Friday, November 30, 2012

Peace Fest

I am looking for volunteers to help organize Peace Fest to be held June 29th, 2013. If you are interested in helping you can go to my ad on Kijiji or send an email to

This could become an annual event for London, Ontario. It could also be an international event with Peace Fest being held in locations all over the world. If you want to organize a Peace Fest in your area. Let me know. I will advertize it on the Sowing Peace Web Site and mention it on my blog. Also send me reports after the event so I can let the world know what happened.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Wake up World

I am a sinner attempting to lead other sinners to salvation. I am not and do not wish to be righteous. Christ came for sinners and as a sinner I am led by Him. He is the Way I will point out to other sinners.
I do not wish to be righteous because righteousness brings evil. It is righteousness that causes war and hatred. The righteous want to convert or destroy. They feel that, since they are right, everyone should agree with them. If they meet someone who doesn’t agree with their fundamental beliefs, they must convert them or destroy them.
It was the righteous who abused aboriginal children at the residential school in Brantford. These people where so sure of their moral values that they felt they must take the children of the original inhabitants of this continent and change their value system by force. They beat the Indian ways out of them and attempted to enforce White Christian morals on them. I have known some of these unfortunate souls who went to their death without recovering from this abuse.
On September 11, 2001, it was the righteous who destroyed the twin towers. These ones were so sure of their righteous ways that they sacrificed their very lives to try and injure their enemy and enforce their righteous views on a foreign nation.
The righteousness of Hitler tried to rid the world of a race he saw as unrighteous and defective.
We can go on and on. Many righteous nations have risen against other righteous nations causing much destruction and loss of life. That is why I never want to be considered as righteous. Everyone has a different point of view on what it means to be righteous and the righteous refuse to open their minds to other points of view. Therefore, with righteous indignation, they attempt to convert or destroy anyone who disagrees with them.
It was the righteous who crucified Jesus. The righteous made war with Islam. The Báb was martyred by the righteous. It was the righteous who imprisoned Bahá’u’lláh. I do not want to be righteous.
Moses led sinners out of slavery. Christ led sinners to salvation, Mohammad gathered sinners into a great nation. The Báb prepared sinners for the coming of the Promised One. Bahá’u’lláh, the Promised One, is now gathering sinners into unity and love between all of mankind.
Bahá’u’lláh is Moses returned to free us from all kinds of slavery. He is freeing us from the slavery of greed, materialism, technology and selfish desires.
Bahá’u’lláh is Christ returned. He is the Good Shepherd gathering all His sheep into one fold.
Bahá’u’lláh is Mohammad returned to gather the whole world into one common nation were all will turn to God for guidance.
This is the Christ, the Messiah, and the Glory of God that I follow. This is the Way, The Truth and the Life I will point out to others. This is the unity of mankind as one family under One God. This is the ultimate denial of polytheism and the final proclamation of the Oneness of God, the All Powerful, the All Knowing, the All Wise, the Omnipotent, the Almighty God.
This is the God who is Good and shines upon us with the light of goodness. Evil is darkness, but the Light of God dispels the darkness of evil. If we are in a room filled with light, we cannot turn on a dark and overpower the light, but a dark room can be illumined by turning on a light. It is obvious that darkness is the absence of light. Therefore we don’t destroy darkness but we turn on light.
So it is with evil. When there is no goodness, we have evil. When goodness appears, evil vanishes. Since evil is only the absence of good, we cannot destroy evil. Any attempt to destroy evil only leads to more evil. However, when we bring in goodness, evil is dispelled.
When we are confronted with the darkness of evil we cannot clearly see our way. We must turn to God Who is our Source of Light. Indeed He is the Light that illumines the world. When our spiritual eyes cannot see the Way, He is the Way and He is the Light.
Perhaps we can see the righteous as flashlights. In the dark of the night they can help us, but the light is weak and the way is difficult to see. But now a New Day has dawned. The Glory of God shines brightly in the Celestial Heavens. We need but wake from our slumber and pull back our curtains to let the light shine into our rooms. Then we can rush outside and bask in the full splendor of this wondrous day.
I am not the righteous. I am not the light. I am but a sinner who has wakened to a New Dawn. Wake up world and see. A glorious new day is here.
I will conclude with a poem I wrote a few years ago.

When I observe the failing light at the end of the day, I have complete confidence that the sun will regain her ground the following morn.

And so it is when the Spiritual Truths become difficult to see,
Or even in the darkest hour, when they are just a memory,
Still we turn to Our Heavenly Father and pray,
For we know He will be Manifest in the brand knew day.

Now it seems that our trust was not in vain
For night has past and twilight appears again.
Though the world sleeps and does not see the glimmering knew light
A few have risen early and take in this wondrous sight.

Wake up world!  Can’t you see?  The Glory of God is here.
Open your eyes.  The darkness is gone.  There’s no need to live in fear.
Then so slowly, so slowly it seems, comes the awakening of humanity,
And the realisation that all are from one family.

And now we see the world in love with each other.
Each woman’s our sister, each man our brother.
Love is all around us.  This love we laud.
For the love we share with each other is God!

When I wake up early and see a beautiful sunrise, I know it is going to be a wonderful day.

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
John 10: 16

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ruhi Book Seven. Wouldn’t you know it will get tough.

In the following post I talk about my struggles with the series of study courses developed by the Ruhi Institute. If you want to know more about the program you can go to their site at If you would like to join a study circle in your area, sent me an email or leave a comment on this post. I will do my best to locate active groups for you in your area anywhere in the world. I don’t have this information at my fingertips, but I will find it for you and either send you the contact information or have the group contact you.
The Ruhi Study circles are designed to guide the students through a series of Baha’i principles. Often those who have not declared their faith in Bahá’u’lláh have joined study circles to gain the spiritual insights contained in the Baha’i principles. I urge anyone desiring World peace to consider joining such study circles because these principles are universal and help everyone to learn to live in peace with others.
Following is my reflection on my current studies.

Ruhi Book Seven. Wouldn’t you know it will get tough.
Entering the Section on becoming a tutor is a challenge for me. Suddenly I am forced to examine my own motivation and evaluate what I have learned from the Ruhi Books I’ve Studied.
First my motivation. Purely selfish. I find as I am studying these books into which someone has put a great deal of effort, I am not getting it. I know there is more. I know that these study courses are designed to create change and make me a better Baha’i, but I go on much as before. By going over the writings quoted in these books, I am rehashing the importance of action, yet I still fail to be motivated into action. Perhaps by becoming a tutor and repeatedly going through this series of study materials I will eventually get it. So that appears to be my main motivation. Yes, it is my hope that someone else gets it too, but I am striving to learn and be motivated myself and my main hope is that someone will sign up that will help me to do this.
Now here’s the big one. In section 4 of the Unit on Becoming a Tutor we are instructed, “turn now to the books of the Ruhi Institute you have already studied and identify five sections, each of which increased measurably your understanding of a spiritual subject.” For 2 days I’ve drawn a blank. Yes, through studying these books I come up with new insights and we get into very interesting discussions. By seeing how other students answer the questions I learn new ways of seeing things, so there is a steady growth, but nothing that I would say has created a measurable change in me. I have been a Baha’i for some time and my understanding of the spiritual principles has been fairly good, but I’m still not getting it. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says we should lead one individual to the Faith each year, and I still don’t see that happening in my own life. When I see that happening I will know that I got it.
Since I am taking a Book one at the same time as book seven, I thought that would give me an advantage. I had taken book one many years ago, so this is my second time. I thought that if I took a glance through the book looking at the purpose and practice of each section something would come to me. This only confirmed that I am not getting it.
The section on Prayer in Book One has as a purpose “to understand the importance of daily prayer and to memorize and study 5 prayers.” Although I have memorized at least 5 prayers in my life time, I didn’t increase the number here. I also have not studied in depth any prayers although I have read and reflected upon many.
The Practice of this section says to visit at least 2 Baha’is and study a prayer with them. This may be something very easy to do in Columbia where the course originates, but this is North America. I have not lived anywhere outside of Ontario and am not familiar with life styles in other parts of the world, but in Canada one does not just drop in on someone and say he would like to study a prayer with them. This is a great handicap to spiritual development. In this society we are too busy pursuing the American Dream to realize that it is just an illusion. We barely have time to spend quality time with our families let alone get involved in community life. As we become spiritualized I feel this must change.
To illustrate let me recount an incident of last evening. I was walking home from work when a young lady came running out of her apartment and asked me to open a jar for her. I am 60 years old and I have never had that happen before. The strangeness of the event forced me to reply with a negative answer. I suspected some kind of trap or ulterior motive, but a quick survey of the area revealed no immediate danger. The lady did not take “No” for an answer and I eventually complied. Now I need to thank her for the lesson she taught me. No this was not in a Ruhi Book or the Baha’i writings, but it was a sign sent from God showing me how sick our society is. If we need help, why should we not ask a neighbor or someone who just happens to be passing by? I thought this action of a young lady to be strange, but what was really strange was my reaction to it. She, out of need, asked a simple favour from someone passing by. I was going to refuse her request on the grounds that this didn’t fit any protocol I was familiar with.
What is a community? Is it not a group of people who live in proximity with each other, assist and support each other? In North America we have much to learn about community life. We should be able to drag ourselves away from our computers, TV’s and other gadgets long enough to lend someone a hand.
Now to alleviate a community problem I will make an offer. Although I am real estate challenged and do not have a suitable place to invite people, I will be open to anyone studying book one who wants to visit me for the purpose of studying a prayer. They can either come to the store where I am working or we can arrange to meet some other place. I will also make myself available for discussions on peace, spirituality or psycho-social issues. If anyone in the proximity needs a jar lid loosened, I will also attempt to comply. Basically my offer is to become a good member of my community and make myself available to other community members for any purpose where I can be of assistance. By community I refer to anyone within traveling distance of my present location, however I will extend this offer to the cyber world and offer to meet in cyber space with anyone who is connected to the internet. You can meet me at one of my blogs or websites or invite me to your cyber location. Email

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New Fireside Blog

Those who follow this blog may realize by now that most of my inspiration comes from the teachings of the Baha’i Faith. Although the purpose of this blog is to promote world peace I don’t feel that this purpose can be achieved without reconciling the world’s religions. Some may justifiably argue that religion has been the cause of many wars and that it is detrimental to world peace. Many are familiar with John Lennon’s song, “Imagine,” were he states, “Nothing to kill or die for, And no religion too, Imagine all the people living life in peace.”
Man has twisted religion and made it a case for war. The original principles given us by the founders of all the major religions have been towards peace and unity. Somehow man has twisted that to mean, “kill anyone that doesn’t agree with you.”
Christ said, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44)
‘Abdu’l-Bahá says, “Another fundamental announcement made by Bahá'u'lláh is that religion must be the source of unity and fellowship in the world. If it is productive of enmity, hatred and bigotry, the absence of religion would be preferable. This is a new principle of revelation found only in the utterances of Bahá'u'lláh.” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 434)
My goal here is not to convert, but to reconcile and promote love and unity between all groups, be they religious, nationalistic, political, racial, economic or any other. I prefer to think of myself as belonging to the human race, the religion of God, and the nation of the World. Whatever groups you identify yourself with, it is important to realize that others also have a right to existence and a right to live in a peaceful, secure manner.
Since my desire is to promote world peace and also to promote the Ancient Faith of God, I have started a new blog. Thus I will have this one to promote peace and the other one to promote religion. It is simply called Fireside and is a place where anyone can go to share ideas about the Baha’i Faith. Fireside is a name that has been given to informal Baha’i meetings were people gather to learn about and explore the principles of the Baha’i Faith. My Fireside Blog is a cyber version of such a meeting. The atmosphere is informal and invites comments from all. You can visit the fireside blog at

Friday, October 5, 2012

Establishing World peace in my Heart

Establishing World peace in my Heart

Man must spiritually perceive that religion has been intended by God to be the means of grace, the source of life and cause of agreement. If it becomes the cause of discord, enmity and hatred, it is better that man should be without it. For in its teachings we seek the spirit of charity and love to bind the hearts of men together. If, on the contrary, we find it alienates and embitters human hearts, we are justified in casting it aside. Therefore, when man through sincere investigation discovers the fundamental reality of religion, his former prejudices disappear, and his new condition of enlightenment is conducive to the development of the world of humanity.
               (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 327)
When we talk of the cause of world peace, many feel that religion is detrimental to its establishment. Yet the religion of God teaches us to Love.
From the Christian perspective we have the following words of Jesus:
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
        (New Testament, Matthew 5:43 - 48)
In the light of these teachings it may be asked, “Why has man used religion as an excuse for war?”
Religion, in its pure form, is very powerful and exerts a great influence on humanity. As humans we recognize this. A common ailment among humans is greed and selfishness. When man sees the influence of religion he realizes that he can use it for his own personal gain. Thus he waters it down, corrupts it and twist the meaning to justify his own actions and attain personal benefits. Now religious leaders differ in their interpretations and sects are formed. In order to promote their own beliefs they concentrate on their differences, interpreting scripture to show that their own beliefs are correct and all others are wrong. Soon the uniting message from God is lost and humans are caught up in bickering and disputes, escalating until they are at war.
One thing I’ve learned from my study of psychology and observation of human behaviour is that a person becomes very upset when something he believes is challenged. If someone disagrees with something we know to be true, it does not matter, but if we begin to doubt our belief, watch out. One will dispute, argue, and bicker until he is blue in the face to prove that he is right, not because he needs to convince the other person, but because he needs to convince himself.
Personally I use this information to create peace in my own life. If I begin to feel irritated by something someone says I immediately examine my own belief system to see if there is a reason for doubt.
Religious belief is passed down from generation to generation. Beliefs are taught from infancy. Many times, by the time we become adults, we have acquired much hand me down knowledge that doesn’t make sense, yet we will hold to it because it is what we were taught all our lives.
A challenge to what we believe is usually first countered by trying to convince the other party to agree with us. When that fails humans have a history of becoming more and more forceful in their methods. If it becomes impossible to force the other to change, then they must be eliminated. Why? Simply because we are insecure in what we believe.
So what is the formula to end war?
First: It is to recognize that others are not responsible for our hatred, but that it is a reaction to our own insecurities.
Second: When we can’t agree we can agree to disagree and still respect each other.
Third: We must recognize that our enemy only wants to kill us because they see us as a threat in much the same way that we see them as a threat. If we can assure them that we mean them no harm they are likely to do us no harm.
Fourth: If we can forget everything we’ve been taught and investigate our own religion in its own pure form we can learn to love even our enemies. We need to differentiate between the Word of God and that which man says about the Word of God. When we are clear on the pure teachings of our own religion, we must look for similarities and commonalities between it and other religions. In this way we will find that which unites and avoid that which divides.
10:7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.  All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.  I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
        (New Testament, John 10: 7 - 11)
Blind thine eyes, that thou mayest behold My beauty; stop thine ears, that thou mayest hearken unto the sweet melody of My voice; empty thyself of all learning, that thou mayest partake of My knowledge; and sanctify thyself from riches, that thou mayest obtain a lasting share from the ocean of My eternal wealth. Blind thine eyes, that is, to all save My beauty; stop thine ears to all save My word; empty thyself of all learning save the knowledge of Me; that with a clear vision, a pure heart and an attentive ear thou mayest enter the court of My holiness.
        (Baha'u'llah, The Persian Hidden Words)
CXXV. O My brother! When a true seeker determineth to take the step of search in the path leading unto the knowledge of the Ancient of Days, he must, before all else, cleanse his heart, which is the seat of the revelation of the inner mysteries of God, from the obscuring dust of all acquired knowledge, and the allusions of the embodiments of satanic fancy. He must purge his breast, which is the sanctuary of the abiding love of the Beloved, of every defilement, and sanctify his soul from all that pertaineth to water and clay, from all shadowy and ephemeral attachments. He must so cleanse his heart that no remnant of either love or hate may linger therein, lest that love blindly incline him to error, or that hate repel him away from the truth. Even as thou dost witness in this Day how most of the people, because of such love and hate, are bereft of the immortal Face, have strayed far from the Embodiments of the Divine mysteries, and, shepherdless, are roaming through the wilderness of oblivion and error.
        (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 264)
My goal is to establish peace in the world. I only control one heart, and that is my own. If I can be at peace with myself and every soul I encounter throughout my life, world peace can be established. If not in the hearts of all mankind, it can at least be established in my heart.
I invite everyone to do the same. It is easier to be at peace when everyone desires peace. When you establish peace in your heart it influences my heart and makes it easier for me to maintain peace within myself. This cannot be legislated. It cannot be enforced. It is only when every individual decides to desire peace that peace in the entire world can become reality. This may seem impossible and it is without me. I would hate it to be said that I am the one that is keeping peace from being complete, so I am taking no chances. I have dedicated my heart to peace. Let me know if you agree.

Monday, September 10, 2012



When I was first introduced to this greeting I was told that it means, “I see God within you.” Today I researched a little more, and the consensus seems to be that the literal translation is “Bow Me You” or “I bow to you.” However the connotation is that of reverence for a higher being within that other person and a place within each of us where we become as one being when we go there.
I will synthesize my understanding of Namaste and say, when I greet you in this way it means that I see a higher power, the creator, within you and when you go to that place in yourself and I go to that place within me we are no longer individuals but we become parts of a great universal being that is working to bring Peace, Love and security to all. Thus, when we become individual parts of a whole being our differences become as cogs on a gear that mesh together to work towards transferring energy to the whole of humanity. In this way we can celebrate our uniqueness as much as our unity of purpose. Our diverse methods serve to reach a common goal. Our individual hues blend to form a beautiful garden. Our divergent functions serve to get the whole job done.
When I greet you with the word, “Namaste,” or if I put my hands together an bow in the Namaste gesture it means I recognize the potential within us to work together for the betterment of humanity.
The beauty of it is that no words need to be spoken. The simple little bow is all that is needed to convey the message. It is universal. It belongs to no one culture, religion, race or social class. All can turn to the world in a gesture of Namaste and all can work together in peace to bring about a secure planet were all will have the opportunity to make it a home we can be proud of.
Namaste to all who read this. Take it and pass it on.
Another meaning I came across in my research is, “not mine, but yours.” This it is a giving up of the ego and submitting to the will of another. When we understand that the other is the higher power that dwells within, it really means giving up our own will for that of God.
In the first chapter of Genesis we read, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Thus we see that Christian and Jew agree that the Image of God is within us.
We also see in the 13th Hidden Word from those revealed by Bahá’u’lláh in Arabic that God is found within ourselves.
I created thee rich, why dost thou bring thyself down to poverty? Noble I made thee, wherewith dost thou abase thyself? Out of the essence of knowledge I gave thee being, why seekest thou enlightenment from anyone beside Me? Out of the clay of love I molded thee, how dost thou busy thyself with another? Turn thy sight unto thyself, that thou mayest find Me standing within thee, mighty, powerful and self-subsisting.
    (Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)
The idea that we are made in God’s image and that we have a divine nature within us seems to be universal, and so the greeting, “Namaste,” is universal. Having started in India, it is now branching out to the world.


There is another universal greeting that is gaining popularity. “Allah-u-Abha” is a Persian word meaning “God, the All-Glorious.” It is used as a greeting by Baha’is all over the world. It is also known as a form of the Greatest Name. Another being “Ya Baha'u'l-Abha,” which is translated as “O Glory of the All-Glorious.” In a letter He sent to the United States and Canada, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote:
O that I could travel, even though on foot and in the utmost poverty, to these regions, and, raising the call of "Ya Baha'u'l-Abha" in cities, villages, mountains, deserts and oceans, promote the divine teachings! This, alas, I cannot do. How intensely I deplore it! Please God, ye may achieve it.
               (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of the Divine Plan, p. 41)
One of my hopes and goals is to fulfill this wish of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s and raise this call wherever I can.
Namaste is a greeting which recognizes God within us. Allah-u-Abha or Ya Baha'u'l-Abha expresses the Greatness of God. Whichever greeting I use or whatever call I raise it is in the hope of bringing peace, security and well being to all the people of the world.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Epistle of James

The Epistle of James is believed to have been written by the Brother of Jesus and to be the first book of the New Testament to be written.
I find the advice of James to be ahead of its time. His wisdom applies as much today as it did when it was written. Being the first piece of literature available to the early Christians, it must have been a great solace, inspiration and guidance to them.
James points out the difference between pure religion and vain religion. Faith without deeds is worthless. Temptation is not from God but a product of our own lusts. Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. The tongue is a fire. It is like the helm of a ship, a very small part but it controls the direction the ship goes.
The guidance of James is simple and pure, much like the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The complications that man has added to the Pure Religion of God are untangled and the Way becomes clear.
The epistle of James is not directed to any one church or city, but to all. It is directed to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad. Thus the guidance isn’t specific to problems in one community only that may not apply to others, but it is general guidance to all.
If we pay attention to this guidance and even more importantly to the Words of the Lord Jesus Christ which is equivalent to the Word of God, there can be no division amongst us. We must live peaceably with our fellow world citizens and act in faith to alleviate the suffering of all humanity.
The General Epistle of James

1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

1:7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

1:9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:

1:10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.

1:11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.

1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

1:19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

1:20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

1:24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

* ** *** **** ***** **** *** ** *

2:1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

2:2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;

2:3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

2:4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?

2:6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?

2:7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?

2:8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

2:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

2:11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.

2:12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.

2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

2:15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

2:16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

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3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

3:2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

3:3 Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.

3:4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.

3:5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

3:7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:

3:8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

3:9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.

3:10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

3:11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?

3:12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.

3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

3:14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

3:18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

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4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

4:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

4:9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

4:11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

4:12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

4:13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:

4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

4:15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

4:16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

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5:1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

5:2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.

5:3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

5:4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

5:5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.

5:6 Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

5:8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

5:9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

5:10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

5:12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

5:17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.

5:18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;

5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

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               (New Testament, James kjv from Ocean software)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sowing Peace fourth event and encounter with rope walkers.

Another Successful event last night.  Five of us gathered and two more came later. The topic, “is religion the cause or cure of the World’s Ailments” was discussed and the conclusion was that it is the cure. This is not surprising because all who attended are Baha’is, but we also talked about why some may think of religion as a cause of the world’s ailments.
Rope Walkers:
When we finished I saw a couple of young men walking on what appeared to be a rope suspended between two trees. I had to go have a closer look to see how they did it. It turned out that they were using belts that are used for climbing and had a bit of a stretching component to them. They graciously told me about their efforts and that the one gentleman had just learned how to do this on that same day. Now that I had expressed interest in what they were doing, they were also curious about the meeting that was taking place in the pavilion. I explained a bit to them about the Sowing Peace Initiative and left them with cards. They said that they would definitely check out my web site and my blog.
I will take this opportunity to express my thanks to you two fine gentlemen for taking an interest in my initiative. Feel free to leave a comment. If you use anonymous you don’t have to be logged in to any system. I also applaud you in your efforts. It is good to see young people involved in physical activities instead of sitting behind a computer playing games all day. If you want to participate in any future Sowing Peace events, they will be listed on when plans are made. We could also have you demonstrate your rope walking to our other participants. Email me at if you are interested.

Friday, August 17, 2012

War! What is it Good For!

War! What is it Good For!
Having grown up in the 60’s and 70’s I was greatly influenced by the anti-war movement. Much of the music of that era was in protest of war and promoting love and peace. I was left with the perception that war is bad and peace is good. Assuming most people would be the same I felt that most people, if given the choice, would choose peace.
Recently, having talked with someone who grew up at a different time and on a different continent, I was informed that she felt most people were against peace and wanted war. She felt that those who want peace were in the minority while most would kill anyone that didn’t share their belief system if they were given the chance.
No doubt, religious, patriotic and racial bigotry is the cause of most of the strife we suffer, but my mind wants to know why. If it is the goal of the religionist to eliminate anyone that doesn’t follow his persuasion, then what will he do if this is accomplished. If war is the established standard, then that group would be forced to divide into separate factions that could then declare war against each other, so we see that the way of war will never end in this way.
My question is, “Why?” Why does one group feel they must destroy all others? Perhaps it is out of fear. If group one fears that group two wants them dead, they will want to kill before they are killed. Now that it is established that group one wants to kill group two, group two is now justified in its attacks against its enemy in order to preserve its own members. If either group took the time to analyse or question why its enemy was against it, both could see that it was only fear of a perceived danger that really didn’t exist. Once they take the time to get to know each other, they find their goals are similar and really they only want to be allowed to live a peaceful and rewarding life and have a secure environment in which to raise their children. Now, instead of being enemies, they can be friends. Instead of trying to kill each other they can help each other survive. Instead of living with a feeling of distrust for each other, they can earn each other’s trust and learn to trust each other.
This is why my main concentration is on helping people to get to know each other. Once we know each other’s desires and needs, we will learn to turn hatred into love. We will learn to turn the other cheek. We will give our coat also if they ask for our cloak. And they would do the same for us if we were the ones in need.
My friend tells me that, although she has no desire to kill me, her religion dictates that this is what she should do. I reply that if one of us must die, then she must kill me because I could never kill her. If you feel I must die, then by all means go ahead and kill me; and then go on killing until you are the only one left on earth because, as long as there is still two your job is not done.
Alternatively we can find reasons to love and support each other and live happy peaceful lives supporting and caring for each other. We can discover that we both love the same creator although we may know Him by different names. We may find that we both follow the same religion although we wear different labels and see it from different perspectives. Although our knowledge of it is different we will realize that we both accept the same Truth and we will learn from each other and have a greater understanding of that Truth by acknowledging each others point of view.
100 years ago today one who was known as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, (the servant of Glory) gave several talks at Green Acre in Main USA. Personally I view Him as the Greatest Peace Ambassador that ever existed. His talks are beautiful and to the point and He brings true meaning to light. I will quote one of those talks here.
17 August 1912, Talk at Green Acre, Eliot, Maine
Notes by Edna McKinney
The oneness of the world of humanity

Are you all well and happy? This is a delightful spot; the scenery is beautiful, and an atmosphere of spirituality haloes everything. In the future, God willing, Green Acre shall become a great center, the cause of the unity of the world of humanity, the cause of uniting hearts and binding together the East and the West. This is my hope.

Tonight I wish to speak upon the oneness of the world of humanity. This is one of the important subjects of the present period. If the oneness of the human world were established, all the differences which separate mankind would be eradicated. Strife and warfare would cease, and the world of humanity would find repose. Universal peace would be promoted, and the East and West would be conjoined in a strong bond. All men would be sheltered beneath one tabernacle. Native lands would become one; races and religions would be unified. The people of the world would live together in harmony, and their well-being would be assured.

From the beginning of human history down to the present time the various religions of the world have anathematized and accused each other of falsity. Each religion has considered the others bereft of the face of God, deprived of His mercy and in the direct line of divine wrath. Therefore, they have shunned each other most rigidly, exercising mutual animosity and rancor. Consider the record of religious warfare, the battles between nations, the bloodshed and destruction in the name of religion. One of the greatest religious wars, the Crusades, extended over a period of two hundred years. In this succession of great campaigns the western crusaders were constantly invading the Orient, bent upon recovering the Holy City from the hands of the Islamic people. Army after army raised in Europe poured its fanatical legions into the East. The kings of European nations personally led these Crusades, killing and shedding the blood of the Orientals. During this period of two hundred years the East and West were in a state of violence and commotion. Sometimes the crusaders were successful, killing, pillaging and taking captive the Muslim people; sometimes the Muslims were victorious, inflicting bloodshed, death and ruin in turn upon the invaders. So they continued for two centuries, alternately fighting with fury and relaxing from weakness, until the European religionists withdrew from the East, leaving ashes of desolation behind them and finding their own nations in a condition of turbulence and upheaval. Hundreds of thousands of human beings were killed and untold wealth wasted in this fruitless religious warfare. How many fathers mourned the loss of their sons! How many mothers and wives lamented the absence of their dear ones! Yet this was only one of the "holy" wars. Consider and reflect.

Religious wars have been many. Nine hundred thousand martyrs to the Protestant cause was the record of conflict and difference between that sect of Christians and the Catholics. Consult history and confirm this. How many languished in prisons! How merciless the treatment of captives! All in the name of religion! Consider and estimate the outcome of other wars between the people and sects of religious belief.

From the beginning of human history down to this time the world of humanity has not enjoyed a day of absolute rest and relaxation from conflict and strife. Most of the wars have been caused by religious prejudice, fanaticism and sectarian hatred. Religionists have anathematized religionists, each considering the other as deprived of the mercy of God, abiding in gross darkness and the children of Satan. For example, the Christians and Muslims considered the Jews satanic and the enemies of God. Therefore, they cursed and persecuted them. Great numbers of Jews were killed, their houses burned and pillaged, their children carried into captivity. The Jews in turn regarded the Christians as infidels and the Muslims as enemies and destroyers of the law of Moses. Therefore, they call down vengeance upon them and curse them even to this day.

Consider what injuries, ordeals and calamities have been inflicted upon mankind since the beginning of history. Every city, country, nation and people has been subjected to the destruction and havoc of war. Each one of the divine religions considers itself as belonging to a goodly and blessed tree, the tree of the Merciful, and all other religious systems as belonging to a tree of evil, the tree of Satan. For this reason they heap execration and abuse upon each other. This is clearly apparent in books of historical record and prevailed until the time of the appearance of Bahá'u'lláh.

When the light of Bahá'u'lláh dawned from the East, He proclaimed the promise of the oneness of humanity. He addressed all mankind, saying, "Ye are all the fruits of one tree. There are not two trees: one a tree of divine mercy, the other the tree of Satan." Again He said, "Ye are all the fruits of one tree, the leaves of one branch." This was His announcement; this was His promise of the oneness of the world of humanity. Anathema and execration were utterly abrogated. He said, "It is not becoming in man to curse another; it is not befitting that man should attribute darkness to another; it is not meet that one human being should consider another human being as bad; nay, rather, all mankind are the servants of one God; God is the Father of all; there is not a single exception to that law. There are no people of Satan; all belong to the Merciful. There is no darkness; all is light. All are the servants of God, and man must love humanity from his heart. He must, verily, behold humanity as submerged in the divine mercy."

Bahá'u'lláh has made no exception to this rule. He said that among mankind there may be those who are ignorant; they must be trained. Some are sick; they must be treated. Some are immature; they must be helped to attain maturity. In other respects humanity is submerged in the ocean of divine mercy. God is the Father of all. He educates, provides for and loves all; for they are His servants and His creation. Surely the Creator loves His creatures. It would be impossible to find an artist who does not love his own production. Have you ever seen a man who did not love his own actions? Even though they be bad actions, he loves them. How ignorant, therefore, the thought that God, Who created man, educated and nurtured him, surrounded him with all blessings, made the sun and all phenomenal existence for his benefit, bestowed upon him tenderness and kindness and then did not love him. This is palpable ignorance, for no matter to what religion a man belongs, even though he be an atheist or materialist, nevertheless, God nurtures him, bestows His kindness and sheds upon him His light. How then can we believe God is wrathful and unloving? How can we even imagine this, when as a matter of fact we are witnesses of the tenderness and mercy of God upon every hand? All about us we behold manifestations of the love of God. If, therefore, God be loving, what should we do? We have nothing else to do but to emulate Him. Just as God loves all and is kind to all, so must we really love and be kind to everybody. We must consider none bad, none worthy of detestation, no one as an enemy. We must love all; nay, we must consider everyone as related to us, for all are the servants of one God. All are under the instructions of one Educator. We must strive day and night that love and amity may increase, that this bond of unity may be strengthened, that joy and happiness may more and more prevail, that in unity and solidarity all mankind may gather beneath the shadow of God, that people may turn to God for their sustenance, finding in Him the life that is everlasting. Thus may they be confirmed in the Kingdom of God and live forever through His grace and bounty.

Bahá'u'lláh has clearly said in His Tablets that if you have an enemy, consider him not as an enemy. Do not simply be long-suffering; nay, rather, love him. Your treatment of him should be that which is becoming to lovers. Do not even say that he is your enemy. Do not see any enemies. Though he be your murderer, see no enemy. Look upon him with the eye of friendship. Be mindful that you do not consider him as an enemy and simply tolerate him, for that is but stratagem and hypocrisy. To consider a man your enemy and love him is hypocrisy. This is not becoming of any soul. You must behold him as a friend. You must treat him well. This is right.  

We return to the subject. When we observe the phenomena of the universe, we realize that the axis around which life revolves is love, while the axis around which death and destruction revolve is animosity and hatred. Let us view the mineral kingdom. Here we see that if attraction did not exist between the atoms, the composite substance of matter would not be possible. Every existent phenomenon is composed of elements and cellular particles. This is scientifically true and correct. If attraction did not exist between the elements and among the cellular particles, the composition of that phenomenon would never have been possible. For instance, the stone is an existent phenomenon, a composition of elements. A bond of attraction has brought them together, and through this cohesion of ingredients this petrous object has been formed. This stone is the lowest degree of phenomena, but nevertheless within it a power of attraction is manifest without which the stone could not exist. This power of attraction in the mineral world is love, the only expression of love the stone can manifest.

Look now upon the next highest stage of life, the vegetable kingdom. Here we see that the plant is the result of cohesion among various elements, just as the mineral is in its kingdom; but, furthermore, the plant has the power of absorption from the earth. This is a higher degree of attraction which differentiates the plant from the mineral. In the kingdom of the vegetable this is an expression of love, the highest capacity of expression the vegetable possesses. By this power of attraction, or augmentation, the plant grows day by day. Therefore, in this kingdom, also, love is the cause of life. If repulsion existed among the elements instead of attraction, the result would be disintegration, destruction and nonexistence. Because cohesion exists among the elements and cellular attraction is manifest, the plant appears. When this attraction is dispelled and the ingredients separate, the plant ceases to exist.

Then we come to the animal world, which is still higher in degree than the vegetable kingdom. In it the power of love makes itself still more manifest. The light of love is more resplendent in the animal kingdom because the power of attraction whereby elements cohere and cellular atoms commingle now reveals itself in certain emotions and sensibilities which produce instinctive fellowship and association. The animals are imbued with kindness and affinity which manifests itself among those of the same species.

Finally, we reach the kingdom of man. Here we find that all the degrees of the mineral, vegetable and animal expressions of love are present plus unmistakable attractions of consciousness. That is to say, man is the possessor of a degree of attraction which is conscious and spiritual. Here is an immeasurable advance. In the human kingdom spiritual susceptibilities come into view, love exercises its superlative degree, and this is the cause of human life.

The proof is clear that in all degrees and kingdoms unity and agreement, love and fellowship are the cause of life, whereas dissension, animosity and separation are ever conducive to death. Therefore, we must strive with life and soul in order that day by day unity and agreement may be increased among mankind and that love and affinity may become more resplendently glorious and manifest. In the animal kingdom you will observe that domestic species live together in the utmost fellowship. See how sociable and friendly sheep gather together in a flock. Look at the doves and other domestic birds. There is no partisanship among them, no separation due to notions of patriotism. They live together in the utmost love and unity, flying, feeding, associating. Ferocious animals -- beasts of prey such as the wolf, bear, tiger and hyena -- are never amicable and do not associate together. They attack one another. Whenever they meet, they fight. Three wolves are never seen associating happily. If you see them together, it is with some ferocious intent. They are like selfish, brutal men who are inimical, cursing and killing each other. Better that man should resemble the domestic animals than the ferocious beasts of prey, for in the estimation of God love is acceptable, whereas hatred and animosity are rejected. Why should we act contrary to the good pleasure of God? Why should we be as ferocious animals, constantly shedding blood, pillaging and destroying? Because we belong to one race or family of humankind, why should we consider all others bad and inferior, deserving of death, pillage and invasion -- people of darkness, worthy of hatred and detestation by God? Why does man show forth such attitude and actions toward his fellowman? We see that God is kind to all. Just as He loves us, He loves all others; just as He provides for us, He provides for the rest. He nurtures and trains all with equal solicitude.

God is great! God is kind! He does not behold human shortcomings; He does not regard human weaknesses. Man is a creature of His mercy, and to His mercy He summons all. Why then should we despise or detest His creatures because this one is a Jew, another a Buddhist or Zoroastrian and so on? This is ignorance, for the oneness of humanity as servants of God is an assured and certain fact.

Bahá'u'lláh has proclaimed the promise of the oneness of humanity. Therefore, we must exercise the utmost love toward each other. We must be loving to all the people of the world. We must not consider any people the people of Satan, but know and recognize all as the servants of the one God. At most it is this: Some do not know; they must be guided and trained. They must be taught to love their fellow creatures and be encouraged in the acquisition of virtues. Some are ignorant; they must be informed. Some are as children, undeveloped; they must be helped to reach maturity. Some are ailing, their moral condition is unhealthy; they must be treated until their morals are purified. But the sick man is not to be hated because he is sick, the child must not be shunned because he is a child, the ignorant one is not to be despised because he lacks knowledge. They must all be treated, educated, trained and assisted in love. Everything must be done in order that humanity may live under the shadow of God in the utmost security, enjoying happiness in its highest degree.

               (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 264 - 270)