Dear friends and students of The Urantia Book,
I hope and pray that you are all keeping well and in good spirits. We find ourselves in momentous times! We are constantly confronted with news about the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept our globe in the space of a month or two. We are alarmed at the rapid rate of infection and the rising death toll, particularly among our brothers and sisters in countries like the United States, Italy, Spain, the UK, and China. We are reminded of our fragility and our innate vulnerability as mere mortals on this planet. Disturbing images may raise questions in our minds concerning our personal preparedness for death. We don’t know the day nor the hour of our deaths. Indeed, we often take our health for granted. Notwithstanding The Urantia Book’s amazingly positive description of life beyond our existence here on Urantia, we may still harbour a fear of death and/or dying.
Due to the global Covid-19 crisis we regret to say that the New Zealand conference hosts have decided to cancel the physical ANZURA conference that was scheduled for October this year in Auckland, New Zealand. However, they have arranged with the venue to hold our non-refundable deposit, already paid, until 2022, which effectively postpones the physical New Zealand conference for another two years.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand conference committee will be meeting online to discuss the idea of holding an Australasian virtual ANZURA Conference in October 2020, running it along the lines of the online “Urantiathons” held recently by Urantia Association International. Presentations could be scheduled hourly with occasional breaks for discussion groups.
Stay tuned for more information…
The era of virtual study groups and conferences is upon us! With the entire world in lockdown due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus, unexpected opportunities have been arising in the Urantia Book reader communities. Readers are discovering how easy it is to meet with other readers from all over the world from the comfort of their own homes! Thanks to conference calling programs such as Zoom, study groups and conferences are happening with very little organisation at virtually no cost.
At the 2019 Canberra Urantia Conference, I facilitated a workshop titled Spirit in Society – Overcoming Resistance, where the intention was to look at some common atheistic objections (in the form of questions), and see what we could come up with in terms of what The Urantia Book teaches on these problems and what we could potentially say when facing such objections.
The attendees were divided into three groups, and each group attempted to answer one of the common objections, given 30 minutes to do so. Afterwards, the group leaders were given an opportunity to report back to everybody. I’ll now attempt to summarize the group answers produced during the workshop:
Faith most willingly carries reason along as far as reason can go and then goes on with wisdom to the full philosophic limit; and then it dares to launch out upon the limitless and never-ending universe journey in the sole company of TRUTH. [Paper 103:9.7, page 1141.5]
“Reason” has helped scientists to write some compelling tales about the history of the universe: inflationary Big Bangs, colliding branes, a multiverse. Problem is, each of these histories involve assumptions that lie beyond our capacity to disprove. These stories do however all share one feature: an attempt to replace faith with facts in their assumptions.
This being the topic of the moment, I decided to put together some Urantia Book quotes to see what was said, about health, disease, what happened in the past, how this reflects on what is happening today, and what can be expected in the future. I have put them into four different categories:
- The celestial help available now
- How ancient man dealt with disease
- The influence (or lack of) of Adam and Eve on our health
- The future; what we can expect when we’re more advanced evolutionally, spiritually and scientifically.
(This is a presentation that was given at the 24-hour Online Urantia Event on 21 March, 2020)
Few persons live up to the faith which they really have. Unreasoned fear is a master intellectual fraud practiced upon the evolving mortal soul. [Paper 48:7.4, page 556.4]
The world is in the grip of fear! People are afraid. What are they afraid of? As a clinical psychologist I’m aware that my clients present with so many things that make them fearful! It seems that there is a lot to be afraid of.
Fear is so human. We all experience fear, some a lot more than others. Is all fear dysfunctional, to be avoided? And what was Jesus referring to when he exhorted his disciples to “fear not”?
Firstly, let’s take a look at some of the most common sources of fear. The following list is just a sample; I’m aware that many more could be added.
After my daughter expressed that she wanted to live alone, we agreed to sell our house. I temporarily moved to a studio, so we could present the house for sale without my room being an office, sewing room as well as a bedroom. Then came 26th March, and lockdown. Being over 70 I’m strongly advised to stay put, so here I am, by myself in a tiny studio apartment.
Like all of you, we in New Zealand are experiencing the effects of the Covid-19 virus and our lockdown has just been changed from Level 4 to Level 3. This means essential workers and businesses are able to operate, as well as other businesses who are able to maintain safe distancing.
On the whole, New Zealanders have taken to this lockdown with the right spirit, and this has led to a lot of cooking and baking and other creative pursuits. A really positive outcome is that it has enabled parents to spend more time with their families than they’re used to, which is beneficial to both. I pray that this additional time with children doesn’t fade with the virus.
Mining the Archives
(Editor’s Note: Mining the Archives is a collection of articles that have been published in various newsletters over the years and have been lying buried in the archives. A team of volunteers have been “mining the archives” for the gems, so now we can bring them into the light of day to share using modern-day technology. This one is from the Arena Newsletter, Volume 1 No 5, December 1994. It is a presentation by Ari Majurinen from the Elanora Conference in Sydney, 1993)
The records state that Matthew was the seventh apostle chosen. He came from a family of tax gatherers, and was married with four children.
I would like to give a brief outline of Matthew’s profession, as it will prove to be of later importance for Jesus, the Apostles, others, as well as himself. The tax collectors or publicans, although Jewish, were actually subcontractors for the Roman Empire. They had a poor reputation amongst the populace, for due to the nature of their business they mingled and came in too close a contact with unclean Gentiles. As well, they were commonly suspected of exacting more than the given tax rate and pocketing the difference. They also upset the Zealots who, working towards the expulsion of the Romans, regarded the tax-collectors as leeches working against the Jewish people. On top of all this the Pharisees and Sadducees poured scorn on them for being irreligious and sinners by enacting abridged or contrary versions of festivals and rituals.
(This is an extract from page 61 of Jeffrey’s book titled: “Living in Truth, Beauty and Goodness”)
If we persist in the quest to understand a meaning, sooner or later our questions become philosophical. And when we carry the inquiry still further to realize the practical implications of our findings, we begin philosophical living, which seeks wisdom, acts on what it finds and lives meaningfully. Philosophical living takes the time needed for the work of sharpening our capacities for intuition, reasoning appreciatively and critically, and maturing key concepts. It forms meaningful connections between fact and value, matter and spirit, science and religion.
The search for wisdom leads ultimately to its source. God is not only the Creator of the universe and its laws, and not only the loving Father known through revelation and experience, but also the God of mind and meaning, inquiry and insight, reason and wisdom.
At its height, wisdom embraces truth, beauty and goodness as qualities anchored in the eternal nature of God. These values evolve in time as we actualize them – and to do this is to participate in the divine life