Australia & New Zealand Urantia Association
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Arena – Winter 2019

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In This Issue

President Report – Winter 2019

Julian McGarry, TAS

Warm greetings to all our readers and students of The Urantia Book. The National Conference is fast approaching! From the 27th to the 30th of September, we will be gathering at the Green Hills Conference Centre at Stromlo in Canberra to discuss the intriguing theme: “Mind Over Matter, Spirit Over Mind.” Our Canberran team of mighty workers has been busy preparing a banquet of spiritual, philosophical, and scientific dishes for our holistic edification. If you’ve never been to a conference before, or haven’t attended one for a long time, why not give serious consideration to coming along. It truly is a delight to feast on the teachings of The Urantia Book in the company of fellow readers for a whole weekend. It’s also a wonderful way to make new friendships and renew old ones.

Of course, the board understands that not everyone is able to attend our conferences. Some will find the cost prohibitive; some may not be able to take time off work or from their studies; some will have major family commitments. For this reason, this year we are endeavouring to make the conference accessible on-line via a series of Zoom sessions, which will mean that the programme could be enjoyed from the comfort of your home. Please stay tuned as more information will be forthcoming closer to the date.

This winter has been one of the worst flu seasons that medical authorities have ever seen here in Australia. I’m not sure whether this is true in New Zealand as well. Anyhow, I think for the first time in my life I came down with the flu (influenza A) last month and it lasted for more than three weeks. My wife and two sons also picked it up. After two weeks of very little improvement I could sense that I was beginning to feel a bit depressed and somewhat anxious. After all, people were dying of this flu!! I remember one day feeling somewhat despondent and sorry for myself. So I began to pray to our Father and to Jesus. I remember suddenly becoming aware of passages in The Urantia Book which described how compassionate Jesus was towards the sick and ailing. Here are two that really warmed my heart: The first is the record of “the kingdom’s first hospital”.

At this infirmary, located a short distance to the south of the main tented city, they treated the sick in accordance with all known material methods as well as by the spiritual practices of prayer and faith encouragement. Jesus visited the sick of this encampment not less than three times a week and made personal contact with each sufferer. [Paper 148:2.1, page 1658.4]

The second was the unprecedented mass healing by Jesus of 683 men, women, and children at Bethsaida:

When the Master stepped out of the front entrance of Zebedee’s house, his eyes met an array of stricken and afflicted humanity. He gazed upon almost one thousand sick and ailing human beings; at least that was the number of persons gathered together before him. Not all present were afflicted; some had come assisting their loved ones in this effort to secure healing. [Paper 145:3.6, page 1632.5]

The sight of these afflicted mortals, men, women, and children, suffering in large measure as a result of the mistakes and misdeeds of his own trusted Sons of universe administration, peculiarly touched the human heart of Jesus and challenged the divine mercy of this benevolent Creator Son….Not since Cana had the supernatural or miraculous attended his teaching; still, this afflicted multitude touched his sympathetic heart and mightily appealed to his understanding affection. [Paper 145:3.7, page 1632.6]

Both accounts served to lift my spirits by reminding me that our Universal Father and Jesus our universe sovereign are compassionately aware of our afflictions and are attentive to our prayers for mercy and relief. So this winter, if you come down with a cold or the dreaded flu, do your best to look after yourself. Eat healthily, try to get plenty of rest, see your doctor, and most importantly, remember that God and his Son love you infinitely and desire to nurture you during your illness.

In closing, I would like to express my personal sorrow at the tragic news that came to my attention today concerning the untimely death of Mark Bloomfield, a tireless and courageous worker for the 5th epochal revelation. My sincere condolences go to his family and all those who knew him well.

Blessings to you all,

Julian McGarry
ANZURA President

 

Conference Reminder – Time to Register!

Vern Verass, ACT

If you’re planning on attending this year’s annual conference and haven’t registered yet, please do so as soon as possible. If you haven’t made up your mind yet, time is running out!

Here’s an update on the program from Vern Verass:

Dear Friends,

Our conference in Canberra is only a couple of months away—27 to 30 September—and we’ve got the program ready for you to get an appreciation of what’s in store.

The theme of Mind over Matter ~ Spirit over Mind gives ample opportunity to reflect on the fact that

Universe causes cannot be lower than universe effects. The source of the streams of universe life and of the cosmic mind must be above the levels of their manifestation. The human mind cannot be consistently explained in terms of the lower orders of existence. Man’s mind can be truly comprehended only by recognizing the reality of higher orders of thought and purposive will. [Paper 3:6.3, page 53.1]

We evolutionary mortals are prone to look upon mind as a cosmic mediation between spirit and matter, for that is indeed the principal ministry of mind as discernible by us. Yet the Thought Adjuster is pure spirit who is volitional and active in mind. Your Thought Adjuster is always waiting to act decisively in accordance with your human choice, and all these choices are highly volitional reactions. In all situations not concerned with the domain of the human will, this Divine Spirit unquestionably exhibits conduct which betokens the exercise of powers in every sense the equivalent of will, maximated decision.

In perusing the program you will see we have approached the theme in a variety ways according to the presenters, through the lens of reason looking at the cosmos, through exhaustion of experiential potentials of supremacy, through primacy of spirit in decision making, through the evolutionary outworking of spirit in society, through a deeper understanding of the mind spirit-interface in psychology, through the eyes of youth on how the spirit moves them, through how the spirit moving through New Zealand is being manifested and a topical study group session where everyone can contribute on the relevance of the significance of Spirit Dominance in achieving a balanced personality.

The fact Adjusters have flocked to our planet bodes very well for the outworking of Michael’s plan regarding the destiny of Urantia. We who have the benefit of revelation early in its planetary mission are very fortunate indeed.

The Canberra hosts of this year’s conference are preparing a rich experience for you and remind you that this is the right moment to send in your registration.

For more information and registration details you can either:

Study Day 2019 – Reflections

Study Day Service Group

When ANZURA arranges an International Study Day, the hope is to provide an opportunity for students of The Urantia Book to participate in a specially formed study group in their regional areas so that reads are meeting on the same day studying the same paper all over the world.

The value of meeting with other readers is not to be underestimated—after all, our personal growth and religious experiences are best fostered while we are relating—inter-acting—with other personalities—other people!

In this way ANZURA attempts to foster a sense of belonging and cohesion amongst Urantia Book readers across the vast oceans! Very importantly, such events can also encourage leadership and outreach as practical involvement in study groups can strengthen our resolve and dedication to fulfil the mandate of disseminating the Urantia revelation with a personal approach.

Groups met around over the weekend of 1st June to study Paper 9: Relation of the Infinite Spirit to the Universe. The following articles contain some reflections from some who met.

Sydney Meeting Reflections

Rita Schaad

For a regular and consistent study group to exist you need a committed host or organizer and for events like a yearly Study Day it’s pretty much the same story. So we in the Sydney region are blessed to have a place near the ocean; the home of Kathleen and Trevor, to gather and enjoy each other’s company and tackle yet another of those magnificent papers in The Urantia Book.

Regular Sydney study group folks as well as travelers from Wollongong and Newcastle gathered. One of the Sydney visitors brought his young son along, who surprised us with his daily Urantia Book reading routine—he is just 12 years of age!!

We noticed after more than half an hour of reading, that we hadn’t even turned the page yet. The first paragraph of Paper 9, starting with the opening phrase: A strange thing that occurred… had us truly puzzled. How can anything in the Paradise ‘household’ be unforeseen or un-foreshadowed? What else could we do but wonder about the unique prerogatives of synthesis.

The Third Source and Center is the universal unifier of the manifold energies and diverse creations which have appeared in consequence of the divine plan and the eternal purpose of the Universal Father. [Paper 9:0.2, page 98.2]

The God of Mind is also close to our hearts. We do treasure our minds, our consciousness, our sanity. How else could we really be able to think, make choices, create and maintain relationships, reflect and project on ideas and ideals? The Third Source and Centre is the very reason we can actually study these lofty concepts that make our heads spin. It is truly awe-some!

Those eight sections had us engaged in deep study for many hours and the contributions of those present, the sharing of their minds, has been a great and enriching gift. May it sustain all of us during the coming months!

Reading the book is one thing, studying with others is an energizing and inspiring affair. The Revelators had good reasons to admonish us to creating “thousands of study groups”. And—where two or more are gathered in the spirit of cooperation…great things may and do happen!

With many thanks… until next year! 

Adelaide Meeting Reflections

Phillip Marriott

We came together for the first time in ages. Some readers are of ‘old stock’ and some very new. It seems the last conference in QLD did inspire both Beverely and Roger to persevere with the study of The Urantia Book and so they travelled from Milang to Mount Barker to meet others at my house.

This regional gathering drew Urantia Book readers from Milang, Strathalbyn, Mount Barker and Adelaide. Milang is on the shores of Lake Alexandrina, Strathalbyn midland about halfway between Milang and Mount Barker, Mount Barker is in the Adelaide hills on the South Eastern freeway heading toward Murray Bridge, about halfway between Adelaide and Murray Bridge, 35 minutes’ drive either way, Seacliff a beach side suburb of Adelaide. This illustrates nicely, how spread-out we are across this land, but with goodwill and the various transport options “we can do it!” and we did. We decided to make such meetings more regular in the future.

Paper 9 was indeed a good starting point. As Beverly reflected afterwards, the collective reading and shared time were welcoming and informative. “Focusing on the universe Mother Spirit made you feel the inner mindal compass and as we are drawn toward our Third Source and Centre our Universe Journey toward the First Source and Centre is in this way guaranteed.”

We really did enjoy one another’s company and paused to ask questions and comment on various aspects of the Paper. Thank you, Stephen, Tamara, Beverly and Roger; you made it all come together so perfectly.

Online Forum Discussion Reflections

Nigel Nunn

(Editor’s Note: An online study group was held on Urantia Association International’s Forum. The full discussion can be found on the website at: https://urantia-association.org/forums/topic/2019-international-study-day. Here is a summary and compilation of some of the discussion.)

Following on from this year’s International Study Day, the online discussion began to explore the role of the local universe Divine Minister in the actual creation of human souls. This question arose while considering the role of the Infinite Spirit in making possible our transformation, from tadpole to Finaliter.

As Source and Center for both (a) material engineering and (b) personal spiritual ministry, the Infinite Spirit not only makes the arena in which we live, but also makes possible our progress within that arena. Crucial to such progress is accommodating (and managing!) the phenomenon of change. For us humans, one of the most interesting of changes is the shifting of our seat of identity, from material association to morontia identification:

This actual transfer from material association to morontia identification is effected by the sincerity, persistence, and steadfastness of the God-seeking decisions of the human creature. [Paper 112:2.20, page 1229.7]

Which led us to wonder about the various systems of mind required to make possible such transformation. For example, regarding our first type of mind, in Paper 117 section 5, the author writes:

In the mortal experience the human intellect resides in the rhythmic pulsations of the adjutant mind-spirits and effects its decisions within the arena produced by encircuitment within this ministry. [Paper 117:5.7, page 1286.5]

Earlier, in Paper 36 section 5, this same system of Adjutants is described as “…a level of consciousness of the Divine Minister…” (36:5.4, 402.1), exposing the intimacy of our relationship with this “local universe representation of the Infinite Spirit”. But the plot thickens. Later in the same section, we read about “the spirit cycles of the local universe Mother Spirit”, plus the idea of a “supermind endowment”:

With the appearance of the spiritual response of the creature intellect, such created minds at once become superminded, being instantly encircuited in the spirit cycles of the local universe Mother Spirit. [Paper 36:5.15, page 403.3] emphasis added

Becoming superminded, and “instantly encircuited in the spirit cycles of the local universe Mother Spirit” raises lots of questions. Fortunately, our most experienced forum contributor was on hand to lead us into these super-adjutant relationships. Most importantly, our relationship with the personal presence of the Divine Minister, “the Holy Spirit”:

…the spirit of the personal presence of the Divine Minister, the Holy Spirit of the inhabited worlds;… [Paper 36:5.16, page 403.4]

The Holy Spirit – this is the initial supermind bestowal, and it unfailingly appears in all bona fide human personalities. This ministry to a worship-craving and wisdom-desiring mind creates the capacity to self-realize the postulate of human survival, both in theologic concept and as an actual and factual personality experience. [Paper 92:0.4, page 1003.4]

Man’s first supermind endowment is that of personality encircuitment in the Holy Spirit of the Universe Creative Spirit… [Paper 103:0.1, page 1129.1]

Bonita explained in detail how and why the Holy Spirit is, for us humans, the most accessible and personal of these “spirit cycles of the local universe Mother Spirit”. This was a deep and moving insight into our personal relationship with the Infinite Spirit, via his local universe creative daughter. But what was truly fascinating was the role her Holy Spirit plays in weaning us from dependency on her initial adjutant system of mind.

The Holy Spirit – this is the initial supermind bestowal, and it unfailingly appears in all bona fide human personalities. This ministry to a worship-craving and wisdom-desiring mind creates the capacity to self-realize the postulate of human survival, both in theologic concept and as an actual and factual personality experience. [Paper 92:0.4, page 1003.4]

While learning to orchestrate those “rhythmic pulsations of the adjutant mind-spirits”, while getting the hang of “effecting decisions”, and tuning our adjutant mind to be “worship-craving and wisdom-desiring”, the Holy Spirit has already embraced us. Thus we enjoy dual ministry from our local universe Divine Minister: the urges of her seven adjutants from below, plus the “lures of maturity” whispered by her Holy Spirit from above.

So what has this to do with the creation of our soul?

Pointing to the Midwayers’ description of the human soul as “mid-mind” (1218.6, 111:2.8), Bonita made a case that our soul emerges, naturally and automatically, as part of our encircuitment by the Holy Spirit.

Others pointed to Paper 40:5.4-7, which describes the repersonalization of human survivors on the mansion worlds. In each case, the soul of the awakening survivor had been associated – either transiently or permanently – with an Adjuster:

Spirit identification constitutes the secret of personal survival and determines the destiny of spiritual ascension. And since the Thought Adjusters are the only spirits of fusion potential to be identified with man during the life in the flesh, the mortals of time and space are primarily classified in accordance with their relation to these divine gifts, the indwelling Mystery Monitors. This classification is as follows:

1. Mortals of the transient or experiential Adjuster sojourn.
2.
Mortals of the non-Adjuster-fusion types.
3. Mortals of Adjuster-fusion potential. [Paper 40:5.4-7, page 445.5-8]

This section suggests that the creation of a soul requires some action on the part of an Adjuster. However, Bonita pointed us to Paper 108, section 2, “Prerequisites of Adjuster Indwelling”. To Bonita, this section implies that in the days before the bestowal of the Spirit of Truth, few mortals would have satisfied the list of “influences and conditions” required for receiving an Adjuster. But if that list was for permanent association between Adjuster and human, then the door remains open for all normal humans in these pre-Bestowal times (who show that “faintest flicker of faith”, (1733.5, 155:6.17) to survive via spirit fusion, as indicated in Paper 63:7.2,

On Jerusem both Andon and Fonta were fused with their Thought Adjusters, as also were several of their children, including Sontad, but the majority of even their immediate descendants only achieved Spirit fusion. [Paper 63:7.2, page 717.3] emphasis added

If a majority of these “immediate descendants” of Andon and Fonta “achieved Spirit fusion”, then this would resolve the issue of human survival in the days before Michael’s bestowal of his Spirit of Truth. Millions of survivors from pre-Bestowal times could have hosted virgin Adjusters, whose first act in their acquirement of experience is to initiate a soul in a human destined to achieve spirit fusion.

On the other hand, Bonita clarified her case regarding the role of the Holy Spirit in the creation of a human soul. Bonita wrote:

“She (the Holy Spirit) provides the supermind, the liaison between material consciousness and superconsciousness and the link from material life to emerging morontia life. Mind and life go together. Without it there’d be no interrelationship between the two levels of consciousness. And without her personal presence, the cocreative event which gives birth to the morontia soul would have nothing to cocreate with. Only personalities cocreate. Once the soul is cocreated there is a dwelling place for the Adjuster. The Adjuster needs a mind to live in. First the dwelling place, then the indwelling.”

I replied: “Bonita, thanks for sharpening the question! It’s precisely this “cocreative event which gives birth to the morontia soul” that we were wondering about. Regarding the actual birth or creation of our human souls, here’s a quick sample of cherry-picked quotes. At the end, I raise that question we bumped into.

As the soul of joint mind and Adjuster creation becomes increasingly existent… [Paper 5:2.5, page 65.1] emphasis added

The indwelling of the Mystery Monitor constitutes the inception and insures the possibility of the potential of growth and survival of the immortal soul. [Paper 5:5.13, page 69.8] emphasis added

A human mind discerning right and wrong and possessing the capacity to worship God, in union with a divine Adjuster, is all that is required in that mortal to initiate and foster the production of his immortal soul of survival qualities… [Paper 5:5.14, page 70.1] emphasis added

This material personality and this spirit prepersonality are capable of so uniting their creative attributes as to bring into existence the surviving identity of the immortal soul. [Paper 5:6.7, page 71.2] emphasis added

During this temporary sojourn they foster the evolution of an immortal soul just as in those beings with whom they hope to fuse… [Paper 37:5.1, page 410.4]

During this temporary sojourn the Adjusters effectively build up the same spirit counterpart of mortal nature — the soul — that they do in the candidates for Adjuster fusion. [Paper 40:9.2, page 450.4]

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] emphasis added

As civilization advances, this superstitious concept of the soul is destroyed, and man is wholly dependent on revelation and personal religious experience for his new idea of the soul as the joint creation of the God-knowing mortal mind and its indwelling divine spirit, the Thought Adjuster. [Paper 86:5.2, page 954.1] emphasis added

The material mind of mortal man is the cosmic loom that carries the morontia fabrics on which the indwelling Thought Adjuster threads the spirit patterns of a universe character of enduring values and divine meanings — a surviving soul of ultimate destiny and unending career, a potential finaliter. [Paper 111:2.2, page 1217.6]

The mistakes of mortal mind and the errors of human conduct may markedly delay the evolution of the soul, although they cannot inhibit such a morontia phenomenon when once it has been initiated by the indwelling Adjuster with the consent of the creature will. [Paper 111:3.1, page 1218.9] emphasis added

This newly appearing entity is the soul, and it survives the death of both your physical body and your material mind. This entity is the conjoint child of the combined life and efforts of the human you in liaison with the divine you, the Adjuster. [Paper 112:5.12, page 1234.1] emphasis added

The evolving immortal soul of man, the joint creation of the material mind and the Adjuster [Paper 117:5.3, page 1286.1] emphasis added

So here’s the question: given all the above, is an Adjuster required for creating a human soul?

For Bonita’s reply, and the entire excellent discussion, see:

https://urantia-association.org/forums/topic/2019-international-study-day

A soul emerges. “Discover, recognize, interpret, and choose.”  [Paper 196:3.10, page 2094.9]

“Now, mistake not, my Father will ever respond to the faintest flicker of faith. He takes note of the physical and superstitious emotions of the primitive man. And with those honest but fearful souls whose faith is so weak that it amounts to little more than an intellectual conformity to a passive attitude of assent to religions of authority, the Father is ever alert to honor and foster even all such feeble attempts to reach out for him. But you who have been called out of darkness into the light are expected to believe with a whole heart; your faith shall dominate the combined attitudes of body, mind, and spirit.” [Paper 155:6.17, page 1733.5]

 

New Zealand Corner – Winter 2019

Susan Hemmingsen, Auckland NZ

The Christchurch Terror Attacks

Living in New Zealand, we didn’t really think we’d be touched by terrorism, but touched we were. The despicable act of a lone extreme right-wing terrorist who took the lives of 51 Islamic New Zealanders had repercussions right around the country.

As an aside, this is a link to an interview by Radio NZ re why people come to hold such extreme views and is worth a listen: https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday/audio/2018695720/deeyah-khan-up-close-and-personal-with-extremists

Some years ago, the original Auckland Study group learnt the Morontia Motas by heart and over the years they pop into my mind when they seem to fit the situation. While I watched the aftermath of this horrendous and cowardly attack, the following Morontia Motas came to mind.

5.    Difficulties may challenge mediocrity and defeat the fearful, but they only stimulate the true children of the Most Highs. [Paper 48:7.7, page 556.7]

12.  The greatest affliction of the cosmos is never to have been afflicted. Mortals only learn wisdom by experiencing tribulation. [Paper 48:7.14, page 556.14]

13.  Stars are best discerned from the lonely isolation of experiential depths, not from the illuminated and ecstatic mountain tops. [Paper 48:7.15, page 556.15]

and particularly:

16.  You cannot perceive spiritual truth until you feelingly experience it, and many truths are not really felt except in adversity. [Paper 48:7.18, page 557.2]

Sadly, before the attack, the general view was that all Muslims were terrorists, and this community suffered by being shunned, discriminated against, and generally being totally misunderstood, and just as there are many aspects of Islam which need updating the same can be said for Christianity.

A Muslim, Haezreena Begum binti Abdul Hamid’s Reflects on the Christchurch Shooting Massacre, and she wrote in a Victoria University publication: (With Permission}

A Muslim, Haezreena Begum binti Abdul Hamid’s Reflects on the Christchurch Shooting Massacre, and she wrote in a Victoria University publication: (With Permission)

“As a Muslim woman living in New Zealand, I am no stranger to racist slurs, comments, gestures and looks which I have encountered over the last four years, even at the University. Therefore, I am not totally surprised at what had happened on Friday although I am deeply saddened and shocked at the fact that my brothers and sisters were attacked and gunned down while they were praying. And at the time where they were most vulnerable and defenceless. In case some of you were wondering, we address others in the Islamic faith as brothers and sisters because it gives us a sense of unity and a sense of belonging. We feel for each other and we look out for each other. That’s why we are deeply impacted with this tragedy.

“Unlike in other countries, Muslims in New Zealand do not hold any rallies or ask for any privilege or rights as Muslims. We are a small peaceful loving community who are trying to live and get on with our lives. We understand that we are the minority and we do not have any intention to Islamise the nation but we welcome any individual who wants to learn about our faith. The masjid (mosque) is our sanctuary and we seek comfort and solace at our place of worship. As Muslims, we can go anywhere in the world and we will always drop by the local Masjid for prayers or if we are in need of any help. My sons used to perform jummah (congregational) prayers at the Kilbirnie mosque every Friday and we have also prayed at the An-Nur (‘the light’) mosque when we were in Christchurch a few months back. We don’t even carry our I.D’s or take our wallets when we go the mosque because it is our place of worship, our place of comfort, our home. Therefore, any of us could have been the victims but we were fortunate to not be at that place and at that time of the attack. In the light of what has happened, I hope we can all discard our feelings of hate and see each other as equal. I have received overwhelming love and support from friends and loved ones since Friday. Thank you very much for your love and support and I hope we will continue supporting each other through these tough times. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this piece.”

New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern visited members of the Muslim community at the Phillipstown Community Centre, 16 March 2019. Captured through a glass window, the photo was widely shared at the time and described by The Guardian as “an image of hope”.

I wasn’t really expecting the reactions of my countrymen as although only 37% of Kiwis say they believe in God, I know that in spite of this, their hearts are in the right place. Ask anyone here if they believe in the “golden rule” (do unto others as you would have others do unto you), and they will agree they do. Ask if they believe that all men are brothers, they (mostly) do. In other words, the teachings of Jesus prevail. Although many are not fully aware of this, they must be following the “promptings” of their Thought Adjusters, and choose to do the right thing.

I believe that having the right leadership was helpful. Our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern showed genuine compassion and concern and her actions led the way and made it possible for people to express what was really in their hearts.

New Zealanders began to look at Muslims as real human beings, just like them, with the same love for their families, the same reactions to heartbreak and the same emotions we all feel. The acts of love, kindness, acknowledgement of brotherhood and practical and financial support was overwhelming.

Of course, the response may be short lived, but I believe there is a change in the way the Muslim community is viewed in New Zealand as is evidenced in the media. They are being asked for their opinion and are no longer invisible in the community.

My prayer is that this outpouring of love, understanding and support is permanent.

And finally:

″…In your lives overthrow error and overcome evil by the love of the living truth. In all your relations with men do good for evil….” [Paper 131:1.7, page 1443:3]

…Fatherly love delights in returning good for evil–doing good in retaliation for injustice….[Paper 140:5.24, page 1575:9]

New Zealand Get-Together–Taupo, Labour Weekend

On 25th to 28th October, some New Zealand readers will meet at the Villa Ika, in Taupo. In our previous get-togethers, we don’t usually have any set program to follow, but enjoy the freedom a gathering of Urantia Book readers brings. We do study the book though, and this is based on topics discussed during our stay, or any particular topic attendees want to explore. As New Zealand readers are hosting the ANZURA annual conference in Auckland in 2020, this will be an opportunity for more planning.

Online Study in NZ

Every second Tuesday, we have online meetings and for details, dates etc., please contact moderator Ian Campbell at: email: [email protected], Phone: 021 267 5799

 

Farewell Mark Bloomfield

Kathleen Swadling, NSW

Urantia lost yet another outstanding individual recently. Mark Bloomfield, just 54, died of injuries after a tragic incident in Swansea, Wales. The matter is still under investigation with the police.

The BBC News reported:

A charity worker who worked with Mother Teresa in India has died after an alleged attack in Swansea. Mark Bloomfield, 54, died on Saturday after he was found injured in High Street in the city centre last Thursday. A man has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm. The family of Mr Bloomfield, originally from Stratford Upon Avon, paid tribute to his charity work across the world saying he “had built a legacy”. They said that as a special assistant to Mother Teresa in Calcutta, he was an essential contributor to her mission.

Mark was a Field Representative of Urantia Foundation in the late 90’s early 2000’s. He was highly skilled in placing Urantia Books in public libraries, seminaries, universities and other places of learning. He was renowned in The Urantia Book reader community for his extraordinary and tireless service to the revelation by personally hand-seeding around 9,000 Urantia Books throughout the world. He was particularly inspired to seed the revelation in developing countries where he’d lived and worked for many years as a humanitarian missionary. Having experienced firsthand the heart wrenching and atrocious plight of women and children, he decided to devote his life to treating the cause of the world’s problems rather than the symptoms. This extract from one of Mark’s reports sums up his reasons for being so driven to get the Urantia revelation seeded in places where innocent millions were caught up in the cycle of ignorance and poverty:

My high school history teacher used to love teaching how Greek civilization was built upon the love of asking the single word question “Why?” Let’s try it ourselves and see where it gets us.

Why…did all those terrified toddlers [in Cambodia] get their skulls smashed against that tree all those years ago?Well, because someone working for Mr. Pol Pot probably thought it was fun.

Why? And then why to that answer and so on.

By perhaps the sixth or seventh “why?” we might have reached an answer something like: “Because the world-saving and world-uplifting mission of revealed religion had essentially failed.”

“Why?”  It ceased to be effective. “Why?” Because (and this is a Urantia Book teaching) it ceased to be attractive. Let’s remember that word ‘attractive.’

Mark left a significant trail of revelation behind in India, Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia and the United States. The stories he wrote in his regular reports of his journey as he travelled from city to city and country to country placing books make for fascinating reading.

Mark has been called the “Johnny Appleseed” and the “Indiana Jones” of the Urantia movement, but he liked to call himself the “chore boy” saying his favourite historical role model was the young lad John Mark who spent a whole day in the hills alone with the Master. Mark said at the end of one of his reports:

…And all this goes a long way to explain why this particular fieldworker has been doing what he’s been doing these years, for the chore boy of Jesus’ day [John Mark] has long been the nearest he has ever had to a role model.

Here’s what Mark had to say about his Burmese adventure:

Now there aren’t many libraries in Burma. With the 30 books I had with me, I was able to cover all the important bases. Foreigners are prohibited from entering university campuses so needless to say, all the universities I visited ended up as a story in itself. At Rangoon University, I finally managed to befriend the guards who eventually escorted me to the librarian. He happily accepted the book, then showed me next door to the Universities Central Library, the headquarters of the entire Burmese university library system where I had a wonderful long talk with the lady librarian, who was a devout Buddhist. We had much in common, especially the notion of universal brotherhood. At Dagon University on the edge of Rangoon, I waited at the main gate for over an hour whilst a steady stream of guards shuttled between me and the librarian relaying message after message. Eventually she came out herself to receive the books, which she did cheerfully and good naturedly. In another university, I walked straight in and just as I found the library, (which in this case was too small and specialized for the book) I was suddenly surrounded by 5 men who politely though purposefully marched me off the premises…

The FreeSchools Chapter

Mark’s other “claim-to-fame” among many Urantia Book students was his pioneering work with the development of what is now known as “FreeSchools World Literacy.” Many readers who were associated with Mark came to know about his FreeSchools work in India and were inspired to support and become involved. Here’s a bit of history of the schools’ development in the early years (taken from the FreeSchools website, see https://freeschools.org):

1997: In Motihari, Bihar, India, one of the poorest, most populated and backward parts of India, Sr. Mary Crescence, a Catholic nun of the order of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, needed help to fund her dream of a free evening school, using borrowed space after hours, to educate those children too poor to access formal education. Following a chance meeting in Calcutta, Englishman Mark Bloomfield, a volunteer with Mother Teresa, provided Sr. Crescence funds to start the first school. For three years, both financial and moral support came from Mark. In 2000, Australian Dr. Robert Coenraads also became involved after visiting the school with Mark. Their joint help ensured the development of two schools and a very successful model. “School-on-a-shoestring” provided basic literacy skills to impoverished but bright and enthusiastic village children. Thanks to an introduction by Mark’s Australian friend Kathleen Swadling to Canadian Sue Tennant, Mark brought the challenge to Canada to replicate the model in both Bihar and among Hill Tribes in Northern Thailand.

Visit the FreeSchools website to read the timeline up to the present day on the incredible development of this charity which is now thriving with many schools based on the original model.

Ben Bowler, who took over Marks’ FreeSchools work in Thailand wrote:

I am shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Mark Bloomfield. It was Mark’s passionate speech in Sydney at the 2006 Urantia Association conference that sent Jildou and I to Thailand to work on FreeSchools, which forever changed our trajectory in life. The month I had “training” in Fang, Thailand with Mark was some of the most amazing days I’ve had on this planet. He was a friend and a guide and was also profoundly inspiring and has changed my life as he has changed so many through his various service initiatives all over the world. 

Our thoughts are with his family, Mark you old “so & so” I shall see you on the Mansion Worlds where no doubt there is much rabble to be roused. You are one-of-a-kind and I love you and miss you. Thank you for everything you have done for our planet and we shall do our utmost to continue your legacy of fulfilling the Fathers will. One of Mark’s great lines of wisdom: “Show me what you value, and I’ll tell you what you’re worth.” Peaceful travels Mark my brother. 🙏

2006 In Australia

Some of us will remember Mark from the 2006 Urantia Association International Conference held at the Women’s College in Sydney. Our theme was titled “Rewards of Isolation—Small Teams in Deep Waters.” Mark gave a passionate and inspiring presentation about the nature and mission of the Urantia Revelation. One aspect of his talk made a big impression on me; he disputed the “small teams in deep waters” part of our theme title by thoroughly reversing the meaning by saying, with all the power of the universe behind us how can we call ourselves that. Rather he’d prefer to think of us as “large teams in little puddles”! By emphasising the magnitude of the mission of the fifth epochal revelation, the masses of unseen celestial friends barracking for our success, and the power of our Faith we should have more confidence and courage to dare to go forth …in the sole company of TRUTH. [103:9.7. 1141.5]

Our heart-felt sympathy and prayers go to Mark’s family and to all those who knew him well and called him “friend” and “brother.” May his resurrection on the Mansion Worlds be joyous and compensate for the tragic manner of his premature departure from this world.

Here are some fond memories of Mark’s visit to Australia for the 2006 Urantia Association International Conference:

 

Our Educational Imperative – A Strategy for the Coming Decades 

David Elders, USA

(Editor’s note: This was presented at the Urantia Book Seminar on Education held 23—26 March 2017 at Urantia Foundation)

Essay Purpose

The purpose of this essay is to offer for consideration a number of educational imperatives to guide us, as early recipients of the new truths revealed in The Urantia Book, in the implementation of an educational strategy designed to foster the transition in human consciousness from our fourth revelatory epoch to the fifth. One aspect of this educational strategy addresses how we choose to deal with the risk typically associated with the challenge of integrating new revelatory truth while minimizing its dilution and contamination by past religious beliefs, symbols, practices, and institutions. A Melchizedek observes:

You who today enjoy the advantages of the art of printing little understand how difficult it was to perpetuate truth during these earlier times; how easy it was to lose sight of a new doctrine from one generation to another. There was always a tendency for the new doctrine to become absorbed into the older body of religious teaching and magical practice. A new revelation is always contaminated by the older evolutionary beliefs. [Paper 93:7.4, page 1022.2] emphasis added

Premise: An Educational Strategy for The Fifth Epoch

It is the purpose of our educational initiatives to develop and implement the means and mechanisms whereby existing human consciousness on our planet—individual and collective—can be challenged by new truth to transition from its fourth to the fifth epoch of revealed truth to expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception. The revealed gospel of the fourth epoch is the Fatherhood of God, universal sonship, and the spiritual brotherhood of man. The “gospel” of the fifth revelatory epoch might be defined as our personality-will decision to respond to the Father’s inescapable command to become perfect in our realm as the Father is in his, facilitated by the expanded cosmic consciousness and enhanced spiritual perception delivered in our new epochal revelation of truth. This gospel is intended to augment, not replace, the fourth epochal gospel as revealed to us by Michael of Nebadon’s final bestowal incarnation as Jesus of Nazareth. One dimension of Michael’s bestowal career was his planned revelation of the various wills of the Paradise Deities and the synthetic will of the Supreme Being on and to all levels and to all personalities in his local universe realm, and perhaps beyond. Applying this pattern to planetary illumination and spiritual growth, whereas Michael/Jesus revealed the will of the Father during the fourth epoch, The Urantia Book may be a revelation of the will of the Conjoint Actor, the God of Mind, during the fifth.

Universe Context for Our Educational Imperative

For any of us feeling impatience due to the perception that our community has been slow to foster revelatory adoption during our short three generations of public promotion, here is a brief recital designed to provide some perspective, not only on universe timescales, but on a higher pattern of universe experience and education that might profitably inform our educational endeavors.

900 billion years ago, a permit was issued to begin development of the Orvonton Superuniverse space site that was to become a local universe. 400 billion years ago, our Creator Son, Michael, chose this site as the location for his local universe of Nebadon. Some two million years after that, Salvington and the required 100 constellation headquarters planets were completed and ready for occupancy. We know only a little about what Michael and the Creative Mother Spirit busied themselves with as the years flew by besides organizing their universe with expressions of matter, morontia, mind, and spirit and populating its spheres with living beings. All of that creative work apparently takes a LOT of time!

Approximately one billion years ago, our Creator Michael undertook implementation of the charge given him by the Eternal Son on behalf of the Trinity to bestow himself seven times on the creatures of the universe he had created in the outer reaches of superuniverse seven. The pattern of such bestowals was first manifest by the Eternal Son who bestowed himself on the seven circuits of the Central Universe of Havona, as subsequently did the original Paradise Michael Son. The Creator Son’s acceptance of this solemn responsibility impacts reality in his local universe and ripples across the Grand Universe home of the Supreme, and perhaps beyond. On Urantia we have directly experienced and benefitted from this obligation as a consequence of our Creator Son’s choice to complete his bestowal service on our world in his incarnation as the human Jesus—a short, 2,000 years ago.

When the Eternal Son bestows a Creator Son upon a projected local universe, that Creator Son assumes full responsibility for the completion, control, and composure of that new universe, including the solemn oath to the eternal Trinity not to assume full sovereignty of the new creation until his seven creature bestowals shall have been successfully completed and certified by the Ancients of Days of the superuniverse of jurisdiction. This obligation is assumed by every Michael Son who volunteers to go out from Paradise to engage in universe organization and creation. [Paper 119:0.3, page 1308.3]

The seven bestowals of a Creator Son of Paradise always end on the lowest, mortal bestowal level whereon the universe sovereign is born and dies as a mortal of the realm.

Only once in his sevenfold career as a bestowal Son is a Paradise Michael born of woman as you have the record of the babe of Bethlehem. Only once does he live and die as a member of the lowest order of evolutionary will creatures. [Paper 21:4.3, page 239.9]

A Paradise Creator Michael Son’s bestowal experiences augment his universe sovereignty, expands his experiential comprehension of the Supreme purposes of the Grand Universe, and reveals the various wills of the Paradise Deities as those wills are manifest in the persons of the Seven Master Spirits of the Grand Universe. Some 35,000 years ago, as the universes observed the default of Adam and Eve, it was announced that Michael’s seventh and final Creator Son bestowal incarnation would take place on our world some 33,000 years later in the form of a human child born to a human couple.

Planetary Context for Our Educational Imperative

Michael’s selection of Urantia as the site for his bestowal as a mortal will creature seemed to be his choice alone. So was its timing. Michael’s seven bestowals took place on average 150 million years apart beginning one billion years ago. On each of his bestowals, by design Michael revealed one of the various wills of the Paradise Deities, whose synthetic unity is revelatory of the will of the Supreme Being:

Creator Son Will Expression by Bestowal

 

In completing his creature bestowals, Michael was not only establishing his own sovereignty but also was augmenting the evolving sovereignty of God the Supreme. In the course of these bestowals the Creator Son not only engaged in a descending exploration of the various natures of creature personality, but he also achieved the revelation of the variously diversified wills of the Paradise Deities, whose synthetic unity, as revealed by the Supreme Creators, is revelatory of the will of the Supreme Being. [Paper  119:8.4, page 1318.2]

These various will aspects of the Deities are eternally personalized in the differing natures of the Seven Master Spirits, and each of Michael’s bestowals was peculiarly revelatory of one of these divinity manifestations. [Paper 119:8.4, page 1318.3]

Michael’s required bestowal experience represents a pattern expression for the process of universe education designed to demonstrate that personal sovereignty, at least for a Paradise Son, is based on the experiential comprehension of the wills of the Paradise Deities as they impact and influence the expression of God’s diversity in the finite realm (time and space). Is our personal sovereignty as will creatures consequential as well to such divinity experience?

Indeed, it may be speculated that experiential comprehension of the wills of the Paradise Deities and the will of the Supreme Being are reprised at every level of finite reality as an inherent facet of the realization of God as Supreme. Not only does our Creator Son do so in his bestowals, he also experiences the other six superuniverses to augment that unification.

Speculatively, it seems likely that the sum of revealed epochal truth on the planetary level from initial human consciousness to light and life offers a similar diversity of unifying will experience for ascending mortals. Consistent with higher patterns, ascending human will creatures, upon reaching spiritual status, will travel to the other six superuniverses to augment their experiential realization and unification of the diversified wills of the Paradise Deities and the synthetic will of the Supreme Being. If the pattern of Michael’s seven bestowals is predictive of a similar mortal experience of the Paradise Deities’ and Supreme wills, we can speculate as to how this pattern might be projected on our world:

Projected Will Expression by Planetary Mortal Epoch

 

* If Melchizedek, as an emergency mission, does not fit this pattern, the Daynals might express the united will of the Father/Son/Spirit and Light and Life would represent the seventh epoch since we are told that there are …at least seven epochs of human life. [Paper 52:0.1, page 589.1]

Detailed Discussion of Educational Imperatives

These strategic, educational imperatives are worth considering as the principles adopted to guide our early fifth epoch educational initiatives:

Fifth Epochal Transition Imperative:

In crafting an educational strategy for the coming decades, it is imperative that our educational initiatives be designed to communicate that the revelation of new truth conveyed in The Urantia Book during our fifth epoch is intended for all peoples on the planet and is not identified as a feature of any fourth epoch evolutionary religion, including Christianity. The book’s implied purpose, which must be integrated into our educational activities, is to facilitate the transition in human consciousness from our fourth to our fifth epoch of spiritual growth fueled by the planned epochal revelation of new truth designed to expand cosmic consciousness and enhance spiritual perception.

Avoid Parochialism Imperative:

Planted in the United States in the middle of the twentieth century, the fifth epochal revelation initially attracted a significant number of American readers with evolutionary Christian backgrounds and experience. So it is not a surprise that there would be a tendency to comprehend and package the revelation’s new truths in the old wineskins—the familiar language, rituals, and theological beliefs of evolutionary Christianity with a distinctive American bent. It is worth considering that Christianity as an institutionalized religion of authority is an evolutionary response to revelation, and not the revelation itself notwithstanding that some of Jesus’ teachings are still present therein much as truth exists in many religions. We were warned about such truth contamination and dilution. We can neither claim surprise nor avoid developing educational approaches to minimize such dilution and make conscious the revelation’s universal planetary intentions. The book teaches powerfully that our sonship with a common Father God and consequent universal brotherhood of all Urantia human beings will eventually be realized in the actualization of one world community which might be identified as the united human beings of Urantia. Our educational initiatives, by raising human awareness of that future reality as a revealed feature of this fifth epoch, can begin to introduce such sea change concepts into human consciousness, thereby helping to lessen the risk of contamination. (See Appendix)

Full Text Imperative:

Our educational strategy must not sacrifice illumination of the revealed truths of the entire Urantia Book to the apparent familiarity and appeal of Part IV. The true, religious power of Jesus’ fourth revelation as addressed in the last third of The Urantia Book derives in this fifth epoch from the expanded cosmic context provided by the revelators in Parts I-III, including the Foreword. It is imperative that our educational activities establish for coming generations the expanded cosmic consciousness offered for the fifth epoch as the context in which to truly comprehend the mission of our Creator Son as the human Jesus and as the Creator Son of our local universe. This educational positioning should help to insure the eventual integration into human consciousness of the meanings and values of this new teaching to and for all planetary citizens. That is, the fifth epochal revelation belongs to every child of our common Father-God and not to any specific group of fellow human beings. Linking the revelation to any institutionalized response to truth would surely hamper its ability to fuel growth for all. Notwithstanding that such an approach might be difficult and require patience in the short term, its benefits will surely be realized, albeit slowly, over coming generations. This outcome is inevitable. Our choice is whether consciously to become a part of its realization.

Knowing Michael’s Bestowal Purpose Imperative:

Michael’s bestowal as the human Jesus on our planet connects our Creator Son’s completion of his bestowal promise to the Eternal Son with our planet’s fourth epoch of personal religious growth and progress. As part of our educational mission to facilitate the transition of human consciousness from the fourth to the fifth epoch, we must develop educational initiatives that both differentiate and blend the benefits of this revelatory progression from fourth to fifth. The dimensions of both revealed truth and fact can help define our educational strategy. In the words of a Melchizedek:

As truth one may know God, but to understand – to explain – God, one must explore the fact of the universe of universes. The vast gulf between the experience of the truth of God and ignorance as to the fact of God can be bridged only by living faith. [Paper 102:6.6, page 1125.1]

…and aided by wise education and study! I believe that this statement offers a context in which to understand why the truths of Michael’s revelation as Jesus in the fourth epoch are expressive of the will of the Father and why the comprehension of God’s factual reality in the universe of universes as presented in the fifth epochal revelation might be expressive of the will of the God of Mind. If this expanded exploration of God’s factual reality as offered in The Urantia Book revelation is obscured by the familiar appeal of Jesus’ revelation of the truth of sonship with God, the power of the fifth epochal revelation to transition consciousness to the next epochal level will be reduced.

Top Down versus Bottom Up Educational Imperative:

A Divine Counsellor tells us that:

The human mind would ordinarily crave to approach the cosmic philosophy portrayed in these revelations by proceeding from the simple and the finite to the complex and the infinite, from human origins to divine destinies. But that path does not lead to spiritual wisdom. Such a procedure is the easiest path to a certain form of genetic knowledge, but at best it can only reveal man’s origin; it reveals little or nothing about his divine destiny. [Paper 19:1.5, page 215.2] The rest of this section of Paper 19 is worth studying.

Informed by this teaching and indeed observant of the very construction of The Urantia Book, it is imperative that our educational pedagogy gives preference to a top-down educational approach. As most of us have experienced in various study settings, even students of The Urantia Book tend to project onto the new truth they encounter beliefs and doctrines already in their consciousness. Though they may attempt to clothe their thinking and presentation in word symbols from the revelation, nonetheless their reach for new understanding is contaminated by what they already know and believe. A Melchizedek instructs:

Rationalism is wrong when it assumes that religion is at first a primitive belief in something which is then followed by the pursuit of values. Religion is primarily a pursuit of values, and then there formulates a system of interpretative beliefs. It is much easier for men to agree on religious values—goals—than on beliefs—interpretations. And this explains how religion can agree on values and goals while exhibiting the confusing phenomenon of maintaining a belief in hundreds of conflicting beliefs—creeds. This also explains why a given person can maintain his religious experience in the face of giving up or changing many of his religious beliefs. Religion persists in spite of revolutionary changes in religious beliefs. Theology does not produce religion; it is religion that produces theologic philosophy. [Paper 103:1.4, page 1130.3] emphasis added

Educationally we have both an obligation and an opportunity to construct our educational strategy on the revelatory teaching that the spiritual truth of God’s reality is experienced first as a quest for values followed by the evolutionary interpretations and beliefs which serve temporarily to define our comprehension—until we experience growth. Educating from the bottom up fosters projections of existing belief that contaminate newly revealed truth thereby impeding that truth’s ability to fuel growth and illuminate destiny. Mota 16 asserts that truth is revealed when the sequence of its encounter flows from spirit experience to soul perception: You cannot perceive truth until you feelingly experience it… Facilitating this shift in consciousness and identity from the mind to the soul as the doorway to truth illuminates a process by which our educational pedagogy can implement this imperative—educate from the top down not the bottom up.

Educational Compensation Imperative:

Had not the Planetary Prince rebelled, and had not Adam and Eve defaulted, Urantia would have benefitted from planetary leadership modelling growth-inducing teaching and behaviour to guide and influence the development of consciousness on our world as it transitions from epoch to epoch. As a consequence of the deficits resulting from rebellion and default, our educational strategy must consciously integrate approaches that compensate for this lack of intended leadership. The Urantia Book delivers the revealed truths our educational initiatives must illuminate in order to actualize experiential compensation for the lack of higher planetary guidance designed to facilitate the transition from the fourth to the fifth epoch of spiritual growth.

Revealed versus Evolutionary Religion Imperative:

The Urantia Book, the fifth epochal revelation of truth to our world, is a revelation of the personal experience of God as a spiritual Father to each and every human being on our planet—that is, true religion—in the context of God’s factual existence in the universe of universes. There is no equivalence between the fifth epochal revelation and the evolutionary religions that have been developed by well-intended human beings in response to the gift to human consciousness of past revelation, both personal and epochal. While we have a responsibility to ensure that our educational activities do not suggest or imply the arrogance of a chosen religion, we must also avoid weakening the power of revealed truth to challenge the human evolutionary response to revelation to progress to a higher and less diluted expression. The humbly-expressed “well, we believe it to be a revelation” might profitably be reinforced in our educational pedagogy with “we know and experience it as a new revelation of the truth of God’s reality.”

Transitional Quasi-Institutional Imperative:

One of the unfortunate outcomes of the fourth revelation was the transformation of Jesus’ revealed truths into a diluted religion “about” him that formed the skeleton of sectarian institutions claiming fidelity to Jesus’ teachings along with claims of theological authority. Our educational strategy for the coming decades of the fifth epoch must include the evolution of a transitional, progressive, and quasi-institutional framework to serve as a “container” for the living experience of reader-believers as they socialize true religion based on newly revealed truth and not on artificial agreement or identification with yet another evolutionary, theological authority.

I would argue that the revelators provided us with rare but specific advice for an optimal pathway forward: the formation of thousands of study groups designed to provide a context in which we can know and experience the truth of God as we seek as well to understand God’s factual reality in the ongoing study of the universe of universes. Study groups, if commissioned and supported as informal schools for fifth epochal studies, represent a matchless opportunity to facilitate the transition to the fifth planetary mortal epoch by implementing an educational pedagogy augmenting Jesus’ fourth epochal revelation of truth with the expanded cosmic consciousness and enhanced spiritual perception provided by fifth epochal revelators. Note: Charles Olivea has recently published an excellent paper focused on the purposes and opportunities of study groups.

Summary

The educational strategy that guides our educational activities should be rooted in a commitment to facilitate the transition of human religious consciousness from the planet’s fourth to its fifth epoch. This educational imperative, to be successful, must include awareness of the differences between the fourth and fifth epoch of intended spiritual growth. It must reflect the higher pattern of direct experience with the various wills of the Paradise Deities that together constitute the synthetic will of the Supreme Being recognizing that progressive planetary epochal revelations of truth are a planned feature of the human ascent from the birth of self-consciousness to the relative perfection of light and life.

Our educational strategic pedagogy should reflect the persistent, ongoing presentation of and direct encounter with newly revealed truth, leaving the human response to such truth to individual religionists and the institutions of socialization who, when challenged by revealed truth, will evolve their own evolutionary comprehension that will inevitably blend new truth with current beliefs. Our primary educational imperative reflects our commitment to epochal education as one of the primary external drivers of the human encounter with the newly revealed truths that fuel the expansion of cosmic consciousness and enhanced spiritual perception necessary for human will creatures to respond to the Father’s challenge to perfect ourselves in his image—the “gospel” of the fifth epoch.

Our educational initiatives on behalf of the revealed fifth epochal truths delivered in Urantia Book represent an opportunity to instil into human consciousness a high standard for the courage and commitment necessary fearlessly and progressively to replace old beliefs and doctrines with newly revealed, fifth epochal truths encountered in the appropriate universe sequence from spirit experience to soul perception. If we do not model in our educational initiatives the fearless response to this fifth epochal challenge, who will?

Seek the greater thing, and the lesser will be found therein; ask for the heavenly, and the earthly shall be included. The shadow is certain to follow the substance. [Paper 165:5.3, page 1823.3]

Appendix

Identifying The Urantia Book as a feature of sectarian Christianity represents a significant risk to the effectiveness of newly revealed truth to facilitate the transition of human consciousness from the fourth to the fifth epoch. Such identification, whether conscious or thoughtless, may extend the about conception of sectarian Christianity and make it more difficult to replace that perception with the religion of Jesus expanded by the revelation of Michael’s bestowal. In the context of this essay, two types of likely dilution come to mind:

1.            First, Michael chose the time of his final bestowal on our planet. He appeared as a human child only 2,000 years after an emergency mission by Melchizedek to keep the light of truth from being extinguished as a consequence of rebellion and default. Although Jesus, as the human face of our Creator Michael Son, surely embodied the supreme truths of our relationship with the Father possible to manifest during Urantia’s fourth epoch, Jesus’ revelation 2,000 years ago might not have been entirely the same one he would likely deliver to us had he arrived, for example, at the dawn of light and life when spiritual consciousness would be far more developed.

His revelation advanced the potentials of growth rooted in new truth from that achieved during the epoch following Melchizedek. Moreover, his revelation anticipated the universal indwelling of Adjusters at Pentecost consequent to his gift of the Spirit of Truth. But although the revelation of his religious life will stand for the ages to come, he did not reveal more than the evolutionary minds of that day could comprehend. Specifically, as noted below, while he focused faith on the TRUTH of the Father’s existence, he did not expand on the FACT of God’s reality in the universe of universes.

The newly revealed truths in The Urantia Book disclose the line of demarcation between the fourth and fifth epochs. Jesus, as the human embodiment of fourth revelation truth, must be expanded and enhanced for the fifth epoch to reveal Jesus as the human incarnation of our Creator Son fulfilling his promise to the Trinity to complete his bestowal responsibility in order to assume full sovereignty over his local universe in the context of the factual existence of the universe of universes.

2.            Identifying The Urantia Book as another sectarian expression of Christianity, while expressive of the hope of an “easy sell” of the book to Christians after its brief 60 years of planetary availability (hardly an eye blink in Michael’s timescale), will surly contaminate new truth with the evolutionary doctrines and beliefs of a religion of authority created by well-intended human beings in the fourth epoch. Although as we are told Christianity contains more of Jesus’ teachings than any other evolutionary religion, it is nevertheless an evolutionary “about” response to revealed truth and not the expression of the truth revealed. Our educational task of transitioning human religious consciousness into the fifth epoch is made immeasurably more difficult by diluting the potentials of new truth in choosing consciously or thoughtlessly to plant them into the institutional and evolutionary soil of even the best of existing, fourth-epoch religions of authority. And after only 60 years! Breaking the record for impatience affords no satisfaction. It took Eve a little more than 100 years to allow her impatience to overwhelm her better judgment.

Proclaiming the Gospel with Power in the 21st Century

J. Wattles, USA

(Presented at Urantia Association International Conference in the Netherlands, April 2018

Stand under the waterfall. Allow yourselves to be drenched by the beauty of Jesus’ many-sided gospel. Some of these sides are in this mini-sermon that I sent this morning by spirit email to every European.

We are all part of a world-wide family, evolving toward a high destiny, now going through a difficult and dangerous transition, leading to a new civilization based on post-materialistic meanings and values. Many people are lost, fearful, and angry; but we find the truth and joy and love that we need most in the Source of all creation—because within us is the spirit of God, our Father and our friend. In God we experience motherly love as well as fatherly love, so we have all the more reason to feel free to choose the name for God that fits our personal discovery.

OK. That’s the sermon.

We want the whole world to know the teachings of Jesus, and we know how to proclaim. Jesus bestowed his life upon us; and we shall bestow our lives upon others. We fill our hearts with love, serve as we are able, and speak truth as the opportunity arises. But these opportunities do not arise as often as they could, because society resists the gospel in various ways, and because we have our own difficulties in proclaiming.

So my question for this talk is: How shall we rise to the level of power where our living becomes a proclaiming to the 21st Century?

Here is my answer. Let’s learn to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves.

Let’s begin with the heart—the center of our motivation. The heart is where we recognize the values that motivate our choice of foods, films, and friends. To strengthen the heart’s love for God, begin with the thought that we can “know God, receive the divine affection, and love him in return.” [1:0.2, 21.2]

Knowing God is personal. It is not the same as knowledge about God, for example, that he is a creator, controller, and upholder. Knowing him arises through our intimate and personal relationship with him. We put our knowledge about him into this context. We don’t just stare at the idea of a controller. Rather, we gaze into our Father’s presence, rejoicing that he establishes wise laws for every level of creation.

Knowing God feels good. In the friendly energies, we feel the divine affection. As we experience his love, we realize: we can love, too. And we love him in return—naturally. I call this the first circuit of love.

When we love wholeheartedly, affectionate material emotions blend with feelings of soul.

Jesus taught that the soul is the self-reflective, truth-discerning, and spirit-perceiving part of us. All our soul is engaged if we get a self-reflective notification that we need a love upgrade, and then follow through to discern the truth of our situation, and turn within to perceive spirit.

The mind is the arena of choice. If we want to love God with all our mind, we bring together our intuitions into material, intellectual, and spiritual reality to make our best decisions for the Father’s will.

To love God with all our strength, we mobilize physical strength. We call on courage and on the righteousness that we receive from God by faith. And we use “spiritual force to break through all material resistance and to surmount every earthly obstacle to the new life in the spirit.” [166:3.8, 1829.5]

This first circuit, receiving the Father’s love and loving him in return, flows into “the great circuit of love,” “from the Father, through sons to brothers, and hence to the Supreme.” [117:6.10, 1289.3]

To learn to love our brothers and sisters, we follow the golden rule: treat others as you want others to treat you. We learn lessons from all six levels of interpretation.

  1. The first level, the level of the flesh, reminds us of our own unbeautifulness, arising from our material urges and selfish impulses. When ugliness begins to creep into our relation with another person, we ask, “If I were that person, how would I like to be treated?”
  1. Second comes the level of the feelings of the heart, especially sympathy and pity. Jesus expressed these feelings in a way that was uplifting. He developed sympathy by going to extraordinary lengths in getting to know people.
  1. Third, the level of mind brings in reason and experience. Jesus required the apostles to learn the way he had learned, gaining experience in personal ministry before preaching publically on social media.

And just as the Master taught them to understand the scriptures of their people, we should understand gems in other people’s sources of inspiration—religious, New Age, and secular.

  1. Fourth, the level of brotherly love is wholehearted social service growing out of the consciousness of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. Brotherly love is prepared to serve anyone; especially “overburdened, anxious, and dejected mortals.”[ 132:4.2,1460.6]
  1. Fifth is the moral level. We can be sympathetic, experienced, sharp in reasoning, and active in service—and still not be wise. In the moral level we “attain true philosophic levels of interpretation.” [147:4.8, 1651.2] We “show adequate respect for the experience and endowments” [107:3.4, 1179.7] of the authors of the Papers; they repeatedly express what I call the principle of receptivity: Adjust your teaching to the other person’s capacity of receptivity. And we are “considerate of the limitations and inexperience” [107:3.5, 1179.8] of those we hope to teach.

Said Jesus to the miller,

In your living and loving ministry, serve spiritual food in attractive form, and suited to the capacity of receptivity of each of your inquirers”. [Paper 133:4.2, page 1474.2]

The receptivity principle means don’t overteach. Don’t try to show the beauties of the temple to those who are not in the temple. Jesus became “expert in the divine art of revealing his Paradise Father to all ages and stages of mortal creatures.” [127:6.15, 1405.7] Thus, we normally make sure that someone has joined the spiritual family of God before we introduce The Urantia Book.

  1. Now we are ready for level six, the spiritual level: to treat others with Fatherly love, as Jesus would treat them.

Jesus usually expressed love with patience and gentleness; but sometimes his messengers needed needed more power. At Archelais, he spoke with great earnestness, saying, “Even divine love has its severe disciplines.” [143:1.4, 1608.1]. After his impassioned preaching, their message immediately took on “a new note of courageous dominance,” [143:1.9, 1609.1] and they acquired “the spirit of positive aggression in the new gospel.” [143:1.9, 1609.1]

Fleeing through northern Galilee, they needed another injection of power, and at one point he sharply criticized them, not in anger and contempt, but in the dyamism of true religion.

How much of this applies to us?

“You who have professed entrance into the kingdom of heaven are altogether too vacillating and indefinite in your teaching conduct. If you desire to enter the kingdom, why do you not take it by spiritual assault even as the heathen take a city they lay siege to? You are hardly worthy of the kingdom when your service consists so largely in an attitude of regretting the past, whining over the present, and vainly hoping for the future. Why do the heathen rage? Because they know not the truth. Why do you languish in futile yearning? Because you obey not the truth. Cease your useless yearning and go forth bravely doing that which concerns the establishment of the kingdom.” [Paper 155:1.3, page 1725.4]

Shall we obey Jesus’ call to join the gospel movement? The Urantia Book movement is not the same as the gospel movement.

Divine love will lead us through every difficulty. The ecological crisis makes it hard to believe in evolutionary progress toward a high destiny. The suffering of immigrants and refugees and their host communities makes many people wonder where God is. Social, economic, and political tensions make it difficult to believe in the brotherhood of man. And secularist hostility and other factors makes it tough to communicate the Fatherhood of God.

We do not know how violent the storms that are brewing will become. And we do not know when the spiritual renaissance will blossom forth. But we shall “depend wholly on Jesus for safe conduct throughout the unrevealed vicissitudes” [120:1.3, 1325.5], of the 21st century. He said, “In the gospel of the kingdom there resides the mighty Spirit of Truth.” [178:1.6, 1930.3]. There’s the power we need in order to proclaim by how we live and what we say.

Our lives rise to the level of proclaiming when we receive and return the love of the Father, and reveal it to others, and thus to the Supreme. Feel supremacy in this final quote. The Spirit of Truth endows

…mortal man with the power to forgive personal injuries, to keep sweet in the midst of the gravest injustice, to remain unmoved in the face of appalling danger, and to challenge the evils of hate and anger by the fearless acts of love and forbearance. [Paper 194:3.12, page 2064.4].

Are you ready? Let’s learn this together!

Now, in your group discussion I ask you to do three things. First on your sheet of paper, on the right side, list difficulties that we have in proclaiming. Second, on the left side, list teachings of Jesus that address these difficulties. And third, discuss how these teachings minister to those difficulties.

Thank you for cooperating in the Spirit of Truth!

Mining the Archives

Publications Service Group

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 by publishing them on websites and newsletters.

Each issue of the Arena usually has one “gem” published but for this issue we have two: the first, by  the late Ken Glasziou was”mined” from the Fellowship’s Journal 1994,  and the second, by William Wentworth, is from the Arena Newsletter, Autumn 2004 and was the preamble on the Canberra Conference theme—”Echoes of Eden.” Enjoy!

A New Approach to Revelation

Ken Glasziou, Sunshine Coast QLD

Mining the Archives

(“Mined” from the Urantia Book Fellowship’s Journal 1994)

After many years of introducing both Christian laity and ministers to The Urantia Book, I am increasingly faced with the realization that one of the major obstacles preventing them from a serious examination of the book is its claim to revelatory status. Most people who grew up in the nurture of the Christian faith have consciously or unconsciously developed a fundamentalist attitude toward the Bible: “This is the word of God and should not be questioned or doubted.” This impression is reinforced in the book’s concluding verses which threaten anyone adding or taking away from the book with plagues and other terrible consequences. (It is not widely known that this kind of threat was once very common, a forerunner of what we now know as copyright.)

Because of this cultural conditioning, many church members assume that all authentic revelation ceased with the Book of Revelation. We should not be surprised, therefore, if such people automatically recoil from any suggestion of new revelation.

Some of us quickly learn that when introducing church members to The Urantia Book, one needs to alleviate fear by saying something to the effect that, “The book purports to be revelatory, but read it critically like any other book. You will find that it contains some excellent spiritual insights.” Interestingly, this is the method of evaluating revelation recommended by the authors of The Urantia Book. The only way revelation can be validated, they tell us, is through the truths we have acquired in personal experience.

The Urantia Book presents humankind with a new and eminently reasonable understanding of revelation. Even epochal revelation is not infallible.

But no revelation short of the attainment of the Universal Father can ever be complete. All other celestial ministrations are no more than partial, transient, and practically adapted to local conditions in time and space. While such admissions as this may possibly detract from the immediate force and authority of all revelations, the time has arrived on Urantia when it is advisable to make such frank statements, even at the risk of weakening the future influence and authority of this, the most recent of the revelations of truth to the mortal races of Urantia. [Paper 92:4.2, page 1008]

Furthermore, a great deal of the textual material of The Urantia Book already exists somewhere in the written records of our world. At the conclusion of the Foreword (page 17) we are told that more than one thousand of the highest human concepts have been collated in producing Part I of the book. The Midwayer (author) responsible for preparing Part IV, the narrative of the life and teachings of Jesus, utilized thought gems and superior concepts assembled from…

“…more than two thousand human beings who have lived on earth from the days of Jesus down to the time of the indicting of these revelations, more correctly restatements…. In many ways I have served more as a collector and editor than as an original narrator.” [Paper 121:8.14, page 1343.3)

Superhuman revelatory sources were used only when the United Midwayers could testify that they had failed to find the required conceptual expression in purely human sources.

As more and more people in our society understand the openness and non-authoritarian orientation of The Urantia Book, they will experience a greater freedom to examine it both as a casual adventure, and in a critical evaluation. This is especially true of the rank and file of the church. They will discover what a marvellous treasure of spiritual insight and inspiration it has for humankind, and how superbly it reinforces the basic tenants of the Christian faith.

 

Conference 2004 Preamble – Echoes of Eden

William Wentworth, Australia

Mining the Archives

(“Mined” from the Autumn Arena 2004)

We are familiar with the assertion made sometimes by religious believers: “To the unbeliever no demonstration is possible, to the believer none is necessary.” If you don’t know God, there is no explanation or proof which can convince you of his reality. Spiritual realities are not susceptible to intellectual demonstration. Similarly, if you don’t know God, you have no need of any intellectual verification.

This being the case, why are we so interested in explanations? Isn’t it enough that we know God and try to live our lives in ways we think he approves of? Our mortal minds are so feeble that we couldn’t expect to understand much anyway. As mere babes in the cosmos what can we hope to comprehend anyway about God’s universe? Why bother to try to do what we can never achieve? Why not keep it simple and wait until we have developed the mental capacity to deal with the big questions before attempting to understand? After all, on the Mansion Worlds we will be morontia beings, with enlarged mental capacity, and access to morontia mota. Why not leave it until then?

Well, to be brief, some of us don’t want to leave it “till then”. So, part of October’s conference will involve an attempt to do what we all know we cannot do.

On page 54 of The Urantia Book a Divine Counselor points out that the watchword of the universe is progress. We are not expected to remain stagnant. And on page 1105 a Melchizedek teaches that it is our thoughts, not our beliefs or feelings, that lead us Godward, by the discovery of new meanings in known facts.

What a huge sweep of philosophical truth is contained in that Melchizedek’s statement. The implication is that thought can reveal new meanings which transform the mundane realities of daily life into ways of doing the Father’s will, of developing attunement with our adjuster, and of thereby co-operating with that host of administrators who are devoted to fostering our progress to light and life.

From cooking tea to light and life in one brief statement! They know how to teach on Uversa!

Anyway, progress requires thought. It requires other things as well. But plain old intellection is in there too. One of our functions is to extend our comprehension of the world, the universe and ourselves so that we can more fully cooperate with the wider universe personalities in the evolution of Urantia towards light and life.

And the real trick is that there is no trick. As in all other aspects of experience, we learn to do what we have to do by doing it.

Given that we are weak and ignorant, we can actually build strength and knowledge by tackling the impossible with whatever resources are at hand. We develop the ability to comprehend by trying to understand what is presently incomprehensible. And as we struggle away, our efforts progressively expand our abilities: we come to understand some little thing, and simultaneously, our capacity to understand expands! We understand a bit more, expand a bit more—and so on.

This is actually the history of evolution in a nutshell. Life evolves by adaption. Personalities progress by determined efforts to progress. Those efforts in turn expand the capacity for further progression.

Nebadon, and maybe Orvonton and the entire Grand Universe, apply this principle. It is one aspect of what it means to be finite. For although God and his hosts provide the means required, personalities choose to make use of those means according to their capacities. Physical reality is provided. The spirit nucleus provides direction and motivation. Mind connects physical reality with spirit nucleus, so that spirit can eventually dominant matter. But it is personality—our choosing—which activates the process. We progress in partnership with our creator and our progress is up to us. We learn by doing and do what we learn.

It is actually no use waiting until the mansion worlds, because the same efforts are likely required of us there. We don’t learn anything simply by being morontians. We still have to learn to do what we can’t do by doing it, learning from our mistakes and developing increased capacity to learn by having a go. We still will be struggling to comprehend what is beyond us as morontians, and probably also as spirits in the superuniverse, and maybe even as finaliters, and the method is always the same. Try to comprehend, and the effort of trying expands the capacity to comprehend. So, we might as well make a start now, not forgetting that…

…in liaison with God, nothing—absolutely nothing—is impossible. [Paper 26:5.3, page 291.3]

It seems clear that a shared planetary frame of reference is fundamental to future planetary progress. The conference theme Echoes of Eden—is intended to stimulate thought about Urantia’s existing cultures and their underlying assumptions. We invite conference attendees to attempt to imagine the implications of grafting a Jerusem perspective onto these existing cultures.

While we may not reach conclusions, we hope to establish that The Urantia Book provides a foundation for a shared planetary framework of though and motivation, sufficient in some respects to make up for the loss of Eden and Dalamatia.

Pearls of Wisdom from the Internet – Winter 2019

Publications Service Group

(Editor’s Note: There are many interesting people who are popping up on the Internet and are lecturing via YouTube videos and Podcasts. The Arena editors have decided to create a section in this newsletter to share some of the “Pearls of Wisdom” circulating around the world that may be of interest. One such individual who has grabbed the attention of many Urantia Book readers is Jordan Peterson. But first… Who Is Jordan Peterson?…)

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, a clinical psychologist and the author of the multi-million copy bestseller 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.

With his students and colleagues, Dr. Peterson has published more than a hundred scientific papers, advancing the modern understanding of creativity, competence and personality, while his now-classic book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief (released in June 2018 as a now bestselling author-read audiobook) transformed the psychology of religion. He was nominated for five consecutive years as one of Ontario’s Best University Lecturers, and is one of only three profs rated as “life changing” in the U of T’s underground student handbook of course ratings.

In 2016, shortly before the publication of 12 Rules, several of Dr. Peterson’s online lectures, videos and interviews went viral, launching him into unprecedented international prominence as a public intellectual and educator. His work, public postings and discussions are featured at:

Jordan Peterson Videos, on YouTube, features Dr. Peterson’s university and public lectures (including a highly-viewed 15-part biblical series on Genesis, slated to continue with the Exodus stories in 2019), responses to the polarizing political crises of today, has 1.8 million subscribers, with 90 million views; videos derived from his online content by others have been viewed more than half a billion times. 

Read on for an article by Jordan Peterson on “Existentialism in Australia and New Zealand

Existentialism in Australia and New Zealand

Dr. Jordan B Peterson, Canada

I have been touring in Australia and New Zealand since 5th February 2019, speaking in most of the major cities in both countries, to audiences ranging in size from 1500 to 5500. This tour, based on my most recent book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, is part of a lecture schedule that has now encompassed 126 cities in more than a dozen countries. More are planned for Southern and Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. The book, by the way, has sold about 3 million copies, and is slated for translation into 50 languages, which are pretty much all the languages in the world that have a sizable book market.

In total, now, I have spoken live to about 300,000 people. With each lecture, concentrating nominally on one of more the aforementioned 12 Rules, I also try to formulate a problem, so that I can articulate it clearly, and address in a manner that brings the audience along for the journey, so to speak, and furthers my thinking about the topic.

In Christchurch, most recently, the topic was “Toxic Masculinity,” a phrase I particularly despise, one-sided and sexist as it clearly is (concentrating only on what is hypothetically toxic in human behaviour, and therefore failing entirely to separate the wheat from the chaff; and attributing that at least by omission to masculinity, and therefore failing to note that an equal proportion of ignorance and malevolence characterizes femininity, as it most certainly must). I talked about a friend of mine, a man who bought hook line and sinker the idea that human action upon the face of this troubled globe was destined to do nothing but increase the rate at which society disintegrated, individuals collapsed psychologically, and nature suffered under the adverse burden placed upon it by the essential evils of humanity in general, and men in particular. He had a very rough time of it, governed by that belief system, from the time he was a teenager until he committed suicide due in large part to his ideologically-inspired self-loathing at the age of forty.

Each lecture is devoted, at least insofar as I can manage it, to a topic, let’s say, of equal seriousness and gravity. Despite this (that is, despite the darkness of the context within which the discussion takes place) audiences worldwide have been reduced in the main to absolute silence for the two hours or so of serious conversation that takes place between us, as we jointly work to determine what continues to go wrong in this vale of tears that we inhabit, and how we might if not endeavour jointly to improve ourselves, society and nature itself at least diligently attempt to reduce the amount of unnecessary suffering, malevolence and, sometimes, outright hell that we are all individually capable of producing.

It is no simple manner to determine why any of this has been successful (or necessary, as it apparently is). My radical leftist critics insist (mostly as a consequence of reading each other’s opinions) that I am appealing purposefully, effectively, greedily and politically to disaffected and angry young white men, but this is an explanation that is simultaneously self-serving (as I can then be safely ignored) and false: first, because there has not been a single event of any violent or even vaguely aggressive nature at any of the venues I have spoken at, despite the 300,000 hypothetically angry people in attendance; second, because my audience is not particularly young (averaging, I would say, 30-35); third, because at least a third of the people who attend are women, and that is continually increasing (as men make up 80% of the audience of YouTube, the platform that first brought me to public attention, but women buy the bulk of books); fourth, because all the people who attend are by no means young or white, much to the dismay of my critics; fifth, because people are not compelled by any means to buy the books or attend the lectures and greed therefore has nothing to do with it (not that I am in any manner ashamed of the money I am making from my endeavours, being the unrepentant and evil capitalist that I am, and planning to do positive and productive things with the revenue); and sixth, because people are not attending for political reasons—just as I am not speaking for political purposes.

Here is what is actually happening. YouTube and podcasts are revolutionary technologies. They bring long-form complex philosophical and psychological discussion to the very large audiences who have the time and inclination to watch and listen but who may not do the same with books, which always have been and remain a minority taste, unfortunate as that may be. Perhaps five to ten times as many people can and will listen and watch as would read.

Who knows? We’ve been listening to stories for a very long time, historically speaking, but only reading for a small fraction of that time. And people can use found time (exercising, commuting, working around the home) to listen, and that means they have time that once wasn’t usable in that manner to illuminate and enlighten themselves. And there seems to be a vast and heretofore untapped market for precisely that desire. And both these new media forms (YouTube and podcasts) appear to produce very loyal audiences, who are also, as it seems, likely to want to see the people they have been watching and listening to (and reading, when that is relevant) in person. And what happens in these personal lectures?

I talk directly to the audience. No notes. No scaffolding. I tell them, as individuals, what problem we are here to address. It’s generally something of deep existential significance: the tyranny of society, the terror of nature, the ignorance and malevolence that too often characterizes the individual and the family. We talk about the darkness of life, and of suffering, and of betrayal and nihilism and hopelessness and the desire for revenge that all of that can produce. And then we extract some light out of the abysmal depths. There is no discussion of happiness as the goal of life. Happiness, welcome as it is, is a side-effect, an unexpected benefit, a bit of the grace of God. If it comes your way, open your arms to it, embrace it, and enjoy it. But it won’t last. What we all need instead of happiness is meaning—the kind of meaning that will sustain each of us through the suffering that life entails, so that we can endure the self-betrayal and the dissolution of our intimate relationships through death and distance and the illness and aging and disappointment and death that await all of us, just and unjust alike. And I tell my audiences something they all know, but have not been able to fully understand or articulate: the sustaining meaning in life is to be found in the responsibility of life, the load we voluntarily decide to bear (and the heavier the better). We must take care of ourselves, as individuals, in a manner that makes us better for our families, in a manner that sets the community right, such that the ship of state does not list too far right or left and sails forth for the destination that is true and proper. We must take stock of our multitudinous sins, appalling as they are (because none of us is who we could be, and all of us do things we know we should not), attempt to atone for them, accept the adventure of our life, and try to encourage nature to shine her beneficial face upon us, keep the tyranny of our social organizations at bay, improve our characters as individuals and, most importantly, face the unknown with truth and courage so that we can discover what is new and necessary and eternally redemptive. It is in this manner that we cooperate in the creation of what has always been envisioned as the City of God, stumbling uphill towards it as we can.

And it is dead silence that descends on the audiences, all over the world, when I speak of such things, because they resound with the truth that tradition has bestowed upon us and that our consciences remind us of in the painful manner that such reminders generally occur. And it’s not political, and it’s not for young men (but for everyone), and it’s not “self-help,” in any classical sense (even though I have nothing against such things). It’s the attempt to put the great stories of the Judeo-Christian tradition back firmly underneath our great culture, to provide it once again with some honour, some gravitas, some profundity – and some necessary burden. And it’s not like I’m lecturing, from some great position of enlightenment. I am as ignorant, biased and malevolent in potential and spirit as the next (and even more than many) and am including myself in the vast population of people who need to hear such things once again and, more importantly, come to understand them consciously. We have many difficult decisions confronting us, in the next decades, as our technological power continues to grow, exponentially. I am hopeful that wise people can make the proper decisions as to how that unforeseeable power might be used, and that what I am talking about, drawing on solid scientific data, clinical experience, and the wisdom of the past, might help in some small manner make a substantial number of us wiser in exactly that manner, so that we tilt the world toward the ever-more Heavenly place it might well become instead of degenerating into the Hell we all know full well that it could so easily be.

Shaking Hands – a Poem

Pádraig Ó Tuama

(Editor’s note: this poem was originally published in Sorry for your Troubles [Canterbury Press, 2013. Copyright © 2013 by Pádraig Ó Tuama.] Reprinted with the permission of the poet.)

Because what’s the alternative?
Because of courage.
Because of loved ones lost.
Because no more.
Because it’s a small thing; shaking hands; it happens every day.
Because I heard of one man whose hands haven’t stopped shaking since a market day in Omagh.

Because it takes a second to say hate, but it takes longer, much longer, to be a great leader.
Much, much longer.

Because shared space without human touching doesn’t amount to much.
Because it’s easier to speak to your own than to hold the hand of someone whose side has been previously described, proscribed, denied.
Because it is tough.
Because it is tough.
Because it is meant to be tough, and this is the stuff of memory, the stuff of hope, the stuff of gesture, and meaning and leading.
Because it has taken so, so long.
Because it has taken land and money and languages and barrels and barrels of blood.

Because lives have been lost.
Because lives have been taken.

Because to be bereaved is to be troubled by grief.
Because more than two troubled peoples live here.
Because I know a woman whose hand hasn’t been shaken since she was a man.
Because shaking a hand is only a part of the start.
Because I know a woman whose touch calmed a man whose heart was breaking.
Because privilege is not to be taken lightly.

Because this just might be good.
Because who said that this would be easy?
Because some people love what you stand for, and for some, if you can, they can.
Because solidarity means a common hand.
Because a hand is only a hand; so hang onto it.

So join your much discussed hands.
We need this; for one small second.
So touch.
So lead.

About the Arena Newsletter

Anzura Admin

The Arena newsletter keeps students of The Urantia Book throughout Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific in touch with Urantia related news, activities and events from our local region as well as from the global Urantia Book reader community. It also provides interesting articles written by readers on a wide range of subjects from the book which we hope may be helpful in assisting with your studies.

The Arena is published by ANZURA two to three times a year and is dedicated to the promotion of goodwill and understanding among readers of The Urantia Book. Articles and editorial contributions that relate to The Urantia Book and its teachings are welcome from readers all over the world.

If you would like to receive the Arena or submit an article, please send us an email at anzura.urantia @ gmail.com

To view current and past issues of the Arena click here or on the image above.

ANZURA’s Contact Details

ANZURA
P.O. Box 1581
Warriewood, NSW 2102
Australia

Phone: 0431 285 943 (from Australia) or +61 431 285 943 (international)
Email: [email protected]
Website: https://anzura.urantia-association.org

Please note: Any interpretations, opinions, conclusions, or artistic representations, whether stated or implied, are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of ANZURA or the editorial team of the Arena.

The UB Endeavour

Anzura Admin

ANZURA’s mission is to foster the in-depth study of The Urantia Book and to disseminate its teachings.

The UB Endeavour is a fundraising initiative to raise funds for ANZURA to help us spread The Urantia Book and its teachings throughout the Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific region.

Here are some of our programs designed to achieve these objectives:

Book Distribution – Sowing Seeds

We hold a small inventory of Urantia Books and other associated material such as study aids and secondary works that are available to readers for dissemination projects. We sponsor a gift-book program where books are donated to libraries and relevant learning centres as well as study groups and individuals who wish to assist in the book-seeding program.

Bringing People Together

We provide a reader referral service that helps connect readers with others and to let them know of any study groups or reader activities in their towns or regions. Volunteer staff are also available to respond to inquiries about The Urantia Book and associated reader activities.

Educational Events

Each year ANZURA organises two major study events: The National Study Day and an annual Urantia Book Readers’ Conference. (See Events Calendar on our website at: https://anzura.urantia-association.org/events. We also foster the development of study groups both face-to-face and virtual. (See our Study Group Guide at: https://anzura.urantia-association.org/find-study-groups.)

Website

We maintain a website at https://anzura.urantia-association.org that services readers and curious truth-seekers alike with information, study aids, secondary works, and easy links to the entire text of The Urantia Book online with an efficient search engine.

Study Aids

We maintain a resource library containing a collection of study aids and resources. See our Products list at https://anzura.urantia-association.org/2019/05/05/study-aid-products-order-form

A four-part introductory DVD has been developed as a study aid which can be a useful tool to introduce people to The Urantia Book. (See https://anzura.urantia-association.org/2017/10/20/video-introduction-to-urantia-book

Admin

Naturally none of this work can be done without an administration centre that requires basic office equipment such as computers, printers, internet access, telephones, postage and stationary.

Please Help

There is continually much work to be done and all of this requires funds. Would you please consider making a contribution? For the average income-earner we recommend regular small donations such as a dollar-a-day (or $30 per month) automatically debited from bank accounts on a perpetual basis.

Ways to Donate

If you decide to assist us with the promotion and dissemination of The Urantia Book by contributing to the UB Endeavour fund, you may do so by any of the following methods:

  • Call us on 0431 285 943 with credit card details that we can take over the phone.
  • Direct debit into ANZURA’s bank account:
    Account Name: ANZURA
    BSB: 082-146
    Account Number: 67 899 2437
  • Fill out the Donation Form below and return it with your contribution to:
    ANZURA
    PO Box 1581
    Warriewood, NSW 2102
    Australia

For further inquiries phone 0431 285 943 or email: [email protected]

Donation Form

Study Group Contacts

Anzura Admin

ANZURA maintains a contact list for study group hosts.

Not all of these hosts actually run a regular study group but all of them are willing to host one for anyone who would like to meet.

Some study groups include virtual participation via Zoom if you cannot meet face-to-face.

You can view the list of contacts on the website at: https://anzura.urantia-association.org/find-study-groups