Art of Living II

Contents Part II

Our Spiritual Family Way 

By William Cooper

In the past few years of working together we members of the retreat team have discovered that we have a much fuller experience from our discussions when we adhere to a few spiritually inspired guidelines based on cooperation, not competition.  I want to share these with you now and ask you to apply them now.  We find these principles to be beneficial in all sorts of interpersonal relations, so you may want to apply them to your life in general.  We call these principles “Our Spiritual Family Way” because they were developed to foster spiritual family.  They might also be called the way of interpersonal courtesy and respect.

Group discussions are often like a wrestling match. The model often seems to be competition, hostility, aggression, sarcasm, and disrespect.  There is push and shove and intellectual bullying often by using quotes as weapons in argument rather than for guidance.  The old model might be political or legal argument in which taking any available advantage is allowed.  It is not cooperation and sharing directed to a just and satisfactory conclusion or course of action.  Our Spiritual Family Way is a very different way of relating and we have found it to produce wonderful results.

I am handing you each a business card printed front and back stating the main principles of Our Spiritual Family Way.  Sorry, the print is necessarily small in order to fit on the card.  We thought it important to provide this information in a form that is compact and therefore highly portable.  You can carry it in your pocket, purse or wallet and can have it handy to review or to give away when sharing the Way with others.

Since we want to apply these principles now, let’s go over them to get a mutual understanding.  It’s really not very complicated even when you get to the self-restraint required to make the system work.  

Here are the principles:

  1. Be spirit led…. Relax, become calm, and direct your attention inward to connect with the spirit before beginning discussion or conversation.  Really, make the commitment to connect and trust that the connection is made.  Stop to reconnect if anyone requests it.  Each person remains receptive to spirit.  Each person allows spirit to guide them.
  2. Love each other…. Make a safe place:  Treat each other with gentleness, kindness, courtesy, appreciation, and respect.  Make sure each person has an opportunity to participate.
  3. Listen…. Slow down.  Listen to understand the speaker without planning what you will say.  Pause to digest after each person speaks.  When you speak, do so without insisting that others agree.  When you listen, do not feel compelled either to agree or disagree.  Just listen, and only question politely, to understand.
  4. Respect the speaker…. Do not grab the conversation and redirect it to your thoughts.  Allow the speaker to fully express their thoughts and make sure they are accurately understood before redirecting to something else.
  5. Cooperate…. Respect and value each person’s input. Explore together.  No need to correct or disagree.  Build on each other’s ideas.

That is it.  That is the Spiritual Family Way of discussion and sharing of ideas.  The results we get by using this method are amazing.


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Religion of Jesus Intro

Silver Springs Retreat
By William Cooper

We are here to spend five days exploring the religion of Jesus and how he lived it. What I hope to achieve in this session is an understanding of what religion is and why we should want to live a religious life. I also want to start our examination of the religious life of Jesus.

This week we will spend a lot of time in communion with God, asking for God’s input, asking for insights into the matters we are examining and feeling our admiration and love for God. Let’s start with a prayer:

Father, Mother, Brother, we ask you to be especially close to us and open with us as we sincerely and earnestly explore the religious life of Jesus. We thank you and the many, many spiritual sisters and brothers who gave us the gift of information about the life of Jesus. Help us to make effective use of it. Help us to be receptive to our Spirit of God within us and to Jesus within us. Give us the joy and the delight of the experience of your presence. Because you are so gracious, generous, supporting, merciful, just and kind, it is so appropriate to say to you: “In this as in all other things, it is our will that your will be done.”

We are told that of all human knowledge, what humanity most needs to know is the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it. Why do you suppose that is? Why is the religious life of Jesus the most important of all human knowledge? Is it because life is supposed to be first and foremost a religious journey? Is it because the religious life of Jesus is the demonstration of how our lives are supposed to be lived?

Jesus’ life was the greatest example of religious living that has occurred in this universe in a mortal lifetime. It exemplifies the maximum achievement. Humanity has very little knowledge of the religion of Jesus. And when they learn about it, most will find it to require radical changes in their values and priorities. Some, perhaps many, will conclude that it is best to keep some distance between them and the religion Jesus practiced because his religion is “dangerous.” It is guaranteed to change its sincere practitioners and it doesn’t emphasize material success, intelligence, possessions, self-indulgence, wealth, power or status. It is totally out of step with the pursuit of happiness as many 21st century Americans know it.

So why should we want to know how to live the religion of Jesus? Are we ready to have our lives radically redirected toward worshiping God and loving and serving all humanity and away from anything that interferes? Because that’s where the religion of Jesus is taking us, inevitably. It takes faith and trust in our spiritual parents to be able to say, “yes, this is the true way, and it is what I want.”

Religion is not a specific function of life. It is not a ceremony or a Sabbath service. It is not a

secret inner compartment of your life that is opened only for special occasions. Rather, religion is a mode of living.

Religion is a wholehearted devotion to some reality which the religionist deems to be of supreme value to himself and for all mankind. The outstanding characteristic of all religions is: unquestioning loyalty and wholehearted devotion to supreme values. The accepted supreme value of the religionist may be base or even false, but it is still religious. Many people assign supreme value to securing and enjoying power and wealth. These both fall in the category of false religions. A religion is genuine only to the extent that it is devoted to a value of genuine spiritual worth.

Now listen to the extraordinary things I am about to say. This is not Bill making this up. It comes from THE URANTIA BOOK, which I trust. In the religion of Jesus, the sincere religionist is conscious of universe citizenship and is aware of making contact with sources of superhuman power. Why is she aware? Because the spirit communicates, and we are able to perceive this communication.

She may not know it is her Thought Adjuster or the Spirit of Truth, but she knows it is superhuman. She is thrilled and energized with the assurance of belonging to an ennobled fellowship of the children of God. She has surrendered to the intriguing drive of an all-encompassing motivation to find and do the will of God. This motivation chooses heightened self-discipline. It lessens emotional conflict. It makes mortal life truly worth living. And this intense striving for the attainment of super mortal ideals is always characterized by increasing patience, forbearance, fortitude, and tolerance. While these are characteristics of true religion, they do not arise in false religions such as prosperity, power, celebrity, or popularity. False religion is destined to be unsatisfying, even destructive.

True religion seeks God’s help to lead a life of love for all persons and all things, manifesting in a life of service. Genuine religion adds new meanings to all of life. It generates new types of enthusiasm, zeal and courage. One of the most amazing marks of religious living is that dynamic and sublime peace, that cosmic poise which indicates the absence of doubt and turmoil. Real religion, true religion, genuine religion is the religion of Jesus.

Look at the benefits of real religion I have just covered.

  • Consciousness that your actions have far ranging repercussions in the universe.
  • Awareness of contact with superhuman power.
  • Motivation and energy from assurance of sonship.
  • Heightened self-discipline.
  • Lessened emotional conflict.
  • A satisfying life truly worth living.
  • Patience.
  • Forbearance.
  • Fortitude.
  • Tolerance.
  • New meanings in all of life.
  • New types of enthusiasm.
  • Zeal.
  • Poise.
  • Confidence.
  • Courage.
  • Sublime peace.
  • Absence of doubt.
  • Absence of turmoil.

These benefits of true religion sound immensely practical to me. In the contemporary life I live, I need a full measure of all of these. So ultimately, why pursue the religion of Jesus? Because true religion is what life is supposed to be about and Jesus demonstrated the truest of all religions. The one with the highest and best supreme values.

Let’s take a look at something Jesus taught his apostles about true religion. He identified three types of religion:

  1. Primitive Religion: This arises from the instinctive urge to fear mysterious energies and worship superior forces (lightening, thunder, streams, waves, rain, wind, volcanoes, seasons, new plant growth.) A religion of awe and respect based on fear.
  2. Religion of Civilization: This is religion of the mind. The intellectual theology of the authority of established religious tradition. This one tells you how and why and what to believe.
  3. True Religion: This is the religion of revelation, inner revelation, personal revelation. The revelation of supernatural values, a partial insight into eternal realities, a glimpse of the goodness and beauty of the infinite character of the Father in Heaven – the religion of the spirit as demonstrated in human experience of spiritual truths. All of which relate to the power of love to unify everything into one immense undertaking.

Jesus made it clear that the great difference between the religion of the mind and the religion of the spirit is this: religion of the mind is upheld by ecclesiastical authority; religion of the spirit is wholly based on human experience of true values.

Until humanity more generally recognizes the realities of spiritual experience, large numbers of people will continue to be content with religions of authority which require only intellectual assent, in contrast to the religion of the spirit which entails active participation of mind and soul in the great faith adventure of wrestling with the realities of human experience and discovering the way things really work by personal experience.

The religion of the spirit means effort, struggle, conflict, faith, determination, loyalty and progress. The religion of the mind requires little or none of these exertions from its formal believers.

All three kinds of religion – religion of fear, religion of the mind and religion of the spirit – coexist in our world at this time. And pieces of each of these expressions can occupy the same person. Jesus’ religion is religion of the spirit exclusively. He described it to his apostles as not being a religion in the sense that term was used in his time. That is probably still true. Jesus’ religion is the religion of following the guidance of the divine spirit of God which resides in the mind of each human being. His religion derives its authority, its proof, from the fruits of the spirit which show in the lives of its followers. He called his religion a higher spiritual communion.

To Jesus, religion was what life was about. Religion is not a segregated, sometimes activity, but an every-moment, purpose-of-living focus. Why?  Was it because he was a son of God and trying to turn people away from worldliness and toward the afterlife? I don’t think so. I think he was demonstrating the most successful way of living a human life both for the present life and for the afterlife. To him, what we call the afterlife is fully a part of the present life. So, our afterlife begins now, not just after we abandon our bodies.

There is nothing so holy about religious living. It is simply the way you involve spiritual resources in your struggle with life if your objective is to grow into the spiritual and eternal being you were born to be.


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Seeing With God’s Eyes 

By Kaye Cooper

Let me share with you a moment of transformation from the life of Jesus. Imagine for just a minute the scene at the ship dock where Jesus waits to board a ship with Ganid and Gonod. They witness a man angrily attacking his wife. Jesus steps forward and taps the man on the shoulder. Look into that man’s face as he wheels around. See the anger, the clinched teeth, the fiery eyes. And then see his surprise and confusion when Jesus courteously invites him aside. And if that was not startling enough, Jesus then does an even more amazing thing. He tells the man what a fine person he is. Listen to some of what he says: “I am sure you must feel you have some good reason for this assault. I think I discern in your face a love of justice. I venture to say that, if you found me attacked by robbers, you would unhesitatingly rush to my rescue. Now, my friend, tell me what is the matter?” 

Look into the face of Jesus; see his kind look and sympathetic smile. He really means what he is saying. Jesus is seeing the man with the eyes of God – not the way you and I would ordinarily see the man at all. This is not flattery. It is the way God sees the man. Imagine the look on the man’s face in this moment of transformation, because he suddenly believes Jesus. He believes he is a better man than his behavior would indicate. In that transforming moment, he becomes a better man. His family life is changed. His wife and children are deeply affected. Even Gonod is profoundly changed by some of Jesus’ words to the man a few minutes later. Truly this was a transforming moment! And it happened because Jesus was able to see the man with God’s eyes.

We too can see with God’s eyes and it is important to see with God’s eyes. You can tell what a dramatic difference seeing the man’s behavior and the good within him with god’s eyes made in the encounter Jesus had with this man. It turned an ugly, even dangerous situation into an open door. This was truly an amazing transformation.

Seeing with God’s Eyes is basically a prayer to see more nearly as God sees, to the extent that we are able. Obviously, we cannot see all that God sees. After all, God is the creator and upholder of the universe. But by asking for God’s assistance to see as God sees and by being open to guidance, we find that our perspective changes. We see more wisely, more unselfishly, and with better understanding of our fellows. We see their potential goodness instead of only their faults. We see people’s motives, their potential, their reality (instead of our fears and prejudices). We take on attitudes more like our Heavenly Parent’s, attitudes that are more loving, sincere, and giving. We become more willing to forgive. We see ourselves and others as beloved children who are still learning and growing.

When we ask to “See with God’s Eyes,” God seems to answer our prayer by uplifting our perspective and adjusting our attitudes. Seeing with God’s eyes is one of our goals as followers of the religion of Jesus.


Let’s try it now. Choose a situation or a person to see with God’s eyes. Choose a situation at work, home, church, or with friends which you need to see differently. Or choose a person in your life you need a fresh perspective on. He may have an annoying habit. She may be a problem in your work life. It may be someone you have fallen into the habit of criticizing.

You need to select a person or situation that you are prepared to see differently. We are not always willing to let go of our perspective, you know. In fact, that is the hardest part of this process. We want to continue our own viewpoint and attitudes. Often, we prefer to wallow in a little self-righteous pool of anger. We would rather be right than solve our problem.

Sometimes simply realizing that we have a choice about how we see, and feel can immediately free us to let go of our own perspective. There are other times when we just have to allow ourselves the time to grow into letting go. When the emotions are involved, we can’t necessarily force ourselves to let go. If we rely on persistent, ongoing, sincere prayer, then over time our Mother/Father God will soften the soil. So select something that you think you are ready and willing to let go of. 

Take a moment now and choose what you will focus on. (Pause) 

The steps in this process are simple:

  1. Commit to give up your viewpoint. 
  2. Ask for God’s help. 
  3. Imagine how God would see. Apply your understanding of God’s nature and values. 

Having decided that you are ready to let go of your viewpoint, your next step is to make a commitment to give up your viewpoint and see the person with God’s eyes. 

Once you have made the commitment to see differently, the asking is easy. You will simply ask God for help and trust fully that God will supply what you need. 

The final step is to imagine. This is where you encourage the process and become a partner with God: use your imagination. Ask God, “How would you see this?” Then imagine how God would see the situation or the person. You will find that as you use your imagination, God will help you to see more as God sees. You may want to repeat “How would you see this?” at intervals during the exercise. 

Let’s do step one together right now. Take a moment of silence to ask yourself: “Am I willing to see and feel more as God would?” Make a commitment to let go of your viewpoint and see with God’s eyes. 


I will give you about ten minutes to ask for God’s help and then to imagine how God sees the situation or person. During your quiet time, I encourage you to journal or take notes.  Sometimes ideas get away from you if you don’t jot them down. 

Afterward, you will have an opportunity to share whatever you want from this exercise. Of course, sharing is always voluntary. 

Please begin when you are ready.

(allow ten minutes) 

Time is almost up. Finish your thought. 



Did you notice any difficulty making the commitment to be willing to see things God’s way? 

What difference did you notice in the way you saw the person or situation? 

How do you feel differently about the person or situation now? 

Nail Down

Seeing with God’s eyes is one of those spiritual habits which is very beneficial to your spiritual growth. It is a way of inviting God to be an active partner in your life. It can be used as a prayer in the moment to transform a situation on the spot. It can be used in private to help you find a way to cope with your life. If a particular situation or person is a real challenge, persistence, sincerity, and determination will eventually bring success. 

Seeing with God’s eyes is our destiny. If you ask to see with God’s eyes persistently and honestly, over time you will find that you are not only seeing God’s will for you – more and more you will be doing God’s will for you. 


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Prayer of Gratitude 

By Kathy Beckten

Prayers of spiritual aspiration and thanksgiving lead us up into worship and worship leads us to become like the one we worship. The following prayer is offered for that purpose. 


Oh Father, we wish to thank you for this glorious and gorgeous creation you have made for us and for this life in the flesh you have given us to experience emotions and thoughts filled with free choice and spirit potential. 

We are truly, deeply thankful for your Son, Jesus Christ, the greatest expression of your love, gentleness and spiritual maturity. 

May we be your instruments of expression, reflecting your divine spirit of truth, beauty and goodness. 

And in our social service to our fellow man, may we come equipped with tact, wisdom of mind, tolerance and the charm of personality. 

With this grace, presented to our companions, may we also remember to be gracious to ourselves. 

In our memories may we hold fast a sacred trust, the strength-giving and worthwhile episodes of life, building a reserve of galleries of beauty, goodness and artistic grandeur. 

The most noble of these treasured memories are recollections of superb friendships. The most precious of these being the relationship with you in spiritual worship. 

May this give us strength and courage in our daily living and in our solving the problems of an ever-changing existence. 

Through our hands may your will be done.


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A Few Words on Worshipful Problem Solving

By William Cooper

Worship is admiring and being grateful for all the wonderful qualities of God and longing to be like that yourself.

Worshipful meditation is the greatest of all methods of problem solving.  It is part thought, part inspiration, and part creative imagination of dialogue with God.  You describe your problem.  Then you think about and feel the values and qualities of God which might influence your choice.

Worship brings relaxation, illumination, courage, self-understanding, consciousness of union with divinity, relieves tension, removes conflict and very significantly augments the total resources of the personality.

Worship-communion augments energy to do spiritual work.  It transforms weakness to strength, fear to courage, mind of self to the will of God.  Communion with God is an experience of intimate sharing of being together in warm personal relationship of affection and acceptance. 

Worshipful practices, when persisted in, become habits.  Habits become character.  Character becomes spiritual maturity.

Try this:

Pick 3 higher values such as:

parental love, mercy, forgiveness, tolerance, patience, etc. and meditate reflectively on what they mean, how you feel as you experience them, and how they are interrelated.  See lists of higher values in Bill’s Book of Values at BillsBooks”N”


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Rodan’s Philosophy of Living

And His New Religion of Maturity
Revised August 2020 William Cooper

A dictionary definition of “philosophy”:  A system for guiding life.  A body of principles of conduct, religious beliefs, or traditions.

Rodan was an extraordinary philosopher of Jesus’ time and a follower of Jesus.  His writings are lost to history.  He was a Greek Jew of Alexandria in Egypt.  He visited Jesus’ camp at Bethsaida for a period of time and carefully observed the way Jesus lived his religious life.  He commented on Jesus’ practices with strong approval.  It is a high honor that he is the only mortal given space for presentation of his beliefs in several pages of the Fifth Epochal Revelation of truth to this planet.  This honor suggests that his ideas are of particular value to us and deserve our special attention. 

 Rodan spoke directly to two things the Urantia Book revelators identified as centrally important. 1) He was a careful and educated observer of the religious life of Jesus and how he lived it—Jesus’s art of living. 2) He was an advocate of personal religion based on a philosophy of living in cooperation with God and with the goals of finding God and becoming like him.  The Urantia Book salvages these lost achievements of Rodan by presenting them in detail.  The following comments explore 1) Rodan’s philosophy of pursuing really startlingly ambitious goals of God consciousness and Godlikeness, 2 ) Rodan’s admiration of Jesus’ art of using spiritual resources directly in solving life’s problems, and 3) the way Rodan connected his philosophy, Jesus’ gospel and Jesus’ art of  spiritual living into a new and superior religion .

Rodan’s Philosophy

Goals, ideals, and the new religion of maturity

UB reference: (P.1774:6 – 1775:1) [161:1.14-15]

Rodan observed, “In a continually changing world, in the midst of an evolving social order, it is impossible to maintain settled and established goals of destiny if they are based only on what history and the current circumstances indicate goals should be. Stability of personality can be experienced only by those who have discovered and embraced the living God as the eternal goal of infinite attainment. And thus to transfer one’s goal from time to eternity, from earth to Paradise, from the human to the divine, requires that a person shall become regenerated, converted, be born again; shall become the re-created child of the divine spirit and thus gain entrance into the family of God. All philosophies and religions which have goals that fall short of these ideals are immature. The philosophy which I teach, linked with the gospel which you preach, represents the new religion of maturity, the ideal of all future generations. And this is true because God, our ideal, is final, infallible, eternal, universal, absolute, and infinite. 

“My philosophy gave me the urge to search for the realities of true attainment, the goal of maturity, of Godlikeness. But my urge was impotent; my search lacked driving power; my quest suffered from the absence of certainty of directionization.  I did not know for certain where to find God. And these deficiencies have been abundantly supplied by this new gospel of Jesus, with its enhancement of insights through seeking the leading of the Inner Spirit, elevation of ideals, and settledness of goals by wholehearted joining in God’s goal of uniting the entire universe by the attraction of love. Without doubts and misgivings, I can now wholeheartedly enter upon the eternal venture. 161:1.15 (P.1775 – §1)

Questions to ponder:

  1. What is the ideal of this new religion of maturity which Rodan boldly says is “final, infallible, eternal, universal, absolute, and infinite?  Is pursuing and progressive achievement of Godlikeness all of these things? 
  2. Rodan’s search for the “realities of true attainment” was lacking “driving power and certainty of directionization. He says his deficiencies were supplied by three aspects of Jesus’ new gospel and his art of living: enhancement of insights (experiencing insights from the Spirit Within), elevation of ideals (aspiring to goodness like God), and settledness of goals (becoming like God and working with God to achieve God’s goals). Can we see how his philosophy would help us in our search for insights, ideals, and settled goals?  Would becoming an ever more capable partner with God and the celestial family in implementing God’s plan for all time and all space give you driving power and certainty of directionization regardless of changing of intermediate goals caused by increasing complexities over time?

Philosophy of Remastering the art of living

UB reference: (P.1772:4) [160:1.3]

The art of living is exercising creativity in adjusting to society’s here and now condition while maintaining loyalty to the ultimate objective.  The art of living is the art of not losing one’s way while negotiating the chaos.  The art of living reconciles the goal with the way things are, the way things should be with the present situation.  The art of living applies principles and habits of character (values) to define the correct present action. 

 “The more complex civilization becomes, the more difficult will become the art of living. The more rapid the changes in social usage, the more complicated will become the task of character development. Every ten generations mankind must learn anew the art of living if progress is to continue. And if man becomes so ingenious that he more rapidly adds to the complexities of society, the art of living will need to be remastered in less time, perhaps every single generation. If the evolution of the art of living fails to keep pace with the technique of existence, humanity will quickly revert to the simple urge of living—the attainment of the satisfaction of present desires. Thus will humanity remain immature; society will fail in growing up to full maturity. 

Questions to ponder:

  1. Based on your own observations, reflections, insights, do you think/believe that we have come to a time when the art of living needs to be remastered every single generation in order to keep pace with the technique of existence? If so, what does remastering the art of living entail? [ For the children of God, remastering the art of living means reconsidering what love should do in the changing circumstances.  That actually should be a constant concern, not just an occasional one.]
  2. How do changes in social usage complicate the task of character development?  Some changes in social usage which complicate character development include changes in gender equality, changes in sexuality norms, extensions or contractions of democracy, attitudes toward abortion, pregnancy prevention, universal suffrage, racial fairness, economic fairness, equal opportunity, and spiritual versus material purpose for life.  Is all life sacred?  Is it ok to cheat the ignorant, the poor, the weak and everyone else so long as it is for your own benefit?  Does the accumulation of immense wealth in the control of a very few at the same time many suffer from insufficient necessities or comforts suggest the need for adjustments in the values of those in power?  Does humanity’s damage to nature call for readjustments in the art of living or will the Rodan-Jesus philosophy and art of living continue to serve?  Does the material and ethical destructiveness of warfare suggest we must find other ways to resolve disputes?  Does humanity show signs of reversion to the simple urge of living, the attainment of the satisfaction of present desires?

Jesus’ Art of Living According to Rodan

Jesus’ art of the mastery of dependable techniques for solving life’s problems

UB reference (p.1774:3)[160:1.11]

Rodan said: “I am deeply impressed with the custom of Jesus in going apart by himself 

  • to engage in these seasons of solitary survey of the problems of living 
  • to seek for new stores of wisdom and energy for meeting the manifold demands of social service 
  • to quicken and deepen the supreme purpose of living by actually subjecting the total personality to the consciousness of contacting with divinity 
  • to grasp for possession of new and better methods of adjusting oneself to the ever-changing situations of living existence 
  • to effect those vital reconstructions and readjustments of one’s personal attitudes which are so essential to enhanced insight into everything worth while and real. 
  • to do all of this with an eye single to the glory of God – to breathe in sincerity your master’s favorite prayer, “Not my will, but yours, be done.” 

Questions to ponder:

  1. If you go apart with God as Rodan observed Jesus doing, what does it feel like?  Don’t guess.  Do it and feel it. 
  2. What does it mean to “actually subject the total personality to the consciousness of contacting with divinity”?  What does it feel like?
  3. Does going apart with God “quicken [make more alive] and deepen [give greater meaning] to the supreme purpose of living”?  Is character development by deity values incorporation the supreme purpose of living?
  4. Can we do it? How do we do it?  Rodan observed that Jesus’ technique was to go apart and visit with God about everything.  Is that the way? 
  5. Ask your Inner Spirit how to incorporate contact with spirit into daily life.

The benefits of spiritual communion to one’s art of living

UB reference (P.1774:4} [160:1.12]

Rodan said: “This worshipful practice of your Master brings: 

  • that relaxation which renews the mind. 
  • that illumination which inspires the soul. 
  • that courage which enables one bravely to face one’s problems. 
  • that self-understanding which obliterates debilitating fear. 
  • that consciousness of union with divinity which equips man with the assurance that enables him to dare to be Godlike.

 “The relaxation of worship, or spiritual communion as practiced by the Master, 

  • relieves tension, 
  • removes conflicts, and 
  • mightily augments the total resources of the personality. 

And all this philosophy, plus the gospel of the kingdom, constitutes the new religion as I understand it.”

Rodan was talking about his philosophy of setting and pursuing the goal of Godlikeness linked to Jesus’ good news that we are children of God and can have a relationship of friendship and constant guidance from God as being the fundamentals of a new religion. 

Questions to ponder:

  1. What is debilitating fear?  Is it fear of failure that prevents you from acting?  Is it fear of ridicule, of loss, of punishment, of misinterpretation? 
  2. What kind of self-understanding can obliterate debilitating fear? Is it understanding who you really are and the consequences, responsibilities, and privileges that being a child of God brings? Is it the reassurance that you really do know what is right to do?
  3. According to your personal understanding, what does it mean “to dare to be Godlike”? What can happen when we dare to be Godlike?  What are the benefits?  What are the risks?
  4. Can you recall a personal example of how spiritual communion relieves tension and/or removes conflicts?  What do you do?  What happens?  What is your experience?
  5. Rodan speaks of “the total resources of the personality” which spiritual communion will “mightily augment”? What do you think he is referring to?  The total resources of personality would include every influence a person could bring to bear on an issue.  These would include psychological powers (self confidence, optimism, self encouragement), intellectual ability (define the problem, identify possible solutions, outline an action plan), spiritual power (engage spiritual resources through prayer, worship, meditation and receptivity), power of creative imagination (ability to frame the issue differently to take advantage of the barriers), and the physical resources of speech and action.  Is it possible that communion unifies these resources and gets them working together and stable?


Rodan found in Jesus’ gospel of the fatherhood of God and individual relationship with God the missing aspects of his philosophy of living.  Rodan’s philosophy said that the individual’s goals should be to know God and to become like him.  But the philosophy lacked the motivation and the means, the why and the how to do this.  Rodan saw in Jesus’ art of living by active and intimate association with God and following the leading of God, the means to know and to become like God.  He saw in the fatherhood of God the promise of a noble and grand destiny of service in achievement of God’s objectives, doing the will of God, thus providing both the confirmation of the possibility of becoming like God and the motivation to engage in the effort. In the unification of these elements of philosophy, gospel and art of living, Rodan saw the possibility of a worthwhile new personal religion.  And what a religion it can be!


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Developing Spiritual

Relationship with God

and the Cosmic Family

by William Cooper

Talking Things Over with God 

Jesus in his prayers as a youngster would just talk to his heavenly Father in the fashion he used with Joseph, who was a very attentive and caring mortal Father.  He would talk, ask questions, “listen”, discuss, and interpret his impressions.   It was embarrassing to Jesus’ parents that Jesus did not observe the forms and fashions of prayer for their religious culture and he was open and obvious about it.  Like us, Jesus was often not certain exactly what God’s response was, but he was sure that God was responding.

As Jesus matured and began to understand who he was, he continued to relate to the I Am in informal discussion mode.  He was using this mode of prayer when he prayed repeatedly in Gethsemene.  Talking things over with God makes God very real and near, which he is.  God will respond to even the faintest indication of faith.  I think that attempting to intuit God’s responses to us is more than a faint flicker of faith.  To attempt such is an extremely appropriate application of faith.  God would never fail to respond to such an act of faith.  Seriously, try it.  This prayer practice promotes a rich and constant relationship with God, Spirit and our cosmic family.

Commitment to Spiritual Family

Jesus tried to teach his followers that he was here to establish the Family of God on earth.  They were too much caught up in the concept that the Messiah would come and found a material kingdom.  So, Jesus altered his approach to talk in terms of a kingdom.  He taught that the kingdom he came to found was not an earthly kingdom but rather it was/is a kingdom in the hearts of people who follow the leading of the spirit within each person.  This inner kingdom he described as presided over by a loving and patriarchal king.  And this is true, but it is not his preferred concept.  He wanted us to see the spiritual reality, that engulfs our material reality, as a family that has our personal and collective welfare as a central and constant concern.  To Jesus, family was not merely a kinship, it included a purpose of taking care of the family enterprise of pursuing God’s plan.  God’s plan is to knit together the cosmos by the attraction of the love and goodness of God.  This plan includes high adventure of our being a growing and serving part in expanding the inhabited and unified cosmos.  It includes participating actively in our deity parent’s plans and thereby advancing in becoming like God, deity ourselves.

Jesus said if you believe that God loves you with an infinite love and follow the leading of the spirit within your heart, then you are in the family of God.  That sounds kind of cool but what are the consequences, expectations and opportunities?  

Let’s stop just a minute and consider the difference in the way we feel first when we see our eternal destiny to be a loyal servant of God the good king. (Pause) Is that exciting to you? Now, second, feel what it is like to look at yourself as a beloved and privileged child of God and of the vast, loving family of God, whose destiny is to choose a personal path to grow up to be like his / her parent.  Now, is that exciting to you? (Pause)  I hope you can feel the difference.  I certainly can.  Now back to the expectations, opportunities and consequences of this status.

One consequence is the opportunity for an eternal life of service to God’s ongoing adventure with love.  I call God’s adventure of fostering and proving the truth of the effectiveness of love via experience,” the family business”.  This is what God and all creation are currently doing.  This has been going on for trillions of years and will continue into eternity, will never end.  We will never run out of important things to do.  Ours is not a static job or a bit role to play as a servant at a king’s court.  The family of God provides progressively more and more responsible roles for all of its members.  As recipients of Adjusters and of personality, there is no known limit to how far we may progress in eternity.  Our progress entails study, service, mastery of power, responsibility, loyalty to God’s will and all of these with the love, graciousness and generosity of our divine parents.

The Family of God is so vast that we lack words for the number of its members but everyone in the family who is pursuing the family business is devoted to achievement of God’s good, gracious, generous and merciful goals –infinite love permeating everyone, everything and every action.  In committing to God’s family business, we are committing to join all other family members in humble efforts to achieve love, to enthusiastically pursue the way of love and to institutionalize it as a living, enlarging practice for all.  Joinder in this family and its business is God’s plan for us all.

There is a great deal more that can be said about spiritual family.  It can be, after all, the core around which each of us can form our philosophy of living.  But the last observation I want to make in closing is that all of the members of the spiritual family want all of its members to succeed in doing and fostering God’s way of love and will help each other achieve that goal in any way consistent with God’s will.  Just ask and then listen and follow expectantly.


Letter to and From Mom and Dad

Now let’s take about 5min to write a quick note to Mom and Dad about their spiritual family.  You might want to be grateful.  You might want to explore with them what spiritual family means to you.  How do you feel about being a member of such a vast, purposeful and mutually supportive spiritual family?  Examine the extent of your desire to participate. [Allow 5 min.]

Time is up.

But don’t put your pen down.  Now take 5 min to write what seems to you to be the response Mom and Dad would make to you.


Developing Relationship by Conversation

Ask key and/or immediately relevant questions.  Use a form of question and answer dialog. You ask the question and you imagine an appropriate answer from the Spirit Within and you make notes. 

In circumstances usually of quiet contemplation I ask how to take known macro principles of God’s will and interpret them to fit my immediate micro needs.  Some examples are:

  • How can I be loving to this person or even this thing?
  • How can I truly forgive disloyalty or betrayal? 
  • Contempt and anger must go or at least be diminished.  How can I do this?
  • How can I contribute love, mercy, truth, beauty and goodness to improve this situation?
  • What higher value do I need to apply here to adjust my attitude or that of another?
  • How would applying acceptance, inclusion and respect help this situation?
  • How can I be courteous, generous, trusting and charming in anticipated difficult circumstances?
  • From where I am right now, how can I make good come from this?
  • In the face of apparent failure, what can I learn from this?

You may say, ”But Bill I already ask myself these things.”  And I reply, “That is wonderful, but do you ask these as questions to your human experience and wisdom alone or as questions explicitly directed to your spiritual guides and tutors, of which there are many.”  There is a strong spiritual quality, even an urge to action, when you address your spiritual helpers and seek to be sensitive to their responses.  This ask, listen, interpret and act/respond process builds relationship that becomes very real, very revealing of truth, beauty, goodness and Love.


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Toolbox for The Inner Life

Collected by William Cooper
  1. Intentionally Foster a Strong Spiritual Inner Life.  Focus your efforts on attending to your spiritual inner life.  Your inner life is where your values and meanings in life reside.  It is also where you have the most control over your life.  Your inner life interacts with the Spirit Within which can be relied upon always to favor what is truly in your best interests.  Your outer life interacts with people, things and institutions that frequently are not in your favor and may even unfairly oppose you.  Your outer life is subject to bad judgment, accidents, betrayal, disloyalty, selfishness, envy, affairs and many other disturbing and destructive events and emotions.

  2. Use Relaxation and Meditation.  Relaxation and meditation help you access your inner life where you can choose to affirm what you personally believe to be important and meaningful.  Relaxation and meditation will help you reconcile your outer life to your inner life.  Do not compromise the values and meanings of your inner life to fit your outer life.  That leads to dissatisfaction and unhappiness even in the presence of apparent material success.

  3. Go to Your Heart Place.  Your heart place is a place of calm refuge and beauty where you are safe and comforted. Remember the process: Relax; drift gently into the special place of calm you have mentally prepared; Experience the presence of the persons, pets, plants and things you have chosen to be there; enjoy; return when you are refreshed.

  4. Consult with Your Inner Spirit.  You have within your heart a reliable spirit counselor.  If you will consult this spirit especially regarding meanings and values and morals and ethics you will receive high quality advice on attitudes and behaviors that will benefit you with a happier and more productive life.  The process is simple.  In calm circumstances if possible, ask for help as specifically as possible.  Wait in silent receptivity for a few minutes to see if any impressions present themselves immediately.  Remain receptive and expectant as you go about your life for relevant impressions and insights.

  5. Optimism, Expectation and Cooperative Attitude.  These are your allies in achieving anything.  Believing you can achieve something is the starting place of success.  What you believe is possible, you may attempt.  What you attempt, you might achieve.  What you do not try, has no chance.

  6. See with New Eyes. Seeing a situation with new eyes is a useful process in many circumstances, especially as preparation for forgiveness.  This process applies imagination to explain an offense as understandable and forgivable behavior.  You do this because bearing a grudge, resentment or fear is so damaging to you spiritually that you should risk forgiving even in the absence of apology or expressions of regret.  The forgiver benefits even if the forgiven does not.  Seeing with new eyes intentionally seeks an alternative understanding of events from a higher spiritual perspective of compassion, empathy, error, generosity of spirit, etc.

  7. Cool Down and Open to Spirit.  Your capacities are measurably improved when your interactions with others (and self ) are as free of anger, fear and suspicion as possible.  That is the cool-down benefit of this process.  Opening to the spirit intends to access the rich inner source of caring for the other person’s needs as much as your own.  When you do this, compromises to everyone’s satisfaction are often possible and peaceful interaction is to be expected.  The spirit will always lead you to treat the other person as you would like to be treated.
  • Focus on what is ideal and Right.   Your inner life is where you are free to define what is ideal and right.  What is ideal and right is what you want to support and advocate in your outer life.  Life may force compromises but betrayals or intentional hypocrisy are to be avoided.  They will certainly lead to unhappiness.
  • Respect your feelings.  Your feelings mean something.  They are not necessarily answers or even indications of truth but they should be considered.  They certainly affect your behavior.  If you understand them, they can have a rational and appropriate effect.  If you do not, they will have an effect that is haphazard and often not beneficial.  Ignore your feelings or surrender to them at your risk.
  •  Forgive.  Forgiving frees the forgiving person from the burden of spiteful thinking and scheming.  Most of the benefits of forgiving flow to the forgiving person.  So it is to the forgiver’s benefit to be generous, even lavish in letting go of hurt feelings from all causes.  Forgive as much as you can as quick as you can even when the offender is unworthy of forgiveness and unrepentant.  Forgiveness is that important to your spiritual growth.
  •  Imagine.  You have the gift of imagination.  Use it to imagine a good and rewarding path through life.  It is better to be optimistic without fantastic or miraculous events.  It is OK to strive to dream / imagine realistically but avoid applying your imagination cynically.  Imagining can be like mentally preparing yourself to succeed in future opportunities.  It has been proved repeatedly to work in sports and other skilled activities.
  •  Communicate Calmly. Expressing anger, fear, violence or agitation motivates others to get away from you.  Calmly confide and trust in others and observe how this builds relationships.  Relationships are real, eternal and worth the effort.
  •  Be Thankful.  Counting your blessings elevates your mood, relieves depression and helps you define what is important to you and what you should do to foster your own happiness.
  •  Stacked in Your Favor.  The universe is stacked in your favor.  No, really it is, when you are pursuing what you believe is right.  If you will presume that and act accordingly many wonderful consequences will follow.  You will undoubtedly suffer a lot of failure.  You will grow a lot in character.  You will also succeed a lot too, if you define success broadly.
  •  Lavish Gift Giving.  There are more than these three valuable gifts you can afford to give lavishly to everyone.  In fact, You will profit by giving them.  You can count on an endless supply and widespread appreciation.
  • Forgiveness
  • Respect
  • Caring about all people 
  •  Positive Self Talk.  Tell yourself good things.  What you tell yourself, good or bad, confident or doubting will influence your behavior and your friends.  What you tell yourself, and believe, is more likely to manifest in your experience.
  •  Use the Peacemaker’s Checklist.
    1. Try to calm down before you react.
    2. Do your best to avoid physical fighting.
    3. Avoid arousing anger or fear in your adversary.
    4. Avoid using put-downs, cursing, calling names or using profanity.
    5. Say what is on your mind but do it respectfully.
    6. Really listen (with an open heart) to what your adversary has to say.
    7. Try to see how you are responsible.  Don’t just blame the other person.
    8. Try to put yourself in the other person’s place to understand where they are coming from.
    9. Look for ways to solve the problem, not just win the argument.
    10. Be willing to compromise.
  •  Golden Rule. You have heard it all your life but it really is the most reliable spiritual rule.  Treat others as you would like to be treated if your roles were reversed.
  •  Practice Nonviolent Communication.  Be gentle and respectful with others.
  •  Don’t fear failure.  Take reasonable risks.  Failure is an especially good learning opportunity leading eventually to success.
  •  Live your values.  Live your life as loyally as you are able to the truth you have discovered.


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Mechanics of Spiritual Power

 William Cooper Oct 2020

What is spiritual power?

Spiritual power is something you never expected to have, even in your afterlife.  However, it is something you already have.  The spiritual power you have for the most part is not the power to do miracles in defiance of laws of science.  The spiritual power you “have” is an attractive power and a transformative power which you can exercise by doing and championing goodness.  It is not something you control but rather a power inherent in mind that causes goodness to be attractive.  It doesn’t compel.  It attracts.  It doesn’t overwhelm will.  It appeals as an attractive choice.  

Spiritual power has a consequence when someone experiences goodness and appreciates it.  You can be the beneficiary of your own appreciation of goodness.  But you can also be the vector of spiritual power by portraying goodness to others.  It is in these ways that you “possess” spiritual power.  The experience of Spiritual power provides energy and motivation to love and serve others and to love and become like God.  It does this by influencing your emotions and your process of thinking.  It has the ability to transform a person from within by confirming rightness and by bestowing warm spiritual pleasure as a consequence of righteous desires and behavior.  It is an instinct placed in mind as a gift from deity for you to exercise spiritual power by doing good – fostering godlikeness.  

What does it do?

It works in at least three circumstances that I have experienced or observed in others.

  1. When a person chooses to do unselfish good for others, that opens a channel from spiritual sources that brings ability to the unselfish person to express spiritual blessings such as tolerance, faith, forgiveness, service, etc.  These behaviors and attitudes simply seem more appropriate and become easier to express and do.  So there is spiritual power in unselfish service.  
  2. When a person observes that another is expressing spiritual virtues, spiritual power causes an attraction or lure for the observer to want to live that way too.  There are spiritual effects on both the actor and the intended beneficiary as well as on third party observers.
  3. When one person prays for spiritual blessings for another, spiritual power touches the mind and soul of the other person and causes those blessings to become more easily available to the other person and the other person is helped to realize that they have choices to live more spiritually, more fully and more joyously.

What do we do to implement it?

Spiritual power is not magical.  It operates according to spiritual laws.  Sometimes it results automatically like gravity or magnetism operate automatically according to physical laws.  Sometimes spiritual power works more like chemistry where manifestation of spiritual power results from mixing faith, love, and other higher values in appropriate proportions to react together and express goodness.  We probably are not ready to actually be allowed authority to exercise control over undirected spiritual power but we can cooperate with the limited spiritual power made available to us so that its consequences can “automatically” happen.  Except they do not automatically happen.  They only happen if we act in ways that cause them.

The power made available for us to exercise is significant to our personal spiritual growth, to the progress of our planet in becoming more advanced and in the achievement of the goals of our cosmic family.  There is spiritual power attached to all of the following which need our cooperative involvement.

  1. Spreading the Gospel has magical spiritual power because the gospel message, when understood, unlocks life changing spiritual ministries directly to the mind and soul of the recipient.
  2. Living a life of loving service, tolerance, and forgiveness activates spiritual power because this attracts similar behavior in others.
  3. There is power in living by reasonable and appropriate faith because this leads to rich personal relationship with God and our cosmic family.
  4. There is power in trusting others because this causes them to want to be trustworthy.
  5. There is a power in falling in love with goodness because this expels evil desires.
  6. There is power in all higher values because they breed friendliness and peace.
  7. There is power in optimism and reasonable self-confidence because they cause confidence in positive change.
  8. Reliable concern for the benefit of others fosters trust and cooperation and that is powerful.

So you have a considerable amount of spiritual power available for your exercise.  But it does not happen independently of your reliable, generous, and loving actions and attitudes.


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Memorable Truths and Considerations

By William Cooper
  1. You are a first-generation child of the God of all creation.  So, what do you expect you will grow up to be?


  2. You are material and spiritual in nature.  The material part of you is temporary.  The spiritual part survives and continues to grow.  What you achieve now toward spiritual maturity is real and lasting.


  3.  This life is the important beginning of your eternal career, not a purposeless occurrence.


  4. We are supposed to be brothers and sisters, partners in each other’s lives.  We are supposed to be linked to one another by love, caring and respect.


  5. Your personal religion should be unique.  It should consist in following the leading of your own Spirit Within.


  6. Life has meaning.  We can choose to be an animal or a noble spirit being.  The animal part of us will die.  The spirit being will live forever.


  7. It is a great privilege to experience life on such an uncivilized planet.  It will help us understand and serve others in our eternal career.


  8. We can use our creativity to invent ourselves by imagining the best possible behavior and then managing ourselves to display that behavior.


  9. God is your parent.  Children just naturally grow up to be like their parents.  In fact they must work hard to avoid it.


  10. It does not matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop. (Confucius)


  11. When you have faults, do not fear to abandon them.  (Confucius)


  12. Inner beauty is far more significant than outer beauty.  Inner beauty    comes from loving, caring attitudes carried into action.
  1.  Inner beauty, with a little encouragement, grows eternally and lasts forever.


  2.  You can smell beauty from fresh mowed grass, cinnamon, wisteria, yeast bread baking, sea breezes.


  3.  Practice love, forgiveness, service and respect.  They will reward you and all who know you.


  4.  Love is the best action and the best reaction, always.  Love does good in all circumstances.


  5. Every living thing and person responds favorably to being loved.


  6.  Love given and love received are both worthy rewards of living.  The joy of love given is ours to take by giving service and caring.


  7.  An attitude of persistent, unselfish love works miracles of values transformation and good health in the person holding that attitude.


  8.  Love grows vigorously when its seed takes root in a love hungry soul.


  9. Love can transform persons, cultures, and even entire planets. If you want a better world, love lavishly.


  10.  With life as short as a half-taken breath, don’t plant anything but love.  (Rumi)


  11.  Love serves.  It does not exploit.  Love is gentle, kind, forgiving, merciful and tolerant.


  12. Despise the sin but love the sinner.


  13.  Respect virtue even in the sinner.  It proves the Spirit still dwells within.


  14.  Love disciplines but it does not hurt, harm, or administer vengeance.


  15. Love should be our universal mode of behavior.  It has magical power on personal, social and political levels to achieve things that are super important and which nothing else can achieve.


  16. Love benefits both the giver and the receiver and even the observer.  All feel richer who recognize that the gift of love has been given.


  17. Love is the way of the Spirit Within.


  18. Love rules the universe.  Inevitably, love will one day rule this world and every heart in it.


  19. Slay evil with love.  Start within.


  20. Be aggressive and lavish with love.


  21. It is better to love too much than to love too little.


  22. Prayer communicates with God.  Faith acts according to his leading.


  23. Pray for spiritual growth (character development) because that is the purpose of life.  Learn to cope cheerfully and graciously with disappointment because that is the fast path to spiritual growth.


  24. You won’t find anything in life that gives you more pleasure than being of service to others.


  25.   While love is the desire to do good for others, service is the action of doing good for others.


  26. Service is not just an attitude or desire.  It is good deeds.


  27. A lot of little services by many people will do. Serving as you pass by requires only modest levels of planning and commitment.


  28. A smile, a helping hand, courtesy, good attitude, cheerfulness, polite assistance; these are all services to others requiring no planning and no sacrifice.


  29. Don’t resist your urges to service when they arise.
  1.   Service is how love gets expressed through action.  It is a primary way we develop our connectedness to others through love.


  2. Service is helping another achieve her worthy needs and goals.
  1.   Service develops friendships.  If you want a friend, be a friend.


  2.   To make a friend of someone, find something you know they want and do it for them.


  3. A few small services by many people does more to improve the world than the dedicated lives of a few saints.


  4. Service shows actual willingness to give one’s self and assets for the benefit of another.


  5. Service builds a mutual sense of relatedness on which all sorts of benefits grow.


  6. Service is a cause of love and it is a consequence of love.  Service / love is emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually very powerful, very attractive, and very inspiring.


  7. Service is love expressed in action and it participates in the immense magical power of love.


  8. Service extends the helpful hand of brotherhood and that is important.


  9. Allowing yourself to seek vengeance or to hold grudges involves great spiritual costs to you and to everyone related to you.  And we are all related to you.


  10. When you forgive another, you relieve yourself of the ugly burden of assessing the guilt and punishment of the offender and of determining how much they must suffer to pay their debt.


  11. When you forgive, you reopen the possibility of beneficial relationship.


  12. Forgiveness does not require forgetting.  It does require setting aside the desire to punish, to penalize or to even scores. When you forgive, you are saying “Here is a fresh chance to do right.”


  13. For inner peace and satisfaction, establish a continuous, constant, eternal relationship with your Spirit Within.


  14. Your thought will be clearer and higher quality if you meditate and think with God.


  15. The truth response in your heart guides you and counsels you on all things having meaning and value.


  16. Continual progress toward excellence of character is the objective and purpose of this life.  Excellence of character is not completed in this life, but direction can be reliably set.


  17. The values you actually live by are the building blocks of your character.  Your loyalty to your values stabilizes your character.  Your disloyalty to your values proves they have not yet become really a part of you.


  18. Your values are your attitudes and actions you base your life on. They are the way you distinguish and present yourself to the universe.


  19. Optimism is your ally. What you believe, you might possibly try. What you try, you might possibly achieve. What you do not try, has no chance.


  20. Your feelings mean something. Examine them.


  21. Most of the benefits of forgiving flow to the person who forgives. Forgive as much as you can as quick as you can, even when the offender is unworthy or unrepentant.


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How Jesus Taught Each Person

By William Cooper
Jesus spent six months in Rome with Gonod and Ganid. The Urantia Book says Jesus’ message in personal ministry while in Rome was always the fact of the Heavenly Father’s love and the truth of his mercy coupled with the good news that people are the faith children of this same God of love. So, we are going to look at an event in his personal ministry on the trip to Rome for more understanding of how to proclaim the good news During the six months in Rome, Jesus came into affectionate and loving contact with over 500 people. That is about three new persons per day. He was interested in people for two reasons. He wanted to learn their reaction to the life they were living, and he wanted to do something to make that life richer and more worthwhile. His religious teachings were no different from those he used later in life.  Jesus’ usual method of social contact was to draw people into talking with him by asking them questions. Then they would usually ask him questions. He was adept at teaching by either asking or answering questions. As a rule, to those he taught the most, he said the least. I suppose this looked like a few good questions, a few good answers and a lot of sincere listening. Those who got the most benefit from his personal ministry were overburdened, anxious and dejected mortals who were relieved to unburden their souls to a sympathetic and understanding listener. Jesus always offered practical and immediately helpful suggestions looking toward the correction of their real difficulties. He also spoke words of present comfort and immediate consolation. Invariably he would tell these distressed mortals about the love of God and impart the information in various ways that they were a child of this loving Father in heaven. (UB 1460)  So, briefly stated, that is how Jesus taught the good news of sonship in the midst of very practical and personal ministry to the needs of others. Let’s take a look at the Fortune story to see the style, flow and charm of Jesus doing these things. Jesus met Fortune in the mountains of Crete on Jesus’ journey to Rome with Gonad and Ganid. Jesus and Gonod’s entourage came upon Fortune alone in the mountains. My Guess is that Fortune’s appearance and demeanor said very clearly and at a distance that Fortune was a lonely, discouraged, disappointed and depressed person. Those things are often pretty apparent even to us. So, Jesus knew at a distance that Fortune was a prime candidate to benefit from Jesus’ personal ministry. As Jesus approached Fortune, he had a few seconds to pray in the moment for celestial assistance in reaching Fortune’s soul with the life-changing message Fortune needed to hear. This is a technique we can use as well. It doesn’t take long to utter such a prayer for all available help to open both ends of the communication channel. The prayer would be for Jesus to say graciously what needs to be said, and for Fortune to hear with his soul what he needs to hear.  It was Jesus’ habit to engage almost every individual he met and to show sincere interest in them. So, as he approached Fortune, he was thinking of effective ways to do this. His initial approach to Fortune’s soul was a friendly greeting with a question designed to draw him into meaningful conversation. Jesus said “Greetings my friend! Why so downcast on such a beautiful day? If something has happened to distress you, perhaps I can in some manner assist you. At any rate it affords me real pleasure to offer my services.” (UB 1437)  That apparently brought forth either silence or a response that, in essence said, ‘Go away. You can’t help. I don’t want to talk about it.’ Jesus was persistent in his effort to be of service. His second approach to Fortune’s soul was to ask Fortune to help Jesus find the best trail to Phenix. In doing this he crafted his request carefully. He said, “I understand you came up into these hills to get away from people so of course you don’t want to talk to me, but I would like to know if you are familiar with these hills; do you know the direction of the trails?” What Jesus has said here is, ‘I won’t bother you much, but I would appreciate your help. You are probably very knowledgeable about the trails in these hills and I could use some directions’.  I doubt that Jesus really needed directions. Gonod probably had good guides and perhaps even maps. What Jesus needed was a way to engage Fortune in a conversation so that Jesus could help him. He did that by asking Fortune about the thing Fortune was most confident about and most expert on – the local trails. What young man would not have explored the trails in detail?  And this approach worked. Fortune started talking actively and drawing in the dirt. I am sure Jesus listened carefully and asked questions that were respectful of Fortune’s knowledge and, his willingness to help. Jesus listened through Fortune’s instructions without proclaiming the gospel or anything else. He was being friendly and respectful to make a connection with Fortune in order to have an opportunity to help him. So, Jesus said goodbye and prepared to leave. Then he turned to Fortune and began by acknowledging what Fortune was feeling. He said, ‘I know you want to be left alone but it would not be kind or fair of me to accept your generous help in finding the best way to Phenix and then thoughtlessly go away without making an effort to answer your appealing request for help and guidance regarding the best route to the goal which you seek in your heart.’  Look at the charm of this offer. It talks about fairness, generosity, and appealing request. How could Fortune say, “no”? Then Jesus told Fortune that he knew the way to Fortune’s goal as well as Fortune knew the way to Phenix. And he offered his help to Fortune. This time Fortune responded to Jesus’ offer like a starving person being offered food.  Jesus’ talk with Fortune was packed with truth and wisdom for the young man. It is interesting to me that Jesus was not reasoning with him. He was not trying to persuade Fortune that what Jesus was saying was true. He was not giving facts for his material mind to consider. He was speaking truth which Fortune’s Adjuster could confirm. 
  1. He started by offering comfort: ‘Be optimistic. The big things of life are on your side. Dwell on your strengths, not your weaknesses and employ your strengths in life. You have a strong body. You have a good mind. You can do great things in life if you will go where great things are waiting to be done. Jesus expressed a lot of confidence in Fortune and this encouraged self confidence in the young man. It lent confidence in himself and confidence that life would work out with God’s active help. Much of what Jesus said was in the nature of affirmations -affirmations of Fortune’s strengths.
  2. He gave practical advice: ‘You can’t run away from your problems, but you can set your mind to work to solve its problems. Teach your intellect to work for you. Your mind should be your courageous ally in the solution of your life problems.’
  3. Jesus told Fortune of the adventure that awaits him. ‘Most valuable of all your potential of real achievement is the spirit which lives within you, and which will stimulate and inspire your mind to control itself and activate your body. What you must do is to release the spirit from the restraints of fear. If you do that, then your spiritual nature will begin your deliverance from the evils of inaction by the power of living faith. This very faith will vanquish your fear of men by a new love of your fellows which grows out of your new awareness that you are a child of God.’
  4. Finally, Jesus gave Fortune more comfort – an affirmation of what his life would become: ‘Today you are to be reborn, re-established as a man of faith, courage, and devoted service to man, for God’s sake. Once you have become adjusted to this new life, your whole life will become one of victorious accomplishment. 
Jesus was a charming and intelligent truth teacher. We would do well to be as charming and intelligent as we can be, too. I said intelligent, not intellectual. Jesus used his intelligence to do what others needed so that they could grasp the truth he wanted to give them. Little if any of this advice is unique to Fortune. It would be good advice for almost anyone.  If you don’t know what on earth you could say to overburdened, anxious and dejected people to open the way for them to unburden their souls, study the papers on Jesus’ tour of the Roman world. There is a lot of information there on what Jesus said and did. It is very instructive to study it to understand what Jesus was doing and how. A lot of what he was doing was being positive, confident, optimistic and aggressive toward life for them. And of course, his graciousness, tact, tolerance and patience were apparent.  End Back to Top

Life Is Just a School

Life is just a school.

Your loving spirit Father is your school master.

When you do not follow his suggestions

All sorts of bad things can happen.

But he did not cause them.

He simply did not prevent them.

And why not?

Because life is just a school

And the wisdom of following your master’s guidance

Is the most important lesson.

Bill Cooper 2009


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