Baha'i Faith Facebook Page
Screen capture of the Baha’i Faith Facebook page.

Day two of fasting this year, and the egg salad on the sesame bagel was especially delicious this morning. This is the dichotomy of the Nineteen Day Fast — that while we don’t eat or drink from sunrise to sunset, the early morning meals feel more special and dinners more festive.

The Baha’i Faith has its own calendar of 19 months made up of 19 days. As in Islam, one of these months is set aside for fasting, just during the daylight hours. And much like the Islamic month of Ramadan, when it comes time for the sun to set, the evening meal feels like a party, a celebration, a time for truly giving thanks for our nourishment, be it a feast or bread and water.

This is all fine and well if you live in a community, neighborhood, or family where everyone is fasting. Although certainly not the children, the elderly, the sick, the traveler, or the pregnant or nursing mother, fasting is for the healthy, mature adults in the community, if you have a community.

In America, the Baha’i Faith is small in numbers. It is more likely that a college student will be the only one in her dorm who is fasting. The editor at his desk will kindly refuse offers of lunch outings. A coffee break with friends seems strange if you are the only one who is not drinking coffee.

But then there’s Facebook. If you are a Baha’i on Facebook, then you have the bounty of an in-gathering of friends from around the world. Baha’is tend to love conferences, summer schools, study circles, and potlucks. It’s not difficult to amass a list of Facebook friends of all ages and ethnicities, living in an exciting number of time zones.

On Facebook you can worship together, with friends posting excerpts from beloved prayers and meditations. On Facebook you can learn together, with friends posting photographs from Baha’i history. On Facebook you can laugh together, with inside jokes and stories that don’t have to be explained. On Facebook you can sing along, to songs from breaking artists like Andy Grammar to beloved standards by Seals and Crofts. On Facebook you can cook together, sharing recipes and shopping tips. On Facebook you can fast together, encouraging each other to make it through the 3 p.m. nap at the desk, and by cheerfully counting down the days.

Facebook allows the beloved community to chat with each other while working, on a mobile phone riding the bus to work, when the baby is napping, and even late at night when we should have all been in bed hours ago.

Fasting is a religious experience where we practice patience and restraint. It is also a community experience where we support and encourage each other. As enlightenment dawns through prayer and meditation, we reflect that light upon each other. It is lovely to be able to do that face to face. But, I also enjoy that same process on Facebook. The reaching out and sharing feels the same across the miles, now that we have the immediacy of the Internet.

Now, what to make for dinner tonight? My Facebook friends will have some ideas.


Candace Moore HillCandace Moore Hill lives in Evanston, Illinois and has recently published a photographic history of the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette. She is currently a volunteer community ambassador with One Chicago One Nation, affiliated with Interfaith Youth Core and blogs at Baha’i History in Postcards.

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6Reflections

Reflections

Good posting, Candace!

Thanks for posting this! Very helpful for those of us who know very little about the Bahai faith!

I am one of those Baha'is who uses the internet to visit with other Baha'is--not just Facebook, but Baha'i Forum, Baha'i Thought, Baha'i Reflection, Baha'i Mystics, etc. We have many ways to gather the community on the virtual world of the internet, to share those ideas and to deepen on possible ways to grow a unified vision of the world, unity with diversity, fellowship that is all-embracing.

Candace, thanks for sharing this reflection. I haven't hopped on board Facebook yet, though. I became acquainted with the Baha'i Faith about 8 yrs. ago via the Planet Baha'i Forum (http://forums.delphiforums.com.... After studying the Faith for about 6 yrs. I finally declared in May 2009. Planet Baha'i continues to be an integral part of my personal Baha'i Faith community as there are just a handful of us here in my local area. Wonderful to have a worldwide community as close as the keyboard! Good luck with rest of the Fast!

I feel that I'm toatlly stupid that I could not find this blog site, I'm so so happy to come here providentially. Whatever you shared here its worthy indeed. Thanks!

I feel that
I'm totally stupid that I could not find this blog site, I'm so so happy to
come here providentially. Whatever you shared here it’s worthy indeed. Thanks!

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