Journal Editorial – May 2021

Welcome to the May 2021 edition of the Urantia Association’s Journal, a publication dedicated to the thoughts, observations, and experiences of Urantia Book students from around the world. This edition offers a broad scope of ideas and reflections, including spiritual insights gained from personal tribulations, approaches to worship and service, tactful ideas for spreading the good news, and novel ways to introduce the ideals and ideas of The Urantia Book to younger generations.

Our first article, No Appointments, No Disappointments: Adversity and the Authentic Self, is a moving and thoughtful piece by Christopher Ross, who describes his tragic experience with a partner who was a spiritual seeker like himself but who could not find happiness in his own life. This sad event inspired him to closely examine his “authentic self” as well as “the mission of adversity and the spiritual value of disappointment” that God and his angels present to all of us in the course of our lives. How we deal with such problems, he concludes, is not by intellect alone but by a daily devotion of oneself to conscious union with God.

The second article, Making Worship and Service the Center of Our Lives by Kathleen Swadling, takes a close look at how we internalize concepts of worship and service, as well as how we can incorporate a meaningful, daily practice of worship and service in our lives. She reminds us of the central role worship plays in any spiritual progress, “worship is really the fountain head, the fundamental premise from which everything else of spiritual value springs.” In particular, Kathleen stresses the point that our relationship with our Father is like any relationship of love; you have to work at it. And this work includes not only worship but also an attitude of sincerity, making the right choices, sharing our lives with God and, just as importantly, offering our loving services to others.

Our third paper, Preparing for Spontaneity by Chris Wood, addresses the methods by which we attempt to share the teachings of The Urantia Book with others, especially those unfamiliar with it. The subtitle of his article, The Necessary Work to Avoid Sounding Crazy, sums it up nicely. I’m sure that many of us, if not all of us, who are greatly enthused by this revelation have encountered awkward situations whenever we attempt to share brilliant quotes from the book. Indeed, we can sound crazy. But Chris has some good advice on how to present the teachings in a way that is both tactful and effective.

And finally, our fourth article, Millennials and the Church:  An Important Lesson for the Urantia Movement by Bruce Jackson, addresses an issue that many of us Urantia Book old-timers have long pondered—where are all the young folk? But this is the same question that most religious institutions are asking today, and I would go so far as to say that it is not just religions suffering this fate of indifference but almost any organization, including service clubs such as Kiwanis International, or even local photography clubs. Bruce takes a look at the considerable research Christian organizations and research centers have conducted in an attempt to understand why millennials are so complacent about joining religious groups and he then applies the same reasoning to people in the Urantia movement. These are thoughts to ponder if we seriously wish to engage our youth in the fifth epochal revelation.

No Appointments, No Disappointments

Adversity and the Authentic Self

(Adapted and updated from a presentation given at The Mission of Adversity and the Spiritual Value of Disappointment Virginia-Carolina Association Annual Mini-Conference, 2018.)

“That Saturday night the Master talked for more than an hour to the assembled groups on ‘The mission of adversity and the spiritual value of disappointment.’ This was a memorable occasion, and his hearers never forgot the lesson he imparted.” [Paper 51:0.1, page 1688.1 emphasis added]

In 1985, when I moved in with my first male partner, we had known each other for only two weeks. And in those two weeks, we had probably been together no more than two or three times. But Owen gave me a key to his apartment almost immediately; thus, when my marriage fell apart rather abruptly and my now ex-wife asked me to leave, I knew exactly where I would go.

Over the next weeks and months, as Owen and I got to know each other, I learned that his taste in books included A Course in Miracles, along with Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon, a retelling of the legend of King Arthur from the female point of view, Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization, and The Seth Material. Seth claimed to be a spiritual teacher who spoke through author Jane Roberts while she was in trance.

Owen read and reread these books over and over, underlining with a dull red pencil. It occurs to me now that I never saw him meditate or pray, just read and reread these books with his little red pencil.

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Making Worship and Service the Center of Our Lives

(Adapted from a presentation given at the Australia and New Zealand Association Annual Conference in Tasmania, 2010)

We spend a lot of time getting a good grip on the definition of worship and service.  And if I’m to write about “making worship and service the center of our lives” then I’d better concentrate on exploring the hows and wherefores of practicalizing and internalizing the profound truths we discover on these topics through our study of the book.

The key to serving others—to being a dynamically useful individual in the world—is our personal relationship with the Father. I wonder how many of us, on a consistent basis, actually make a point of devoting regular times slots for going off on our own to a quiet place where we won’t be disturbed, to communicate with the Father—to pray and worship. I’d like to raise my hand and say “I do” but if I’m to be truly honest with you I must say that, while I would ideally like to be more regular and consistent, it’s sometimes a bit like trying to allow regular times to exercise—sometimes I get all fired up and establish a regular routine, while other times I let it slip and get out of the habit. 

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Preparing for Spontaneity

The Necessary Work to Avoid Sounding Crazy

(Adapted from a presentation given at the first 24-hour online event in March 2020.)

We have a problem in the Urantia community. We are in danger of becoming an isolated tribe on an isolated world. If we do not constantly adapt the language we use to the cultures around us, then we will further isolate ourselves and fail to bring the true teachings of Jesus to the world.

I am a philosopher by training. My favorite course to teach was Introduction to Philosophy. Introductory courses translate a subject’s ideas into common language, while in-depth courses teach you a new language to better develop these ideas. I liked the idea of taking what might literally be a lifetime of work and dedication and cutting it down to one hour’s worth of reading and one hour’s worth of lecture. You have to provide enough of a hook to each subject that it might grab the attention of a student, enough depth that it will show the worthiness of dedicating a career to its study, enough hints at future studies to give those students paths forward, but also enough of a structure and closure that the 99% of students who listen and are not fascinated can still recall later in life, “Oh, yeah, utilitarianism. It’s great for group decision making but I think it’s flawed as an individual moral system.”

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Millennials and the Church

An Important Lesson for the Urantia Movement

Bruce Jackson

The internet is full of articles, research, and advice concerning the serious loss of the millennial generation to the Christian church rosters around the world and in North America and Europe in particular.  The exodus of young adults from churches is nothing new, but it has become increasingly acute in the past decade and is a major concern of many churches and denominations.  The Urantia movement is confronting much the same situation in our study groups and institutions.

First, I must make the following disclaimer.  I have shared information with Jesusonians concerning what is happening within Christendom in recent years.  I have often been met with the response that what happens in Christian churches is not relevant to our Urantia movement.  I have found that for some readers, there is little understanding of what is going on in modern Christian churches due to an over reliance on the analysis of Christianity found in Paper 195 (and in other sections). 

With the knowledge that the writing of The Urantia Book was completed in 1934, and when we apply an understanding of the history of Christianity during the early 20th Century, it becomes clear that The Urantia Book’s perspective was skewed by the events in Christendom at that time.  Throughout the early 20th century, the Christian church was struggling with the emergence of extreme strains of fundamentalism resulting from such theories as atonement doctrine, prosperity theology, and claims of biblical inerrancy. The modern Christian church has undergone significant changes in the intervening 80+ years as they advance enlightened theologies and vigorous social consciousness movements that are not reflected in the text of The Urantia Book.

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President’s Message – March 2021

It has been a true honor to serve Urantia Association for the last eight years. I have been blessed to help guide this group of global, loving, God-seeking people as they have come together for the common purpose of sharing an epochal revelation.  

Right now, I am reminded of a Raymond Carver poem about a spring of water that gradually grows into a river and eventually merges into the ocean. Cathy Jones, one of the key pioneers in the formation of Urantia Association worked tirelessly to unite a scattered group of springs into a stream. Gaetan Charland, our first President, dedicated his efforts into guiding this stream as it grew, and with a leap of faith, he handed that work over and allowed me the joy of shaping this growing global movement. And now I see us racing toward the river ahead and it is with supreme confidence in the future that I am handing the office of President over to Enrique Traver from Brazil. 

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Update – 11th Urantia Association Conference – A Virtual Experience

Towards Cosmic Citizenship… Your Time Has Come!

Due to the pandemic, unfortunately you won’t be able to come to Cusco, Peru but Cusco can come to you in your homes via a virtual unforgettable experience. Don’t miss this upcoming 11th Urantia Association International Conference on 24 – 25 April 2021.

Uniting continents, we will have speakers and workshop ifacilitators of various ages from all over the world with presentations translated into four languages (English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese) as well as workshops being provided in those four languages.

Program

Day 1: Sonship with God, Cosmic Citizenship, and Planetary Evolution

Conference Opening
Words from Urantia Association International President – Enrique Traver (Brazil)

Welcoming to Peru & Introduction

How Do Ancient Cultures Provide Opportunities to Inspire Cosmic Citizenship?
by Lourdes Burga-Cisneros – Urantia Peru Association President (Cusco, Peru).

Cusco, Peru, is a site with traces of the blood of Adam and Eve who hoped to spread a spiritual message; whose footsteps we could wisely follow with the help of the Spirit of Truth.

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Fourth 24-hour Urantiathon – Faith, Joy, and Peace

Image de Gerd Altmann

As the Coronavirus lingers—keeping many of us locked down in isolation—we felt it was time to bring our Urantia Book reader community together again to nourish our souls and discuss our favorite book. Another incredible 24-hour virtual event was held over the weekend of 24 – 25 January where we enjoyed presentations from around the world and engaged in stimulating discussions. With Faith, Joy, and Peace being our topics of focus, this experience was spiritually uplifting and soul nourishing. We were even treated to a preview of the program for the virtual International Conference in Peru this April with the theme Towards Cosmic Citizenship—Your Time Has Come.   

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Iberoamerican Urantiathon

Along the same lines as the previous 24-hour Urantiathons, Urantia Association International hosted Iberoamerican Urantiathon on 28 – 29 November, 2020. This time the webinars were presented in Spanish and Portuguese with simultaneous translations into English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

The program featured 19 hour-long presentations offered by students from Brazil, Spain, Venezuela, Ecuador, USA, Australia, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, and Guatemala. 

The Latin-American community gathered together to listen to presentations from members of the new Iberoamerican generation of Urantia Book students as well as experienced students who offered valuable lessons about themes so diverse as “Kingdom of Heaven,” “From Tribe to Cosmic Citizenship,” “The Spheres of Light and Life,” “Beauty, Art, and Spirituality,” and “The Goodness and Beauty of Truth.” We also listened to motivating experiences about the path of spiritual growth. 

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Spiritualizing Everyday Life

Interview with Isabel Reinoso Manrique, President of Urantia Association Colombia 

Isabel, what new project are you considering for this time of “pandemic?” 

Because of the obligatory lock-down, we set out to organize virtual study groups. I learned a lot of new technology with great results. Originally, I had a single study group and now I have seven virtual study groups during the week, and every Friday at 7:00pm I give an introductory talk on The Urantia Book for new readers interested in the book. 

Now, considering that our reality has changed forever, several Urantia Book reader friends feel we need to develop “transition communities” and correct the mistakes we made when we first created the ecovillages.* 

These “transition communities” that we are creating represent a middle ground that allows us, on the one hand, to take advantage of all that Mother Nature can offer, such as healthy eating and an outdoor life, yet on the other hand offers all the advantages of technology and progress, as long as it does not adversely affect the well-being of the planet, its peoples, and societies. 

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Dancing with God – Living in Love in Trying Times Online Retreat

After more than 15 months without being able to meet, we wondered if it would be possible to create the proper atmosphere in an online retreat. 

The four of us, the Daughters of God, had to do the experiment first, and assess the possible discomfort or technical difficulties before gathering a small group in “the cloud!” With a touch of this new retreat experience on Zoom, and more preparation on our part, our plan was put into action! 

We invited women who had already participated in one of our retreats in order to get a better sense of how the interaction could happen when we’re on Zoom and when we look at the screen and don’t really know who is really being addressed. Since these attendees already knew how the in-person retreats worked, they should be able to adjust their participation to the small screen. 

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Focus on the Father – Stop Resisting

The Teaching

The secret of his unparalleled life was this consciousness of the presence of God; and he attained it by intelligent prayer and sincere worship—unbroken communion with God—and not by leadings, voices, visions, or extraordinary religious practices. [Paper 196.0, page 2089.0] 

The Takeaway  

The consciousness of the presence of God is the secret of the most unparalleled religious life that was ever lived by a human in this universe. And this holy attainment was attained by intelligent prayer and sincere worship—unbroken communion with God.  

The Personal Plan  

Think about God all the time, as often as you can remember. Don’t be anxious as to the exact contents of those thoughts—have faith that your onboard divine interpreter will adjust them. The heavenly marching orders are: “Be you perfect” and we have all been taught that practice makes perfect.  

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Derivative Works – Novels by Rick Warren

The Urantia Book encourages us to be creative in the way we share our understanding of truth. And the number of study aids and derivative works produced by creative and imaginative students of the book is staggering.  

Rick (or Richard) Warren, long time student and scholar of The Urantia Book and loyal supporter of Urantia Association International, is a prolific writer of novels that classify as “derivative works” of the Urantia revelation. Rick served on the Association’s ISB as Dissemination Chair and was later a member of the Communications Committee until a few years ago when he resigned and told us he needed to focus his time and energy on writing a book. That book turned out to be Resurrection Hall—A Mansion World Odyssey, the first in a series of novels he has been producing ever since.   

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International Service Board News

In December, members of the International Representative Council (IRC) met to conduct elections for several International Service Board (ISB) positions that are currently held by members whose terms are due to expire 1 April 2021 (Officer terms on the ISB are for four years and members may serve for a maximum of two terms).  

The two positions of President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) held by Chris Wood and Bradley Tharpe respectively need new officers as Chris and Brad have served their two terms and need to step down. The other positions are held by officers whose first terms have expired; all agreed to run for a second terms. We are pleased to announce the results of these elections as follows: 

President: Enrique Traver (Brazil) 
CFO: Jay Peregrine (USA) 
Conference Chair: Antonio Schafer (Netherlands) 
Membership Chair: Fernando Maldonado (Mexico) 
Education Chair: Jeannie Vazquez (Uruguay) 
Translations Chair: Gabriel Rymberg (Israel) 

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About Tidings Newsletter

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, and the Representative Council. 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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Ways to Donate to Urantia Association International

Artist: Carlos Rubinsky

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.  

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!  

Here is a selection of ways to donate to Urantia Association: 

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Program for 24-Hour Urantiathon

Faith, Joy, & Peace

The countdown has begun for our next 24-hour online Urantiathon which will take place starting Saturday January 30, 2021 UTC time. To help coordinate our watches, the event will begin at the following times across the globe:

New York: Friday 29th Jan 7:00 PM to Saturday 7:00 PM
Amsterdam: Saturday 30th Jan 1:00 AM to Sunday 1:00 AM
Sydney: Saturday 30th Jan 11:00 AM to Sunday 11:00 AM
Sao Paulo: Friday 29th Jan 9:00 PM to Saturday 9:00 PM

The program is still incomplete so keep checking this space in for updates.

Sao PauloNew YorkSydneyAmsterdamPresenterTopic
Fri to SatFri to SatSat to SunSat to Sun
9:00pm7:00pm11:00am1:00amMarjorie Ray (USA)Comfort & Joy!… More Than a Christmas Carol (English)
10:00pm8:00pm12:00pm2:00amDavid Kulieke (USA)Evolution (English)
11:00pm9:00pm1:00pm3:00amUUI Cafe (Global)Trinitized Sons of God (English)
12:00am10:00pm2:00pm4:00amUUI Cafe (Global)Trinitized Sons of God (English)
1:00am11:00pm3:00pm5:00amSuzanne Kelly (USA)The Taiwanese Community(English)
2:00am12:00am4:00pm6:00amMarion Steward (New Zealand)The Challenges of Diversity – the Never-Ending Adventure (English)
3:00am1:00am5:00pm7:00amMerindi Swadling (Australia)Imagination (English)
4:00am2:00am6:00pm8:00amAreke van Tuijl (Netherlands)Celebration of Spiritual Growth (English)
5:00am3:00am7:00pm9:00amManuela Tornow (Germany)Joy (English)
6:00am4:00am8:00pm10:00amAde Awoyinka (England)Credit Where Credit is Due: Do You Dare to Draw on Your Personality Credits? (English)
7:00am5:00am9:00pm11:00amOlga Lopez
(Spain)
The Pursuit of Happiness and The Urantia Book Teachings (English)
8:00am6:00am10:00pm12:00pmGuy Perron, Agnes Lazar  (Belgium)The Two Sides of Spiritual Progress (English)
9:00am7:00am11:00pm1:00pmBarry Culligan (Ireland)Faith, Joy, Peace, and Revelation (English)
10:00am8:00am12:00am2:00pmAnna Zeven (Netherlands)Faith, the True Savior (English)
11:00am9:00am1:00am3:00pmMairam Durand (Peru)Este es el verdadero creyente (Spanish & English)
12:00pm10:00am2:00am4:00pmLourdes Burga-Cisneros (Peru)En búsqueda del gozo del existir consciente (Spanish & English)
1:00pm11:00am3:00am5:00pmLourdes Burga-Cisneros (Peru)En búsqueda del gozo del existir consciente (Spanish & English)
2:00pm12:00pm4:00am6:00pmTapio Pulli (Estonia)About Secularism (English)
3:00pm1:00pm5:00am7:00pmRamiro Jarkin (Mexico)Determinaciones en amor/Decisions of Love (Spanish & English)
4:00pm2:00pm6:00am8:00pmNemias Mol (Brasil)Cada vez mais branco (Portuguese, Spanish & English)
5:00pm3:00pm7:00am9:00pmCarlos Gil, Isabel Reinoso (Colombia)Un ideal de vida (Spanish & English)
6:00pm4:00pm8:00am10:00pmGard Jameson (USA)(English)
7:00pm5:00pm9:00am11:00pmDr James Perry (USA)The Experiential Consideration of Faith, Peace, and Joy (English)
8:00pm6:00pm10:00am12:00amPato Banton, Antoinette Rootsdawtah (USA)Celebrations & Loving Conversations with Pato & Antoinette (English)

24-Hour Urantiathon – Faith, Joy, & Peace

Saturday 30 January, 2021 (UTC time)

Only a few more days to go before our next 24-hour online Urantiathon! This event will take place starting Saturday January 30, 2021 UTC time. To help coordinate our watches, the event will begin at the following times across the globe:

New York: Friday 29th 7:00 PM to Saturday 7:00 PM
Amsterdam: Saturday 1:00 AM to Sunday 1:00 AM
Sydney: Saturday 11:00 AM to Sunday 11:00 AM
Sao Paulo: Friday 9:00 PM to Saturday 9:00 PM

As a light appears at the end of this Covid-19 tunnel, the Urantia Community is coming together once again to offer an extraordinary online event to bring people together. This event will include presentations from around the world, a peak at the program for the International Conference in Peru this April, and a special combination of the Urantiathon and UUI Cafe. 

This conference will be interactive via Zoom and will include presentations, discussions, and group studies of The Urantia Book.

This event will be livestreamed to Facebook so you may view it there. It will also be recorded, and the presentations will be available on Urantia Association’s YouTube channel for those who want to catch up outside of the scheduled times.

Scroll down to see the Program so far. It’s still a work in progress; the final copy will be sent out before the conference begins.

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President’s Message – December 2020

This year has provided a lot of time at home with my family. And not just that quality time that everyone likes to talk about, but big solid chunks of quantity time. I have watched my ten and eight year old sons adjust to this year of isolation with good cheer and acceptance, but at the same time I recognize that they are becoming wound up like a coil and when this pandemic lifts they will spring out into the world with untold energy. 

There’s a question the kids often ask my wife and me in a variety of ways which ultimately boils down to, “Why does God let people die? Why doesn’t he let everyone live forever?” And we try to answer it the best we can. We try answers like, “People don’t really die, just their bodies do,” but that doesn’t really answer their questions. We then try to get them to see things from God’s perspective by using an analogy like, “Each morning we make them change their clothes, and although it can be a challenge at times, we don’t feel bad for the set of discarded clothes. Well, God thinks of our bodies in a similar way.” He cares about us, but he doesn’t mind when we need to change our bodies. I don’t know if that really helps the kids or not, but it sure gets me thinking about what mortality looks like from God’s perspective. How does God view this year of Covid? How do our seraphic guardians view this challenge?

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11th Urantia Association International Conference 2021 – A Virtual Experience

April 24 to 25, 2021

Image by Carlos Chirinos

For many, the CV-19 pandemic has caused havoc, and for those of us in Urantia Peru who have been organizing the planned 2021 Urantia Association International conference in Cusco (Peru) for a long time, it has clearly presented a great challenge. However, it has also presented us with a great opportunity. This crisis has allowed us to analyze the important reasons why we should not cancel this international conference that has been in the planning stages since 2017.

Just as the Father guides us in different ways along our spiritual journey, with his help we have been able to find another way to produce this conference by adapting to the changed circumstances.  

We saw that the theme chosen for this international conference—Towards Cosmic Citizenship, Your Time Has Come—could be just as successfully addressed in a virtual format. By doing this, it means a larger number of readers and friends of The Urantia Book from every part of the world can attend and be connected with one another. In addition, we can now call on new speakers and workshop facilitators from distant countries—people who may not have be able to attend a face-to-face event.

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