Tidings – June 2021
In This Issue
Enrique Traver, Brazil
In April 2021, I started my activity as President of Urantia Association International—the beginning of an incredible experience, full of challenges and opportunities with plenty of joy.
The Association’s challenging mission of disseminating The Urantia Book teachings all over the world to people from different cultures and languages creates an incredible learning environment. What a blessing to be part of this!
It is impossible to live such experiences without adopting the wise teachings of the revelation and without noticing the beauty, the truth, and the goodness present in all the situations encountered on this path.
Of course, it is a matter of the perspective we apply in each of these situations.
It is like a thunderstorm. When you find yourself in the middle of it, seeking refuge, frightened by the wind, lightning, and thunder, everything seems threatening or scary and, in fact, it can be.
But it is a matter of looking, of perception, sometimes of trust and faith.
On the other hand, imagine yourself watching the storm from the outside, watching it happen in front of you at a distance. It is impossible not to marvel at the spectacle and force of nature with its raw manifestation of energy. Even so, your perception could be that of an observer of the beauty of nature or that of an observer of its destructive force, or even all of this together and much more.
It is always a matter of looking, of perception, of faith.
Trust tells us the storm will be over soon, and that its instability and menace will be replaced by a calm and peaceful period. Trust also assumes that damages will be repaired and the suffering will be forgotten; even so, it will not fail to account for the storm's effects and to raise alarming concerns.
It is always a matter of looking, of perception, of faith.
Faith, however, brings us the certainty that challenges are fleeting and that we build our learning and wisdom on them. It will assure us that, no matter what happens, everything will be fine. If we wish, we will continue to be supported by God’s hands. He will stand with us in all our joys and in all our afflictions and together we will hopefully reach a safe port.
It is always a matter of looking, of perception, of faith.
God is our safe port. We are in him, or we are not. We have faith or we do not. If we have faith, we have reached safe port: we are in him.
Faith will not remove the challenges we need to overcome, but it will allow us to overcome these challenges with more love, greater serenity, more wisdom, and the confidence that everything will work out.
Wonderful things have happened in these days of learning. All of them inspiring us to create an opportunity for unity, fraternity, friendship, and inclusion.
Interacting with people is magical, it is divine.
It is a matter of looking, of perception, of trust and of faith.
Jesus told us:
"What I require of you, my apostles, is spirit unity—and that you can experience in the joy of your united dedication to the wholehearted doing of the will of my Father in heaven. You do not have to see alike or feel alike or even think alike in order spiritually to be alike. Spiritual unity is derived from the consciousness that each of you is indwelt, and increasingly dominated, by the spirit gift of the heavenly Father. Your apostolic harmony must grow out of the fact that the spirit hope of each of you is identical in origin, nature, and destiny." [Paper 141:5.1, page 1591.6]
It is a matter of looking, of perception, of trust, and of faith.
Isn`t it magical, beautiful, true, and good?
President, Urantia Association International
Inspirations of the Urantia Revelation—Beauty, Art, Music, and Expressions of the Soul
We invite you to join us once again for another 24-Hour Urantiathon. This time we will join with artists from all over the world as they share their creative talents that have been inspired by the Urantia Book’s teachings. The theme will be Inspirations of the Urantia Revelation—Beauty, Art, Music, and Expressions of the Soul. It will also feature worship, meditation, live presentations, workshops, poetry, amazing inspirational videos, and more.
The event will take place on Saturday August 7th, 2021 UTC time. (If you live in the Americas, it actually starts on Friday August 6th at 8:00pm EDT.)
Here are the times in three cities to help you adjust to your own time zone:
New York: Friday 8:00pm to Saturday 8:00pm
London: Saturday 1:00am to Sunday 1:00am
Sydney: Saturday 10.00am to Sunday 10:00am
The program is still being developed but to give you an idea, some of the artists who have agreed to share their Urantia inspired creative works are Gary Tonge, Pato Banton, Antoinette Rootsdawtah, Bob Solone, Rebecca Oswald, Gordon Taylor, Patrick Yesh, Cristina Seaborn, Rick Warren, and James Woodward.
This is promising to be a particularly unique event so mark your calendars and stay tuned for more details!
The Nature and Nurture of the Soul
28—31 March 2024
Maritime Conference Center, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Mark your calendars now for the next exciting Urantia Association International Conference in 2024! This will be the 12th International Conference of the Association and is being organized by Urantia Association of the United States (UAUS) and will be hosted by Urantia Association of Hawaii.
This conference was first announced by Katrina Glavan-Heise, President of UAUS at the end of the virtual 11th International Conference after the Peruvian team handed her the virtual torch to present the next international conference in 2024. The announcement was preceded by a lovely promotion trailer that you can view by clicking here.
Following is a bit of history of the evolution of this event in the words of Marian Hughes, one of the conference organizers and member of Urantia Association of Hawaii (HULA):
The Hawaii Urantia Local Association had planned to hold a Pacific regional conference in 2018 until our Kilauea volcano decided to erupt and spoil our plans and fun. The facility we had booked was in the Volcano National Park, which had to close due to earthquake damage. I truly felt that the disappointments hardest to bear sometimes do come.
My first Urantia Conference was in 1973 at the First Western Conference in Brentwood L.A. where I was impressed by Christy’s words to us to be "Soldiers of the Circles." Ever since then I have been a lifelong Urantia conference attendee. Fast forward to the Estonian European Conference in 2019 where the former Association President, Chris Wood mentioned to me that we need to be thinking about a host country for the 2024 international conference. Having already been inspired to have the regional Pacific conference theme on The Nature and Nurture of The Soul, and having already secured a keynote speaker, the seed was planted, and I thought why not turn the ideas for the Hawaii conference into an international conference.
Once the announcement was made that the United States Urantia Association would be sponsoring the next international event, I started to search for the perfect location. Having been spoiled by the wonderful conference hotel facilities in the Netherlands and in Estonia, I was reluctant to go back to the more meager college dorm rooms. After much surfing of the Internet, I eventually found the Maritime Conference Center located near Baltimore, Maryland and Washington D.C. I couldn't believe that such a fabulous, affordable, non-profit facility, with gourmet food, close to several international airports, and in an interesting city, existed in the United States. Taking my cue from the 2018 conference, which was held at the height of tulip season, I proposed to hold our conference at the height of the famous cherry blossom season, which should fall on Easter weekend in 2024. What a joy it will be to celebrate our Master's resurrection in-person together.
After winning approval, we formed a formidable UAUS team to create what we hope to be a memorable conference. Although this event will not take place in Hawaii, HULA will be your hosts and we promise the Aloha spirit will embrace all those who participate.
Cecilia Barretto, Peru
Held April 24th – 25th, 2021 and hosted by Urantia Association of Peru
It seemed like only yesterday when, at the end of 2016, we were asked to host the International Conference that Urantia Association International organizes every three years. The Urantia Peru team celebrated when we received the torch at the Amsterdam Conference to be the hosts in 2021 and we quickly placed ourselves under the Father’s command.
Since the beginning of 2017, it became an intense, coordinated job. We had in mind that achieving this challenge demanded doing it onsite with the standards a conference requires. So, we were ready, even with some pre-paid services and facilities.
But fate provided another challenge for us. The corona pandemic arrived and we asked God: Father, given this new unforeseen situation, do you still want us to go for it?
We eventually made the decision to make it happen virtually and the 11th Urantia Association International Conference: Towards Cosmic Citizenship… Your Time Has Come! …turned into “A Virtual Experience.”
Throughout the following days and months, we kept researching and studying about new technologies and digital strategies. And we always wondered what benefits could be brought to a virtual event so we could take advantage of them in the dissemination of the fifth revelation.
We set ourselves three challenges:
First, we yearned to unify all those familiar with the teachings of The Urantia Book, whether they were registered or not in any official association or organization. Second, we wanted the attendees to become familiar with the ancestral cultures that gave rise to the Inca Empire in Cusco, Peru, one well known by its monumental architecture and social structures. Third, we wished to activate passive readers as well as find new seekers of truth through the loving and voluntary service of letting them know more of the teachings of The Urantia Book.
So now, sometime after the realization of the event, we feel at peace. We firmly believe that, after the virtual experience of this conference, future virtual events will largely exceed what Urantia Peru, in coordination with Urantia Association International could humbly achieve—close to 2,000 people registered from all over the world.
The conference started by explaining the Andite influence in the Inca Empire, whose capital was Cusco, and continued with presentations from speakers who discussed and explored the path toward Cosmic Citizenship. Thank you to all the speakers and workshop facilitators for their excellent job and ministry. Each was exceptional in its style! …testimonies both moving and showing us living faith.
To finish, I would like to mention what moved me the most about this experience of being part of the Peruvian team: the wonder of witnessing how each volunteer was motivated into action, how each one respected the other no matter what their skills or abilities were, and how each one discovered their assigned work through loving service. The job of every volunteer was, without a doubt, the key that made this conference possible, but more so, their testimonies, insights, dedication, and pure hearts all worked as a team for the Universal Father.
We have received many congratulations from around the world and we have told everyone that we were not alone and that it wasn’t just the work of Urantia Peru. We were all together!
There are many who have always wanted to work in anonymity, such as the volunteer who designed the new registration system; those who designed the format and the strategy to post the event in the social media networks; those who led the training in managing Zoom for volunteers supporting workshops and their facilitators; and those who worked editing artistic pieces for others. We have witnessed that nationality did not matter—there was no discrimination… Spanish editing for North Americans; Colombian and Mexicans working on artistic pieces from several countries; volunteers from Argentina serving African artists from The Urantia Book community … and doing it non-stop until everything was ready and in order to have four hours of pure Urantian Art.
For the Urantia Peru team, it has been an unforgettable experience. We had the opportunity of witnessing firsthand, the action, solidarity, and service of all those who made this possible.
We only have one thing left to say: Thank you to all of you who worked together in this great challenge! And to the Glory of the Father!
Organizing Team, Urantia Association of Peru
Jeffrey Wattles, USA
What is of survival value for the soul in a conference? Here’s my current harvest from the conference on Cosmic Citizenship hosted by Urantia Peru Association April 24-25, 2021.
First story. The opening prayer by Collins Lomo of Ghana showed a striking maturity of spiritual concept and spiritual leadership.
Second story. International Conference organizers were encouraged to share something of their local culture as part of a conference. This was done to a high degree. I was struck by the effectiveness of the presentation on the traces of the violet race in the Incas and the videos that supported this theme. The presenter was the head of the conference organizers, lawyer, educator, and mother, Lourdes Burgos-Cisneros. Her presentation beautifully wove threads of connection between the papers on Adam and Eve and papers that describe ten aspects of civilization, using video clips for each aspect to illustrate the extraordinary achievements of the Incas. After the presentations we saw videos portraying Machu Picchu, a number of stunning archaeological sites, aerial views of the Andes that included the region of Cusco, Peru, where the conference was originally planned to take place. I was deeply moved by the brilliant artistry of the assembly of quotes, and the outstanding quality of supporting visuals. On that basis, after the presentation was over and I was watching video footage taken from an airplane above the Andes, I could identify with the perspective of planetary supervisors who planted and nurtured civilization there: a soulful thrill!
Third story. For my soul, the most inspiring presentation was that of Emeka Anazoda. He brought the most advanced faith-contact with God and his unseen friends to deal with career challenges, family responsibilities, and poverty in Nigeria. He is an engineer who worked as a taxi cab driver and a product designer. His taxi was in such bad condition that it emitted so much smoke and smelled so bad that nobody wanted to travel in it. One day, in an extreme moment, he asked his guardian seraphim to fix that problem long enough for him to earn the money to have the cab fixed. And that is exactly what happened.
His next job situation also became desperate. He was working with a company to design an intricate machine for copper extraction. In order to continue the research, the company needed outside funding which it could not attract. For five months he worked without pay, confident he was following the will of God, who was going to work out everything. Then he was hired to continue working on the same design problem by another company that had plenty of money to support the project. They were pleased with the skills that he had developed by persisting with the previous employer.
As an engineer, he is capable of complex scientific thinking. He knows The Urantia Book very well; he would have read the cautions in the book about going out on a limb. And yet his faith insight and relationship with God and the seraphim was so strong that he could cooperate with the Third Source family and persevere with unchallengeable insight in the will of God. He could truly say, “My life is a holy scripture still being written.”
Some quotes from Emeka in his presentation: “Jesus understood truth so well that he could express it in a thousand ways without diminishing its value.” “Spiritual power is a gift.” "How to discern spiritual power as distinct from lower energy manipulation?" “When the soul recognizes real thinking, it easily rejects that which is lower.”
How can one develop and responsibly exercise such faith? After a month of living in the wake of the waves of Emeka’s spiritual pressure from above, I have begun to understand the answer to my question.
Fourth story. There was a special presentation of the new translation of The Urantia Book into Spanish followed by a panel and moderated discussion. To guide the labor of the group in its work for the past ten years, Victor Garcia-Bory functioned as the leader. There were four translators: Olga Lopez, the late Carmelo Martinez, Raúl Pujol, and Anibal Pacheco. An introductory video included film footage of meetings at Urantia Foundation and then we saw these people interacting live. In attempts at high-level collaboration, nothing is easier to predict than the noticeable presence of ego in one or more of the players. In this group, what struck me most—both in the film clips and in the discussion afterwards—was the flavor of palpable, spiritual fruits in every one of them: a quality of humility and love that I had never seen before. My soul saw in these five the setting of a new standard in the spiritual foundation of teamwork.
Fifth story. I particularly appreciated the intelligent and efficient way in which the moderator, Luis Garcia-Bory, conducted the discussion that concluded the meeting on the Spanish translation. It would have been easy for him to insert personal comments, but he made not the slightest gesture in that direction. Each time, his words were brief, and completely relevant to his assigned function. We are destined to become administrators. I am tucking this memory into my soul for future inspiration.
Sixth story. As part of the Program Committee, I was able to help the organizers to articulate their emerging vision—a major thrill. I had the privilege of helping two persons with their presentations and one with a workshop; I will not mention names, but the quality of collaboration was extraordinary. I will also mention that it took a lot of work to bring my own presentation to the required standards—a wholehearted and sustained effort. These tasks took my soul up to a new level of teamwork. In the end, conferences are about relationships. I cherish those with my fellow organizers, Lourdes, Jeannie Vasquéz, Mairam Durand, and Cecelia Barrteo. The same applies to all those fellow presenters and workshop facilitators mentioned here.
Seventh story. We heard the announcement of Urantia Association’s next international conference to be held in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A., March 28-31, 2024, on the topic, “The Nature and Nurture of the Soul.” Having learned how to get (give) the most from a conference, I have begun preparing for the next one.
Eighth story. The closing ceremony was outstandingly brief and marked by an unforgettable personal story from the new Urantia Association President, Enrique Travers from Brazil. He told the story of when he was nine years old and disobeyed his father. He was punished; but judging that the punishment was unfair, the boy ran away from home. He put some clothes into a bag and walked away. His dad allowed him to do so. His father stood at the home gate and stayed there looking at him until the boy could see him no more. Then the boy realized he had no place to go, and that home was really wonderful. As he retraced his steps, he saw his father, who walked toward him, knelt down, smiled, embraced him, picked him up, and carried him back home. Enrique said that he had done that at various times with our Father in heaven, and that our adventure as cosmic citizens teaches us to trust our Father’s love and mercy. Hearing that story, my soul was moved to help Enrique in any way I could.
Ninth story. The conference organizers attempted much, and not everything worked smoothly. Knowing hardly any details of what went wrong, I pondered it and recalled that a week after the Nazareth rejection, Jesus spoke to the apostles about “The Mission of Adversity and the Spiritual Value of Disappointment.” Jesus would often bring the apostles through significant disappointment following a success. He warned the seventy evangelists to beware of pride as they returned from their first preaching tour, which had been graced by a number of deeds of spiritual power. One more lesson for mind and soul.
Tenth story. With utter humility and love, Alejandro Ampudia told us how he had been consistently bullied by an older boy during his years in school—all the way through high school—despite his constant efforts to return good for harm in a loving and friendly way. After more than ten years of apparently fruitless efforts to love this bully, the older boy finally changed and told Alejandro that it was Alejandro’s friendship during those years that finally changed him. They became good friends and continue to get together.
Eleventh story. I had never studied the topic of cosmic citizenship before. My focus on the philosophy of living and the gospel movement had left me with the impression that cosmic citizenship was a high topic for Urantia Book students that went beyond my calling. But the workshop of Jinwoog Kim from Korea transformed my concept. He put cosmic citizenship (with its obligations to the Supreme Being) in its broadest possible frame—the framework of gospel themes about God and fatherly love. One of the quotes he selected was from Paper 141:2, “God’s Law and the Father’s Will.” When I first encountered this change of perspective, I walked around in a daze for quite a while. I began to live with themes of cosmic citizenship that I had been studying in earnest during the last couple years preparing for this conference—but as part of living all the truths to which I have struggled to devote my life during the past fifty years.
Professor of Political Science and head of the Korea Research Institute for Military Affairs, Kim is an inspirational leader who likes to get everyone actively involved. Once we met, he asked me to lead a segment of the workshop.
In case you are interested, the text that follows is a portion of what I used in my segment of the workshop.
In the document that Professor Jinwoog sent to workshop participants, he described two feasible cosmic principles and seven practical virtues, or qualities of character, which are part of cosmic citizenship. Feasible means doable. Practical implies down-to-earth, here and now. In order for these principles and virtues to be effective in our lives, we need to apply them in experience.
For this segment of the workshop, we had 30 minutes. For the first 10 minutes, we considered these principles and qualities—in preparation for practicing cosmic citizenship in breakout groups of two as randomly arranged by Zoom. In the second 10 minutes, we had conversations. We listen to and support the other person and share from our thoughts and experience. After the conversations, we shared in the chat for 5 minutes about what difference it makes in conversation to be aware of cosmic citizenship. Then I concluded with a few comments and returned the leadership to Professor Jinwoog.
Both cosmic principles are included in this next quote. As we read and listen to this quote together, look for what you might be able to use in your one-to-one conversation as you listen, support, and share.
You must not regard co-operation with your Adjuster as a particularly conscious process, for it is not; but your motives and your decisions, your faithful determinations and your supreme desires, do constitute real and effective co-operation. You can consciously augment Adjuster harmony by:
What does the interdependence of man and the Supreme Being mean? As we evolve, we are in the domain of the Supreme Being, who is evolving with us. The Supreme is like a chef making a great salad, who depends on farmers like us to provide the vegetables. The chef is incomplete without the farmers.
1. Choosing to respond to divine leading; sincerely basing the human life on the highest consciousness of truth, beauty, and goodness, and then co-ordinating these qualities of divinity through wisdom, worship, faith, and love.
2. Loving God and desiring to be like him—genuine recognition of the divine fatherhood and loving worship of the heavenly Parent.
3. Loving man and sincerely desiring to serve him—wholehearted recognition of the brotherhood of man coupled with an intelligent and wise affection for each of your fellow mortals.
4. Joyful acceptance of cosmic citizenship—honest recognition of your progressive obligations to the Supreme Being, awareness of the interdependence of evolutionary man and evolving Deity. This is the birth of cosmic morality and the dawning realization of universal duty. [Paper 110:3.6-10, pages 1206.4-8].
The Supreme is in charge of the growth of the whole, and we need to do our part. The Supreme blesses us by providing the potentials of evolving truth, beauty, and goodness which we actualize as cosmic citizens. And as God is our divine Father, the Supreme is our divine Mother.
One more thing. There is a necessary sequence: vegetables have to be on hand before making the salad. In other words, certain things have to be present before other things can be done. Eternal wisdom establishes laws of cosmic sequence. For example, “When physical conditions are ripe, sudden mental evolutions may take place; when mind status is propitious, sudden spiritual transformations may occur; when spiritual values receive proper recognition, then cosmic meanings become discernible, and increasingly the personality is released from the handicaps of time and delivered from the limitations of space” [65:8.6]. In other words, our obligation to the Supreme Being is to discern what we need to do next and do it joyfully.
You can write to me at [email protected]
Also you can view my website from which this article was taken at: https://UrantiaBookProjects.org
For Professor Jinwoog’s document, you can write him at [email protected]
David Linthicum, USA
During a recent Urantia Association conference, a question was posed to those assembled: “How many have been successful in introducing The Urantia Book to family or friends?” The response was not surprising; a quick count revealed that only a smattering few raised their hands. For all those who have tried and failed to introduce the book to family and friends, you are in good company.
Here we have in our hands a divine revelation, the fifth epochal revelation to mankind, the most amazing treasure since Jesus walked the Earth and yet many of our family and friends are not interested. I’m sure this is a reality for a great many of us and a disappointing one at that!
I’ve been a student of the book for 26 years, yet despite my best efforts to interest family and friends, for the most part they have shown only passive interest, perhaps tolerance or even appeasement would be more like it; none have taken the time to read the book. I was able to get a previous girlfriend to read the book several years ago and she became a dedicated student of the book. So, one person after 26 years of trying—not a great record!
The inability to share The Urantia Book with those closest to me has been disappointing to say the least. It is a failure that is difficult to bear at times. If this is your story, you know what I mean.
It hasn’t been for a lack of effort; I’ve tried everything I can think of. I even tried talking about the book without mentioning the book. What I found was that most people just aren’t interested in that type of conversation; they typically subscribe to the old “It’s best not to talk about religion or politics” excuse.
I even tried reverse psychology with a friend who asked me what I was reading. He is one of the most well-read people I know; we’ve been close friends for over 40 years. I told him a little bit about the basics of the book but suggested he shouldn’t bother. “It’s over 2,000 pages long,” I told him, “and a difficult book to read and even tougher to comprehend."
He asked me to send him a book, which I promptly did. Yes! I thought, success at long last! As it turns out, he never read it, and he didn’t want to talk about it either—once again, my hopes were dashed.
I did have a total stranger ask me about the book just a couple of months ago. While in the waiting area at a tire store, a gentleman noticed I was reading the book and asked what it was about; he wondered if it was it some kind of Bible. I asked him if he was a religious man and told him that the book was along those lines. He said he was, named his faith, and added that he had an open mind. So, I handed him the book, open to the “Contents of the Book”; we sat and talked while he glanced over the pages.
After a nice chat, he said he’d order the book when he got back home and really looked forward to reading it. He seemed genuinely enthused. I gave him my phone number and asked him to call me once he got a chance to read some of it. Did he order the book? If so, did he read it? I don’t know—I haven’t heard back from him. Still, it was a pleasant experience.
That is one side of the coin; there is always the other side. On that other side, I am pleased to say, I have personally sent The Urantia Book to hundreds of people all over the country. And, more importantly, I know with certainty that many of them have read or are currently reading the book. How do I know this? I know because they write me often. They write to ask questions, to express how grateful they are to have such a wonderful treasure in their possession, to tell me how it has changed their life, and how they are sharing the book with their family and friends.
I like that side of the coin!
Here’s the difference: each of the individuals I have sent a book to personally asked me for the book. Most of the men and women I’ve sent books to have said they heard about the book from a friend. It is so encouraging to see this beautiful revelation spread from soul to soul in such amazing and inexplicable ways.
What a fulfilling service it is to be a small part in this mighty epoch in which we all live!
Along with a small group of my Urantia Book brothers and sisters, each a “seasoned” student of the book, we have been able to provide nearly 3,000 books, in like manner, over the past 16 years. Each book was requested; we didn’t set up stands in the park, man a booth at a bookfair, or use any of the typical means of reaching people and getting the book “out there.” Still, we have been blessed with the ability and means to provide books to so many—thousands of books to thousands of searching souls! It is an amazing story, such a wonderful and satisfying experience.
One of the supreme joys for a reader/student of The Urantia Book is the opportunity to introduce the book to an eager truth-seeker. The delight in being able to answer the questions of someone who is in the midst of reading the book for the first time is truly soul-satisfying. In connection with sending out so many books, it should not be surprising to learn that many of those grateful recipients continue to write with their questions.
Here are some of the questions I’ve received just this past year:
- I feel greatly troubled by what it says on page 30; “…a loving personality can hardly reveal himself to a loveless person.” Can you explain what that means?
- I want to feel love, but I just don’t know how to spark that feeling within myself.
- …Caligastia. What can you tell me about this being and how should I guard against it?
- So, we have a Thought Adjuster, a “God particle” in us. Where? The brain? The solar plexus? I was wondering this, like if it were in me, where was it in me so that I could contact it and communicate with it? Then I thought, if I am contacting God, what does that mean?
- Are the Holy Spirit and the Thought Adjuster one and the same?
- What prompts us, or draws us to this book? Is it solely our free will? Is it the “inner ministry” of the Father Fragment? I often think to myself, why me? Why me in regard to blessings and mercy? I guess I still struggle with that “not being good enough” mentality.
- I know I need to work on prayer, suggestions?
For those of us who attend study groups, we understand that such questions are essential to new readers as they sort through their current beliefs and/or disbeliefs about so many things. Being able to wisely answer their questions is not always an easy endeavor. One must be mindful not to injure or offend an inquisitive mind, not to say too much too soon, and to avoid confusion that might discourage further study.
It takes a delicate hand when your only form of communication is the written word, the exchange of letters—postal letters! Yes, the old-fashioned way.
Here’s the thing: I’ve never spoken to a single one of the people I’ve provided a book to, not a single one, not in person, by phone, Zoom or any other means. Just the exchange of letters.
Here’s the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say. Each of the people I’ve sent a book to is a man or woman who committed a crime and is incarcerated at a state or federal facility. You might say we volunteers have a “captive” audience. The fact that these men and women are incarcerated does not in the least diminish their value or worth in God’s eyes—nor should it in ours!
It has been quite an experience these past 16 years, being able to shine the light of truth in such dark and dismal places. I have found that there are many who sincerely desire to know better, to be better, to do better, to know God, to strive for a chance to make things right with their loved ones, but more importantly, with themselves. It always gladdens my heart to receive a testimonial of renewed spirit! These same folks are, in turn, spreading the word to their family and friends.
I thank God for the opportunity to experience the joy of being involved with like-minded brothers and sisters who sincerely and unselfishly desire to share this divine gift, The Urantia Book, with those who need it most, the so-called lost souls, the lost sheep, searching souls, to those who are looking for answers, to all who seek truth, no matter their station in life.
If you’d like to know more—if you’d like to be a part—if you’d like to donate to the cause, please contact me anytime. Feel free to email me at [email protected]. I’ll be here till graduation…
James Woodward, USA
"It is the motivating thought, the spiritual content, that validates the mortal supplication. Words are valueless" [Paper 7:3, p. 85.1].
Nevertheless, I would share some words with you about thoughts.
To ponder the creation of thought is an intriguing mental exercise, but one leans into the realm of religious mystery when reflecting on the fact that thoughts can create. “The Original and Eternal Son is the offspring-person of the “first” completed and infinite thought of the Universal Father” [7:6].
In everyday life, we often treat thought like sports paraphernalia in the playing field of our mind. We toss them around in our consciousness, generally oblivious to their awesome and divine power. Sometimes they bounce into other thoughts and gather themselves up into ideas. But what is a thought? Physically speaking we know it involves nerve cells, dendrites, axons, neurons, and chemical neurotransmitters. Such neural systems are directed networks, receiving and broadcasting signals that form systems and then bundles of systems. These clusters have been identified as sensory relay stations, integrative centers, memory modules, and emotional control centers.
Santiago Ramon y Cajal, a Spanish histologist, won the 1906 Nobel Prize for his research and commented: “Like the entomologist in pursuit of brightly colored butterflies, my attention hunted, in the flower garden of the gray matter, cells with delicate and elegant forms, the mysterious butterflies of the soul, the beatings of whose wings may some day—who knows?—clarify the secret of mental life.”
“Man’s mind can be truly comprehended only by recognizing the reality of higher orders of thought and purposive will” [53:01]. Do we give recognition to the reality of this higher order of thought? Can we acknowledge that this duo of thought and will manifests as creation? As in, that stuff can really happen! In the moment after Jesus “unintentionally” turned the water into wine, we are informed, “But Jesus said nothing. He now realized that he had already said—or rather desirefully thought—too much” [137:4].
James Allen, in his classic tome, As A Man Thinketh, nicely states this miraculous truth: “Thought allied fearlessly to purpose becomes creative force: he who knows this is ready to become something higher and stronger than a mere bundle of wavering thoughts and fluctuating sensations; he who does this has become the conscious and intelligent wielder of his mental powers.” He offers a poignant reminder of this reality: “All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.”
It’s of interest that faith is defined as “the supreme assertion of human thought” [3:5]. “The creator thought invariably precedes creative action” [2:7]. Our revelational reference book describes the Trinity as Thought, Word, and Action—a nod to the ranking of thought in terms of cosmic reality. We are further informed about this divine pattern:
“Mortal consciousness proceeds from the fact, to the meaning, to the value. Creator consciousness proceeds from the thought-value, through the word-meaning, to the fact of action.” [Paper 118.5, p. 1299.3]
The loving consignment of a Thought Adjuster is from the Father and of our Creator. He adjusts the creation of our thoughts if we sincerely request, but cannot adjust them after they have been created. That would violate our free will and bend our reality. Instead, we must pray, listen, and ask to have new and increasingly spiritual thoughts. God’s will can be found in the gift of his thoughts.
If it is true, as the sages have said, that the body is a temple and our eyes a window to the soul, then our thoughts may be the choir of God himself, an opus of spiritual accord conducted by our pre-personal Accompanist who begs our harmony. Sound too metaphoric? “Melody of thought—the thinking of spiritual thoughts can be so perfected as to burst forth in the melodies of Havona” [499:10].
Let the performance begin.
The Tidings newsletter is an on-line publication that serves as Urantia Association International’s primary communication tool for reaching out to the Association’s membership, supporters, donors, volunteers, and general readership friends. It provides news and information on the many activities and events of the National and Local Associations around the globe as well as information and announcements from Central Office, the International Service Board (ISB), and the Representative Council (RC). It serves to keep members in touch with one another and gives readers a sense of belonging—of being an integral part of a truly international movement that is designed to promote the Urantia revelation to all corners of the world.
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Grass Roots Level
The number of National and Local Associations scattered throughout the world is steadily growing and collectively they undertake service activities that have the ability to inspire and motivate others; activities such as study conferences, regional gatherings, study groups, dissemination programs, educational programs, outreach projects, and the development of study aids and newsletters. These associations are the lifeblood of Urantia Association International—they function at the grass roots level where effective service and dissemination of the revelation takes place.
Share Your Stories
There are thousands of readers with unique personal stories about how they found The Urantia Book and how it has changed their lives. There are hundreds of study groups all over the world that can share stories and encourage readers to either create a study group of their own or participate in one. These stories need to be told and Tidings provides an effective platform for the sharing of such activities.
If you would like to share your stories please submit your material to the Chief Editor. Topics may include:
- How you found The Urantia Book
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- Chief Editor: Kathleen Swadling
- Co-editors: Mark Blackham, James Woodward
- Online English Newsletter: Mark Blackham
- Spanish translator an online Spanish Newsletter: Olga Lopez
- French translator: Line St-Pierre
- French online newsletter: Alain Cyr
Submit articles to the Chief Editor and please understand that they may be subject to revision. Please limit them to approximately 1 to 1½ pages (700 to 1400 words) plus one or two photos.
For variety, we have a different image on the cover for every issue. Artists, photographers and illustrators are encouraged to submit images for possible use on the cover or direct us to a web page of your artwork.
Tidings occasionally provides news of other Urantia-related activities and events that may be of interest to our supporters and friends. Please note that any interpretations, opinions, conclusions, or artistic representations, whether stated or implied, are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Urantia Association International, the National or Local Urantia Associations, or the editorial team of the Association’s Tidings.
The world is changing fast and Urantia Association International is in a unique position to foster the Urantia revelation in so many ways. With localized teams in the form of associations springing up across the globe, we are ready to help anyone, anywhere, to study and spread the teachings that we all hold so dear.
|Artist: Carlos Rubinsky|
Also, with the beneficial changes that technology brings, more and more organizations are switching to a subscription model as a way of making donations. Urantia Association has launched the Global Urantia Perspective for those who share a dynamic world vision for The Urantia Book. We are looking for supporters to subscribe for a minimum donation of $10 per month to support programs that work to spread the teachings.
The Association has only one paid staff member to manage and coordinate our worldwide activities. All other services are rendered by devoted students who donate their time (and often their treasure) to the projects that help bring us closer to our heavenly Father. Thank you to our faithful volunteers and donors!
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