From the President – Autumn 2009
With Easter just gone it is a good time to reflect on the relationship between Christianity – the religion about Jesus – and the exposition of the religion of Jesus found in The Urantia Book.
For Christians, Easter emphasises the crucifixion of Jesus as a sacrifice to his heavenly father in order to effect the salvation of humanity. This “atonement doctrine” is glorified at Easter, and does seem to be part of the very essence of Christian thought.
The Urantia Book points out that salvation has nothing much to do with sacrifice and atonement, and that the crucifixion was purely a matter of agreement between Jesus and the Universal Father, together with the machinations of the human actors in the drama. Nevertheless, Easter helps to concentrate our minds on Jesus’ life on Urantia, and to reflect on the significance of the religion about him, even as we learn from the revelation how we can improve upon it.
Easter has also helped me to remember Gerhard Neuwiller, a long time reader of the book and member of the Melbourne study group, who died and (I believe) has been resurrected on the Mansion Worlds. Both Regina Williamson and the Melbourne study group have written beautiful memorials for him in this issue.
The Sydney Study Group has begun planning for Annual Conference in September. Their recent meeting was very productive. Very encouraging is the news that they have a number of enthusiastic members wanting to make presentations who have not previously done so, and they will be given opportunities this time. Conference organisers all know how hard it is to find good speakers, and it sounds as though Sydney is producing a promising crop.
The conference will also devote some time to ANZURA’s participation in the Parliament of World Religions in December in Melbourne. ANZURA will be co-ordinating the UAI involvement, and planning is already underway, with both a book booth and workshop presentation being proposed. If time allows, the presentations will be given a trial run at the conference.
International Study Day this year is set for Saturday, 23rd May, and the paper for study is paper 100: “Religion in Human Experience”. This is a favourite paper for many readers, and the thought of readers around the world all studying the same paper on the same day is rather exciting. Descriptions of the study by group leaders will be published in the following issue of Arena.
From the President – Winter 2009
With our Annual Conference almost upon us once again, it may be timely to remind ourselves of the importance of balance in our lives. Sometimes we become so busy that we forget the ultimate goal in a welter of petty detail which overwhelms us. The pressures and problems of work and family can sometimes preoccupy us to such an extent that we lose sight of the ultimate purpose of living.
This is why Jesus’ habit of withdrawing into himself to commune with his indwelling adjuster was such an important part of his life, and such a useful habit for us to emulate.
If we can silence the cacophony of daily demands for a few minutes while we talk to the Father, we can remember why we are struggling through this life, that there is a purpose to it all, that it really is worthwhile. “Seeking first the kingdom of heaven” is the habit which keeps things in perspective and allows that balance in our daily life which makes the tedious bearable.
It will be a great joy to see you in Sydney at the conference where we have a whole weekend to encourage and enthuse one another