World On Fire by Sarah McLachlan

After watching this I couldn’t help but think of all the money that was spent to build the Baha’i Arc project on Mt. Carmel.

Imagine if instead of $250,000,000.00 (that’s $250 Million US) we had instead spent $2.5 Million and then used the rest to “tap into the water” and help people in dire need.

Does the world need marble-clad buildings? or medicine for children? Had Abdu’l-Baha been with us, what do you imagine He would have decided?

Would the prestige of the Baha’i Faith be elevated more by sumptuous buildings and gardens or by deeds of charity that bring health, food, shelter and education to the poor?

Lyrics:

Hearts are worn in these dark ages
You’re not alone in this story’s pages
Night has fallen amongst the living and the dying
And I try to hold it in, yeah I try to hold it in

[Chorus]
The world’s on fire and
It’s more than I can handle
I’ll tap into the water
(I try to pull my ship)
I try to bring more
More than I can handle
(Bring it to the table)
Bring what I am able

I watch the heavens and I find a calling
Something I can do to change this moment
Stay close to me while the sky is falling
Don’t wanna be left alone, don’t wanna be alone

[Chorus]
Hearts break, hearts mend
Love still hurts
Visions clash, planes crash
Still there’s talk of
Saving souls, still the cold
Is closing in on us

We part the veil on our killer sun
Stray from the straight line on this short run
The more we take, the less we become
A fortune of one that means less for some

[Chorus]

  • Amishindian

    Hi, I went on pilgrimage in 1980 and still have buried somewhere my piece of marble from the nearly completed UHJ. It was weird. I remember feeling something wasn’t right even back then in Haifa. I remember also instead of joining the rest of the pilgrims, going by myself somewhere around the Pilgrim House and having a good cry about how I was feeling. I guess that was the start of my path to resigning the following year. I kind of remember in the Writings something about there being 2 parts to God’s plan, the Bahai and the non-Bahai part. I guess I could be a Bahai in that non-Bahai part, where you choose science over religion ala the whole current Bahai position on homosexuality, have women on the UHJ because it is just and the correct answer to AbdulBaha’s clear as the sun utterance, and nix to theocracy. Maybe after that World Convocation of Peace, the rest of the world, recognizing Bahaullah’s message, will evict the Bahai Adminstration and get back to the business of justice.

  • Amishindian

    Hi, I went on pilgrimage in 1980 and still have buried somewhere my piece of marble from the nearly completed UHJ. It was weird. I remember feeling something wasn’t right even back then in Haifa. I remember also instead of joining the rest of the pilgrims, going by myself somewhere around the Pilgrim House and having a good cry about how I was feeling. I guess that was the start of my path to resigning the following year. I kind of remember in the Writings something about there being 2 parts to God’s plan, the Bahai and the non-Bahai part. I guess I could be a Bahai in that non-Bahai part, where you choose science over religion ala the whole current Bahai position on homosexuality, have women on the UHJ because it is just and the correct answer to AbdulBaha’s clear as the sun utterance, and nix to theocracy. Maybe after that World Convocation of Peace, the rest of the world, recognizing Bahaullah’s message, will evict the Bahai Adminstration and get back to the business of justice.

  • Anonymous

    Beautiful video and beautiful thoughts. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Beautiful video and beautiful thoughts. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  • Matt

    Imagine if instead of $250,000,000.00 (that’s $250 Million US) we had instead spent $2.5 Million and then used the rest to �tap into the water� and help people in dire need.

    Does the world need marble-clad buildings? or medicine for children? Had Abdu’l-Baha been with us, what do you imagine He would have decided?

    Would the prestige of the Baha’i Faith be elevated more by sumptuous buildings and gardens or by deeds of charity that bring health, food, shelter and education to the poor?

    Two-hundred and fifty million dollars is indeed a lot of money, but I disagree with the attitude that so many people have about spending a lot of money to make religious structures look beautiful. I’ve raised the same objections myself to Shi’ite shrines donned with gold and silver while there are people begging for food-money ten yards away. “Why not just take a piece of that gold from the shrine and give it to the poor people?” I remember thinking.

    But my current perspective is that there will always be people begging for money because they don’t have enough. Even if you took all of the money that was put in to making religious structures look beautiful and divided it amongst the poor, there would still be poverty. I’m not implying that the wealthy people and/ or institutions should ignore the poverty-stricken and not give them a helping hand, but I don’t think it has to be an “either/or” solution. I don’t think it has to be “either give money to poor people, or spend money on making religious structures to look beautiful.”

    Some people would be content worshiping in a mud-hut, and most ascetics would agree that that is a more “holy” attitude than worshiping in a building donned with gold. But I feel that beautifying one’s environment is a “holy” attitude itself.

    I realize that the issue with the Arc has something to do with deteriorating marble, and that if it were just made with different material there wouldn’t be a need to constantly fix it. But those are just my thoughts on the matter. I feel that when we see beauty, we become inspired. If we had all of the comforts of a decent life in every other aspect but had no beauty, then that would still be a mediocre and uninspiring life. But at the risk of repeating myself, I don’t feel it has to be “either/or.”

    Thank you for continuing to write on this blog.

    peace,

  • Matt

    Imagine if instead of $250,000,000.00 (that’s $250 Million US) we had instead spent $2.5 Million and then used the rest to �tap into the water� and help people in dire need.

    Does the world need marble-clad buildings? or medicine for children? Had Abdu’l-Baha been with us, what do you imagine He would have decided?

    Would the prestige of the Baha’i Faith be elevated more by sumptuous buildings and gardens or by deeds of charity that bring health, food, shelter and education to the poor?

    Two-hundred and fifty million dollars is indeed a lot of money, but I disagree with the attitude that so many people have about spending a lot of money to make religious structures look beautiful. I’ve raised the same objections myself to Shi’ite shrines donned with gold and silver while there are people begging for food-money ten yards away. “Why not just take a piece of that gold from the shrine and give it to the poor people?” I remember thinking.

    But my current perspective is that there will always be people begging for money because they don’t have enough. Even if you took all of the money that was put in to making religious structures look beautiful and divided it amongst the poor, there would still be poverty. I’m not implying that the wealthy people and/ or institutions should ignore the poverty-stricken and not give them a helping hand, but I don’t think it has to be an “either/or” solution. I don’t think it has to be “either give money to poor people, or spend money on making religious structures to look beautiful.”

    Some people would be content worshiping in a mud-hut, and most ascetics would agree that that is a more “holy” attitude than worshiping in a building donned with gold. But I feel that beautifying one’s environment is a “holy” attitude itself.

    I realize that the issue with the Arc has something to do with deteriorating marble, and that if it were just made with different material there wouldn’t be a need to constantly fix it. But those are just my thoughts on the matter. I feel that when we see beauty, we become inspired. If we had all of the comforts of a decent life in every other aspect but had no beauty, then that would still be a mediocre and uninspiring life. But at the risk of repeating myself, I don’t feel it has to be “either/or.”

    Thank you for continuing to write on this blog.

    peace,

  • Bird out of the Cage

    I thought I was a Bah?’?­ for 14 years and recently resigned. I never really saw ardent acts of charity and where the UHJ is this marble gilded 250M dwelling in a bomb zone, no one really cares about the local Bah?’?­ Center where I live. It sits basically as it has for 14+ years with some bandaid fixing…

    One year I took initiative for exterior and interior improvement with a $1500.00 budget, half donated by me, and everyone complained about some aspect, even though I got a lot of my non-Bah?’?­ friends to help me with it’s improvement, (paid modestly, again donated by me). One Bah?’?­ man walked in when it was finished, and I quote, stated, “the place still looks like shit with new paint on it!”.

    Merchants cut me personal deals. I took off work for basically 6 weeks for the free labor and what I was able to achieve, new flowers, fresh exterior and interior paint, deep cleaning, weeding, hedging, I thought looked like improvement, but in the end, no unity, no love, no nothing.

    I stopped wanting to even go there, however I hung in and tried for the last 6 years in complete misery. Not only has my heart been broken but my wings were too tired to take another flight on unsuccessful journey. Any forward idea I had for technical organization, outreach, what ever, came with no reception. I only got calls from Bah?’?­ when someone needed something. And it is all about Ruhi these days and who’s done the most books, no thanks….

    I knew this last Thanksgiving I could no longer call myself a Bah?’?­ or be affiliated any longer. Starving families, non-Bah?’?­ of course, and no Bah?’?­ really cares, at least where I live. (BTW- other non religious org’s. I belong to and assisted fed 2000 families that day!) I knew if I went deeper into the Writings I would find some solace over what was becoming total despair in my heart, but instead, by some fluke, I discovered what really happened to Mason Remey. For 14 years I was told he was a Cov. Break. and to avoid all discussion of him, “don’t even mention his name”, “he is to be shunned”, and without independent investigation, believed what I was told, never even looking at the subject, talk about Pollyanna…

    But alas, what I really learned is that I have been lied to, at least to some degree. If there is one lie there are many more and I wont waste anytime more time figuring them out. All the energy I have spent brainwashing myself to try to understand that “Women are equal but not allowed” “Kindness for all, even your enemies but not enemies of the Bah?’?­ Faith”. Independent investigation of the Truth through censored material. As quickly as I thought I was a Bah?’?­ I knew I am not. I obviously do not have all the facts, nor all the information.

    So I just donated, to an open charity drive, (free seeds for the Bah?’?­s ) my entire Bah?’?­ library of books, cd’s and images and joined the 99.99% of the rest of the planet in becoming a Non-Bah?’?­. Perhaps I am intended, as the former Blogger, Amishindian, in helping the Bah?’?­ community in a Non-Bah?’?­ way. I am certainly a wealthy recipient of the Writings for sure, but let me ask you this, does a sold relationship with God mean one has to bear a label or contract a Divine Tour Guide? Is it right to give to build a mansion among the poor with no water, no clothes, no education? Do you really see unity achieved in a concept that promotes elitism?

    Bird out of the Cage

  • Bird out of the Cage

    I thought I was a Bah?’?­ for 14 years and recently resigned. I never really saw ardent acts of charity and where the UHJ is this marble gilded 250M dwelling in a bomb zone, no one really cares about the local Bah?’?­ Center where I live. It sits basically as it has for 14+ years with some bandaid fixing…

    One year I took initiative for exterior and interior improvement with a $1500.00 budget, half donated by me, and everyone complained about some aspect, even though I got a lot of my non-Bah?’?­ friends to help me with it’s improvement, (paid modestly, again donated by me). One Bah?’?­ man walked in when it was finished, and I quote, stated, “the place still looks like shit with new paint on it!”.

    Merchants cut me personal deals. I took off work for basically 6 weeks for the free labor and what I was able to achieve, new flowers, fresh exterior and interior paint, deep cleaning, weeding, hedging, I thought looked like improvement, but in the end, no unity, no love, no nothing.

    I stopped wanting to even go there, however I hung in and tried for the last 6 years in complete misery. Not only has my heart been broken but my wings were too tired to take another flight on unsuccessful journey. Any forward idea I had for technical organization, outreach, what ever, came with no reception. I only got calls from Bah?’?­ when someone needed something. And it is all about Ruhi these days and who’s done the most books, no thanks….

    I knew this last Thanksgiving I could no longer call myself a Bah?’?­ or be affiliated any longer. Starving families, non-Bah?’?­ of course, and no Bah?’?­ really cares, at least where I live. (BTW- other non religious org’s. I belong to and assisted fed 2000 families that day!) I knew if I went deeper into the Writings I would find some solace over what was becoming total despair in my heart, but instead, by some fluke, I discovered what really happened to Mason Remey. For 14 years I was told he was a Cov. Break. and to avoid all discussion of him, “don’t even mention his name”, “he is to be shunned”, and without independent investigation, believed what I was told, never even looking at the subject, talk about Pollyanna…

    But alas, what I really learned is that I have been lied to, at least to some degree. If there is one lie there are many more and I wont waste anytime more time figuring them out. All the energy I have spent brainwashing myself to try to understand that “Women are equal but not allowed” “Kindness for all, even your enemies but not enemies of the Bah?’?­ Faith”. Independent investigation of the Truth through censored material. As quickly as I thought I was a Bah?’?­ I knew I am not. I obviously do not have all the facts, nor all the information.

    So I just donated, to an open charity drive, (free seeds for the Bah?’?­s ) my entire Bah?’?­ library of books, cd’s and images and joined the 99.99% of the rest of the planet in becoming a Non-Bah?’?­. Perhaps I am intended, as the former Blogger, Amishindian, in helping the Bah?’?­ community in a Non-Bah?’?­ way. I am certainly a wealthy recipient of the Writings for sure, but let me ask you this, does a sold relationship with God mean one has to bear a label or contract a Divine Tour Guide? Is it right to give to build a mansion among the poor with no water, no clothes, no education? Do you really see unity achieved in a concept that promotes elitism?

    Bird out of the Cage

  • Lieylak

    Ok, first of all I love your blog because at the very least, I feel, you are truly trying to be real. But, although I see that you are making a statement here out of the goodness of your heart I think there are other ways to look at this. And I hope that you consider my viewpoint as what I am writing here shows that I have considered your viewpoint.

    I believe that the place that we worship God is to be the most beautiful place on earth if possible since in places of beauty I think that our souls feel more relaxed to worship in concentration. I believe this a good and rational way to spend money to glorify our love for God and to create places of peace for worship in a hectic and chaotic world.

    Thousands of companies worldwide 250 million is a drop in the bucket. They pay there ceo’s more than that on a yearly basis with bonuses. And trust me those CEOs with the exception of 1 or 2 are not doing any service to humanity wit the money. They are not feeding the poor or curing the ills. There are close to a 1000 billionaires in the world. To both these groups 250 mil is chump change.

    Yes we build beautiful buildings to worship God in Haifa Israel and its the duty of every Baha’i to go there once in their life if possible and cleanse themselves through prayer. BUT, EVERY BAHAI has a duty to secretly and with utter love donate 19% of everything they make above what is necessary of the basics of their life and one time from each dollar saved to “Huququ’llah” the right of God. This money although at the descretion of the House of Justice is used and will be used in the future to eliviate the suffering of the people of the world…education, food, shelter, health care ect.

    This will be lifelong not just a one time investment of $250 million. So if a Bahai is CEO or a Billionaire who knows what amazing amounts they give through a lifetime of this 19%.

    Money collected for the Arc is a totally different fund.

    I think maybe on this one it is important to not be missing the landscape of Faith for the because of the buildings….or the forest for the trees.

    It is a totally different matter when you look at possible bad acts or bad aditutes in the Faith because a sick tree can make the whole forest sick…but here this is different kind of thing. There is no bad act here just the desire to worship God in a one time unique beautiful place (it would be different if Bahia’s were to ignore the problems of the world and build hundreds of these terrace and shrine structures)

    Actually, I read a statistic that Baha’is comparing to our small number have the highest number of Socio-economic development projects per capita. So it’s not like the Bahai Faith is spending all its money on these buildings to the exclusion of service to the people of the world.

    I am sorry,truly and sincerely , that you didn’t have an amazing first pilgrimage and the pain that this caused you.

    Please accept my comments in the spirit of loving consultation they are offered. I hope to hear from you on this comment.

    Thank you again for this blog. In some strange way your blog brings me solace. Because you dare to ask the questions. I come from a Baha’i Family where questions were extremely encouraged unfortunately I find the Baha’i community at large to be lacking in that virtue and ostercizing of those who want to be real even in the most positive of ways ….sometimes.

  • Lieylak

    Ok, first of all I love your blog because at the very least, I feel, you are truly trying to be real. But, although I see that you are making a statement here out of the goodness of your heart I think there are other ways to look at this. And I hope that you consider my viewpoint as what I am writing here shows that I have considered your viewpoint.

    I believe that the place that we worship God is to be the most beautiful place on earth if possible since in places of beauty I think that our souls feel more relaxed to worship in concentration. I believe this a good and rational way to spend money to glorify our love for God and to create places of peace for worship in a hectic and chaotic world.

    Thousands of companies worldwide 250 million is a drop in the bucket. They pay there ceo’s more than that on a yearly basis with bonuses. And trust me those CEOs with the exception of 1 or 2 are not doing any service to humanity wit the money. They are not feeding the poor or curing the ills. There are close to a 1000 billionaires in the world. To both these groups 250 mil is chump change.

    Yes we build beautiful buildings to worship God in Haifa Israel and its the duty of every Baha’i to go there once in their life if possible and cleanse themselves through prayer. BUT, EVERY BAHAI has a duty to secretly and with utter love donate 19% of everything they make above what is necessary of the basics of their life and one time from each dollar saved to “Huququ’llah” the right of God. This money although at the descretion of the House of Justice is used and will be used in the future to eliviate the suffering of the people of the world…education, food, shelter, health care ect.

    This will be lifelong not just a one time investment of $250 million. So if a Bahai is CEO or a Billionaire who knows what amazing amounts they give through a lifetime of this 19%.

    Money collected for the Arc is a totally different fund.

    I think maybe on this one it is important to not be missing the landscape of Faith for the because of the buildings….or the forest for the trees.

    It is a totally different matter when you look at possible bad acts or bad aditutes in the Faith because a sick tree can make the whole forest sick…but here this is different kind of thing. There is no bad act here just the desire to worship God in a one time unique beautiful place (it would be different if Bahia’s were to ignore the problems of the world and build hundreds of these terrace and shrine structures)

    Actually, I read a statistic that Baha’is comparing to our small number have the highest number of Socio-economic development projects per capita. So it’s not like the Bahai Faith is spending all its money on these buildings to the exclusion of service to the people of the world.

    I am sorry,truly and sincerely , that you didn’t have an amazing first pilgrimage and the pain that this caused you.

    Please accept my comments in the spirit of loving consultation they are offered. I hope to hear from you on this comment.

    Thank you again for this blog. In some strange way your blog brings me solace. Because you dare to ask the questions. I come from a Baha’i Family where questions were extremely encouraged unfortunately I find the Baha’i community at large to be lacking in that virtue and ostercizing of those who want to be real even in the most positive of ways ….sometimes.

  • http://www.sonjavank.com sonja

    You wrote:

    BUT, EVERY BAHAI has a duty to secretly and with utter love donate 19% of everything they make above what is necessary of the basics of their life and one time from each dollar saved to �Huququ’llah� the right of God. This money although at the descretion of the House of Justice is used and will be used in the future to eliviate the suffering of the people of the world…education, food, shelter, health care ect.

    Surely spending by the World Centre, or at least what happens to the money in the Huququ’llah should be open in some way. This is not only so we can see how the money is spent but also be part of the process. Keeping things secret is never healthy.

    Shoghi Effendi didn’t have a policy of secrecy.
    “Prolonged delicate negotiations resulted purchase (for) $5,000 a lot
    adjoining the precincts of the B??b’s Shrine. The deed has been
    officially registered (in the name of) American National Assembly,
    Palestine branch. Mailing documents to national Secretary. Inform all
    believers who, in response to my appeal, transmitted their donations
    through the National Assembly.”

    (Shoghi Effendi, Extracts from the USBN, September 2nd, 1932, cable)

  • http://www.sonjavank.com sonja

    You wrote:

    BUT, EVERY BAHAI has a duty to secretly and with utter love donate 19% of everything they make above what is necessary of the basics of their life and one time from each dollar saved to �Huququ’llah� the right of God. This money although at the descretion of the House of Justice is used and will be used in the future to eliviate the suffering of the people of the world…education, food, shelter, health care ect.

    Surely spending by the World Centre, or at least what happens to the money in the Huququ’llah should be open in some way. This is not only so we can see how the money is spent but also be part of the process. Keeping things secret is never healthy.

    Shoghi Effendi didn’t have a policy of secrecy.
    “Prolonged delicate negotiations resulted purchase (for) $5,000 a lot
    adjoining the precincts of the B??b’s Shrine. The deed has been
    officially registered (in the name of) American National Assembly,
    Palestine branch. Mailing documents to national Secretary. Inform all
    believers who, in response to my appeal, transmitted their donations
    through the National Assembly.”

    (Shoghi Effendi, Extracts from the USBN, September 2nd, 1932, cable)

  • Andrew

    From Ruth Kolarik of Colorado College:

    “A typical mosque is a simple covered space with some indication of the direction towards Mecca. The first mosque was the house of Muhammad, and early mosques show the influence of domestic architecture … Mosques became elaborate monuments that expressed the power of Islam and of the rulers and dynasties that built them. Minarets are multiplied and enlarged far beyond practical necessity, for example. No matter how elaborate the building and its decoration, however, the basic religious features remain simple.”

    From “Muslim Religious Architecture” by Dogan Kuban:

    “Perhaps heeding the Prophet, who stated that ‘THE MOST UNNECESSARY ACTIVITY THAT EATS UP THE WEALTH OF A BELIEVER IS BUILDING,” early administrators appear to have refrained from erecting rich mosques … When the Umayyads came to power and established the first dynasty of Islam, architecture assumed its customary function of expressing the worldly power of the society.”

    But the words of Baha’u’llah offer the following rationale for spending (apparently unlimited) money on building:

    “If a man be found willing to rear, in Our name, an edifice of pure gold or silver, or a house begemmed with stones of inestimable value, such a wish will no doubt be granted. He, verily, doeth what He willeth, and ordaineth that which He pleaseth. Leave hath, moreover, been given to whosoever may desire to raise, throughout the length and breadth of this land, noble and imposing structures, and dedicate the rich and sacred territories adjoining the Jordan and its vicinity to the worship and service of the one true God, magnified be His glory, that the prophecies recorded by the Pen of the Most High in the sacred Scriptures may be fulfilled, and that which God, the Lord of all worlds, hath purposed in this most exalted, this most holy, this mighty, and wondrous Revelation may be made manifest.” Gleanings, LIX

    So there you have it: Baha’u’llah said so. Now fork it over!

  • Andrew

    From Ruth Kolarik of Colorado College:

    “A typical mosque is a simple covered space with some indication of the direction towards Mecca. The first mosque was the house of Muhammad, and early mosques show the influence of domestic architecture … Mosques became elaborate monuments that expressed the power of Islam and of the rulers and dynasties that built them. Minarets are multiplied and enlarged far beyond practical necessity, for example. No matter how elaborate the building and its decoration, however, the basic religious features remain simple.”

    From “Muslim Religious Architecture” by Dogan Kuban:

    “Perhaps heeding the Prophet, who stated that ‘THE MOST UNNECESSARY ACTIVITY THAT EATS UP THE WEALTH OF A BELIEVER IS BUILDING,” early administrators appear to have refrained from erecting rich mosques … When the Umayyads came to power and established the first dynasty of Islam, architecture assumed its customary function of expressing the worldly power of the society.”

    But the words of Baha’u’llah offer the following rationale for spending (apparently unlimited) money on building:

    “If a man be found willing to rear, in Our name, an edifice of pure gold or silver, or a house begemmed with stones of inestimable value, such a wish will no doubt be granted. He, verily, doeth what He willeth, and ordaineth that which He pleaseth. Leave hath, moreover, been given to whosoever may desire to raise, throughout the length and breadth of this land, noble and imposing structures, and dedicate the rich and sacred territories adjoining the Jordan and its vicinity to the worship and service of the one true God, magnified be His glory, that the prophecies recorded by the Pen of the Most High in the sacred Scriptures may be fulfilled, and that which God, the Lord of all worlds, hath purposed in this most exalted, this most holy, this mighty, and wondrous Revelation may be made manifest.” Gleanings, LIX

    So there you have it: Baha’u’llah said so. Now fork it over!

  • Lieylak

    Ruhi… Why don’t you give your 19% and you will find out if there would be a socioeconomic project on every street corner.
    And that is 19% above and beyond what we need to live. Like our savings and you only pay it once for each dollar.
    And it doesn’t mean that is the ONLY place to worship…just a place that is beautiful to worship. You don’t have to travel just to worship. But, there is more to pilgrimage than having a beautiful place to worship and you know that.
    I guess if you want to find a way put down what someone says you can twist it around and take it out of context like you did.That is just one reason for the beautiful building that I was naming in the discussion.
    SONJA–very interesting comment. I have been a Baha’i my whole life and never thought about it. Transparency would be a good thing….lack of transparency almost killed the EU in the beginning stages. Interesting, thought maybe the Bahai world has always been so small there has never been a need for transparency before. Maybe you should write the UHJ and ask for it. There is no reason we should not know.

  • Lieylak

    Ruhi… Why don’t you give your 19% and you will find out if there would be a socioeconomic project on every street corner.
    And that is 19% above and beyond what we need to live. Like our savings and you only pay it once for each dollar.
    And it doesn’t mean that is the ONLY place to worship…just a place that is beautiful to worship. You don’t have to travel just to worship. But, there is more to pilgrimage than having a beautiful place to worship and you know that.
    I guess if you want to find a way put down what someone says you can twist it around and take it out of context like you did.That is just one reason for the beautiful building that I was naming in the discussion.
    SONJA–very interesting comment. I have been a Baha’i my whole life and never thought about it. Transparency would be a good thing….lack of transparency almost killed the EU in the beginning stages. Interesting, thought maybe the Bahai world has always been so small there has never been a need for transparency before. Maybe you should write the UHJ and ask for it. There is no reason we should not know.

  • http://www.sonjavank.com sonja

    Interesting, thought maybe the Bahai world has always been so small there has never been a need for transparency before.

    In the 1980′s as a member of a New Zealand Bahai community of about 60 members, finances were always open. In fact so open, that the account book was presented on a table for anyone to look at at feasts. Donations were listed by receipt number. As a Bahai who was not particularly interested in them, I knew as a member of the community I was free to question anything or make suggestions.

    So my response to your comment would be, why does there need to be a need for secrecy, however small or large that Bahai organization? And where did this idea of secrecy come from? There’s nothing in the Bahai writings to suggest that expenditure or how the fund is used should be secret, as far as I know.

    In thinking particularly of the “Huququ’llah” because the UHJ is free to use all that money as it wishes, and because most Bahais would interpret that money as ‘a right of God’, it would have a different meaning for many Bahais than say giving to the fund. If any of the “Huququ’llah” funds have been used for social projects for the general good of humanity, it would be nice to know what percentage of the money went into these types of projects.
    I realise some NSA secretariats in poorer nations are supported by the international funds, but then as a Bahai, I’d view this being part of the responsibility of the funds and part of the Bahai system, not a social project for the good of humanity, even if it was (and is, I believe) important to support such secretariats with funding by Bahais.

    What I have heard through Bahai channels over the past decade or more, on the other hand is about the need for the buildings in Haifa and Bahais in communities I have lived in since take the attitude that we cannot think of any local development, etc, because of the great need for funds for the arc buildings.

    So naturally, I have to assume that is where the bulk of the money is going, while a side affect of this emphasis is that communities where I’ve lived since the 1990s, only meet in each others homes as there’s no money to meet in any other way. I am not saying this is bad or good, just that this has been affect in my experience of 3 Bahai communities in The Netherlands. All the focus was in giving any extra money any community had, even funds earmarked for other purposes (such as the budget for buying new books for community use), to the fund for the arc buildings.

    After a while, one starts to question why this priority for so long and at the expense of local community development. By this comment, I mean this is a consequence that I’ve seen happening in my backyard, of course, I am not suggesting that this is a deliberate effect.

  • http://www.sonjavank.com sonja

    Interesting, thought maybe the Bahai world has always been so small there has never been a need for transparency before.

    In the 1980′s as a member of a New Zealand Bahai community of about 60 members, finances were always open. In fact so open, that the account book was presented on a table for anyone to look at at feasts. Donations were listed by receipt number. As a Bahai who was not particularly interested in them, I knew as a member of the community I was free to question anything or make suggestions.

    So my response to your comment would be, why does there need to be a need for secrecy, however small or large that Bahai organization? And where did this idea of secrecy come from? There’s nothing in the Bahai writings to suggest that expenditure or how the fund is used should be secret, as far as I know.

    In thinking particularly of the “Huququ’llah” because the UHJ is free to use all that money as it wishes, and because most Bahais would interpret that money as ‘a right of God’, it would have a different meaning for many Bahais than say giving to the fund. If any of the “Huququ’llah” funds have been used for social projects for the general good of humanity, it would be nice to know what percentage of the money went into these types of projects.
    I realise some NSA secretariats in poorer nations are supported by the international funds, but then as a Bahai, I’d view this being part of the responsibility of the funds and part of the Bahai system, not a social project for the good of humanity, even if it was (and is, I believe) important to support such secretariats with funding by Bahais.

    What I have heard through Bahai channels over the past decade or more, on the other hand is about the need for the buildings in Haifa and Bahais in communities I have lived in since take the attitude that we cannot think of any local development, etc, because of the great need for funds for the arc buildings.

    So naturally, I have to assume that is where the bulk of the money is going, while a side affect of this emphasis is that communities where I’ve lived since the 1990s, only meet in each others homes as there’s no money to meet in any other way. I am not saying this is bad or good, just that this has been affect in my experience of 3 Bahai communities in The Netherlands. All the focus was in giving any extra money any community had, even funds earmarked for other purposes (such as the budget for buying new books for community use), to the fund for the arc buildings.

    After a while, one starts to question why this priority for so long and at the expense of local community development. By this comment, I mean this is a consequence that I’ve seen happening in my backyard, of course, I am not suggesting that this is a deliberate effect.

  • Craig Parke

    “No one is perfect, despite what we are told about the UHJ. you dig ?”

    Yep. Tell that to the New England Patriots! “The greatest team…EVER…”

    David Tyree’s marvelous catch for the G-MEN may be a Cosmic Sign…

    The Faith belongs to the hearts and minds of the rank and file moving up and down the field of life in the real world. In fact, it really belongs to people moving up and down the field of life in the real world with the Divine Cosmic Attributes of the newly opened World Age portal whether they EVER HEARD of the Baha’i Faith OR NOT! PERIOD. Duh!

    Deeds not words to advance the affairs of all mankind not the affairs of the tiny AO club!

    First downs through daily individual position game awareness – not three and out over and over for 87 years now and counting – is the critical skill set needed. Except for a brief time in the high energy 1960′s and 1970′s when the “organization” psychological self definition apparatchik hacks could not top down control people, the lifetime incumbent cadre class has no game acumen at all despite the hype. Nobody has read the coverages in the world worth jack squat EVER! This is because this class of people is living in a bubble of their own making. These people think they are watching the right game film. They are not! They are only looking at formal game film on Astro-turf in a fixed stadium with TV time outs.

    The real game is being played on the streets of life! Forward passes at street intersections into traffic. Off tackle runs with power blocking and isolation schemes into hotel lobbies and daily chance business meetings and five wide outs on the street. Yes. I played the game at the collegiate level. I learned a few things about reading a field.

    When you lose over and over you change the coaching staff. It is as simple as that. Or, if you can’t do that because they are entrenched forever, you get a rebellion on the filed where people start waving off plays and start running their own devised amongst themselves in a higher team unity of acumen and competence by the players themselves who have the skills.

    That is what is happening now. And some people have 80 yard NFL arms and they are going to start to take secondaries apart and leave them in a shambles.

    One arm is this blog site.

    People running into each other in busted coverages in hack secondaries should be so advised.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8S4OnlrC2U

  • Craig Parke

    “No one is perfect, despite what we are told about the UHJ. you dig ?”

    Yep. Tell that to the New England Patriots! “The greatest team…EVER…”

    David Tyree’s marvelous catch for the G-MEN may be a Cosmic Sign…

    The Faith belongs to the hearts and minds of the rank and file moving up and down the field of life in the real world. In fact, it really belongs to people moving up and down the field of life in the real world with the Divine Cosmic Attributes of the newly opened World Age portal whether they EVER HEARD of the Baha’i Faith OR NOT! PERIOD. Duh!

    Deeds not words to advance the affairs of all mankind not the affairs of the tiny AO club!

    First downs through daily individual position game awareness – not three and out over and over for 87 years now and counting – is the critical skill set needed. Except for a brief time in the high energy 1960′s and 1970′s when the “organization” psychological self definition apparatchik hacks could not top down control people, the lifetime incumbent cadre class has no game acumen at all despite the hype. Nobody has read the coverages in the world worth jack squat EVER! This is because this class of people is living in a bubble of their own making. These people think they are watching the right game film. They are not! They are only looking at formal game film on Astro-turf in a fixed stadium with TV time outs.

    The real game is being played on the streets of life! Forward passes at street intersections into traffic. Off tackle runs with power blocking and isolation schemes into hotel lobbies and daily chance business meetings and five wide outs on the street. Yes. I played the game at the collegiate level. I learned a few things about reading a field.

    When you lose over and over you change the coaching staff. It is as simple as that. Or, if you can’t do that because they are entrenched forever, you get a rebellion on the filed where people start waving off plays and start running their own devised amongst themselves in a higher team unity of acumen and competence by the players themselves who have the skills.

    That is what is happening now. And some people have 80 yard NFL arms and they are going to start to take secondaries apart and leave them in a shambles.

    One arm is this blog site.

    People running into each other in busted coverages in hack secondaries should be so advised.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8S4OnlrC2U

  • Craig Parke

    Sorry, brother. But I do not do appointed positions anymore. I already did enough in my lifetime.

    I suggest you move away from mere words and switch to film in trying to understand how the Universe works. You can start with the marvelous esoteric Cosmic Understanding contained in this wonderful film:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifdgrfr0Bkk

    Here are some clues:

    On March 11, 2004 the Spirit rover on Mars took the first picture of Earth ever made from the surface of another planet:

    http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpegMod/PIA05547_modest.jpg

    First meditate on this photograph to try to begin to change your consciousness from all of the endless bullshit you have been taught.

    Then start reading really good stuff to learn about both the human evolution of consciousness and how the Universe really works.

    We have all been born onto a tiny planet of people who are at the present time a danger to themselves and each other. But from this tiny dot of light in the above photo, we are now going to go to this consciousness of our place in the Cosmos:

    http://www.solstation.com/x-objects/and2disk.jpg

    It is a long road, but the invention of the Internet will now change everything.

    I suggest starting with these books to prepare for the ascent of the human race:

    Hamlet’s Mill: An Essay Investigating the Origins of Human Knowledge And Its Transmission Through Myth
    by Giorgio De Santillana and Hertha Von Dechend
    http://phoenixandturtle.net/excerptmill/santillana.htm

    The Temple of Man
    by R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz
    http://www.robertschoch.net/The%20Temple%20of%20Man.htm

    Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View
    by Richard Tarnas
    http://www.cosmosandpsyche.com/

    The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas that Have Shaped Our World View
    by Richard Tarnas
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_n21_v43/ai_11597179

    It Must Be Beautiful: Great Equations of Modern Science
    by Graham Farmelo (Editor)
    http://www.ams.org/notices/200303/rev-faris.pdf

    While you’re at it, I just love this guy’s insights on the wonders of the Dirac Sea:
    http://openseti.org/Docs/HotsonPart1.pdf
    http://openseti.org/Docs/HotsonPart2.pdf

    The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe
    by Roger Penrose
    http://tinyurl.com/yquc84

    The Conference of the Birds
    by Farid al-Din Attar
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Conference_of_the_Birds

    The Masnavi
    by Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masnavi

    Prayers of the Cosmos: Meditations on the Aramaic Words of Jesus
    by Neil Douglas-Klotz
    http://tinyurl.com/yqwlfz

    I also include Baha’u’llah’s Kitab-I-Iqan which I meditate upon every single day and still love very, very much. There is light upon light in it. It is right out of the deep structure message of the Soggy Bottom Boys and their tune in the wonderful “Oh Brother Where Art Thou?”

    Soar in these above rare refined works of human intellectual and spiritual exploration and realize that all of us have currently been born onto a planet of total complete talentless idiots and morons in both vast electorates and in high places of unchecked power in our time on Earth.

    Try to make the best of it.

    Perhaps This Great Day will yet come for All Mankind:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYecfV3ubP8

    Stay safe, healthy and happy!

  • Craig Parke

    Sorry, brother. But I do not do appointed positions anymore. I already did enough in my lifetime.

    I suggest you move away from mere words and switch to film in trying to understand how the Universe works. You can start with the marvelous esoteric Cosmic Understanding contained in this wonderful film:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifdgrfr0Bkk

    Here are some clues:

    On March 11, 2004 the Spirit rover on Mars took the first picture of Earth ever made from the surface of another planet:

    http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpegMod/PIA05547_modest.jpg

    First meditate on this photograph to try to begin to change your consciousness from all of the endless bullshit you have been taught.

    Then start reading really good stuff to learn about both the human evolution of consciousness and how the Universe really works.

    We have all been born onto a tiny planet of people who are at the present time a danger to themselves and each other. But from this tiny dot of light in the above photo, we are now going to go to this consciousness of our place in the Cosmos:

    http://www.solstation.com/x-objects/and2disk.jpg

    It is a long road, but the invention of the Internet will now change everything.

    I suggest starting with these books to prepare for the ascent of the human race:

    Hamlet’s Mill: An Essay Investigating the Origins of Human Knowledge And Its Transmission Through Myth
    by Giorgio De Santillana and Hertha Von Dechend
    http://phoenixandturtle.net/excerptmill/santillana.htm

    The Temple of Man
    by R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz
    http://www.robertschoch.net/The%20Temple%20of%20Man.htm

    Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View
    by Richard Tarnas
    http://www.cosmosandpsyche.com/

    The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas that Have Shaped Our World View
    by Richard Tarnas
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_n21_v43/ai_11597179

    It Must Be Beautiful: Great Equations of Modern Science
    by Graham Farmelo (Editor)
    http://www.ams.org/notices/200303/rev-faris.pdf

    While you’re at it, I just love this guy’s insights on the wonders of the Dirac Sea:
    http://openseti.org/Docs/HotsonPart1.pdf
    http://openseti.org/Docs/HotsonPart2.pdf

    The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe
    by Roger Penrose
    http://tinyurl.com/yquc84

    The Conference of the Birds
    by Farid al-Din Attar
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Conference_of_the_Birds

    The Masnavi
    by Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masnavi

    Prayers of the Cosmos: Meditations on the Aramaic Words of Jesus
    by Neil Douglas-Klotz
    http://tinyurl.com/yqwlfz

    I also include Baha’u’llah’s Kitab-I-Iqan which I meditate upon every single day and still love very, very much. There is light upon light in it. It is right out of the deep structure message of the Soggy Bottom Boys and their tune in the wonderful “Oh Brother Where Art Thou?”

    Soar in these above rare refined works of human intellectual and spiritual exploration and realize that all of us have currently been born onto a planet of total complete talentless idiots and morons in both vast electorates and in high places of unchecked power in our time on Earth.

    Try to make the best of it.

    Perhaps This Great Day will yet come for All Mankind:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYecfV3ubP8

    Stay safe, healthy and happy!

  • JM

    It’s obvious that in suggesting that the money spent on the World Center be given to the ‘poor and needy’ instead, the author of this blog and many of those that have commented never really grasped Baha’u’llah’s teachings or the Baha’i faith.
    Money doesn’t solve anything, long lasting, educational solutions do. And if you look at the world, the Baha’i’s are one of few that are accomplishing that.

    But I suppose if God Himself could descend to earth, you would find fault with Him too. The ego is so powerful, it convinces us we don’t need anyone else to assist and guide us. Thank God for those who have learned to live beyond ego and spiritually grow up.

  • JM

    It’s obvious that in suggesting that the money spent on the World Center be given to the ‘poor and needy’ instead, the author of this blog and many of those that have commented never really grasped Baha’u’llah’s teachings or the Baha’i faith.
    Money doesn’t solve anything, long lasting, educational solutions do. And if you look at the world, the Baha’i’s are one of few that are accomplishing that.

    But I suppose if God Himself could descend to earth, you would find fault with Him too. The ego is so powerful, it convinces us we don’t need anyone else to assist and guide us. Thank God for those who have learned to live beyond ego and spiritually grow up.

  • Craig Parke

    Hi JM,

    Thanks for your comment. Please explain to us exactly what it means to “live beyond ego”? I want to hear your teaching.

    Thanks!

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Craig Parke

    Hi JM,

    Thanks for your comment. Please explain to us exactly what it means to “live beyond ego”? I want to hear your teaching.

    Thanks!

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • http://frankwinters.wordpress.com/ Frank Winters

    Hello JM,

    The buildings & gardens teach — they are silent teachers — is that it?

    Well sorry but so could great works of charity. Mother Teresa became famous and was a symbol of charity, spirit and religion to the world.

    The Master helped the Palestinians to the extent that he was knighted for it. What drives charity? What drives marble edifices on a hill? Which is more evidence of selfless, ego-less behavior?

    And BTW — please do not assume you know the answers. You and/or I might not know as much as we think. Bahaullah taught that we do not know our own station or spiritual condition. We might easily loose it all at the end of our life.

    Sorry if this offends –just a suggestion that you sound just a mite smug.

    Take Care (of the soul)

    Frank

    P.S. Yeah, I know I sound smug too — that’s the problem in discussing religion and how to live your life. I just feel we mostly don’t know stuff so I try to help others see that. If its annoying you can just ignore me! ;>)

  • http://frankwinters.wordpress.com/ Frank Winters

    Hello JM,

    The buildings & gardens teach — they are silent teachers — is that it?

    Well sorry but so could great works of charity. Mother Teresa became famous and was a symbol of charity, spirit and religion to the world.

    The Master helped the Palestinians to the extent that he was knighted for it. What drives charity? What drives marble edifices on a hill? Which is more evidence of selfless, ego-less behavior?

    And BTW — please do not assume you know the answers. You and/or I might not know as much as we think. Bahaullah taught that we do not know our own station or spiritual condition. We might easily loose it all at the end of our life.

    Sorry if this offends –just a suggestion that you sound just a mite smug.

    Take Care (of the soul)

    Frank

    P.S. Yeah, I know I sound smug too — that’s the problem in discussing religion and how to live your life. I just feel we mostly don’t know stuff so I try to help others see that. If its annoying you can just ignore me! ;>)

  • http://www.iransohrab.net mahmoud ghoochani

    i am anti bahai

    ???? .
    ?? ?????? ?? ????? ??? ??????? . ???? ???? ?????? ???? ?? ?? ?? ????? ???? ????? ????? .
    ?? ??? ?? ??? ? ??? ???? ?? ????? ???? ???? ??? ?? ??? ????? ????? ???? ?? ? ???? ?? ?? ??? ??? ?? ????? ?? ???? ????? ??? ????? .
    ?????? ????? ???? ???? ????

  • http://www.iransohrab.net mahmoud ghoochani

    i am anti bahai

    ???? .
    ?? ?????? ?? ????? ??? ??????? . ???? ???? ?????? ???? ?? ?? ?? ????? ???? ????? ????? .
    ?? ??? ?? ??? ? ??? ???? ?? ????? ???? ???? ??? ?? ??? ????? ????? ???? ?? ? ???? ?? ?? ??? ??? ?? ????? ?? ???? ????? ??? ????? .
    ?????? ????? ???? ???? ????

  • Craig Parke

    mahmoud,

    For the benefit of everyone here who cannot read this script, could you provide a translation of what it says?

    Craig

  • Craig Parke

    mahmoud,

    For the benefit of everyone here who cannot read this script, could you provide a translation of what it says?

    Craig

  • Best guess

    It begins with the word Peace…. It has something to do with M?­rz?? A?mad Sohr??b, a CB durring the AO of Shoghi… used a free on line translater… I think he/she also paid you a compliment on your website. Best guess

  • Best guess

    It begins with the word Peace…. It has something to do with M?­rz?? A?mad Sohr??b, a CB durring the AO of Shoghi… used a free on line translater… I think he/she also paid you a compliment on your website. Best guess

  • Andrew

    “I ask thee oh ignorant JM when you are hungry and sick and parched and cold, BURN your sacred books for in that act, you will find truth, light, heat and rebirth.”

    In light of the above, this article may be of interest:

    http://thetyee.ca/Books/2008/02/14/LoveAndHunger/

    Below are some excerpts:

    “She concluded that Jesus did not promote religious convention and did not exclude anyone, but rather offered love and compassion to all, without conditions.”

    “Jesus’s message isn’t just about feeding the hungry, though that imperative echoes throughout the Gospels. Jesus is also talking about eating with strangers, and especially the ritually unclean, the outcast, and the despised. In other words, not only does Jesus fulfill the prophets by feeding the hungry, he overturns the established order by insisting that there’s no difference between family, neighbors and strangers. He makes a point of eating with the wrong people, thus erasing the distinctions between humans.”

    “Gregory of Nyssa, the church father who is the patron saint of my home church, says that we are most like God in our desire. I believe that our curiosity and our desire to know more lead us toward God in a continuing process. I don’t think faith means figuring out a formula. I think it means remaining open to questions, and accepting that you don’t know everything. The God I found was a God who lived on earth, who knew what it was like to walk around in a body, fight with religious authorities, hurt his mother’s feelings.”

    “All religions try to codify and manage God, usually to justify and shore up existing human power systems. And most religions at some point are complicit with the powers of the world against the weak. And of course women and others who wind up on the wrong side of the religious authorities will and should try to change things. But it’s also true that you don’t need a whole new religion in order to make space in Christianity for a just relationship with women: you just need to follow the commandment to love God, and love your neighbor. That sounds simple, but practicing it without exception is a life’s work, and utterly radical.”

    “At a moment when right-wing American Christianity is ascendant, when religion worldwide is rife with fundamentalism and exclusionary ideological crusades, I stumbled into a radically inclusive faith centered on sacraments and action.”

    “Some Christians think the kingdom is about an afterlife, but I believe it is this world. Some think it’s about judgment, but I believe that in the Kingdom there’s no separation of sinners from the saved.”

    Let those who have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to know read by transparence the evidence of grace and listen to what the Spirit is saying.

  • Andrew

    “I ask thee oh ignorant JM when you are hungry and sick and parched and cold, BURN your sacred books for in that act, you will find truth, light, heat and rebirth.”

    In light of the above, this article may be of interest:

    http://thetyee.ca/Books/2008/02/14/LoveAndHunger/

    Below are some excerpts:

    “She concluded that Jesus did not promote religious convention and did not exclude anyone, but rather offered love and compassion to all, without conditions.”

    “Jesus’s message isn’t just about feeding the hungry, though that imperative echoes throughout the Gospels. Jesus is also talking about eating with strangers, and especially the ritually unclean, the outcast, and the despised. In other words, not only does Jesus fulfill the prophets by feeding the hungry, he overturns the established order by insisting that there’s no difference between family, neighbors and strangers. He makes a point of eating with the wrong people, thus erasing the distinctions between humans.”

    “Gregory of Nyssa, the church father who is the patron saint of my home church, says that we are most like God in our desire. I believe that our curiosity and our desire to know more lead us toward God in a continuing process. I don’t think faith means figuring out a formula. I think it means remaining open to questions, and accepting that you don’t know everything. The God I found was a God who lived on earth, who knew what it was like to walk around in a body, fight with religious authorities, hurt his mother’s feelings.”

    “All religions try to codify and manage God, usually to justify and shore up existing human power systems. And most religions at some point are complicit with the powers of the world against the weak. And of course women and others who wind up on the wrong side of the religious authorities will and should try to change things. But it’s also true that you don’t need a whole new religion in order to make space in Christianity for a just relationship with women: you just need to follow the commandment to love God, and love your neighbor. That sounds simple, but practicing it without exception is a life’s work, and utterly radical.”

    “At a moment when right-wing American Christianity is ascendant, when religion worldwide is rife with fundamentalism and exclusionary ideological crusades, I stumbled into a radically inclusive faith centered on sacraments and action.”

    “Some Christians think the kingdom is about an afterlife, but I believe it is this world. Some think it’s about judgment, but I believe that in the Kingdom there’s no separation of sinners from the saved.”

    Let those who have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to know read by transparence the evidence of grace and listen to what the Spirit is saying.

  • Anonymous

    Spot on analysis, Frank. Bravo.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    Spot on analysis, Frank. Bravo.