How Do You Use Media?
“...Truth having to do with spiritual realities and eternal values cannot always be built up by a combination of apparent facts. Although individual facts may be materially true, it does not follow that the association of a group of facts must necessarily lead to truthful spiritual conclusions.” — The URANTIA Book, Paper 189, Section 2, Paragraph 6
Using Media to Promote the Ascension or Regression of Others
For many years I have heard and read negative comments, from a very small group of individuals, about those of us who are part of the spiritually-based Global Community Communications Alliance (GCCA) and its many outreach ministries and services. As co-founder and pastor of GCCA, I have responded numerous times to this prejudice and misrepresentation through verbal conversation and in writing correspondence and articles. At this time, I am not going to debate or go point by point, correcting and clarifying the misrepresentations given about us, for I’ve been there and done that and, frankly, I know who and what we are and just don’t feel the need to defend ourselves in that manner, especially when the accusatory rhetoric is often actually quite sophomoric within their spiritual immaturity.
As the saying goes, “the proof is in the pudding.” We hear repeatedly from others who come to our properties—whether visiting Avalon Organic Gardens & EcoVillage (the campus for the University of Ascension Science and the Physics of Rebellion), or the Soulistic Healing Center, or one of our Sacred Treasures stores, or the Sea of Glass, or Camp Avalon Spiritual Nature Retreat or any of our other outreach locations and facilities—that many people feel “angelic” energy, or they believe they have entered a place of healing and sacredness, or they experience safety and peace, and so on. For me, this is evidence that we of GCCA have created a field of energy that reflects the love, beauty, and goodness of divine pattern. I don’t know how we could have done this if we were such ‘misled’ and ‘horrible’ people as some of those of the “negative network” claim.
Actually, most of the negativity comes from a very small group of people, and a lot are the same people who started ragging on us decades ago and are still at it. Of course I am deeply saddened by all of this and pray often for the highest good of each individual who does indeed wish me and my extended family in GCCA harm. In these very painful circumstances, each of us in GCCA try to “return good for evil” in how we respond to this kind of enmity, for, though imperfect, we are desirous of becoming more love-saturated and psychospiritually mature individuals every day, and we hope that for others who come into contact with us.
Similarly, many other individuals and groups also suffer from the misuse of media outlets that allow persons to malign them, using language that promotes fear, misunderstanding, and even hatred. Today “fake news” is considered normal, and unfortunately much of the false information coming through various media sources, especially social media, causes confusion, distrust, and even violence towards others. It is up to all of us to determine what is truthful and what is not, and that is a tall order.
In determining the motives and character of an individual or group who uses the media to communicate and disseminate ideas, I look at how they specifically use that resource. I don’t give much time to the obvious slanted, prejudiced reporting from so-called professional journalists who are basically expressing their personal opinions as fact or truth; it’s merely their opinions. I most certainly give no time or energy to any social media outlet that uses language and symbols to promote fear of and hatred for someone who does not agree with them or is in some manner different, though of course honestly and respectfully debating and presenting different perspectives is acceptable and often beneficial.
The bottom line for me is whether the individual(s) using media promote in some manner the continuing evolution and progress of others, and I really value those messages that encourage people to bring spiritual values into their hearts and minds. Are they contributing to the healing of those aspects of our society and planet that are sick? Are they solution-oriented or just fault-finding? Are they promoting worldwide peace and planetary brotherhood/sisterhood? I could go on, but I think you get the idea of what I’m trying to say here.
One of the greatest scientists of the 20th century, Albert Einstein—who was of the Jewish race, a race that is still maligned and misrepresented through the misuse of media today—is credited to have said, “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” Centuries of human history as well as contemporary times certainly prove this statement to be true. In this age of technology and quick, networking information spread through various media avenues, both enlightenment and ignorance are toted, and we have to figure out what is actual news and what is fake news, including the information given about Global Community Communications Alliance (GCCA).
There is a difference between disagreeing with someone’s political, social, and religious ideas versus demonizing the individuals who have those opposing ideas, attacking their entire life systems and their validity to exist as a people. It appears to me that a very small group of people, through their actions and use of media, are attempting to destroy the very life that I and my fellow religious order members in the community of GCCA are committed to live, which is a life based on creating a culture of the fruits of the spirit, which hopefully will inspire others to aspire for higher ideals and help bring a change for a better world for all peoples, not just a small select group.
Despite that small group of GCCA haters (and yes, I think they do act and communicate as if they hate us) accuse us of being isolationists and claiming we separate ourselves from the rest of the world, supposedly thinking we are God’s chosen people, etc., in reality we have—for more than three decades now— not only endeavored to inspire, educate, and encourage others to do good in the world, but we’ve also consistently used the media to honor other individuals and groups who are doing their part to contribute to the evolution and progress of civilization—secular and religious groups alike.
Both Gabriel of Urantia (the other co-founder of GCCA) and I have used media sources to commend even a few of those who have been negative about us, because, in those cases, we recognize the good that they do in their own lives and work, regardless of their opinions about some of our beliefs. In a nutshell, we try to use media to show unity rather than disunity among those people who are trying to bring some help and solutions to the multiple problems humankind is facing in these times of trial and tribulation.
Unfortunately, there are certain websites dedicated specifically to maligning an individual or a certain group of people (including us in GCCA). I consider any of those sites unreliable in giving truth about a situation, for the ill-intended motives are obvious: to promote separation from and distrust of the individual or group of people being attacked. Often these sites are filled with personal opinions of vindictiveness, petty gossip, and rumors. Much of the information on these sites, which target a group of people, is distorted and falsified in order to create an impression of a dangerous cult or race or religion.
A “Cult” is in the Eyes of the Beholder
Since we in GCCA are often accused of being a cult, I would like to address the use of this word. The original and literal meaning of the word “cult” did not have the negative connotations that it does now. Today it is a loaded term used as a weapon to destroy the reputation of a group of persons. In scanning through a few websites that are dedicated to “educating” the public about organizations that they consider to be “cults,” I noted that usually the implication is that if an organization fits their definition of a “cult,” then it is dangerous in some manner.
Frankly, I was shocked by what some of these self-appointed “cult-busters” consider dangerous cults. Some of the organizations they name have been in existence for decades and have established themselves as worthy organizations that have helped many people. Some of these organizations are accepted by mainstream America, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which has saved tens of thousands of lives. What I perceived is that many of these “experts” on supposed cults work from an extremely limited framework and are extremely narrow in their ideas of what is normal and noncultish; everything else falls into the category of cult, thus the very long lists of groups and individuals that may be “dangerous cults.”
The various checklists of criteria used for defining a cult are so varied, depending upon the perspective of a particular cult-buster. On one of the lists two of the criteria were: “religious orientation/belief in the supernatural” and “submission of the individual to the will of God.” Most religious movements and spiritually-oriented organizations definitely have those two criteria, and frankly, it’s almost laughable to suggest that, because most all the world’s religions teach the basic foundation of the spiritual principle of submitting our wills (and personal agendas) to come under the wisdom and benevolent leading of God’s perfect will.
Though there are certain groups that use their religious beliefs and God as their motivation for creating fear and hatred, and thus could be considered dangerous, the majority of spiritually-based groups do not. And we in GCCA most certainly do not believe that God is a vengeful and hateful God who only loves a particular group of “chosen people”. We experience the First Source and Center (referred to by many names by us humans) as the Universal Father/Mother of All, whose universal laws are based on love first and foremost and then mercy and justice for all souls.
How about football or other sports fans and their sometimes literal obsession with the team and/or a particular star athlete, definitely falling into a form of “worship” for an individual held in high esteem and at times even resulting in fanatical behaviors towards that individual and/or beloved sports team. Does that make those fans “a cult”? Of course not!
Many corporations and businesses could fit into some of the other supposed cult criteria, like the criteria of “economic exploitation.” Many biological families fit into the criteria of “possessiveness.” Sororities, fraternities, and the military could fit “deceptive recruitment techniques,” and in fact, an individual who is trying to get someone interested in them romantically could possibly fit in this category! Almost all organizations, including non-profit charitable groups, corporations, and governments, fit into the “hierarchical, authoritarian structure.”
The URANTIA Book’s description of the divine government of celestials is certainly hierarchical. I could go on, but I think you understand my point. It’s so easy to take these so-called criteria and make many individuals and groups fit into them when seeing reality from a very narrow perspective. If someone is determined to find fault with another individual or group, they will find evidence to support their premise, for they will interpret so-called facts and circumstances through their fault-finding agenda.
The Poison of Prejudice
What I see in the “cult-buster mentality” is prejudice, the same kind of prejudice that certain groups and individuals have been struggling against for centuries. I did a quick study in The URANTIA Book to see what it had to say about prejudice. In discussing the inner life of individuals and the importance of growth and soul evolvement, it is stated that “The chief inhibitors of growth are prejudice and ignorance.” It is also stated that “Prejudice blinds the soul to the recognition of truth.” And “Prejudice is inseparably linked to selfishness.” Prejudice is also linked to: fear, malice, hurt, hate, resentment, revenge, jealousy, envy, and conceit. From a celestial perspective, prejudice “distorts” reasoning and thinking, and many individuals have been “blinded,” “misled,” “hardened,” “warped,” and “paralyzed” by prejudice. I won’t go any further with this, but we’re all aware of the terrible atrocities that have been committed on our world due to prejudice. Using the various avenues of media to promote prejudice towards individuals and groups is truly evil in my opinion.
Divine Administration’s Use of Media
Divine Administration, as implemented through Global Community Communications Alliance (GCCA), uses media to share ideals, values, and spiritual concepts that are part of God’s universal laws of cause and effect and, more importantly, the universal laws of transformation—both personal and global. The basis of divine universal laws is “to seek first the Spirit within you and all that you really need will be added.” As we grow into a more spiritized perspective, our values that are materialistic and self-centered transform into values that encompass compassion and caring for others and our world around us. Spiritized perceptions are more tolerant of diversity in thinking, feeling, and being, thus having no room for prejudice or hatred of others.
GCCA uses media to give information that hopefully will help people become more aware of the problematic state of our planet—including the destruction of ecosystems, social systems, and personal well-being—along with some problem-solving ideas to address personal as well as societal and ecological issues. It is our hope that our media usage will encourage persons to become educated, proactive citizens of this planet, contributing to the forward-movement of progressive civilization, which results eventually in planetary peace and worldwide brotherhood/sisterhood. More immediate results include personal growth and healing as well as improved relationships with others and with the natural world.
With printed material, websites, social media, and our radio station KVAN, we use the written and spoken word, music, art, and photos to promote the activation of higher aspirations and a sense of being a child of a loving Universal Father-Mother Creator. Through our use of media, we encourage self-esteem in individuals so that they can live in ever-increasing effectiveness in the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of their lives. At the same time, we emphasize that an actualized individual must also have personal accountability.
Understandably not everyone is going to agree with some of our values or ideas or how we go about doing things, and we realize that. But disagreement (or worse yet some individual’s slanderous statements and false accusations) does not make for truth actually residing within their misrepresentations and sometimes outright lies. Our hope is anyone who encounters something of what GCCA offers the world will at least encourage others to expand in their perceptions of reality and, if not us, look for other like-minded people and groups who are dedicated to improving in some manner our world and becoming more proactive in contributing to the evolution and progress of our civilization, rather than living in apathy or fear or discouragement or embittered hatefulness.
Today more than ever—and especially within the modern world’s rampant media communications—our world needs truly loving, godly, kind leaders who put the needs of others first. One of America’s great statesmen, John Quincy Adams, defined leadership this way: "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." Let’s all become the leaders this world desperately needs to help usher in the first stage of light and life for everyone.