Baha’is who are published authors often find ways to incorporate belief into their works. Here are two.
Karen Anne Webb: Spiritual search is no fantasy
A change in publishers slowed the Centerville, Utah, Baha’i's series of fantasy books.
But only temporarily. She’s again crafting stories that “get people asking questions rather than running in the opposite direction” — “an art in itself,” she says.
The first installments in the eight-book “Adventurers of the Carotian Union” series were The Chalice of Life, published in 2006, and Tapestry of Enchantment, four years later.
Then to Webb’s great surprise, the publisher returned all rights to her, explaining in an email, “I honestly think you need to find a Baha’i publisher, who will be able to widen your market and target into your niche worldwide.”
Surprise because not only did the books seem to be selling well, Webb is writing them “for a general audience, and really with the aim of introducing them to other cultures.”
The idea, she says, was to “disseminate the Baha’i ideas of continuity of revelation and, ultimately, the idea that we are not so different, all the prophets of God have proclaimed the same faith, and that a world confederation is not only possible but tenable.”
“I meant [the books] to have enough Baha’i ideas in that a reader would say, ‘What a cool approach to spirituality. I wonder where that came from?’” she relates.
“And that was the point of including world cultures in the creation of my seven races. Baha’is value cultural richness and know that God has spoken to man not one time but many.”
Webb says the journey her characters take as they learn about others and their cultures “is really the same journey any Baha’i takes when he enters the arena of world culture.”
In that search, she says, Baha’is use “the lens of Baha’u'llah’s revelation to pick out what is beautiful in a culture and worth keeping from what may have been superstition.”
“My characters have to do that with each other, just on a wider scope since they’re space-faring races.
“And the main group, the Carotians, have a fantasy version of a society that’s a bit like Lisa’s view of the future” — referring to fellow Baha’i Lisa Bradley, author of Abby Wize: AWA — “just with some fantasy tweaks.”
Click here to read about Lisa Bradley’s initiative to raise ordinary conversations to spiritual levels.
Rothwell “Bud” Polk Jr.: Exploring interfaith issues
Interfaith work is a passion of Polk’s, and it’s echoed in pieces he has written for the religion page of the Huffington Post (www.huffingtonpost.com/rothwell-polk) since the beginning of 2011.
Polk, of Englewood, Colorado, is a member of two major interfaith organizations in the Denver area.
Most of his Huffington Post articles thus far have explained Baha’i Holy Days to the general public.
But he is working on two pieces he says “will take my writing to a whole new level of scholarship.”
One is about hate speech versus free speech as relates to the American Muslim community and the public library system.
“The [library] Board of Trustees is responding in writing to issues I raised, and I am interviewing the head of the library system, the acquisition manager, an imam and a university Islam scholar.”
The story, says Polk, is an extension of his involvement in “the sorely needed … Muslim-Baha’i dialogue.”
The second story relates to belief and mental health.
He is researching “the common meme that demon possession in the New Testament is equivalent to what we now know as mental illness. Theologians and psychotherapists are involved.”