Monday, May 31, 2010

Thoughts about a Controversy

Today a lot of questions are being raised about Israel's decision to attack a Turkish ship, a ship headed towards the Gaza Strip. This blogger does not plan to take sides in that controversy. She does, however, plan to write about another time when a Turkish ship visited the land that we now call Israel.

This took place in the early part of the 20th Century, when that land was called Palestine. Abdu'l-Baha and his family lived across the bay from Palestine. Turkish authorities heard that Abdu'l-Baha had purchased some land in northern Palestine, and was building some momuments to the Baha'i Faith on his land.

The Turkish government sent a ship to examine what changes had been made on Palestinian soil. After making their inspection, the ship headed back across the bay. Abdu'l-Baha's friends and family were afraid that the Turkish authorities would put Abdu'l-Baha under arrest.

Abdu'l-Baha went to his room and prayed. Eventually the ship changed course, and headed back to Turkey. An incident in Turkey demanded the attention of the men on board the ship. They abandoned their plan to confront Abdu'l-Baha. Today Baha'i buildings and monuments add to the beauty of Haifa, Israel.

Sue Chehrenegar

Monday, May 24, 2010

Thoughts on an International Order

On Saturday, May 22, 2010, when speaking to graduates at West Point, President Obama talked about creation of an "international order. " He envisioned that entity as something that could do more than fight battles. He saw it as a way to help the world to deal with economic and environmental problems.

The concept of an international order is not much different from the World Order that Abdu'l-Baha spoke and wrote about. In fact, the Baha'i administrative bodies are designed to foster cooperation, because each of those bodies consists of nine people. Those nine people are supposed to get together and tackle community problems.

On a local level, they are supposed to focus on local issues; on a national level, they should address national problems; and on an international level they are expected to study all of the challenges that face people everywhere in the world.

Sue Chehrenegar

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thoughts on a Few Words

Today I was reading about some of the words that came into the English language during the first decade of the 20th Century, the decade preceding Abdu'l-Baha's trip to the United States.
One word on the list that stood out in my mind was the word "pussyfoot."

Did some people "pussyfoot" around the issue in the early part of the 20th Century? If so, Abdu'l-Baha certainly did not follow their example. When reporters asked him why he had come to the United States, he made it clear that he saw his trip as a way to encourage movement of society, and indeed the whole world towards a more united, a more peaceful civilization.

The word "muckracker" also come into use during the first decade of the 20th Century. While muckrackers focused on the horrible aspects of the situation that they wanted to change, Abdu'l-Baha would only touch on the "evil" associated with any given practice. He would then introduce his vision for the future, one in which the objectionable behavior or system had no place.

Abdu'l-Baha took no sides in the argument between those that opposed to a state religion and those who objected to such opposition. Instead he spoke about the unity of all religions. Reporters who covered Abdu'l-Baha never had to struggle with including the words disestablishmentarianism or antidisestablishmentarianism in any of their articles.

Sue Chehrenegar

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Follow-up to Friday's Thoughts

On Friday, May 14, I posted what I called "Thoughts for Friends." I directed my thoughts and prayers at the seven Baha'is who are in a prison cell, in Iran. Today I have had a chance to read about other thoughts on that same group. Some of those thoughts were aired publicly on May 14, when various Baha'i communities marked the passing of two years since the arrest of those seven innocent Baha'is.

A number of non-Baha'is joined with the Baha'i community, in marking that sad anniversary. I encourage the readers of this blog to read about the many related events that took place on May 14, 2010.

Readers who would like to read comments from well known figures should click onto this site:

Readers who wanted to become more familiar with the degree to which Baha'is have been persecuted by the government of Iran should click onto this site:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thoughts for Friends

Today, the Universal House of Justice has asked Baha'is around the world to pray for the "Yaran," the seven Baha'i Friends who are in a prison cell, in Iran. I have found two passages from the writings of Abdu'l-Baha that I feel represent a proper way to honor the sacrifice made by those 7 people. Here are those quotes:

"Ye are the anges, if your feet be firm, your spirits rejoiced, yur secret thoughts pure, your eyes consuled, your ears opened, your breasts dilated with joy, and your souls gladdened, and if you arise to assist the Covenant, to resist dissension and to be attracted to the Effulgence!" from Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha Abbas

"At all times do I speak of you and call you to mind. I pray unto the Lord, and with tears I implore Him to rain down all these blessings upon you, and gladden your hearts, and make blissful your souls, and grant you exceeding joy and heavenly delights..." from Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Thoughts on How the World Is Changing

I just saw televised pictures of a parade in Moscow. Troops from the United States, Britain, Canada and Poland had been invited to march in that parade. They were helping the Russian people to honor the passing of 60 years since the defeat of the Axis powers, in World War II.

The unity illustrated by that event brought to my mind the efforts of Abdu'l-Baha. He was always working for the realization of world unity. In his book the Secret of Divine Civilization, Abdu'l-Baha rewrote the standard definition for a long running Islamic tradition. That tradition had called on each believer to "defend his faith, oppose his passions and obey the commandments of his Lord."

Abdu'l-Baba wrote that world leaders were now called to a newer and higher standard, one that placed an emphsis on honesty and trustworthiness. Such comments add support to the statments that I made in my earlier blog entries, partiuclarly those that talked about virtues that showed a respect for human dignity.

Sue Chehrenegar

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Thoughts on Kindness

I have been writing about the five virtues that befit human dignity--the five virtues that world leaders must display, if the world is going to move closer to the realization of world wide peace.
Tonight I am writing about the fifth virtue, that of loving kindness.

First, I want to present a quote about kindness. It is taken from page 3 of the book with this title: Selections of the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha. Here is what Abdu'l-Baha had to say about kindness:

"Be ye sicncerely kind, not in appearance only. Let each one of God's loved ones center his attention on this: to be the Lord's mercy to man;to be the Lord's grace. Let him do some good to every person whose path he crosses, and be of some benefit to him."

In order to better define loving kindness, I have studied the definition of love. In the book titled
The Virtues Guide I have found these definitions for love:
"Love is caring for someone...wanting to share with them."
"Love is treating other people just like you would like them to treat you..."
"When you are being loving you help others to feel important."
"Being loving is showing compassion for other people and wishing for them what you wish for yourself."

An examination of all the above statements, those found in quotes, should point out the meaning of the phrase "loving kindness."

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Thougts on Compassion

So far, I have written about three of the five virtues that I had pointed to as virtues that "befit human dignity." I had asserted that those five virtues would be needed by any leader that hoped to further the move toward a more peaceful world.

Today I am going to write about compassion. A compassionate leader is understanding and caring. A compassionate leader helps people everywhere to understand that they are not alone. Compassion can help the world to come together. It moves the world closer to unity, a condition that must precede attainment of a truly peaceful world.

Sue Chehrenegar