dawning place

Baha'i House of Worship - Wilmette, Illinois by wallyg (cc)Cast your vote to name the North American Bahá’í House of Worship as one of the State of Illinois’s seven official wonders!

What’s your favourite part of the state of Illinois? If you said the Chicago suburb of Wilmette, you just might be a Baha’i. Why? Wilmette is the home of the North American Bahá’í House of Worship, designed by Canadian Bahá’í architect Louis Bourgeois. Its groundwork was laid by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during His visit to America on May 1, 1912; the temple was dedicated on May 1, 1953. Its construction was paid for by the sacrificial contributions of the Baha’is themselves; today, this “dawning-place of the mention of God” welcomes people of every Faith, every colour and culture from across the world, to share in peaceful worship side by side, its nine sides opening in every direction, standing as a symbol of the principle of world unity and brotherhood that Baha’is see as not only as achievable, but inevitable.

If you think that’s cool, consider casting your vote to name it one of the State of Illinois’s seven official wonders. (Note: Voting ends March 31st, 2007, so there’s not much time left—you can vote once a day.)

Update: Voting’s over; we’ll know at the end of April who won!

photo courtesy of wallyg (cc).

15 seconds of fame

a warm welcome to all of you who found this website thanks to the recent Canadian Baha’i News article on Baha’i blogging! I think I speak for all those mentioned in the article when I say that it’s an honour for my random musings to be highlighted in such a way. I can only hope that they live up to the expectations of the souls whose curiosity has brought them to investigate this far. if your curiosity has been satisfied, don’t hesitate to come back again—sign up for email updates or bookmark my rss feed to know when I post updates. I try to post at least once a week, and when possible several times a week, with engaging, inspiring, and thought-provoking content.

Be sure to check out some of the other blogs mentioned in the CBNS article—some of them are in my blogroll (look through my friends’ blogs links). for those of you who haven’t read the article yet, here’s a little excerpt:

[S]pend a little time exploring his blog and one […] finds that Jones’ interests are decidedly spiritual, and his opinions reflective of his devotion to the Bahá’í Faith.

Earlier in the month, he shared his thoughts about the fasting period that Bahá’ís go through every year for nineteen days. Prior to that, he posted several entries on his pilgrimage to the Bahá’í holy land in Haifa, Israel, including a poem about his experience.

Jones’ blog is one of a growing number of sites started by Bahá’ís who are keen to share their beliefs and opinions with fellow residents and web surfers around the world.

In Jones’ hometown of Ottawa, there are about half a dozen Bahá’ís who maintain blogs, a high proportion for a still relatively small community of about 1000.

[…] The writers are, in fact, all friends and have benefited from each other’s enthusiasm for the medium. Their camaraderie is, according to Dan Jones, one of the reasons why their blogs survived those critical first months when many bloggers lose their enthusiasm and let their sites fizzle out.

“Back in the day, we would all post announcements for various events on each of our websites,” recalls Jones, “and we were almost vying to outdo each other sometimes. We just worked well together, and I think it created an atmosphere where we were able to try anything and see how it worked.”

happy naw-ruz

happy naw-ruz (combo)!Happy Naw-Rúz everybody! As announced earlier, We had a real great celebration here in Ottawa: lots of people showed up to break the Fast at Boofs, more showed up at Persian Cuisine Express downtown (or so I heard) and the St. Elias Centre was filled to the gills with people. Check out my Naw-Ruz 164 photos and see what it was like! altogether, it was a really awesome evening and a fitting end to the Fast. I hope your celebrations, wherever you are, were just as joyful and fun.

Joyeux Naw-rúz tout le monde! Tel qu’annoncé auparavant, nous avons eu une excellente célébration ici, à Ottawa: beaucoup de gens se sont joint à nous chez Boofs (et davantage encore chez Persian Cuisine Express au centre-ville, entendis-je) et le Centre St. Élie était noir de monde. Regardez mes photos de Naw-ruz 164 pour voir comment c’était! En gros, c’était une soirée impressionante et une fin digne au jeûne. J’espère que vos célébrations, où que vous soyez, ont été tout aussi joyeux et amusants.

To close off, here’s an awesome Naw-Ruz video (part of a series) put together by Olinga Walker and Charlie Changizi, both friends of mine from Montréal. Enjoy! / Pour terminer, voici un vidéo super sympa sur Naw-ruz (un parmi une séquence) mis ensemble par Olinga Walker et Charlie Changizi, deux amis de Montréal. Amusez-vous!

goodbye fast, hello naw-ruz

lamps“…Thou hast endowed every hour of these days with a special virtue, inscrutable to all except Thee, Whose knowledge embraceth all created things.” (Bahá’u’lláh)

This year’s Fast is almost over, and the new year almost begun. I know I’m echoing a widely-felt sentiment when I say that this year’s Fast has been particularly profound and powerful. (right?) As blogged in a previous post, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá notes that the physical fast (not eating or drinking from sunup to sundown) is a symbol—an outer token—of the spiritual fast. So the whole point of this not eating thing isn’t just some random exercise in austerity. Just as fasting helps us to reset our metabolism and clean the body of its toxins, fasting helps us cleanse our souls from selfish desires, makes us more aware of those toxic spiritual habits we’ve picked up over the course of our lives—gossip, backbiting, excessive attachment to comfort, ease, or luxury, or whatever—and, hopefully, helps strengthen our resolve to eliminate them from our lives.

Isn’t it cool that the Fast always happens just before Naw-rúz—the Baha’i New Year? Imagine if everybody fasted before the Gregorian New Year. All those people who made resolutions to lose weight, eat right, and start waking up earlier in the morning would have a tremendous head start. Perhaps I’ll make some resolutions this Naw-ruz—to be more kind and loving, to snap at people less often (or maybe that only happens when I’m hungry from fasting—lol), to take more interest in others and to be a better friend to everyone. Whatever your resolutions might be, may you all have a happy and joyous Naw-ruz, and may you celebrate this new day with a smile or your face!

video by papijoon.

kebab it up for naw-ruz

Joyous Naw-Ruzuh oh. it’s time for the annual Naw-rúz blowout! professional marketing executive and fellow webmaster Martin reports that on Tuesday evening, March 20th, from 7:00 to 8:00 pm, Boofs (at 730 Industrial Ave.) is the place to be. there will be many, many, many of us (“us” hopefully meaning “your good friends and kindred”) there, enjoying a sumptuous Persian kebab buffet to break the Fast together after 19 long days of daylight fasting. consider coming out to enjoy the evening with us before continuing on to the Baha’i community’s Naw-rúz celebration at the St. Elias Centre (750 Ridgewood Ave.). Busing it to the celebration? Don’t forget, the St. Elias Centre is just across from Mooney’s Bay, and the 87 goes all the way there from downtown. So (to risk sounding like some sort of event promoter) dress to impress, and bring a friend! And as Martin so categorically states (in all caps, at that): this will be huge.

On Facebook? Join up with the official Baha’i Naw-rúz group!

baha’i blogs wanted

bahainine.com - baha'i blogshey—if you’re a fan of baha’i blogs (or if you’re a Baha’i with a blog and you want more fans), check out bahainine.com. it’s a project that aims to provide a global picture of the baha’i blogosphere, as it were—mapping out blogs that touch on Baha’i-related themes. I’ve already added a few of the blogs/websites local to Ottawa (for example, martinsquest.com), but there are very few out there as of right now—particularly in Canada. I know there are a lot of Canadian Baha’i bloggers out there, so please come out of the woodwork and add yourself to the site! Even if you have a personal blog and you only occasionally mention the Baha’i Faith, consider registering your blog. It takes thirty seconds or less, and once it’s approved, other folks across the world will be able to read all about what’s going on in your neck of the woods.

Update (March 14): bahainine.com is featured along with several American baha’i blogs in an article entitled Taking it on faith: Baha’i blogs put forward views in comfortable space, published today in the U.S. Baha’i News. Cool! Might we soon see an article on Canadian Baha’i blogs from its northern counterpart? Watch this space…

Update (March 15): Find out more about bahainine.com at Kevin’s blog, where he describes where the whole project is going… cool!