Talks by 'Abdu'l-Bahá: The Spirit of Christ is a new arrangement of public and private talks, all previously published in Paris Talks and Promulgation of Universal Peace. Each talk mentions Christ; some are directly about Christ's teachings and disciples, while others are more generally about religion and the Prophets or "Manifestations" of God. Like a good mix tape (playlist), the arrangement here creates a beautiful and new experience: the reader gains a clearer and more coherent view of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's theology from these pages. This of course is an elucidation of Bahá'u'lláh's theology; as such, this new volume would make an excellent compliment to the study of the Kitáb-i-Íqan.
Results tagged “review”
Talks by 'Abdu'l-Bahá: The Spirit of Christ
Portals to Freedom, by Howard Colby Ives
More than merely a memoir, Portals to Freedom by Howard Colby Ives is both a loving portrait of a "holy man" and a deeply personal exploration of the slow convergence between intellectualism and spirituality. Ives, a former Unitarian minister, wrote Portals to Freedom nearly eighty years ago. His aim was to recount his experiences, still vivid 25 years after the fact, of sitting "at the feet of the master" in a nearly literal sense – that is, of spending time in the company of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, head of the Bahá’í Faith from his father’s death in 1892 until his own in 1921. In various cultural terms, you might call him a holy man, a guru, a saint; Bahá’is simply call him "the Master."
Advancement of Women: a Baha'i Perspective by Janet A. Khan and Peter J. Khan
In this scholarly work, Janet and Peter Khan present the theological grounding, social context, historical action, and modern implementation of the concept of "equality between the sexes" as found in the Bahá'í Faith. Well researched and clearly written, the book has much to offer to those who, from any background, wish to better understand the underpinnings and the implications of this critical spiritual principle.
Degradation and Upliftment in Literature
What books leave you feeling misanthropic? And what books lift your spirit, restoring a sense of faith in humanity? In this household we are currently reading Crime and Punishment and Mockingjay, which, in some unremembered way, triggered this discussion. Reviewing the many books we have read in common, we came up with a short list of those at the pinnacle for us. We ruled out anything too obvious, e.g. no dystopian novels, and no… well, I guess we don't even know about novels that are deliberately or obviously uplifting. I presume they exist, but I couldn't tell you the name of one.
Cory Doctorow's Overclocked
Overclocked, Stories of the Future Present, is worth buying. But you don't have to, thanks to the fact that Doctorow made it available under a Creative Commons license, and you can download it for free. These are incredible short stories, standing up with the best of Bradbury and Gaiman (my favorite short story authors). When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth was gut-wrenching, at least for this former sysadmin. I, Row Boat manages to beguile and frighten you at the same time. What's more frightening than an angry, conscious, coral reef? Pared up with a row boat working through existentialism? Print Crime is a beautiful call to the indomitability of the human spirit, and Anda's Game is all kinds of biting and insightful commentary wrapped up in the thrill of virtual victory. I, Robot and After the Seige round out the brilliant set of stories.
Review: Down and Out
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow is what happens when a classic geek extrapolates the cyberpunk future of a reputation-based economy combined with the extrusion of an open source ethos into the management of everyday affairs, tosses in immortality and lean project management, and sets it all in the context of the semi-religious experience of Disney World.
Robe of Light: The Persian Years of Supreme Prophet, Baha'u'lllah, by David Ruhe
There are now many worthy biographies of Bahá'u'lláh available to both the casual and serious student. Choosing from among them can be difficult; thankfully, there is enough diversity of perspective, and a rich enough body of source material, that one is enriched by reading several of them. Dr. David Ruhe's Robe of Light: The Persian Years of Supreme Prophet, Baha'u'lllah hones in on Mírzá Husayn Alí's life before He became the "Supreme Manifestation" – as a youth, and particularly as one of the foremost Bábís. That he does so in a relatively objective and scientific manner gives his work an additional refreshing lens through which to gaze on the life and teachings of Bahá'u'lláh.
A Lion of Racial Reconciliation... Louis G. Gregory
It was about three years ago, while attending a conference at Green Acre Bahá'í School in Eliot, Maine, that I had the bounty of making a sunrise pilgrimage to the burial site of Louis Gregory, Hand of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. At the time I knew little about him – that he was an early African-American adherent of the Bahá'í Faith, a fantastic and tireless teacher, well-loved by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and thanks to the Master’s encouragement, one-half of perhaps the first black/white Bahá'í marriage in the U.S.
Review: The Chosen Highway, by Lady Blomfield
I took my nook on pilgrimage, with a whole slew of Bahá'í e-books. I realized after the first day that I wanted to read a first-hand account from a pilgrim who visited the Holy Land during the time of the Master, 'Abdu'l-Bahá. I had already read God Passes By just last year, The Dawnbreakers some years ago, Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era fairly recently, and several other books dealing with Babí and Bahá'í history. So I decided to try out Lady Blomfield's The Chosen Highway – and was well-rewarded for it.
Of what use are stories?
They are the aliment of imagination,
The wellspring of delight.
They turn stars into heroes,
Bring peace to the night.
Fear they can banish,
And in good measure bestow.
All good stories teach;
Even heroes they bring low.
Words are more than letters,
As letters are more than lines.
In the mirror of darkest tales,
Verily even sorrow shines.
When polished in contemplation,
The reflection you will find,
Far eclipses all that
The narrator had in mind.
Inspired by Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
Review: The Creation, by E.O. Wilson
E.O. Wilson, one of America's foremost scientists and secular humanists, has penned a moving appeal for religionist and scientist alike to set aside their differences and focus together on preserving Earth's biological diversity for the benefit of today's and future generations (which, in the case of many bacteria and insects, will also begin and end today). In a beautiful prose reminiscent – no doubt intentionally – of Aldo Leopold, Wilson moves directly to share his sense of awe in the face of nature, and the plain facts about what science has discovered about the state of our planet's biodiversity. He also writes of what we do not yet know: of the countless species yet identified, the relationships amongst them yet unrecognized, and the increasing need for citizen and scientist alike to pursue this knowledge.
Review - Gormenghast
Gormenghast – a word that fills the mouth, that undulates with waves of hard and soft, that tricks the tongue into thinking it can escape with a fading sibilance, only to be brought to heel hard fast with that final 't'. It is a magnificent word for the sprawling thing Mervyn Peake calls a "castle" in the book of the same name.
Review: Midnight's Children
In February I began reading Rushdie's Midnight's Children — a strange sort of historical fiction —but a trip in early March inserted Orhan Pamuk's My Name Is Red before I could finish. Two things I've loved about Rushdie, at least in the two novels I've read: his use of the English language, and his ability to credibly, smoothly bend reality into an absurd yet moving other world. In these he is master. These are so clear that I won't dwell on them (ok, that's actually because my wife has the book up at work so I can't refer to it for examples).
The Diamond Age, part III
The Diamond Age, part II
The Diamond Age: A Review In Three Parts (I)
Review: The Graveyard Book
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a wonderful, delightful, charming story. Plenty suitable for all ages – so long as you don't mind children being introduced to Neil Gaiman's "subversive" take on fairy tales and magical creatures. Fantastic. Some things are simply too good, too valuable, to bother analyzing in depth. Just enjoy.
View all my reviews.
Review: My Name Is Asher Lev
As in painting, so in words, there is a power that transcends our experience of life, a power that can doubly lift us to the sacred and mock us for the profane. So it is with Asher Lev.
My Name Is Asher Lev was one of the few works from high school English that I looked back upon fondly. For years my searches through Half Price Books have been surprisingly without reward, but at last I thought simply to borrow a copy.
Review: The Dark Knight
We've been big fans of the Burton Batman films and the first one from Nolan, so we had high expectation going into the theater for The Dark Knight today. We were not let down. I won't be the first to observe that the violence was quite indirect (thankfully), that the pacing was strange, and that the human/social analysis was fascinating without slapping you in the face.
Review: Wisdom Sits in Places
Wisdom Sits in Places is the name of a remarkable little book of linguistic ethnography about "landscape and language among the Western Apache." Written by rancher and professor Keith H. Basso, who had spent decades working with this group of Apache before composing this opus, the book is easy to overlook: file under boring academic anthropology. For anyone interested in gaining a greater appreciation for the diverse ways we humans think and act, both in and about this world, doing so is a certain mistake.