The Meredith J. Sprunger Archive
7/74; Revised 12/97
Ours is one of the most fascinating and yet one of the most difficult tasks on our planet. For we are the custodians of the greatest message ever given to humankind, yet we must acquire the forbearance and wisdom to refrain from using indiscriminate and short-sighted methods of presenting this message to our present day society. Some individuals and groups are more prepared than others to seriously examine the Fifth Epochal Revelation.
Our task as spiritual fellowships and study groups is to become living communities of the higher way of truth, beauty, and goodness that the searchers of humanity may discover. We should endeavor to become the leaven that will eventually transform the people and religious institutions of the world. Our mission is to become the channel through which individuals and religious groups can discover the Fifth Epochal Revelation under the most favorable conditions. If we do our job well, the teachings of The Urantia Book will eventually permeate our entire world.
This patient but persistent role is exceedingly difficult. We have been conditioned to crash methods and programs in science and industry, and to movements in religion designed "to save the world in this generation." We need to remember that many of the major mistakes on our planet have been caused by impatience and the use of short-cut methods, by ignoring the fundamental law of readiness which is the key to all solid growth in the evolutionary universes. Any attempt to hasten or retard this evolutionary process is doomed to defeat. We cannot "force the hand of God;" we can only realize individual, planetary, or universe growth by co-operating with the methodology ordained by God.
Correlated with the law of readiness is the law of self-determination. We enter the Kingdom of God and grow therein only when and as we hunger and strive for truth, beauty, and goodness—God. Discovery, growth, wisdom—these achievements in the spiritual realm are not arbitrarily conferred on individuals—they are the result of intense desire, diligent searching, and rigorous effort. All of these facts warn against the danger of using either the pressure of present-day promotion techniques or the subtle motivational coercion of modern advertising. The only "hidden persuader" we dare rely on is the indwelling Adjuster who never violates the self-determining freedom of the human will.
Our purpose of sharing the great truths of The Urantia Book is best achieved by attraction rather than coercive promotion. If each of us will faithfully strive to practice, in all of our human affairs, the teachings of Jesus, then such living demonstrations will attract people to recognize the Fatherhood of God and the brother/sisterhood of humankind and the discovery of the Fifth Epochal Revelation.
The quality of students of The Urantia Book is more important than the quantity of readers. We need to build solid foundations to withstand any and all contingencies that might arise in the future. We should be aware of at least four potential inappropriate roles which may lure those who are inspired by the Fifth Epochal Revelation.
1. The Enthusiast. When the first impact of the tremendous message of The Urantia Book grips a person, they are on fire to share this message with others. This healthy impulse sometimes causes people to lose their normal sense of discretion, propriety, and wisdom. Over-enthusiasm triggers them to act out the ancient observation: "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread." These well-meaning people need the understanding counsel and stability of more experienced members of the Fellowship to help them over this period of impetuousness. Most of them after a little experience will settle down and acquire more appropriate and effective ways of witnessing to their faith.
2. The Jilted Suitor. Many people using the best judgment available to them will introduce The Urantia Book prematurely to a religious group or institution. As a result they will experience various degrees of rejection by this group. All too often such an individual will react in kind. He or she rejects the group and ceases to attend their meetings. This only causes greater animosity and erects more impregnable barriers to the recognition of the truth and potential of the Fifth Epochal Revelation. If you should misjudge the readiness of a group for introduction to The Urantia Book, do not be surprised or visibly disturbed by this rejection. In humility and love try to understand such people and continue your fellowship with them on the level of their religious comprehension. If you do find it wise to server relations with such a group, do it gradually and unobtrusively, and continue to love these people as individuals.
3. The Messianic Aspirant. Occasionally we are going to attract people with a messianic complex. They genuinely feel that God has laid upon them the burden of "saving humankind." Such delusions of grandeur cause such people to become some of the most difficult and potentially disruptive personalities in any religious movement. To the degree that such individuals are in touch with reality, every effort should be made to impress them with the fact that the salvation of humankind is a many-fold and evolutionary divine ministry extending over centuries. There are no indispensable human ministers and any one who has too great a sense of importance loses their usefulness to do important things in the Kingdom of God. Indeed, the excessive prominence of individuals in any religious group is usually unhealthy and a potential source of evil. Genuine humility and spontaneous self-forgetfulness coupled with a deep desire to serve our fellows are central qualities required of all who would be used most fully and constructively in spiritual ministry.
4. The Frustrated Server. How many of us periodically or continually stand here! We have a deep longing to serve and share the great truths and reality orientation of the Fifth Epochal Revelation. But the mundane channels through which we serve leave us longing to be used more effectively and completely. We see the tremendous possibilities of the teachings of The Urantia Book to transform society and we are faced with the reality of the incremental nature of the evolutionary process. in addition to realizing the unchangeable nature of evolutionary methodology, the greatest deterrent to unwise action is found in establishing a channel of service where we can pour out our energy in creative activity. This service should be satisfying and fulfilling in itself as well as laying foundations for spiritual growth.
Our basic problem is to condition our emotions so that we identify ourselves with the evolutionary process. This reality centeredness will help us avoid activity that violates or ignores the fundamental laws of readiness and self-determination. As we maintain our sense of historical perspective, we see that the Fifth Epochal Revelation is making its way in the world more rapidly than previous epochal revelations. There is a great spiritual hunger and expectancy throughout the world. It is generally recognized that the old religious forms and concepts are inadequate for our age. Creative thinking has almost died out in the theological world; forms, techniques, and institutional developments are stressed in an attempt to fill the aching void.
The Most Highs are preparing our planet in a remarkable way for the advent of the Fifth Epochal Revelation. As we evolve study groups and small religious groups, the teachings of The Urantia Book are slowly making their way in our culture. The fields are indeed "growing white for the harvest." Our world is gradually preparing itself for the time when the storms of dogmatism and the fog of sectarianism are swept away by the fresh winds of searching minds and hungry souls enabling the sun of an enlarged revelation of spiritual reality to bring new light, warmth, and hope to humankind.