President’s Report – Spring 2020

My Dear Friends and Fellow Students of The Urantia Book,

I hope you are all doing well! It has been a tumultuous year. Many of you may be feeling psychologically bruised or wounded with the circumstances of the lockdown as you live with the ever-present possibility of catching COVID-19. It has been a particularly stressful time for our friends living in Melbourne and regional Victoria. Figuratively speaking, we’ve had to fasten our seatbelts and put on our crash helmets; it’s been quite a rough ride for many of us.

In the face of this worldwide pandemic, humans have been remarkably resilient. We seem to be astonishingly adaptable to profound changes in our environment. Last century, we had to endure two world wars, a great depression, and a host of other lesser catastrophes. And we have survived, perhaps even thrived, in spite of or perhaps because of these great adversities.

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Virtual ANZURA Annual Conference 2020

10 October 2020

Post COVID Spiritual Life

Long ago in 2018 when we first started to plan this conference, we picked a theme based on 2020 representing perfect vision, and were looking forward to exploring the hindsight, insight and foresight offered by The Urantia Book. Sadly, we were not given the foresight to predict COVID, and we live in a much-altered world now.

Along with changes in our lives around work, travel, and socialisation, how we live our spiritual lives will necessarily also be affected to a greater or lesser degree. The most obvious change is the online format of this conference, which hopefully will still allow us to share our spiritual perspectives, and to enjoy the virtual fellowship of like-minded souls.

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The Parable of the Sower

In Paper 151, Tarrying and Teaching by the Seaside, Jesus started to change his teaching methods by using parables to transmit the truths he wanted to convey. The Apostles all had a go at interpreting the Parable of the Sower and ended up with very different interpretations. Then, at the end of Section 3 (More About Parables) Jesus said to the apostles:

“Now will I tell you the last of the parable of the sower. I would test you to know how you will receive this: The kingdom of heaven is also like a man who cast good seed upon the earth; and while he slept by night and went about his business by day, the seed sprang up and grew, and although the man knew not how it came about, the plant came to fruit. First there was the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And then when the grain was ripe, he put forth the sickle, and the harvest was finished. He who has an ear to hear, let him hear.” [Paper 151:3.15, page 1693.5]

In the next paragraph we are told:

Many times did the apostles turn this saying over in their minds, but the Master never made further mention of the addition to the parable of the sower.  [Paper 151:3.16, page 1693.6]

In the study group we decided to experiment with this exercise of interpreting parables by attempting to find the meaning of what Jesus intended by this last parable of the sower. Each of us had a go at it and this is what we shared the following week:

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Where are the Daughters of God?

(Editor’s note: this was presented by Marion at the 1997 Conference in Sydney)

Our mission here on this planet is to strive to become Godlike, but the leap from mortal kind like us to God is unimaginably huge, as the authors of The Urantia Book never tire of reminding us! We are told that the most useful thing any of us could do here on Urantia is to study the life of Jesus. Christ Michael, in his bestowal mission here, was and is the ultimate role model for all of us ascenders.

He named himself the Son of Man, and the Son of God.

The Universe is teeming with Sons of God, starting with the Eternal Son, then all the descending Sons, the Paradise Sons of God—Creator Sons, Magisterial Sons, and Trinity Teacher Sons; then the Local Universe Sons of God–Melchizedek Sons, Vorondadek Sons, Lanonandek Sons, and the Life Carriers; and numerous, unrevealed orders of Trinitized Sons.  Then we have the ascending Sons—Father-fused, Son-fused and Spirit-fused mortals, evolutionary seraphim, ascending Material Sons, Translated Midwayers, personalized Adjusters.

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Editor’s Notebook

(Editor’s note: This was written by Nigel Nunn when he was editor of the Arena, September 1995)

A shiver of satisfaction ripples through the Supreme when a human becomes dependable. But when a group of agondonter humans rises out of the mire of self-interest, cultural bondage and planetary delusions, and commits itself to gather dependably for a methodical examination of The Urantia Book, schemes can be hatched. The midwayers and planetary guardians can begin to set up the serendipitous, the Nebadon administration can project their plans, and the Deities themselves turn their collective eye to watch things unfold.

Consider how much effort goes into preparing a human so that they can first want to read, and secondly, endure the reading of, The Urantia Book. Then consider what it means, to those fostering our planet’s development, to have a group of such husbanded humans choose to gather regularly to read this book. Our study groups are just such, and thus can be considered invaluable.

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The Temple Deep Clean

As a boy of 13 he was now to see for the first time the Holy City. His heart beat fast with joyous anticipation of soon beholding the city and house of his heavenly Father. His dad told him it was just beyond the ridge of the Mount of Olives. From the time of leaving home (Nazareth) with his mum and dad (Mary and Joseph), until he reached the summit of the Mount of Olives, Jesus experienced …one long stress of expectant anticipation… (125.0.3, 1377.3)

Hurrying on their journey to Jerusalem for the Passover week, on this Thursday afternoon as they passed through Bethany, they were invited for refreshment by a man called Simon, and met his three children – Mary, Martha and Lazarus. They were about Jesus’ age and a lifelong friendship instantly sprang up between the two families.

Not stopping for long, as they wanted to get to Jerusalem before nightfall, they reached the brink of Olivet.

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Creative Imagination in Prayer and Worship

The manner in which the Universal Father sojourns with the creatures of time is the most profound of all universe mysteries; the divine presence in the mind of man is the mystery of mysteries. [Paper 1:4.1, page 26.3]

The technique whereby the Thought Adjuster is able to make his eternal presence known to the material mind is a mystery. The method in which the spirit registers the reality of eternity in the material mind as an experience of “the everlasting now” is a philosophic miracle beyond our understanding. (1295:1) However, the technique used by the material mind in its reach upward and inward for the experience of the presence of God, the psychological behavior of the human mind in fostering its own spiritualization, is not completely beyond our grasp.

Without intention of intruding upon the supremely personal and sacred domain of spiritual experience, this essay will attempt to outline the psychological evolution of religious experience as it is revealed in the progressive development of prayer and worship with a special regard for the role of the creative imagination in the spiritualization of the mind of man. Philosophical discussion and description of spiritual experience reduces such living experience to the levels of psychology with the intention of enlightening thought and with the hope that this enlightenment will contribute to the further growth of spiritual character.

While the mind is not the seat of the spiritual nature, it is indeed the gateway thereto. [Paper 155:6.13, page 1733:2]

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Are You Lonesome Tonight?

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 Six-O-Six Newsletter July/August 1990)

Well, sit down, open up your heart and pour it all out to Michael! Open up the channel to his Spirit of Truth and he can act as he desires, as the most sympathetic, empathetic friend you have in the universe and he knows what it is all about, so the two of you can compare notes.

There has never walked this earth, and there never will walk this planet another individual who has experienced the  loneliness and shattering of every conceivable dream, such as Jesus experienced. Every other planet in his local universe benefited from his bestowal but potentially, none so much as ours.

As a result we are released from all of the deleterious effects of being quarantined, all the damage done by the Caligastia rebellion, and the Adamic default. That is, providing we wish to take advantage of The Spirit of Truth. All of the revelators refer to The Spirit of Truth as an impersonal channel. It is carefully explained that it does not provide a one-to-one communication link, that is everyone, except Jesus. He refers to it as “he”. Note whenever he refers to the coming of the Spirit of Truth of “myself and my Father” he unfailingly says and “when he comes” and “he” will do this and that!

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Business on Urantia

The Big Picture

This work is dealing with  business concepts  that can be used by any organization or commercial enterprise as a guide for the best possible practices based on the highest human values.

Any enterprise which applies the principles and concepts described in The Urantia Book, is one based on ethics, honesty, the Golden Rule, and fairness, all motivated by the will of God.

If we know God, our real business on earth is so to live as to permit  the Father to reveal himself in our lives … [Paper 132:7.2, page 1466.2]

The specific religious, political, and social pursuits of the individuals of a business are personal matters. However they will in some way reflect on all aspects of their lives. It therefore follows that a Urantia inspired organization will be built on those values held by the individual. If individuals and groups of people act in accordance with natural and spiritual law, there is harmony and improved living in a material sense. 

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Farewell Martin McBurney

Vail – Our good friend Martin. Martin ‘played’ the game of life at an elite level. Smart, witty and generous with time for all those that passed his way. Overflowing humour, an abundance of goodwill, and a penchant for copious note taking were his signature trademarks. Martin’s inner spiritual life burned bright. Few embodied the Gospel like Martin. He will be missed. (Steve Shanahan)

Trevor and I have fond memories of our times spent with Martin as we shared many in-depth discussions on philosophy and religion; we would literally spend hours talking about “life, the universe and everything.” His faith was deep and true and his goodness shone through those glittering eyes and charming smile. I believe he now resides in our heavenly Father’s “house of many mansions”. (Kathleen Swadling)

My sympathies to Martin’s loved ones. I haven’t seen him for a while, but have sweet memories of Martin from way back, 30 years ago. Discussions about the meatier things in life were always respectful and it was never boring to listen to his take on them. That’s what I remember most, how respectful, positive and humble he was, a rare thing these days. Sleep well Martin. (Ryta Kunciunas)

In an article Martin wrote in 1988 titled “Urantia Towards Light and Life” he said:

There is a song called “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life.” Well, every day for the rest of my life I intend to say this prayer: “God my Father, it is my will that Urantia achieves progress (as you will) ever more effectively. Michael, I love you.” Do I expect to see real progress during my lifetime? Yes I do! That song is from a motion picture called “The Happy Ending”!