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Bahá’í Blogging Challenge Day Eleven

It’s been a jam packed day today so I thought I would keep it simple and share a prayer, this prayer, like yesterday’s is by `Abdu’l Bahá and is on the subject of peace.

“Thou kind Lord! Thou hast created all humanity from the same stock. Thou hast decreed that all shall belong to the same household. In Thy Holy Presence they are all Thy servants, and all mankind are sheltered beneath Thy Tabernacle; all have gathered together at Thy Table of Bounty; all are illumined through the light of Thy Providence.

O God! Thou art kind to all, Thou hast provided for all, dost shelter all, conferrest life upon all. Thou hast endowed each and all with talents and faculties, and all are submerged in the Ocean of Thy Mercy.

O Thou kind Lord! Unite all. Let the religions agree and make the nations one, so that they may see each other as one family and the whole earth as one home. May they all live together in perfect harmony.

O God! Raise aloft the banner of the oneness of mankind.

O God! Establish the Most Great Peace.

Cement Thou, O God, the hearts together.

O Thou kind Father, God! Gladden our hearts through the fragrance of Thy love. Brighten our eyes through the Light of Thy Guidance. Delight our ears with the melody of Thy Word, and shelter us all in the Stronghold of Thy Providence.

Thou art the Mighty and Powerful, Thou art the Forgiving and Thou art the One Who overlooketh the shortcomings of all mankind.”

Bahá’í Blogging Challenge Day Ten

My nephew has been unwell today so I thought I would share a prayer I have been saying for him.

“O Thou peerless Lord! Let this suckling babe be nursed from the breast of Thy loving-kindness, guard it within the cradle of Thy safety and protection and grant that it be reared in the arms of Thy tender affection.”

It’s a prayer by `Abdu’l Bahá and like many of his prayers I find it extraordinarily beautiful. Some of the nicest prayers were revealed by him, and his writings are often those I turn to most. He was an amazing man who spent most of his life as a prisoner and then when he was finally released he used his remaining life to travel the world and spread the word of Bahá’u’lláh.

Blood and Glory/Bahá’í Blogging Challenge Day Nine

I spent this last weekend at Blood and Glory, the Bad Dice Podcast tournament weekend in Derby, where I was gophering for Greg Dann of The Imperial Truth who was running the Horus Heresy event.

It was a really well put together event and Saturday was a lot of fun to help with, I saw some amazing armies and the venue was amazing.

When we arrived on Friday we popped into the venue so we could set up the scenery I had brought down to help out with and then I spent time watching the Shadespire games that were going on, as I resisted buying myself a starter set. That really is an amazing game, and I love playing it, just need to get my own stuff for it now!

Then we attended the seminar with Games Workshop where we heard about some of the stuff that’s coming up from the studio and we got to see the first reveal of a few cool things which you can read about here.

So back to Saturday and it was a great day, Graham got to play against Thousand Sons first, and of course they had Sekmet Terminators and Magnus, it was a hard fought game, and Graham may have danced when he killed Magnus, but the joy was short lived as he lost the game on kill points.

After that game I was less focused on Graham and Chris as I watched some of the other games, answering rules queries and being the beat gopher I could be. I saw some brilliant armies, and I have decided that I absolutely want at some point a Custodes army, seeing the models all painted up, well they were just beautiful.

I also had a chance to see behind the scenes of Warhammer TV and talk to the guys with Warhammer Community who I was surprised to hear, know who me and Graham are and listen to our podcast! We had a good chat about Company of Legends and what we can do to really take it to the next level and they have encouraged me and Graham to try some live streaming of games, about which I will talk a bit more later on.

Saturday night, after which Graham and Chris both ends up with 2 wins and a 1 loss each, we went to the Harvester, which was quite nice, I had a Peri Peri Chicken Burger, which strangely had avocado in it!

On Sunday I had to step up and play, my Ultramarines became traitors because the Emperors Children player had been true to his Legion and overindulged!

So I played two games, the first was against the Salamanders which I lost 17-2 because his list was tough as nails with it based around a big ten man unit of Firedrakes.

My second game was against Robert Ing from Yorkshire Heresys Space Wolves, which I lost a more respectable 8-5, and I have to say that game was one of the most fun games I have had in a long long time. It was brutal, but at the same time amazing fun, and I got to see how powerful the Sicaran Arcus could be, glad I have one of them!

Rovers army also won beat pained, a well earned prize and it really was a beautiful army to play against, I wish I could be so talented. And Chris won best Loyalist as well, so he go to take home a big trophy.

All in all, the weekend was amazing and although I was left shattered and unable to function for a couple of days afterwards, it was well worth it and I will certainly be back again to help it next year.

You can read Greggs write up about the weekend here.

Twitch and YouTube Streaming

So after my conversations with Warhammer TV and Warhammer Community I am experimenting with some live streaming over Twitch and YouTube, it’s just proof of concept stuff to see if we can do it, but so far so good.

The OBS software is pretty simple and easy to use and the Restream.io service easily puts out the videos simultaneously on Twitch and YouTube.

So I have made a few adjustments to the studio, in the first couple of videos I have done I had to have my studio condenser Microphones front and centre to get audio in as the lavalier microphone I have doesn’t work when plugged into the mixer, works dim when plugged into the audio recorder and the camcorder but not the mixer.

Anyway I have since put away my second MXL 990 and in its scissor stand I have placed an Audio-Technica ATR-55 shotgun condenser microphone, which allows me to film with no visible microphone on the screen, the downside is that the microphone has to be in tele mode and the gain cranked all the way up to 11.

Anyway I am going to continue experimenting and for games day on Sunday I am thinking of live streaming one of our games to put the technology to the test properly.

Bahá’í Blogging Challenge Day Nine

For day nine which is as I mentioned yesterday and important number to Bahá’ís I wanted to mention another important number, and that is 95.

Why 95, well each day a Bahá’í will recite the phrase Alláh-u-Abhá (الله أبهى) which in Arabic means God is the Most Glorious 95 times.

The phrase itself is often used as a greeting or saying farewell and I have often heard it said that it is the Bahá’í equivalent of Allah u Akbar.

It’s a form of the Greatest Name, which I introduced you to yesterday and Bahá’u’lláh told us in The Kitáb-i-Aqdas

“It hath been ordained that every believer in God, the Lord of Judgement, shall, each day, having washed his hands and then face, seat himself and, turning unto God, repeat ‘Allah’u’-Abha’ ninety-five times. Such was the decree of the Maker of the Heavens when with Majesty and power, He established Himself upon the thrones of His Names.”

Different Bahá’ís use different methods to count their 95, some count their knuckles 19 times, others use prayer beads, whilst others still use chants. Myself I use technology and have an app that counts my 95 for me as I tap on the screen of my phone.

I like to say my 95 before I go to sleep, I find it very calming, the practice itself helps Bahá’ís to focus on obedience to God and spiritual growth and is something that helps to unify the community through a shared ritual.

What I am Modelling

Before I went off the Blood and Glory I finished the last couple of models I needed to paint for my Ultramarines Breacher list. The first being a Preator which is built from the 2011 Games Day MKIII Boarding Marine, which was a wonderful model to paint, and in it you can see the influences that would eventually go into the Breacher and MKIII kits for the Horus Heresy.

And to follow that up I finished the two Land Raider Proteus which will transport my Breachers, one of which I tried to make stand out a little as it will eventually transport some Suzerains so I used some of the decals from the Warhammer World Exclusive Command Tanks.

I couldn’t sleep a few nights ago so to try and burn off some mental energy I went up to the studio and built the squad of Destroyers I bought recently and a Sicaran Punisher.

I decided to get cracking with my Blades of Khorne and began work on my Daemon Prince, obviously with me playing Word Bearers in Heresy this will be useful for that as well. I have the skin all done, and have gotten the rest of the base coats on and it’s just been washed tonight so the next step will be some highlights.

I also built a Cadre Fireblade for my Tau, a Librarian in Power Armour for my Blood Ravens, a Herald for my Word Bearers, a Centurion for my Ultramarines and a Centurion and Herald for my Space Wolves

What I am Reading

I haven’t picked up my book at all this week, I keep meaning to but then I fall asleep or get distracted, must try harder.

I have finished listening to Path of Heaven, and the conclusion to the story kind of snuck up on me, I forgot how quickly everything comes together.

And I have now started on Praetorian of Dorn, a book that totally changed my opinion on John French. Before this I viewed him as a decent author, but never one to produce works that would knock me off my feet, but this book, this book is something else and has made me totally reevaluate his body of work and realise that he actually has been producing amazing works, and it was me who couldn’t see that. Anyway I have listened to about half the book now, and I am really enjoying it.

What I am Playing

Apart from the two game of Horus Heresy I haven’t played anything else this week.

What I am Backing

I have noting being backed right now, although the Ogres Miniatures set 2 launches next Monday and that will be quite tempting.

I did get Gloomhaven delivered today, and that’s a huge box, 9.9kg worth of game. Me and Megan punched the boards today and it’s all in really good condition, unlike some of the earliest copies ours came through perfect, I also have the removable stickers and I can’t wait to get this mammoth game to the table.

What I am Cooking

This week I cooked my Italian Winter Soup, which is a reasonable basic soup, with the standard base of celery, carrot and onion found in the best soups. To which I add tomatoes, green lentils, bacon lardons, Italian herbs and orzo.

It’s such a simple yet deeply delicious recipe, and one that I feel pleased to have put together, goes delicious with bread fresh out of the oven.

What I am Spending

A few more bits and bobs for the podcast were purchased this week, I got a 3.5mm to USB cable for the XM8500 so we could take it on the road to Blood and Glory which was very very helpful. I also needed a mono to stereo converter for my shotgun microphone after realising it picks up sound in mono only!

We also purchased the set of Behringer XM1800S which we will be using when we take the podcast on the road and to the Heresy Weekender, and to go along with them we got our next pair of Audio‑Technica ATH M30Xs which now means when we borrow Lindsay’s pair we have a full set up for podcasting with four people now.

Oh and I purchased a cheap second hand Logitech C920 for us to experiment streaming with, I already have a Logitech C920-C so this will add a second angle for the streaming, just need to get a tripod for it now.

Bahá’í Blogging Challenge Day Eight

Today I think I will talk about some of the important symbols in the Bahá’í faith. The symbols of my faith are derived from the word Bahá’ (بهاء) which in Arabic means splendour or glory.

Bahá has the numerical value of 9, and so the most common symbol of the Bahá’í faith is a nine-pointed star.

The number 9 comes up a lot in the Bahá’í faith it’s quite an important number, in fact Shoghi Effendi wrote –

“Concerning the number nine: the Bahá’ís reverence this for two reasons, first because it is considered by those interested in numbers as the sign of perfection. The second consideration, which is the more important one, is that it is the numerical value of the word “Bahá’”…

“Besides these two significances the number nine has no other meaning. It is, however, enough to make the Bahá’ís use it when an arbitrary number is to be chosen.”

We also use another star as a symbol of our religion, the five pointed star known as the haykal, and this was originally used by The Báb to describe the coming of Bahá’u’lláh, with the points of the star representing his head, arms and legs.

One of the most common symbols of our faith that you will see is The Greatest Name. Islamic tradition holds that God has 99 names, and the 100th is hidden and is the greatest of his names. We Bahá’ís believe this name to be Bahá, and from this is derived the phrase Yá Bahá’u’l-Abhá, which means “O Thou the Glory of the Most Glorious”.

This phrase was rendered in calligraphy by Mírzá Ḥusayn-i-Isfahání and was later adopted by the wider Bahá’í community as a symbol of our faith and it’s a symbol that is rather common in our faith, but at the same time held in great reverence as it directly refers to the name and messenger of God.

The last symbol I will mention is the ringstone symbol which was designed by `Abdu’l Bahá, the son of Bahá’u’lláh. It consists of two five pointed stars with a stylised Bahá between them, in which the lower line represents humanity, the middle the manifestation of God and the upper the word of God, the vertical line connecting them all represents the the Holy Spirit proceeding from the word of God to humanity via the manifestation. And the two stars represent Bahá’u’lláh and the Báb.

As it’s name implies it’s most commonly found on rings worn by members of the faith, but I have seen it on other jewellery as well.

And those are the major symbols of my faith, I hope that you found today’s post informative.

Bahá’í Blogging Challenge Day Seven

Today I have been experimenting with streaming video over Twitch and YouTube, and it’s going ok so far but I still have some bugs to work out.

I have also spent quite a bit of time in my studio and spent some of that listening to an album by Luke Slott which he composed to mark the Bicentenary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh. The album is called Year of the Nightingale and I got it after backing the project on Kickstarter, it’s a wonderful album and I would encourage any Bahá’í to go out and buy it because it’s simply sublime.

This is one of my favourite songs on the album.

You can go out and buy it here for $10.

Bahá’í Blogging Challenge Day Six

Still exhausted today, the Chronic Fatigue means when I have some active days I have to pay for it with some crappy days.

Which brings me to what I want to share today, which is another prayer, lazy I know, but it’s one of the first prayers I learned as a Bahá’í and it always helps me when I feel ill or physically drained.

It’s known as the short healing prayer and it was revealed by Bahá’u’lláh, it’s particularly beautiful when chanted in Persian, my friend Fariba used to chant it for me when I was ill and it was so amazing, really touched my spirit in a deep way.

“Thy name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy. Nearness to Thee is my hope, and love for Thee is my companion. Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor in both this world and the world to come. Thou, verily, art the All-Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.”

Bahá’í Blogging Challenge Day Five

I am absolutely shattered after Blood and Glory so once again today’s post will be a very short one.

I thought I would share a prayer I often say before I sleep, this prayer is written by Bahá’u’lláh, and it’s one that always speaks to me a lot, because in my life I do strive to do my best to live according to God’s desires, and when asleep I can’t really do that.

“How can I choose to sleep, O God, my God, when the eyes of them that long for Thee are wakeful because of their separation from Thee; and how can I lie down to rest whilst the souls of Thy lovers are sore vexed in their remoteness from Thy presence?

I have committed, O my Lord, my spirit and my entire being into the right hand of Thy might and Thy protection, and I lay my head on my pillow through Thy power, and lift it up according to Thy will and Thy good pleasure. Thou art, in truth, the Preserver, the Keeper, the Almighty, the Most Powerful.

By Thy might! I ask not, whether sleeping or waking, but that which Thou dost desire. I am Thy servant and in Thy hands. Do Thou graciously aid me to do what will shed forth the fragrance of Thy good pleasure. This, truly, is my hope and the hope of them that enjoy near access to Thee. Praised be Thou, O Lord of the worlds!”

Bahá’í Blogging Challenge Day Four

I can’t type much today as I am at Blood and Glory, but what I do want to share is that the British Museum are displaying some artefacts from the Bahá’í Faith including some writings and pens of Bahá’u’lláh.

Here is the article so you can see for yourself. I would love to go but I am not sure I will get a chance to.

Bahá’í Blogging Challenge Day Three

I always find myself coming back to this prayer, I mean always. It’s one of the first I learned as a Bahá’í and it’s still always brings joy to my heart.

“Blessed is the spot, and the house, and the place, and the city, and the heart, and the mountain, and the refuge, and the cave, and the valley, and the land, and the sea, and the island, and the meadow where mention of God hath been made, and His praise glorified.”

I sing it, I mumble it and sometimes I literally shout it, it’s just a prayer that I love. It reminds me that everywhere can be a place where God can be praised, we don’t need a church, or a chapel or a temple, we can be close to God no matter where we are.

Bahá’í Blogging Challenge Day Two

So today for the blogging Challenge I wanted to say a few words about the relationship between the Bahá’í faith and science.

I studied chemistry at university so I consider myself a man of science but a lot of people don’t think that it’s possible to have faith and believe in science. I get that, I totally understand where they are coming from. 

For centuries, science and religion have often been at each other’s throats, but we Bahá’ís don’t think that they should be at odds. We believe in harmony between science and religion, `Abdu’l-Bahá said that without religion science leads to materialism and with science, religion is just superstition, and that a true religion must conform to the conclusions of science, and that science and religion are both aspects of the same truth.

So for a Bahá’í we accept that scientific knowledge is true, we don’t see there being a need for conflict at all. We believe that man evolved from more primitive forms, we believe the earth is ancient, we believe that humans have been gifted with reason so we can through independent investigation discover the truth for ourselves.

`Abdu’l-Bahá teaches us that science is a progressive field and we are encouraged to push its boundaries in a continual search for a more full understanding of the truth of our universe.

“Mathematicians, astronomers, chemical scientists continually disprove and reject the conclusions of the ancients; nothing is fixed, nothing final; everything is continually changing because human reason is progressing along new roads of investigation and arriving at new conclusions every day. In the future much that is announced and accepted as true now will be rejected and disproved. And so it will continue ad infinitum.”

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