Journal – November 2016
In This Issue
Greetings fellow Journal readers,
This issue of the Journal is only the second one for 2016. Beginning in 2017 we will be doing only two issues per year with perhaps an additional “Special Edition Issue” like this one with Urantia Association Conference presentations from around the globe. In this issue our presenters will be coming to you from Texas and Alabama USA, from Sydney Australia, and from Cologne Germany.
Our first up is Jeff Wattles, USA with his presentation from the Conference in San Antonio Texas June 2016; How to Participate in Jesus’ Gospel Movement. Jeff as a consummate professor is able to teach us how to assist Jesus in his movement by realizing Truth is a gift; our intuition is a gift. And faith is a gift. It is living, and it grows. What we receive as a gift, we exercise in action. Later we find our own way to give voice to truth. With practice we become comfortable and skilled. How shall we do this work? I’m going to give you two methods. They both involve study and experience. By the end of his thought provoking presentation you too will be participating in this magnificent movement.
Our second presentation Consideration for Study of the Human Jesus, by Mark Kurtz, was delivered to the Alabama online Study Group January 2016. Mark asks us to listen to the Midwayers in Paper 196 to recover the human Jesus from nineteen centuries of dogma. They want to present him to all Urantians! Mark provides us with a thorough glimpse of the Master Teacher and his teaching qualities, ultimately recognizing Living as though we want to follow him may not be easy, but knowing he lived a model human life showing we can endure is a charm of encouragement for each of us. Let us try our best to attract people to his ways.
Our third contributor Alexander H. from Cologne, Germany was a participant, not a presenter at the Urantia Association/Fellowship Conference in San Antonio, TX in June 2016. His experience is a delightful account of the comradery and brotherhood found at all conferences across the globe. Thank you Alexander for sharing this with everyone! This excerpt in particular warmed my heart I loved all those beautiful people and it seemed as if many of them had a special interest in my person, because I was the only guy from Germany there. I did not know that the Americans have so much love for us Germans. That was a precious experience for me. I learned that I really love the Americans too. I like the natural spirituality that connects everyone with another. And the most special thing I noticed on you is what I would call the ability to be so unconditionally enthusiastic and open-hearted. I often thought to keep that in mind and bring a bit of this mentality back to my hometown. Proving if you really get to know someone you will truly love them!
From Germany to Sydney Australia we meet up with Kathleen Swadling from the ANZURA 2015 Conference and take a spiritual stroll as we Follow the Yellow Brick Road. Using the analogy of from the Wizard of Oz Kathleen compares her journey of finding her faith with the golden pathway to doing the will of God; I’ve always thought of those special moments that occurred in my inner life that helped to bring me closer to having a faith in God, were like fine golden threads connecting my inner most core with the source of truth. As more and more fine golden threads emerged they started to wind themselves into a thick golden rope. I started to feel like I had found a golden freeway. Everything that came before was like looking for the on ramp to the freeway; once I found that on ramp and entered the freeway I was on my way!
Believing the gospel will not prevent getting into trouble, but it will insure that you shall be unafraid when trouble does overtake you. If you dare to believe in me and wholeheartedly proceed to follow after me, you shall most certainly by so doing enter upon the sure pathway to trouble. I do not promise to deliver you from the waters of adversity, but I do promise to go with you through all of them. [Paper 159:3.13, page 1767.1 emphasis added]
Our final contributor Daniel Swadling, is also from Australia and presented To Catch a Fraud at the ANZURA conference in October 2015. In this surprising account of a unifying experiment Daniel found a way to harmonize a group of people by using feelings of fear, shock and then awe. By turning fear inside out he offers us a new way of catching it before it runs away with us. We all know fear, we let ourselves be victims of fear, and we know how it operates. And since you know fear, this puts you in the best position to catch the fear, arrest it, and overcome it before it destroys you. By slowing down your responses to fear you give your higher mind a chance to properly process it, releasing you from its slave-bondage grip, and allows your indwelling spirit to connect with your mind in that moment and further grow your soul.
To view the complete version of the Journal in this online format, click on the “Print Version” button at the top of the newsletter (under the header.) To view the PDF version go to the archives on the website at http://urantia-association.org/publications/uai-journal/journal-archives and find Vol 23. No 2.
Happy and enlightened reading!!
Suzanne Kelly [email protected]
Jeffrey Wattles, USA
Presented in San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A., June 11, 2016
You’ve got to know this Jesus well
You’ve got to know this Jesus well,
You got to study and pray and walk in his way
You’ve got to know this Jesus well
Coming from Northeast Ohio, I can tell you that one thing that gives me genuine satisfaction is when LeBron James gets an assist for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He passes the ball excellently to his team member who is in position—and goes on to make a basket.
It’s like that on the team working in Jesus’ gospel movement. We assist the Spirit of Truth as another human being is approaching, making, or confirming the most important decision that a person makes in this life.
By the end of this talk, I want everyone to know how to assist in Jesus’ gospel movement. I have some general principles to propose and some examples of how I do things. Don’t imitate me. Just use my personal stories to stimulate you to be a living prophet in your way.
When I visit different churches, my favorite question to ask people is, “What does it mean to you to be a son of God? A daughter of God?” I get the most wonderful variety of answers. If I go door-to-door, I simply say, “I’m your neighbor Jeff, encouraging you in the faith that you are a son of God.” And then I fall silent with a smile and let the other person respond. The conversation goes forward naturally from there. Sometimes at a toll plaza on a highway, I will ask the person who is taking my money, “Could you please give me directions to . . . heaven?” I usually get a nice smile and a sympathetic comment. Countless times I have said to people: “You are a divinely created, infinitely loved, spiritually indwelt, evolutionary, free-will, son or daughter of God.” If someone asks me about myself, I sometimes say, “My motto is that God is our Father and I am your brother.”
Jesus’ gospel is many-sided, and each side is a truth that ministers to some essential spiritual need. When you collect and study the dozens of statements of the gospel in The Urantia Book, you see that the gospel is a living reality that cannot be systematized. I once published a list of seven truths. A week ago I wrote down a dozen major themes, each of which is brimming with potentials for spiritual realization and teaching: the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, the spirit within, love, faith, eternal life, joy and liberty, the will of God, prayer, worship, and service. But each of these is just an idea in the mind until the spirit quickens it.
Our faith starts small. It starts with just believing. How do we come to believe? Often it goes like this. We hear someone expressing core spiritual truth; the spirit adds an emphasis to it, and our mind recognizes it as intuitively true. Truth is a gift; our intuition is a gift. And faith is a gift. It is living, and it grows. What we receive as a gift, we exercise in action. Later we find our own way to give voice to truth. With practice we become comfortable and skilled.
How shall we do this work? I’m going to give you two methods. They both involve study and experience.
The First Method
The first method has three essentials. The first is to study Jesus’ many-sided gospel experientially in order to find the Spirit of Truth in the gospel.
Here’s one experiential method for finding the Spirit of Truth. Select a quote in which Jesus says what the gospel is or what the kingdom is. Ponder it at length. Let it sink into your mind and heart and soul. Reflect on it intellectually; you may find added meaning in its key words, by associating them with other teachings in The Urantia Book. Take time in silence to allow the spirit to bring home to you the truth of this teaching. The experiential part also involves putting this truth into practice in your daily life. If you have a study group that is willing to do this with you, commit to reporting your experience back to them, and see how teamwork can multiply your effectiveness. Then repeat the process with other teachings that highlight different sides of the gospel.
Let’s take the truth of the fatherhood of God. Maybe when we read this or hear it, it seems a little flat. We’ve heard it a million times and we’ve become inoculated to it. But we know that there’s something more there. Jesus said,
“In the gospel of the kingdom there resides the mighty Spirit of Truth… ” [Paper 178:1.6, page 1930:3];
and he said that the Spirit of Truth is
“…just like me except for this material body.” [Paper 180:4.5, page 1949:1]
So we know that with some spiritual digging we can break through to that power and conviction. Let’s begin our experiential study. Here’s a quote that we can use. Jesus says,
“Simply go forth proclaiming: This is the kingdom of heaven—God is your Father and you are his sons, and this good news, if you wholeheartedly believe it, is your eternal salvation.” [Paper 141:6.4, page 1592:6]
Doesn’t sound flat any more, does it?
First of all, if we want to know God as our Father, we have to relate to him as a son or daughter… So there we are, caught up in contemplation, in relation, in the awe and wonder of God… We can hardly speak or think because we are moved out of the mind and into the soul, which craves and initiates worship. When I want to refresh my relation with the Father, I often recall the first paragraphs in Paper 1. “The Universal Father is the God of all creation, the First, Source and Center of all things and beings.
Then I go to the first lesson on thinking.
“First think of God as a creator, next as a controller, and lastly as an infinite upholder.” [Paper 1:0.1, page 21:1]
The Creator controls his creation by ordering it according to inherent laws of matter, mind, and spirit; but these are not just laws that we can run into like a physical brick wall; there are laws of duty; and the Father rules
“…a universe of universes by the compelling power of his love.” [Paper 143:1.4, page 1608.1]
Our failure to live in accord with these laws could be the end of us, but the love and mercy of the infinite upholder guide and rehabilitate imperfect creatures for the eternal adventure.
As human beings, we can know God, receive the divine affection, and love him in return. This is the primary circuit of love. We need to take time to allow the Father’s love to come in. And we love him back. By this time, the truth of the fatherhood of God is beginning to shine brightly. It is no longer simply a fact for us; we have found the Spirit of Truth in it.
Then we are ready for our first lesson on feeling.
“God-knowing creatures have only one supreme ambition, just one consuming desire, and that is to become, as they are in their spheres, like him as he is in his Paradise perfection of personality and in his universal sphere of righteous supremacy.” [Paper 1:0.3, page 21:3]
God loves everyone. If we are to become like him, we allow ourselves to be filled with an overarching attitude of love, and then we undertake the evolutionary adventure of getting to know people and learning to love them.
The Second Essential of this Method is:
Get to know your people well, and discover their spiritual difficulties, and learn to love them. This is one of the privileges of the brotherhood of man. As a master teacher, Jesus did an awesome job of getting to know people. And he blazes the trail for every one of us. If we give teaching in answer to a question that our hearers are not asking, we are wasting our breath. We have to get to know what questions they are asking, what their concerns are, what difficulties they are coping with. I quote:
Now that [Jesus] has personally left the world, he sends in his place his Spirit of Truth, who is designed to live in man and, for each new generation, to restate the Jesus message so that every new group of mortals to appear upon the face of the earth shall have a new and up-to-date version of the gospel, just such personal enlightenment and group guidance as will prove to be an effective solvent for man’s ever-new and varied spiritual difficulties. [Paper194:2.1, page 2060:6]
The more our minds and souls are filled with the truths of the many-sided gospel, and the more we know the individuals and groups we speak with, the easier it will be for Jesus’ Spirit of Truth to bring forth particular gospel truths to bless them.
The third essential of this method is: Make an effective connection between appropriate gospel truths and others’ spiritual difficulties, according to their capacity of receptivity. Here’s the quote from Jesus.
“Be wise in your choice of methods for presenting the good news to the different races and tribes of mankind.” [Paper 191:4.4, page 2042:1]
All the apostles taught the same truth, but each of them did it in his own way. Find your way, your language. Jesus told them not to quote the prophets of old, nor to teach about him or about his teachings, but to be a living prophet.
How did Jesus Accomplish These Essentials?
Jesus, the master teacher, was the truth that he taught, and how he taught was perfectly unified with what he taught. How did he achieve this? He grew up in a balanced way. We learn how in Papers 123-29, from Jesus’ early childhood to his later adult life. If we engage in the experiential study of these Papers, we can do what I call growing up with Jesus.
Everyone can do this. I quote:
“Although the average mortal of Urantia cannot hope to attain the high perfection of character which Jesus of Nazareth acquired while sojourning in the flesh, it is altogether possible for every mortal believer to develop a strong and unified personality along the perfected lines of the Jesus personality. The unique feature of the Master’s personality was not so much its perfection as its symmetry, its exquisite and balanced unification.” [Paper100:7.1, page 1101:5]
“Jesus unifies life, ennobles character, and simplifies experience. He enters the human mind to elevate, transform, and transfigure it. It is literally true: “If any man has Christ Jesus within him, he is a new creature; old things are passing away; behold, all things are becoming new.” [Paper 100:7.18, page 1103.6]
Here’s how we grow up with Jesus. As we read one of these key papers, we observe Jesus’ development. We notice aspects of his character that we would like to strengthen in ourselves. So we design an experiential project to do so, finding activities that enable that growth to take place in ourselves.
It is very helpful to do this with a study group, as I discovered this year with the Urantia Young Adult International study group initially hosted by Antonio Schefer and now hosted by Samantha Nior. I was ready for a transformative experience, and this was it. After years of study, I realized for the first time that Jesus’ gospel was the truth that he naturally realized just by growing up in a beautifully balanced way. His gospel is the deep truth of life. And I saw the principle of receptivity that he later gave taught the apostles emerging naturally out of his earlier life. More on that later.
I have selected nine principles to mention this morning.
Number one. In the paper on Jesus’ early childhood, the first developmental thing we read about was about Jesus’ socializing. I need growth in this area, so I made a project of it, went for it totally, made a number of quick breakthroughs, and continue my growth.
Number two. A little later in the same paper, we see a reference to Jesus’ first personal and wholehearted moral decision. I thought to myself, how many of my moral decisions have that personal and wholehearted quality to them? I thought of the functions of cosmic mind, causation, duty, and worship, and realized that a personal and wholehearted moral decision is rooted in an adequate understanding of the factual, material, causal, evolutionary setting, and also illuminated by the spiritual value that the will of God is ready to actualize by my decision. I started making new personal and wholehearted moral decisions, and also refreshed old decisions that needed an upgrade.
Number three. Jesus participated in the religious life of his people. In the Judaism of his day, he found truth to inspire him, and he emphasized the gems; but he also found teachings and practices that he would ignore, or learn to tolerate, modify, or challenge when the time was right. When he taught the first six apostles, he did not just teach them the new gospel of the kingdom; he also led them in the study of the scriptures. I thought, “How often do students of The Urantia Book study the writings that are most spiritually important to the people that we work with?” I began looking for scriptural gems in the church bulletins that I would get from week to week, and I underlined the gems, tore them out of the bulletins after the service, and keep them by my computer.
Number 4. Jesus was an outstanding student. Even in his later adult life, when he was working in Capernaum, he found a lot of books that were new to him in the library at the synagogue, and spent five nights a week at intense study.
Number 5. Jesus went to extraordinary lengths to get to know people well. He was a master teacher by the end of his adolescent years. Pay special attention to this quote.
Born into the world a babe of the realm, he has lived his childhood life and passed through the successive stages of youth and young manhood; he now stands on the threshold of full manhood, rich in the experience of human living, replete in the understanding of human nature, and full of sympathy for the frailties of human nature. He is becoming expert in the divine art of revealing his Paradise Father to all ages and stages of mortal creatures. [Paper 127:6.15, page 1405:7]
Notice this phrase all ages and stages. The stages are early and later childhood:
The in-between years, adolescence, early manhood, and later adult life. Note that the term adolescence does refer to the in-between years. Adolescence literally means becoming an adult. It involves settling down to acquiring the knowledge, skill, and character achievements necessary to function as a responsible man or woman in the society. And notice that ages and stages do not necessarily correlate. People can be fifty, sixty, and seventy, and still not attain the maturity of an adult.
We speak differently to people at different ages; and we speak differently to people in different stages; and Jesus, the master teacher, could reveal the Father in a way that was simultaneously responsive to both variables. We should not be overwhelmed by his achievement, but simply start being more attentive, perhaps studying a bit more, and spend a little while thinking about these different groups. Notice that in his later adult life, again during that first year in Capernaum, Jesus spent one evening a week with the younger ones and one evening with the older ones.
Number six. The most important principles of teaching, in my opinion, are to whet appetites and promote discovery. Jesus did that partly by giving his teaching in small doses.
Number seven. Jesus grew up gaining experience in personal ministry before beginning his public ministry to larger audiences, and he had his apostles follow the same sequence. In other words, we are to learn the kinds of things that the first six apostles learned one-to-one, face-to-face, person-to-person, before we shift into mass communication.
Number eight. Jesus said,
“All believers in the kingdom should pray sincerely for the extension of the kingdom of heaven.” [Paper 146:2.13, page 1640.2]
Number nine. Jesus also whetted appetites so that people came to him with their questions by his truth-coordinated life, integrating scientific living and spiritual living in his beautiful wholeness of righteousness.
Here’s the quote, with major implications for how we are to attract new readers.
“In all that you do, become not one-sided and overspecialized. The Pharisees who seek our destruction verily think they are doing God’s service. They have become so narrowed by tradition that they are blinded by prejudice and hardened by fear. Consider the Greeks, who have a science without religion, while the Jews have a religion without science. And when men become thus misled into accepting a narrow and confused disintegration of truth, their only hope of salvation is to become truth-co-ordinated — converted.
“Let me emphatically state this eternal truth: If you, by truth co-ordination, learn to exemplify in your lives this beautiful wholeness of righteousness, your fellow men will then seek after you that they may gain what you have so acquired. The measure wherewith truth seekers are drawn to you represents the measure of your truth endowment, your righteousness. The extent to which you have to go with your message to the people is, in a way, the measure of your failure to live the whole or righteous life, the truth-co-ordinated life.” [Paper 155:1.4-5, page 1726.1-2]
I have additional resources for participating in the gospel movement.
First there is my book, Living in Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, designed to help you develop truth-co-ordinated living and the beautiful wholeness of righteousness. By August you will be able to order it by going to Cascade Books. 6-8 weeks after publication, the book will be available at amazon.com.
Second, there is my new website for blogging, http://UniversalFamily.org
Third, there is my website for students of The Urantia Book: https://sites.google.com/site/ubquestionsandstudies. I have materials for my Internet Gospel School there, plus a newly expanded section on how to share The Urantia Book wisely.
Last, I want to draw your attention to the upcoming module of the study group I referred to earlier. Beginning July 2, we will undertake the experiential study of advanced teachings on prayer, worship, and service—all with an eye to gospelling. Although I am the primary teacher, Antonio Shefer is the host and the person to contact. His e-mail is also found at the same link: [email protected]
One more resource. If you are thinking of getting some education to prepare yourself to participate in the gospel movement, I definitely want to speak with you.
The Neuroscience Professor and the Enthusiast:
Jeff: Hi, how are you?
Mahtab: Fine, it was nice to see you in the cafeteria this morning before class.
Jeff: Yes, your Introduction to Neuroscience is a really great class.…Say, I’ve got something I want to share with you. A few words that you have dropped in class made me think that you might be open to it. It’s this awesome book.
Mahtab: Actually, I know that book.
Jeff: Cool, I just found it a few months ago.
Mahtab: How much have you read?
Jeff: A little bit from the beginning of Part I; then I pretty much skimmed until I got to Part IV, but with my Christian background, I was naturally interested in the stuff about Lucifer and Adam and Eve. It’s Part IV that really grabbed me. This gospel is what the world needs. I just want everyone to see this book.
Mahtab: Would you like to learn to express that gospel so well as to lead persons to seek further and perhaps eventually discover the book?
Jeff: I sure would. Can you help me?
Mahtab: The book has lots of teachings that help you to do that; but there’s one main thing I would like to emphasize with you to begin with.
Jeff: What’s that?
Mahtab: The receptivity principle.
Jeff: The receptivity principle? What’s that?
Mahtab: Let me give you a quick quote. “Always must the religion of revelation be limited by man’s capacity of receptivity.”
Jeff: Wow, you’ve got that memorized. Very impressive.
Mahtab: Not really, I’m reading a script.
Jeff: What about Jesus and receptivity?
Mahtab: We are told that by the end of his adolescence Jesus was “becoming expert in the divine art of revealing his Paradise Father to all ages and all stages of mortal creatures.” Think what that implies about how Jesus, the master teacher, would adjust his expression to different levels of receptivity.
In the ordination sermon, Jesus told the apostles not to cast their pearls before individuals with zero receptivity who might react aggressively against them.
Jeff: That’s right. Some people out there are very hostile to religion.
Mahtab: As the apostles were beginning their public work, Jesus expressed the principle of receptivity in these words. “When you enter the kingdom, you are reborn. You cannot teach the deep things of the spirit to those who have been born only of the flesh; first see that men are born of the spirit before you seek to instruct them in the advanced ways of the spirit. Do not undertake to show men the beauties of the temple until you have first taken them into the temple.”
Jeff: This is a vivid image, and it stood out to me when I first read it. This is a psychological truth that spiritual teachers need to recognize. It’s just like you have to know something about chemistry and biology before you can get very far with neuroscience.
Mahtab: You got it. The principle of receptivity is about balancing spiritual idealism with scientific realism. Spiritual teaching becomes more effective when guided by psychological, sociological, and personal understanding. Is the principle of receptivity beginning to become clear in its implications?
Jeff: Yes, professor. But this is all so new to me that, to be honest, I’m barely comprehending it. What you have said sounds wise, but the implications could make me change my approach. I’m going to need to pray about this.
Mahtab: Good. And it’s not just about other people’s receptivity; it’s also about your receptivity. If you are really going to pray deeply, then I have one more recommendation for you. Satisfy the challenging conditions of effective prayer at the end of Paper 91. As a neuroscientist, I wish to offer a word of caution. In the Thought Adjuster papers we are told that we mortals are “so largely electrically and chemically controlled, so highly animallike in our common behavior, so emotional in our ordinary reactions, that it becomes exceedingly difficult for the Monitors to guide and direct them.” We can pray quickly and feel good about the answer that we seem to get; we can interact and feel good about how things went. But the hormones that are typically involved in these positive emotions—the oxytocin, the dopamine, the serotonin—all make you feel good, and you might get the idea that your thinking, feeling, and doing are divine. I simply wish to remind you that there are various causes that can stimulate the production of those hormones. You are entitled to feel good when you are doing your wholehearted faith best to seek and find and choose and do the will of God. But remember not to take your positive emotions as a reliable guide to how well attuned you are with divine truth, beauty, and goodness. A full prayer process gives you a better chance to discern God’s answer.
Jeff: That is a sobering reminder. I had not expected neuroscience to help me become better at sharing truth.
Mahtab: If you become truth-coordinated, by integrating science and religion in your daily life, and if you learn to “exemplify in your life the beautiful wholeness of righteousness, then others will seek after you that they may gain what you have so acquired.”
Jeff: Gimme a break! My capacity of receptivity has been exceeded! Who wrote this script anyway?
Mahtab: Gimme a hug! My capacity for love is overflowing!
Jeff and Mahtab hug and then turn and gesture hugs to the audience.
Mark Kurtz, USA
Used for the Alabama Urantia Online Study Group; January 10, 2016
The Urantia Book informs us that man is a Paradise origin idea.
“Let us make mortal man in our image,” [Paper 6:5.7, page 78:3]
is attributed to the First and Second Sources. Condescension details for man were formulated.
The Father and the Eternal Son created the first down step with the original Michael Creator Son. The original Michael participates in creating more Michael Sons including Michael of Nebadon. Michael partnered with a Paradise daughter of the Infinite Spirit and they fully cooperated in their “man plan” while creating a local universe. They completed architectural spheres and then made ready to create man, perhaps according to a flexible “Trinity Master Man Plan.” Life Carriers implanted life, which eventually resulted in human beings. The Father’s Paradise Plan was advancing on Urantia.
The Paradise Father set a vital requirement for Michael to live as His created sons. This requirement included human life experience. Gabriel headed the Salvington commission tasked to find suitable parents to establish a suitable home. Consider the high probability the Father and Paradise Sons are aware of all human genetic history. Gabriel surely had vetted all genetic links. He then selected Joseph and Mary to be the parental couple. We may assume his decision was based on the then best available physical and temperamental features.
Urantia Book students are aware of Urantia planetary history, which includes many difficulties. Peter set new difficulties in motion during his Pentecost sermon and others concentrated on a new doctrine featuring the Risen Lord. Jesus’ humanity was mostly put aside. Until now, Urantians have been mostly unaware of Jesus’ detailed heroic, brave, and courageous human life. He lived a marvelous model of and for man.
The Midwayers urge us in Paper 196 to recover the human Jesus from nineteen centuries of dogma. They want us to present him to all Urantians!
What do you guess could be their basis for urging us to look at the human Jesus?
Imagine the extensive down reach connectivity and profundity between the original Paradise Man Plan and Jesus’ life? Could we now more clearly see the divine quality the Father and Eternal Son ultimately expect to reveal for mortals throughout all creation?
You are invited to share the Jesus friend to all as you are led.
The Human Jesus; Inheriting and Earning Master Teacher Qualities
(Workshop at the Joint Conference of Urantia Association of the United States (UAUS) and The Urantia Book Fellowship)
What could be learned from a thorough search of The Urantia Book to aid our understanding of why Jesus became a Master Teacher? A personal search for satisfaction is recommended! Could we benefit from learning how he taught?
Three major contributing factors influencing his preparation for teaching are highlighted in my PowerPoint-speech of the same title:
1) Paradise endowment;
2) Genetic foundation; and
3) His personal efforts to study and learn mankind, including our religious and secular history.
These three factors may be more thoroughly researched in the book for a personal confirmation according to your understanding. I recommend such a study.
Focusing on the human Jesus is needed for many reasons including superb guidance for improved worldwide civil and social human relations. There is enduring spiritual improvement for each person to choose faith in the Father as he demonstrated. Details from his life substantiate the fact he lived with the then governments in authority and did not clash with them unless they interfered with or pretended to displace the Father’s spiritual authority. With this in mind, here are questions for consideration:
- What could be personal advantages and benefits from learning Jesus’ human qualities?
- What does it mean to follow Jesus? Give this careful and prayerful thought.
“To “follow Jesus” means to personally share his religious faith and to enter into the spirit of the Master’s life of unselfish service for man. One of the most important things in human living is to find out what Jesus believed, to discover his ideals, and to strive for the achievement of his exalted life purpose. Of all human knowledge, that which is of greatest value is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it.” [Paper 196:1.3, page 2090:4] emphasis added
- What could be Michael’s (Jesus’) plans for upgrading Urantian human relationships?
Addressing these questions a person may call upon him in prayer and trust his Spirit of Truth. Let the Father lead with his will in your life.
Join with others of your choosing to discuss the questions and others you may have while considering the magnanimous human model Jesus gifted to Urantians.
A Partial Listing of a Word Search on “Human Jesus”:
More clearly John recognized that, notwithstanding all of his divine endowments, after all, he was human. Jesus lived as a man among men and understood, loved, and knew how to manage men. In his personal life he was so human, and yet so faultless. And he was always unselfish. [Paper 141:7.14, page 1594:8] emphasis added
The human Jesus saw God as being holy, just, and great, as well as being true, beautiful, and good. All these attributes of divinity he focused in his mind as the “will of the Father in heaven.” Jesus’ God was at one and the same time “The Holy One of Israel” and “The living and loving Father in heaven.” The concept of God as a Father was not original with Jesus, but he exalted and elevated the idea into a sublime experience by achieving a new revelation of God and by proclaiming that every mortal creature is a child of this Father of love, a son of God. [Paper 196:0.2, page 2087:2] emphasis added
Jesus’ devotion to the Father’s will and the service of man was even more than mortal decision and human determination; it was a wholehearted consecration of himself to such an unreserved bestowal of love. No matter how great the fact of the sovereignty of Michael, you must not take the human Jesus away from men. The Master has ascended on high as a man, as well as God; he belongs to men; men belong to him. How unfortunate that religion itself should be so misinterpreted as to take the human Jesus away from struggling mortals! Let not the discussions of the humanity or the divinity of the Christ obscure the saving truth that Jesus of Nazareth was a religious man who, by faith, achieved the knowing and the doing of the will of God; he was the most truly religious man who has ever lived on Urantia. [Paper 196:1.1, page 2090:2] emphasis added
The time is ripe to witness the figurative resurrection of the human Jesus from his burial tomb amidst the theological traditions and the religious dogmas of nineteen centuries. Jesus of Nazareth must not be longer sacrificed to even the splendid concept of the glorified Christ. What a transcendent service if, through this revelation, the Son of Man should be recovered from the tomb of traditional theology and be presented as the living Jesus to the church that bears his name, and to all other religions! Surely the Christian fellowship of believers will not hesitate to make such adjustments of faith and of practices of living as will enable it to “follow after” the Master in the demonstration of his real life of religious devotion to the doing of his Father’s will and of consecration to the unselfish service of man. Do professed Christians fear the exposure of a self-sufficient and unconsecrated fellowship of social respectability and selfish economic maladjustment? Does institutional Christianity fear the possible jeopardy, or even the overthrow, of traditional ecclesiastical authority if the Jesus of Galilee is reinstated in the minds and souls of mortal men as the ideal of personal religious living? Indeed, the social readjustments, the economic transformations, the moral rejuvenations, and the religious revisions of Christian civilization would be drastic and revolutionary if the living religion of Jesus should suddenly supplant the theologic religion about Jesus. [Paper 196:1.2, page 2090:3] emphasis added
Jesus’ life in the flesh portrays a transcendent religious growth from the early ideas of primitive awe and human reverence up through years of personal spiritual communion until he finally arrived at that advanced and exalted status of the consciousness of his oneness with the Father. And thus, in one short life, did Jesus traverse that experience of religious spiritual progression which man begins on earth and ordinarily achieves only at the conclusion of his long sojourn in the spirit training schools of the successive levels of the pre-Paradise career. Jesus progressed from a purely human consciousness of the faith certainties of personal religious experience to the sublime spiritual heights of the positive realization of his divine nature and to the consciousness of his close association with the Universal Father in the management of a universe. He progressed from the humble status of mortal dependence, which prompted him spontaneously to say to the one who called him Good Teacher, “Why do you call me good? None is good but God,” to that sublime consciousness of achieved divinity which led him to exclaim, “Which one of you convicts me of sin?” And this progressing ascent from the human to the divine was an exclusively mortal achievement. And when he had thus attained divinity, he was still the same human Jesus the Son of Man as well as the Son of God. [Paper 196:2.2, page 2091:11] emphasis added
But the greatest mistake was made in that, while the human Jesus was recognized as having a religion, the divine Jesus (Christ) almost overnight became a religion. Paul’s Christianity made sure of the adoration of the divine Christ, but it almost wholly lost sight of the struggling and valiant human Jesus of Galilee, who, by the valor of his personal religious faith and the heroism of his indwelling Adjuster, ascended from the lowly levels of humanity to become one with divinity, thus becoming the new and living way whereby all mortals may so ascend from humanity to divinity. Mortals in all stages of spirituality and on all worlds may find in the personal life of Jesus that which will strengthen and inspire them as they progress from the lowest spirit levels up to the highest divine values, from the beginning to the end of all personal religious experience. [Paper 196:2.4, page 2092:2] emphasis added
Note that the Midwayer Commission in Part IV infers changes in personal religion to affect Jesus’ teachings in our lives. It is his personal religion we are to discover and to perpetuate personally and socially.
A thorough reading of Paper 194, Bestowal of the Spirit of Truth is suggested. Particularly take note of Section 3 What Happened at Pentecost, paragraph 12:
Pentecost endowed mortal man with the power to forgive personal injuries, to keep sweet in the midst of the gravest injustice, to remain unmoved in the face of appalling danger, and to challenge the evils of hate and anger by the fearless acts of love and forbearance. Urantia has passed through the ravages of great and destructive wars in its history. All participants in these terrible struggles met with defeat. There was but one victor; there was only one who came out of these embittered struggles with an enhanced reputation — that was Jesus of Nazareth and his gospel of overcoming evil with good. The secret of a better civilization is bound up in the Master’s teachings of the brotherhood of man, the good will of love and mutual trust. [Paper 194:3.12, page 2064:3] emphasis added
This last sentence is a huge clue of why Jesus remained on earth to teach and lead and why his religion is for all humankind. He knew there was (currently is) a long-range plan to upgrade mortals to high spiritual awareness and life quality. There is more to learn.
The Master needs people to upgrade civil quality throughout the world. Everywhere we turn we see suffering from human behavior not in harmony with Jesus life example. The list is long: wars, stealing, deception, power greed, wife beatings, prostitution, child abuse, profound hunger, deep poverty, turf wars, bad behavior on campuses, in government and highway driving. Our world needs each of us to promote and demonstrate bravery for Jesus’ teachings and his exemplary social model. Only his plans for this planet will prevail, as we know he is loyal to the Paradise Father’s larger plans for Creation,
Living as though we want to follow him may not be easy, but knowing he lived a model human life showing we can endure is a charm of encouragement for each of us. Let us try our best to attract people to his ways.
The Master’s tenth appearance was at Philadelphia:
“Peace be upon you. You all know that we have one Father in heaven, and that there is but one gospel of the kingdom — the good news of the gift of eternal life which men receive by faith. As you rejoice in your loyalty to the gospel, pray the Father of truth to shed abroad in your hearts a new and greater love for your brethren. You are to love all men as I have loved you; you are to serve all men as I have served you. With understanding sympathy and brotherly affection, fellowship all your brethren who are dedicated to the proclamation of the good news, whether they be Jew or gentile, Greek or Roman, Persian or Ethiopian. John proclaimed the kingdom in advance; you have preached the gospel in power; the Greeks already teach the good news; and I am soon to send forth the Spirit of Truth into the souls of all these, my brethren, who have so unselfishly dedicated their lives to the enlightenment of their fellows who sit in spiritual darkness. You are all the children of light; therefore stumble not into the misunderstanding entanglements of mortal suspicion and human intolerance. If you are ennobled, by the grace of faith, to love unbelievers, should you not also equally love those who are your fellow believers in the far-spreading household of faith? Remember, as you love one another, all men will know that you are my disciples.” [Paper 191:4.3, page 2041:6] emphasis added
Alex H, Germany
I would like to report on my experience of the 2016 US National Conference (UAUS) and Summer Study Session (Urantia Book Fellowship) that took place at the Trinity University in San Antonio.
I arrived right on time at the Trinity University Campus after an 18-hour trip with three flights from Cologne to Berlin, Berlin to Chicago and Chicago to San Antonio. The Tex-Mex welcoming was just about to start and there was no time to rest as I wished to hug the few people I knew and meet all these new ones directly. After having nice introduction conversations, many of us went up to the Skyline Room, where we all met every evening. Having a wonderful view of the Skyline of San Antonio, this was my first moment thinking, “Yes, now the German guy is in Texas! Feels nice!” And, as I remembered it from other conferences, I just needed to forget for a while where I came from so I could get used to how open and lovely all these brothers and sisters are, and how quickly we get into that feeling of brotherhood.
After the first plenary presentation on Friday with Carolyn Prentice about “The Master Teacher: Exploring how Jesus taught,” I attended James Woodward’s workshop on “Worship: What’s Rest Got To Do With It?” James gave us a good summary on what The Urantia Book teaches about how to worship the Father truly and effectively in our everyday life. After that we, some of the young adults from the YAYA (Youth and Young Adults) and the UYAI (Urantia Young Adults International) groups, along with Jeffrey Wattles, conducted a workshop together with 30-40 people attending. Our workshop was about “Young Adult Students on the Master’s Teachings.” In that workshop we had three groups with three different topical questions. We repeated this workshop on Saturday. In our group we discussed the opportunities of holding an online study group, and shared our experiences with the other participants. Everyone was very excited about how well we young adult readers interact and what our plans are, as the YAYA and the UYAI Committees will work together in future. I would like to thank everyone who took this chance to encourage us younger readers in our activities and offered support for our future plans. The last workshop I attended on Friday was Derek Samaras’ about “The Attractive Personality of Jesus.” In two hours he presented how important it can be for us to be mindful about our own attractiveness in order to spread the gospel.
I really enjoyed the many plenary presentations that complimented the workshops in the program. The ones I enjoyed most were David Kulieke’s “Jesus, The Master Learner and Teacher” on Sunday and Jeffrey Wattles’ “What We Can Learn from Jesus if We Aspire to Become Teachers in his Gospel Movement? The Unity of Jesus’ Person, Message and Methods” on Saturday. On Sunday we had a joint meeting of the YAYA and UYAI committees where we young adults collected our ideas and discussed our plans for the future. We are of one accord in that our two committees belong together in some way and that it is our task to grow and cooperate. During that meeting I became emotional when I noticed how much I love and how much I will miss them all when I am back in Germany. This is my international spiritual family.
We finished every evening in the Skyline room with music and socializing. On Saturday evening we enjoyed a great concert given by Bob Solone on piano and Christina Seaborn on violin. It was a great atmosphere in which to catch up with everyone and those with smiling faces who say to you, “Hey, we haven’t been introduced yet?” I call it hardcore socializing when I notice that I had time to converse with nearly everyone present. I loved all those beautiful people and it seemed as if many of them had a special interest in my person, because I was the only guy from Germany there. I did not know that the Americans have so much love for us Germans. That was a precious experience for me. I learned that I really love the Americans too. I like the natural spirituality that connects everyone with another. And the most special thing I noticed is what I would call the ability to be so unconditionally enthusiastic and open-hearted. I often thought of keeping that in mind and taking a bit of this mentality back to my hometown. The time that I shared with the other young readers was especially delightful. We understood each other so well and one could feel the “love in the air” as if we had known each other for years. It is so wonderful how fast we all became brothers and sisters. We had so much fun, that some of us had pain in their cheeks from laughing and smiling. At the end of the conference I felt richer for having a hundred new friends and many more brothers and sisters. For me, to meet all those lovely people, was the most special thing about this trip to Texas, because here in Germany it is very hard to get in touch and get to know and love other readers. I consider that as a fact that needs working on because the revelation is still in the “kindergarten” here. There is much to do in Germany…
I was very lucky that I had the opportunity to stay a few days longer in Texas after the conference, which made my trip feel like a holiday. I remember last year, when I attended the Association’s international conference in Quebec, Canada, I was very sad catch my shuttle as soon as the conference ended; I didn’t even have the time to say goodbye to everyone. But this time I had the pleasure of spending one evening and two more days with others to explore the cities of San Antonio and Austin and have fun together. I will keep this experience in my mind as one of the greatest weekends of my life. To point out that I do not exaggerate with that statement, I have to mention that I have not done very much traveling in my life as yet so have not seen very much of the world, therefore Texas and the USA in general was a very special experience for me. But no experience is greater than to share unconditional love. I love you all! Thank you so much!
Special thanks go to the Lone Star Urantia Association of San Antonio, the Northern Lights Society of Alaska, and Urantia Association for their efforts to make my attendance possible. Without their help I would not have been there. I am looking forward to the next opportunity to meet you all again.
Love to you!
Alexander H, Cologne,
Board Member and Ambassador of Urantia-DACH
Urantia Young Adult International committee member
Kathleen Swadling, 2015 Anzura Conference, Sydney
We’ve done a lot of talking this weekend about the individual’s journey with faith and about developing the character traits required to stay on that pathway that leads us all the way to Paradise and beyond. I’d like to focus on what believers who’ve made the big decision to enter into the kingdom of heaven, do collectively to help an evolutionary world move along the pathway towards the era of Light & Life. I’m going to refer this this pathway as the “Yellow Brick Road.”
Yes, I think you all know where I stole this term from. That famous children’s movie: The Wizard of Oz. The idea to borrow this concept evolved in my mind as I was contemplating the experiences I had in the developing stages of becoming a believer in God. I’ve always thought of those special moments that occurred in my inner life that helped to bring me closer to having a faith in God, were like fine golden threads connecting my inner most core with the source of truth. As more and more fine golden threads emerged they started to wind themselves into a thick golden rope. I started to feel like I had found a golden freeway. Everything that came before was like looking for the on ramp to the freeway; once I found that on ramp and entered the freeway I was on my way!
I know now that this was just an analogy for the development of a solid, rock-like unshakeable faith. This faith gave me the courage to put my foot on the accelerator and start hooning on down the road that was going to take me all the way to Paradise and beyond. Then, thinking about solid, rock like roads and golden freeways made me think of the Yellow Brick Road in the Wizard of Oz that led to the Emerald City. I revisited that movie and was intrigued by the characters and the whole story line; it’s a kind of crude analogy of a spiritual quest. The characters in the story had so many funny little character traits that were so like those of the sincere truth seeker trying to find the answers to the big questions. You have Dorothy, the trusting, innocent, pure hearted child; Straw Man who had no brain, yet was the one who came up with all the good ideas and wise comments; Tin man who had no heart but was the most emotional of them all; and the Lion who had no courage but ended up saving the day through heroic deeds. As they bonded together in fellowship on their journey along the yellow brick road to find all the things missing in their lives, all the traits they thought were missing actually started emerging as they were confronted with difficult situations.
Conviction and Dedication of Will
Before I launch into our collective journey as kingdom believers I want to take a quick look at how we reach that point where we decide to devote ourselves to the service of building the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God.
The journey of gaining faith in God can be wrought with doubt and indecision. As awareness of God dawns and as we grapple with our internal confusion and torment, we may start to feel afraid of where all this may lead. We may have to make some big decisions and change our lives. At this point we could be tempted to turn our backs on this path and talk ourselves into thinking we may be deluding ourselves.
Modern men and women of intelligence evade the religion of Jesus because of their fears of what it will do to them… And all such fears are well founded. The religion of Jesus does, indeed, dominate and transform its believers, demanding that men dedicate their lives to seeking for a knowledge of the will of the Father in heaven and requiring that the energies of living be consecrated to the unselfish service of the brotherhood of man. [Paper 195:9.6, page 2083:2] emphasis added
For those who end up becoming true believers, there inevitably comes a time in our spiritual journey where we reach a significant moment where we make a decision to dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly to the doing of the Father’s will, where we say,
“It is my will that your will be done.” [Paper 111:5.6, page 1221:7]
Such a creature choice is not a surrender of will. It is a consecration of will, an expansion of will, a glorification of will, a perfecting of will… [Paper 111:5.5, page 1221.6]
This decision marks your entry into the Kingdom of Heaven – you’ve stepped onto the golden highway that leads all the way to Paradise and beyond. But beware! Look at what Jesus told some of his apostles and disciples during the Decapolis Tour when giving them advice on how to teach truth.
Believing the gospel will not prevent getting into trouble, but it will insure that you shall be unafraid when trouble does overtake you. If you dare to believe in me and wholeheartedly proceed to follow after me, you shall most certainly by so doing enter upon the sure pathway to trouble. I do not promise to deliver you from the waters of adversity, but I do promise to go with you through all of them. [Paper 159:3.13, page 1767.1] emphasis added
So if ever you feel you are being taunted by someone who likes to argue about religionists having “blind faith,” read this passage again. We need to embark on this journey with our eyes wide open and with very much courage in our hearts. These enlightened spiritual teachings are not for the faint hearted. (I recommend you all read this paper again and again. It’s loaded with Jesus’ teachings—Paper 159, page 1762)
Once you’re certain about your faith you inevitably allow your indwelling adjuster more scope in your heart and mind to lead you along the way. You learn to trust in those inner leadings and you become daring enough to make any adjustments necessary to stay the course.
For serious students of The Urantia Book we can’t help but take note of the many calls to service. Over and over again the teachings of the book reveal to us that service to our fellows is indissolubly linked with spiritual progress. The true mark of spiritual progression is the increasing desire to do good to others. Love for the Father and a sincere desire to do his will inevitably begets love for ones fellow man and a desire to help bring our fellow men and women into the Family of God, or into the Kingdom of Heaven.
God is not only the determiner of destiny; he is man’s eternal destination. All nonreligious human activities seek to bend the universe to the distorting service of self; the truly religious individual seeks to identify the self with the universe and then to dedicate the activities of this unified self to the service of the universe family of fellow beings, human and superhuman. [Paper 5:4.3, page 67.1]
Primitive man made little effort to put his religious convictions into words. His religion was danced out rather than thought out. Modern men have thought out many creeds and created many tests of religious faith. Future religionists must live out their religion, dedicate themselves to the wholehearted service of the brotherhood of man. [Paper 99:5.9, page 1091.8]
These kinds of teachings inevitably lead us to pose the sincere questions: HOW CAN I HELP? WHAT CAN I DO TO SERVE? Here is the time we can make some momentous decisions about how we’re going to conduct our lives from here on in. Of course, every individual will get different answers to these questions, we all have different “callings” if you like. I’d like to talk about one that is very near and dear to my heart and one that I know is near and dear to many of us here today. And that is how to help spread the teachings—the ideas and concepts—contained in this Fifth Epochal Revelation to our world—the teachings of The Urantia Book—not the teachings about The Urantia Book.
Serving Epochal Revelations
An individual can reach a state of light and life in one short life time, just like Jesus did. But for a planet it’s not so easy. As we know from our study of The Urantia Book it takes us age upon age. And we need lots of help—lots of big help. Hence our glorious unseen friends send us periodic help in the form of Epochal Revelations. And, as we know they are claiming The Urantia Book to be the fifth one that has been given to our world.
We are told:
There have been many events of religious revelation but only five of epochal significance. These were as follows: (they then list 1. The Dalamatian teachings, 2. The Edenic teachings, 3. Melchizedek of Salem, 4. Jesus of Nazareth, then):
5.The Urantia Papers. The papers, of which this is one, constitute the most recent presentation of truth to the mortals of Urantia. [Paper 92:4.9, page 1008.2]
You can’t get it clearer than that. Do we really appreciate just what we have here in The Urantia Book? Do we realise the significance of this claim by the revelators? Good heavens, this is in the same league as The Planetary Prince and his staff of 100, Adam and Eve, Machiventa Melchizedek, and Jesus. This is not a game tiddlywinks. This is serious stuff!
When I first became aware of this claim it was a turning point for me. I had to decide whether I was going to believe this claim or not. If I did, then I knew things would have to change for me. I couldn’t sit on my laurels and do nothing about it. If I decided it was a hoax then I’d have to put the book aside and consider it one of the greatest frauds that ever hit the airways. Obviously I decided it was what it claimed to be and set about to rearrange my life so that I could devote myself to the mission of helping our unseen friends get it established into our society somehow.
They give us so many warnings in the book about the need for new truth on this world. We’ve outgrown the old set of ideas of God and if we don’t get a new one—well, if we’ve read the papers on the modern problems of this world we know what can happen to society when it lacks sound religion that’s commensurate with modern day thinking.
A lasting social system without a morality predicated on spiritual realities can no more be maintained than could the solar system without gravity. [Paper 195:5.9, page 2075.12]
Materialism denies God, secularism simply ignores him… Twentieth-century secularism tends to affirm that man does not need God. But beware! this godless philosophy of human society will lead only to unrest, animosity, unhappiness, war, and world-wide disaster. [Paper 195:8.5, page 2081.5]
Then we get many many pleas and calls that twig our consciences. These calls are coming from the revelators themselves — the representatives of Christ Michael, the Supreme Being and the Paradise Trinity. They are calling out to modern-day devotees of the Urantia teachings to join them by becoming the material link in the chain for this epochal project. Have a look at these:
All Urantia is waiting for the proclamation of the ennobling message of Michael, unencumbered by the accumulated doctrines and dogmas of nineteen centuries of contact with the religions of evolutionary origin. The hour is striking for presenting to Buddhism, to Christianity, to Hinduism, even to the peoples of all faiths, not the gospel about Jesus, but the living, spiritual reality of the gospel of Jesus. [Paper 94:12.7, page 1041.5]
But paganized and socialized Christianity stands in need of new contact with the uncompromised teachings of Jesus; it languishes for lack of a new vision of the Master’s life on earth. A new and fuller revelation of the religion of Jesus is destined to conquer an empire of materialistic secularism and to overthrow a world sway of mechanistic naturalism. Urantia is now quivering on the very brink of one of its most amazing and enthralling epochs of social readjustment, moral quickening, and spiritual enlightenment. [Paper 195:9.2, page 2082.7] emphasis added
Urantia society can never hope to settle down as in past ages. The social ship has steamed out of the sheltered bays of established tradition and has begun its cruise upon the high seas of evolutionary destiny; and the soul of man, as never before in the world’s history, needs carefully to scrutinize its charts of morality and painstakingly to observe the compass of religious guidance. The paramount mission of religion as a social influence is to stabilize the ideals of mankind during these dangerous times of transition from one phase of civilization to another, from one level of culture to another. [Paper 99:1.3, page 1086.6]
The religious challenge of this age is to those farseeing and forward-looking men and women of spiritual insight who will dare to construct a new and appealing philosophy of living out of the enlarged and exquisitely integrated modern concepts of cosmic truth, universe beauty, and divine goodness. [Paper 2:7.10, page 43.3] emphasis added
Religion does need new leaders, spiritual men and women who will dare to depend solely on Jesus and his incomparable teachings. If Christianity persists in neglecting its spiritual mission while it continues to busy itself with social and material problems, the spiritual renaissance must await the coming of these new teachers of Jesus’ religion who will be exclusively devoted to the spiritual regeneration of men. And then will these spirit-born souls quickly supply the leadership and inspiration requisite for the social, moral, economic, and political reorganization of the world. [Paper 195:9.4, page 2082.9] emphasis added
These are wake up calls! Just as I started to feel like I’d found the golden freeway for my own personal spiritual journey, I then started to see the emergence of a “Yellow Brick Road.” This is the road that’s been around on our world since the beginning of life of our planet. It’s the road that past heroes and devotees of previous revelations have walked upon, it’s the same road traveled by Andon and Fonta and the subsequent Andonic race; Van and Amadon and the loyalists who survived the planetary rebellion; Adam and Eve and the Adamic race that flourished and spread in the wake of the downfall of Eden, Melchizedeck and Abraham and all the Salem missionaries who took the teachings of Faith in the one God to all four corners of the world, Jesus and the apostles and disciples who ended up overturning empires and somehow managed to keep enough of a flickering flame of Jesus’ message alive to bring hope to untold millions of believers to this very day.
All the thousands of devoted leaders and followers that emerged through the pages of history, all those heroes of revelation, known and unknown, who have been instrumental in keeping the light of truth alive on our world, they’ve all walked upon this road that is leading Urantia to the era of Light and Life.
How can we who live in these exciting times and have accepted the Urantia revelation as the fifth epochal revelation in this long line of the planet’s religious history; we who have been born again and stepped into the “Kingdom of Heaven”; we who can’t help but hear the call to service from the Urantia teachings, not want to step onto that Yellow Brick Road and join hands together to embark on the greatest journey of this material life time of ours?
In my mind there can be no project on this planet, at this time, that is more important than helping others get the message in this book.
How can we read these passages and not feel drawn or inspired to jump on the band-wagon of helping Michael and our unseen friends who brought us this revelation, and share these new ideas and concepts with our fellow men and women?
Service Ministry for the Urantia Revelation
There are no hard and fast rules about what people should be doing in their service choices when it comes to sharing the teachings of The Urantia Book. We all need to decide that path for ourselves. The Urantia movement and Urantia groups are not a church and we have no hierarchy of priests so no one is going to tell anyone what to do. Most of us don’t want this revelation to turn into “just another religion.” The world has enough of them. Nor do I believe that was the intent of the revelators.
This new revelation is designed to broaden mankind’s framework for thinking about deity and the cosmos, to reveal heightened concepts of religion and God that are in line with modern day thought, to set the record straight about our planet’s history, and to reinstate the teachings of Jesus so we have a better idea of what the fourth epochal revelation was supposed to be about. It’s not here to point the finger at the myriad of religions and schools-of-thought and tell them they’ve got it wrong; that we have the correct answer, rather it is to embellish the truths in the existing religions and add to them—in a nutshell this revelation has the power to establish a new philosophy of living that is presented in The Urantia Book.
The big dilemma for many students of the book who want to serve is to know what they should do. There is a lot of scope for service at both the individual and organisational levels. Here are some suggestions:
There’s a lot of publicity in the various newsletters about the dissemination efforts of the material book—news about translation and book distribution efforts around the world. These are very tangible projects that require lots of resources both financially and volunteer wise. The history of The Urantia Bookand Urantia organisations so far has many inspiring stories about the work of groups and individuals who have established, or are in the process of establishing ways and means to get the book translated and circulating in the various book channels. These projects have been laying the foundations for the revelation.
Fostering Study of The Urantia Book
There is a lot of emphasis from revelators and Urantia organisations about fostering study of The Urantia Book. Advice was given to the early leaders of the Urantia movement around the time of the printing of the book to form thousands of study groups. One of the Concordant Objects in Urantia Foundation’s Declaration of Trust is to “disseminate the principles, teachings, and doctrines of The Urantia Book.” Urantia Association International’s Mission Statement is to “foster study of The Urantia Bookand to disseminate its teachings.”
Why this emphasis on study? Well you don’t really “get” the full impact of these teachings of The Urantia Book with superficial scanty readings. The book is designed to be studied. It’s more like a text book or an encyclopaedia. It’s not a novel; it’s an information source, a handbook for living. It can be a lifelong companion and by studying it in its entirety—by reading it over and over, you get greater breadth and depth of understanding which can lead to greater opportunities for expanding your understanding of spiritual reality.
Reading this book is by no means a “quick fix” or an instant ticket to spiritual enlightenment. Individuals only become enlightened by reading the book to the extent they embrace and internalise the teachings and emanate their spiritual growth in their everyday lives through their “fruits of the spirit.”
Social Interaction With Other Students
It’s my firm belief that in these early years of the revelation, in these years in this day and age when so many people don’t seem to be interested in things to do with God or religion, that current students of the book who take the time to study it in-depth are inadvertently being groomed to become teachers of these teachings. Through constant personal study and frequent socialisation with other students, you gain practice in talking about the teachings. Social interaction with other readers can be like finding a family of people who all speak the same language. You can talk the “jargon” of The Urantia Bookwith one another and you can learn a lot by engaging and sharing ideas and interpretations. It’s a very benign, safe and sure way to get a good grounding in the teachings of the book.
Organisation of Study Events
And of course, to make it possible for these study and socialisation opportunities to occur you need to have people who are prepared to organise such events. There are untold opportunities to serve in this way e.g. hosting or attending study groups and conferences. The main goal of this kind of service activity is to assist people in becoming knowledgeable and articulate—and eventually confident—in being able to share the teachings in their everyday lives in whatever manner we feel moved.
Talking About the Teachings in The Urantia Book
The goal of becoming groomed as a bon- a-fide Urantia Book reader, or as an advanced student, or even a “scholar” of the book, apart from the benefit to an individual’s spiritual progression, is so that you can become better at sharing the teachings, ideas and concepts in the book. You don’t even necessarily need to mention the book. Personally I feel this is one of the most important results of being involved in study groups and being involved in the socialisation with other readers. It’s not just about personal development; it can lead to service to the wider community in the ways the revelators are calling us to do. And it isn’t necessarily to tell people about The Urantia Book—in fact in many cases that can be a bad idea. How many of us have tried to tell people about The Urantia Bookand have lost friends, or find themselves talking to an unresponsive audience where the eyes glaze over, or you get the “you’re weird” kind of look. It’s very hard to talk about The Urantia Book without sounding crazy. We need to discover techniques for sharing the teachings of this book, and it doesn’t happen overnight. I love this quote:
As the days pass, every true believer becomes more skillful in alluring his fellows into the love of eternal truth. Are you more resourceful in revealing goodness to humanity today than you were yesterday? Are you a better righteousness recommender this year than you were last year? Are you becoming increasingly artistic in your technique of leading hungry souls into the spiritual kingdom? [Paper 156:5.15, page 1740.2]
If you’re going to talk about the book, I’ve found it’s better to talk about what it can do for one’s soul. Better to give people a testimonial of your own experience, or if they press you to know what it’s “about” give them a broad philosophical overview or a dumbed down version of the core concepts and values, a bit like you would when explaining something advanced to a child. You need to find ways to relate to each individual using terms they are familiar with, which means you need to take an interest in them and find out what they think and believe before you attempt to bamboozle them with a whole bunch of weird stories and foreign terminologies. If they keep pressing you for more information “about” the book, I like to encourage them to take a look for themselves—encourage them to have a firsthand experience with it. And it’s very important to be mindful of what Jesus told Ganid about not trying to tell people “about” the kingdom if they’re not yet in there. This quote touches on this point.
When Ganid asked his teacher why he evinced so little interest in this pagan, Jesus answered: “Ganid, the man was not hungry for truth. He was not dissatisfied with himself. He was not ready to ask for help…You cannot reveal God to those who do not seek for him; you cannot lead unwilling souls into the joys of salvation. Man must become hungry for truth as a result of the experiences of living, … If we know God, our real business on earth is so to live as to permit the Father to reveal himself in our lives…[Paper 132:7.2, page 1466.2]
How Outsiders View Us
If anyone on the outside of our Urantia movement is critical of the way we like to put a lot of emphasis on study groups, or how we come together at social and study events like we are now; if they think we are self-serving, cultish, or not doing enough to reach out to the world at large and help the millions of suffering and deprived people, my answer to that is that they do not understand what we are attempting to achieve. The whole overarching point of what Urantia organisations are trying to achieve by promoting these kinds of events is to help the world at large. The whole point of this exercise is to grow a group of individuals who can become teachers and leaders of the new revelation; people who can take these teachings to the world in such a way that people can grasp them.
A big part of our study of the book shows us how Jesus went about teaching his gospel and how he taught his apostles to deal with their fellow man. He admonished them against doing all kinds of detrimental things. His technique was to befriend people—to take an interest in them, to find out how they thought and what they believed before he attempted to help them with his saving message. He always adapted his message to a level at which the listener could relate. We would do well to learn from Jesus’ techniques. These quotes illustrate this point:
To “follow Jesus” means to personally share his religious faith and to enter into the spirit of the Master’s life of unselfish service for man. One of the most important things in human living is to find out what Jesus believed, to discover his ideals, and to strive for the achievement of his exalted life purpose. Of all human knowledge, that which is of greatest value is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it. [Paper 196:1.3, page 2094.4]
(While in Rome Jesus selected a group of religious leaders from the Cynics, Stoics, and Mithraics)
And this was his method of instruction: Never once did he attack their errors or even mention the flaws in their teachings. In each case he would select the truth in what they taught and then proceed so to embellish and illuminate this truth in their minds that in a very short time this enhancement of the truth effectively crowded out the associated error; and thus were these Jesus-taught men and women prepared for the subsequent recognition of additional and similar truths in the teachings of the early Christian missionaries. [Paper 132:0.4, page 1455.4]
Even though you are effectively armed to meet the difficult situations of life, you can hardly expect success unless you are equipped with that wisdom of mind and charm of personality which enable you to win the hearty support and co-operation of your fellows. You cannot hope for a large measure of success in either secular or religious work unless you can learn how to persuade your fellows, to prevail with men. You simply must have tact and tolerance. [Paper 160:1.9, page 1774.1]
So like the characters in the Wizard of Oz, we innocently embark upon our journey in search of answers to the big questions and stumble upon the most incredible adventure of our lives. We confront the hurdles and difficulties on our journey and make courageous decisions that are aligned to the will of the heavenly Father; we accumulate golden morontia threads that connect our hearts and minds to the source of all truth; we develop the courage and wisdom needed to keep us on that solid foundation rock of faith that will carry us forever onwards.
And when we band together on this journey in service to our fellow man, we become a little bit like our fellowship of friends: Dorothy, Straw Man, Tin Man, and Lion who helped each other to be strong and courageous and to stay the course upon that “Yellow Brick Road.”
Faith most willingly carries reason along as far as reason can go and then goes on with wisdom to the full philosophic limit; and then it dares to launch out upon the limitless and never-ending universe journey in the sole company of TRUTH. [Paper 103:9.7, page 1141.5]
Daniel Swadling, Australia
Presented at the Sydney ANZURA Conference, October 2015
I began this presentation with a simple experiment. Without any warning I caused a very loud, totally unexpected noise that startled the audience and elicited the typical gasps, shrieks and jolting movements from everyone as you would expect. I informed the audience that I had just activated their fear responses and pointed out that they were right now as one body, behaving in unison through their fear and asked, isn’t that great we’re all united like this together? Isn’t that what we’re all seeking? some kind of togetherness that leads to brotherhood for us to live in peace and harmony and on to eternal life?
Well that way, my friends I hope to show today, is a complete fraud. Fear has a role to play in our survival, granted, but we know through The Urantia Book teachings that survival on its own is not enough. There must be growth to pass through time and into eternity. Growth is necessary on the pathway to Paradise and beyond.
Few persons live up to the faith which they really have. Unreasoned fear is a master intellectual fraud practiced upon the evolving mortal soul. [Paper 48:7.4, page 556.4] from Morontia Mota No. 2
Fear is a fraud. It says one thing and delivers another—to our disadvantage. While fear may assist us in avoiding an immediate and short-term threat, enabling us to survive a little longer, sustained and unreasoned fear actually impedes our longer-term growth, affecting even the growth of our soul. Thus fear threatens the eternal survival we seek. It is retarding the growth of our souls and slowing our path to God.
Survival is necessary to begin with, because you have to start somewhere, but to thrive in this life and the next there must be ongoing growth. This is the universal pattern of life, whether it is for a seedling becoming a tree; a child becoming an adult becoming a spiritual entity; primitive to current world religion on to planetary light and life, etc. So in exploring the link between faith and courage today, I wanted to explore one of the most obvious things holding us back. Fear.
Fear is pervasive; it’s everywhere. From our kitchens to the streets, from schools to workplaces and governments, in the media, between nations and between persons. Fear is active within us, and it’s stopping us from being better people, better partners, better leaders and world citizens. We fear flying, heights, the dark, snakes & spiders, public speaking, failure, rejection, commitment, intimacy, death. The list goes on! We play with fear in the plots of movies, novels, games and theme parks.
Fear and anxiety are real and incredibly devastating to our wellbeing; are debilitating physically, mentally, socially, economically. They cause us pain and ill health, obliterate our self-confidence, and hold us back from taking that next vital step.
Anxiety-based disorders are on the rise and becoming more widespread. They present across all communities and all demographics, they don’t discriminate. It is reported that 1 in 5 of our population are affected at a clinical level. 20% of the population have some kind of fear-related disorder! This poses a huge cost burden on economic, social and personal levels – the cost of healthcare, lost productivity and opportunities, loss of progress.
It need not be so.
And of course fear is in the Church. What an irony that is, for their Lord’s catchcry is ‘Fear not!’ The old religions have forever known the power of fear and use it to keep people united. Instilling the fear of the devil, like parents scaring children of the bogey-man, has always held the congregation to maintain its morality and virtues. This works but, as we are seeing with the deterioration of the old authorities, only up to a point.
Sydney held a study group recently where we looked at the interesting role fear has played in our religious history. We learned that:
- Inherited from our animal ancestors, fear is obviously essential to survival. If we removed the ability to respond to real threats, we’d be dead before we knew it.
- Fear gives birth to religion; it
…drove primitive man to envision the supernatural and thus securely laid the foundations for those powerful social influences of ethics and religion which in turn preserved inviolate the mores and customs of society from generation to generation. [Paper 68:4.3, page 767.3]
- Religion evolved through progressive upgrades eventually arriving at the concept of a real God.
Evolutionary religion is born of a simple and all-powerful fear, the fear which surges through the human mind when confronted with the unknown, the inexplicable, and the incomprehensible. Religion eventually achieves the profoundly simple realization of an all-powerful love, the love which sweeps irresistibly through the human soul when awakened to the conception of the limitless affection of the Universal Father for the sons of the universe. [Paper 90:0.3, page 986.3]
- Superstitious fear is scaffolding for the God concept. Once an advanced comprehension of Deity is attained,
…evolution sets in motion those forces of thought which will inexorably obliterate the scaffolding, which has served its purpose. [Paper 90:3.10, page 990.5]
So, to paraphrase one of my country’s famous tax collectors, it’s the fear we had to have. Critics of religion are correct to observe that religions came about through fear, what they are yet to realise however is that religion is still evolving and that scaffolding is starting to come down.
Anatomy of Fear
Now, I want to have a look at what’s actually going on when we experience fear (a very simplified version, a ‘neuroscience 101’). Referring to this diagram of how fear works in the brain; the limbic system—in the oldest, most primitive part of our brain:
- Threats are perceived by our senses—threat to life, or personal/social wellbeing; threat of the unknown; can be real or imagined.
- This information is sent to the thalamus and amygdala (centre for emotions and alarm system)
- If danger is immediate, thinking/processing time needs to be minimal, the amygdala sends information to the frontal cortex but blocks lengthy processing there and instead sends fight or flight response to the body straight away. That is, it interferes with the higher brain processing.
- The amygdala’s functions, while it ensures survival, prevents the danger being fully thought through and sound decisions made on how to respond to the threat.
So How is this a Problem for the Soul?
Unreasoned fear is a master intellectual fraud practiced upon the evolving mortal soul. [ [Paper 48:7.4, page 556.4] from Morontia Mota No. 2
Firstly let’s just review, what is the soul?
From Paper 111, The Adjuster and the Soul, there are three factors in the evolutionary creation of an immortal soul.
1. The human mind …
2. The divine spirit indwelling this human mind and all potentials inherent in such a fragment of absolute spirituality together with all associated spiritual influences and factors in human life.
3. The relationship between material mind and divine spirit, which connotes a value and carries a meaning not found in either of the contributing factors to such an association. The reality of this unique relationship is neither material nor spiritual but morontial. It is the soul. [Paper 111:2.4, page 1218.3-5]
If every time we are faced with threats, frightened by a challenge, terrorized by the new and unknown, if we allow our higher thinking to be bypassed and allow an unthinking response, we are removing the interaction between our mind and spirit when we need it the most. For it is in those moments when we are pushed to our limits and tested that we improve and grow. We know this is the case for our physical bodies and minds, we have learned from these teachings it is also the case for our spiritual selves.
Here we see the true fraudulent nature of fear. Fear has no place in bringing us closer to God, rather the opposite! Fear wrecks the mind-spirit relationship, poisoning the growth of our soul and thereby keeping us further away from God.
The angels, the book tells us, are not that much different from us.
Divested of material bodies and given spirit forms, you would be very near the angels in many attributes of personality. They share most of your emotions and experience some additional ones. The only emotion actuating you which is somewhat difficult for them to comprehend is the legacy of animal fear that bulks so large in the mental life of the average inhabitant of Urantia. The angels really find it hard to understand why you will so persistently allow your higher intellectual powers, even your religious faith, to be so dominated by fear, so thoroughly demoralized by the thoughtless panic of dread and anxiety. [Paper113:2.5, page 1243.2]
Prevention—Catching the Fear
Fear management is mind management. Our phobias can be treated.
There is much science that shows we can reduce our fear and cope with phobias. We have developed treatments that work: therapies that recondition our thinking processes, and drugs that can treat any underlying physiological factors. We know that we can’t live without fear. It’s our fundamental alarm system. But we have also learned that we don’t have to supress it, rather we can just control it, manage it.
The aim of fear management is don’t try to eliminate the fear, rather change the way you experience it and respond to it. For example, learning through exposure: by exposing yourself to a fear safely, the brain will adapt to it and learn not to be afraid of it. This is known as ‘habituation’ or ‘conditioning.’ Fear can be managed in such a way before it becomes an anxiety disorder. We know that if we can slow down and choose our responses to fear, this results in being less reactive to the amygdala, thus our sense of fear is reduced. If we have the time to make a decision, this allows us to take more into account.
Training the brain is like training muscles, requires ‘working out.’ Training means exposure, habituation, familiarity, experience, preparation, meditation is a proven approach, to gain confidence and assurance that you will be ok despite the threat: the brain will override fear impulses and despite feeling fearful you will be able to choose courageous action anyway.
The point is: change is possible. We can change fears into respect.
“It’s not what happens in our life that causes stress, rather our reactions to it”—we can’t change what happens to us; we can change how we react.
Now, if we can do all this on physical and cognitive levels, there’s no reason to say we can’t do this on a spiritual level as well.
Remember The Adjusters Problem:
Much of my difficulty was due to … (among other things) the fountain of faith polluted by the poisons of fear … [Paper 111:7.5, page 1223.7]
And (part of) The Adjusters Mission:
The Thought Adjusters would like to change your feelings of fear to convictions of love and confidence; but they cannot mechanically and arbitrarily do such things; that is your task. In executing those decisions which deliver you from the fetters of fear, you literally supply the psychic fulcrum on which the Adjuster may subsequently apply a spiritual lever of uplifting and advancing illumination. [Paper 108:5.8, page 1192.3] emphasis added
We all know fear, we let ourselves be victims of fear, and we know how it operates. And since you know fear, this puts you in the best position to catch the fear, arrest it, and overcome it before it destroys you. By slowing down your responses to fear you give your higher mind a chance to properly process it, releasing you from its slave-bondage grip, and allows your indwelling spirit to connect with your mind in that moment and further grow your soul.
And of course the crucial ingredient that will help us slow down our reactions to fear, is faith. Courage comes with the confidence and certainty that faith provides; a certainty which cancels all doubts and unknowns that can lead to fear in the first place. Faith provides certainty through adversity, arms you with courage to conquer fear.
“The Psalmist exhorted you to ‘serve the Lord with fear’ — I bid you enter into the exalted privileges of divine sonship by faith; he commands you to rejoice with trembling; I bid you rejoice with assurance. He says, ‘Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish when his wrath is kindled.’ But you who have lived with me well know that anger and wrath are not a part of the establishment of the kingdom of heaven in the hearts of men.” [Paper 155:1.2, page 1725.3]
“… It is not the purpose of true religion merely to bring peace but rather to insure progress. And there can be no peace in the heart or progress in the mind unless you fall wholeheartedly in love with truth, the ideals of eternal realities. The issues of life and death are being set before you — the sinful pleasures of time against the righteous realities of eternity. Even now you should begin to find deliverance from the bondage of fear and doubt as you enter upon the living of the new life of faith and hope. And when the feelings of service for your fellow men arise within your soul, do not stifle them; when the emotions of love for your neighbor well up within your heart, give expression to such urges of affection in intelligent ministry to the real needs of your fellows.” [Paper 157:2.2, page 1745.1]