Videos For Social Good

Social_GoodFrom the social media guide, Mashable : “Web video can be an especially effective way for charities to get the word out about their cause….the most creative videos tend to be the most memorable and leave a more lasting impression.”

And, even though the world needs more organizations working toward social good, it’s becoming clear that there needs to be a stronger unifying force among these organizations—a wide and deep human wave of unified feeling—a stronger sense of the Oneness of Humanity…

While we’re all working to strengthen our sense of unity, let’s look at three of the videos from the Mashable  site that dramatically and effectively present their message.

The first is from DropTheWeapons.Org. This is an interactive video that let’s you decide which way the action goes…

This next video, from Green For All, uses creative sound to underscore the message…

Our final video shows two Nerdfighters who took over UTube to help charities raise money…

Spiritual Quote:

“Question. — Through what means will the spirit of man — that is to say, the rational soul — after departing from this mortal world, make progress?

“Answer. — The progress of man’s spirit in the divine world, after the severance of its connection with the body of dust, is through the bounty and grace of the Lord alone, or through the intercession and the sincere prayers of other human souls, or through the charities and important good works which are performed in its name.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 240

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You Have A Genius…

Elizabeth_Gilbert

This woman faced down a pre-midlife crisis by doing what we all secretly dream of – running off for a year.

Elizabeth Gilbert is an extremely gifted writer. She also has well-grounded ideas about what “Genius” really  means! She soared into celebrity with her book, Eat, Pray, Love, “fueled by a mix of intelligence, wit and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible”.

The following video will show you her storytelling skills as well as her dedication to honoring the genius within every creative act.

Prepare to be surprised, delighted, and inspired:

Want to listen to Elizabeth read part of Eat, Pray, Love  and answer questions from some of the folks who work at Google?

Spiritual Quote:

“The confirmations of the Spirit are all those powers and gifts which some are born with (and which men sometimes call genius), but for which others have to strive with infinite pains. They come to that man or woman who accepts his life with radiant acquiescence.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 120

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God ?

god

Jim & Denise at the Café

Jim: “So I hear you found God…”

Denise: “More like God found me.”

Jim: “…”

Denise: “Kind of like when the student is ready, the Teacher appears…”

Jim: “God, huh?”

Denise: “Yep.”

Jim: “Did He speak to you?”

Denise: “No, She  didn’t. Actually, I don’t think God is sexed—beyond all that…”

Jim: “So how do you know God found you?”

Denise: “I feel ‘Blessed ‘, I feel I’m worthy of working toward my best potential…”

Jim: “Quite a change from last month with all that talk about dying…”

Denise: “Yeah, I want to live now and I’m not afraid of dying either, whenever…”

Jim: “Wild! ”

Denise: “Yeah, wild… Wonderful… Weird…

Jim: “Yeah…”

~~~~~~~~~

If you’d been in attendance at this imaginary scene, you’d have seen the body language and felt the emotion—you’d have believed that Denise really did feel that God had found her.

Who or What is God?

Big Question…

This post was stimulated by a post on BloggersBase called, Perspectives on the Nature of God – Which of these Five Views Matches Yours? The author lists five very common conceptions of God with descriptions:

God the Wrathful…

God the Judgmental…

God Who?…

God the Compassionate…

God the Universal Spirit…

Then, comes a fascinating piece of contemplation:

“You have probably rejected four of these five views of God as being absolutely wrong, and even been uncomfortable with the wording of the view with which you most closely align. In doing so, you have rejected the sincere beliefs of the vast majority of humanity. Is promoting your preferred characterization of God more important than compassion and acceptance of diversity?”

I have my conception of God and it embraces a few of the five mentioned but goes well beyond any of them…

To me, God is First and Foremost, the Unknowable—no conception from us—the creations of God—can attain to the True Nature of our Creator…

This belief doesn’t relieve me of the necessity for compassion and empathy and tolerance of other’s beliefs…

There is, however, a concept in religion that indicates the existence of Messengers  from God, Prophets  of God, Manifestations  of God, Who have acted as intermediaries between God the Creator and we the created. Some of their names have been Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, the Báb, and Bahá’u’lláh.

There’s also a concept called Progressive Revelation  that says that all those Manifestations are One in Spirit and the religions They each founded were but Chapters in a continuing revelation of One Faith of God. This principle holds that all the religions are stages of one religion—the outer social laws changing with the constant evolution of humanity but the core spiritual Truths remaining—immutable…

One God…

One Faith…

One Human Family…

Hmmm . . .

Spiritual Quote:

“The holy Manifestations of God come into the world to dispel the darkness of the animal, or physical, nature of man, to purify him from his imperfections in order that his heavenly and spiritual nature may become quickened, his divine qualities awakened, his perfections visible, his potential powers revealed and all the virtues of the world of humanity latent within him may come to life. These holy Manifestations of God are the Educators and Trainers of the world of existence, the Teachers of the world of humanity. They liberate man from the darkness of the world of nature, deliver him from despair, error, ignorance, imperfections and all evil qualities. They clothe him in the garment of perfections and exalted virtues. Men are ignorant; the Manifestations of God make them wise. They are animalistic; the Manifestations make them human. They are savage and cruel; the Manifestations lead them into kingdoms of light and love. They are unjust; the Manifestations cause them to become just. Man is selfish; They sever him from self and desire. Man is haughty; They make him meek, humble and friendly. He is earthly; They make him heavenly. Men are material; the Manifestations transform them into divine semblance. They are immature children; the Manifestations develop them into maturity. Man is poor; They endow him with wealth. Man is base, treacherous and mean; the Manifestations of God uplift him into dignity, nobility and loftiness.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 465

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Food, Crisis, and The Human Spirit

food_crisis

FOOD = “to tend, keep, pasture, to protect, to guard, to feed”

CRISIS = “to separate, decide, judge, discriminate, distinguish, to sift”

SPIRIT = “animating or vital principle, soul, courage, vigor, breath”

It’s estimated that one billion people on the earth are starving and many are farmers. Farmers starving? How in the hell…

Take a typical independent farmer, let them do what they know how to do—use their human spirit to relate to the good earth—and they’re the best fed people on the planet. The crisis—what we need to separate out and make decisions about—is caused by not letting them do what they know how to do—letting multinational corporations that specialize in industrial agriculture supplant their efforts—provide food that’s of less nutritional value but is much cheaper than what the farmer can raise on their own. Also make sure that various multinationals control the seeds the farmer can get their hands on, making sure the seeds can only be used for one crop then have to be bought again—see Monsanto: Seed Police, The Bad Seed, and Harvest of Fear. The farmer can’t afford to buy new seed and they risk legal entanglement if they reuse the seed. And, if they try to use their own non-genetically-modified seed they’re pressured so much they can’t sell their healthy food and they can’t even grow it to feed themselves. If you doubt that a small town or village farmer can be pressured into not growing food from healthy seed just think about those multinationals and all the money they have. Do you think they mind paying some of those farmers to spy on other farmers?

So, the farmers are starving unless they buckle-under to the pressure from agri-business that seems to not use the human spirit in their mix of business factors. Then, the people who used to eat the healthy food the farmers grew have to settle for genetically-modified and less nutritious food—if  the farmer used the “approved” seed or if  the particular government lets food aid (also less than wholly nutritious) actually arrive at their table (if they even have a table…).

If you’ve gotten this far in the post and you’re starting to get bored about the one billion fellow human beings who are being starved by corporate greed, I suggest you review your commitment to the basics of the human spirit—love, harmony, sympathy, service, and compassion—as well as catching up on the concept of the Oneness of Humanity—the fact that what hurts one, hurts all… sooner or later…

Thankfully, there are some companies that do all in their power to resist the pressure from the spiritless corporations, grow fully nutritious food, and not only make it available to affluent people but install procedures that implement microfranchising so the poor can benefit as well. Check out Nuriche as one example.

Then, there are organizations like Yes!  that do everything in their power to help us all  build a more sustainable world.

Look into their special Spring 2009 theme: Food for Everyone: How to Grow A Local Food Revolution. Plenty of advice that ordinary people can use to make a major contribution to the global food crisis.

So…

FOOD = something we all need in a form that supplies us with the nutrition we must have to function effectively.

CRISIS = a time to make decisions, separate out the truth from the propaganda, and make a personal judgement to take some kind of positive action.

SPIRIT = what we all have and some  need to dust off and shine up so our human family can get back on its feet and live in peace and tranquility…

Spiritual Quote:

“A new economic order can be founded only on an unshakable conviction of the oneness of mankind. Discussions aimed at solving problems related to extreme poverty based on the premise that we are one human family rapidly expand beyond the current vocabulary of economics. They demand a wider context, one which anticipates the emergence of a global system of relationships resting on the principles of equity and justice.”
Bahá’í International Community: 1993 Feb 12 Human Rights and Extreme Poverty

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The Polls ~ Reprise

poll
You can take these polls without reading the series, One Common Faith ~ The Story, but if you’d rather read it first, here it is…

You can select multiple answers


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Who Are The Poor ?

poorAre you poor? Do you know someone who is?

Most of humanity is poor…

Even the richest people on earth run the risk of being poor in spirit.

I want you to contrast your memory of the largest, most exciting event you’ve ever seen (especially if it was in an affluent country)—full of cheering crowds, ecstatic children, thunderous music, and fantastic displays; contrast that with the following video—produced all over the world  and performed by some of the poor majority—then, tell yourself which event is more uplifting to your soul:

Produced by Playing for Change

I can’t help but feel that things like the Superbowl or the Rose Parade or the extravaganza of the recent U. S. Presidential Campaign not only don’t help my soul but probably darken it just a bit…

Our souls need to truly connect with other souls, not through massive productions that worship money and privilege but through events that let us truly participate, even if only to sing along with the video…

Spiritual Quote :

“They who are possessed of riches…must have the utmost regard for the poor, for great is the honor destined by God for those poor who are steadfast in patience. By My life! There is no honor, except what God may please to bestow, that can compare to this honor. Great is the blessedness awaiting the poor that endure patiently and conceal their sufferings, and well is it with the rich who bestow their riches on the needy and prefer them before themselves.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 202

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One Common Faith – Introduction

onecommonfaithI want to tell a story.

If you have a decided opinion against religion, you won’t like this story.

If you rigidly cling to one human expression of religion—feeling all other expressions are wrong—you won’t like this story.

I decided to tell it because I had an online friend recommend a site about an important document that discusses what’s wrong and right about religion—making clear sense of the tangled religious history we humans have created.

I’d already read the document, One Common Faith, and found the presentation of it on the site, Changeless Faith, a valuable and intriguing way to deeply understand a document that, all by itself, could be a major challenge and a difficult message to read and comprehend. The site is interactive and multidimensional.

I urge you, sincerely, to check out the site, Changeless Faith.

I recommend patience and an open mind.

I pray I haven’t lost my Internet audience…

As an introduction to the next few posts discussing concepts from this document, here’s an outline of the major sections:

History’s Turning Point
Disillusionment with the Promises of Materialism
The Progressive Globalizing of Human Experience
Humanity’s Current Needs Overwhelm Established Religions
Bahá’u’lláh Recasts the Entire Conception of Religion
Progressive Revelation and the Failure to Understand It
Religion’s Unity of Purpose
Religion’s Shaping of Civilization
Enacting the Principles of the New Age
The Power of Unity: The Model of the Bahá’í Community
Disunity and the Persistence of Evil
The Unfolding of the Bahá’í Global Community
The Day of Fulfilment

My upcoming posts about the ideas of One Common Faith won’t be a detailed exploration of all those topics—Changeless Faith does that. I’m going to choose just a few topics—topics I can relate to current cultural issues that I feel are critical to understanding the failures of humanity in its response to past religions and a hopeful and promising way to practice religion and not lose your spirituality…

Spiritual Quote:

“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. For it is clear that the purpose of a remedy is to cure; but if the remedy should only aggravate the complaint it had better be left alone. Any religion which is not a cause of love and unity is no religion. All the holy prophets were as doctors to the soul; they gave prescriptions for the healing of mankind; thus any remedy that causes disease does not come from the great and supreme Physician.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 130

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