Jonathan Menon
THIS WAS A DAMP SUNDAY MORNING in the Cotswolds, near Milton-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire, in November 2011. Although I was once born in England, I've lived in Canada since I was six weeks old, with detours to Italy, India, Germany, the UK, and some other strange places from time to time. I'm writing a historical biography about a brilliant American woman named Sarah J. Farmer (1847-1916). Her enterprise at Green Acre in Eliot, Maine, placed the 1893 World's Parliament of Religions on a permanent basis, pressing thoughtful Americans to negotiate with a kaleidoscope of spiritual beliefs, social ideals, and ways of life that distant peoples -- as well as homegrown Yankees -- were carting with them into the modern world. And I'm doing it while trying not to starve. In 2012 I created, edited, and co-wrote 239 Days In America, a social media documentary about 'Abdu'l-Bahá's eight-month-long journey across North America at the culminating moment of the Progressive Era in 1912. He reached across political, religious, racial, class, and gender lines to confront Americans with a vision of human nature, social unity, and the nation’s future that was 100 years ahead of its time. There's lots more to share, and it will show up here shortly. In the meantime, please join me on Twitter. And I hope you enjoy the Cotswolds.