blitherblather

today’s a fine sunny day and I’m inside :O oh well, it’s for a good cause anyway—looking after the Baha’i Centre while a children’s class is at the playground down the street, in case parents come early looking for their kids. spring has come to Ottawa like a mad berserker, pumping the temperature up to 25 C with clear, bright blue skies and nary a cloud. the funny thing? piles of snow still persist after this winter’s heavy snowfall, so every hundred metres or so you’ll see a (dirty) pile of it—they’re shrinking though. I took my bike out and started riding it into work—such a treat! I’ve been waiting the whole winter to ride my bike again; it’s my favourite form of exercise. I’ll certainly need it after visiting a sugar bush last weekend… 😛

For those of you who read childrensclasses.org, I’ve kept up with the regular children’s class at the Baha’i Centre with very few interruptions. It’s been a little difficult this past season—the winter brought me down a lot, mood-wise; I still haven’t managed to work in some good, regular winter activities to keep my spirits up when it’s cold and dark. Winter’s becoming less and less my favourite season because of it (although I still enjoy the month of December). Anyway, I digress. The class has been smaller this season, and a lot of the cooler activities and initiatives we’ve talked about haven’t really happened; I blame my own lethargy 😛 Still, the important thing is that we haven’t let up on it—we’ll be going on our fifth year of classes soon. Not bad huh?

A little personal note: I’ve started watching a lot of anime. I went through the entire Rozen Maiden series, and I’m currently watching Azumanga Daioh as well. I’ve gotten lots of recommendations from friends so far, so there’s no shortage of anime left to watch… maybe this is a sign that I’ll get over my dislike of watching TV and movies soon? One can only hope.

change in culture

change in cultureIn May 2006, the Universal House of Justice wrote to the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada regarding the goals and plans of the Canadian Baha’i community. The latter had set some ambitious goals for the growth and development of the community, promising to firmly establish intensive programs of growth in no less than 46 areas of the country (Ottawa, of course, being one of them). The Universal House of Justice pointed out in its letter that “[s]uch a bold objective cannot be achieved merely by adopting the outer form of the activities of the Five Year Plan [i.e. the ‘core activities’]”, and that “a true change in culture is required”.

So what’s this whole “intensive growth” thing? Is it freaky or evil? Not really. The Baha’i community, just like any religious community, can either stagnate or grow. A healthy community grows; an unhealthy one stagnates (or worse, God forbid—disunity sets in and it dies out). Bahá’ís naturally want their community to grow, to become more united, and to attract receptive souls who are willing to throw their lot in to build a divine civilization. “Intensive growth” is simply what’s needed at this time because of the lamentable, perilous and frightening state of the world. If the world were in better shape, we might be able to just go along at our regular (slow) pace, getting more and more united as the years went by, gradually learning how better to serve humanity and follow the teachings sent by Baha’u’llah; but because the world around us is losing it so quickly, we have to learn quicker—put some Miracle-Gro on our garden—so that if and when things start spinning out of control—which seems to be real soon now—the Bahá’ís will be able to offer your average Jack and Jill somewhere to turn to for a respite from all the confusion.

That “change in culture” has been happening gradually within the Baha’i community over the past year. Taking on a new way of acting and living our lives is challenging, and like any change, it begins with friction and discomfort. Let me give an example…
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the baha’i encyclopedia

If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to these past few weeks, I have four answers for you:

this last item is pretty interesting actually. you should check it out. you probably know of wikipedia, especially if you’ve read any high school or undergraduate research papers lately. well, bahaikipedia (haw haw) is essentially wikipedia all about the Baha’i Faith. it’s a growing project, meaning that it’s still pretty tiny and is badly in need of contibutions. I’ve been adding some basic information about the Canadian Baha’i community, including profiles of cities like Ottawa and Montreal. if you’re bedridden and have nothing else to do, or if you’re still healthy and have a little time left in your day after all your regular commitments are up, check it out, create your own account and see what you could add to it!

random note

hey! just a random note to say that I’m still alive, just working like crazy and juggling several different priorities—two children’s classes and a study circle doing Book 6 of the Ruhi curriculum come to mind. It’s labor dabor day weekend in North America; tomorrow, Julie, my mom and I will be at the Ottawa Baha’i Centre doing some garden-planting with the kids (part 2). It’s supposed to be 21 degrees C tomorrow, which is just warm enough for comfort. We’ll be sure to take photos. Then on Sunday it’s a devotional gathering / BBQ / picnic to welcome everyone into a new year of children’s classes – we went an entire year without stopping during the summer, and that’s pretty cool! yay for us!

you want intense? i’ll give you intense

conversations of deep importlife is intense right now. For the past week I’ve been leaving home at 8 AM and getting in between 10 PM and midnight every night; my cat is super angry at me and has been staging regular protests. I guess it started with the reflection meeting; things have been super goofy since then. not long after that, I joined up with Marty and a bunch of friends in one of the two outreach/teaching teams active in Ottawa. Both of them basically hang around in different neighbourhoods, experimenting with the viability of offering the four core activities in each area. my current job on the team is offering children’s classes to kids from two neighbouring apartment complexes. It’s a big change from doing our usual weekly children’s class: this one is a daily class, and the classes are taken word-for-word from Book 3 of the Ruhi curriculum, with songs, games, stories, colouring, and memorization of prayers and passages from the Baha’i Writings. I’ll be posting more about these classes on my children’s classes blog once the 2-week pilot period is over. basically, we’re going totally nutbar for about two weeks, offering all the core activities at the same time in order to gauge the receptivity of the community, and if it works out, we’ll start offering them regularly over a longer period, perhaps weekly throughout the year. There’s been lots of intense consultation, reflection and tons of action. There are tons of photos ready to be posted—and I swear, as soon as I get a moment I’ll be posting them you-know-where.

photo albums overhauled

ladiesaha! after a while of messing around and banging my head against a wall of PHP, I’ve given my photos page a much-needed overhaul. now, instead of linking you directly to flickr, photos will appear directly within the comfortable doberman pizza interface you’re used to. to celebrate, I’ve posted photos from the recent reflection meeting, the refresher session on Anna’s presentation last Monday, the devotional meeting at Julie & Fanfan’s place last weekend, and the latest edition of our children’s class—all nicely arranged into photosets (i.e. albums) for your browsing pleasure. And don’t worry, if you want to see higher-res versions they’re still around on flickr. let me know what you think!