Some Things Bear Repeating . . .

 unity

Spiritual Quote:

“O thou revered maidservant of God! Thy letter from Los Angeles was received. Thank divine Providence that thou hast been assisted in service and hast been the cause of the promulgation of the oneness of the world of humanity, so that the darkness of differences among men may be dissipated, and the pavilion of the unity of nations may cast its shadow over all regions. Without such unity, rest and comfort, peace and universal reconciliation are unachievable. This illumined century needeth and calleth for its fulfilment. In every century a particular and central theme is, in accordance with the requirements of that century, confirmed by God. In this illumined age that which is confirmed is the oneness of the world of humanity. Every soul who serveth this oneness will undoubtedly be assisted and confirmed.

“I hope that in the assemblies thou mayest sing praises with a sweet melody and thus become the cause of joy and gladness to all.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 113

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Women, Rights, and Water

women_waterWomen are important.

Rights are important.

Water is important.

So, why are so many women so challenged when it comes to getting water? (to see some fascinating yet chilling visual evidence, click on “image credit” at the top of this post)

From OneWorld.Net: “Women and girls in developing countries bear significant economic, physical, and health burdens to provide water for their families on a daily basis — ‘this is the forgotten glass ceiling’, write sustainable water experts John Sauer and Andra Tamburro.”

The article goes on to say:

“Women in poor communities across Asia, Africa, and South America typically walk an average of 3 miles a day to fetch water for their households, often from contaminated sources such as rivers, unprotected springs, and shallow wells…The time this takes could be spent instead on income-generating activities, education, and caring for the family. Moreover, the quality of water that women in developing nations must bring home puts people at risk of deadly diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and amoebic dysentery, diarrheal diseases that kill more children under five than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.”

Why is this happening?

What can be done about it?

How will worsening climate change affect the situation?

Some of the answers can be found at OneWorld.Net’s Water and Sanitation guide.

The intro to the guide states:

“The achievement of providing 1.6 billion people with access to safe drinking water since 1990 is potentially jeopardised by the absence of matching investment in sanitation. The lack of hygienic facilities experienced by 2.5 billion people is a fundamental cause of disease which leads to 1.5 million deaths of children each year. Climate change uncertainties cast a menacing shadow over the efforts of developing countries to honour their citizens’ rights to safe water and sanitation.”

It continues with these topics (along with many links to further information):

Millennium Development Goals and Water and Sanitation
The Sanitation Deficit
The Benefits of Water and Sanitation
The Right to Water and Sanitation
Water and Sanitation in Global Politics
Local Governance of Water and Sanitation
Water is a Finite Resource
Climate Change and Water

Like most of the problems afflicting humanity, nothing significant will happen to rectify the situation until the people in-charge and the people affected attain some measure of Unity

Spiritual Quote:

“Women have equal rights with men upon earth; in religion and society they are a very important element. As long as women are prevented from attaining their highest possibilities, so long will men be unable to achieve the greatness which might be theirs.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 133

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Why should You care?

cyrus_the_greatWhy should you care that seven innocent people are languishing in prison in Iran with no access to legal counsel?

Well, even if they were guilty, the lack of access to their lawyer—Shirin Ebadi—is criminal. The image on the left is of Cyrus the Great. The following is from Wikipedia :

On December 10, 2003, in her acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, Shirin Ebadi evoked Cyrus, saying:
“I am an Iranian, a descendant of Cyrus the Great. This emperor proclaimed at the pinnacle of power 2,500 years ago that he ‘would not reign over the people if they did not wish it.’ He promised not to force any person to change his religion and faith and guaranteed freedom for all. The Charter of Cyrus the Great should be studied in the history of human rights.”

Why should you care if the prime reason for these people’s incarceration is that they hold a belief in the Bahá’í Faith?

Well, jailing someone for their beliefs is an attempt to induce mind control through force.

Nader Saiedi has written a scholarly yet scathing article called Forgetting They Are Human. In that article (which goes into great depth on the psychology of the people who would use force to control thoughts), he says:

“It is now thirty years that the Islamic regime has been engaged in a brutal, systematic and organized persecution of the Baha’is in Iran. This religious sadism, however, has recently been much more intensified. The Islamic Republic forces elementary school teachers to publicly humiliate the Baha’i children, and with utter inhumanity to insult their religion. This is one of the manifestations of their brand of ‘Islamic Justice’ whose like is rarely seen even among the most despotic and racist contemporary regimes of the world. The reactionaries, led in this ‘holy war’ against these children by the leaders of the Hojjatiyeh Association [a secret anti-Baha’i society], have opened up new chapters in the annals of courage and humanity. These brave warriors are not content with just harassing children, instead they systematically attack the organized lines of Baha’i corpses in cemeteries, and after bravely defeating the dead, burn their remaining bodies.”

Why should you care about this if you don’t live in Iran?

Well, there’s that concept gaining increasing acceptance—the one that stresses our common humanity—that holds us to the high standard of protecting any  human who is dealt with unjustly.

Why should you care, even if you wished they weren’t being treated badly, when you might feel it to be impossible for you to do anything to protect them?

Because you can  do something to protect them…

You can pray for them.

If you don’t believe in prayer, have the courtesy and maturity to respect those who do believe in it.

From an open letter entitled, We Are Ashamed, from a group of more than 200 prominent academics, writers, artists, journalists and Iranian activists throughout the world to the Baha’i community come these words:

“In the name of goodness and beauty, and in the name of humanity and liberty!

“As Iranian human beings, we are ashamed for what has been perpetrated upon the Bahá’ís in the last century and a half in Iran.
We firmly believe that every Iranian, ‘without distinction of any kind, such as, race, color, sex, language, religion, politics or other opinions’, and also without regard to ethnic background, ‘social origin, property, birth or other status’, is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, from the very inception of the Bahá’í Faith, the followers of this religion in Iran have been deprived of many provisions of human rights solely on account of their religious convictions.”

Why should you care about these Bahá’ís if you’re a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or member of any other Faith?

Well, true religion upholds justice and instills unity.

Spiritual Quote:

“All the divine Manifestations have proclaimed the oneness of God and the unity of mankind. They have taught that men should love and mutually help each other in order that they might progress. Now if this conception of religion be true, its essential principle is the oneness of humanity. The fundamental truth of the Manifestations is peace. This underlies all religion, all justice. The divine purpose is that men should live in unity, concord and agreement and should love one another. Consider the virtues of the human world and realize that the oneness of humanity is the primary foundation of them all. Read the Gospel and the other holy books. You will find their fundamentals are one and the same. Therefore unity is the essential truth of religion and when so understood embraces all the virtues of the human world. Praise be to God! this knowledge has been spread, eyes have been opened and ears have become attentive. Therefore we must endeavor to promulgate and practice the religion of God which has been founded by all the prophets. And the religion of God is absolute love and unity.
Abdu’l-Bahá: Bahá’í World Faith

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Our Human Family ~ Unity In Diversity

human_family1
First, a few news items about our Human Family:

From the Washington Times: Film casts a chill on family’s future “Already, 90 countries or localities have subpar fertility rates (i.e., below the 2.1 children per woman replacement level), according to the CIA’s World Factbook. Thirty-six have rates less than 1.5.”

From Business World: The free market and morality “…the economic inequality between the north and the south had become more and more an inner threat to the cohesion of the human family, ‘a danger that was no less real than that proceeding from the weapons arsenals with which the East and the West oppose one another’.”

From the Guardsman: Inauguration 2009: ‘Remaking America’ “We need to recognize that the human family isn’t about differences or trying to make everyone be the same, but about just trying again to be more positive. ”

From the Mindanao Examiner: Inter-generational by Fr Roy Cimagala “We cannot help but deepen our respective generational specializations of interest, in all their social and cultural varieties. I suppose this is how things go. We even have to foster the legitimate differences. But we need to learn how to form one organic whole, since in the end we all are one human family.”

If the photo that leads this post “offended” you or made you “uncomfortable” you have a long road to travel toward the realization that our Human Family truly is  an organic whole.

This single realization—the Oneness of Humanity—is the golden key to the resolution of all our global ills. Trace the causes of any of the increasingly menacing crises in our world and you will find one or another form of prejudice by one part of the human family against another part of that same family.

Who would willingly sit down at their family meal and forcibly restrain their children from eating the food, over time watching them starve to death?

This is happening in our global family…

Who would go out and earn a lucrative livelihood then come home and refuse to spend any of that money on certain members of their family?

This is happening in our global family…

Who would bring a dangerous means of producing energy into their home, placing it in an area where they never go but other members of the family must go?

This is happening in our global family…

Who would have children then make sure they receive no education?

This is happening in our global family…

I could go on with examples that seem horrific when considering a single family yet are not being sufficiently protested against or dealt with (even being hidden) by the most affluent members of our Human Family; but, I won’t go on to construct a laundry list of ills—I’ll instead utter a cry for a thorough washing of the Laundry…

Spiritual Quote:

“…when this human body-politic reaches a state of absolute unity, the effulgence of the eternal Sun will make its fullest light and heat manifest. Therefore we must not make distinctions between individual members of the human family. We must not consider any soul as barren or deprived. Our duty lies in educating souls so that the Sun of the bestowals of God shall become resplendent in them, and this is possible through the power of the oneness of humanity. The more love is expressed among mankind and the stronger the power of unity, the greater will be this reflection and revelation, for the greatest bestowal of God is love. Love is the source of all the bestowals of God. Until love takes possession of the heart no other divine bounty can be revealed in it.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 218

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One Perpetual Faith

Due to recent world crises and the important information it contains, this post will stay up till Sunday, 18 January.

world-religion-day
Emory and Suzanne at the café:

E: World Religion Day? Come on, get serious.

S: I am serious, Emory, I want you to come to the gathering.

E: Sorry, I don’t think religion has anything that will help with the problems going on in the world right now.

S: Why not?

E: Well, for one, they’re all fighting each other. How can rabid religionists help establish peace?

S: I’m talking about real religion, the kind that induces love and unity.

E: Where does that exist?

S: Come to the gathering and you just might be surprised…

E: Who else will be there?

S: Tom, Elaine, and Pete; Christian, Jew, and Muslim…

E: Well, it might be fun watching them argue themselves into a frenzy.

S: I’ll bet they all get along and that you learn something that can help in your work for peace.

E: I’ll take that bet. In a way……… I actually hope I lose…

~~~~~~~~~

Emory will go to the gathering for World Religion Day and he will lose his bet. He’ll also learn that the core of all true religions are the same and all guide humanity to the road of peace and tranquility.

There’s a statement made in the Writings of my Faith that, if religion doesn’t lead to love and unity, a person is better off without religion…

In light of that statement, I want to introduce you to a major document that was sent to the world’s religious leaders, essentially telling them to reaffirm the core beliefs of their Faiths and get down to work helping their followers practice what real religion preaches. This link will let you read and download the document.

Also, in the time remaining before January 18th, you may want to learn more about World Religion Day and various activities that are being planned.

Here’s a video from the site:

Spiritual Quote:

“O ye steadfast loved ones! The grace of God is beating down upon mankind, even as the rains in spring, and the rays of the manifest Light have made this earth to be the envy of heaven. But alas, the blind are deprived of this bounty, the heedless are closed off from it, the withered despair of it, the faded are dying away—so that even as flooding waters, this endless stream of grace passeth back into its primal source in a hidden sea. Only a few receive this grace and take their share of it…

“We trust that in a time to come the slumberers will waken, and the heedless will be made aware, and the excluded will become initiates in the mysteries. Now must the friends work on with heart and soul and put forth a mighty effort, until the ramparts of dissension are toppled down and the glories of the oneness of humanity lead all to unity.

“Today the one overriding need is unity and harmony among the beloved of the Lord, for they should have among them but one heart and soul and should, so far as in them lieth, unitedly withstand the hostility of all the peoples of the world; they must bring to an end the benighted prejudices of all nations and religions and must make known to every member of the human race that all are the leaves of one branch, the fruits of one bough.

“Until such time, however, as the friends establish perfect unity among themselves, how can they summon others to harmony and peace?”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 277

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Unity >>> Peace

peace

Jim and Melissa at the café:

M: They should just continue bombing the hell out of them…

J: And that’s going to solve things?

M: It gets rid of the terrorists.

J: It’s also getting rid of innocent people.

M: There’s no other way to stop them.

J: What if you had a son and he was in Gaza and the bombs were falling on him?

M: I’d never let a son of mine be  in a situation like that.

J: So, there’s a beginning to a solution that doesn’t need violence—women taking charge and using love to fight war.

M: Hmmm… Never thought of it that way…

~~~~~~~~~

Just a story? Seem like a weak argument? Still think the bombs are the solution?

Try spending some time on Sixty Years, Sixty Voices, a site that chronicles the experience of 30 Palestinian and 30 Israeli women who’ve been involved in the conflicts and hold the conviction that focused female action can  stem the tide of violence…
 
“The foundations for lasting peace in the Middle East are embedded in the voices of these Israeli and Palestinian women. They know war and they know peace, they know weakness and strength and they know the human heart. In a torn land they find a common ground built out of wisdom, experience, and because they have walked the walk. Here they stand and speak out, if we listen there is hope.” – MARIANE PEARL

Just one of the many videos from the site:

Spiritual Quote :

“The highest of created beings fighting to obtain the lowest form of matter, earth! Land belongs not to one people, but to all people. This earth is not man’s home, but his tomb. It is for their tombs these men are fighting. There is nothing so horrible in this world as the tomb, the abode of the decaying bodies of men.

“However great the conqueror, however many countries he may reduce to slavery, he is unable to retain any part of these devastated lands but one tiny portion—his tomb! If more land is required for the improvement of the condition of the people, for the spread of civilization (for the substitution of just laws for brutal customs) — surely it would be possible to acquire peaceably the necessary extension of territory.

“But war is made for the satisfaction of men’s ambition; for the sake of worldly gain to the few, terrible misery is brought to numberless homes, breaking the hearts of hundreds of men and women!

“How many widows mourn their husbands, how many stories of savage cruelty do we hear! How many little orphaned children are crying for their dead fathers, how many women are weeping for their slain sons!

“There is nothing so heart-breaking and terrible as an outburst of human savagery!

“I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of your heart on love and unity. When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love. Thoughts of war bring destruction to all harmony, well-being, restfulness and content.

“Thoughts of love are constructive of brotherhood, peace, friendship, and happiness.

“When soldiers of the world draw their swords to kill, soldiers of God clasp each other’s hands! So may all the savagery of man disappear by the Mercy of God, working through the pure in heart and the sincere of soul. Do not think the peace of the world an ideal impossible to attain!

“Nothing is impossible to the Divine Benevolence of God.

“If you desire with all your heart, friendship with every race on earth, your thought, spiritual and positive, will spread; it will become the desire of others, growing stronger and stronger, until it reaches the minds of all men.

“Do not despair! Work steadily. Sincerity and love will conquer hate. How many seemingly impossible events are coming to pass in these days! Set your faces steadily towards the Light of the World. Show love to all; ‘Love is the breath of the Holy Spirit in the heart of Man’. Take courage! God never forsakes His children who strive and work and pray! Let your hearts be filled with the strenuous desire that tranquillity and harmony may encircle all this warring world. So will success crown your efforts, and with the universal brotherhood will come the Kingdom of God in peace and goodwill.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 28

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Who Is Writing The Future ? – Part Five

writing_the_future-who_is_writing_the
The Writings of Bahá’u’lláh that have been discussed in parts One through Four of this series are challenging to say the least—challenging to current theories about how to solve our human family’s crises—challenging, as the document this series is based on says, to social schemes that deny “a moral intelligence inherent in existence”—challenging to anyone who thinks human nature isn’t truly spiritual at its roots…

Some of the sadly mistaken ideas that plagued the twentieth century and need eradication to enable humanity to move towards its impending maturity are: unbounded individualism, dis-unifying political and economic structures, and a mindset that sees conflict as somehow “natural” for humans.

Yet, one of the most important principles that needs vast encouragement and global implementation is Justice. Justice alone can ensure that individuals receive their due from institutions and governments. And, deeply important, is the growth of a sense of personal justice (replacing individualistic complaining) that lets people see with their own eyes, hear with their own ears, feel with their own hearts, and think with their own minds—knowing that imitation in any of these areas is deadly…

Another crying need is the continuing entry of individuals into the arena of Service—going beyond self—enlarging the boundaries of self to include more and more members of our very human family.

These ideas and many more are the legacy left to humanity by Bahá’u’lláh. He put forward ideas that, in the context of the 1800s, were unthinkable. In the last century and a half, His conceptions and counsels have been adopted by progressive individuals, most of whom have never heard of Bahá’u’lláh.

I urge you to read the original document that’s inspired me to write this series of posts, Who Is Writing the Future? Reflections on the Twentieth Century. Also, you can download a Word .doc or Adobe .pdf file.

Next post will wrap up the series…

Spiritual Quote :

“The central purpose of the divine religions is the establishment of peace and unity among mankind. Their reality is one; therefore, their accomplishment is one and universal—whether it be through the essential or material ordinances of God. There is but one light of the material sun, one ocean, one rain, one atmosphere. Similarly, in the spiritual world there is one divine reality forming the center and altruistic basis for peace and reconciliation among various and conflicting nations and peoples.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 98

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