On ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s extraordinary journey across North America in 1912, He visited Philadelphia from June 8 to 10. While there, He spoke at a hotel and two churches, as well as at a private Bahá’í residence, a house rented by Mary Jane Revell where she and her four daughters lived. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited every room in the modest rowhouse and, sitting on a rocking chair, addressed the fifty Bahá’ís crowded inside. He praised them as brilliant “pearls,” exhorting them to serve Bahá’u’lláh.Continue reading
Tag Archives: Twentieth-Century History
Vibrant Marshallese Community Arises in Oklahoma
In the early 2000s Enid, Oklahoma, had no Baha’i activities. Today, many of its more than 50 Baha’is are involved alongside friends in children’s classes, junior youth groups, study circles and devotional gatherings.
What’s changed? The story starts with two Baha’i couples who each discovered the Faith on their own, along with the extended family of one of the couples.Continue reading
An Introduction to the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha
As the Baha’i world prepares to commemorate the centenary of Abdu’l-Baha’s ascension and anticipates the construction of His shrine and final resting place, the time is ripe to review His talks and writings (which you can find online here at the Baha’i Reference Library). One of His most important writings is the Will and Testament, in which He appoints a successor and provides instructions on the administration of the global Baha’i community. To aid in the study of this crucial document, this article discusses its significance, its historical context, and its main themes.Continue reading
The Advent of Divine Justice: An Introduction
Baha’u’llah proclaimed to humanity that “these great oppressions that have befallen the world are preparing it for the advent of the Most Great Justice.”1 His teachings lay out a blueprint for establishing a just world civilization founded on international cooperation, and the paramount task of His successors has been to give people around the world access to this blueprint.Continue reading
Spiritual Cosmopolitanism, Transnational Migration, and the Bahá’í Faith
Journal of Bahá’í Studies, vol. 30, no. 1–2, 2020, pp. 19–44.
Abstract: Scholars have wrestled with the question of how people can be persuaded to extend feelings of kinship beyond their own ethnic or national groups. This article identifies spiritual cosmopolitanism, whose principles of universal love and harmony can be found in the teachings of the Bahá’í Faith, as key to such borderless solidarity. Drawing on data gathered from interviews with Iranian refugees who have settled in the United States, the article demonstrates how cosmopolitan principles shape the worldviews of Bahá’ís. Through this case study, spiritual cosmopolitanism’s potential to enrich public arguments for the inclusion of Others such as immigrants becomes apparent.Continue reading
A Persian Preacher’s Westward Migration: Táhirih’s Transnational Rhetoric, 1817–2015
Journal of Communication and Religion, vol. 42, no. 4, 2019, pp. 5–27.
Abstract: During her brief life in the early nineteenth century, the Persian poet and theologian Táhirih advocated for a spiritual revolution. Authorities executed her for heresy in 1852. After death, Táhirih attracted admirers around the world; Western writers—especially women—have interpreted her history to argue for gender equality, religious renewal, and global interdependence. This Middle Eastern preacher has established a posthumous pulpit in the United States, as members of the Bahá’í Faith there have authored a dozen books about her. After introducing Táhirih’s rhetorical rebellions, this essay demonstrates her transnational influence by analyzing her afterlives in U.S. Bahá’í discourse.
Full Text: You can download the article by clicking the link below.
Martha Root’s Speeches and Social Discourse: Cosmic Education for a Universal Age
A century ago, on July 22, 1919, Martha Root embarked on a 20-year journey to destinations in Europe, Australia, Asia, the Americas, and Africa. These travels were motivated by a desire to share Baha’u’llah’s teachings with diverse audiences through public speaking and writing. Before setting out, she had honed her rhetorical skills during her career as a journalist, performer, and teacher. You can learn more about Root’s purpose-driven life from this earlier Baha’i Blog article.Continue reading
A Tribute to William Sears, Hand of the Cause
When setting out to write this article, I felt overwhelmed: William Sears accomplished so much in his 80 years. How to distill decades of service, achievements, and adventures into a short article? Here I’ve only captured the outlines of a man who seized every opportunity to serve—who once said, “I need only to remember one thing: nothing must come between me and my responsibilities to God and to my fellow man. Glory is not his who loves his country, his family, or himself alone. Glory is his who loves his kind. This, I believe, has helped me to look upon each dawn as a new adventure.”1Continue reading
When the West Comes to the East: Laura Barney’s Lessons from Persia
May 16, 1909: a gathering of New Yorkers listens to Laura Clifford Barney; one audience member jots down her words. This scribe records two talks Barney gives: the first, on her journey to Persia, and the second, on her observations of Abdu’l-Baha. To learn more about the context, please refer to my previous post, which describes the second talk.Continue reading
“What I Saw of Abdu’l-Baha”: Vignettes by Laura Barney
May 16, 1909, New York City: a group has gathered to hear Laura Clifford Barney speak. Her name is familiar to the audience from Some Answered Questions, which was published last year. This book brought Abdu’l-Baha’s commentary on subjects ranging from the New Testament to criminal justice to the newborn Baha’i community in the United States.Continue reading