Sunday, April 15, 2012

The "One" That Declined To Sail The Titanic

A very interesting post by Rainn Wilson and the Titanic.

As we've been reminded innumerable times over the past few weeks, one hundred years ago the "unsinkable" Titanic sank into the North Atlantic, taking with her more than 1,500 lives. The tragedy has made for some epic storytelling.

Of all the stories, one of the most extraordinary is that of a 68-year-old Persian who wasn't, it turns out, actually on the ill-fated vessel, but was supposed to be.

Abbas Effendi -- known as Abdu'l-Baha or "the Servant of God" -- was feted by the press in both Europe and the U.S. as a philosopher, a peace apostle, even the return of Christ. His American admirers had sent him thousands of dollars for a ticket on the Titanic, and begged him to ride in the greatest of opulence. He declined and gave the money to charity.

Read the rest of the post. For those that are aware of my faith, it should be a good read.

Abdu'l-Baha's talks pierced audiences with a radical simplicity. And yet he advanced ideas that Americans still wrestle with a century later: the need for true racial harmony and gender equality; the elimination of extreme wealth and poverty; the dangers of nationalism and religious bigotry; and an insistence upon the independent search for truth. Any of those ring a bell in 2012?

His mission of unity, spread throughout our nation one hundred years ago, should be celebrated alongside the messages of Gandhi, the Dalai Lama and Martin Luther King Jr.

In his very first public address in the U.S. -- at New York's Church of Ascension on Fifth Avenue and 10th Street -- Abdu'l-Baha hailed America's material progress in the arts, agriculture and commerce, but with a caution to also develop our spiritual potentialities.

"For man two wings are necessary. One wing is physical power and material civilization; the other is spiritual power and divine civilization. With one wing only, flight is impossible."

He gave the talk on April 14, 1912. Later that same day the Titanic struck the iceberg.

I was supposed to celebrate my 60th yesterday with a party. I ended up canceling it for many reasons. After reading the above, I am sort of glad I did.

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