Green Lake Baha’i Conference

We just got back from a wonderful weekend at the Green Lake Baha’i Conference in Green Lake, Wisconsin. Well, technically, we didn’t just get back. We got back on Sunday afternoon, but I’ve been too busy playing catch-up to write about it.

And to be honest, I’m too busy right now to write about it, as well. So I thought I’d just share a couple of gems that I greatly enjoyed there.

One of the hallmarks of the Green Lake conference, at least in recent years, is the expertly executed integration of the arts. The devotionals opening each session with music or drama, the silent art auction, the youth talent showcase (where The Muse played the violin in front of 800 people and received a standing ovation – very proud of her), the mainstage performers – the arts are honored and interwoven throughout the whole weekend. It’s wonderful.

One of the artists who performed several times was Anis Mojgani, a well-known spoken word poet, if you’re active in the spoken word poetry world. 🙂 I’m guessing most of us aren’t. But maybe we should be – watching him perform his poetry was like taking a visual ride inside my own head. Totally trippy, but truly beautiful. It touched something deep inside that I’m not sure I’ve ever had tapped before. New art forms can do that when they’re well done, I think. Here’s one example of his poetry, though I think there’s something to be said for being in the room. There’s an energy to the experience that can’t really translate through video. But, it’s still amazing. 🙂

Another of the artists there this weekend was Adam Crossley. He’s an amazing singer/songwriter. One of his songs, “Beautiful World” has been on the radio (I know because I heard it in the cereal aisle at the grocery store a couple of months ago). Here’s that one:

And another of his songs was used in the opening sequence of a Law and Order: Criminal Intent episode. It’s a beautiful song with a haunting melody – and it’s written about Baha’u’llah during His imprisonment in an underground dungeon in Tihran called the Siyah-Chal, or Black Pit. It’s so moving, especially when you are at least familiar with the story.

I’ll just give a brief synopsis: In 1852, Baha’u’llah was imprisoned for four months in a filthy, pitch-black dungeon deep underground. He hadn’t committed any crime, but He was a follower of the Bab, who foretold that the Promised One of all ages would soon appear – an offense which warranted intense persecution according to the Persian authorities.

The dungeon was filled with vermin and stench, as well has murderers and thieves. A hundred-pound chain was hung around Baha’u’llah’s neck, and He was chained together with other Babi prisoners. Each day, one of them would be taken out and executed. Despite their terrible suffering (or perhaps to survive it), Baha’u’llah taught the prisoners to  sing. They were chained in two rows, and the first row would sing, “God is sufficient unto me; verily, He is the all sufficing,” and the other would reply, “In Him let the trusting Trust.” Their singing rang up through the one opening of the dungeon and down the streets to the palace of the Shah, who had imprisoned them there. In time, Baha’u’llah won the hearts of the other inmates, as well as many of the guards. (The authorities tried to issue a death sentence for Baha’u’llah, but the Russian Consul stepped in and was able to stop it. Baha’u’llah was eventually released, but immediately exiled.)

There’s obviously a lot more to the story, but that snippet from Baha’u’llah’s life is what this song is based on. But what it’s really about is the love that Baha’u’llah emanated – so much so that even the chains that bound Him couldn’t bear to be separated from Him. Here’s that one:

And here’s The Muse with Adam. She’s a big fan, so this was like getting to meet a big celebrity. 🙂

So much more I could share, but work is calling. So is bed. They’re going to have to duke it out tonight. 🙂

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Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

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