Sundry

Baha’i Rants is back after a well deserved summer hiatus. There is a lot to catch up on so lets get started with a quick round up of what has transpired recently.

BAHA’I NEWS ROUNDUP

Another Baha’i has been unenrolled. Larry Rowe from Canada had his membership withdrawn by the National Spriritual Assembly of Canada. Its mind boggling how idiotic the NSA’s decision was because Larry clearly believes in Baha’u’llah and is a Baha’i. Rather than dealing with and talking about, the issues that he raised, the NSA decided to take the easy way and just boot him out. Hmmm…didn’t Shoghi Effendi say something about ‘dictatorial authority’ and ‘arbitrary power’? Larry worded his letter to the NSA in a very specific way to elicit a response to something which they vociferously deny and ignore. Rather than read the letter with wisdom, the NSA chose to read it like a heartless beaurocrat.

And sadly, another Baha’i may be destined for the same end. It all started when Brendan, a person I must confess impresses me with his eloquence and rapier sharp wits, started posting several essays on the internet (if curiousity is getting the better of you, they are in talk.religion.bahai and in the ‘Files’ section of Yahoo!Groups: Unenrolled Baha’i and Talisman). Of course, they are harmless opinions of one individual Baha’i. But since when did that stop the thought police? An alert and we must add, rather anal, Baha’i, breathlessly forwarded Brendan’s postings to the Auxilliary Board Member for Protection, Shahkar Arjomand. Arjomand swiftly countered Brendan’s words with his own. I feel it my duty – even though charges of cliche peddling will be levelled at me – to remind Brendan that when engaged in a battle of wits, one must have the compassion to abandon the field of battle when facing an opponent as utterly and wholly unarmed as Arjomand.

Being the good little trouper that he is, Arjomand went further and asked to meet Brendan to ‘talk about his views’. Needless to say, this invitation was for a ‘friendly and social’ visit and had nothing to do with Arjomand’s station as an ABM. Oh no, it was just a friend dropping by for a visit. Well, not exactly, as Brendan and Shahkar have never met. Lets say it was a friendly visit … that was scheduled like a dentists appointment three weeks in advance (August 14). Oh and Arjomand is ‘dropping by’ … by driving more than an hour. But its just a social visit! Oh, erm, but Brendan must meet with Shahkar alone. None of his friends can be there for this ‘friendly’ visit and neither can his fiance be there. I may be naive but it sure is building up to be one hell of a Code Red. If I may offer Brendan an observation; ABMs for protection come for social visits the same way that, oh say, a Tyrannosaurus Rex gets a might peckish.

On a lighter note, Sen McGlinn’s book on Baha’i views on theocracy has just been published by Kalimat Press. Its title, Church and State, is rather boring, but the content is sure to be anything but. Having read many of Sen’s postings on Talisman, I can’t wait to get my hands on this tome. I recommend that you buy this book, not only to learn about a very important and tragically misunderstood facet of the Baha’i Faith, but to also support a fantastic independent Baha’i publisher.

bahai-theocracy-sinfest

I couldn’t help but notice that Spritual Degrees hasn’t put out anything in over three months. I hope it wasn’t something I said.

And finally, its official; the end of the world is nigh. No, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse haven’t galloped down Main Street. Its worse. Baha’is in the US have been teaching by going door-to-door (as reported from American Baha’i magazine). Yup, you know, knocking on people’s door and starting a conversation with a total stranger about something as personal as their religious convictions. Some have defended this strategy saying technically, its not proselytizing. This reminds me of an obnoxious game my nephew used to play with me where he would hover his hand millimeters away from my face and add a raucous chorus of I’m not touching you, I’m not touching you….

GLOBAL ROUNDUP

Iran

Home to a lot of pistachios, murdering Mullahs, large deposits of oil, the two Baha’i sites for pilgrimage and just recently, a magnificently rigged election. Yes, ‘the election’ is over and Baha’i Rants has egg all over its face. Rafsanjani did not win. On the bright side, Baha’i Rants has a lot of company being completely wrong because everyone (except Khamenei) was surprised by this. Yet, after all the noise and clatter of views and counterviews, nothing elemental has changed. As I’ve repeatedly said, no structural change will occur in Iran with the price of oil where it is because it gives the ruling kleptocracts too much leeway to fill in the gaps of a corrupt and decaying regime with petrodollars. After all, the cash that was given to hordes of Basijis (the fanatical militia controlled by Khamenei) to bully voters into supporting a dark horse candidate, has to come from somewhere.

Iran also recently executed two young men for the crime of homosexuality. This appalying wrong against humanity is even more shocking when you consider that one of them was not even 18 years old. The execution of a minor is illegal in Iran but then again, when have things happened according to the law (either moral, domestic or international) in Iran? This tragedy gives the Baha’i representatives to the United Nations an opportunity to prove that they exist to implement the principles of the Faith, irregardless of partisanship and partiality. Human rights are exactly that, human. And we as Baha’is must fight for them for all of humanity. Not just for Baha’is.

Chile

Home to Pablo Neruda, world famous BBQ and gauchos … and the latest Baha’i Temple. Well, eventually it will be built, we hope, and pray. But don’t hold your breath. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts things got off to a rocky start. And things haven’t exactly gotten any better. The site that has been purchased is in the middle of nowhere and as such requires a lot of work to prepare. Ground breaking hasn’t happened yet and won’t for a good while. Part of the difficulties have to do with technical challenges (dragging construction equipment and crew out to the back country) as well as legal and procedural ones (permits for water, hydro, sewer extensions, etc.) as well as environmental assessment and permits. Its an uphill climb (pun unintended). Even with the reservations expressed, Baha’i Rants wishes the project all the best and at the same time, acknowledges that it probably won’t be finished for a good 2-3 years.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

Here is a small smattering of what you can look forward to in the following weeks and months:

What does Pythagoras have to do with the Baha’i Faith?
Continuing installments of Its a Little Known Fact
My pilgrima… I mean, visitation to Israel
Baha’i Speak
Reviews of Baha’i cyberspace discussion forums
Continuing installments of the LA Study Class Newsletter

  • Warren

    Welcome back, Baquia. I was starting to get worried that you’d disappeared for good. Glad to hear it was just a summer vacation.

    Am looking forward to what you have in store for the weeks and months to come, particularly your pilgrima…er, visitation to the Holy Land. Sounds intriguing!

  • Warren

    Welcome back, Baquia. I was starting to get worried that you’d disappeared for good. Glad to hear it was just a summer vacation.

    Am looking forward to what you have in store for the weeks and months to come, particularly your pilgrima…er, visitation to the Holy Land. Sounds intriguing!

  • Sigmund Effendi

    Ditto. Welcome back Baquia! I too look forward to hearing about your pilgrim…uh…visitation…to the Holy Land. Maybe some day you can make the real official UHJ Big League pilgrimage to the Holy Places in Iraq courtesy of the First Marine Division or the 7th U.S. Cav. I can give you a uniform from my youth. I, myself, can’t fit into it anymore.

    Blessings !

    Sigmund

  • Sigmund Effendi

    Ditto. Welcome back Baquia! I too look forward to hearing about your pilgrim…uh…visitation…to the Holy Land. Maybe some day you can make the real official UHJ Big League pilgrimage to the Holy Places in Iraq courtesy of the First Marine Division or the 7th U.S. Cav. I can give you a uniform from my youth. I, myself, can’t fit into it anymore.

    Blessings !

    Sigmund

  • Brendan Cook

    Baquia,

    Thanks for the friendly mention. You way you describe it, the utter absurdity of what Arjomand is saying really comes through. His ‘friendly, unofficial visit’ which is just intended ‘to get to know (me) better’ gets more conditions on it all the time. And by the way, you should know that Shahkar isn’t driving an hour out of the way to meet me. He lives and works in London, which is more than two hours from downtown Toronto. Take care.

    Brendan

  • Brendan Cook

    Baquia,

    Thanks for the friendly mention. You way you describe it, the utter absurdity of what Arjomand is saying really comes through. His ‘friendly, unofficial visit’ which is just intended ‘to get to know (me) better’ gets more conditions on it all the time. And by the way, you should know that Shahkar isn’t driving an hour out of the way to meet me. He lives and works in London, which is more than two hours from downtown Toronto. Take care.

    Brendan

  • http://spiritualdegrees.org Nathan Huening

    Hi Baquia,

    Thanks for the kind words about our magazine. That our publication schedule has been somewhat, er, delayed, is certainly not due to your comments – you’ve been quite the gentleman. More of a hard disk failure, moving across town, unexpected workload kind of summer delay.

    The original launch was low key since our intention was to work out the bugs, get some substantial editorial content established before publicizing large-scale. “Beta” releases seem to be all the rage, these days, but it seems we’ve not been able to keep it under wraps. You’ll be pleased to know that we’re back on track and will be publishing again soon…

    Undoubtedly, the Baha’i world faces some considerable challenges these days and now finds itself at a crossroads: it must make a difficult choice between rigid adherence to tradition and open embrace of modernity. I’m hopeful, actually, and see positive growth all around me. But then again I live in Chapel Hill, NC and this community (and Assembly) is what most will look like in about 25 years – so truth be told, I’m not entirely impartial.

    Our aim with Spiritual Degrees is to document some of these changes, to articulate the broader issues and provide a context to an otherwise unenlightened discourse. The magazine itself is only piece of a larger movement, driven by young adults, who’ve realized that the culture they experience is the culture they create. Have no fear that the “AO” will crash our party: the magazine is endorsed both by our local Assembly and Palabra Publications. Seems they’re just as sincerely fed up as you appear to be, just as eager for real change; the only real difference, in my admittedly limited experience, is one of approach.

    Cheers,
    Nathan Huening
    Editor-in-Chief,
    Spiritual Degrees

  • http://spiritualdegrees.org Nathan Huening

    Hi Baquia,

    Thanks for the kind words about our magazine. That our publication schedule has been somewhat, er, delayed, is certainly not due to your comments – you’ve been quite the gentleman. More of a hard disk failure, moving across town, unexpected workload kind of summer delay.

    The original launch was low key since our intention was to work out the bugs, get some substantial editorial content established before publicizing large-scale. “Beta” releases seem to be all the rage, these days, but it seems we’ve not been able to keep it under wraps. You’ll be pleased to know that we’re back on track and will be publishing again soon…

    Undoubtedly, the Baha’i world faces some considerable challenges these days and now finds itself at a crossroads: it must make a difficult choice between rigid adherence to tradition and open embrace of modernity. I’m hopeful, actually, and see positive growth all around me. But then again I live in Chapel Hill, NC and this community (and Assembly) is what most will look like in about 25 years – so truth be told, I’m not entirely impartial.

    Our aim with Spiritual Degrees is to document some of these changes, to articulate the broader issues and provide a context to an otherwise unenlightened discourse. The magazine itself is only piece of a larger movement, driven by young adults, who’ve realized that the culture they experience is the culture they create. Have no fear that the “AO” will crash our party: the magazine is endorsed both by our local Assembly and Palabra Publications. Seems they’re just as sincerely fed up as you appear to be, just as eager for real change; the only real difference, in my admittedly limited experience, is one of approach.

    Cheers,
    Nathan Huening
    Editor-in-Chief,
    Spiritual Degrees

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  • childinitme

    O SON OF DUST!

    Verily I say unto thee: Of all men the most negligent is he
    that disputeth idly and seeketh to advance himself over his brother. Say, O
    brethren! Let deeds, not words, be your adorning.

    Once again you shoot yourself in the foot. While on the one
    hand accusing the Administrative Order of violating the spirit of the Faith in
    its dealings with opinionators, you violate the same spirit by presenting us
    with one-sided and incomplete information. Not to mention that in so doing, you
    are also violating the principles of consultation, confidentiality, and
    jurisdiction.

    And to what end? What can you hope to accomplish through
    this impetuous, albeit (perhaps) well-intentioned, approach to correcting
    everyone else’s imperfections? Obviously, you are pretty much preaching to the
    choir, as evidenced by the responses, which all pretty much agree with you. If
    any of the misguided Bah??’?s who are the targets of the rants are paying
    attention, I seriously doubt any of them are influenced.

    Perhaps the goal is to rally all the malcontents who make up
    this choir, and unite them in a movement to create the true Bah??’? community
    according to your interpretation of the Bah??’? teachings. Then, maybe one day
    when the groundswell has garnered enough support, this juggernaut can
    successfully challenge the misguided Bah??’?s and their decrepit Administrative
    Order, and become the true Bah??’? Faith. That’s been tried a few times in the
    history of the Faith, but has never worked very well. Something about a certain
    Covenant standing in the way….

    So why don’t you just go your own way? Why continue to
    criticize a community that places no value on criticism? The only way to change
    this community is from the inside, through a spirit of unity and cooperation. Why
    sit on the outside and shout at the rain? But you obviously have no love for
    this community, so why not go find something else that interests you – get on
    with your life and start doing something that is of some lasting benefit to
    someone.