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Tue, July 28, 2015

Jesus Said What? To Whom?

By TruthBook staff

Did Jesus Just Call that Woman a Dog? by Linda LaScola

The Urantia Book says: "Oh, no he didn't!!!"

According to the Bible (Matthew 15), when the gentile woman asked him to heal her child, Jesus is supposed to have said: "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to the dogs."

Well, THAT'S embarrassing, isn't it? To have the Prince of Peace, the Light of the World, and the binder of wounds calling a follower with a sick child a "dog?" And that's pretty much what this article is about: instances when people are embarrassed by something that Jesus supposedly did or said. The person who had to field this question from a believer did some pretty fancy footwork, but what a shame that was necessary. As it turns out, the Bible writer was confused, too! He really got it wrong...

Click to read the entire article

Anyone who is a follower of Jesus might find the Bible account confounding and confusing; fortunately, we have The Urantia Book, with its matchless narrative of the Life and Teachings of Jesus coming to the rescue.

Urantia Book readers are well aware of this story, and what Jesus REALLY said and did when Norana, the Syrian woman, approached. It was the apostles who were reluctant to have her talk to Jesus; it was Simon who actually referred to her as a dog. But once Jesus became aware of her and her plea for healing, he did what anyone would expect of him, and more...Jesus actually loved the gentiles, and was always pleased that they seemed to understand his message and mission so much better than the Jews.

Here's the story in its enirety:

The Syrian Woman

There lived near the home of Karuska, where the Master lodged, a Syrian woman who had heard much of Jesus as a great healer and teacher, and on this Sabbath afternoon she came over, bringing her little daughter. The child, about twelve years old, was afflicted with a grievous nervous disorder characterized by convulsions and other distressing manifestations.
Jesus had charged his associates to tell no one of his presence at the home of Karuska, explaining that he desired to have a rest. While they had obeyed their Master's instructions, the servant of Karuska had gone over to the house of this Syrian woman, Norana, to inform her that Jesus lodged at the home of her mistress and had urged this anxious mother to bring her afflicted daughter for healing. This mother, of course, believed that her child was possessed by a demon, an unclean spirit.
When Norana arrived with her daughter, the Alpheus twins explained through an interpreter that the Master was resting and could not be disturbed; whereupon Norana replied that she and the child would remain right there until the Master had finished his rest. Peter also endeavored to reason with her and to persuade her to go home. He explained that Jesus was weary with much teaching and healing, and that he had come to Phoenicia for a period of quiet and rest. But it was futile; Norana would not leave. To Peter's entreaties she replied only: "I will not depart until I have seen your Master. I know he can cast the demon out of my child, and I will not go until the healer has looked upon my daughter."
Then Thomas sought to send the woman away but met only with failure. To him she said: "I have faith that your Master can cast out this demon which torments my child. I have heard of his mighty works in Galilee, and I believe in him. What has happened to you, his disciples, that you would send away those who come seeking your Master's help?" And when she had thus spoken, Thomas withdrew.
Then came forward Simon Zelotes to remonstrate with Norana. Said Simon: "Woman, you are a Greek -speaking gentile. It is not right that you should expect the Master to take the bread intended for the children of the favored household and cast it to the dogs." But Norana refused to take offense at Simon's thrust. She replied only: "Yes, teacher, I understand your words. I am only a dog in the eyes of the Jews, but as concerns your Master, I am a believing dog. I am determined that he shall see my daughter, for I am persuaded that, if he shall but look upon her, he will heal her. And even you, my good man, would not dare to deprive the dogs of the privilege of obtaining the crumbs which chance to fall from the children's table."
At just this time the little girl was seized with a violent convulsion before them all, and the mother cried out: "There, you can see that my child is possessed by an evil spirit. If our need does not impress you, it would appeal to your Master, who I have been told loves all men and dares even to heal the gentiles when they believe. You are not worthy to be his disciples. I will not go until my child has been cured."
Jesus, who had heard all of this conversation through an open window, now came outside, much to their surprise, and said: "O woman, great is your faith, so great that I cannot withhold that which you desire; go your way in peace. Your daughter already has been made whole." And the little girl was well from that hour. As Norana and the child took leave, Jesus entreated them to tell no one of this occurrence; and while his associates did comply with this request, the mother and the child ceased not to proclaim the fact of the little girl's healing throughout all the countryside and even in Sidon, so much so that Jesus found it advisable to change his lodgings within a few days.
The next day, as Jesus taught his apostles, commenting on the cure of the daughter of the Syrian woman, he said: "And so it has been all the way along; you see for yourselves how the gentiles are able to exercise saving faith in the teachings of the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. Verily, verily, I tell you that the Father's kingdom shall be taken by the gentiles if the children of Abraham are not minded to show faith enough to enter therein."

This is yet another great example of how The Urantia Book clarifies and illuminates the traditional stories of the Bible. Far from being inerrant, in this case, the Bible story is terribly slanderous to the Master's character!

The Life and Teachings of Jesus in Part IV of The Urantia Book is the most wonderful story of Jesus that you will ever read. His sterling character is consistent throughout, his mercy sublime, and his teachings clear as a bell in the depths of the believer's soul.

Do yourself a favor and check it out!

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Mon, July 27, 2015

What was he thinking?

By TruthBook staff

Thought for the weekend: Inside the mind of Jesus by Canon Walter Lewis in the Belfast Telegraph

I was drawn to this article simply on the strength of the title; turns out that it is a commentary on the savagery of Isis in Syria, as well as on the state of the poor in Britain - a plight that is shared by the poor everywhere these day, including here in America. The author cites the "feeding of the 5,000" by Jesus and suggests that by meditating on Jesus and how he acted in his world, we can glean powerful lessons on how to confront and change problems in our 21st century world. Here's an excerpt from the article about the miracle:

"At the time, Jesus was travelling extensively around Galilee. Great numbers of sick people were brought to him and were healed. Great multitudes, increasing in number, continued to follow him. Though tired and in need of rest, Jesus had compassion on them. He had time for them. Jesus healed great numbers. He fed great numbers. He showed love and compassion to all. He gave the people strength and purpose to face the future with confidence."

Click to read the entire article

We would certainly agree that studying the life and teachings of Jesus is the best way to educate ourselves on the way Jesus lived and how he acted. For Urantia Book readers, it's hard to imagine how very much can be gleaned from the scanty accounts in the Bible - although it can be done and is being done by those who rely solely on Scripture for their information about Jesus.

But imagine how much more can can be learned! Jesus lived a full life; he was baby, a toddler, a young child, an adolescent, and a young man before reaching his adulthood when he began his public ministry. All of these times of Jesus' life are chronicled and detailed in The Urantia Book.

Click to read all about Jesus' "missing years."

In this article cited above, that short paragraph about Jesus' feeding of the 5,000 is a good example of the kind of detail and "back story" that can be enjoyed through the revelation of The Urantia Book. Here's a snippet about that amazing event:

"Said Jesus: 'What shall we do with the multitude? They have been with us now three days, and many of them are hungry. They have no food.' Philip and Andrew exchanged glances, and then Philip answered: 'Master, you should send these people away so that they may go to the villages around about and buy themselves food.' And Andrew, fearing the materialization of the king plot, quickly joined with Philip, saying: 'Yes, Master, I think it best that you dismiss the multitude so that they may go their way and buy food while you secure rest for a season.' By this time others of the twelve had joined the conference. Then said Jesus: 'But I do not desire to send them away hungry; can you not feed them?' This was too much for Philip, and he spoke right up: 'Master, in this country place where can we buy bread for this multitude? Two hundred denarii worth would not be enough for lunch.'
"Before the apostles had an opportunity to express themselves, Jesus turned to Andrew and Philip, saying: 'I do not want to send these people away. Here they are, like sheep without a shepherd. I would like to feed them. What food have we with us?' While Philip was conversing with Matthew and Judas, Andrew sought out the Mark lad to ascertain how much was left of their store of provisions. He returned to Jesus, saying: 'The lad has left only five barley loaves and two dried fishes'—and Peter promptly added, 'We have yet to eat this evening.'
"For a moment Jesus stood in silence. There was a faraway look in his eyes. The apostles said nothing. Jesus turned suddenly to Andrew and said, 'Bring me the loaves and fishes.' And when Andrew had brought the basket to Jesus, the Master said: 'Direct the people to sit down on the grass in companies of one hundred and appoint a leader over each group while you bring all of the evangelists here with us.'
"Jesus took up the loaves in his hands, and after he had given thanks, he broke the bread and gave to his apostles, who passed it on to their associates, who in turn carried it to the multitude. Jesus in like manner broke and distributed the fishes. And this multitude did eat and were filled. And when they had finished eating, Jesus said to the disciples: 'Gather up the broken pieces that remain over so that nothing will be lost.' And when they had finished gathering up the fragments, they had twelve basketfuls. They who ate of this extraordinary feast numbered about five thousand men, women, and children
"And this is the first and only nature miracle which Jesus performed as a result of his conscious preplanning. It is true that his disciples were disposed to call many things miracles which were not, but this was a genuine supernatural ministration. In this case, so we were taught, Michael multiplied food elements as he always does except for the elimination of the time factor and the visible life channel.
"The feeding of the five thousand by supernatural energy was another of those cases where human pity plus creative power equaled that which happened."

Click to read the entire story from The Urantia Book

The operative word here is "pity." Jesus took pity on the multitude who had followed him and who hung on his every word. He desired that they be fed, and that desire, experienced and expressed by this divine Son of God was enough to create the miracle - the "first and only nature miracle which Jesus performed as a result of his conscious preplanning."

As the author of the article above states: "That is the model for you and me today. Have the mind of Jesus - the mind of love, care and compassion for people."

We could not agree more.

There's a good reason that the revelators advise us:

196:1.3 To "follow Jesus" means to personally share his religious faith and to enter into the spirit of the Master's life of unselfish service for man. One of the most important things in human living is to find out what Jesus believed, to discover his ideals, and to strive for the achievement of his exalted life purpose. Of all human knowledge, that which is of greatest value is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it.

Discover this knowledge of great value for yourself!

Click to read more of the Life and Teachings of Jesus.

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Mon, July 06, 2015

See Jesus, See God

By TruthBook staff

God in a Box – Reflections on Mystery, Jesus, and the Nonviolent God by Adam Ericksen

Friends, this is a wonderful article. The author, a Christian youth minister, has got it right!!!

Here's a sample:

"People often tell me that there's a great mystery to God that transcends all of our boxes. I don't think that statement is very helpful. Whatever 'mystery' there was to God, Jesus revealed it.

"Jesus said to his disciples, 'Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.'

"Ephesians tells us that God, 'has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.'

"Colossians speaks frequently about the mystery of God being revealed in Christ. Paul wrote that Christ has made 'the word of God fully known, the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to the saints.' "

It was a pleasure to read this inspiring article, and I invite you to enjoy it, too.

Click to read the entire article

Usually, in this blog, we notice an article in the popular press, and find ourselves trying to correlate it with Urantia Book teachings; we try to inform the reader of these Christian-oriented articles of the expanded truths that they can find in The Urantia Book - especially when it comes to Jesus - the life he lived and the teachings he left with us.

This article has the "Jesus-piece" down perfectly. We could not say it better; and here are some UB passages that totally agree:

157:6.13 "Nevertheless, I tell you that the Father and I are one. He who has seen me has seen the Father. My Father is working with me in all these things, and he will never leave me alone in my mission, even as I will never forsake you when you presently go forth to proclaim this gospel throughout the world.
180:3.9 And when Philip had spoken, Jesus said: "Again do I declare: He who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you then say, Show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? Have I not taught you that the words which I speak are not my words but the words of the Father? I speak for the Father and not of myself. I am in this world to do the Father's will, and that I have done. My Father abides in me and works through me. Believe me when I say that the Father is in me, and that I am in the Father, or else believe me for the sake of the very life I have lived—for the work's sake."

The Truth About God

One thing that I found wonderfully refreshing in this article was that the author chose to portray God not as the vengeful, judgmental God of the Old Testament, but as the loving, kind, tolerant and forgiving God who was embodied in JESUS - the Father/God who Jesus came to reveal to humanity. This is such an important transition that needs to be made by all who sincerely seek the truth of God and the truth of Jesus and his mission. Jesus came to upstep that old portrayal of God in the OT to the reality of the heavenly, loving Father.

It seems to this writer that there is a good reason that the authors of The Urantia Book tell us:

196:1.3 Of all human knowledge, that which is of greatest value is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it.

Clearly, by studying the life and teachings of Jesus in The Urantia Book, we definitely get ample evidence of the loving nature of this Father-God.

God in The Urantia Book

But it is not only in Part IV of The Urantia Book that we can meet God. The Urantia Book begins and ends with God - literally. The first sentences of Paper 1 read:

1:0.1 The Universal Father is the God of all creation, the First Source and Center of all things and beings. First think of God as a creator, then as a controller, and lastly as an infinite upholder.

And the last sentences in Paper 196 read:

196:3.35 The Father is living love, and this life of the Father is in his Sons. And the spirit of the Father is in his Son's sons—mortal men. When all is said and done, the Father idea is still the highest human concept of God.

The Urantia Book is full of God - from beginning to end. Part I introduces us to God as he really is, complete with his loving nature, his personality, and his Fatherhood.

Click to read Part I about The Universal Father

And Part IV - the final part of The Urantia Book, shows us the emdodiment of the revelation of God and his creation in Part I.

Click to read Part IV, including Paper 196 "The Faith of Jesus"

What Else is in The Urantia Book?

In between those two parts, we are given a revelation of where we stand in God's creation, and a revelation of the true and complete history of our world, Urantia.

Taken as a complete narrative, The Urantia Book spells out for us an amazing "whole cloth" of reality upon which to base one's life and philosophy - an orientation to universe truth that one can really hang one's hat on.

Knowing that the Jesus that we come to know so well in The Urantia Book IS a true portrayal of God himself should cheer any believer and give every believer a renewed sense of love and trust for that God, and for Jesus.

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Mon, June 15, 2015

The World needs Jesus NOW

By TruthBook staff

The urgency of a new look at Jesus By Howard Bess

This recent article in the popular press caught my attention because I, too, feel strongly that there is a sense of urgency about the world having a new look at Jesus. The author of this article is an ordained Christian minister, and his main point is that Christian churches are in need of a new presentation of the teachings of Jesus; from a ministry based on spirituality, to a ministry which allows more involvement with the real social issues of injustice, among others.

I would say it is much more urgent than even that...but please read the article as a starting point.

Click to read the entire article

As Urantia Book reader/students, we are privileged to know far more about Jesus and his teachings than those who have not read it yet. We understand the importance of Jesus' true teachings coming to light. And nowhere is this urgency felt more than when viewing the Christian churches. It is indeed heartening to see that ministers such as Howard Bess are trying to lift Jesus out of the tomb of traditional religion where he and his teachings have languished for all these generations.

However, while we certainly do not dismiss or minimize the efforts of Bess and others like him, we do know that what is really needed is JESUS, and only JESUS to turn the world around. This is indeed an urgent task that is before us. But The Urantia Book is here to help:

From Paper 195 - The Future

195:10.1 Christianity has indeed done a great service for this world, but what is now most needed is Jesus. The world needs to see Jesus living again on earth in the experience of spirit-born mortals who effectively reveal the Master to all men. It is futile to talk about a revival of primitive Christianity; you must go forward from where you find yourselves. Modern culture must become spiritually baptized with a new revelation of Jesus' life and illuminated with a new understanding of his gospel of eternal salvation. And when Jesus becomes thus lifted up, he will draw all men to himself. Jesus' disciples should be more than conquerors, even overflowing sources of inspiration and enhanced living to all men. Religion is only an exalted humanism until it is made divine by the discovery of the reality of the presence of God in personal experience.
195:10.2 The beauty and sublimity, the humanity and divinity, the simplicity and uniqueness, of Jesus' life on earth present such a striking and appealing picture of man-saving and God-revealing that the theologians and philosophers of all time should be effectively restrained from daring to form creeds or create theological systems of spiritual bondage out of such a transcendental bestowal of God in the form of man. In Jesus the universe produced a mortal man in whom the spirit of love triumphed over the material handicaps of time and overcame the fact of physical origin.

While I do not agree with all the conclusions that this author makes, I most certainly agree with this following statement, and I suspect most Urantia Book readers will as well:

"Christian churches have lost their way seeking social acceptability and comfort for the elite. Churches judge, reject and condemn. In the process, they have claimed the presence of their Christ in a cup of juice and a bite of bread. The distortion is disastrous.

"The need of Christians to take a new look at Jesus of Nazareth and his teachings is urgent."

Click to read Urantia Book teachings on the WEAKNESS OF INSTITUTIONAL RELIGION

One way that these problems can be addressed is by actually know more about Jesus. The revelators also tell us:

196:1.3 To "follow Jesus" means to personally share his religious faith and to enter into the spirit of the Master's life of unselfish service for man. One of the most important things in human living is to find out what Jesus believed, to discover his ideals, and to strive for the achievement of his exalted life purpose. Of all human knowledge, that which is of greatest value is to know the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it.

Want to know the real story of the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it? Want to know the real teachings of Jesus? It's all here, free for the taking.

Click to read the whole story

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Wed, May 20, 2015

What Did Jesus Teach About Money?

By TruthBook staff

What Did Jesus Teach About Money? What Does The Bible Say About Money? by Jack Wellman

Well, this title just begs to be blogged, doesn't it? Of course, I did read the article, and found all the things that one might expect to find; the author has done a good job of uncovering all the pertinent biblical quotes, and has made good commentary on them. I recommend a read because all of the points taken in the article, though familiar, are good ones; here's a good opening clip:

"Jesus always said things that were contrary to the ways of the world and looking at the ways of the world and that these ways of the world are not working very well, we need to seriously consider what Jesus taught about money. For one thing He said "He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty" (Luke 1:53). That seems just the opposite of the way the world seems to think. Jesus had a different attitude about money than most of us have..."

Click to read the entire article 

If you are a Urantia Book reader, you know instantly why this is an article that needs to be blogged to the world; in Part IV of The Urantia Book- The Life and Teachings of Jesus, the life of Jesus is chronicled as nowhere else on the planet. We see him doing things we've never seen him do before and we read his gracious words that have never been seen before, either. This instance of his teachings about money and wealth is an example.

Here's a sample from The Urantia Book:

What DID Jesus Say about money and wealth?

"A certain rich man, a Roman citizen and a Stoic, became greatly interested in Jesus' teaching, having been introduced by Angamon. After many intimate conferences this wealthy citizen asked Jesus what he would do with wealth if he had it, and Jesus answered him: "I would bestow material wealth for the enhancement of material life, even as I would minister knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual service for the enrichment of the intellectual life, the ennoblement of the social life, and the advancement of the spiritual life. I would administer material wealth as a wise and effective trustee of the resources of one generation for the benefit and ennoblement of the next and succeeding generations."
"But the rich man was not fully satisfied with Jesus' answer. He made bold to ask again: "But what do you think a man in my position should do with his wealth? Should I keep it, or should I give it away?" And when Jesus perceived that he really desired to know more of the truth about his loyalty to God and his duty to men, he further answered: "My good friend, I discern that you are a sincere seeker after wisdom and an honest lover of truth; therefore am I minded to lay before you my view of the solution of your problems having to do with the responsibilities of wealth. I do this because you have asked for my counsel, and in giving you this advice, I am not concerned with the wealth of any other rich man; I am offering advice only to you and for your personal guidance. If you honestly desire to regard your wealth as a trust, if you really wish to become a wise and efficient steward of your accumulated wealth, then would I counsel you to make the following analysis of the sources of your riches: Ask yourself, and do your best to find the honest answer, whence came this wealth? And as a help in the study of the sources of your great fortune, I would suggest that you bear in mind the following ten different methods of amassing material wealth:

Click to read the whole story: COUNSELING THE RICH MAN

The Rich Young Man - Matadormus

In the article above, mention is made of the rich young man who desired to be included as a disciple of Jesus until he was told he'd have to sell all he had.

In The Urantia Book, we get much more of the story. The young man is identified as Matadormus, and near the end of the familiar story, we read:

"Almost every human being has some one thing which is held on to as a pet evil, and which the entrance into the kingdom of heaven requires as a part of the price of admission. If Matadormus had parted with his wealth, it probably would have been put right back into his hands for administration as treasurer of the seventy. For later on, after the establishment of the church at Jerusalem, he did obey the Master's injunction, although it was then too late to enjoy membership in the seventy, and he became the treasurer of the Jerusalem church, of which James the Lord's brother in the flesh was the head.
"Thus always it was and forever will be: Men must arrive at their own decisions. There is a certain range of the freedom of choice which mortals may exercise. The forces of the spiritual world will not coerce man; they allow him to go the way of his own choosing.
"Jesus foresaw that Matadormus, with his riches, could not possibly become an ordained associate of men who had forsaken all for the gospel at the same time, he saw that, without his riches, he would become the ultimate leader of all of them. But, like Jesus' own brethren, he never became great in the kingdom because he deprived himself of that intimate and personal association with the Master which might have been his experience had he been willing to do at this time the very thing which Jesus asked, and which, several years subsequently, he actually did.
"Riches have nothing directly to do with entrance into the kingdom of heaven. but the love of wealth does. The spiritual loyalties of the kingdom are incompatible with servility to materialistic mammon. Man may not share his supreme loyalty to a spiritual ideal with a material devotion.

Click to read about the Rich Young Man and Others

Discipleship and Apostleship

Further in that paper, we read:

"As they went off by themselves, Jesus was grieved that Matadormus did not remain with them, for he greatly loved him. And when they had walked down by the lake, they sat there beside the water, and Peter, speaking for the twelve (who were all present by this time), said: "We are troubled by your words to the rich young man. Shall we require those who would follow you to give up all their worldly goods?" And Jesus said: "No, Peter, only those who would become apostles, and who desire to live with me as you do and as one family. But the Father requires that the affections of his children be pure and undivided. Whatever thing or person comes between you and the love of the truths of the kingdom, must be surrendered. If one's wealth does not invade the precincts of the soul, it is of no consequence in the spiritual life of those who would enter the kingdom."

Click to read The Discussion About Wealth

Again we see the narrative of Jesus' life in The Urantia Book surpasses any previous narrative in its scope, its readability, and its ring of truth. One can easily see Jesus saying and doing these thiungs, and in The Urantia Book, we get a further glimpse into the workiongs of Jesus' mind as well...

Finally, here is an instance of Jesus life where he is counseling a man who had to share an inheritance with his brother:

Dividing The Inheritance

The section is called Dividing the Inheritance

Jesus was mildly indignant that this material-minded youth should bring up for discussion such a question of business; but he proceeded to use the occasion for the impartation of further instruction. Said Jesus: "Man, who made me a divider over you? Where did you get the idea that I give attention to the material affairs of this world?" And then, turning to all who were about him, he said: "Take heed and keep yourselves free from covetousness; a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he may possess. Happiness comes not from the power of wealth, and joy springs not from riches. Wealth, in itself, is not a curse, but the love of riches many times leads to such devotion to the things of this world that the soul becomes blinded to the beautiful attractions of the spiritual realities of the kingdom of God on earth and to the joys of eternal life in heaven.

It is hoped that those who read this blog will be inspired and drawn to a further exploration of The Urantia Book. Jesus' life is a beacon of hope for all who love him and wish to know more about him. Reading the details of his life and the fullness of his teachings is a life-changing experience.

Click here to get right to it!

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Tue, May 12, 2015

A Return to the Teachings of Jesus

By TruthBook staff

Church institutions have to continue to change through our experience of Jesus by Thomas Gumbleton

A timely and encouraging article, maybe indicative of the evolution of the Christian religion, which The Urantia Book calls the religion ABOUT Jesus, rather than the religon OF Jesus. Some clips from the article that caught my eye:

"Over the years, I think, to some extent, we have put so much emphasis on the church, the institution, that we somewhat neglected the more basic understanding of how you become a disciple. It's not just by becoming a Roman Catholic; no, it's much deeper. It's because God comes alive in us through Jesus. He is the vine, we are the branches.

"So we do need a structured, institutional church, but we cannot let that be the dominant thing in our lives. The rules and the organization, the institutions of the church -- they have to continue to change and to grow because our experience of Jesus. I hope that as we listen to the Scriptures today, we realize how important it is for each of us to try to know Jesus. We'll never have the experience of Paul, I don't think, where it was so overwhelming, so overpowering that he was even knocked to the ground and had that instant, full enlightenment about Jesus. But gradually, as we reflect and enter into our own spirit life and begin to understand God living deep within us, we can experience Jesus."

Click to read the complete article

It's heartening to see that the institutionalized Christian church is beginning to question its real role in being the self-anointed representatives of Jesus.

I say that they are self-appointed because in a way, the Christian churches have appropriated Jesus; anyone who reads The Urantia Book knows that Jesus was not a Christian. He did not come to establish a church; instead he came to establish the KINGDOM OF GOD in the hearts of God's children. That the institutionalized churches claim him has been a good thing but also an unfortunate thing.

Click to read Urantia Book teachings about the Beginnings of the Christian Church

Even before Paul entered the picture, the message of Jesus had been altered from Jesus' simple gospel - that all people are children of God and by faith in this truth, by loving God and loving one another they are saved - to a gospel about the risen Christ. From The Urantia Book:

194:4.6 Christ was about to become the creed of the rapidly forming church. Jesus lives; he died for men; he gave the spirit; he is coming again. Jesus filled all their thoughts and determined all their new concept of God and everything else. They were too much enthused over the new doctrine that "God is the Father of the Lord Jesus" to be concerned with the old message that "God is the loving Father of all men," even of every single individual. True, a marvelous manifestation of brotherly love and unexampled good will did spring up in these early communities of believers. But it was a fellowship of believers in Jesus, not a fellowship of brothers in the family kingdom of the Father in heaven. Their good will arose from the love born of the concept of Jesus' bestowal and not from the recognition of the brotherhood of mortal man. Nevertheless, they were filled with joy, and they lived such new and unique lives that all men were attracted to their teachings about Jesus. They made the great mistake of using the living and illustrative commentary on the gospel of the kingdom for that gospel, but even that represented the greatest religion mankind had ever known.
99:3.1 Early Christianity was entirely free from all civil entanglements, social commitments, and economic alliances. Only did later institutionalized Christianity become an organic part of the political and social structure of Occidental civilization.

As to where Christianity stands today, please see Christianity's Problem.

To this writer, the biggest omission of the original message of Jesus was the idea of the religion of personal spiritual experience, the religion that Jesus himself practiced. This was left out, or somehow forgotten in favor of the individual being part of a church - an institutionalized version of religion ... really a second-hand religion, in that the individual believer is encouraged to follow the wisdom of the church in his/her relations with God, rather than relying solely on the wisdom that comes as the result of aligning oneself with God dwelling within. The outward church became favored above all, rather than the individual's relations with God. In addition, the institutionalized church allowed itself to become an integral part of society itself, instead of relying on individual religioniosts to shape and mold society.

99:2.6 Modern religion finds it difficult to adjust its attitude toward the rapidly shifting social changes only because it has permitted itself to become so thoroughly traditionalized, dogmatized, and institutionalized. The religion of living experience finds no difficulty in keeping ahead of ... social developments and economic upheavals, amid which it ever functions as a moral stabilizer, social guide, and spiritual pilot.

That seems to be the thrust of this article, and why it caught my eye. I hope that you'll read it, read the links that are provided to Urantia Book teachings, and make some evaluations of your own.

From the link above, Christianity's Problem:

195:9.8 The world needs more firsthand religion. Even Christianity—the best of the religions of the twentieth century—is not only a religion about Jesus, but it is so largely one which men experience secondhand. They take their religion wholly as handed down by their accepted religious teachers. What an awakening the world would experience if it could only see Jesus as he really lived on earth and know, firsthand, his life-giving teachings! Descriptive words of things beautiful cannot thrill like the sight thereof, neither can creedal words inspire men's souls like the experience of knowing the presence of God. But expectant faith will ever keep the hope-door of man's soul open for the entrance of the eternal spiritual realities of the divine values of the worlds beyond.

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Sun, May 10, 2015

Why Jesus' Teachings Make Us Uncomfortable

By TruthBook staff

Sometimes we squirm over what Jesus wants by Rt. Rev. Michael P. Milliken

Here's a clip from the article:

"This morning as I did my prayers, one of the Scripture selections was from St. Luke's gospel. In this passage Jesus is reminding his followers that they are to "Love your enemies …" Sometimes Jesus really makes me squirm! I squirm because I think Jesus is also saying to us that we are to love those different from us – who are a different color, who speak a different language, who are handicapped, who are elderly, who are poor (or rich), who are gay or straight, beautiful or ugly.

"And then Jesus turns the screws a little more. It is not enough to love our enemies; now Jesus expects us to forgive those who wrong us! Forgive? Most of us really want to get even. We want revenge … retribution. We want those who caused us to suffer to suffer even more! Forgive? No way! We want our pound of flesh! I wonder if things might have been different in Ferguson and Baltimore if both sides had worked at forgiveness and understanding."

Click to read the article

Do some of Jesus' teachings make YOU squirm?

There's a good reason for that, you know...

If it was easy to love our enemies, easy to love those who grate on our nerves, easy to love those who don't love us back ... well, we'd have a nice slice of the Kingdom right here on earth. If it was easy to cultivate serenity no matter what, easy to refuse to hold a grudge, easy to truly love all of God's children, and live without fear ... there would be peace on earth in short order.

As it is, many of us who say we love Jesus draw the line at some of his more difficult advice - like these instructions, some found in the article above, and the rest in the revelation of Jesus' life and teachings in The Urantia Book:

"I say to you: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who despitefully use you. And whatsoever you believe that I would do to men, do you also to them.
"Your inability or unwillingness to forgive your fellows is the measure of your immaturity, your failure to attain adult sympathy, understanding, and love. You hold grudges and nurse vengefulness in direct proportion to your ignorance of the inner nature and true longings of your children and your fellow beings. Love is the outworking of the divine and inner urge of life. It is founded on understanding, nurtured by unselfish service, and perfected in wisdom."
"The measure of your human strength of character is your ability to resist the holding of grudges and your capacity to withstand brooding in the face of deep sorrow. Defeat is the true mirror in which you may honestly view your real self."
"... why should you live in fear of the many trifles which come up in your daily lives? I say to you: Fear not."
And when he said, "Resist not evil," he later explained that he did not mean to condone sin or to counsel fraternity with iniquity. He intended the more to teach forgiveness, to "resist not evil treatment of one's personality, evil injury to one's feelings of personal dignity."

And from elsewhere in The Urantia Book:

103:5.2 This idea-ideal of doing good to others—the impulse to deny the ego something for the benefit of one's neighbor—is very circumscribed at first. Primitive man regards as neighbor only those very close to him, those who treat him neighborly; as religious civilization advances, one's neighbor expands in concept to embrace the clan, the tribe, the nation. And then Jesus enlarged the neighbor scope to embrace the whole of humanity, even that we should love our enemies. And there is something inside of every normal human being that tells him this teaching is moral—right. Even those who practice this ideal least, admit that it is right in theory.

Here's some insight on why many of us, while on board with Jesus intellectally, are unable or unwilling to really live what we know is right:

195:9.6 "Thinking man has always feared to be held by a religion. When a strong and moving religion threatens to dominate him, he invariably tries to rationalize, traditionalize, and institutionalize it, thereby hoping to gain control of it. By such procedure, even a revealed religion becomes man-made and man-dominated. Modern men and women of intelligence evade the religion of Jesus because of their fears of what it will do to them—and with them. And all such fears are well founded. The religion of Jesus does, indeed, dominate and transform its believers, demanding that men dedicate their lives to seeking for a knowledge of the will of the Father in heaven and requiring that the energies of living be consecrated to the unselfish service of the brotherhood of man.
"Selfish men and women simply will not pay such a price for even the greatest spiritual treasure ever offered mortal man. Only when man has become sufficiently disillusioned by the sorrowful disappointments attendant upon the foolish and deceptive pursuits of selfishness, and subsequent to the discovery of the barrenness of formalized religion, will he be disposed to turn wholeheartedly to the gospel of the kingdom, the religion of Jesus of Nazareth."

Are we really selfish? Is it going to take even more sad events on ths world to convince the followers of Jesus that the solution begins with US? We may bemoan the state of the world and the state of the churches, but what are we doing - individually - to change things?

It's good food for thought, isn't it? Again, from the article cited above:

"As humans, we have free will. We can chose. As Christians, I hope we would chose the Way of Christ. It is so easy to hate. It is so easy to hold grudges. It is so easy to nurse our hurt feelings and bruised egos. But the Risen Lord expects more of his followers. It is hard to love the unlovable, to forgive the unforgivable. But that is what is expected of us."

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Tue, April 14, 2015

Is Anti-Semitism Ever Justified? Book Review

By TruthBook staff

A Jesus For Christians, Jews And Atheists: A Look At James Carroll's 'Christ Actually'

A Jesus for "Christians, Jews And Atheists?" Let's add Muslims, Buddhists, Mormons, and even the unchurched and truthseekers everywhere. Yes, Jesus belongs to everyone - it may sound glib to those who don't know Jesus, but it is true, and one of The Urantia Book's most comforting teachings!

This is a worthy article about a book that looks promising in this regard. Here's a good snip:

"A former Catholic priest and current Boston Globe columnist, Carroll wants his fellow Christians to recognize their error — certainly moral but also historical — in demonizing Judaism, the lifelong religion of Jesus and his early disciples. Yet one of this book's many valuable observations will surprise Christians and Jews alike: the divine messiah was a Jewish invention, long before Jesus was born. Odder still, that observation leads to a Jesus in whom even atheists can believe.

"So Judaism conceived a divine messiah, but science-steeped moderns can't accept the idea: provocative, but what's the point? Carroll's subtitle is "The Son of God for the Secular Age." Challenging orthodox Christianity, he discards fixation on creeds that the institutional church has spent centuries accreting, arguing instead that what counts in our secular times is imitating Jesus's compassion as recorded in scripture: mercy towards sinners, concern for the poor, and nonviolence. Carroll's role models include Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran theologian martyred by the Nazis, and the American Catholic justice advocate Dorothy Day.

Click to read the entire article

There are a couple of points in this article that will bear greater scrutiny for readers of The Urantia Book ... how close this author comes to helping build a bridge over the chasm of misunderstanding, guilt, and blame that has come down to even this 21st century on the Jewish people!

First, this idea of the Jewish messiah ... From the article:

"The divine messiah was a Jewish invention, long before Jesus was born. Odder still, that observation leads to a Jesus in whom even atheists can believe."

So true! Jesus was (and is) a divine being. He was incarnated into a Jewish society to Jewish parents, but he transcended his peoples' religion fairly early-on. I suspect that, had Jesus been born into any other religious milieu, he would have transcended it, also, because the religion that he came to establish was far and away better than any existing man-made religion of his day, or any day. But here he was, a Jewish baby, reared in a Jewish home - and it was to his father Joseph's people that he revealed his divinity; it was to them he offered his new religion. It was to fulfill their idea of the "messiah" that he tailored his teachings.

Click to read CONCEPTS OF THE EXPECTED MESSIAH from The Urantia Book, in which we read:

"The Jews entertained many ideas about the expected deliverer, and each of these different schools of Messianic teaching was able to point to statements in the Hebrew scriptures as proof of their contentions. In a general way, the Jews regarded their national history as beginning with Abraham and culminating in the Messiah and the new age of the kingdom of God. In earlier times they had envisaged this deliverer as "the servant of the Lord," then as "the Son of Man," while latterly some even went so far as to refer to the Messiah as the "Son of God." But no matter whether he was called the "seed of Abraham" or "the son of David," all were agreed that he was to be the Messiah, the "anointed one." Thus did the concept evolve from the "servant of the Lord" to the "son of David," "Son of Man," and "Son of God."

And Jesus was never able to fully divorce himself from these strong ideas. Following the wedding events at Cana, where the water was turned to wine, Jesus was sorely perplexed:

137:5.3 That night Jesus did not sleep. Donning his evening wraps, he sat out on the lake shore thinking, thinking until the dawn of the next day. In the long hours of that night of meditation Jesus came clearly to comprehend that he never would be able to make his followers see him in any other light than as the long-expected Messiah. At last he recognized that there was no way to launch his message of the kingdom except as the fulfillment of John's prediction and as the one for whom the Jews were looking. After all, though he was not the Davidic type of Messiah, he was truly the fulfillment of the prophetic utterances of the more spiritually minded of the olden seers. Never again did he wholly deny that he was the Messiah. He decided to leave the final untangling of this complicated situation to the outworking of the Father's will.
The second point that should be considered is this idea that the Jews have borne the brunt of the world's hatred and disdain for all of these centuries. The Urantia Book teaches that this should not be so, and must be rejected. Although the Jews who wielded the power to kill Jesus WERE responsible, this guilt does in no way carry down to any individual descendents of the Jewish religion or culture

From The Urantia Book:

175:2.1 The fact that the spiritual leaders and the religious teachers of the Jewish nation onetime rejected the teachings of Jesus and conspired to bring about his cruel death, does not in any manner affect the status of any individual Jew in his standing before God. And it should not cause those who profess to be followers of the Christ to be prejudiced against the Jew as a fellow mortal. The Jews, as a nation, as a sociopolitical group, paid in full the terrible price of rejecting the Prince of Peace. Long since they ceased to be the spiritual torchbearers of divine truth to the races of mankind, but this constitutes no valid reason why the individual descendants of these long-ago Jews should be made to suffer the persecutions which have been visited upon them by intolerant, unworthy, and bigoted professed followers of Jesus of Nazareth, who was, himself, a Jew by natural birth.
"Many times has this unreasoning and un-Christlike hatred and persecution of modern Jews terminated in the suffering and death of some innocent and unoffending Jewish individual whose very ancestors, in the times of Jesus, heartily accepted his gospel and presently died unflinchingly for that truth which they so wholeheartedly believed. What a shudder of horror passes over the onlooking celestial beings as they behold the professed followers of Jesus indulge themselves in persecuting, harassing, and even murdering the later-day descendants of Peter, Philip, Matthew, and others of the Palestinian Jews who so gloriously yielded up their lives as the first martyrs of the gospel of the heavenly kingdom!
"How cruel and unreasoning to compel innocent children to suffer for the sins of their progenitors, misdeeds of which they are wholly ignorant, and for which they could in no way be responsible! And to do such wicked deeds in the name of one who taught his disciples to love even their enemies! It has become necessary, in this recital of the life of Jesus, to portray the manner in which certain of his fellow Jews rejected him and conspired to bring about his ignominious death; but we would warn all who read this narrative that the presentation of such a historical recital in no way justifies the unjust hatred, nor condones the unfair attitude of mind, which so many professed Christians have maintained toward individual Jews for many centuries. Kingdom believers, those who follow the teachings of Jesus, must cease to mistreat the individual Jew as one who is guilty of the rejection and crucifixion of Jesus. The Father and his Creator Son have never ceased to love the Jews. God is no respecter of persons, and salvation is for the Jew as well as for the gentile."

Just knowing the real story - the full story - of Jesus' incarnation and the life he led while in human form should help any seeker of any religious (or even non-religious) practice to discover that Jesus stands quite aloof and apart from any established religion on this earth - then or now.

The time is long passed when all of the children of God should know that they stand on an equal footing with God. No matter what our religious upbringing is, no matter what our gender, no matter our social status, all of us can rest assured that God loves all of his children the same.

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Thu, April 09, 2015

A Place Where Jesus Really Stood

By TruthBook staff

A place where Jesus actually stood by Jerry Johnston, Deseret News

Do you know this story?

"...there is one place where scholars, scientists and spiritual leaders all agree is a place where Jesus certainly stood.

"And the site is not even in Jerusalem. Not in Nazareth. Not in Bethlehem.

"It's in ancient Samaria.

"It is the well — Jacob's Well — where Jesus met the woman and told her he was life's living water.

"The location of Jacob's Well is pretty specific in the New Testament, and the current well has been known as Jacob's Well for eons."

Click to read the entire article

It's fun to find articles like this in the popular press; it's wonderful to have an opportunity to share with you these familiar stories from the Bible, but as they are narrated for us in Part IV of The Urantia Book: The Life and Teachings of Jesus.

As this article points out, the meeting of Jesus with the woman at the well was a very significant meeting. Not only was Jesus bold in even speaking to this woman, but it as to her that he made his first declaration of his divinity. About this, The Urantia Book states:

"This was the first direct, positive, and undisguised pronouncement of his divine nature and sonship which Jesus had made on earth; and it was made to a woman, a Samaritan woman, and a woman of questionable character in the eyes of men up to this moment, but a woman whom the divine eye beheld as having been sinned against more than as sinning of her own desire and as now being a human soul who desired salvation, desired it sincerely and wholeheartedly, and that was enough."

The story in John 4 is the only version of this story that the world has known up until The Urantia Book was given to us. In The Urantia Book, we see this familiar story expanded and fleshed-out. We learn the woman's name (Nalda) and we learn much more about her, and about this momentous meeting that long-ago day.

Click to read the whole story as told in The Urantia Book.

As is the case with many of the stories in the Bible, The Urantia Book gives us a whole new way to know these stories. This whole paper - Paper 143: Going Through Samaria is full of interesting stories. The woman at the well in Sychar is there, yes, but also stories that you may not be so familiar with ... stories like:

Jesus' preaching at Archelais, where Jesus expands on the kingdom gospel

Jesus' Lesson on Self-Mastery

Jesus' lesson on Diversion and Relaxation,

The real backstory regarding the bad feelings between the Jews and Samaritans

And the discourse of Jesus on Prayer and Worship

Click on any of the links, and enjoy reading this new revelation of Jesus in Paper 143 of the Urantia Book - only one of over 70 papers in Part IV that are devoted to the Life and Teachings of Jesus.

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Tue, March 31, 2015

What Happened in the Tomb of Jesus

By Cydney Renee

What Really Happened in the Tomb?

After the death of Jesus on the cross, and before the resurrection, there is nothing known of record as to what activities happened in Joseph’s new tomb where they laid Jesus’ body to rest. The Urantia Book reveals, in part, one of the most mysterious secrets about our beloved Jesus and what transpired on that one Sunday morning, April 9, 30 A.D. at 2:45am.

As Jesus lay in the tomb, his body wrapped in bandages and covered with a burial cloth, seven Paradise personalities from the Paradise incarnation commission descended from on high and deployed themselves about the tomb. Within minutes, strange morontia activities and intense vibrations were emitting from the interior of the tomb. What this means, we do not know.

At 3:02am, this amazing Sunday morning, Jesus resurrected in his morontia form and the personality of Jesus was released from the bonds of his torn, bruised, and badly abused material body. The celestial observers were greatly relieved when they saw the resurrected Jesus suddenly appear above the tomb immediately at the side of Gabriel, the Bright and Morning Star of Nebadon. As suddenly did they appear, the seven Paradise personalities, departed the scene at the tomb.

189.1.1 “At two forty-five Sunday morning, the Paradise incarnation commission, consisting of seven unidentified Paradise personalities, arrived on the scene and immediately deployed themselves about the tomb. At ten minutes before three, intense vibrations of commingled material and morontia activities began to issue from Joseph’s new tomb, and at two minutes past three o’clock, this Sunday morning, April 9, A.D. 30, the resurrected morontia form and personality of Jesus of Nazareth came forth from the tomb.“

Just as any Creator Son, Jesus “laid down his life of his own free will, he also had power to take it up again in accordance with his own determination.” These words of Gabriel to the concerned and watchful celestial hosts are all we know about what possibly happened in the tomb that one historical morning.

189:1.5 “We know that no creature of the local universe participated in this morontia awakening. We perceived the seven personalities of Paradise surround the tomb, but we did not see them do anything in connection with the Master’s awakening.”

Morontia is a term used in The Urantia Book that describes the substance between the material life and the spirit life. When we die our natural death, we progress onto the morontia worlds where our physical bodies become slightly more spiritual in nature at each successive transition. In each 570 morontia lifespans, our bodies become more and more spirit-like substance, and less material substance. “Matter is the skeleton of morontia, and that both are the reflected shadow of enduring spirit reality.”

Jesus’ material body and bandages lay undisturbed in the tomb. The huge rock rolled in front of the entrance stood undisturbed, and the guards heard nothing from within the tomb during that profound resurrection moment. Michael of Nebadon was finally free of his mortal bestowal as Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God and Son of Man.

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