LizKauai

Personal blog of Liz from Kauai.

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Baha'i, Mom and Grandma, Fish Breeder, Sports Fan

Friday, February 27, 2009

Winners!

Second Nature is the WINNER!

Images on http://picasaweb.google.com/LizKauai/SecondNatureAtBandChampKauai22709#

Second Nature at Band Champ Kauai 2/27/09 from Liz Kauai on Vimeo.
The introduction on the video is incorrect.
Here are the members of Second Nature:
Kahaku Bongolan, 16
Eric Bouldin, 18
Byron Hahn-Morin, 17
Casey Planas, 17
DJ Yaris, 17


Second Nature at Band Champ

Byron and Crew did a great job! Made mom PROUD!

A Pilgrimage

Another Ayyam-i-Ha gift for you.

While this might be a little dated- it brings back great memories for me. These images were taken from my Pilgrimage and special photo shoot in 1994.
http://www.bahai-library.com/pilgrims/pilgrimage.viswanathan/pilgrimage03.html

 
  
 
 


Happy Ayyam-i-Ha

The four days of Ayyam-i-Ha are underway. In a few more days, the Fast will begin. A few days into the Fast, this blog will be 1 year old.

Time flies when you are old!

Tomorrow, #3 son will be in the Kauai preliminary round of BandChamps. Please join me in wishing them Good Luck!



Thursday, February 26, 2009

Something Fishy

Tired of that old HD TV? I recommend watching an aquarium and enjoying simple pleasures.
Fish aren't the only interesting things. Feather duster worms and hermit crabs are cool too.



Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Extemporaneous Blogging

There surely is a lot to contemplate of late.

Back in the summer of 1967, I sat on a rock somewhere around Fresno and stared at the night sky. I projected myself into space as far as I could imagine and visualized myself sitting on a rock in that distant place. I looked back towards earth, Fresno and my rock.

I coudn't see myself.

At that moment, I knew there was an Unknowable Creator and there was certainty in my heart. At that moment, I knew why my mom was not afraid of bats and bogey men in the mansions of my childhood. She believed in God. She did not fear His creations.

Even though I believed, life still felt like a footrace on iceskates. And I've left one hilarious (in hindsight), zig-zagging trail ever since.

More to come...


This is Dan Seals and the 2000 Nashville Baha'i Conference Choir singing "We are One". This simple truth is my gift to you for Ayyam-i-Ha.

HAPPY AYYAM-I-HA!
Ayyam-i-Ha: Literally, "the days of Ha" (Ha being a letter in the Arabic alphabet associated with God). A four-day period (five in leap years) for Baha'is of charity, gift-giving and celebration that immediately proceeds the period of fasting.

I just realized something about the word HA.

n. - (astronomy) the angular distance of a celestial point measured westward along the celestial equator from the zenith crossing' An exclamation denoting surprise, wonder, joy, or other sudden emotion; Word used to indicate laughter.

First syllable of the word 'Hatha', which is composed of the syllables 'ha' meaning the sun, and 'tha' meaning the moon. The object of Hatha-yoga is to balance the flow of solar and lunar energy in the human system.

Hawaiian: "Ha" literally means the breathe of life:
The "haw. Dic" defines the word thus, first context: The number four and various modifications of the number. For the second context: To breathe, exhale: to breathe upon, as kava after praying and before prognosticateing: life, breathe. And then it gives usage examples.
"Ha ke akua I ka lewa",  "God breathed into the open space".


Science+Religion=Truth ? (excerpts to stimulate curiousity)

Galaxy may be full of 'Earths,' alien life

(CNN) -- As NASA prepares to hunt for Earth-like planets in our corner of the Milky Way galaxy, there's new buzz that "Star Trek's" vision of a universe full of life may not be that far-fetched.
An artist's impression shows a planet passing in front of its parent star. Such events are called transits.
An artist's impression shows a planet passing in front of its parent star. Such events are called transits.
Pointy-eared aliens traveling at light speed are staying firmly in science fiction, but scientists are offering fresh insights into the possible existence of inhabited worlds and intelligent civilizations in space.
There may be 100 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way, or one for every sun-type star in the galaxy, said Alan Boss, an astronomer with the Carnegie Institution and author of the new book "The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets."
He made the prediction based on the number of "super-Earths" -- planets several times the mass of the Earth, but smaller than gas giants like Jupiter -- discovered so far circling stars outside the solar system.
Boss said that if any of the billions of Earth-like worlds he believes exist in the Milky Way have liquid water, they are likely to be home to some type of life.
"Now that's not saying that they're all going to be crawling with intelligent human beings or even dinosaurs," he said.
"But I would suspect that the great majority of them at least will have some sort of primitive life, like bacteria or some of the multicellular creatures that populated our Earth for the first 3 billion years of its existence."
...
+++++
Intelligent Life in the Universe and Exotheology
in Christianity and the Baha'i Writings


Know thou that every fixed star hath its own planets, and every planet its own creatures, whose number no man can compute. - Baha'u'llah, Gleanings

I[t] must be confessed in other realms there are Still other worlds, other breeds of men... -Lucretius (99-55 BC), On the Nature of Things

I have ... the strong belief ... that there are inhabitants in other worlds - Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), Critique of Pure Reason

Fascination with the possibility of intelligent lifeforms on other planets has lasted over two millennia, and perhaps much longer. Philosophy, science, religion and literature all contain strong statements of belief about such a possibility. It is a profoundly interesting question because it raises issues about the origins of life and our place in the physical and spiritual universe. It also has inspired a new discipline: exotheology. Exotheology is the examination of theological issues as they pertain to Extraterrestrial Intelligence (ETI). Traditional Christian theology and the Baha'i Revelation disclose fascinating observations on exotheology...

In Western Christendom the Inquisition burned the Dominican monk Giordano Bruno at the stake in Rome in 1600 for insisting on a heliocentric (sun-centered) rather than a geocentric (earth- centered) universe. Bruno took matters a step further by insisting the universe was populated by ETIs. Brun said, "Innumerable suns exist; innumerable earths revolve about these suns in a manner similar to the way the seven planets revolve around our sun. Living being inhabit these worlds." (Drake, Is Anyone Out There? Page 65)...

...Let's examine some more explicit statements of extraterrestrial lifeforms. Baha'u'llah says in Gleanings, "Know thou that every fixed star hath its own planets, and every planet its own creatures, whose number no man can compute." Shoghi Effendi was asked about this quotation in 1937:

"Regarding the passage on p. 163 of the 'Gleanings'; the creatures which Baha'u'llah states to be found in every planet cannot be considered to be necessarily similar or different from human beings on this earth. Baha'u'llah does not specifically state whether such creatures are like or unlike us. He simply refers to the fact that there are creatures in every planet. It remains for science to discover one day the exact nature of these creatures." (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, February 9, 1937) (Lights of Guidance 478)...




Cyrus the Great and Iran Today

 cyrus.jpgCyrus the Great was a Persian king from the Achemenides family. He is considered the founder of the Persian Empire and ruled from 559 to 530 BCE. Cyrus defeated Medes and founded the Achaemenid Dynasty. He was able to conquer Lydia and the cities along the coast of Asia Minor, Babylon and Babylonia. This was the empire he built which was later on taken by his son Cambyses. Cyrus was known for being a great leader, he was able to free the Jews from Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon(which is recognized in the bible.) He won the heart of his people since he let themworship their own gods. It is said that Cyrus was the first legislative who talked about the rights of humans and wrote principles about it. He was able to create and maintain the Achaemenian Empire as an "intelligent" city. He was able to mix diplomatic, military skills and he ruled fairly with his own wisdom. He was also called the "father" of the Greeks who he conquered, the Greeks also saw him as a worthy ruler. He was considered the Persian emperor and a great human being.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cyrus-the-Great-Kooroshe-Kabir/22096144043#/video/video.php?v=50339791731&oid=22096144043

http://www.iranpresswatch.org/2009/02/fahrenheit-451/
"Let us dream of a day in which all Iranians — Shi’ih and Sunni, atheist
and Christian, Jew and Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Baha’i — live together
in peace, dignity, harmony and communication, a day in which the
entrepreneurs of hate fail to divide Iranians in the name of God, a day
when all Iranians, committed to democratic rights of all Iranian
citizens, perceive cultural diversity as a source of strength and
beauty, a day when once again the name of Iran is globally celebrated
as the birth-place of the Kouroshe Kabir (Cyrus the Great) and of the
charter of religious freedom and human rights. For every Baha’i, this
is not a mere fantastic dream; it is rather the destiny of this great
sacred land, the requirement of its authentic culture, and the will of
God."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Shift in Thought

 From the Universal House of Justice to the Baha'is of Iran

"Persevere with sincerety and earnestness to secure your rights through recourse to the law and deal with those who oppress you with loving-kindness, with patience and forbearance, and counter their insults with words of peace and affection."




Monday, February 23, 2009

Building a Peaceful, Creative World

Are you, like me, weary of bad news? Tired of terror? Fed up with fear?

Well, I sure got a nice rush of pride watching my cousin's dancers a few blogs ago... and now I have an email from my spiritual mother Nancy (she taught me about the Baha'i Faith) with another feelgood video- (select HQ from the arrow on the right) here it is:


How did they do this?

Good news is contagious.
http://www.onethread.org/arise/?p=45
"The mind is like a mirror in that it is aware of the surroundings, but it is not tainted permanently by what it reflects. The fabric of consciousness is a cognitive quality, and the mind can be trained."

"How to proceed in quest of happiness? Perhaps we can have certain things or control the world to bring happiness? Nay, rather, the mind can bring either well-being or sadness; it can be nurtured to develop an inner condition of happiness. The mind can be conducive to “flourishing” or be adverse to well-being, and virtuous acts bring a sense of assurance."

“For what pleasure can compare the pleasure of bringing joy and hope to other hearts. The more we make others happy the greater will be our own happiness and the deeper our sense of having served humanity.”

“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.”


I think it's about GROUPS reflecting positive energy. Here's to a brighter world... !

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Distant Travelers

 
 Plane rides are long and tiresome enough for adults but how about 11 month old young ladies? I had the great joy of sitting next to Vivian Elizabeth on the way home from Honolulu today. She and her parents will be staying in Poipu on their vacation and will be joined by her grandparents in a few days. Vivian is from Nova Scotia. Talk about a long ride! Nevertheless, she recognized that I was a grandma and a namesake and welcomed me very warmly when I sat down in my seat. Have a great vacation, Vivian!

Of course granddaughter Lilu and folks will be arriving in just over a month. Lilu is just a few days younger than Vivian.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Genji Karaoke

I haven't had a chance to use these Sugar Bowl masks for a year!

Karaoke Kall

Mr. and Mrs. Midnight brought LOTS of Mardi Gras beads for the gang!

Hana Hou

Waimea Town Celebration Morning Rotary Crew.

Waimea Town Celebration

As far as I am concerned, there is no greater community celebration in Hawaii than the Waimea Town Celebration.

Events are scattered over a two mile area and include Hawaiian outrigger canoe races, Hawaiian cowboy events, softball tournaments and a fun run. The purpose of the Waimea Town Celebration is to give West Kauai schools, clubs and non-profits a chance to fundraise. Many businesses and individuals are involved in preparation, manning booths, and participation. It is an event put on by community VOLUNTEERS. Proceeds go towards funding WKBPA civic projects, operating the Waimea Theatre and other programs throughout the year.

This year, everyone around the world can enjoy the activities and the music online via http://www.hawaiistream.com/. You do have to come down in person to enjoy the food, though!


Friday, February 20, 2009

Rotary Club Pronto Pups

Jim and Martina with "Shaka" homemade pronto pups. West Kauai Rotary's
finest.

Waimea Town Celebration

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Harassed for Defending Baha'is

(If we lived during the early days of Hitler and we began to notice what was happening to the Jews, what would we do? I for one, am bringing this to our attention and adding my voice and electronic pen to the outcry.)

Nobel Prize for Peace winner Shirin Ebadi talks to Channel 4’s International Editor Lindsey Hilsum in her Tehran office about harassment her legal work is facing. Defending the seven charged is lawyer Shirin Ebadi, winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize for Peace. But now she too is facing harassment for her legal work - and her defence of women’s rights.

“I have received a few telephone threats in the last few days. They ask why you are continuing your work when we’ve closed your offices. You should stop all activities, not that we close one place and you set up in another. The callers are anonymous,” she tells Lindsey Hilsum.



I started this blog post with the intention of showing you how the aquariums are doing but the disturbing news continuing to pour out of Iran took precedence.

Anyway, here are the fish and their new friends.
The Aquarium Store on the other side of the island is open only a couple days a week so my visits have been few. They had a beautiful octopus - whose new owner will have a special environment created for it. I love watching feather duster worms and got two for the new tank to enjoy while we wait for another cleaner shrimp to arrive.
 
Here are our clown fish. The tomato and skunk are in the new tank while the two Ocellaris in the original tank have an algae-eating kole to keep them company and clean up a bit
 


Please Kokua

House introduces resolution on the Baha'is in Iran

The United States House of Representatives has introduced a resolution, H.Res.175, on the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran. (Download PDF)
The resolution was sponsored by Representatives Mark Kirk, James McGovern, Brad Sherman, Dan Burton, Bill Foster, Maurice Hinchey, Frank Wolf, and Jim Moran.
Action Alert
Ask your Representative to co-sponsor and vote for this resolution. Visit www.house.gov and enter your “zip plus four” code. Click on the homepage for your Representative.  Follow the instructions for sending an email message and ask for co-sponsorship.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

JOY!

I have a cousin Sue. Her mom is our favorite Aunt Tae, our Mom's baby sister.
Sue has a daughter named Amanda Tae.
Amanda Tae is a dancer- like her mom and grandmother before her.
Amanda Tae is also a choreographer and has a dance studio.

Celebrate the JOY of excellence in creative freedom!



From Persia to the Prison

History of the Baha'i Faith

The Baha'i Faith is an independent monotheistic religion with its own sacred scriptures, its own laws, calendar, and holy days. It has no clergy and its affairs are administered by freely elected governing councils that operate at the local, national, and international levels. The chronology below follows the history of the Baha'i Faith from its birth in mid-19th century Persia (now Iran) to its emergence as a world religion with more than five million adherents from virtually every nation and ethnic group on earth.
23 May 1844
Siyyid Ali-Muhammad, a 25-year-old merchant in the city of Shiraz, Persia, announces that He has been sent by God to prepare humanity for a new age and the imminent appearance of another Messenger even greater than Himself. He takes the title of the Bab (meaning “Gate” in Arabic).
1844-1850martyrs
Early Babis imprisoned in Persia
The Bab's religious teachings spread rapidly and are viewed as heretical by the clergy and government of that time. The Bab is imprisoned and more than 20,000 of His followers, known as Babis, perish in a series of violent massacres throughout the country.
9 July 1850
The Bab is publicly executed in the city of Tabriz, Iran. Some 10,000 citizens are present to observe the execution.
Baha'is recognize the Bab as both an independent Messenger of God and the Forerunner of Baha'u'llah (meaning "the Glory of God" in Arabic), the Founder of the Baha'i religion. Born in Tehran on 12 November 1817, Baha'u'llah was a member of a noble family that traced its lineage to imperial Persia’s Sassanian dynasty. In His mid-20s, He declined a life of wealth and privilege to pursue humanitarian goals. Baha'u'llah embraced the Babi religion in its earliest days and became one of the leading disciples of the Bab.
1852
Baha'u'llah is arrested, beaten, and thrown into a pestilential underground dungeon known as the Black Pit. While in the darkness of the dungeon, Baha'u'llah receives the Revelation that He is the Messenger foretold by the Bab. Baha'u'llah is released after four months and exiled to Baghdad.
1863
exile map
Map of Baha'u'llah's exileBaha'u'llah is banished a second time, to Constantinople (Istanbul). On the eve of His departure from Baghdad, Baha'u'llah announces that He is the long-awaited Messenger of God promised by the Bab. Thereafter, the religion is known as the Baha'i Faith. Baha'is recognize Baha'u'llah as the most recent in a line of Messengers of God that includes Abraham, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ, Muhammad and the Bab.
1863-1892
Baha'u'llah reveals numerous volumes of Sacred Scripture, outlining His Teachings, answering difficult theological questions, and establishing the laws and institutions of His faith. Baha'u'llah is a unique world religious figure in that He establishes in writing the future pattern of the organization of His faith. He also writes letters to the kings and rulers of His day, informing them of the advent of His Revelation.
1868
Baha’u’llah arrives in the Holy Land with about 70 family members and followers, sentenced by the Ottoman authorities to perpetual confinement in the penal colony of Acre. The order of strict confinement was never lifted, but due to the growing recognition of the eminence of His character, He eventually moves outside the walls of the Old City of Acre to a nearby estate called Bahji.
29 May 1892The Master
Abdu'l-Baha
Baha'u'llah passes away and is interred at Bahji. For Baha'is, His Shrine is the holiest place on earth and a place of pilgrimage. At His instruction, the spiritual and administrative center of His Faith is permanently fixed in the Haifa/Acre area.
For the first time in history, a world religion founder leaves a written Will. Baha'u'llah appoints His eldest son, `Abdu'l-Baha (1844-1921), as the head of the Faith and authorized interpreter of His Teachings. The name, `Abdu'l-Baha, means "Servant of Baha."
1893
The first public mention of the Baha'i Faith in North America is made at the World Parliament of Religions held in Chicago.
9 July 1907
The Chicago Baha'i Assembly incorporates, becoming the first local Baha'i community in the world to acquire legal status. The American Baha'i community, then numbering about 1,000 members, begins building the first Baha'i House of Worship in the West on the shores of Lake Michigan.
1911-1913
Following the Young Turk Revolution, ‘Abdu’l-Baha's imprisonment under the Ottoman Turks is ended. He then journeys throughout Europe and North America to encourage nascent Baha'i communities and to proclaim Baha'u'llah's teachings to the general public.
1921The Guardian
Shoghi Effendi
‘Abdu’l-Baha passes away, leaving a will designating His eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi (1896-1957), as His successor and conferring upon him the title of Guardian of the Baha'i Faith.
1927
The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States and Canada is incorporated. Its charter document, the Declaration of Trust and Bylaws, subsequently serves as the model for the formation of more than 180 National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world.
1953
The Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette, IL is dedicated for public worship.
1957
Shoghi Effendi passes away. During his ministry, the Faith spread around the world and its local and national administrative institutions were established. The Guardian translated Baha'i scriptures from Arabic and Persian into English, wrote several major works, carried on a voluminous correspondence, and gave great impetus to the development of the Baha'i World Centre in Haifa. With the passing of Shoghi Effendi in 1957, the line of hereditary leaders of the Baha'i Faith came to an end.
1963 Universal House of Justice
The Seat of the Universal House of Justice

Following Baha'u'llah's instructions, Baha'is elect the Universal House of Justice, the world governing body of the Baha'i Faith. Elections for the Universal House of Justice are held every five years. Endowed by Baha'u'llah with the authority to legislate on all matters not specifically laid down in the Baha'i scriptures, the Universal House of Justice keeps the Baha'i community unified and responsive to the needs and conditions of an evolving world.
Today—2008Bahais
Baha'is of Today

The Baha'i community now has more than five million members from over 2000 ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Baha'i communities are established in more than 230 countries and dependent territories, with elected national administrative institutions in 182 countries.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Protection for Prisoners

Baha’u'llah instructs that believers must detach themselves and recite this prayer nine times.

He is, in truth, the Omnipotent, the Unconstrained! O Lord of Names and Fashioner of the Heavens!
Free Thy lovers from the prison of the enemy. Verily, Thou art the Sovereign Ordainer of Thine irrevocable decree. He who alone shineth resplendent on the horizon of creation. O Everlasting Root! By the life of the All-Glorious, deprive them not of hope, nay rather aid and assist them. Verily, Thou rulest as Thou pleasest and within Thy grasp lie the kingdoms of creation. The fangs of Thine enemies have been whetted, ready to bite into the flesh of Thy lovers.
Protect these companions, O Thou Who rulest over all humankind and art the Judge on the Day of Judgement.

Iran Accuses 7 Jailed Leaders of Bahai Faith of Espionage

By Thomas Erdbrink
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, February 18, 2009; Page A09
TEHRAN, Feb. 17 -- Seven leaders of the Bahai faith who have been detained for more than eight months in Iran have been officially accused of espionage, a spokesman for the Iranian judiciary said Tuesday.
"Next week, an indictment will be issued and will be discussed in court," judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi told reporters, according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency. The seven leaders were arrested in May, prompting international criticism of Iran for its treatment of Bahai followers.
On Friday, in response to initial reports that the seven leaders would be charged with spying, U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood issued a statement condemning the leveling of "baseless charges" against the Bahai leaders. "The accusations reported in Iranian and international media are part of the ongoing persecution of Bahai in Iran," Wood said.
Bahai officials also said the Iranian detainees were innocent of the charges.
Followers of the Bahai faith, an offshoot of Islam that originated in 19th-century Persia, say the Bahai founder is the final prophet, a distinction that Muslim scholars say should be reserved for the prophet Muhammad. Iranian officials do not recognize the Bahai faith as a religion, referring to it as an "organization."

Bahais claim 300,000 followers in Iran, but there are no independent statistics on the denomination's size in the country. The Islamic republic allows Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, who are regarded as members of monotheistic religions, to hold religious gatherings. Bahais are forbidden to hold such meetings, and those who make their faith public are banned from studying at universities, serving in the army and working in government offices.
The seven arrested Bahais form the leadership of the sect in Iran. The Bahai International Community, which represents members of the faith worldwide, says hundreds of followers have been jailed and some executed in the years since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution. Iran denies that it has detained or executed people because of their religion.
"Any activity which would be propagation against the country, system and Islam is certainly a crime, and the instigators will be punished," Jamshidi said in response to a question about a letter by Iran's prosecutor general in which Bahais were portrayed as spies for Israel. "However, there is no problem for these people in Iran, just as they have lived in Iran for years," he said.
The prosecutor general, Ayatollah Ghorbanali Dorri-Najafabadi, wrote in a letter made public Sunday that there are "strong and long-term relations between the Bahais and the Zionists," as Iranian officials often refer to Israelis. The Bahai headquarters is in Haifa, Israel, but the denomination says it has adherents in virtually every country.
"All evidence points to the fact that the Bahai organization is in direct contact with the foreign enemies of Iran," Dorri-Najafabadi wrote in the letter, which was addressed to Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei. The letter appeared in the Kayhan newspaper, which has strong ties to the government.
"The ghastly Bahai organization is illegal on all levels, their dependence on Israel has been documented, their antagonism with Islam and the Islamic System is obvious, their danger for national security is proven and any replacement organization must also be dealt with according to the law," Dorri-Najafabadi wrote.
Abdolfattah Soltani, one of the lawyers for the Bahai leaders, said he had not been permitted to meet with his clients. "How can I make my case ready? I'm only their lawyer in name," he said in an interview. The Bahais are also being represented by Soltani's colleague Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian lawyer and Nobel peace laureate.
"Like most political or faith-related cases in Iran, due, fair and legal procedures were not observed," Soltani said. "I believe that this legal procedure is not ethically, humanly or legally acceptable."
Jamshidi, the judiciary spokesman, said the Bahais will be allowed to bring lawyers to court hearings next week.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rainn Wilson says fellow members of his Baha'i faith are being persecuted in Iran.
Rainn Wilson says fellow members of his Baha'i faith are being persecuted in Iran.
(CNN) -- Why is Rainn Wilson, "Dwight" on "The Office," writing a news commentary for CNN? Good question.
It's a bit strange for me, to say the least; a comic character actor best known for playing weirdos with bad haircuts getting all serious to talk about the persecution of the fellow members of his religious faith.
Dear readers of CNN, I assure you that what I'm writing about is no joking matter or some hoax perpetrated by a paper-sellin', bear-fearin', Battlestar-Galactica obsessed beet farmer.
I am a member of the Baha'i faith. What is that, you ask? Well, long story short, it's an independent world religion that began in the mid-1800s in Iran. Baha'is believe that there is only one God and therefore only one religion.
All of the world's divine teachers (Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Moses, Abraham, Krishna, etc.) bring essentially the same message -- one of unity, love and knowledge of God or the divine.
This constantly updated faith of God, Baha'is believe, has been refreshed for this day and age by our founder, Baha'u'llah. There. Nutshell version.
Now, as I mentioned, this all happened in Iran, and needless to say the Muslim authorities did not like the Baha'is very much, accusing them of heresy and apostasy. Tens of thousands were killed in the early years of the faith, and the persecutions have continued off and on for the past 150 years.
Why write about all this now? Well, I'm glad you asked. You see there's a 'trial' going on very soon for seven Baha'i national leaders in Iran.
They've been accused of all manner of things including being "spies for Israel," "insulting religious sanctities" and "propaganda against the Islamic Republic."
They've been held for a year in Evin Prison in Tehran without any access to their lawyer (the Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi) and with zero evidence of any of these charges.
When a similar thing happened in 1980, the national leadership of the Iranian Baha'i community disappeared. And this was repeated again in 1981.
In fact, since 1979, more than 200 Baha'is have been killed, holy places and cemeteries desecrated, homes burned, civil rights taken away and secret lists compiled of Baha'is (and even Muslims who associate with them) by government agencies.
It's bad right now for all the peace-loving Baha'is in Iran who want only to practice their religion and follow their beliefs. It's especially bad for these seven. Here's a link to their bios. They're teachers, and engineers, and optometrists and social workers just like us.
This thought has become kind of a cliché', but we take our rights for granted here in America. Imagine if a group of people were rounded up and imprisoned and then disappeared not for anything they'd done, but because they wanted to worship differently than the majority.
There is a resolution on the situation of the Baha'is in Iran being sent to Congress. Please ask your representatives to support it. And ask them to speak out about this terrible situation.
Thanks for reading. Now back to bears, paper and beets!
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rainn Wilson.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Sunday

The whole point of my trip to NZ was to get re-focused and centered on the MOST important things in life. (Football and fishing come after...)

While I was there I set some goals for myself.
They included reciting certain daily prayers, keeping an eye out for receptive souls who are searching for spiritual development, and tutoring a study circle somewhere in the westside community.
Last night #3 son was texting a friend. He said- "she and her friend want to join a study circle to take (Ruhi Institute) Book One". A few minutes later, we arranged our first meeting- today at 2pm.
What a lovely time we had! Together we explored  "Reflections on the Life of the Spirit" which addresses the reality of man, life and death.

Sample:
The soul is a spiritual entity, created by God. The soul and the body, together, constitute the human being. Bahá'u'lláh says:
"And now concerning thy question regarding the soul of man and its survival after death. Know thou of a truth that the soul, after its separation from the body, will continue to progress until it attaineth the presence of God, in a state and condition which neither the revolution of ages and centuries, nor the changes and chances of this world, can alter. It will endure as long as the Kingdom of God, His sovereignty, His dominion and power will endure. It will manifest the signs of God and His attributes, and will reveal His loving-kindness and bounty."

 Our study circle is open to more participants so let me know if you want to join! We meet Sundays at 2pm in Kekaha.

Next happy thing for today is my granddaughter and inspiration to blog- LiLu!
 
Lilu is wearing her baby leggings while she plays in the toy drawer and in her bouncy.  What a great idea for warm legs and easy diaper changes!
Her Hawaii sun hat doubles as a snow hat too. Snow?

Yup. More snow. My daughter even captured a beautiful snowflake on her sleeve!

Lilu is learning how to stick out her tongue - practice for future Maori dancing, no doubt!
  
She is all dolled up for a Valentines party... and then sleeps all the way home.