Devotional and Interfaith Activities in Second Life!

Lotus Temple

Today I got to attend a devotional gathering, an interfaith prayer service, in the World Religions Library, near the Lotus Temple…. in Second Life.

Ok, a little context…

I first visited Second Life a number of years ago, and found it a bit challenging to navigate, but on my last visit there I had found an interfaith World Religions site, and had logged out finally while there.  This morning, while reading news and such on my android phone, something made me think of Second Life again, and so I checked to see if the Android client was any good.  Well, turns out I had awhile back purchased, for a simple $3.00, the Lumiya app, and so I reinstalled it and voila, I was back at the interfaith site.

Turns out there were a couple of people there setting up for hosting their 3rd annual World Religions Day observance this evening from 5-7 PM “Second Life” time (aka California Time).

So I took a stroll through the gardens, and visited the Lotus Temple…

Inside the Lotus Temple

I met a couple of the folks active in maintaining and hosting this site, and hung out for some conversation in an open reading / conversation space. Yes, there really is a cat playing around on the carpet…

Library of World Religions conversation and reading space

I went back to the library site, where my newly met friends were setting up decorations of flowers for the evening prayer meeting, kept them company for awhile, and even helped out a bit with a sound check.

I came back in the evening for the observance, sat in the front row, and listened to a panel of speakers representing a number of faiths, who spoke about the role and understanding of prayer from various points of view.   Some lovely readings where shared from various faiths.   It is a beautiful and peaceful space, rather like being in a temple or holy ground, and the program for the evening was inspiring and at times moving.

Here are a couple of snapshots I took of the location of the program.

World Religions Day - Panelists and Stage

World Religions Day - audience and speakers

So, you might want to check it out some time.  There really is a small replica of the Baha’i Lotus Temple from New Delhi, India, a Baha’i Center, a library, and locations for prayer and conversation around the grounds.  The grounds are verdant, and surrounded by water, and you will faintly hear the the sounds of birds and frogs.

There are prayers and study weekly on Friday evenings.

In order to get sounds (to talk and to listen to others speak), and for a few other features, I downloaded and used a free PC client (Firestorm) to attend in the evening.

To get to the site, you can teleport to the
UUtopia Library of World Religions, UUtopia (146, 81, 22)

I’m not on Second Life much, but I may visit this location more often in the future.

Lotus Temple

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12th Annual Festival of Abraham

2014 11 09 Festival of AbrahamThe 12th Annual Festival of Abraham was held on November 9th at the Caribbean House in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Some 40 Christian, Jewish, Muslim delegates, and the hosting Baha’i community, enjoyed sharing outstanding artistic expressions from their respective Abrahamic traditions.  Parviz Mojgani, a member of the Baha’i community, chanted an inspiring faith-prayer and Carl Fravel, also of the Baha’i community, spoke on music and spirituality, and played us a banjo song; Cantor David Mintz of Touro Synagogue played on his guitar a lovely selection of Jewish prayer-songs; Dr. Mahmoud Sarmini shared some dramatic Muslim music videos; and Rev. Dr. Patrick Keen of Bethlehem Lutheran Church read a portion of the Christian author C.S. Lewis’, “Screwtape Letters.”  Refreshments and fellowship followed.   The Festival of Abraham is an annual gathering sponsored by the Interfaith Communications International in New Orleans.

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How I Can Help Undo Racism

How I Can Help Undo Racism
• Commit to being part of the solution.
• Observe my own thoughts, reactions, attitudes, beliefs, words, being attentive to detecting prejudice and rationalizations.
• Seek opportunities to be in the minority in situations.
• Seek opportunities to build deep and lasting friendships with people and families of other races, to have them become part of my extended family.
• Listen carefully to the stories, ideas, concerns and modes of expression of others, without the need to counter, contribute, explain or correct anything.
• Observe situations in silence more of the time.
• If I feel defensive, be silent, hear it as their truth, don’t make it about me.
• Seek first to understand, rather than to be understood or to express my own views.
• Assume that I underestimate the pain and difficulties others have experienced in their lives, families and communities.
• Find and participate in an undoing racism workshop or retreat.
• Be courageous to stand up, to speak against injustice.
• Be a trustworthy ally.
• Become close friends to others, love their children genuinely. Do their children take my hand, come sit next to me, let me kiss them on the head?
• Be committed to sustaining friendships, don’t abandon or betray my friends.
• Recognize and celebrate those precious and growing moments where recognition of someone’s race isn’t the first thing I see about them.
• Apologize when I make a mistake.
• Find humor in situations, laugh.

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Coursera –online free education.

https://www.coursera.org/

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12 Dozen Places To Educate Yourself Online For Free | The Mind Unleashed

http://themindunleashed.org/2014/07/12-dozen-places-educate-online-free.html

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Monsanto’s GMO Seeds May No Longer Be Invincible – DailyFinance

http://www.dailyfinance.com/2014/02/13/monsantos-gmo-seeds-may-no-longer-be-invincible/

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School ditches rules and loses bullies – National News | TVNZ

http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/school-ditches-rules-and-loses-bullies-5807957

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Teachers Were Never The Problem – In These Times

If we were serious about education, then our education discussion wouldn’t be focused on demonizing teachers and coming up with radical schemes to undermine traditional public schools. It would instead be focused on mounting a new war on poverty and thus directly addressing the biggest education problem of all.

http://inthesetimes.com/article/15849/teachers_were_never_the_problem/

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The House of Baha’u’llah, Baha’i sacred site in Baghdad, destroyed

The worldwide Baha’i community has learned that the house of Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Baha’i Faith, in Baghdad, Iraq – a profoundly sacred site known as the Most Great House – has been destroyed.  The precise circumstances surrounding the demolition are not yet clear.

Bani Dugal, the Principal Representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations said: “This deplorable act has robbed people throughout the world of a priceless piece of their spiritual heritage.”

“While the details are not yet clear, there should be no doubt as to the Baha’i community’s strength of feeling about this terrible and shocking deed”, she continued.

“The Baha’is of the world are, of course, heartbroken by the news.  Yet, as always, they remain positive and focused on their efforts to promote peace and contribute to the betterment of their communities”, she added.

The Most Great House was Baha’u’llah’s place of residence for much of the time of His exile from Iran to Baghdad, Iraq.  The site is located close to the banks of the River Tigris.

http://news.bahai.org/story/961

 

 

 

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Education for Innovation and Collaboration

What I want to see in an educated applicant for a work position in the organizations that I work with is the capacity to work effectively – the skills, abilities, and experience for accomplishing things.

For the most part I am not not looking for a set of memorized facts and formulas.  These things change all the time and are learned during one’s work life.

The capacities and skills that I am looking for are generally not taught in today’s educational system nor measured in standardized tests.   We are only beginning to figure out how to assess and value those things in our education system.   I feel very fortunate to be involved with two organizations who are working in this area:    http://www.kickboardforteachers.com/features/behaviors  http://www.bahai.us/community-life/teens-and-preteens/

What would be some of the skills, abilities and capacities that I want to see as a sign of someone ready to work effectively?

  • Ability to speak well – eloquent, coherent, organized, intelligible diction, an effective vocabulary, ability to create emphasis without profanity, convincing
  • Ability to listen to others and read them and learn from them
  • Ability to change one’s mind when appropriate.
  • A strong identity yet a soft ego, not insistent on one’s own perspective as being right or one’s own individual benefit coming first
  • Ability to consult with others about a new and maybe challenging idea or undertaking and get to a great outcome
  • Ability to collaborate with others to bring diverse skills and perspectives to bring about a unified positive and effective change in a complex situation.
  • Ability to plan a complex undertaking, anticipate issue areas, and make reasonably accurate predictions about needed resources and time.
  • Ability to write an effective email, and a compelling proposal
  • Ability to create and deliver a presentation or proposal
  • Initiative and drive
  • The ability to analyze, to synthesize, and to see patterns
  • Good intuition and insight into situations
  • The ability to communicate new ideas and to facilitate change
  • Tenacity, patience and courage
  • Operates by a set of great principles, yet is adaptable to varying situations
  • Ability to see the end in the beginning, and see things begun through to the end.
  • Respect for others
  • Understanding of how to work effectively in an organization, with its dynamics of power, information and authority
  • A commitment to a win-win approach to work
  • The ability to encourage, to praise, and to celebrate the successes of others
  • Doesn’t promise or commit to what cannot be done, does what has been promised and committed to
  • A focus on the positive, avoidance of backbiting, complaining and criticism
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