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The Transcendence has finally come

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Today is the second anniversary of my decision to join the Baha’i Faith, and to mark the occasion, Ben Harvey and I figure it’s about time that we release our long-awaited first book, The Transcendence, which you can download at directly from this post by clicking here.

The file is a simple PDF, a mere 14.8 MB in size and 60 pages long. It launches on full-screen scale when you first open it, but you can escape that if you want.

I should note that this is not the book I’ve been working on for neweurasia that was funded by the HIVOS Foundation. That’s CyberChaikhana, currently completing production at GRACO-Verlag in Berlin and set to be released later this month or in March.

Friends will recall that The Transcendence was my pet project from early 2006 through 2008. It was ambitious: combining poetry, the Rock concept album, and the manga graphic novel to tell a story of a young poet who goes on a quest for revenge against God, along the way exploring several theological, literary, and personal themes. My friend Bruce Schimmel, founder of the Philadelphia City Paper, once called the project “an old-fashioned epic poem”.

In 2007, I enlisted Ben’s talents to illustrate the manuscript, transforming the project into a co-authorship. At the time he was an intern with Studio IL (he’s since moved up the ranks), an up-and-coming artist collective in Philadelphia. Together we share the license, which by the way is a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. My poems may vary in quality, but Ben’s artwork is consistently stunning, even all these years later. I also contributed some artwork. You can view the entire gallery above.

If you’re curious to know more about the back story of The Transcendence, click “Read More” to continue. Otherwise, Ben and I hope you, our readers, find our creation an exciting and powerful experience — and that you’ll do us the big favor of passing either the PDF or this URL around!

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To the one who led me home

Today is the commemoration of the declaration of the Báb.  The Báb is many things to many people: to those few Bábis who remain today, he is a tragic messiah; to Soviet Marxist historiographers like M.S. Ivanov, he was a tragic revolutionary; to Baha’is, he was the brave trailblazer of the Promised One of all religions and a new cycle in human history; to me, he was a metaphysical jester, but more importantly, he was the being who brought me home.

I actually discovered the Baha’i Faith in 2004, during the weekend of Halloween, in the Holy Land herself.  At the time I was on vacation from my job in Neve Shalom, Israel’s first and only purpose-built Arab-Jewish cooperative village.  I was traveling through the north of Israel, visiting the Galilee region, and ultimately ended in Acca and Haifa.  What follows is a brief account of those personally momentous days.*

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Ocean of faith

A year ago today I joined the Baha’i Faith.  To commemorate the occasion, what follows is an account of the night when I made the big decision; some of you may recognize the story from an e-mail I wrote the next day.  I’ll write about the journey leading up to this fateful night, and where I am a year later, in a (near-)future post.

On 23 February, 2009, I was visiting Princeton University to discuss my Master’s thesis from the summer and, more generally, my future, with Professor Michael Cook.  I had a few hours before our meeting, during which I spent time in the famed Firestone Library.

By then I had already been investigating the Baha’i Faith for several months, having completed The Hidden Words, the Kitab-i-Aqdas, and now nearing the end of the Kitab-i-Iqan.  So, my curiosity was piqued when I encountered a book entitled, Revisioning the Sacred: New Perspectives on Baha’i Theology. One entry in particular moved me, “The Possibilities of Existential Theism on a Baha’i Theology” by Jack McLean.  Something about McLean’s essay snared me.

Continue reading “Ocean of faith”