Category Archives: General

A Day of Service: Saturday, February 20, 2010

This past Saturday a number of members of the Pasadena Baha’i community and their friends came out in the rain to serve the community at the 28th Annual Black History Parade and the Pasadena Marathon Health & Fitness Expo.

Black History Parade & Fair

Each year, Pasadena Baha’is support the Annual Black History and Parade with volunteers.  Marching in the Parade were students from Pasadena City College Ujima Program, headed up by PCC counselor and community member Chiara Thomas

Also supporting at the Fair, held at Jackie Robinson Park, was community member Scott Phelps, VP of the Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education.  He was promoting the passing of the parcel tax to increase financial support for Pasadena Public Schools in the wake of an impending budget gap facing school districts statewide.

Also representing at the Fair was the City of Pasadena’s Neighborhood Connections department, whose booth was staffed by this blog’s dear friend and community dynamo, Tania Flores.  She was passing out information and promoting the Pasadena Neighborhood Leadership Institute, of which two of the Pasadena Baha’i community members are graduates, Dorothea Bradley in 2007, and Al Cadena in 2009. 

Tania Flores, from the City of Pasadena's Neighborhood Connections

Scott Phelps, VP of the Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education

 The Baha’is were also there at the Fair.  Despite the rain, many people came up to our table, asking profound questions and wanting to know the Baha’is relationship with Jesus (he is the Son of God), where the Faith was founded (Iran), where is its world center (Haifa, Israel), key principles like the equality of women and men, abolition of all forms of prejudice, and the unique role and contributions that African Americans have made to the Baha’i Faith over the years.

Seen at the Pasadena Baha’i booth were Bill DeTally and Esther Bradley-DeTally, stalwart volunteers in the community in regards to Race Unity, America’s most vital and challenging issue.   Both have volunteered extensively with the San Gabriel Valley Interfaith Council and the YWCA’s Racial Justice Committee.  Esther teaches a writing workshop, “Courage to Write,” at La Pintoresca library, located in Northwest Pasadena, and whose workshop will be featured at the All Saints Women’s Community’s Lunch of Compassion, on Sunday, March 7th, 2010. 

Renee Dixon and Mattie McCrae at the Baha'i booth

Also representing at the booth were Renee Dixon, longtime volunteer for the Black History Parade and member of the Altadena Interfaith Group, and Mattie McCrae, newest member of our community.

Pasadena Marathon | Health and Fitness Expo

Later that afternoon at the Pasadena Convention Center, the Pasadena Neighborhood Leadership Institute (PNLI) Class had a booth to promote their class project: how to improve the community perception of Pasadena Public Schools, especially in light of all the recent improvement in test scores and other statistics.

PNLI have created an advertising campaign, “Yes!  Pasadena Public Schools” which was prominently featured at the booth.  Visitors to the booth were given business-card sized calendars with a fact about Pasadena Public Schools on the reverse.  Quite a number of people came up and chatted with us. Al Cadena, Baha’i and PNLI Class of 2009 remarked:  “People want to hear good things about the school district and are surprised and informed when they learn about the facts that we’re sharing with them.”

Michaun Irby, PNLI Class of 2009 grad at booth

Advertisements

Newsweek again: Let’s Talk about God editorial

Hi Lisa!

Hi Lisa!


So I received my latest issue of Newsweek–June 8th–today in the mail. The Take, a regular editorial by Lisa Miller Newsweek’s religion editor, featured a book with an interesting title, “The Evolution of God” by Robert Wright.

Miller’s article was well-written, and I’m dying to read Wright’s book when it’s released next week. Wright’s book has a premise–that the idea of God has evolved through history–that resonates strongly with me and correlates closely with a Baha’i perspective.

However, reading the user comments was an eye opener. A lot of really angry people. Of course, I had to put in my $.02:
Debate

“Posted By: alyosha19 @ 06/04/2009 12:00:29 AM
It’s interesting how many of the themes discussed on the comments seem to cover similar refrains: that traditional, organized religion has caused many problems in the world and that atheists seem flabbergasted at why people believe in religion at all.

To the first point, I agree. Religious leaders can be very intolerant and have caused many unspeakable, horrible and criminal things to happen. If a religion’s efforts is not uniting people and bringing them together, then it’s not doing it’s job. A wise Persian man, Abdu’l-Baha, put it more eloquently: “Religion should unite all hearts and cause wars and disputes to vanish from the face of the earth, give birth to spirituality, and bring life and light to each heart. If religion becomes a cause of dislike, hatred and division, it were better to be without it, and to withdraw from such a religion would be a truly religious act.”

To the second point, I would like to offer some advice to those people who don’t believe in God and are proud of it: you kind of come across as insulting and unlikeable. I totally understand your grievances and I’m with you most of the way, but if you want to enlighten people with your reason–and you make great points–then can you at least try to win us over with some honey? Say something nice occasionally. That’s smart marketing.

Lastly, I noticed on the comments a lot of misunderstandings about religion, namely that religion is frozen in the past, observing literal interpretations of the Old Testament, etc. Yes, some practitioners do this–and they are wrong. Actually most people’s understanding about the psychology of relgion is wrong. Closer scrutiny of newer religious traditions–namely, the Baha’i Faith–may bring you a different insight:

–That science and religion are in harmony. Scientific discoveries expand our consciousness and propel humanity forward; (true) religion–aiming to promote the betterment of all humanity (e.g. medical breakthroughs)–keeps science grounded so that it doesn’t veer off into materialism or other bad things (e.g. eugenics).

–That the most important action you can do is to independently investigate the truth yourself. So don’t be a Christian, Muslim, Jew, atheist, etc. just because your parents, teachers, favorite bloggers tell you to. Do your homework–and no copying!

–That there is only ONE religion in the world, with many different chapters that you have heard of: Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, etc. Religion is not static–it evolves, just as humanity’s collective consciousness does, and this is what Robert Wright alludes to in his book, The Evolution of God.

Yes, I’m a Baha’i. I try not to push people–that’s not cool. But since hardly anyone knows about my beliefs–and since it is relevant to the discourse of society–I want to share some basics it so that people have a wider array of choices before coming to any conclusions about religion.”

This blog cannot stop reading the mainstream press–when will it ever learn?

Technorati Profile
Technorati Profile

Pasadena Young Adult Devotional Gathering

dev-3What is a devotional gathering? Simply put, it’s a prayer meeting. Friends gathering at another friend’s home. The young adults (in their 20’s & 30’s) of Pasadena get together to say prayers on a Sunday night, to start their week all right.

The power of prayer is amazing. It’s what renews you when you have no energy or strength. It also allows you to accomplish great things when you put your affairs in God’s hands.

dev-1

Here is an example of a Baha’i prayer, revealed by Abdu’l-Baha:

“Make firm our steps, O Lord, in Thy path and strengthen Thou our hearts in Thine obedience. Turn our faces toward the beauty of Thy oneness, and gladden our bosoms with the signs of Thy divine unity. Adorn our bodies with the robe of Thy bounty, and remove from our eyes the veil of sinfulness, and give us the chalice of Thy grace; that the essence of all beings may sing Thy praise before the vision of Thy grandeur. Reveal then Thyself, O Lord, by Thy merciful utterance and the mystery of Thy divine being, that the holy ecstasy of prayer may fill our souls—a prayer that shall rise above words and letters and transcend the murmur of syllables and sounds—that all things may be merged into nothingness before the revelation of Thy splendor.

Lord! These are servants that have remained fast and firm in Thy Covenant and Thy Testament, that have held fast unto the cord of constancy in Thy Cause and clung unto the hem of the robe of Thy grandeur. Assist them, O Lord, with Thy grace, confirm them with Thy power and strengthen their loins in obedience to Thee.

Thou art the Pardoner, the Gracious.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Pasadena Baha’i honored for her Community Service

Dorothea 01

On March 22nd, Pasadena Baha’i Dorothea Bradley (holding flowers in photo) was honored by the City of Pasadena for “her unwavering commitment and unselfish dedication to her neighbors and greater community. Her efforts have helped build stronger neighborhoods which are the very foundation of our great City and the support system for our families.” Indeed.

Having worked with Dorothea on her annual Posada, National Night Out, and other projects, she is a dedicated community organizer, visionary, and true friend.
Dorothea 02

Pasadena celebrates the Festival of Ridvan (Paradise)

roses3

The Bahá’í community of Pasadena will get together on Saturday, May 2nd to celebrate the annual Festival of Ridván. The event is open to the general public at the Western Justice Center, 55 S. Grand Ave.

The word “Ridván” means “Paradise.” For twelve days from April 21 to May 2, 1863, Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, resided in a garden of Baghdad that he dubbed “the Garden of Ridván”. There Bahá’u’lláh publicly proclaimed his mission as God’s messenger for this age. At the time of his proclamation, Bahá’u’lláh was an exile in Baghdad, banished from his native Persia because of his teachings.

The Festival of Ridván is celebrated by Bahá’ís throughout the world with great joy and fellowship. Bahá’u’lláh wrote of the garden, “This is the Paradise, the rustling of whose leaves proclaims: ‘O ye that inhabit the heavens and the earth! There hath appeared what hath never previously appeared. He Who, from everlasting, had concealed His face from the sight of creation is now come’.”

The Bahá’í Faith teaches the oneness of God, the oneness of religion, and the oneness of mankind. Bahá’ís believe that in every age, God sends a divine educator, a manifestation of God, whose purpose is to restate and renew the eternal truths of religion and to address the specific needs of the age in which he appears. They believe that Bahá’u’lláh is the manifestation of God, whose purpose is to restate and renew the eternal truths of religion and to address the specific needs of the age in which he appears. They believe that Bahá’u’lláh is the manifestation of God for this age in mankind’s evolution. This “spiritual springtime” as it is called in the Bahá’í writings, when the efforts of all the previous messengers of God, such as Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Christ, Muhammad, and Bahá’u’lláh’s prophet-herald, the Báb, will blossom and bear their fruit. Thus, the occurrence of the Festival of Ridván at the height of the spring season bears a special significance for Bahá’ís.

In his writings, Bahá’u’lláh promulgates the equality of men and women, the essential harmony of science and religion, the independent investigation of truth, economic justice based upon spiritual principles, the urgent need for the elimination of all forms of prejudice, universal compulsory education, and international auxiliary language, and a world government for the maintenance of a lasting peace.

Bahá’u’lláh’s exile to Baghdad was the first of several banishments that occurred until his death in 1892. Dismayed by their inability to curb Bahá’u’lláh’s continuing influence and growing Faith, Persian religious and government leaders convinced the officials of the Ottoman Empire to banish Bahá’u’lláh to Adrianople, Constantinople, and finally, to the horrendous prison city of Akka in the Holy Land. Bahá’u’lláh suffered forty years of torture, imprisonment and exile.

The World Center of the Bahá’í Faith is on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel.

Pasadena Baha’i Naw Ruz video

Happy Baha’i New Year and 1st day of Spring!

[clearspring_widget title=”Animoto.com” wid=”46928cc51133af17″ pid=”49c5a40f9991981e” width=”432″ height=”240″ domain=”widgets.clearspring.com”]

New website alert: The Baha’i Gardens

The Baha'i Gardens

The Baha'i Gardens

A new Web site with information for visiting the Baha’i shrines and gardens in Haifa and Acre was introduced today by the Baha’i International Community.

The Web site gives details about tours, hours, and the gardens themselves, as well as information about visiting the Shrine of Baha’u’llah in Acre and the Shrine of the Bab in Haifa. The shrines are the resting places of the founders of the Baha’i Faith.

The site launched in both English and Hebrew and an Arabic version is forthcoming.

English-speaking website address:  http://www.ganbahai.org.il/en/