Midwinter in the northern states, especially after the holiday lights are taken down, makes me want to hibernate. Slate skies hang low over naked trees and ragged ground. The happiness I take from nature’s changes in the other seasons now withers into weariness of the dark and cold.Continue reading
In 1904, Florence Breed and Ali-Kuli Khan married in Boston. Breed was American and Khan was Iranian; their union symbolized East and West uniting in the Bahá’í Faith. When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, son of the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, visited the US in 1912, the Khans hosted a luncheon for him in Washington, D. C. There, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá defied social convention by giving Louis Gregory, an African-American Bahá’í, the seat of honor.Continue reading
“You can kill me as soon as you like, but you cannot stop the emancipation of women.” These are reputed to be among the last words of Táhirih before her executioner strangled her in 1852.Continue reading
Rey’s ambiguous head bobbling mirrors my ambivalence toward questions I have about my life in academia.
I should explain that Rey is a bobblehead of a character from Star Wars Episode VII who stands watch over my desk. I acquired her recently at a conference on digital communication technology and college writing. A keynote speaker, Allen Brizee, used Star Wars as the theme of his talk on community engagement. He has led university programs to help community members cross the “digital divide” between those with access to digital tech and those without. At the end of his speech, he had us check under our seats for a coupon for a bobblehead Rey or Finn. To my surprise, I had the coupon for Rey!Continue reading
I have been, most of the days of My life,Bahá’u’lláh, Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, in a letter to the Persian Shah (1868)
even as a slave, sitting under a sword hanging on a thread,
knowing not whether it would fall soon or late upon him.
Recently, my husband and I sat spellbound by The Prophet, a gorgeous film adaptation of the 1923 book of poems by Kahlil Gibran. In the film, the prophetic writer and artist, Almustafa (aka Mustafa), is a prisoner of an oppressive government, confined on a Mediterranean island called Orphalese. While the government is not named, various clues point to the Ottoman Empire. The only crime Almustafa has committed is using his faculty for words to advocate for the common folk—which endangers the authorities’ power.Continue reading
Recently, the interfaith center at my university invited religious groups to use the lobby’s display case to feature their ceremonial items for one month each. For the Bahá’í Campus Association, the project posed a perplexing challenge, because Bahá’ís don’t have ceremonial items. We avoid ritual; each Bahá’í individual, each family, each local community, can develop their own traditions to beautify and symbolize the Holy Days. But those traditions should remain flexible and never ossify.Continue reading