False Religion

false_religionSo much hate being spread in the name of religion…

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, son of the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, once said:

“Any religion which is not a cause of love and unity is no religion.”

He also said, “A Bahá’í denies no religion; he accepts the Truth in all, and would die to uphold it.”

Recent events in Pakistan show the dark side of this issue:

From The New York Times: Hate Engulfs Christians in Pakistan “The attack in this shabby town in central Pakistan — the culmination of several days of rioting over a claim that a Koran had been defiled — shows how precarious life is for the tiny Christian minority in Pakistan.”

From CNN: About 200 arrested in violence against Christians in Pakistan “Seven people were killed and 20 injured Saturday when Muslim demonstrators set fire to houses in a Christian enclave…”

From Agence France-Presse: Pakistan Christian schools strike after killings “An angry mob of Muslims torched 40 houses and a church in the remote village of Gojra in Pakistan’s heartland province of Punjab…”

It’s no wonder more and more intelligent people can say things like, “I’m very spiritual but certainly not religious…”.

Spiritual Quote:

“…it is evident that the Divine religions are meant to create a bond of love among humanity, and to bind the people together for no other purpose than amity. Divine religion is not a cause for discord and disagreement. If religion be the cause of discord and difference, then no religion is preferable, for religion is meant to be life to the body politic. If it be the cause of death to humanity, then its non-existence is preferable. Therefore, in this day religion is to be sought, for religious teachings may well be likened to remedies. If a remedy be productive of worse symptoms, the lack or absence of the remedy is preferable.”
Compilations, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 312

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An Ethical Business Press Release

“A WAKE” FOR JAVA STREET CAFÉ

java_street_cafe

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Sam Lippert
Tel: 937-294-5280
Cell Phone: 734-301-0089

Nationally Recognized Café Will Keep The Doors Open For Three Days Straight

It may be the end of the line for Java Street Café in Kettering, Ohio, at least at its present location. Grabbing attention from CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and three local channels back in March for taking all the prices off the menu, even showing a steady 13% increase in sales since that bold move, hasn’t been enough for the landlord. The Café is slated to close its doors at 6pm, Saturday, April 11th.

“The new policy has been a success.”, says Sam Lippert, the owner, “Unfortunately, we have obligations, including back rent, from the old business model that seem to be derailing the whole thing.”

Lippert had hoped that, with the success of the new business model, the landlord, B. R. Kettering Towne Center, LLC, located in California, would be convinced to have a little more patience. “It obviously didn’t work”, said Lippert, “I was informed that I had to leave the premises to avoid legal action. Even though my sales are climbing, I’m out of resources. I need to make the new business model as plain as day with the numbers I have. Then, I need about $40,000 to pay my obligations, secure a new location, and get rolling again.” Sam continues, “What I’m doing here has touched people from as far away as Toronto and Salt Lake City, has sparked interest in the business community, and is still expanding its presence in the blogosphere. It would be a shame to see it come to a complete end before it has a chance to significantly prove itself.”

So, from 7am on Thursday, April 9th until 6pm on Saturday, April 11th, Sam will keep the doors open for business. He said, “This continuous operation, 24/3, will be our Wake for this incarnation of Java Street Café. It will also help me make payroll and raise awareness about the “Fair Price” business model. I may be under the gun right now, but this business plan works and I’m going to do everything I can to make it keep happening.”

###

If you’d like more information about this topic, or would like to schedule an interview, tender suggestions, or offer assistance, call Sam Lippert at 937-294-5280 or Cell at 734-301-0089.

~~~~~~~~~

Previous Posts about Java Street Café:

Business Ethics?
Cafe owner thrives with no-pricing policy
Sam’s Interview On CNN

~~~~~~~~~
One final thought:

Incompetent bankers can get billions. One ethical, main street
business man finds it extremely difficult to find thousands…

Spiritual Quote:

“In collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the European Bahá’í Business Forum, a voluntary association of Bahá’í business professionals, recently produced a joint working paper entitled “Socially Responsible Enterprise Restructuring.” The report has served as a basis for several training sessions organized by the ILO and has been disseminated to governments, employers associations and workers’ organizations throughout the world. The European Bahá’í Business Forum has also conducted a series of seminars on business ethics in eastern Europe and has formed an educational partnership with AIESEC, one of the largest organizations of business students in the world.

“As a practical step in contributing to a dialogue about development and social transformation that explicitly takes account of spiritual values and perspectives, some 100 influential development organizations, international and government agencies, religious representatives, and academics recently gathered in New Delhi to participate in a colloquium on the theme of Science, Religion and Development. The primary goal of the event was to explore how a unified interaction between scientific methods and religious insights can promote the building of human capacity, particularly in the areas of governance, education, technology and economic activity. The event was organized by the Bahá’í community of India and the Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity, a research agency of the Bahá’í International Community. At the global level, Bahá’ís have also been involved in the very constructive World Faiths Development Dialogue between the World Bank and major religions.”
Bahá’í International Community, 2001 May 28-31, Overcoming Corruption in Public Institutions

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Cafe owner thrives with no-pricing policy

no_price_cafeI hang out at a local café (you may have noticed I use many imaginative dialogues at the beginning of posts and they’re almost always in a café). I also do some of my own work at the café plus volunteering a little marketing and promotion—basically, I like the place.

However, this creeping, crawling economic downturn (aka recession or crunch) hit the owner of Java Street Café  pretty hard. I’ve spent hours talking business with him and watched as a bright and friendly man became progressively morose and extremely exhausted (when a business has hard times, paying employees becomes a problem and the owner has to not only run the business but literally Work  it).

Months went by, things getting worse, while the owner, Sam, in spite of the grueling conditions, continued  to try various ideas to attract customers…

Finally, last week, an idea he’d been experimenting with became a what-the-hell—”I can’t lose more than I already have”—Decision:

Take All The Prices Off The Menu—let people pay whatever they  feel is a Fair Price!

Sam had his back against the wall, he was willing to try just about anything, and he “happened” to choose and made a commitment to act  on what could seem like a very crazy idea…

That was last week…

Since then, he’s been interviewed on CNN twice, phone interviewed on MSNBC and Fox, appeared on all four of the local channels, been on three out-of-state radio talk shows, will be appearing in a morning cooking segment on the local Fox affiliate, and received calls of thanks from three other states and Canada…

As if that weren’t enough, the blogosphere is starting to warm up to the story and it’s on the edge of tipping into the viral realm.

Why?

Because it’s “crazy” and unusual?

Nope.

That may have been the initial and conscious decision of the media but, after watching it happen and, especially, watching his customers react, the real and deeper reason for all the interest certainly seems to be related to a nearly archaic principle—Business Ethics…

Sam’s customer’s have a variety of reactions when he takes their order then says, “O.K., what do you think is a fair price for what you just ordered ?”:

“Huh?”

“Me?”

“What’s your usual price?”

“Oh, my! I have to think  about it?”

“You’re kidding, right?

Sam’s not kidding, they do have to think about it, his “usual” price is now “your price”, and, when the day is done, the under-payers and the over-payers even out and he’s collecting what he used to get when he had prices…

Of all the various reactions, my personal favorite, and the one that sings  of ethics in business during hard times, is what the woman from Missouri said, when she called to thank Sam for his decision:

“After I saw the story on CNN, I cried…”

Spiritual Quote:

“As a practical step in contributing to a dialogue about development and social transformation that explicitly takes account of spiritual values and perspectives, some 100 influential development organizations, international and government agencies, religious representatives, and academics recently gathered in New Delhi to participate in a colloquium on the theme of Science, Religion and Development. The primary goal of the event was to explore how a unified interaction between scientific methods and religious insights can promote the building of human capacity, particularly in the areas of governance, education, technology and economic activity.”
2001 Jun 11, Universal House of Justice, Overcoming Corruption

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Citizen Media

mediaCalling all World Citizens!

Are you letting the rest of our human family know what’s really going on where you live?

Well, actually, I’m only able to call on all English-speaking  World Citizens. It’s a shame I can only afford a blog platform that costs nothing and, therefore, can’t install translation software…

I included a post about the problems of World Citizens having clear communications in my recent series, Path Toward Peace , but I trust there are those of you reading this who can translate for other World Citizens you know…

I was prompted to write this post today by the following news story:

From OneWorld.Net: Obama Urged to Reform Media, Protect Internet
“As President-elect Barack Obama prepares to name a new leader of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and a chief technology officer at the White House, more than 100 advocates of a free and open media — including some of the most well-known musicians, bloggers, and policy analysts in the country — are urging him to remain true to campaign pledges to diversify media ownership; renew public media; and promote fast, affordable, and open Internet access.”

I felt this story, about a newly-elected President of the United States who’s received such acclaim world-wide, was a good lead-in to a series of papers I discovered recently that assess the state of Citizen Media and its interaction with the mainstream sources of what’s actually happening in our world.

That video is from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University  and they’ve published twelve fascinating papers on the topic of Digital Media.

I’ve uploaded (so you can download ) the Adobe .pdf of the Overview: News and Information as Digital Media Come of Age.

You may feel you can’t take on the task of reporting events to the world but one example I can cite is this blogger, me , who’s on a small military pension, living in a small apartment, only able to use software that’s free, yet, still sending this report out to the world…

Also, CNN has recently started a site where they say, “…the stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked or screened before they post.”

Then, there are the many other efforts to aid Citizen Journalists as represented in this search page from Google.

Plus, there’s the beginner’s tutorial on Global Citizen Media (available in three other languages besides English) from RisingVoices.

We often feel we can only take care of our own lives in this crisis-ridden world, yet, telling the rest of the world about your struggles to live your life would be a fine beginning as a Citizen Journalist!

Spiritual Quote :

“People need to think of themselves as world citizens and understand their personal responsibility… Campaigns to raise public awareness of the challenges of world citizenship must make use of the full range of media and the arts, including television, video, film, radio, electronic networks, books, magazines, posters, flyers, theater and music. These campaigns should enlist the advertising and entertainment industries, the media—both traditional and non-traditional—the entire UN system, all member states, NGOs, and popular personalities. They should reach out to the home, the work place, public areas and schools.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1993 Jun 14, World Citizenship: A Global Ethic for Sustainable Development

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Oh, It’s Just A Conflict . . .

civilian_casualties

It’s been happening for centuries—soldiers pick a fight with other soldiers and civilians are displaced and killed.

From the Associated Press: Russia rolls into Georgia, rolls back the clock

From CNN: Georgia-Russia conflict brings back Cold War memories

From the Irish Times: Relief for Georgia as Russian forces begin withdrawal

“Relief? Oh, but it’s just a conflict.”

Well… No, it’s war! The brave crusaders can use all the disguising words they want. When guns shoot and bombs explode and innocent people are made to suffer, it’s war.

That image up there is very old yet it tells the story as well as our modern media. Troops fight (feeling like an angel is guiding them) and innocents suffer . . .

What brought me to write this post, as I did my daily scan of news sources, was an audio-enhanced slide show on EurasiaNet.Org. It’s a story photographed and spoken by Rena Effendi. It shows the dislocation and disruption of the innocents in this “conflict” that the underside of the carpet knows is war . . .

This is a unique and compelling story !
GEORGIA – Audio/Pictorial Report

Today’s Quote:

“For thousands of years the human race has been at war. It is enough. Now let mankind, for a time at least, consort in amity and peace. Enmity and hatred have ruled. Let the world, for a period, exercise love. For thousands of years the nations have denied each other, considering each other as infidel and inferior. It is sufficient. We must now realize that we are the servants of one God, that we turn to one beneficent Father, live under one divine law, seek one reality and have one desire. Thus may we live in the utmost friendship and love, and in return the favors and bounties of God shall surround us; the world of humanity will be reformed; mankind, enjoy a new life; eternal light will illumine, and heavenly moralities become manifest.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 6

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