A: "I am so happy for you that you have found The Urantia Book...it truly is "a book of life-changing truth." I think it is no accident that you were led to our site, and I hope you come back again and again for inspiration.
You might be interested to know that there are many, many Catholics—practicing, and non-practicing—who have embraced the teachings of this amazing revelation. And that is because it helps us to put our faith into perspective—helps us to see where the Church went wrong (due to centuries of institutionalization), and how easy it can be to keep our faith, and increase our connection with Jesus and our heavenly Father, even while remaining a member of the Church, if that is what we desire. It is wonderful that you are in a position of serving in the Sunday School ministry, for it puts you in a unique position of becoming the "leaven" for others.
The Catholic Church is a religion of authority, like all other institutionalized faiths. Over the centuries, it has grown into a very rigid and exacting system of belief, rules, and regulations that seems to have stagnated...this is why people feel so disaffected and leave it, in my opinion. I do see that there are attempts being made to attract new believers in some individual churches, but until that rigid authority is softened, and the personal religious experience of the individual is honored and encouraged, progress will be limited.
Many people long for "true religion"—the religion of the Spirit, wherein they feel free to pursue their own inner spiritual experience with God, even if it goes against the "rules." The truth cannot be imprisoned in rules and regulations—and as we learn in The Urantia Book, believers must be free to follow the truth wherever it leads. This is the function of Jesus' Spirit of Truth—to help us discern the truth. I have great hope for the Church, but change will not come quickly, I am afraid...
Here's my vision for the Church:
What can you do?
(103:5.12) When a member of a social religious group has complied with the requirements of such a group, he should be encouraged to enjoy religious liberty in the full expression of his own personal interpretation of the truths of religious belief and the facts of religious experience. The security of a religious group depends on spiritual unity, not on theological uniformity. A religious group should be able to enjoy the liberty of freethinking without having to become “freethinkers.” There is great hope for any church that worships the living God, validates the brotherhood of man, and dares to remove all creedal pressure from its members.
First and foremost: keep reading The Urantia Book! Especially the Life and Teachings of Jesus. If you have not done so already, subscribe to our free Q uote of the Day service. You'll receive a daily passage of Urantia Book truth right to your inbox. These little passages can help you deliver small doses to truth to those who are seeking. It is easy to subscribe and unsubscribe (look under the picture).
And, if you are happy with the fellowship and community of your church, I would advise you to stay with it. There is great value in the social aspects of any religious group. You do not have to make dramatic pronouncements, or openly challenge the authority of the Church, but instead, work with individual truth-seekers in your midst, feeding the truths you discover to them in small doses...the Spirit of Truth is in them too, and Jesus will do his part to work with any sincere seeker.
Read this section carefully: "Instruction for Teachers and Believers" It is great advice from Jesus on how we should approach those who are seeking for truth...
And, if you are in contact with young people in your ministry, you might get some inspiration from some of these articles on our site: Parenting and Family Life .
There are gentle exercises and activities there that can be used with young folks to help them gain a fuller experience of spirituality for themselves.
Please write back and let me know how you are doing, or if you have any further questions about The Urantia Book. I am delighted that you were pleased with my reply. I worried a little bit about it, as I know how rigid devout Catholics can be, having been one myself. I did not know anything about you, and I did not want to offend...so, thanks so much for writing me back.
It takes great courage to even question the dogma of the Church, so I applaud you and will pray for you that you might be able to expand your ministry in the highest, most holy, and most helpful way.
Many blessings on you today!!! "