentation on the book The Story of the Bahá’í Black Men’s Gathering on Wednesday, July 12th @ 7pm, at the Bahá’í Center of Washtenaw County. Dr. Richard Thomas, one of the book’s co-authors, will lead the discussion. Come and share what promises to be an interesting and enlightening presentation—all are welcome!

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The Pupil of the Eye: African Americans in the World Order of Baha’u’llah

Complied by Bonnie J. Taylor

This book is a compilation of quotations about the role of African Americans in the Baha’i Faith, and includes a forward that explains the title and reference to African Americans as “the pupil of the eye”. The author also states that the writings in the compilation describe “their crucial and indispensable role in the Cause of God”. The book is well-organized and contains a wide range of quotations. The author begins with quotations pertaining directly to African Americans, then moves through race, the oneness of mankind, and unity in diversity. She then organizes writings on solutions to racism and teaching the Faith. This progression lends itself well to sequencing learning and understanding, and the order develops naturally for the reader. Ms. Taylor even has organized sections pertaining to the responsibilities of Baha’is of European descent and Baha’is of African descent in the section on racism, which is helpful reading for all.

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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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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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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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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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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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