Monday, December 5, 2011


One evening, a number of years ago, some time after I had moved to Winnipeg, I awoke in the middle of the night and thought, "Yeah, I'm home." That was the moment when I realized that Winnipeg was now home. Today, a year and a half after moving to Victoria, I'm still awaiting that moment.

Oh, but please don't get me wrong. I love the city here, and the people and the landscape, as well as the seascape, but it just doesn't feel like home yet. When I close my eyes and think of that magical place within my heart that resonates with the word "home", it is still Winnipeg that comes to mind.

Last night Marielle and I had a short but wonderful conversation with our son, Shoghi, who is, you may recall, only 6. Marielle, being in the military, is regularly asked about her career aspirations, and today is one of those days.

Aside - I have to admit that I find it kind of amusing and lamentable. This is the one of the busiest few weeks of the year for the band, what with their "we-can't-include-any-religion-in-our-work-but-songs-about-Jesus-and-Christmas-don't-count-and-yet-we-can't-acknowledge-any-other-faith-or-tradition-for-that-would-be-promoting-a-religion Christmas concerts", and yet they are having these interviews at this time. It really is an amazing demonstration of inefficiency and sadly taxing upon these poor people.

(And no, that wasn't a rant. Just an observation.)

So last night we talked to Shoghi about this.

We explained that there were basically three options that we had. The first was to stay in Victoria, and he already knew all about that, both the good things and the bad. The other options were to request a posting in either Ottawa or Quebec City. The advantages in those places would be that we would be much closer to Grandmaman, and some of the cousins. We would, in fact, be able to visit them at least once a month.

The little guy gave his input, and Marielle took both his and my opinions into consideration and will answer her interview questions accordingly.

But all this got me thinking about "home".

What is "home"?

Aside number two - In case you couldn't tell, I just took a one hour break. (Sorry for not warning you. I hope I didn't keep you waiting too long.) During that time I had a wonderful conversation with the young man helping out in the office today. It turns out that he's from Winnipeg, too, and moved here shortly after I did. We got to talking about home, and what is home. Talk about coincidence. Oh, and we also had a delightful conversation about spirituality and the importance of seeking your own path with conscious intent. And we talked about crisis and victory, and the political scene. A wonderful conversation all round.

Ok. So, what is home? I'm not sure. And that, dear Reader, as I'm sure you know, will lead me to the Writings. What do they have to say about a home? (You've got to love Ocean. It makes this sort of thing so much easier.)

That search being done, it seems that the Writings speak of a couple of different things, and I thought I'd just look at them a bit at a time.

The first couple of quotes that caught my attention were "Be a home for the stranger"... and "I have set out from my home, holding fast unto the cord of Thy love, and I have committed myself wholly to Thy care and Thy protection... Enable me, then, to return to my home by Thy power and Thy might." In both of these instances, home seems to refer to a place where you are comfortable. When you leave that place, you embark on a journey amidst the uncomfortable, and ask God to allow you to return to that place of comfort.

To further build on that idea, Baha'u'llah says "The day is approaching when all the peoples of the world will have adopted one universal language and one common script. When this is achieved, to whatsoever city a man may journey, it shall be as if he were entering his own home." And so home is also a place where you expect to be understood.

There is also a special place in the Writings accorded to the home. "To none", says Baha'u'llah in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, "is it permitted to mutter sacred verses before the public gaze as he walketh in the street or marketplace; nay rather, if he wish to magnify the Lord, it behoveth him to do so in such places as have been erected for this purpose, or in his own home. This is more in keeping with sincerity and godliness." It is a place best suited for our prayers. There is so much that I can read into this. For example, we should always pray from a place of comfort. If not, if we are praying from a place of discomfort, perhaps for something that we want, than we may not be praying with the pure sincerity that is most conducive for the efficacy of the prayers. Oh, and there is the obvious understanding that our prayers should not be used as a tool to show others how "spiritual" we are. But I'm focusing more on the home aspect of this quote.

Home is also a place that should be free of judgement, especially the judgement of others, as in the prayer that asks God to make "my home the seat which Thou hast exalted above the limitations of them that are shut out as by a veil from Thee."

Another place that home appears in the Writings is in the Hidden Words: "Thy Paradise is My love; thy heavenly home, reunion with Me." Once again, this would be a place of supreme consolation and love. When we are feeling at one with God, at home in the world around us, then there is little that can faze us. We feel comfortable, protected, safe and secure. To do this, to achieve this, though, requires allowing that love of God to be within our very heart. "My love has made in thee its home, it cannot be concealed." "Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for My descent."

Now, my question is how to help raise a child with this understanding. How can we assist others in our society to be aware of this? What can we do to spread this understanding of "home" and aid others to feel this, no matter where they are?

One thing that comes to mind is how Baha'u'llah described marriage "as a fortress for well-being and salvation". While it is a fortress that protects in times of trouble, it can also stand wide open to allow any to enter in times of peace.

And so while I feel completely at home with Marielle and Shoghi, no matter where we live, and I also feel at home within the Baha'i community, as well comfortable in any place we happen to live, these are still questions and thoughts well worth pondering. I look forward to asking Shoghi about it when I get home later today.

I also wonder how much longer it will be before my heart realizes that the west coast is now home, and makes the trek here from the prairies, even though a piece of me will always be there, too.


  1. "we-can't-include-any-religion-in-our-work-but-songs-about-Jesus-and-Christmas-don't-count-and-yet-we-can't-acknowledge-any-other-faith-or-tradition-for-that-would-be-promoting-a-religion Christmas concerts"...

    Christmas is about Jesus Christ. You wouldn't know it with the consumerism in our society, but that is what it is suppose to be about.

    If we represented every religion we may have a concert twelve hours long and most people would be confused - Bahai...what's offshoot of Islam? We must appeal to the masses and Christmas is the average understanding here - Christ and traditional songs.

    Of course if someone really feels so strong about it they could give up their Christmas Leave and work at the office in protest. Yeah, didn't think so...

    Anyway, it was an interesting read. Home is what you make it, not where you live. You seem so optimistic all the time, how about embracing everyday and stop worrying about tomorrow and appreciate the now.

  2. One more thing, I can't help but ask you about this. If the Bahai faith is so wonderful than why don't they support the gay population of the world? After all, you support this religion. There are approximately 6 million of you followers but many more gays and lesbians in this world. How is your faith suppose to include them? Supporting them doesn't mean you just allow them to become members and you don't abuse them. Like any other religion you expect people to change or that they can rather than accept them. Your church refuses to advocate or support them. You're just quiet and smile. Doesn't sound like a world religion for all. But again, the "prophet" was a Shai Islamists so he could hardly view homosexuality in any context other than from his cultural perspective. Doesn't sound devine, sounds very much human. Baha'i will never be a dominate force in our world because it tried to reinvent the wheel. We have enough religiosity and flavors to pick from. Now if your "prophet" was a woman and you had some unique ideas that would tickle some taste buds. But sadly, you've been around for awhile and this Bahai reluguon just hasn't really stood out. Whatever works for you, but don't expect it being broadcasted during Christmas or the like. It brings nothing to the table we haven't seen before. Finally, the Bahai's stance (or these days silent and non committal stance) on gays hardly makes it a religion that evokes universal harmony.

  3. I've been thinking about the Baha'i' faith for awhile and I just can't get over the idea that it is insidious in its approach. It's a creation based on the backs of other religions and it uses half truths of those establishments to create its own ideology. The Baha'i' faith denies Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the sense of the following: It first denies the jews that a messiah to come has to full fill the criteria in the torah, which Baha'u'llah did not. It denies the very core of christianity, the triune God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - Baha'u'llah has no place. It denies Islam as Muhammad being the last messenger of God - Baha'u'llah is clearly after him. Yet Baha'i' states there is a fundamental unity underlying religions but that the original revelations are corrupt…That Baha'u'llah has opened the age for the establishment of world peace. As we can see, that has not happened. In fact, after the Baha'i' faith came into existence the world has never seen such war and torment. We live on the cusp of total annihilation since the advent of the nuclear age. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Civilization has not improved one iota since the coming of "Baha'u'llah". I imagine this religion appeals to those looking outside of the mainstream box and fancy themselves as intellects - seeing something different others don't. Unfortunately, like any other religion they are attached to a set of beliefs guided by a person and do not differ much from others. It reminds me of the proud Christian going to his beautiful and clean church. Then we see the "Heathen" praying at his dump home to a rock. What's the difference but perception? Meaning, you think your religion is superior because you embrace all faiths and seem more peaceful, yet you have rules that are as hateful as others - the example on gays. Clearly the writings indicate it is wrong to be a homosexual. So, how is this a universal religion to bring mankind together in unity? How is this different from any other religion in the context of disapproval toward a large segment of society? It doesn't. As it also denies the beliefs of the previous abrahamic religions. Yes, they have interfaith settings and your tone is more respectful, but you still fundamentally believe you position. That's not harmony, that is a kind of deception. It's very much like going to a church and seeing Christ on the cross and saying "that is Baha'u'llah up there on the cross." Whatever happened to "I should hold sacred what you hold to be sacred for the singular reason that it is sacred to you." in the Baha'i' belief? No, in Baha'i' it is more like "all messengers of god are the same" and we all walk a similar path in our teachings." That is a belief system that negates others in the sense you deny their ernest truth. There is nothing superior intellectually by picking a religion that appears to accept interfaith dialogue and scope up all the religions of the world into your title Baha'i. I support your right to believe anything you like and wish you peace. But, I don't think your closer to God than anyone else out there. To go full circle, I would end that a Christmas concert is not just a secular holiday, but a Christian one where Baha'i' needn't be represented. You have your own holidays, if they are not popular that is a failure upon your religion to convince the masses you are relevant. Anyway, have a great holidays.

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