Recent events in Haifa area...

arthra

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I noticed that we haven't had many posts about the recent events on the news...which as Baha'is we are concerned about because the Center of our Faith is in Haifa and the area has been subjected to general bombardment from rockets.

As Baha'is we are neutral politically and take no positions about this. A prayer revealed by Abdul-Baha before the First World War is still relevant today I think:

O God, my God! Thou seest how black darkness is enshrouding all regions, how all countries are burning with the flame of dissension, and the fire of war and carnage is blazing throughout the East and the West. Blood is flowing, corpses bestrew the ground, and severed heads are fallen on the dust of the battlefield.

O Lord! Have pity on these ignorant ones, and look upon them with the eye of forgiveness and pardon. Extinguish this fire, so that these dense clouds which obscure the horizon may be scattered, the Sun of Reality shine forth with the rays of conciliation, this intense gloom be dispelled and the resplendent light of peace shed its radiance upon all countries.

_________________________________

There's also a very personal blog by a Baha'i from Haifa that I think may be of interest:

http://www.70and2.org/

Bear in mind these are personal notes.

So if people would like to post their items on this topic here ...go ahead.:)

- Art
 
Effects on Baha'i pilgrimage:

The missle attacks on northern Israel are also in areas of pilgrimage for Baha'is and so I thought I would share this story. Baha'is who want to go on pilgrimage are placed on a waiting list and many have to wait some years to be allowed to go... Pilgrimage is an obligation if it is possible at least once in one's lifetime as a Baha'i and there is a standard route and routine that is usually followed from visiting the world headquarters of the Faith in Haifa to visiting sites where Baha'u'llah lived or was imprisoned in and around the Akka area which was the old penal colony of the Ottoman Empire and under the control of the Sultans. Here is the article:


Bringing honey to Haifa: Baha'i pilgrims arrive as missile attacks
begin
Posted : August 9, 2006

In the last two weeks of July, as half of Haifa's population was
fleeing the besieged city in the north of Israel, 171 members of the
Baha'i Faith arrived from all over the globe to take part in a nine-
day pilgrimage to the Faith's most sacred shrines, historical sites
and world administrative center.

The pilgrims had eagerly anticipated this day, after being on a
waiting list for up to six years. So although the timing seemed
wrong, they proceeded with their plans after receiving approval from
the Baha'i World Center in Haifa.

"Many of our friends and family said `Are you nuts?'," admits Mary
Hansen, a Baha'i from Northbrook, Ill. "They said, `Do you have to
go there now?' But I had a dream right before we left that felt
significant to me. In the dream, I was bringing honey to Haifa. I
now believe that the honey was our presence there."

"Our choice to go on pilgrimage at this time had nothing to do with
being a hero, but rather with being at the place of your heart's
desire," says Scott Jaenicke, a Baha'i from Camarillo, Calif., who
was accompanied by his wife, Renee, and their 20-year-old son, Shea.

That feeling is hard to convey to others, says Larisa Cortes, who,
with her husband, Cesar, and sons Jacob, 12, and Sean, 14, traveled
to Haifa from Chicago. "Even if our lives ended there, it would be
the best place to be in the world. We were there to pray for peace."

That's not to say the pilgrims didn't take precautions. They adhered
to the security procedures recommended for the general population by
Israel's civil authorities. They stayed away from the center of
town, and when the sirens went off, they went into bomb shelters. On
one particularly dangerous day they were told to stay in their
hotels the entire time.

"Even though every day the city was being attacked, I didn't have a
sense of fear," says Cesar Cortes. "We knew the situation was
dangerous but there was something about the prayers of the Baha'is
from all over the world that gave a sense of peace and security.
Many of us were in touch by email with our families and friends at
home. We felt that spiritual protection removed the fear of losing
our lives."

Of course, because of the missile attacks, the pilgrims' experience
differed from the normal pilgrimage program. They weren't allowed to
see certain sites that were in precarious locations. For example,
the Shrine of Baha'u'llah, the Founder of the Baha'i Faith, is
located between Akka and Nahariya, a city that received multiple
missile attacks. Although a visit to the Shrine is generally the
high point of the pilgrimage program, the pilgrims in this group
were all but certain that they would not be permitted to go there.

Then, on the last evening of their stay in Haifa, they were summoned
to the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, the governing body of
the worldwide Baha'i community, and were informed they would be
taken to the Shrine of Baha'u'llah for a one-hour visit under cover
of darkness.

Renee Jaenicke wrote about this event in her diary: "As long as I
live, I hope to never forget this night. [A member of the Universal
House of Justice] said `It is with great joy ...' and then he could
not continue. Both men had to stop to wipe their eyes. The room was
filled with laughter and tears at the same time!

"The bus picked us up from our hotel at midnight. When we arrived,
we were instructed to observe strict silence and move quickly. It
was inside the [Shrine] that all of a sudden I knew. All the
sacrifices I had made to get here, to bring my son here, all the
hardships I had endured (which were really nothing) in the Path,
every struggle, had led me to this moment. And the Blessed Beauty
[Baha'u'llah] had accepted this sacrifice. I cried tears of joy and
gratitude and could not stop."

While the pilgrims have returned to their homes, Baha'is around the
world are mindful of the danger that still threatens the world
center of their faith, and even more importantly, the well-being of
people throughout the region.

"I am worried for those who are still there and continue to pray for
their safety," says Cesar Cortes. "We pray for the benefit of all of
humanity. We take no sides. The Baha'i writings state that world
peace is not only possible but inevitable, even if the path is
difficult at times."
 
Arthra:

I have enjoyed following your posts in other areas of CR. And I have also read most of the blogs from Haifa. I am relatively unknowledgeable regarding the finer points of the Baha'i faith, although the basic principles that I am aware of appeal to my senses of universalism, devotion, and service. I lived in Illinois for much of my life and was well acquainted with the magnificent Baha'i structure in Evanston, and very aware of the Baha'i faithfuls' activities where I lived.

I ran across something on another website that seemed bogus to me, and it regards a so-called new religion called "matrixism", and what I have included below seems to infer intimate relationships with the early and formative years of the Baha'i faith. I am also aware that the formative years of Baha'i had several events occur in Chicago as early as the 1890's wherein ideas regarding the foundations of the faith were explored in lectures at the Chicago Art Institute. After you examine what is included below, I would like to know your reactions to this material, and of its possible relation to/with the foundations of the Baha'i faith.

Thanks for your help in understanding this. Religion can be so confusing.

http://www.geocities.com/matrixism2069/

I have followed the links provided on this site and the blue one leads to commercial websites, but the red one seems to lead to worthwhile and informative sites.

flow....:)
 
The Matrix and some Baha'i history...

:) Thanks very much Flow for the post!

Alright I'll give some of my impressions to what you've referred to.

I watched most of the Matrix movies and enjoyed them for what they conveyed and I appreciate that the ideas encourage people to think more about themselves and their existence...

My reaction though to the idea that Abdul-Baha had anything to do with "Maxtrism" is that this is an purely incidental happening. The term "matrix" is used a few places in the translations of Abdul-Baha's talks but this is solely by coincidence.

My impression is that this life according to Abdul-Baha is a place where we are to reflect God's attributes and prepare ourselves for the spiritual life later and not a plane of existence like in the Matrix films where senister unseen forces are controlling things.

The Baha'i Faith was first mentioned as far as we know in the United States at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. I believe the present Chicago Art Institute was also the site of the Parliament:

http://www.indospectrum.com/10dimages/chicago3/cd033_31may04_art_institute_1094.jpg

Europeans who were stationed as diplomats in Persia and some scholars who investigated became aware of the early Babi movement and wrote about it in the Western media of the time. ALM Nicholas and EG Browne as well as Guillame were some of the Western scholars who wrote about the Faith long before the Parliament in Chicago.

One of the early Baha'i teachers in the US was Ibrahim Khayrullah and he had some success in Kenosha as well as the New York and Chicago areas.

- Art
 
If this really is the beginning of world war three there very well could be something to this new religion called Matrixism. After all it does come from Abrahamic lineage. And with regards to the Baha'i Faith it would help resolve the fact that the Baha'i administration no longer has a living guardian. The living guardian of the Baha'i Faith was supposed to be something that their religion would never be without. Perhaps the fact that the Baha'i Faith no longer has their promised living Guardian is a sign that 1000 years has already past and it is now time for a new Prophet.

Anticipating the argument that it has not been a literal 1000 years let me say that for the prophecies that the Baha'i prophets are said by Baha'i doctrine to have fulfilled the number of years are always taken to be figurative and not actual. Anyway, again the Baha'is were told in no uncertain terms that God would always provide them with a living Guardian. Maybe Matrixism is just God's way of restoring that which was lost in 1957 and given up on in 1963.
 
Hi Dyno,

Well, we believe we still have a living Guardian through his writings. There was no need to appoint a successor as he did the work of 10 if not 20 men during his lifetime. We have the guidance he left us for the duration of this dispensation. Yes, when he didn't appoint a successor, it was a major test for the Baha'i Community, but it soon became apparent that it was not necessary as everything was in place to establish the Universal House of Justice.

Have a nice day!

-Amy
 
Hello Dyno...might!

Welcome to the Forum and CR..

Abdul-Baha we Baha'is believe provided for the formation of the Universal House of Justice as well as the Guardianship established by Him:

"The sacred and youthful branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, as well as the Universal House of Justice to be universally elected and established, are both under the care and protection of the Abhá Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of the Exalted One (may my life be offered up for them both). Whatsoever they decide is of God. Whoso obeyeth him not, neither obeyeth them, hath not obeyed God; whoso rebelleth against him and against them hath rebelled against God; whoso opposeth him hath opposed God..."

Also the Institution of the Guardianship continues in our Faith...So the interpretations and principles of the Beloved Guardian continue and will do so through the Baha'i dispensation. That the Guardian left no Will or anyone to Succeed Him was attested to by ALL the then living Hands of the Cause of God.

The "thousand years" you refer to we believe is a reference to the next Manifestation of God and not the end of the physical life of the Guardian.

Being Baha'i of course these things may be more obvious to us than they are to someone observing from the outside of our Faith.

In any event, my warm welcome to you Dyno!

- Art
 
Art:

Thank you for your response. It filled in some questions that I had about the beginnings of your faith.

Yes, I have read of the World Parliament of Religions in 1893, and I was in the Chicago Area when it was commemorated in 1993. But I remembered seeing a plaque at the Art Institute commemorating the specific discussions of Baha'i principles. I was not aware of the activity in Kenosha however. I'm putting that in my reference memory for future use, since I do some writing.

Yes , I did also think that the matrixism link to your faith was a reach, so I'm disregarding that. Thanks again.

flow....:)
 
Art,

Everywhere in the Baha'i Faith's sacred writings where "the Guardian" is refered to he is refered to as a "living" Guardian. It is very clear by context that "living" is meant in the literal sense of the word. It was in fact the system of appointing an unending succession of living guardians that was supposed to be the primary way to prevent schism in the Baha'i religion. Because of the lack of a Guardian there is no longer only one Baha'i church. Besides the Baha'i Faith based in Haifa there is also the The Orthodox Baha'i Faith based out of Tarbiyat.

Wasn't it Shogi Effendi himself who wrote "Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship the World Order of Baha'u'llah would be mutilated"?
 
Good to hear form you Flowperson! The reference at the Parliament of Religions was a small one as I recall by a missionary:

23 Sep 1893 First public mention of the Bahá'í Faith in the West (maybe in North America). In a session of the World's Parliament of Religions, the Reverend George A. Ford, a Syrian missionary, reads a paper talking about Bahá'u'lláh.

- Art
 
Art,

I know the Baha'i Faith's position on all of this stuff and I have read what the Orthodox Baha'is have to say also. They seem to have a very legitimate line of succession on the Guardianship as Mason Remey was Shogi Effendi's adopted son. Heck he adopted him at the age of fourty or something. Why else would he do this except that he wanted Remey to succeed him as Guardian. Of course the NSA of France thought the same thing.

I guess the Orthodox would argue that The Hands of the Cause over stepped their authority by contradicting what Abdul Baha had already written on and canonized. It does seem like a huge contradiction.

Like I said I know the Baha'i Faith's position on this so I'm not gonna bug you about it anymore but I have to ask just one question. You see I found this quote on an Orthodox Baha'i Faith website: "Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship the World Order of Baha'u'llah would be mutilated". My questions is did Shogi Effendi actually write this?
 
You could have found it in a more direct source and in context:

It should be stated, at the very outset, in clear and unambiguous language, that these twin institutions of the Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh should be regarded as divine in origin, essential in their functions and complementary in their aim and purpose. Their common, their fundamental object is to insure the continuity of that divinely-appointed authority which flows from the Source of our Faith, to safeguard the unity of its followers and to maintain the integrity and flexibility of its teachings. Acting in conjunction with each other these two inseparable institutions administer its affairs, coordinate its activities, promote its interests, execute its laws and defend its subsidiary institutions. Severally, each operates within a clearly defined sphere of jurisdiction; each is equipped with its own attendant institutions -- instruments designed for the effective discharge of its particular responsibilities and duties. Each exercises, within the limitations imposed upon it, its powers, its authority, its rights and prerogatives. These are neither contradictory, nor detract in the slightest degree from the position which each of these institutions occupies. Far from being incompatible or mutually destructive, they supplement each other's authority and functions, and are permanently and fundamentally united in their aims.

Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh would be mutilated and permanently deprived of that hereditary principle which, as 'Abdu'l-Bahá has written, has been invariably upheld by the Law of God.

(Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 147)

That's why Baha'is today know about the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice as "twin" institutions.

-Art
 
Greetings!

I have read what the Orthodox Baha'is have to say also. They seem to have a very legitimate line of succession on the Guardianship as Mason Remey was Shogi Effendi's adopted son.

Clearly not!

According to Baha'i scripture from BEFORE the time of Shoghi Effendi, ONLY blood desendants of Baha'u'llah were elegible to become Guardian.

Since Remey wasn't, he was clearly not eligible.

And he himself signed a document stating that no further Guardian could be appointed in 1957-1958, before he later broke away and claimed the office for himself.

Further, the continued squabbling over succession and further schism of his group since that time is ample additional proof that it is in no way legitimate. "By their fruits" and so forth!

Simple as that.

Peace,

Bruce
 
Art,

I know the Baha'i Faith's position on all of this stuff and I have read what the Orthodox Baha'is have to say also. They seem to have a very legitimate line of succession on the Guardianship as Mason Remey was Shogi Effendi's adopted son. Heck he adopted him at the age of fourty or something. Why else would he do this except that he wanted Remey to succeed him as Guardian. Of course the NSA of France thought the same thing.

I guess the Orthodox would argue that The Hands of the Cause over stepped their authority by contradicting what Abdul Baha had already written on and canonized. It does seem like a huge contradiction.

Like I said I know the Baha'i Faith's position on this so I'm not gonna bug you about it anymore but I have to ask just one question. You see I found this quote on an Orthodox Baha'i Faith website: "Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship the World Order of Baha'u'llah would be mutilated". My questions is did Shogi Effendi actually write this?

Well the Guardianship is not divorced from anything.
Mason Remey was born in 1874, and Shoghi Effendi in 1897. That makes Mason Remey 23 years older than Shoghi Effendi, how could Shoghi Effendi have adopted Remey? Why would Shoghi Effendi appoint a successor so much older than He Hinself?

Think it through.

Regards,
Scott
 
"Matrix" as Abd'ul Baha uses the term refers to the womb.
There are five times that it is used in the compilation "Baha`i World Faith":
p.266, it appears twice in the same paragraph:
"In the matrix of the mother we were the recipients of endowments and blessings of God, yet these were as nothing compared to the powers and graces bestowed upon us after birth into this human world. Likewise if we are born from the matrix of this physical and phenomenal environment into the 267 freedom and loftiness of the life and vision spiritual, we shall consider this mortal existence and its blessings as worthless by comparison."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 266)

On pg 299, he uses it to describe the development of this planet in the universe, a kind of "womb".
"In the same manner it is evident that this terrestrial globe having once found existence, grew and developed in the matrix of the universe, and came forth in different forms and conditions, until gradually it attained this present perfection, and became adorned with innumerable beings, and appeared as a finished organization."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 299)

On pg. 310 the use of the metaphor is made clear:
"To recapitulate: as man in the womb of the mother passes from form to form, from shape to shape, changes and develops, and is still the human species from the beginning of the embryonic period -- in the same way man, from the beginning of his existence in 310 the matrix of the world, is also a distinct species, that is, man, and has gradually evolved from one form to another."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 309)

And on page 312: "So also the formation of man in the matrix of the world was in the beginning like the embryo; then gradually he made progress in perfection, and grew and developed until he reached the state of maturity, when the mind and spirit became visible in the greatest power."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 312)

Regards,
Scott
 
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