teaching the cause

uh ohIt’s been an eventful couple of weeks. since Marty‘s been away, I’ve had to hold down the fort at work, which has been a challenge and a half. I’m looking forward to seeing his friendly, focused face across my cubicle wall tomorrow morning.

A group of brave champions has been gathering at my place lately to study Book 6 of the Ruhi Curriculum, entitled Teaching the Cause. This “study circle” has been intense so far, with some pretty good discussion. It’s the first time in a while I’ve facilitated this book from beginning to end—a welcome addition to my life, as studying the Ruhi curriculum is always a joy, whether as a tutor or facilitator or as a participant—no matter how you take part in a study circle, you’ll always learn from it. The challenge for us this time around will be to integrate practice components into the group’s study, as it’s the practice of teaching, more than just talking about teaching, that really brings the benefits. Something about it being the source of all courage and all. One of our number is currently on pilgrimage—such a bounty!—which should increase the overall emblazedness of the group several times over once she returns. I’m hoping it will, especially since Ottawa’s next reflection meeting is coming up in two weeks—July 27th!—and this will most probably tie into the aforementioned practice component of our study circle.

Ottawa’s Baha’i community commemorated the Martyrdom of the Báb on the 9th of July; fellow Baha’i blogger Philippe of Baha’i Thought wrote up an excellent post distilling key concepts in the life of The Báb—and in the lives of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—which brought me to a new understanding of the meaning of the Báb’s Martyrdom within the context of humanity’s path towards maturity.

Aaaaaaaand lots of birthdays too. Apart from Catherine‘s birthday on the 5th and my brother Gabriel (freshly back from India) who celebrates his birthday on the 18th, lots of other friends have either had their birthdays this month or will have them soon: Sahba T and Sahba S (no relation), Sarah HT, Dru, Andrea, Shamim from Sherbrooke, and so on and so on… HAPPY COLLECTIVE BIRTHDAY

cyprus baha’i arts festival

The Cyprus Baha’i Arts Festival was held in the city of Limassol from June 23th-29th. You can read up a little more about it on the Baha’i World News Service. Fortunately for those of us who couldn’t manage a plane ticket to Cyprus, highlight videos such as the one below are sprouting up, chronicling the event. You can also do a search on YouTube to find videos of individual performances.

it’s canada day so holler

o canadaHappy Canada Day! Way back on this day in 1867—140 years ago, and a mere four years after Bahá’u’lláh’s historic Declaration of His mission in the garden of Ridván—the nation of Canada was brought into being. To celebrate, here’s a little flashback for you all.

Where was I on Canada Day…

patriotic dog / chien patriotiqueOn a related note, I saw the renowned Abha Voices perform on Friday, and they put on quite the show, performing several numbers from their repertoire, all based on the Baha’i Writings. It was incongruous—yet immensely refreshing!—to hear the following words sung on this otherwise nationalistic occasion: “Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind.”

Update (2007-07-02): the photos from canada day 2007 are gradually going up on flickr; check ’em out and keep your eyes open for more. more photos are available on Facebook, including chronicles of the visit of a group of Baha’i Youth from Montreal’s West Island!

cultivating the roots

wi-fiHowdy. I’m currently reporting from the Cultivating the Roots conference at Bosch Baha’i School in Santa Cruz, California. So far, the sharing has been awesome. Everyone has has amazing insights and ideas for different types of projects and collaboration tools—all to help Baha’is develop better ways of interacting, collaborating, and channeling their energy into systematic action. I’m currently posting up a bunch of photos from the conference; check them out on flickr. Big ups to prema for letting me use her laptop.

It’s fascinating to ponder the holes out there in the Baha’i community that could be filled by judiciously chosen and developed IT initiatives. Throughout the day today, we’ve been talking about the needs out there—from tools to benefit Baha’i Institutions (for example, accounting software that operates according to the 19-month Baha’i calendar, or geomatics software to aid in planning various types of community campaigns) to software to sift through the Sacred Writings of the Baha’i Faith, to collaboration software to help Baha’i institutions, communities, and individuals to work together more effectively… there are so many ways that computers and the Internet can help us do our work better, yet there’s so little time to accomplish them all. A few projects that were put forth in one of the last workshops this afternoon: a functional Baha’i events database (similar to bahailocations.com) that can be used by Baha’i communities throughout the world to track their core activities, holy days, and various gatherings; an online presentation platform (similar to webconferencing) for holding formal or informal talks and “fireside chats”; and a process for providing technical and material support for Baha’i communities throughout the world who wish to develop their first websites.

So yeah, some really intense consultation here. The workshops have been the best—that’s why I really came to this conference. This morning, I attended a workshop on blogging by the authors of bahainine.com, the growing online portal to Baha’i blogs everywhere. That was awesome, just to be there and to be able to talk shop with them about blogging software, search engine optimization, content management systems, and miscellaneous Web 2.0 hobbledyhoy. The whole project is really interesting—creating an online portal to basically aggregate all the Baha’i-related content on the Internet, giving the “Baha’i blogosphere” a friendly face. The current site just contains a map and a searchable index of Baha’i blogs, but there’s a lot more in the works—photos, videos, full tagging capability, and so on. Speaking with the team that’s working on this mammoth task is immensely uplifting and exciting, and the possibilities are endless. I’ll be sure to post more later; remember to check back—apart from photos, there’ll also be videos (and/or mashups) for your enjoyment and upliftment.

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!