Sunday, March 22, 2015


Rev. Leland Stewart, B.S.E., B.T.
Unity-and-Diversity Fellowship
22 March 2015(15)

This is a new cycle of human power.  It is the hour of unity among all peoples, 
and of the drawing together of all races and cultures.
Baha’i Faith, Science and Spirituality, pages 169-171

Friday, March 20, was the beginning of spring.  In many parts of the country and world there have been most unusual climate conditions.  In much of the East Coast there have been record-setting low temperatures and amounts of snow, whereas in Southern California, temperatures have been unduly warm and with almost no rain for months, even years. 

Around the world there are presently many areas of violence and chaos.  How then can the Baha’is say that this is a cycle of human power?   Pitirim Sorokin, the late world-renowned sociologist of Harvard University, said that in every major crisis two things are happening at the same time.  While on the one hand most people are taken in by the crisis and experience a worsening of life, others either see bottom or hit bottom and are able to transcend the crisis and begin to rebuild their lives.  This is also true at the societal level. 

What we see and hear most about are the negative effects of the crisis, whereas at the same time more and more people and societies are moving beyond the crisis and beginning to build a new world.  This is the situation in our time, and it is urgent that we support that which is courageously rebuilding and recreating the inner life and the outer world.  Sorokin pointed out that in the second half of the crisis the forces of transformation will get stronger and stronger, and that sooner or later the destructive forces will be reduced or eliminated.

As this polarization becomes more intense, we as individuals and groups need to respond in a similar way and become more effective in our constructive endeavors.  In the last two days, three members of the Unity-and-Diversity World Council executive board were invited to participate in an Annenberg Alchemy Leadership Seminar, whose purpose was to help the various nonprofit organizations involved to improve how their boards function, including how they raise funds to pursue their goals.  This experience was an excellent example of cooperative effort between the groups and the Annenberg facilitators to educate and inspire the organizations to work on the areas where improvement is needed to reach their maximum effectiveness.  It was clear to myself and the others from UDC who participated in that seminar that we have much to do to transform our executive board so that it can accomplish what it is expected to do.

May the forces of truth, beauty, and goodness increasingly transform ourselves and the world around us, so that in fact we will soon realize the emergence of a sustainable global civilization!

Spirit is One; paths are many!!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


A musician must make music, an artist must paint, poets must write if they are to be at peace with themselves.  What we can be, we must be.
        Abraham Maslow, Science and Spirituality, page 157

We are told by researcher and interfaith minister Linda Groff that there are five kinds of interfaith, going all the way from the willingness to dialog among people of different faiths who remain in their original faith, to those who no longer have a single faith among the religions and spiritual movements of the world.  What is arising from these five variations of interfaith is a separate movement that has a common identity.  People who have a particular faith and are open to interfaith participation may well find themselves closer to their interfaith associates than to their separate faith.  Others may find themselves equally at home in either setting.

What has been missing until recently in the world of worship services is the realm of interfaith.  Traditionally, you had to be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, or some other faith in order to find a spiritual home.  No longer is this true.  Among various other efforts in this direction is our own effort, which is presently called Gathering of Creative Community.  We draw upon all of the faiths both in terms of the scriptures we use and the people who participate.  We have speakers from the different religions and from those who are not identified with a particular religion.  This gives us the flexibility to speak to what is closest to our hearts and souls. 

What is the inner face of interfaith?  It is the realm within us that allows us to be who we really are.  We are not constrained by the teachings of a particular religion, and therefore we are freer to rely on what we are given by our inner awareness.  It also calls us to listen carefully to those who present themselves to us, because new revelations are likely to be forthcoming.  We are free to express ourselves, and this gives us the opportunity to search for that new reality that is awakening within us.

There is a new kind of faith being born in the world, which has many shades and varieties.  It is in our openness to receive that new reality that gives hope and a deep sense of purpose for living.  Those who have discovered it are likely to live longer and to be healthier.  It is the Source of Life which is at the center of our Being.  It is what makes life worth living and the joy that carries us forward despite what happens in the world around us.  It is the strengthening of that reality among us that increases the strength of the emerging global civilization.

Spirit is One; paths are many!!!

C/o Unity-and-Diversity World Council, Inc.
P.O. Box 661401, Los Angeles, CA USA 90066-9201
Phone: 424-228-2087; FAX: 310-827-9187