Tidings – September 2021
In This Issue
Enrique Traver, Brazil
Reading The Urantia Book always amazes me. No matter how many times I read the same paragraph, I often find new meaning—a new revelation and then wonder how I hadn’t seen those meanings and values in my previous readings.
It confirms to me that a revelation can only be perceived when one is ready to see or feel it. Perhaps we are not ready to understand or perceive certain things until we have had certain experiences—ones that enable us to comprehend a message with the intended value no matter how many times the message previously crossed our eyes, our ears and our brain. The “evolutionary” construction of the book is also evident in our day-to-day lives with the many different issues we deal with on a daily basis and the understandings we reach in any given moment.
Indeed, a revelation implies that it is a subject we learn because someone revealed it to us, it is something that we wouldn’t be able to find out by ourselves simply because it is a matter that we can’t calculate, prove, or discover through our normal senses once it includes a reality beyond the reality we perceive. However, simply having someone tell us about it does not necessarily mean that we will capture it since we may not be ready yet to understand it at that moment. The conditions aren’t right yet for us to grasp their true meaning. But, once the right conditions are there, we can feel it, it is logical, it makes sense. For that reason, it will only impact us if we immediately perceive a value or a meaning in it.
Sometimes I catch myself thinking about how I would explain, for instance, to a Roman soldier, the features of a smart mobile phone. How much credibility would that soldier give me, and how much interest would I inspire to enable him to perceive the value of that fantastic revelation?
It also comes to my mind that perhaps this explains why service is so important for disseminating the Urantia Book teachings. It’s certainly difficult to start up a dissemination conversation about the Supreme Being, for instance. It may have the same impact on the audience as my cell phone would have on a Roman soldier. However, I guess anyone can understand and may be receptive to my willingness to serve, to be cooperative. Properly done it can bring comfort, trust and confidence, feelings that may give us the chance to approach the teachings from a receptive point of interest and grow from there.
I hope this reflection is inspiring and identifies opportunities to perform our mission of disseminating the Urantia Book teachings around the world through our dedicated services.
Inspirations of the Urantia Revelation—Beauty, Art, Music, and Expressions of the Soul
Urantia Association International produced yet another successful 24-hour Urantiathon held over the weekend of 7th August 2021. This time we tried something different where we joined with artists from all over the world who shared their creative works inspired by the teachings of The Urantia Book. Each artist presented uniquely different creations, so the entire weekend was truly filled with “Expressions from the Soul.” Thank you to each and every one of you who shared your wonderful talents.
The conference was held via Zoom and live-streamed to the Association’s Facebook page. Over 850 people from all continents tuned in from the comfort of their homes to experience the diversity of creative talents. Presenters hailed from many different countries including Argentina, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, and other countries in Latin America.
Simultaneous translations for English, Spanish, and Portuguese were provided during certain segments. Thank you once again to those amazing translators who again served tirelessly for hours at a time to make it possible for more people to experience the diversity of presentations. Also thank you to those who volunteered to host the various segments to ensure there was always someone fresh and able to keep this around-the-clock event on track. And of course, a big thank you to all of those loyal and industrious volunteers who worked so hard in the preceding weeks and months to make this event happen.
If you were unable to attend, missed anything, or simply wish to revisit a presentation, you can view the recordings in the video section of our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/urantia.association/videos/
Also, the presentations will eventually be available on our YouTube channel. Keep checking in at: https://www.youtube.com/c/UrantiaAssociationInternational/playlists and click on the relevant Playlist.
Jeannie Vázquez, Uruguay
The 24-hour Artists' Urantiathon was a new and fantastic experience for me. Our community of readers and students of The Urantia Book proved to be intermixed with many accomplished artists.
The inspiration of the revelation was manifested in their magnificent, creative, and beautiful works, which included music, paintings, digital art, comedy, and literature. We also shared some sublime Urantia teachings because, as my dear friend Irma Aguilar said, "The revelation transforms men."
And it is true; the revelation transforms us by giving us a greater cosmic consciousness and a knowledge of universal reality. When we live the divine teachings, loving God and Jesus, we are spiritually transformed.
This Urantiathon was a one-of-a-kind event. I think it's of great value to share the art inspired by the revelation. The love for our Father and his divine truth has stimulated many artists to create music, songs, paintings, literature, videos, beautiful images, and other artworks that reveal the inner spirit's action in their beauty and harmony. Exhibiting this art is an excellent way to inspire our community of truth-seekers to look inside for strength and courage in these difficult times.
Living our lives in an elevated, inspired, and spiritualized way is also an art. That is why we could not miss in this Urantiathon one of the essential teachings of Jesus and the revelators—to improve the art of living, growing in love, kindness, and wisdom through worshipful communion.
Said Rodan of Alexandria:
Jesus has taught us that God lives in man; then how can we induce man to release these soul-bound powers of divinity and infinity? How shall we induce men to let go of God that he may spring forth to the refreshment of our own souls while in transit outward and then to serve the purpose of enlightening, uplifting, and blessing countless other souls? How best can I awaken these latent powers for good which lie dormant in your souls? [Paper 160:3.1, page 1777.2]
Jesus taught his followers:
Worship… makes one increasingly like the being who is worshiped. Worship is a transforming experience whereby the finite gradually approaches and ultimately attains the presence of the Infinite. [Paper 146:2.17, page 1641.1]
Prayer, as taught in The Urantia Book, has an ever-increasing spiritualizing and ennobling effect on us because it is accompanied by worship. This receptive phase nourishes our soul with divine gifts in an ideal way. This silent, effortless, receptive phase is what leads us to the contact of worshipful communion with God—the Adjuster in our superconsciousness.
The Father's supreme mandate to us, the perfect expression of God's will that sums up the entire ascending path, is "Be you perfect, even as I am perfect" [1:0.3]. To become perfect as the Father is perfect, we need to find him within us and strive to be like him, transforming and vitalizing our soul with the bread of life—the living truth, the eternal word of God—and receiving the water of life of the Spirit of Truth that nourishes and vivifies the soul, quenching our spiritual thirst.
These works of art and the shared, divine teachings are a balm to our soul, and I hope they gave the attendees an impulse to worship and to feel inspired to live increasingly the divine teachings, to be loving and spiritualized persons.
Thank you to all the artists who cheered us and inspired us with their works! May our Heavenly Father bless you abundantly for your love and generosity.
Education Committee of Urantia Foundation Calls for Proposals
Science: The Interface of Evolution and Revelation
Thursday, June 16, to Sunday, June 19, 2022
Since the last Science Symposium in November 2019, scientific discoveries have continued to expand and excite public consciousness. A worldwide pandemic and its aftermath propelled mRNA, CRISPR-Cas9, and the benefits of genetic research into the mainstream. A recent study published by a Smithsonian anthropologist used ancient DNA to trace modern South Asian ancestry back to early hunter-gatherers of Iran. Scientists released the largest 3D map of the universe ever created, producing measurements of more than two million galaxies and quasars. The current worldview of an expanding universe continues to approach that of revealed cosmology, which describes a universe revolving about God on Paradise.
This symposium will delve into the dual perspectives of current science and The Urantia Book, exploring ways in which evolution continues to approach revelation. We are seeking presenters from the fields of anthropology, archaeology, biology, chemistry, cosmology, paleontology, philosophy, physics, planetology, psychology, and related fields.
If you are interested in preparing and presenting a paper, please contact [email protected] for dates, deadlines, and submission requirements.
The symposium will be held at Urantia Foundation in Chicago, Illinois, USA, and will be broadcast live to the public. Where travel is prohibitive, presenters may elect to attend via Zoom.
All human progress is effected by a technique of conjoint revelational evolution. [Paper 196:3.15, page 2094.14]
Gabriel Rymberg, Israel
Sharing Jesus' life and teachings and building a temple of the unseen Father near the Sea of Galilee
The Center for Unity is a live endeavor, and the concept has been changing and evolving. Seven years ago, I woke up and right before I opened my eyes, I saw the Sea of Galilee just like this picture. While there was no doubt in my mind it was the Sea of Galilee, nothing else was clear.
Several months later, a friend from Switzerland came to visit and asked me to take her sightseeing around the Sea of Galilee. We went hiking around the Mount of Beatitudes and climbed a hill. When we reached the top, I was staring down at the Sea of Galilee, and it looked exactly as in my dream.That’s when a vague idea started to take place. I felt as if I wanted to do something in connection with the location of the Sea of Galilee but kept asking myself what my next step would be; I have been asking myself that question ever since. I would ask and then listen to see if I could get some clarity that might indicate that “this is the way.”
In 2016, the emerging idea of the Center for Unity was called Urantia Holy Land Pilgrim Center. It was to be a top-notch hotel and conference facility. By early 2017, the words “a temple for our Father” came to mind.
The hotel and conference center proved to be a dead-end. We tried to acquire land to build a hotel and we even prepared a detailed business plan to finance it, only to realize that what we really wanted to build was a temple for the Father, a house of worship.
As I write these words, I’m filled with the joy of knowing that if this is our Father’s will, and if this is the right time, in less than five years we will inaugurate on Earth the third temple of the unseen Father.
I started sharing this vision and found people were attracted to it and wanted to contribute. Yet the vision was still blurry, and I was confused. And so were the people I attracted. Suffice to say we had some very challenging team meetings before I pulled the plug and resorted to waiting for more clarity.
By July 2017, the second piece of the puzzle presented itself. Alongside the temple, there would be a Multimedia Center dedicated to spreading the Master’s teachings to all people, highlighting the existing unity in all faiths, an immersion in personal experience, and sharing the Master’s teachings as they are reflected in those various faiths.
Yet that was not the last word. A larger vision was waiting to emerge. In March 2020, the entire world went into lockdown due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In one day, the entire world economy slowed, and so did almost all travel. A year and half later travel had somewhat bounced back but still, the number of pilgrims arriving to the Sea of Galilee is only about ten percent of pre-pandemic levels. How long before things get back to the “new normal” is anyone’s guess.
The next piece of the puzzle had to do with making the “Multimedia Center” accessible online, to anyone in the world. It is now called the Jesus Metaverse (which, according to a Nvidia Blog, means “...a shared virtual 3D world, or worlds, that are interactive, immersive, and collaborative.”)
It is now August 2021, and we have concrete plans and a team to actualize this dream. We will soon share the full details of the Center for Unity with the Urantia Book student community.
For more information visit our website at: thecenterforunity.org or email us at: [email protected].
Mark Blackham, Canada
It is difficult to escape anxiety and fear in the modern age. If we focus on the news of the world, Urantia appears forever in a state of chaos, with threats of war, a withering climate, oceans of plastic, corrupt governments, poverty, and racial strife.
We cannot deny the truth of these calamities. But the truth has been greatly exaggerated. Despite all the doom and gloom, Urantia civilization continues to make significant advances. Granted, there has been much suffering along the way and we have a long way to go on the path to perfection, but we should at least recognize and celebrate the many achievements to date.
This positive trend is revealed in the data. A few recent publications on the topic are Factfulness by Hans Rosling (2018), Progress, Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future by Johan Norberg (2016), and Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker (2019). These are far from being spiritual works, in fact, they are decidedly material and secular in their approach. Nonetheless, the facts are there for all to see.
What these publications emphasize is that, in every major category, the world has improved. There has been a significant reduction in poverty worldwide, birth rates are dropping, education for girls is almost universal, deaths from accidents and natural disasters have dropped dramatically, life expectancies have increased worldwide, hunger and starvation is almost eliminated, and infrastructure greatly improved in all countries. The facts and figures clearly demonstrate that a lot has been accomplished, and it's likely that much credit is due the Most Highs and the seraphim.
The Most Highs rule in the kingdoms of men through many celestial forces and agencies but chiefly through the ministry of seraphim. [Paper 114:0.1, page 1250.1]
The rule of the Most Highs, … is a rule designed to foster the greatest good to the greatest number of all men and for the greatest length of time. [Paper 134:5.4, page 1488.2]
Hans Rosling tests our knowledge with a number of simple quiz questions about the state of the world and finds that, in almost every country, most people get them wrong—they consistently select the most negative answers. There are a number of reasons why we are reluctant to accept the encouraging facts, an ailment he calls "the negativity instinct."
Chief among the causes is the news media, which should come as no surprise. In a world motivated by profit, there is no money in good news, and the result is a barrage of terrible news, a relentless stream of horror and negativity. It's no wonder the only future that many can conceive is a terrifying and dysfunctional dystopia.
Anxiety must be abandoned. The disappointments hardest to bear are those which never come. [Paper 48:7.21, page 557.5]
Despite the exaggerated troubles around the world, those of us saved by the truth of The Urantia Book have no such worries about the future of this planet, no matter what happens. Not only do we have the comforting words of our Creator Son, but in our personal spiritual journeys, we have our Thought Adjusters, the Spirit of Truth, and our guardian angels to guide us faithfully along the spirit path. And in the worldly realms, we have the Most Highs, the Melchizedeks, and the master seraphim. These spirit forces work relentlessly to improve civilization on Urantia. And they are having considerable success.
Coupled with our ignorance (or avoidance) of the facts, is our limited viewpoint. It is difficult for us to envision a positive and progressive evolution if we insist on viewing world events from a single lifetime. The truth is revealed in the big picture; the long-term history of events. Recall that before we leave our system capital of Jerusem, we will be "…quite familiar with the history of Satania and its 619 inhabited worlds" [48:6.31]. Clearly, history is important, not just on this planet, but on the worlds to come. It is a factor of cosmic wisdom just as much as personal knowledge, life experiences, and insights are factors of worldly wisdom.
There are many good reasons for students of The Urantia Book to remain positive—to maintain a steadfast faith in the goodness and love of God.
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]
…mankind is on the march toward higher evolutionary destinies. [Paper 71:8.15, page 807.11]
[Jesus] sought to make it clear that the world is not to be regarded as an enemy; that the circumstances of life constitute a divine dispensation working along with the children of God. [Paper 140:8.3, page 1579.5]
With improved technology, comes increasing exposure to the sufferings and troubles of the world, which is the entire focus of the news media. Therefore, keeping a balanced outlook requires making critical assessments. As Rosling says, "Things can be both better and bad." We should put progress into perspective by looking at how much has been achieved while not losing sight of what more can be attained.
…be not mindful of those things which foster your anxiety but rather at all times concern yourselves only with doing the will of the Father who is in heaven. [Paper 137:1.6, page 1525.3]
Any portrayal of fear or anxiety on our part is but a reflection of our lack of faith in God's divine dispensation. It also greatly diminishes any of our personal work to uplift the spiritual experiences of the individual. There will always be great challenges to improve the world and it's a sad fact that many suffer needlessly in life. We all want to change life on Urantia as best we can, to continue to work toward an age of light and life. But in God's great scheme of things, we must trust Jesus—there is nothing to worry about.
What he [Jesus] preached against was not forethought but anxiety, worry. [Paper 140:8.3, page 1579.5]
James Woodward, USA
Happiness and joy take origin in the inner life. You cannot experience real joy all by yourself. [Paper 111:4.7, page 1220.06]
There are two parts to this teaching, like two folds in the same cloth. The inner life vibrates to frequencies of psyche and spirit. Our bundle of spiritual attitudes (faith, self-forgetfulness, gratitude, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, etc.) determines our outlook and mood, and if we harmonize our psychic and spirit frequencies we vibrate with love.
Happiness and joy are the feeling fruits of loving relationships, the reward bestowed on real persons who desire to do real good for one another. And there are real spirit persons who wish to share in our inner lives, available to all of us according to our capacity for reception—our willingness to align our mindal frequencies and allow our thoughts to be spiritually adjusted. There is, after all, a divine pre-person dwelling in your inner life, a fragment of God bursting with a holy desire to do you good, to share the spiritual bounty of happiness and joy that resides (and resonates) in the circuitry of the divine.
The soul is pure. It is the divinely curated repository of one’s personally acquired truth, beauty, and goodness. No matter the accumulated dross and error of one’s material self, the immortal soul remains uncorrupted. It is the ember of love we cup in fragile hands; fearful it may be snuffed by the ill winds of adversity and betrayal. Not true! The Father of Lights beams that light into us; neither man nor any angel stands against the Almighty Power implanted in the soul. So, we relax in faith and trust, open wide the holy aperture, that the bright divinity may fertilize our growing soul and its radiant love may shine out upon our fellows.
The real happiness and joy we experience is always a shared experience. When we desire to do good for our spirit friends, we realize mutual love in our inner lives; when we desire to do good for our human friends, we likewise realize mutual love in our inner lives, and it then spills into our outer lives. Fill until you spill.
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
- Special projects such as Book Fairs, Library Placement, Outreach
- New or established study groups—how you got started—what keeps you going?
- Your annual meetings, picnics, or other social gatherings
- Send pictures
- 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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