The URANTIA Book discusses in several places unity without uniformity. We're in a wonderful season of the year right now, and this has been an especially beautiful spring for us here in the Sedona area. We can learn so much about unity without uniformity from the natural world. We can learn much about relativity within absolutes by observing the natural world. We can learn about commonality with diversity by communing with the natural world. So next time you get out for your walks or go to sit out in your yard or driving down the road, take note of the natural world. Forget the asphalt and concrete of the road. If you are a passenger you can notice even more. Look in the sky. What life is in the sky? Look at the rock formations. What does the natural world have to teach you? What is God saying to you through the natural world?
I love flowers and this is the season for flowers. Consider the rose. The rose comes in many sizes. It comes in many colors. But there is a uniformity with the rose. You know a rose whether it's very large or whether it's small, whether it's fully opened or whether it's a bud. You know it's a rose because it has a blueprint, a pattern. There is some uniformity to it to make a rose a rose. Consider irises. Why do we know they are irises? There are different colors; there are different kinds, but they have uniformity to them that makes them irises. If you look closely at the iris it can teach you something. Clistine wrote a beautiful poem about the iris. The iris taught her something. It reflected divine pattern, and it reflected the beauty of the Trinity. I'd like to share that poem with you now.
Ausmaminae had drawn an iris and gifted it to me many years ago and had also written a very beautiful poem about it. Her poem honors all women who are unfolding in their unique beauty of reflectivity of the Universe Mother Spirit. I'd like to share her poem with you.
Of course you can never completely capture the essence of a flower when drawing it, just a shadow or a silouhette of the real thing. But all flowers and all plants have something in common, even though they are very different. Irises look very different from roses. There is diversity there isn't there? But yet, there is a uniformity. Remember as children studying the parts of a plant, the parts of a flower. All plants, all flowers have certain parts in common, and that is what makes them plants, makes them flowers. They have a blueprint within divine pattern. Yet there are thousands of different kinds of plants, different kinds of flowers within the blueprint, within the pattern. Much diversity and individuality is allowed within divine pattern. A great example of this in the natural world is snowflakes. Each snowflake has its own design within a certain pattern; there are no snowflakes that are identical; each one is unique. The URANTIA Book explains that each individual is unique within their God-given personality. Like snowflakes, persons have much diversity within their commonality.God has some absolute laws that are unchangeable, that are permanent. He has absolute laws that will be there for all of eternity for the entire grand universe. Yet within those absolutes of God's laws is much diversity, much relativity. You can see the absolutes in a flower. As kids in school you also learn what makes animals mammals, what are the characteristics that comprise reptiles, birds, and amphibians. There is a pattern; there is an absolute pattern for those animals, and yet how many kinds of mammals do we have? How many types of reptiles, how many types of amphibians? And then just for example within the dog family, how many types of dogs are there? Can you understand? And on a bigger scale then, on a cosmic scale, there are certain absolute laws. There is the Universal Father, the First Source of All, whose presence is everywhere on this planet. And He manifests Himself in many ways. There is the Eternal Son, the Second Source of All, whose presence is everywhere and is manifested in many ways. And there is the Third Source and Center we often call the Mother aspect of God, whose presence is everywhere.So within the Trinity there is a family. There are the parents and there is the child, and that family is manifested throughout all of the grand universe in many ways. Unfortunately, on this planet so many human families are broken, especially in this country, and there are many reasons for that, all of which I'm not going to get into right now. In divine pattern, in divine administration, families should be together and should grow and expand. There should be unity in families though there can be diversity. There can be children that are very different from each other within a family, but they don't need to be competitive with each other, and they don't need to compete with their parents. They all can be individuals and complement each other. So the word "complement" is part of unity; it's part of divine pattern.
The principle of divine administration from Paradise throughout the entire grand universe is coordination. What does coordination mean? It means unity, harmony, being aware of those others around you. To truly coordinate and be efficient in that coordination there must be love and selflessness, not self-absorption. Now all of us suffer to some extent from the disease of selfishness on this planet. It's part of being a human being at this point and especially in America, because much of our dominant culture is encouraging materialism and selfishness. So we're all relearning and rehabilitating here in Divine Administration. Last night, one of the Native American elders said "Many of the native people have to redefine themselves." They have lost themselves. They have lost who they are as a Native American, as an Ojibwa, as an Apache, as a Hopi, as a Lakota. They need to find who they are first and foremost in their roots, within their point of origin. And they have to redefine themselves as do all of us in this society if we want to get back into divine pattern, which is diversity within absolutes of the law of God—unity, coordination, harmony, love, selflessness. We have to find ourselves, and we have to redefine who we are.
I'm referring to Native Americans because our week-end is very filled with that right now. We of Global Community Communications Alliance are doing some things to create unity between Native American peoples and non-native peoples. I grew up on Native American reservations, spending much of my childhood and youth on the San Carlos Apache reservation. After getting my degree I went back to San Carlos and lived and taught there for fifteen years. I felt very much in harmony with many Apache individuals although I come from a very different culture as a White Anglo Saxon Protestant, a WASP, though even as a child I rejected much of the WASP value system and culture. I grew up with Native Americans, going to a one room school house where there was grades four through six. For a while it was one through three and then it was four through six, in a one room school house with one teacher. For a while I was the only Anglo, white person, or WASP, in class, and struggling to find out and overcome certain prejudices that were directed towards me. I did learn from a very young age how to be unified with people who are not of my culture, of my race, of my religion, and pretty soon I felt very Apache and very much a part of their culture and religion even though I still retained some of my own foundation of my race, religion, and culture. I enjoyed many, many of the spiritual ceremonies they had. My favorite is the Sunrise Ceremony, which is the coming-out ceremony for the Apache girl when she reaches womanhood. I always wanted my daughters to have something like that. It's a very beautiful three to four day ceremony. I felt a great unity with and love for the people there, and that's what we in Divine Administration are working on now with Native Americans.
What I have noticed in my experiences of what creates disharmony and a lack of unity between people is that whether it's between a man and woman who claim to love each other or whether it's in a family or whether it's within a tribe or a workplace or between two nations or between religions or whatever it is, that disunity is because people focus on the differences. They get too attached to an old established way of thinking about that other person or that other group or that other nation or whatever. They get too fundamentalistic, too attached even to rituals. I've heard people argue about a sweat lodge. "Well, I'm not going to your sweat lodge. Your door is opening to the west; it should open to the east." With that kind of thinking, focusing on differences, division happens. When people get too attached to their ways of doing things, their ways of thinking, their ways of doing ritual, they become closed to change and growth and miss many opportunities for healing, expansion, and joy that come their way.
We who understand the purpose of ritual realize that ritual is ceremony, symbolism. Symbolism is a wonderful tool, but it too should change. because in divine pattern, in God's absolute law, all life should be in continual motion, continual growth, continual evolvement, unfoldment, ascension, including our personal ascension, including the tools that we use, including our rituals, our language, and how we relate to each other. So, if we have a ritual that we've hung on to for two thousand years or five hundred years, we might have to be a little concerned about that because rituals should move as we move and change. What I have noticed in people, whether it's in Judaism, whether it's in native American spirituality, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism, is that the traditionalists become too attached to their rituals and they become fundamentalists. We use the word fundamentalist often concerning certain Christians. Not all Christians are fundamentalists. Fundamentalists come in all shapes, sizes, forms, and in all areas there are fundamentalists—among business people, politicians, scientists—and fundamentalism is in all religions also. There are fundamentalist husbands and wives. "This is the way I've always done it; I've always related to you this way, and I'm going to stay this way." It goes on and on and on, and that's what creates disunity; that is what creates barriers between people. That's what creates disharmony. When we focus on those differences, and we want everyone to think like we do, then we can't have unity.
We live in a global village now, and because of the television, we are so aware of the disunity, the disharmony that is happening all over the planet. We could name country after country after country after country that is in turmoil within its boundaries as well as with those outside its boundaries. There are things happening in countries we're not even aware of because we can't cover it all, this terrible, terrible disunity. The gravity of the problem now is that we have nuclear weapons. We have biological and chemical weapons. So if someone gets really angry, maybe they could push a button and wipe out 500,000 or 6,000,000 people just like that. And the aftermath of those weapons will stay for years and years. It's not just a sling shot or a club or a sword anymore. So, it is very crucial that every individual work for unity in their own personal lives as well as in any other way possible.
Our responsibility as ascending sons and daughters of God is to continue to make choices to ascend; that is part of God's absolute law. Again, the family, we are sons and daughters of God. We are loved; we are looked over; we are watched. But our responsibility as children of God is to create unity wherever we can, wherever there is disunity. It's a heavy responsibility, because we have to look at ourselves. How do we create disunity between us and our God? How do we create it with the people we live with? With the people we work with?
Yesterday, one of the Native American speakers at Avalon Gardens said, "You can never take someone else's language or their culture and incorporate it into your own. That will never work". I disagree with him; his thinking is fundamentalistic. I think you can take someone else's language and aspects of their culture and have it become part of your own life. Most languages have beauty to them—beautiful concepts, beautiful sound. Most cultures have something good, something that others can benefit from. If we are operating in God's law, we want to ascend, we want to evolve, we want to get better. So we are going to, and we learn from other people who are very different from us. We learn something from their culture or their ways. "That would work for me. That will help me spiritually in my own personal growth." I think it's good to take that on and add it and incorporate it, and weed out those things that no longer work for us. English, by the way, is the language that has taken on many, many other languages. It has adopted words from many, many languages; that's why the English language has more words than most other languages. It is on its way to becoming the language of the world. But that doesn't mean that all these other beautiful languages should be lost, and, unfortunately they are being lost. Currently there are 6,800 languages that exist in the world, but only 600 of those languages have speaking populations robust enough to ensure their survival past the end of this century. Thousands of languages are disappearing as people don't learn them, so I understand why indigenous people want to hang on to their language, because their language defines their culture, their point of origin. It helps define who they are. And you have to go back to the root of who you are before you can expand and grow and take on more.
Gabriel stated in his talk last evening, May 5, 2001, "Indigenous people must today use technology for their people's advantage. Some modern inventions are needed to best serve their people's needs, like in artistic and career choices, so that they can best serve their own people." When he said that, I thought of the African band, Baba Mall, that incorporates technology and instruments of European and American origin with their traditional instruments. They sing in their own language, use their traditional dress and dance, but have all of this technical equipment and instrumentation in their wonderful productions. I also thought of Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, executive director of the UN's Center for Human Settlements (Habitat). She is from Tanzania and is the first African woman to run an UN agency, something not at all traditional for the role of women in her tribe, or for most African women. But she rose out of traditions in her culture that no longer contributed to the progress of individuals and of civilization and became a powerful woman who is improving urban and rural living conditions all over the world by helping women pull their families out of poverty through access to education and control over their own lands and lives.
When Jesus walked this earth, most of his people, the Jews, were very fundamentalistic and thus closed to his progressive and expanded teachings. On pages 1339 and 1340 of The URANTIA Book we are told,
By the times of Jesus the Jews had arrived at a settled concept of their origin, history, and destiny. They had built up a rigid wall of separation between themselves and the gentile world; they looked upon all gentile ways with utter contempt. They worshipped the letter of the law and indulged a form of self-righteousness based upon the false pride of descent. They had formed preconceived notions regarding the promised Messiah, and most of these expectations envisaged a Messiah who would come as a part of their national and racial history. To the Hebrews of those days Jewish theology was irrevocably settled, forever fixed.
The teachings and practices of Jesus regarding tolerance and kindness ran counter to the long-standing attitude of the Jews toward other peoples whom they considered heathen. For generations the Jews had nourished an attitude toward the outside world which made it impossible for them to accept the Master's teachings about the spiritual brotherhood of man. They were unwilling to share Yahweh on equal terms with the gentiles and were likewise unwilling to accept as the Son of God one who taught such new and strange doctrines.
The scribes, the Pharisees, and the priesthood held the Jews in a terrible bondage of ritualism and legalism, a bondage far more real than that of the Roman political rule. 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.
These circumstances rendered it impossible for the Jews to fulfill their divine destiny as messengers of the new gospel of religious freedom and spiritual liberty. They could not break the fetters of tradition..
..And so a different people were called upon to carry an advancing theology to the world, a system of teaching embodying the philosophy of the Greeks, the law of the Romans, the morality of the Hebrews, and the gospel of personality sanctity and spiritual liberty formulated by Paul and based on the teachings of Jesus.
So many individuals and groups are still making the same mistake that many of Jesus' people did, thus creating and maintaining a form of superficial uniformity within their group but no genuine unity with each other or with those who are different. On pages 2082 to 2086 The URANTIA Book has strong words about Christianity and how it has failed so far to fulfill its destiny as messengers of a religion of Jesus. In other words, so far Christianity that professes to follow Jesus has not become Jesusonian though it does contain "enough of Jesus' teachings to immortalize it."
Christianity suffers under a great handicap because it has become identified in the minds of all the world as a part of the social system, the industrial life, and the moral standards of Western civilization; and thus has Christianity unwittingly seemed to sponsor a society which staggers under the guilt of tolerating science without idealism, politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without restraint, knowledge without character, power without conscience, and industry without morality. (ibid., 2086:06)
Christianity is seriously confronted with the doom embodied in one of its own slogans: "A house divided against itself cannot stand." The non-Christian world will hardly capitulate to a sect-divided Christendom. The living Jesus is the only hope of a possible unification of Christianity. The true church—the Jesus sister-/brotherhood is invisible, spiritual, and is characterized by unity, not necessarily by uniformity. (ibid., 2085:03)
In closing I again use words from The URANTIA Book. "The great hope of Urantia [Earth] lies in the possibility of a new revelation of Jesus with a new and enlarged presentation of His saving message which would spiritually unite in loving service the numerous families of His present-day professed followers." (2086:02) "A new and fuller revelation of the religion of Jesus is destined to conquer an empire of materialistic secularism and to overthrow a world sway of mechanistic naturalism." (2082:06)
Religion does need new leaders, spiritual men and women who will dare to depend solely on Jesus and His incomparable teachings. If Christianity persists in neglecting its spiritual mission while it continues to busy itself with social and material problems, the spiritual renaissance must await the coming of these new teachers of Jesus' religion who will be exclusively devoted to the spiritual regeneration of men and women. And then will these spirit-born souls quickly supply the leadership and inspiration requisite for the social, moral, economic, and political reorganization of the world. The modern age will refuse to accept a religion which is inconsistent with facts and out of harmony with its highest conceptions of truth, beauty, and goodness. The hour is striking for a rediscovery of the true and original foundations of present-day distorted and compromised Christianity—the real life and teachings of Jesus. (ibid., 2082:09-2083:01)
-Niánn Emerson Chase