Worshiping with Popcorn

popcorn“Worshiping with popcorn?Has Alex run out of worthy blog topics?”

Nope, this may just be one of my best yet…

The country is Brazil. The protagonist is 36-year-old Valdir Novaki—used to be an itinerant farm laborer, a newsagent, then a car park driver. Now he’s a
Popcorn Entrepreneur.

Hey, Alex, what about the “worshiping”?


Oh, yeah, in just a second…

On the site I discovered him, GlobalVoices, they say:

“Despite the fact that Valdir only had the opportunity to finish elementary school, he now coaches students and business people of all ranks. For just over a year, Valdir has travelled around Brazil giving motivational lectures, entrepreneurship tips, and maybe some inspiration.”

Vladir even has a website, PipocadoValdir. Check it out! This is no mere popcorn man. He even gives his customers a “hygiene kit” with a napkin, a toothpick and a mint candy.
You can also watch the five news videos about his business by clicking the Valdir na Mídia link; and, the real kicker is the slowmotion video of popcorn popping!!

Here’s my favorite quote from Valdir:

“Oh, every day I’m in a good mood. And the key thing is to look back in hindsight. If we look back in hindsight, you will see that there are people [living in] much worse [conditions] than us. I’m healthy, I’m working, my family is not in need… So, it is only joy! Thus we overcome difficulties! I have always a smile on my face because, as I always say, the smile is the shortest distance between two people. And for me to be a popcorn seller, I have to be happy.”

O.K., Alex, he’s a great guy who’s conquered many obstacles in life and maintained a happy attitude, he’s an innovative entrepreneur and respects his larger social responsibilities… What about “Worshiping”?!

Oh, right. Check out this quote…

Spiritual Quote:

“The man who makes a piece of notepaper to the best of his ability, conscientiously, concentrating all his forces on perfecting it, is giving praise to God. Briefly, all effort and exertion put forth by man from the fullness of his heart is worship, if it is prompted by the highest motives and the will to do service to humanity. This is worship: to serve mankind and to minister to the needs of the people. Service is prayer. A physician ministering to the sick, gently, tenderly, free from prejudice and believing in the solidarity of the human race, he is giving praise.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 176

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Who Is Writing The Future ? – Part One

“0n May 28, 1992, Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies met in special session to commemorate the centenary of the passing of Bahá’u’lláh…His message of unity had clearly struck a deep chord with the Brazilian legislators.”

That quote is from a document entitled, Who Is Writing the Future? Reflections on the Twentieth Century.

The twentieth century? It’s over and done with, right?

Well, if the hideous pressure on the global financial system, and the despicable lack of respect for human rights, and the impending, nay, imminent climate crisis, and various other dark and ominous conditions in our world are over and done with, then, I suppose the twentieth century will have absolutely no effect on our lives…

What’s that old quote—was it the Bible—something about the sins of the father…?

So, Who is Bahá’u’lláh and why did Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies single Him out for honor?

The document says, “During the course of the proceedings, speakers representing all parties in the Chamber paid tribute to a body of writings which one deputy described as ‘the most colossal religious work written by the pen of a single Man’, and to a conception of our planet’s future which, ‘transcending material frontiers’, in the words of another, ‘reached out to humanity as a whole, without petty differences of nationality, race, limits, or beliefs’.”

Strange that government officials in Brazil should so honor Bahá’u’lláh while the government in Iran ( Bahá’u’lláh’s land of birth ) was doing everything they could to stifle His ideas; in fact, had been working to rid their country of any trace of His ideas for nearly 130 years…

What are  these ideas that two governments’ officials could have such divergent opinions on?

Here are some of Bahá’u’lláh’s ideas from one of many web sites that dive deeply into His conceptions:

* Individual search for truth
* There is but one God
* Equality of men and women
* Universal, quality education for all
* Elimination of prejudice of all kinds
* Religion as the foundation of Love and Unity
* Harmony between science and religion
* There is a common foundation of all religions
* Equality and brotherhood among mankind
* The need for a universal, worldwide auxillary language
* Elimination of poverty
* Universal peace upheld by a world arbitrating body
* Protection of Cultural diversity
* Mankind must accept God’s Bounty

Over 500 elected officials of Brazil’s government set aside time to publicly honor the Prophet-Founder of a world religion, the Bahá’í Faith, when 89% of the population is either Roman Catholic or Protestant. What’s going on? And, why are Iran’s leaders so averse to Bahá’u’lláh’s religious ideas?

I hope to, with the help of the document, Who Is Writing the Future? Reflections on the Twentieth Century , answer those questions.

There will be five more posts in this series, covering the five sections of the document. If you’d like to download it and let it speak to you  during my attempts to covey its message, I’ve provided a Word .doc and Adobe .pdf file for download.

Spiritual Quote :

“The cause of God is like unto a college. The believers are like unto the students. The college is founded for the sake of the acquirements of science, arts and literature. If the sciences are not therein and the scholars are not educated the object of the college is not achieved. The students must show the results of their study in their deportment and deeds; otherwise they have wasted their lives….the cause of God must be a dynamic force transforming the lives of men and not a question of meetings, committees, futile discussions, unnecessary debates and political wire-pulling.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. 7, No. 18, p. 178

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