A Spiritual and Fraternal Feast
The Ibero-American Urantiathon held by Urantia Association International and sponsored by Urantia Foundation on November 20th and 21st, 2021, was a beautiful showcase of study and discernment, with presentations offered by sixteen Urantia Book students of all ages from many Ibero-America countries, in Spanish and Portuguese with simultaneous translations into Spanish, Portuguese, and English.
The theme of this Urantiathon was “Leadership and Spirituality,” offering a wide range of interesting views on the challenges of leadership in the Urantia movement, service, spirituality, the reality of religious experience, leadership in everyday life, and more.
Below, we present the pearls of thought shared by some presenters:
The Leadership of a Study Group Facilitator
By Andrés Ramírez (Colombia)
For nearly seven decades, it has become clear that the members of a study group experience many benefits unique in the group environment:
- A greater intellectual knowledge of the text through their shared interpretations.
- An exponential expansion of meanings; two people can discover many more insights than studying on their own.
- Social bonds, true companionship, and lasting friendships.
- Broadening perspective: growth of cosmic perception.
- Personal spiritual growth through sharing, prayer, and worship.
- Group study is not the only way to study the teachings, but it seems the best way.
Launching a Urantia Book study group may be easier than you think, and all that is needed is the desire to set up a time and place to meet or a device to meet online, a list of some candidates, and the courage to invite them. While group participation is all about a study group, success usually requires just one dedicated person, and that person could be you!
Attending the study group recharges our spiritual batteries, elevates our intellect, and inspires us to serve and love others. Ultimately, participating in a group that studies revelation will bring each individual a greater understanding of God our Father and his ascension plan for all of us.
Always pray for guidance and be open to spiritual assistance. We recommend that the first thing you do after deciding to host a group is to surrender your decision in prayer to the spiritual influences within and around you. Remember that we are surrounded and inhabited by spiritual aides who will help you if you are open to their guidance.
When man goes in partnership with God, great things may, and do, happen. [Paper 132:7.9, page 1467.5]
The Leadership and Service of the Friends of Jesus
By Adriano Santos (Brazil)
This presentation offered the following main concepts:
- Changing of life and attitude
- Faithfulness to God
The lives of the apostles who became friends with Jesus show us essential points for our spiritual development.
The first point refers to the change in our life habits when we discover Jesus and his teachings; this demonstrates the sincere will of those who believe without hypocrisy.
The second point refers to the loving and selfless service of proclaiming and teaching the truth to our siblings who do not know the truth yet or do not understand its way, for naivety about error and sin can be a path leading to a godless attitude and spiritual death.
The third point is unrestricted fidelity to God’s plan, to the government of our Father and Master Michael, and the project of human development.
Only in this way can good news come to life and gain strength to promote the salvation announced by the revelators.
Realities of Leadership and Spirituality
By Jaime Díaz Page (Mexico)
Every instructor of revealed truth must be guided and taught by their spiritual Adjuster, knowing the truth by their own experience and walking in the living truth of the Eternal, to lead our siblings into the kingdom of the Divine Father with efficacy and security, always inspired by the Spirit of Truth of Michael-Jesus and by the Holy Spirit of our Divine Mother, the Creative Spirit of the Local Universe of Nebadon.
Jesus, our beloved Master and Father, tells us that religion is the personal quest for truth, exploring the divine realities through personal religious experience, and obtaining the supreme satisfaction of experiencing the victory of spiritual faith over intellectual doubts during our lives. True religion is the act of a soul in its self-conscious relations with the Creator. True religion is the experiencing of divinity in the soul and mind of man. The divine core of God lives in the human mind. Religion is the inner discernment of divine reality. To “speak of God” is one thing, and quite another is to “feel or experience the living God.” The living religion in the children of God fosters, develops, invigorates, and exalts their spirituality.
Spirituality is the fruit of religion, the product of the real approach of our soul to God, not on the intellectual level but on a spiritual level, in direct contact with our inner divinity. Spirituality is a value gained in the experience of knowing God himself, and knowing and talking about him as a real person. Spirituality grows; it is infinitely progressive. If a man willingly rejects God, identifying himself with sin, the spirituality he has gained is lost.
Strong Leadership Leads to Success
By Isabel Reinoso (Colombia)
Leadership defines an influence exerted on people that encourages them to work enthusiastically for a common goal.
Those who exercise leadership are known as leaders. There exist formal leaders that are trained as such. Authentic informal leaders, on the other hand, emerge naturally or spontaneously within a group.
Spiritual leadership expresses itself by its remarkable qualities:
- The presence of defined vital objectives.
- Deep-seated moral convictions.
- High intellectual capacity.
- Interpersonal skills.
- Special orientation to the development of values in others.
- The correlation between spiritual practices and effective leadership.
Leadership plays a crucial role in promoting organizational and occupational well-being and health, individually and collectively (Peiró and Rodríguez, 2008).
Let’s see what The Urantia Book teaches us in this regard:
Most great religious epochs have been inaugurated by the life and teachings of some outstanding personality; leadership has originated a majority of the worth-while moral movements of history. [Paper 92:5.5, page 1008.7]
Woman, however, has always been the moral standard-bearer and the spiritual leader of mankind. The hand that rocks the cradle still fraternizes with destiny. [Paper 84:6.4, page 938.8]
In order to leave the greatest and best inheritance in spiritual values for new generations, we must foster a true spiritual awakening and the development of a personal religion within the temple of our minds. May the Spirit of God who dwells within us guide us, and the divine essence of our Eternal Father be actualized by personalizing itself with our soul so that this spiritual core may spiritualize us throughout eternity.
Faith, Leadership, and Progress
By Marcelino Ramirez (Venezuela)
All humanity that begins on a planet must progress spiritually, mentally, and materially towards the levels of Light and Life. But such progress is impossible without the search, study, understanding, and practice of spirituality and the exercise of spiritual faith, combined with intelligent leadership, which is identified with altruistic service to one’s fellows. A good leader always strives to put his ideals into practice in his daily life and tries to transmit a message to rescue the authentic values of society.
The humanity of Urantia is considerably retarded by the Caligastia rebellion, the default of Adam and Eve, and the absence of effective leadership. For these reasons, we must be inspired not only by Jesus of Nazareth but also by some modern leaders to improve leadership with greater effectiveness.
Intelligent and ideal leadership must be identified with faith in God, service to others, and an essential fraternal tolerance to cooperate with spiritual unity, which is so necessary for the coordination and advancement of the efforts to progress, ones contributed by men and women who exercise their leadership in different areas of planetary work.
Is the Spiritual Leader Necessary?
By Javier Martínez (Spain)
In the framework of different religious confessions, the concept of a spiritual leader is easily understood and accepted since it is associated with the idea of a religious leader. We do not have religious leaders like that in the brotherhood of Urantia Book readers due to the fact that each individual has his or her own unique and direct relationship with the Father.
A spiritual leader is a unique personality who dedicates his life to spreading the teachings of the fifth revelation, based solely on his living faith and personal life experiences, placing all his trust solely in the designs of our Heavenly Father. The spiritual leader is not necessarily a religious leader, nor political, social, or military. He is one dedicated exclusively to doing God’s will, given over to his ministry, with his only ‘weapons’ being his living faith and spiritual fruits.
We designate “facilitators, counselors, or trainers” to the persons engaged in managing study groups and promoting and disseminating the contents of The Urantia Book on different technological platforms and forums of ideological debate. Outside this context are the “collaborators,” who co-participate distributing books and documents relating to The Urantia Book.
We call on all religionists, believers, and spiritual people who apply their living faith and experiential knowledge in all sectors of society, politics, industry, economy, education, health, as well as other fields of activity, to collaborate actively for the improvement of society and the quality of human life.
Many people confuse spiritual leaders with religious leaders, facilitators, collaborators, or social and religious activists. The definition of the concept of a spiritual leader must be consistently under review, analysis, and judgment.
Leadership and Spirituality
By Martín Guzmán (Mexico)
The Urantia Book foresees the emergence of a new era of religion in this world, a personal spiritual religion based on the relationship of every human being with God who lives within us, which makes us living examples of altruistic, selfless, and loving service. The only true leader and the only authority in this religion are the Divine Father and Jesus—Christ Michael.
The revelation says that entrance into the Father’s kingdom is wholly free, but progress and growth in grace are essential for us to continue. God’s grace is demonstrated in the divine gifts of the spiritual fruits, spiritual discernment, soul growth, and the acquisition of divine values. In this way, we can love our brothers despite the differences.
Jesus’ methods for personal development are living faith, spiritual rebirth, inner growth, the acquisition of wisdom, nourishing the soul through prayer and worship, producing the fruits of the Spirit, acquiring divine values, manifesting divine love in our lives. These are the methods of personal progress synthesized in Paper 196—The Faith of Jesus.
The Challenges of Leaders of the Fifth Revelation. The Harvest Is Plentiful, and the Workers Few.
By Olga López (Spain)
Unlike the previous revelations, the leaders of the fifth epochal revelation are not a handful of chosen people. All sincere believers in the book’s teachings are called to be leaders in their respective environments and places of origin.
Since there is nothing like an “official” interpretation of the book, it follows naturally that there are no teachers, scholars, or experts who have any authority above any other student and, therefore, there are no old-fashioned authoritative leaders. We are pioneers in many aspects, which leads us to face a series of challenges:
- Being religious people, but without being a church.
- Being cohesive without leaders of authority.
- Having a global reach without physical locations.
- Disseminating this revelation without falling into past mistakes, such as:
- Wanting to do a lot in a short time.
- Interfering with the free will of others.
- Wanting to take shortcuts.
- Taking advantage of the revelation for the benefit of worldly matters.
- Institutionalizing the fifth revelation.
Very few really have a lasting commitment to spreading the book’s teachings and building a robust Urantia community. Moreover, as Jesus said, “the harvest is abundant, and the workers few.” But we must remember that “with God, all things are possible.” Let’s not forget that ultimately, it’s about making God known to all those who are confused, depressed, or scared. And who is not able to help the one who needs it?
Moses, the Leader. Teachings About Humanism and Spiritual Union.
By Gerardo Leche (Guatemala)
The geographical location is Egypt in the eleventh century BC, on an Earth and in an epoch of moral and ethical principles, but unfortunately without spiritual identity. In the past, the teachers Amenemope, Okhban, and Ikhnaton emerged, both striving to present the light of Deity and monotheism. Then came Moses, son of a royal family of Egypt and the best of the Semites, who stood out as a military leader, religious teacher, and social organizer. Moses identified himself with the principles and teachings of Machiventa Melchizedek through the education he received from his parents. This prepared him to draft a diplomatic and actionable plan.
Knowing Moses is to highlight the factors, strengths, and potentials of one man, a plan, and a mission that had successful results in transforming several groups of uncivilized Bedouin Semites into one nation, preserving the collateral descendants of Abraham, Nahor, and Lot.
We then fast forward to the fifteenth century AD to recall the characteristics of humanism and secularism and how such philosophies evolved in the 21st Century as transhumanism with two aspects: One, related to artificial intelligence and the other, with genetic manipulation as used to modify the lifestyle of the human being, prolong its material existence, evolve into a cyborg or the unity of machine with the human body, and deny the existence of the soul, all in a search for supposed perfection.
Finally, we analyze the characteristics and action scenarios of our guest, Moses, to motivate those interested in the search for a contemporary Moses who can continue the noble mission of presenting the contents of The Urantia Book and rescue the institutions of conservation, someone who will emphasize that our paramount leader is Jesus of Nazareth and that his life of values, courage, and heroism is the inspiration needed to develop the fruits of the Spirit and to continue our mission as ambassadors of the kingdom of heaven.
Paper 195: After Pentecost.
Irene Islas (Mexico)
I learned about the fifth revelation of The Urantia Book three years ago when I was in college. It caught my attention when I first read it. I then participated in a study group and felt encouraged to continue my reading. Later I joined Urantia Association and the youth group of the Mexico Association.
In my opinion, Paper 195 is one of the most easily understood and up-to-date papers of the book. During the young readers’ study group on Saturdays and Mondays, I have learned that secularism has brought many wars and much suffering. Still, also, thanks to the secular rebellion, we have good things. We can connect with each other through wonderful devices, the computer and the cell phone, helping us to gather from every corner of the world. These material aspects have helped us a lot, but if we do not put God in his rightful place, these objects will not lead us to a more significant evolution. We need to include God in our daily activities.
Thanks to Jesus and the revelators, we know that the Divine Plan is perfect. Although we cannot understand it. If we strive to be like our Heavenly Father, we can acquire in our lives the supreme values of truth, beauty, and goodness despite the difficulties we may have experienced and, therefore, to fuse with the Universal Father spark at some point in eternity.
I invite young people to study these teachings and give God the time we need to give him by having a daily communion with our Father.
Leadership and Teaching
By Jeannie Vázquez (Uruguay)
Why are leaders and instructors of the Urantia Book teachings needed?
Because leaders and instructors are vital to the effective development of revelation; they are needed to help sincere students of The Urantia Book to know, understand, and live the teachings so that the abundant fruits of the spirit can be produced in their lives. It is necessary to foster the growth of the spiritual brotherhood of the kingdom of heaven—the whole of the spirit-born individuals who have chosen to do the will of the Father wholeheartedly and, through an enlightened conscience and illuminated spirituality, to contribute to a social, moral, economic, and political reorganization of the world.
The order, plan, and methods of progress recommended in the Publication Mandate include:
1. The personal preparation of everyone who wants to serve the revelation by following in the footsteps of Jesus in his spiritual development, growth, and progress, a study of the truth, worshipful communion with God, the acquisition of living faith through his experience with his inner Adjuster, and his human growth. The life of Jesus is the wonderful example that sincere believers should follow in their own lives.
2. Dedicate ourselves to serve, individually and in groups, with true altruism and growing wisdom, using the organizational methods and procedures of Jesus, financing the activities through donations from people sympathetic to the movement, giving free access to the places where the teachings are shared, teaching the truth with spiritual power and wisdom as our teacher of old declared: “Not in word only but also in power and in the Holy Spirit” [34:6.6].
After Pentecost, we can say, “Not in word only but also in power and in the Spirit of Truth,” because Jesus said, “… this Spirit of Truth will become your power-multiplying fulcrum” [178:1:6]. This is the spiritual power to do spiritual work, do good, serve with love, live doing the will of the Father, honor and glorify him, and love our brethren. We must also pay attention to Jesus’ didactic methods and his living knowledge of divine truth.
Said Jesus that night as they went to their rest: “Freely have you received; therefore freely should you give of the truth of heaven, and in the giving will this truth multiply and show forth the increasing light of saving grace, even as you minister it. [Paper 176:3.10, page 1918.3]
As we give the Father’s truth in this way, there is a multiplication of his growing light of saving grace as we minister it.
To contribute to the expansion of the revelation in the most effective way, the divine and living truth must be shared as Jesus did it, with love, wisdom, spiritual power, freely and generously.
Spiritual Leadership in Everyday Life
By Alejandro Aran Sanchez (Mexico)
The teachings of Jesus embodied in The Urantia Book become fruitless if they are not transformed into a living experience within each of us, its readers. The revelators certainly invite us to disseminate the teachings, however, in the present epoch, the distance between generations is increasing, and although information is abundant and easily accessible, that abundance makes it difficult to discern the value and meaning of the information. The modus operandi throughout history on the part of institutional religions and their leaders make people increasingly indifferent to the words and ideas about God, religion, and spirituality.
For this reason, it is essential that we, the readers, genuinely commit ourselves to live a life that practices the intellectual concepts presented in The Urantia Book, keeping ourselves in a continuous intelligent and reflective self-review accompanied by silent receptivity and also contrasting our discernment with that of our peers.
May our lives serve as inspiration to many individuals who are saturated with information containing vague and confusing concepts and ideas. May our lives be genuinely lived by following in everyday life the teachings of The Urantia Book and Jesus, evidencing that love and communion with our Father, expressed in a life of altruistic service, makes a life worth living with dignity, where the soul of the evolutionary individual attains the values of survival that transcend the material experience, to embark on the amazing upward race of eternal service to our Father, the First Source and Cause of his vast creation.
The Reality of Religious Experience
By Nemias Mol (Brazil)
Karl Marx wrote that “Religion is the opium of the people ” because he believed religion is just an illusion that affects the human senses, providing them with a false sense of happiness. How distant is this idea from the concept of religion presented by The Urantia Book! True religion is the relationship between the individual and divine reality. Religion is not necessarily attending a church, practicing certain rituals, or even belonging to some institutional religion or group.
Religion is the true meaning of life, in every moment, at all times, because we have to seek this relationship full-time. Religion is not a particular moment in life, and this is just why the God of worship claims all allegiance or none because we must live this relationship with God in every moment.
To be religious is to walk a path of life full of meanings, courageously facing adversity with faith and trust in God.