Friday, November 19, 2010

Faithing in Chicago: A Visit to the Baha'i Temple

Last weekend tow of my Kaio Community members, Emily and Bethany and I drove out to Wilmete to visit the Baha’i Temple. There are only seven of these temples in the world. This is the only temple in North America.

Even the drive there was nice. First we drove along the lakefront from Chicago into Evanston. We drove past Loyola University. A number of our community members have spiritual directors on this campus. Then we entered Evanston. The houses along Sheridan Road are huge and regal. We drove past Northwestern University Campus. I did a practicum at the school’s Family Institute of Chicago and I love this school.As soon as we turned into Wilmete the temple was visible as it glowed in the night.

Baha'i Temple (Wilmette, IL)

I love seeing folks who are visiting the temple for the first time. The temple is made of a white stone material. It contains symbols from all of the world religions. It appears to be something out of the Middle East or India. That is appropriate for a faith that began in Persia.Today that very faith is persecuted in its land of origin, Iran.

Baha'i Temple of Chicago

The shape of the temple is designed to emphasize its “Simple Truths” which are the oneness of God, the oneness of humanity and the oneness of religion. All Baha’i temples are round and surrounded by gardens. Many visitors are surprised how comfortable they feel here. This is because the faith recognizes and honors all of the other world religions. Many of the prayers and readings here are from Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism.

Baha'i Temple of Chicago From One of the Gardens

The Baha’i faith believes in the equality of men and women. They believe faith and science should not be in conflict. They believe we are all one people.

Baha'i Temple of Chicago : Bethany and Emily

So we walked the gardens. We sat quietly in the temple and prayed. We gazed up toward the domed ceiling in awe. It was a beautiful evening in a beautiful setting I suspect Bethany and Emily will want to visit the temple again. I suspect they will want to see in during the day, in the spring, during autumn and the changing of the4 seasons and in the snow. Set just off the lake it is beautiful to behold, anytime of the year.

Baha'i Temple of Chicago from the Street

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