In the mid 1990’s, I worshiped at an Episcopal church in New York’s Greenwich Village. Taking the same pew week after week, as most people do, I often found myself sitting near an older woman named Barbara. Each week during the prayer of consecration, when the priest said, “Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you,” he or she raised the host for all to see. The congregation, in response, made the sign of the cross. Barbara did that too, but invariably I also heard her whisper something. Likewise, when the chalice was raised, we made the sign of the cross and Barbara whispered something.
An imposing woman in her late seventies, Barbara had been very active and influential in the parish for many, many years. Her formality and her position on the Vestry rendered her completely unapproachable, exacerbated by her austere features and her hair, which I am convinced she kept in the freezer. More important, I did not want to appear ignorant or stupid or just plain nosy. I was relatively new to the church—a “baby Episcopalian,” as the Rector called me—and I didn’t want anyone to know how little I knew, even though I neither saw nor heard anyone else whispering. Therefore, instead of simply asking Barbara what she was mumbling under her breath, I tried each week to sit closer and closer to her, straining to hear what she was saying during the elevation of the elements. Thinking about it now, I wonder what Barbara thought was happening, as each week I seemed to be more and more interested in her!
I would like to share some ideas, as an introduction to a discussion, around this subject that unites us: “Being born of the Spirit and Spiritual Maturity.” It is about this human experience, so personal and singular, between every person and God.
Birth indicates the starting point of existence. To be born is to have an impulse, a life force, which inaugurates our coming into the world. And it continues and is expressed in biological and cultural life, through the succession of days, until the point of arrival – death.
As far as maturity is concerned, it shows the completion of a process of growth and satisfactory evolution, whether it be physical, intellectual, moral, or spiritual. Analogously, it is also the state of fruits, when they are ripe, after having reached their full development.
This small conceptual reminder allows us to better approach our theme, which relates two facts, which are birth and maturity, in relation to Spirit. We can say that the Spirit is the opposite of matter, that is, that which is placed within us, beyond̀ material or physical reality, but also its source, God, our Perfect Creator and our Finality.
More than ever, during these times of great world tension, I feel the urgency of our services to the Father and the brotherhood. By our services, I am not referring specifically to those of the Association’s legal entity, but to what it administers.
The fact that the Urantia Association International is a global organization can give people the impression that we are an institutional organization wanting to control their lives and dictate rules of behavior instead of being a welcoming center of harmony and unity, of help, support, and friendship.
I am a dedicated fan of the definition about who we are, as stated in the first paragraph of our website. See About Us – Who We Are.
Urantia Association International is a worldwide network of ordinary people who have found an extraordinary book—The Urantia Book. Students believe that the teachings of this book have the potential to rejuvenate spirituality in the world and enhance the comfort, happiness, and well-being of every person.
The special Youth Urantiathon organized by the Urantia Association International with Urantia Young Adults International (UYAI) and Youth and Young Adults (YaYAs) Committees on December 10th, 2022, was beautiful and amazing. It offered presentations by young students of The Urantia Book from all over the world on the theme “The Fruits of the Spirit.”
The program featured four sections, one for each continent, with presentations given by young Urantia Book students from Europe, Africa, Latin America, and North America, all of whom shared their unique reflections about The Urantia Book and their personal experiences with the teachings.
The European section included two students, Genny from England, who offered a video about a Urantia study session titled “From a seed, to a Fruit,” and Moria Habte from the Netherlands, who presented an online interactive game with questions based on The Urantia Book’s teachings, with several options for the participants to choose the correct answer.
The Prisoner Inquiry Response Team (PIRT) would like to share this beautiful art, an example of the value in fostering the study of The Urantia Book in prisons. The artist is Reinaldo Dennes and he is in a Texas prison. Reinaldo was introduced to The Urantia Book eight years ago by a fellow reader doing in-person prison ministry. Reinaldo remains a dedicated student whose heart is filled with love for God and the teachings.
If you would like to use Reinaldo’s art in your Urantia works, please Contact PIRT
There are several things about Jesus that we are often reminded of in The Urantia Book. Chief of these is how he revealed the Father in every aspect of his living. He did this by acting as if the Father were present in himself as well as the men and women he came into contact with all his life. This behavior reflects the living of a truth that we know as fact: we are indwelt with a (pre)personal representative of our Paradise Father. When a human behaves in a manner consistent with the faith / understanding of this truth / fact, a remarkable trait of character invariably assumes dominance in that personality. Such folks are said to be full of grace.
We hear the word grace a lot, but what does it mean? Consider some definitions: elegance or attractiveness of form, movement, manner, or attitude; mercy, favor, good will; God’s unmerited mercy toward mankind; influence of God’s spirit; condition of one who enjoys God’s special favor; trait of moral excellence. How about graceful: displaying beauty in form, manner, movement, or expression. And gracious: showing or bestowing goodness, kindness, or mercy. We find all the words synonymous with grace to be exclusively positive and harmonious; beautiful, favorable, kindly, benevolent, courteous.
This document is a compilation of the activities of the Progressive Divine Wisdom Group (PDWG) during 2022.
It is worth noting that the initiatives outlined in this progress report are a continuation of three meetings held as part of the Dakar summits of February 2018, February 2019 and February 2020. This report comes after the reports of 2020, 2021 and 2022, which have also been published.
The objective of these initiatives is to promote the Progressive Divine Wisdom method. This method, developed by Moussa Ndiaye, consists in facilitating the ownership of the truths of The Urantia Book through a teaching method based on an understanding and living experience as part of education and sharing. It is based on the model of the life and teachings of the Creator Son of our Local Universe, during his incarnation in the flesh.
Join others in learning the teachings of The Urantia Book. Young or old, new or advanced, we can all learn something new. Take the opportunity to share ideas and to learn from others in your ongoing quest for deeper meanings and values.
Presently, classes are being offered at Urantia Book International School and Urantia University Institute. See their courses below.
My latest study aid, Soul Evolution: Deeper Delvings into Divinity, is a more visual representation of concepts from The Urantia Book which give us a clearer idea of what it takes to transform ourselves and attain self-mastery. How to co-create our souls together with our Thought Adjuster and become more Godlike. God has given us all we need to do this, but we have to develop the courage to explore these unknown realms. We need persistent effort to make this shift of consciousness. We must commit to letting go of old ways of behaving and thinking to see the world and other people in new ways. We are transferring our souls to new vehicles and gaining a cosmic perspective and an eternal purpose. It takes eternity to become perfect, but we can begin that divine process now. One of the main purposes of The Urantia Book is the salvation of human souls.
My Journeys with Jesus—The Urantia Book is a five-minute video cleverly arranged by Gary Tonge and a team of writers, artists, and producers. Here is how it is described under the video in YouTube:
A young man, Ganid, reflects upon his time with Jesus when they toured the Mediterranean together with his father, Gonod. The details of this magnificent story of Jesus’ travels can be found in The Urantia Book and also in The Untold Story of Jesus: A Modern Biography from The Urantia Book (2019). Discover Jesus as never before, both as a divine Son and a human hero whose matchless life inspires, comforts, and transforms you.
My children, like most Christian children, were born and raised celebrating Christmas on December 25th. It was always a magnificent celebration, with all the family members participating happily and celebrating the birth of our Master and sharing the company among all. Furthermore, when they were little, all of them believed in Santa Claus and their happiness was greatly enhanced by the anticipation of the arrival of this sweet imaginary old man bearing presents. I took advantage of this belief of the little ones to bargain with them for good behavior and high performance at school throughout the year. I grew up that way and my kids did too.
At some point, the sweet old man ceased to exist in our lives, we ceased to be children, bringing disappointment, but at the same time, the joy of being together as a family remained, all gathered in fraternization and celebrating the birth of Jesus.
Over time, we learned that the important thing was always being together, celebrating our families and the birth of Jesus.
I invite you to consider a study group as a Circle of Trust. I became familiar with the term “Circle of Trust” back in 2004 with the publication of Parker Palmer’s book, A Hidden Wholeness. Our community has engaged a number of retreats using the tool kit of the Circle of Trust. Parker Palmer hails from the Quaker Tradition and shares in his book many insights of that tradition, which are in agreement with the teachings of Jesus. He quotes Rufus Jones, one of the human sources used in the development of The Urantia Book, who writes: “I pin my hopes to quiet processes and small circles, in which vital and transforming events take place.” In the history of the development of The Urantia Book there was a communication known as the Publication Mandate that the Forum studied very closely which states:
The book is being given to those who are ready for it long before the day of its world-wide mission. 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. [emphasis added]
(Editor’s note: The Urantia Association of Spain, Urantia Association International, and the European Organizing Committee worked hard to create this event in Southern Europe to unite the European Urantia Community once again for our third European Urantia Conference.)
The 3rd European Conference of Urantia Book readers was held at the Sol Don Pablo Hotel in Torremolinos (Malaga, Spain) from October 20 to 23. Almost 70 readers attended from different parts of Europe and the rest of the world (from Georgia in Eastern Europe to the United States and Argentina in the American continent). With summer temperatures, we were able to enjoy not only the weather, but also the good company of other readers and some activities related to the theme of the conference and the theme of self-mastery, to which several workshops were dedicated.
This third European conference was intended to have a practical focus, so that attendees would return home with new ideas and tools to improve the art of self-mastery. Hence, the workshops of the so-called “route of self-mastery” had a theoretical part and a practical part in which the participation of the attendees was a prerequisite. To facilitate the organization, two routes were defined by language: English and Spanish, which worked independently but always focused on the same theme: self-mastery under the light of the teachings of The Urantia Book. As they developed independently, the approaches were different but equally enriching. There were readers who attended activities in both languages, so multilingual people had the advantage of seeing these different approaches. But there were also joint activities that maintained the cohesion of the group of attendees thanks to the translation services.
Margo Sherwood, beloved wife of Will Sherwood, after a long illness, graduated peacefully in the early hours of Saturday morning, October 29, 2022, with the help and support of her husband, her pets, and loving hospice care workers.
Margo was born in 1954 in Hungary and escaped that communist nation in her early 20’s. She and her then husband stayed in Austria for nine months awaiting political asylum to become American citizens.
As a successful real estate agent in Los Angeles, CA, she spent her office breaks talking with (unknown to her at the time) Urantia Book reader, Jean Painter. And for about nine months, though they talked much about philosophy, surprisingly Jean never mentioned the book! However, while attending a Whole Life Expo in Pasadena, CA, Margo found herself drawn to the booth hosted by The Urantia Book Los Angeles Society. As she read over a list of people currently reading the book, she was stunned to find that her friend and colleague, Jean, was on the list of people reading and studying the book! Margo immediately called Jean, saying, “This is Margo from Urantia! Why haven’t you told me about this book?” From that point, still in her 20’s, Margo started actively reading the book and attending study groups in Southern California.
The International Service Board (ISB) recently held elections for the positions of Vice President, Secretary, Communications Chair, Dissemination Chair, and Study Groups Chair. Here are the results:
Vice President: Andres Rodriguez (re-elected for second term) Secretary Joanne Strobel: (re-elected for second term) Communications Chair: Myra Hight (elected for first term) Dissemination Chair: Willem Jeths (re-elected for second term) Study Groups Chair: Phillip Marriott (elected for first term)
Congratulations to the successful candidates. Former Communications Chair and Study Groups Chairs, Kathleen Swadling and Andrés Ramírez respectively completed their second terms so needed to step down. We are very grateful for their incredibly loving, loyal, and tireless service. We welcome Myra Hight from California and Phillip Marriott from South Australia to the ISB. We hope they find their volunteer work for the Urantia revelation fulfilling, rewarding, and joyful.
Welcome to the November 2022 edition of the Urantia Association’s Journal, a publication dedicated to the thoughts, observations, and experiences of Urantia Book students from around the world. Our contributors explore a wide range of topics, including personal stories of spiritual discovery, finding new meanings and values, and enhancing spiritual perception. Others write about cosmology, science, and ways to improve global civilization. Throughout all these articles, we see an extraordinary diversity of thought coupled with a spirited unity of purpose.
Our first article, Our Missing Mother God: Monotheism at the Cost of Trinitarianism by Elisabeth Callahan, is an insightful and novel essay centered on the Mother concept of God. Elisabeth has conducted several classes and forums at the Urantia University Institute on the nature of the local universe Mother Spirit as well the maternal characteristics of the Eternal Son and God the Supreme. In this essay, she makes the case that the continued focus on a male dominated monotheism in world religions detracts from the higher truth inherent in the nature of trinitarianism and, in the process, has devalued the maternal creative function.
Back in the late 1980s, while engaged in a graduate program in transpersonal psychology, I took a class in Creation Spirituality with Matthew Fox, the former Dominican priest, theologian, and author of 37 books including Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth. This was my first significant foray into the idea that God has a pervasive, life-giving, maternal creative function.
At the time, from the viewpoint of the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church, Fox’s perspective bordered on heresy. He was booted from the Dominican priesthood but later, in 1994, he was received as a priest in the Episcopal Church by Bishop William Swing.
Nonetheless, the concept of creation spirituality was planted in my mind as something worth pondering. Creation spirituality posits that God is in all things (panentheism), that divinity permeates all things, and that all things bear the energetic blueprint of divinity. That is not to say that God is all things, which is a pantheistic assertion, although it is true to say that without God or a Primal Cause, nothing would exist.
My understanding of, and relationship with, God has changed tremendously since I discovered The Urantia Book fifty years ago. I was raised in a religion where masculine, anthropomorphic descriptions of Deity dominated the religious thinking of our world. This is not surprising given that almost all aspects of society have been male dominated except within the home, where women have often played an equal or dominant role in family life. The Judeo-Christian and Islamic theologies that are the prevailing religious systems of our times are a product of, and are rooted in, concepts of God that place little emphasis on God as Mother as well as Father. Even the Urantia Papers are written in a way that makes far more use of the term Father and masculine pronouns to describe God. This preponderance of usage has led me and many who have studied the book to overlook its ground-breaking revelation of God as equally mother-like and in possession of all the traits and values that we associate with the feminine.
You should understand that the morontia life of an ascending mortal is really initiated on the inhabited worlds at the conception of the soul, at that moment when the creature mind of moral status is indwelt by the spirit Adjuster. [Paper 48:6.2, page 551.7]
This quotation indicates that morontial life begins on our planet at the formation of the soul through a sincere moral choice, heralding the arrival of the indwelling Thought Adjuster. The joint formation of the morontial soul with the Adjuster provides access to morontia realities, and it is possible for a human personality to know and experience a taste of morontia life during his or her earthly life with the absolute conviction of being part of this great morontial family.
The Urantia Book gives us some information about the activities in the schools of education and training on the morontia worlds in Papers 47 and 48. These papers give us an opportunity to study and join these morontia schools during our earthly life. Man has the power to transcend time and space and live as if in direct contact with the Heavenly Father through his vast personality circuit and through the indwelling presence of the Thought Adjuster. “Man’s ability to transcend himself is the one thing which distinguishes him from the animal kingdom” [111:6.9].