Thursday, December 16, 2010

Eat, Pray, Link

Some of you know that one of my missions is to increase the Baha'i presence in the "blogosphere". I'm particularly passionate about the proliferation of Baha'i authored blogs that provide social commentary and contribute to public discourse. A while ago I made an appeal to readers who are Baha'is to get off the bench and into the game of blogging. This is some of what I said at the time:

"I know it may be hard to believe that an activity with as silly-sounding a name as "blogging" could serve as a vehicle for the spiritual transformation of the planet, but it can. Blogging can be an on-line embodiment of this powerful statement by 'Abdu'l-Baha:

'It is therefore urgent that beneficial articles and books be written, clearly and definitely establishing what the present-day requirements of the people are, and what will conduce to the happiness and advancement of society. These should be published and spread throughout the nation, so that at least the leaders among the people should become, to some degree, awakened, and arise to exert themselves along those lines which will lead to their abiding honor. The publication of high thoughts is the dynamic power in the arteries of life; it is the very soul of the world.' (Abdu'l-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 109)

I can't help but think that if blogs had existed at the time 'Abdu'l-Baha wrote these words, they would have been included alongside "articles and books". Given that 'Abdu'l-Baha was a prolific writer, I also can't help but think that if blogs had been available, he would have been bloggin' up a storm!

I was bloggin' recently and thinking about the particular art or style that has emerged on this blog since I started it on September 11th, 2005 (can you believe it's been that long?). What occurred to me is that the heart of this blog is the links. Every post includes multiple links, both to the discourse of others (usually folks who aren't Baha'is) and to information about the Baha'i Faith and it's central figures or institutions. It's all about the links.

The links serve as a physical manifestation of a spiritual reality; namely that the Revelation of Baha'u'llah is very much connected to the issues of the day, it is highly relevant to the things our family, friends, neighbors and co-workers are talking about at this very moment. Baha'i Thought seeks to draw a bright blue line from the Baha'i Writings to the challenges of this age. As Baha'u'llah has written:

"Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements." (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 213)

Whatever the form it takes, I believe that making such connections is the essence of Baha'i efforts to contribute to public discourse. Blogging has emerged as one powerful and relatively simple tool to do that. There are some excellent blogs out there such as Agency and Change Juene Street, Baha'i Coherence, Everybody Means Something, and Luminous Realities that exemplify what I'm talking about. We need more. We need you. If you're thinking about starting a blog, go for it. You can learn about how to start one here and get some Baha'i guidance about blogging here. I'm also happy to share what I've learned with you. Just let me know. The important thing is to get going. The world is waiting.

"There is no time to lose. The masses, greatly tried by the calamities of the age, restless, disappointed, and eager to obtain real and complete relief in their hour of trial, hunger for the Message of the new Day, and will, if properly approached and appealed to, embrace the great verities it enshrines." (Shoghi Effendi, Letters from the Guardian to Australia and New Zealand, p. 62)