Tidings – September 2017
In This Issue
- President’s Message – September 2017 – Chris Wood, USA
- International Conference 2018 – Amsterdam
- An Experiment for Study Groups – Gaetan Charland, Quebec
- A Call for Children’s Works – Education Committee
- Bolivia Book Fair, Santa Cruz – José Ernesto Árias, Bolivia
- Book Fair in Lima, Perú – Mairam Durand, Perú
- Ecuador Book Fair – Efraín Vivanco Maldonado, Ecuador
- Ecuador Conference – Andres Ramirez, Colombia
- European Blue Club Meeting – Sandra Burga-Cisneros, Switzerland
- French National Meeting – Ivan Stol, France
- Passing the Torch of Light to Future Generations – Lourdes Burga-Cisneros, Peru
- Upcoming Events
Chris Wood, USA
There has never been a busier, more productive time to be in service to the Urantia Revelation!
The Urantia Book tells us that:
Service—more service, increased service, difficult service, adventurous service, and at last divine and perfect service—is the goal of time and the destination of space. [Paper 28:6.17, page 316.4]
That’s all fine and dandy, but I’ve got a hive of hornets that have embedded themselves in the walls of my home and are swarming the office.
I have been devoting a great amount of time to the contemplation of “motivations” lately. My wife and I will be giving a short speech on the concept of service to an upcoming conference so we are reading about it, discussing it with others, and jotting down ideas to piece together into a speech. One of the definitions that The Urantia Book provides is that “service” is a “living love” which I generally re-phrase as “service is love put into action.” And although I’m sure I’ll make a metaphor out of this at some point, I’m distracted because there are literally dozens of hornets buzzing the window trying to figure out how to escape through glass panes.
There is a rich library of material available on the Theory of Emotions, but one oversimplification of the subject is that emotions are evolved to help serve our animalistic fight or flight instincts. Joy or disgust help feed our decisions to act: do I stay, or do I go? If you believe, like I do, that people are a combination of the animal and the divine, of the material and the spiritual, then we can maintain that there are divine motivations which serve as counterparts to the animalistic emotion motivations. To “like” something is an animalistic motivation, but to “love” is a divine one. When we say, “God is love” we are equally saying “God is a divine motivation to action.” And when we act upon our divine motivations, when we create a “living love,” this is service.
My wife stepped on a hornet earlier. She’ll be fine, but she is certainly adding to my motivations to act.
And so this is where the hornet metaphor comes in. I feel like I’m too busy and distracted by earthly motivations to be of divine service right now. I am reminded of the story of the Good Samaritan. Take the Samaritan’s perspective: He was journeying down the road one day when he comes upon a damaged man and is moved to be of service. So the Samaritan binds up the damaged man the best he can, transfers him to an inn where the Samaritan gives his day to good service. But the next day, our Samaritan must leave. He has earthly affairs to tend to and is already a day behind and has no more time to be of service. So what does he do? He gives money to the innkeeper so that the innkeeper can continue the divine service while the Samaritan tends to his early affairs.
And so today I must tend to my material needs. But I can contribute to the continued good works of the world by providing a day’s worth of financial support. And so it remains true, there has never been a busier, more productive time to be in service to the Urantia Revelation!
12—15 April 2018
If you’re planning to go to Urantia Association’s International Conference in Amsterdam, The Netherlands next year, we urge you to book your accommodation in the hotel now! A lot of activities take place in the region surrounding the conference venue at that time of the year, so it is very important to book your accommodation early to insure you secure a room.
While you’re at it, if you haven’t registered for the conference yet why not also register now! The date for the €75 Early Bird discount has been extended to 1st October 2017 so start planning and make your bookings.
For more on the conference visit our website at: https://urantia-association.org/2017/2018-urantia-international-conference and the conference website at http://www.uai2018.org.
Gaetan Charland, Quebec
During the last period of our study group sessions, from September 2016 to June 2017, we introduced a technological addition to our group to offer an alternative to students who could not attend the group in person for various reasons. This addition was the use of an Internet conference application called Zoom which is easy to use and has unparalleled accessibility from multiple platforms such as computers, tablets or smart phones.
This was an almost instant success for our group as many participants during the winter months are faced with challenges such as braving snowstorms and slippery roads, being afflicted by the seasonal flu, and other situations that might limit their participation. At the beginning of our experiment, some members needed time to adapt to this new way of participating, but soon, they could enjoy the session as much as the other participants who attended the group in person.
Fortunately, I can use a conference setup that many might find challenging, not that it is technically complicated but requires a small financial investment. I am using a dedicated Logitech conference camera, speaker and microphone recommended by Zoom. Notwithstanding this setup, any study group can use a regular portable computer or a tablet to initiate a Zoom session by placing them at a proper location where the group is meeting. I recommend the use of an external microphone and speakers for the host to improve the quality of sound both ways and to ask of each participant to mute themselves when not talking during the study group session.
At the beginning, we only used the Zoom application with students from our group so they could attend the session from their home, but in the last few months, we started opening the group to other students who wanted to experiment with holding study groups from the comfort of their homes. It was also a significant success when one participant, after experiencing how a study group can be managed, started his own group but kept participating in our group every week. At times, we have as many as twelve or more students in person and as many as four to six students online.
I believe that if we are to improve the number and quality of study groups, we need to be creative and open to new possibilities so our study groups can adapt to new realities, challenges, new generations of readers as well as different cultures. As an example, our group has a reader originally from Africa and living in Canada. If she were to move back to her country, she would always be most welcome in our group.
This opening to new opportunities and challenges has the merit to push the limit of our comfort zone, an area that is too often status quo in many groups. It exercises positive pressure on the host to maintain the group dynamic that is interesting and harmonious for every participant while keeping the focus on practical study and the training of leaders and teachers.
During our Fall session, we are looking to invite more readers from our geographic region so that we might interest those new additions to our group to start their own study group. One essential thing when planning that move, it is to progress with caution so that the group might not become unmanageable if too many participants are attending at once. The size of the group is very important as the dynamic changes depending on the number of participants. Any more than 15 students may become unproductive as it doesn’t allow enough time for everyone to share their views about what is being studied and discussed.
Another thing that I am looking forward to organizing, is training sessions with Zoom for hosts of study groups. The South American leaders have already set up similar seminars dedicated to the training of study group hosts. I was fortunate enough to be invited to one of them where there were more than twenty-five participants. The results of those training seminars have been an increase in the number of study groups while improving their quality—all this being done simply by showing how study groups can be managed.
There is more to come on this project, but nothing should prevent you from doing this in your own country if you are dedicated to improving the quality of your study groups and increasing its number.
“Thousands of study groups must be brought into existence and the book must be translated into many tongues. Thus will the book be in readiness when the battle for man’s liberty is finally won and the world is once more made safe for the religion of Jesus and the freedom of mankind.” (Publication Mandate)
I wish you a very enlightening study group.
Study Group Chair
Urantia Association International
The family is the channel through which the river of culture and knowledge flows from one generation to another. [Paper 84:0.2, page 931.2]
The Education Committee of Urantia Association International is in the planning stages of developing Urantia Book related programs for children and families as part of the Association’s outreach in the spreading of the revelation to the next generation.
We know that many students of the book have devoted a lot of their service-time and energy in creating secondary works and study aids to assist families and their children as well as creating children’s programs for conferences or study groups. We ask those of you who have authored or created such works to please consider sharing your work with us.
We are also developing a resource center of material so we can easily share these valuable creative endeavors and we would like to include your work in our children’s catalogue. This way we may build upon what already exists and share your work with others. If you are interested in contributing to this this program, please contact Jeannie Vázquez (Education Chair) at education[at]urantia-association[dot]org.
José Ernesto Árias, Bolivia
Two students of The Urantia Book in Santa Cruz decided to present the book at the 18th International Book Fair of Santa Cruz (FIL) that was held over 12 days from 31 May to 11 June, 2017.
Long before the book fair, we applied for a booth, only to discover our first obstacle: that all exhibition spaces were fully booked out. We were told we may get a booth if someone cancelled and were added on a waiting list with 15 other people. This was daunting at first, but we felt confident we would get a place—after all we were working for the Father! And so we did; after a while we received a call from the organizers telling us that there was a space. We gave confirmation even before we had the money to pay for it, which was due in 5 days. But the money also appeared! We paid and started preparing banners, flyers and spiritual vitamins.
Another big issue for us was that we didn’t have any books, and none were to be found in the bookstores of Santa Cruz. Thanks to the efforts of our brother Wilson Leo in Colombia, we received 40 books which were released from customs just two days before the start of the book fair.
We decorated our 3×3 meter booth with three banners: one that had the name of the book, another that was our classic image of the central universe and the seven superuniverses, and another that was an image of the ‘Journey to Paradise,’ which depicts the divisions of a superuniverse (systems, constellations, etc.) On the front of the stand you could see the title The Urantia Book next to the three concentric circles. In the corner a splendid fern kept us company for the entire twelve days. A small table displayed four standing books with flowers behind them and at the front we had a table which seated our five volunteers who took turns to rest now and again.
We had flyers with descriptors of the book, “spiritual vitamins” (which are rolled up pieces of paper with quotes from The Urantia Book inside), two copies of The Urantia Book and one copy of J.J. Benítez’s book, Lucifer. (The idea of displaying this book worked because it helped initiate conversations with readers of this well-known author. In the last page of his book, the author acknowledges and thanks Urantia Foundation.)
This book fair attracted around 114,000 visitors. 2000 flyers were distributed and 75 people left their personal contact details with us. We sold all 40 books plus two of our own; we had to deny another two score people who wanted to buy a book because we’d run out of stock!
We gave a lecture on The Urantia Book that was attended by about 40 people. We were interviewed twice by a TV crew at the show itself, and we were invited to talk on a live show.
These were twelve very pleasant days—so much so that we did not want the book fair to end. The five volunteers bonded with one another throughout the event and have forged lasting friendships.
I think that because of this kind of work we have become more aware of the importance of the mission of disseminating the teachings of The Urantia Book. We have learned that people are now open and thirst for this new knowledge. I expected that there would be more people who would be critical and would mock us, but there was no such thing, rather the opposite. People were willing to listen. We realized the wisdom of the heavens in revealing these teachings to us in this day and age.
One of the volunteers celebrated his birthday during the book fair; he felt it was his most satisfying birthday party ever! We were very happy and satisfied in our work, which has increased our desire to continue working in this way.
Greetings, brothers and sisters of the world, from this part of the globe where we send you our appreciation and joy in working for the heavenly kingdom!
Mairam Durand, Perú
Attending a book fair is always interesting. Books—many books of every kind including comics, recipes, sports, stories, novels, history, science, as well as those about the customs of each invited country including our own country of Perú can be found.
This year in 2017, the International Book Fair (FIL) exceeded the attendance of last year’s book fair by 23%. Even though more adults as well as some young people used to attend, this year there were teenagers and children in the company of their parents. That does not mean that reading has increased, however the interesting thing is that families walked “together,” visiting each stand filled with books representing different companies, publishers, and countries.
I must say that participating in this type of book fair was extraordinary, not only because of the comradery we volunteers shared as brothers and sisters, but also because of the things that happened. There is one particular aspect that I must tell and that is how good it was for us Peruvian Urantia Book readers to be working at the booth for several days alongside our friends from Urantia-Bogotá.
The main objective of the book fair was not to sell books—even though each one of them was sold—but to disseminate the teachings of The Urantia Book. It is only by experience that we truly comprehend that there are people searching for answers—seekers of truth, and who better than children and youngsters—with their thirst of knowledge, observing it all—to generate questioning?
One morning, while waiting for the flow of people to enter the hallways of the book fair, a 7-year old child named Manuel who was holding the hand of his 5-year old little sister, approached me, and coming close asked: “Could you tell me where God is?” At first I was surprised, because people normally start asking “what is The Urantia Book” or “what is Urantia”… this beautiful being of only 7-years old went straight to the point… “Where is God?” I only managed to put my hand on his heart and told him: “here.” There was no surprise, not even doubt, in his eyes! He clearly understood and continued with the questioning: “How do I to talk to Him? Does He listen to me? Where does he live?” Then, quickly the little sister, next to him, stared at the banner with the universe printed on it and pointed her little finger towards Havona, and said: “There, right?”… I was simply amazed by the simplicity of their questions and the rapidity of their understanding. Then we talked about the meaning of loving each other as siblings, for that is what The Urantia Book teaches us when reading it.
To conclude, I consider that my experience, as part of the team in charge of the Urantia booth, was far more than a simple trip to the FIL; it was a journey of adventures that helped me to comprehend that there are not barriers, and that every thing moves and flows in order to increased understanding of where we are, and that only the “here and now” matters in order to enjoy it and appreciate it.
I extend my sincere gratitude to all those with whom we shared these days, and thanks to the Father for allowing us to have this unforgettable experience.
Efraín Vivanco Maldonado, Ecuador
Readers from the Urantia group, Lectores del Jardín de Edentia in Ecuador organized a Urantia Book booth at the book fair in Puce, Chillos Valley which was held 29 May to 2 June this year. Although attendance at this book fair was a little disappointing as it was held mid-week when most people were at work, many students and teachers attended and we were pleased to be given an opportunity to give an introduction presentation on The Urantia Book.
We handed out around 1,500 flyers with information on the book and sold four books. We collected the names and contact details of 10 people who were already readers of the book, and another 20 from people who were interested. Six of these people live in the Chillos Valley and will possibly come to the study group there.
We are extremely grateful to those individuals and groups who provided assistance to make this event possible. Urantia Association International provided us with our financial needs, 20 books were donated by the Latin American Committee and were brought in by our Colombian sisters Isabel and Italy, and Agustín Arellano arranged with some generous readers in the United States to donate 10 books.
All in all this was a great experience for us, and we expect to do even better next year.
Efraín Vivanco Maldonado
Coordinador del Grupo “Lectores del Jardín de Edentia”
Andres Ramirez, Colombia
Members of the “Edentia Garden” study group organized the Ecuador National Conference 5-6 August in the Chillos Valley, which is one of the two big valleys that surround Quito, the capital of Ecuador. There were several talks and a workshop and Saturday night was dedicated to socializing which provided many opportunities for people to interact with one another and make new friendships. Together the group decided that Guayaquil will be the city for the next national conference in 2018.
Visitors to the conference included Andres Ramirez from Colombia, Agustin Arellano from Mexico and Nelida Oliver from Argentina. Nelida has lived most of her life in Ecuador and is a prolific worker for the dissemination of the teachings of The Urantia Book.
The Chillos Valley Group has been particularly active in the last couple of years under the leadership of Efrain Vivanco, who travelled with many members to the Latin American Conference in Bogota in 2016. They have organized a Urantia Book booth at the book fair in Ecuador this year and initiated the National Conference as well as the creation of a new Urantia Association for Ecuador.
Wilson Leon from Colombia, who is the Latin American Continental Coordinator of Urantia Association International, was invited to hold a workshop to discuss details about the creation of the new Urantia Association. A meeting was held at the end of the conference for the reading and approval of the Association’s Charter & Bylaws and elections were held for the new Governing Board. Sandra Naranjo from Guayaquil was elected President and the relevant paperwork for affiliation was submitted to the Membership Committee of the Urantia Association International for review.
Sandra Burga-Cisneros, Switzerland
The annual meeting of the European Blue Club was held in Vienna from 20—21 May of this year. Around 12 people from different countries came together to talk about a very delicate and controversial topic. We discussed the different events that have been happening all over Europe. The topic was “Islam.”
At the beginning of the meeting, a presentation was made with the title “How to Deal with Islam.” As Urantia Book readers, we realized that the approach had to be different. It is not about dealing with something that seems to be wrong. It is about how to engage with people who have different beliefs, who have other traditions and ways of thinking that may be very different from what we are used to. It is about respecting the diversity of every person and still engaging in unity.
Some of the people who attended the meeting raised the question about whether it was necessary to discuss the political situation in Europe as it relates, among other things, to the waves of refugees coming from different parts of the planet. Also, how should our leaders act or react in this matter. We soon realized that in our position we have to focus on what we can do as individuals and to ask ourselves what would be the right approach for engaging our Muslim brothers and sisters.
As Jesus said: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things which are God’s.” [Paper 133:4.3, page 1474.3] It is not for us to judge what is going wrong or not in our countries, and we would be thinking with a very narrow point of view if we thought every Muslim had a bad intention and was trying to attempt an attack somewhere. Sometimes, we react with fear towards things that are out of our control. Fear is something that freezes us in our way to act, in our way to approach people and in our attempt to find positive ways to react to negative things. Ignorance and a lack of interest in knowing how other people think and live, is also a very huge problem that blocks us much of the time. When meeting people with different beliefs or traditions we should try to understand their ways as well as their reactions towards us. If we want to live up to the high values of living, if we want to honor our status as cosmic citizens and sons and daughters of God, we should consider what The Urantia Book and Jesus teach us:
These high levels of human living are attained in the supreme love of God and in the unselfish love of man. If you love your fellow men, you must have discovered their values. Jesus loved men so much because he placed such a high value upon them. You can best discover values in your associates by discovering their motivation. If someone irritates you, causes feelings of resentment, you should sympathetically seek to discern his viewpoint, his reasons for such objectionable conduct. If once you understand your neighbor, you will become tolerant, and this tolerance will grow into friendship and ripen into love. [Paper 100:4.4, page 1098.1]
In my experience as a social educator, working also with Muslim families, I have realized that every human being is connected in some way through nothing more or less amazing than LOVE. At the end, we all look for recognition, acknowledgement, and appreciation for what we do, for what we are, and for what we are achieving in our lives. How do we give to others what we are also yearning for ourselves? How do we learn to be kind, compassionate and eventually loving to others; even those who are difficult to understand or that provoke or hurt us in some way? Sometimes we react from our hurt, not because of what the other person does to us, but because we can relate in a conscious or unconscious way to what that person says or does because of similar experiences we have had in our own lives. We need to be mindful about that. In the magic of the moment we can be aware of our reactions and also be aware of ourselves, as well as being aware of the divine fragment that lives within us; the spirit of truth and our unseen brothers and sisters assisting us whenever we ask them to do so. If we cannot do it ourselves, with God “everything is possible.” Don’t forget these words:
You cannot truly love your fellows by a mere act of the will. Love is only born of thoroughgoing understanding of your neighbor’s motives and sentiments. It is not so important to love all men today as it is that each day you learn to love one more human being. If each day or each week you achieve an understanding of one more of your fellows, and if this is the limit of your ability, then you are certainly socializing and truly spiritualizing your personality. Love is infectious, and when human devotion is intelligent and wise, love is more catching than hate. But only genuine and unselfish love is truly contagious. If each mortal could only become a focus of dynamic affection, this benign virus of love would soon pervade the sentimental emotion-stream of humanity to such an extent that all civilization would be encompassed by love, and that would be the realization of the brotherhood of man. [Paper 100:4.6, page 1098.3]
We are challenged by this in our lives and it’s not easy because we all have issues to work on our pre-conceptions from past experiences. Sometimes our human part tends to judge and stick to the negative; it’s what we’re used to and how we tend to react at first sight. But sometimes we need to open our hearts and minds and perceive the truth, beauty and goodness that surrounds us.
I have learned that “comm-union” with our Father is a very important step. When we achieve this connection we will learn to be tolerant, compassionate and understanding; we can grow up in the experience of realizing that. In this way, we are responding to this beautiful mandate: Be you perfect, even as I am perfect. [Paper 1:0.3, page 21.3]
We carry the responsibility to know that this is possible. The next step is to put it into practice.
Ivan Stol, France
The annual gathering of the AFLLU (French-Speaking Urantia Association) for 2017 took place recently, which included a program with the theme, The Influence of the Spirit of Truth on Each One’s Spirituality.
Along with the program, a business meeting took place, addressing the situation of the association, our help for the African French speakers, and the renewal of the governing board. Sixteen members were present (out of 41) with 8 non-affiliated readers.
The Spirit of Truth:
The sphere of his/its influence is difficult to understand for Urantia Book students because it is hard to differentiate from the ministry of the angels and the Adjuster. The term ‘Comforter’ is helpful but the examples of the apostles, who gained renewed energy to go off courageously with the announcement of the kingdom of God, do not supply much light on what changes this bestowal really brings about.
The fact that evolution has accelerated since then on both social and technological fields seems to show that this influence is mainly to be found in the greater courage to fight for legitimate and reliable values and discoveries. But these values and discoveries are apparently due to other influences which prompt us to exercise better judgment and to better use our intellectual powers (Adjuster, Angels).
The result of this study is that a person who really wants to evolve must first use his or her complete intellectual abilities (theSeven Adjutant Mind-Spirits) and discernment (personality) so as to reach the highest level of perception (cosmicconsciousness). Then the diverse spiritual helpers can efficiently add their influence to guide (Angels), actualize (Adjuster) and confirm (Spirit of Truth).
However, it is to be noted that, owing to the fact that it is the Divine Minister who is in charge of the bestowal of this Spirit of Truth, the direct connection with the superior Adjutant Mind-Spirits is a certainty.
The situation of the French Association is that we are not growing as we would like for several reasons, but this is not a unique problem.
In France, it has been difficult to make The Urantia Book known. Due to highly publicized cult activities in the past, there is fear of being labeled as members of a sect, as they did a lot of harm in our country, not to mention the dark past of the CatholicChurch and the scandals nowadays.
Some members are unsure about using the term ‘leaders’ due to fear of dogmatism, and of the creation of a new religion. As with readers everywhere, authority is rejected and only the concept of groups without “scholars” is accepted.
But today’s youths need new ideals, evolving and open, and because they received a materialistic education, they are not in touch with the invisible realities.
So, on one hand, Europe is awakening, as is French-speaking Africa, and on the other hand, France struggles to do the same.
Nevertheless, we continue to have faith and pay attention to any service opportunity that will allow us to surf again on the wave, as the lowest ebb always gives way to the higher tide.
Our Association is keen on renewing our activities again with this part of the world. Not few are the difficulties, and the means of communication are still poor today, but a good study of the problem should show valid solutions to help these people find a spiritual renewal appropriate to their aspirations.
It is a long-term endeavor, which must neither be forgotten nor precipitated.
As a beginning, we gave a laptop and a data link (connection to Internet) to Guy Stephane, a Cameroonian, to help him, and the people around him, to better their communications.
But material help is not what matters most. All around the world, not just in France, people must stay loyal to the highest ideals of truth, goodness, and beauty, and to share whenever they can the message that we are all children of a loving God.
Lourdes Burga-Cisneros, Peru
…the security of civilization itself still rests on the growing willingness of one generation to invest in the welfare of the next and future generations. [Paper 84.7.27, page 941.8]
…man possesses the power, by controlling the educational training of the younger generation, greatly to modify the evolutionary course of civilization. [Paper 81:6.24, page 909.5]
It is a fact that a lifetime truly flies away. Twenty years ago, those that are now-a-days middle-aged people were young, and in twenty years ahead they will already be part of the so-called third age. But what responsibility lies underneath such a pretty obvious fact? Well, a responsibility of utmost importance: to prepare today´s children, teenagers, and youth generations to be the torchbearers of the spiritual light for humanity. That is something every committed reader of The Urantia Book understands well. And, of course, it does not happen by an act of magic; neither is it a process that takes place naturally. It is rather an endeavor of sowing the right causes in order to reap coherent consequences.
…each succeeding generation of youth must receive anew its education. The superior qualities of civilization—scientific, philosophic, and religious—are not transmitted… by direct inheritance… only by the enlightened conservation of social inheritance. [Paper 68:0.2, page 763.2]
In that sense, “The purpose of all education should be to foster and further the supreme purpose of life, the development of a majestic and well-balanced personality… the work of teaching youth how to engage in life planning and character progression” (195:10:17, 2086.3), by providing them, in early life, with favorable conditions—“…liberty…restrained by love, motivated by loyalty…, directed by the intelligent discipline of wisdom” (177:2.7, 1923.1), that will enable the development and promotion of real individual and social evolution. Only this type of education, “assisting the child to win the battle of life…” (84:7.26, 941.7), has the power of truly breaking-down the vicious cycle of unconsciousness spiritual neglect that repeats itself generation after generation, colored by traumas and low family patterns that, when not overcome and worked on consciously by parents, arise unconsciously in their children, as a never ending cycle.
Therefore, to raise and educate children should be a process undertaken by human beings who understand what they are doing! And, of course, the family and the home play the most important role in it all. This idea is constantly reinforced in several passages of The Urantia Book, explaining to us, again and again, that “The family as an educational institution must be maintained” (82:0.3, 913.3) because of its capacity of passing, from one generation to another, a heritage that is not only social, and of moral values, but also spiritual. It is in the family where the concepts of “the Universal Father and his universe children” are built; where “ethics of… brotherhood may be grasped”; where the “lessons of patience, altruism, tolerance, and forbearance” are given (84:7.28, 941.9); where “the experiential training of all ascenders” (45:6.4, 516.2) takes place and where we learn to love God, according to the love we have received from our own parents. (2:5.9, 40.1) It is true indeed that “…a child is wholly dependent on his parents and the associated home life for all his early concepts of everything intellectual, social, moral, and even spiritual since the family represents to the young child all that he can first know of either human or divine relationships… The child’s subsequent life is… conditioned by these social and spiritual relationships of the home…” (177:2.5, 1922.3)
Consequently, it is essential to awaken and realize that the task of educating children is an endeavor that has to start with oneself. “…No stream will rise any higher than its source no matter what technique of pressure or directional control may be employed.” (81:6.27, 909.8) This crucial life mission also has to be based on sound moral values, faithful to a high level spiritual system of beliefs; “precept or even example is not lastingly influential”, “children are permanently impressed only by the loyalties of their adult associates.” (100:1.4, 1094.6) Children actually learn moral behavior by example because that has a true impact in child-rearing patterns, in their subconscious minds, and therefore in the way they will behave later on in life.
One day or another, every child will need to be “born again of the spirit.” Our guidance as adults towards children will be influential in facilitating this spiritual birth as the consequence of “a natural and normal growth of the recognition of supreme values with an enhancement of spiritual experience…” the product of “conscious effort and positive and individual determinations”—instead of an experience that involves pain and suffering or that is “accompanied by much anguish of spirit and marked by psychological perturbations.” (103:2.1, 1130.6) Of course we know that conflict and some suffering is always a part of human experience, but the process does not have to be unconscious. Instead, it could be an experience full of increasing awareness and lessons being assimilated because of our guidance and our role in educating children.
You may have thought about these ideas more than once. However, are you actually doing them? And if so, are you doing them in the proper manner as to truly raise spiritually aware and responsible human beings in a cosmic and spiritual sense? Are you actually being a true light of spiritual consciousness to your children as a parent, grandparent, godparent, aunt, uncle, nannie, teacher, pediatrician, psychologist, social worker, or whomever you are that has contact with children on a daily basis? Are you honestly being responsible for sowing in your children such values as faith, trust, peace, teamwork, service, solidarity, courage, and many other such things? Are you consciously inspiring them, creating in them life-long impressions that are positive and enlightened, impressions that will bear fruit when they grow up?
Whatever the answer, if this marvelous task appeals to your most altruistic sense of duty—the one of leaving to your children, our children, enough inner resources to allow them to work closer to the manifestation of the age of light and life on our planet—then please consider joining our efforts.
Bearing in mind everything said so far, and giving way to what each individual grown-up could give of his or herself to the future generation, the Education Committee of Urantia Association International has summarized some important ideas, as well as proposing some concrete actions that we all could do in order to educate the younger generation in the teachings of The Urantia Book to equip them to become the future torchbearers of spiritual light.
- Contribute to the maintenance of a critical mass of spiritually aware young people. “Civilization can hardly progress when the majority of the youth of any generation devote their interests and energies to the materialistic pursuits of the sensory or outer world.” (111:4.3, 1220.2) And again: “Any civilization is in jeopardy when three quarters of its youth enter materialistic professions and devote themselves to the pursuit of the sensory activities…. Civilization is in danger when youth neglect to interest themselves in ethics, sociology, eugenics, philosophy, the fine arts, religion, and cosmology” (111.4.4, 1220.3) producing therefore “...a standstill in spiritual development and the safeguarding of the home institution.” (81:6.25, 909.6)
- Empowering ourselves to become torchbearers. “Social inheritance enables man to stand on the shoulders of all who have preceded him, and who have contributed ought to the sum of culture and knowledge.” (81:6.23, 909.4) “The ideals of one generation carve out the channels of destiny for immediate posterity. The quality of the social torchbearers will determine whether civilization goes forward or backward… [and] the character trend of the succeeding generation. The moral and spiritual momentum of a race or a nation largely determines the cultural velocity of that civilization.” (81:6.26, 909.7)
- Developing true loving and tender relationships towards children, in order to train them to become loving human beings. A child that does not feel loved and appreciated cannot easily learn anything. “Love…is the supreme reality of the universe when bestowed by all-wise beings, but it is a dangerous and oftentimes semiselfish trait as it is manifested in the experience of mortal parents…” and thus it must be “…admonished by wisdom and guided by intelligence.” (177:2.3, 1922.1) Nevertheless, “As time passes, fathers and their children will love each other more, and thus will be brought about a better understanding of the love of the Father in heaven for his children on earth.” (142:2.2, 1597.2)
- Increasing and enriching the quality of family experiences we provide to our children; “…home building should be the center and essence of all educational effort” (84:0.1, 931.1), “As are the families of the race or nation, so is its society. If the families are good, the society is likewise good.” (84:7.1, 939.4) The steps that cause the human soul to grow cannot occur in the absence of others. We have the duty to train our children to become citizens of the universe, sons and daughters of God. “A tremendous responsibility rests upon all earthly fathers so to live and order their homes that the word father becomes worthily enshrined in the minds and hearts of all growing children.” (177:2.7, 1923.1) More-so-ever, “the consciousness of sonship with God should quicken the entire life service of every man, woman, and child who has become the possessor of such a mighty stimulus to all the inherent powers of a human personality.” (178:1.13, 1931.4)
- Preparing ourselves to answer the many questions children ask about life thoughtfully and responsibly, relating them to the true life purpose of feeding their souls spiritually. Paper 123 tells us: “the most valuable part of Jesus’ early education was secured from his parents in answer to his thoughtful and searching inquiries… Joseph never failed to do his full duty in taking pains and spending time answering the boy’s numerous questions… while Joseph and Mary could not always answer his questions, they never failed fully to discuss his inquiries and in every other possible way to assist him in his efforts to reach a satisfactory solution of the problem which his alert mind had suggested.” (123:2.3, 1357.7)
- Trusting in the capacity of youngsters to undertake this responsibility. This point implies also the trust in the inner guidance these children will be given, not only by the presence of the Father within them—their Thought Adjusters—but also by the different corps of angels. Such is the case of the “epochal angels… entrusted with the oversight and direction of the affairs of each generation” (114:6.5, 1255.4), as well as “the religious guardians… endeavor to maintain the ideals… of moral values from one epoch to another… seeking to translate from one generation to another the imperishable values of the old and passing forms into the new and therefore less stabilized patterns of thought and conduct.” (114:6.7, 1255.6) This guidance, of course, will also be led by the 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.” (194:2.1, 2060.6)
- Consciously embracing a program to transmit the teachings of The Urantia Book to the younger generations so that we would “…dare to espouse the Master’s program,… so that “thousands of apparently indifferent youths would rush forward to enlist in such a spiritual undertaking, and they would not hesitate to go all the way through with this great adventure.” (195:10:10, 2085.2)
- Including children and teenagers in different Urantia events, meetings, and conferences held in local, regional, and international environments, for the “…gospel of the kingdom belongs …even to the little children.” (191:6.2, 2044.3)
- Providing enough quality material based on the teachings of The Urantia Book, to support the education of children and families, using the methods and patterns in which Jesus taught his disciples and others; that is, always drawing out the best in each person and reinforcing their positive aspects, allowing self-esteem and self-value to grow within each of the individuals he made contact with—from the most humble one to the most cold-hearted and authoritative.
- Adapting the teachings to a friendly and attractive format for children and teenagers (using tools such as pictures and drawings, various kinds of visual information, informational graphics, mental maps and visual organizers.) “True religion… does not oppose the intelligent efforts of society to adapt its usages and adjust its institutions to new…conditions and cultural requirements.” (99:0.2, 1086.2) “…you must always make a difference in teaching so as to suit your presentation of truth to the minds and hearts before you.” (151:3.1, 1691.4)
- Compiling the material for children and teenagers, that might already exist, in an organized way and in different languages, and
- Creating new material in that sense.
- Enlisting collaborators and volunteers interested in working with children and teenagers in a variety of tasks such as administrative, organizational, educative, as well as hands-on experiences, facilitating workshops, dynamics, role-play games, and others.
- Raising funds for giving way to all of the above actions.
As a final thought, if we review the general principles, ideas, and actions that we have discussed, they all outline the opportunities to cause each child’s soul to grow, to actualize their inner potentials, to allow their Thought Adjusters to guide and enlighten their minds, so that they will listen to the Father’s presence within, as a necessary step to developing their divine projects and walk the actual mission and adventure of eternity that begins on this planet, becoming as well, when growing up, torchbearers for the next generation. It is up to each child to choose his or her way to pursue this path, making unique contributions that will enrich the experience of God as the Supreme Being. But someday, in part thanks to your guidance, these children could fuse with their Thought Adjusters and actually meet the Father in Paradise.
Therefore, if you believe you could contribute in some manner to this magnificence task ahead—or if you are already doing it—please do not hesitate to contact us at: ubforchildren[at]urantia-association[dot]org
Check out Urantia Association International’s Events Calendar at http://urantia-association.org/events-list. Upcoming events can be viewed in a List or Calendar view.
Urantia Book reader events provide opportunities for students to gain a deeper understanding of the ideas and concepts presented in The Urantia Book and help to facilitate a personal commitment to the ideals of spiritual living. We hope you can make it to some of these events and experience the joys of meeting and studying with fellow readers.
If you’re planning a Urantia Book reader event in your region and would like help in promoting it, please send us your information and we’ll consider it for our Events Calendar.