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Truth?

April 7 AD 30, the Roman provincial governor Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” and this question is as relevant today as it was then. How did Jesus respond? What can we learn about the nature of truth that will equip us for the fight? 

 

185:3.4 “Then you are a king after all?” said Pilate. And Jesus answered: “Yes, I am such a king, and my kingdom is the family of the faith sons of my Father who is in heaven. For this purpose was I born into this world, even that I should show my Father to all men and bear witness to the truth of God. And even now do I declare to you that every one who loves the truth hears my voice.”

185:3.5 Then said Pilate, half in ridicule and half in sincerity, “Truth, what is truth—who knows?” 

The apostle John recounts for us Jesus’ interaction with Pilate in John 18:28-19:15. As Pilate struggles to sort out the accusations of the Jewish leaders, as well as the puzzling identity of his prisoner, one of his questions for Jesus is, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Jesus’ enigmatic answers to all of Pilate’s questions do not alleviate the governor’s confusion, but our Lord’s four statements can help us to understand the nature of “true truth” and to live consistently before our God. These four statements are:

1. “Is that your own idea,” asked Jesus, “or did others talk to you about me?” (John 18:34)

    In verse 33 of John 18, Pilate steps back inside his palace after hearing the charges being brought by the Jews against Jesus. He asks Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus does not answer Pilate’s question. Rather, he challenges Pilate to examine why that question may or may not be relevant. Jesus says, “Is that your own idea, or did others talk to you about me?” (verse 34). Jesus challenged the presuppositions inherent in Pilate’s question. Truth requires honesty! In his dialogue with Pilate, Jesus is essentially asking, “How was your thinking formed, Pilate? On what is it founded? Are you merely repeating something that you may have heard from others, or do you know enough for yourself to honestly make this inquiry?”

2. ” My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36)

   Pilate continues to press Jesus, asking, “What is it you have done?” (verse 35). Again, Jesus does not answer the question. He says, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” Pilate was thinking and speaking and acting temporally, while Jesus was doing so eternally. 

3. “You are right in saying I am a King. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (John 18:37)

   Truth is not relative. It is absolute, and you are either for it or against it. Jesus’ next statement to Pilate is Scripture’s strongest assertion concerning the nature of truth. In John 18:37, Jesus answers Pilate’s statement, “You are a king, then!” with these words: “You are right in saying I am a King. In fact, for this reason I was born, “Truth does not blush.” Even knowing that Pilate has no philosophical or other worldview basis that will allow him to put these words into an appropriate context, Jesus still speaks the truth of an eternal kingdom of a heavenly realm.

4. “Jesus answered, ‘You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore, the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” (John 19:11)

The fourth and final statement made to Pilate confirms two other aspects of the nature of truth: one, that truth is not dependent on anything outside of itself, and, two, that truth cannot fail because it has eternal origins. Pilate asked, “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” and Jesus replied, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore, the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin” (John 19:10,11).

   Pilate’s belief in his own absolute power over the life of Jesus rested on his perception of the scope of his authority. Was that belief ultimately true? If you believe in the resurrection, the answer is no. Jesus certainly died at the hands of earthly powers, but his resurrection from the dead proves that our Lord’s earthly circumstances were determined by his heavenly Father. Truth did not depend on what Pilate thought, and truth does not depend on what we think. Truth is! If something is morally true, it is not because a committee gathered and declared it so. Truth’s origin is far more substantial because it transcends even our biggest ideas. Having roots in eternity means the nature of truth is independent of and unfettered by the limitations of the human mind.

“Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? (1 Corinthians 1:20)

    Professor Allan Bloom began his 1987 bestseller, The Closing of the American Mind, with these words; and over the following decade relativism became so ingrained in the so-called “closed American mind” that it warranted its own epoch-defining cultural label: postmodernism. Postmodernism is our society’s term for the majority’s firmly held belief that truth is not knowable and, therefore, cannot be absolute.

   What is alarming is that today, the average man on the street holds a deeply troubled view regarding what truth is. Even in the church over half of all people who identify themselves as evangelical Christians believe that truth is always relative to the situation. Without some firm and compelling basis for suggesting that acts are inappropriate, people are left with philosophies like, ‘If it feels good, do it’, ‘Everyone else is doing it’, or ‘As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, it’s permissible!'”

   How should we view the nature of truth? As one who is seeking the truth, you may quickly respond that moral absolutes do exist and they are knowable because God has faithfully revealed them to us. This is indeed true, and to believe it is at the foundation of our lives.

    Rickey H. Crosby  (Petitor Veritatis)

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Sunday Family Worship 01/24/2016

Friends,

A great brunch preceded a wonderful lesson by Michael about the Mind Arena of Choice. We had 12 wonderful people come and we always have room for more. Stay tuned for info about the next Sunday morning family worship.

Tom

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Compare 01/25/2016

I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.
  --Rebecca West, author and journalist (1892-1983)

(84:5.11) Woman is man's equal partner in race reproduction, hence just as important in the unfolding of racial evolution; therefore has evolution increasingly worked toward the realization of women's rights. But women's rights are by no means men's rights. Woman cannot thrive on man's rights any more than man can prosper on woman's rights.

    Dame Cicely Isabel Fairfield, known as Rebecca West, or Dame Rebecca West, was a British author, journalist, literary critic and travel writer. An author who wrote in many genres, West reviewed books for The Times, the New York Herald Tribune, the Sunday Telegraph, and the New Republic, and she was a correspondent for The Bookman. Her major works include Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941), on the history and culture of Yugoslavia; A Train of Powder (1955), her coverage of the Nuremberg trials, published originally in The New Yorker; The Meaning of Treason, later The New Meaning of Treason, a study of the trial of the British Fascist William Joyce and others; The Return of the Soldier, a modernist World War I novel; and the "Aubrey trilogy" of autobiographical novels, The Fountain Overflows, This Real Night, and Cousin Rosamund. Time called her "indisputably the world's number one woman writer" in 1947. She was made CBE in 1949, and DBE in 1959, in each case, the citation reads 'writer and literary critic'.

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Compare 01/19/2016

The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists, who are dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood. The trailblazers in human, academic, scientific, and religious freedom have always been nonconformists. In any cause that concerns the progress of mankind, put your faith in the nonconformist!
  --Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

(121:7.3)   The Jews of Jesus' time were not only held in subjugation to the law but were equally bound by the slavish demands of the traditions, which involved and invaded every domain of personal and social life. These minute regulations of conduct pursued and dominated every loyal Jew, and it is not strange that they promptly rejected one of their number who presumed to ignore their sacred traditions, and who dared to flout their long-honored regulations of social conduct. They could hardly regard with favor the teachings of one who did not hesitate to clash with dogmas which they regarded as having been ordained by Father Abraham himself. Moses had given them their law and they would not compromise.

(124:5.5) Friday of the week before, Joseph had come over from Sepphoris, where he was in charge of the work on a new public building, to be present on this glad occasion. Jesus' teacher confidently believed that his alert and diligent pupil was destined to some outstanding career, some distinguished mission. The elders, notwithstanding all their trouble with Jesus' nonconformist tendencies, were very proud of the lad and had already begun laying plans which would enable him to go to Jerusalem to continue his education in the renowned Hebrew academies.

    Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs.
    King became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957, serving as its first president. With the SCLC, King led an unsuccessful 1962 struggle against segregation in Albany, Georgia (the Albany Movement), and helped organize the 1963 nonviolent protests in Birmingham, Alabama. King also helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington, where he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. There, he established his reputation as one of the greatest orators in American history.
    On October 14, 1964, King received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence. In 1965, he helped to organize the Selma to Montgomery marches, and the following year he and SCLC took the movement north to Chicago to work on segregated housing. In the final years of his life, King expanded his focus to include poverty and speak against the Vietnam War, alienating many of his liberal allies with a 1967 speech titled "Beyond Vietnam".
    In 1968, King was planning a national occupation of Washington, D.C., to be called the Poor People's Campaign, when he was assassinated on April 4 in Memphis, Tennessee. His death was followed by riots in many U.S. cities.
    King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established as a holiday in numerous cities and states beginning in 1971, and as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986. Hundreds of streets in the U.S. have been renamed in his honor, and a county in Washington State was also renamed for him. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was dedicated in 2011.

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Compare 01/18/2016

No one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell.
  --Charles de Lint, writer (b.1951)

(103:1.1) The unity of religious experience among a social or racial group derives from the identical nature of the God fragment indwelling the individual. It is this divine in man that gives origin to his unselfish interest in the welfare of other men. But since personality is unique—no two mortals being alike—it inevitably follows that no two human beings can similarly interpret the leadings and urges of the spirit of divinity which lives within their minds. A group of mortals can experience spiritual unity, but they can never attain philosophic uniformity. And this diversity of the interpretation of religious thought and experience is shown by the fact that twentieth-century theologians and philosophers have formulated upward of five hundred different definitions of religion. In reality, every human being defines religion in the terms of his own experiential interpretation of the divine impulses emanating from the God spirit that indwells him, and therefore must such an interpretation be unique and wholly different from the religious philosophy of all other human beings.

    Charles de Lint is a Canadian writer of Dutch origins. In 1974 he met MaryAnn Harris, and married her in 1980. They live in Canada.
    Along with writers like Terri Windling, Emma Bull, and John Crowley, de Lint popularized in the 1980s the genre of urban fantasy, most notably through The Borderland Series of books. His fantasy fiction is described under the fantasy subgenres urban fantasy, contemporary magical realism, and mythic fiction.
    De Lint writes novels, novellas, short stories, poetry, and lyrics. His most famous works include: The Newford series of books (Dreams Underfoot, Widdershins, The Blue Girl, The Onion Girl, Moonlight and Vines, Someplace to be Flying etc.), as well as Moonheart, The Mystery of Grace, The Painted Boy and A Circle of Cats (children’s book illustrated by Charles Vess). His distinctive style of fantasy draws upon local American folklore and European folklore; De Lint was influenced by many writers in the areas of mythology, folklore, and science fiction, including J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord Dunsany, William Morris, Mervyn Peake, James Branch Cabell, E.R. Eddison etc. Some of his mythic fiction poetry can be found online on the Endicott Studio website.
    As an essayist/critic/folklorist he writes book reviews for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Charles de Lint has also been a judge for the Nebula Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Award and the Bram Stoker Award. Furthermore, he has taught creative writing workshops in Canada and the United States, and served as writer-in-residence for two public libraries in Ottawa. Besides being an author, he is also a musician, together with his wife MaryAnn. He plays multiple instruments and sings and writes his own songs. In 2011 De Lint released his first album, Old Blue Truck, which was released alongside his wife MaryAnn Harris's album, Crow Girls in which he also contributes.

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Sunday Night Class 01/10/2015

Friends,

Paper 59 is now history to the 5 of us who enjoyed the journey through the end of the dominance of the marine life era. Now Paper 60 is revealing the drama of the newly appearing reptiles and lung breathing animals.

Veldon continues to guide us through this fascinating history.

Join Us!!

Tom

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Compare 01/11/2015

Patriotism is proud of a country's virtues and eager to correct its deficiencies; it also acknowledges the legitimate patriotism of other countries, with their own specific virtues. The pride of nationalism, however, trumpets its country's virtues and denies its deficiencies, while it is contemptuous toward the virtues of other countries. It wants to be, and proclaims itself to be, "the greatest", but greatness is not required of a country; only goodness is.
  --Sydney J. Harris, journalist and author (1917-1986)

(81:6.35) No national civilization long endures unless its educational methods and religious ideals inspire a high type of intelligent patriotism and national devotion. Without this sort of intelligent patriotism and cultural solidarity, all nations tend to disintegrate as a result of provincial jealousies and local self-interests.

(195:8.10) Without God, without religion, scientific secularism can never co-ordinate its forces, harmonize its divergent and rivalrous interests, races, and nationalisms. This secularistic human society, notwithstanding its unparalleled materialistic achievement, is slowly disintegrating. The chief cohesive force resisting this disintegration of antagonism is nationalism. And nationalism is the chief barrier to world peace.

    Sydney J. Harris was an American journalist for the Chicago Daily News and, later, the Chicago Sun-Times. He wrote 11 books and his weekday column, “Strictly Personal,” was syndicated in approximately 200 newspapers throughout the United States and Canada.
    Sydney Justin Harris was born in London, but his family moved to the United States when he was five years old. Harris grew up in Chicago, where he spent the rest of his life. He attended high school with Saul Bellow, who was his lifelong friend. In 1934, at age 17, Harris began his newspaper career with the Chicago Herald and Examiner and studied Philosophy at the University of Chicago. After university, he became drama critic (1941) and a columnist for the Chicago Daily News (1944). He held those positions until the paper's demise in 1978 and continued to write his column for its sister paper, the Chicago Sun-Times, until his death in 1986.
    Harris's politics were considered liberal and his work landed him on the master list of Nixon political opponents. He spoke in favor of women's rights and civil rights. His last column was an essay against capital punishment.
    Harris often used aphorisms in his writings, such as this excerpt from Pieces of Eight (1982): "Superior people are only those who let it be discovered by others; the need to make it evident forfeits the very virtue they aspire to." And this from Clearing the Ground (1986): "Terrorism is what we call the violence of the weak, and we condemn it; war is what we call the violence of the strong, and we glorify it."
    He was also a drama critic, teacher, and lecturer, and he received numerous honorary doctorates during his career, including from Villa Maria College, Shimer College, and Lenoir Rhyne College. In 1980–1982 he was the visiting scholar at Lenoir-Rhyne College in North Carolina. For many years he was a member of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary. He was recognized with awards from organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Conference of Christians and Jews and the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In later years, he divided his time between Chicago and Door County, Wisconsin. Harris was married twice, and fathered five children. He died at age 69 of complications following heart bypass surgery.

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RST Class This Saturday

Bluebookers,

Read. Study. Teach. class will be Saturday evening, January 9th at 6:00 pm at the Eudaleys. We are at Section 3 of Paper 2 , “Justice and Righteousness”. We will have dinner at 5:00 before class.

We look forward to learning with you.

Cabot (Eudaley)

2004 N. Alexander Lane,

Bethany, OK 73008

Home (405) 789-7401

Cell (405) 620-5340

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General Councilor Positions Open

Dear Society Officers, 

Two seats have become vacant on the General Council (GC) for a terms potentially ending in July, 2018.

To be eligible to serve on the General Council, a person must be a member of the Fellowship, either a Member at Large or a Society Member. In addition, the Fellowship's constitution requires that you must have read The Urantia Book in its entirety, at least one time.

General Councilors are typically elected by the Triennial Delegate Assembly (TDA). Every three years representatives from regional Urantia societies come together with the task of electing or reelecting 12 full term Councilors. (This last happened in July of 2015.) A full term lasts for nine years. Occasionally someone resigns before their term has expired and the GC fills this seat temporarily until the TDA can convene again and elect someone to finish the remainder of that term. 

The General Council is a deliberative body which guides the overall direction of The Urantia Book Fellowship. The GC elects the Fellowship's 5 officers as well as the chairmen/women who head up our 9 standing committees. These 14 people are called the Executive Committee. The GC also has the power to create by-laws and change the Fellowship's constitution. To read more about the General Council and The Fellowship's constitution, go to this page: http://www.urantiabook.org/index-about-the-urantia-book-fellowship.htm

Membership on the GC involves attending just two meetings per year. Meetings are held over a weekend and are in a variety of locations across North America. Meetings typically occur in February (in a warm climate) and again at the close of, and in conjunction with, the Fellowship's summer conference. General Council meetings typically begin on Friday evening for about 4 hours, then resume on Saturday morning for 8 hours and again on Sunday morning, ending at noon. Sometimes another day may be added to the GC meeting for a retreat. Saturday night is usually held open for a social with readers from the area where the meeting is held. We vary the location of meetings to allow for this fellowship and to facilitate local readers getting to know the leaders of the Fellowship. This event is often a highlight at Council meetings.

Meeting agendas typically consist of reports by the officers, and standing committee chairs, discussion of policy, and proposals for new arenas of service and dissemination. Meetings are presided over by the Fellowship's President and are run according to Roberts Rules of Order.

It's important to note that Councilors must be able to cover their own costs to attend meetings. This includes travel to the meeting, hotel room, and meals. Occasional financial assistance may be available to Councilors if circumstances leave them unable to meet these expenses.

Being on the Fellowship's General Council is an amazing experience. Some General Councilors have served for 2, 3 and 4 consecutive 9-year terms. Lifelong friendships are established and the beauty of deliberation, group wisdom and teamwork is illuminated in remarkable and inspiring ways.

If, after reading this and checking in with our Father, you feel you would like to join the long list of General Councilors who have served the Urantia movement faithfully for 60 years, click here and fill out the application:           

Application for Organizational Service

If you applied to be considered at the TDA and would like to be considered again, please let me know, there is no need to fill out another application.

Thanks in advance for your consideration and your willingness to serve! Please feel free to pass this on to any qualified person you believe would be interested.

In faith and friendship....Paula

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Compare 01/07/2016

Language is like soil. However rich, it is subject to erosion, and its fertility is constantly threatened by uses that exhaust its vitality. It needs constant re-invigoration if it is not to become arid and sterile.
  --Elizabeth Drew, author, critic (1887-1965)

(81:6.16-18)  The spread of civilization must wait upon language. Live and growing languages insure the expansion of civilized thinking and planning. During the early ages important advances were made in language. Today, there is great need for further linguistic development to facilitate the expression of evolving thought.
    Language evolved out of group associations, each local group developing its own system of word exchange. Language grew up through gestures, signs, cries, imitative sounds, intonation, and accent to the vocalization of subsequent alphabets. Language is man's greatest and most serviceable thinking tool, but it never flourished until social groups acquired some leisure. The tendency to play with language develops new words—slang. If the majority adopt the slang, then usage constitutes it language. The origin of dialects is illustrated by the indulgence in "baby talk" in a family group.
    Language differences have ever been the great barrier to the extension of peace. The conquest of dialects must precede the spread of a culture throughout a race, over a continent, or to a whole world. A universal language promotes peace, insures culture, and augments happiness. Even when the tongues of a world are reduced to a few, the mastery of these by the leading cultural peoples mightily influences the achievement of world-wide peace and prosperity.

`    Elizabeth A. Drew was born in Singapore on December 17, 1887 and educated in England. Before her career at Smith College, she taught English at Girton College, Cambridge, England from 1916-19, and the University of Cambridge from 1934-37. She also taught in the summer at the Bread Loaf School of English in Middlebury, Vermont from 1940-46. She survived the V-2 bombings of London during World War II and soon relocated to the U.S. Shortly after arriving from England, Drew gave a lecture at Smith College, and using a letter of introduction from college dean Ada Comstock, embarked on a lecture tour. From 1946 until 1961 she was a visiting lecturer then professor in English at Smith. By her later life she had become a well-known author, critic, and lecturer, having published numerous books on poetry, modern literature, and drama. She retired from Smith in 1961 and received an honorary doctorate in letters at the 1962 Smith College Commencement. In 1963, she became a Sophia Smith Fellow. Drew died in April 1965 at the age of 77 and in her will left the college a bequest of more than $100,000 to be used by the English Department.

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