The Parables Book—A Resource for Outreach

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

By John Hales, Illinois, United States

More than three years ago, when a health issue brought to my attention that I was indeed mortal, I considered what service project I might do in my remaining time on planet 606. I woke up one morning with the realization that the opportunity was just five blocks away from my home: My nondenominational Protestant church, which I have been attending since the late 70s! Back when I first joined, music was the attraction for me. We are a musical congregation, and singing is how I like to worship. At that time, however, I was not able to really get involved, due to my full-time work on the Urantia Book project.

Now that time was no longer an issue, I volunteered myself once again and became deeply involved with the members of my church. In short order, I was asked to join the usher corps, care guild, Bible reading class, men’s coffee group (I am known as “John, the baker” because I bake goodies to share), and sundry other activities that exposed me to many members whom I wished to know, and be known by, including my three ministers.

My involvement led me to go to Israel eighteen months ago with a group of fellow church members that included our senior minister and his wife. It was a great opportunity to become friends and better understand how my Christian brothers and sisters think. Prior to the trip, I shared the video Re-Imagining Jesus by David Kantor, with group members via an email link. I received two or three thank you responses. When I returned, I sent the link again, and several more responded that it enriched their experience after having actually been to Israel.

On the one-year anniversary of the trip I sent each fellow pilgrim a copy of the book The Parables of Jesus—Complete Teachings from The Urantia Book, along with a personal note. I received effusive thank you notes from all 27. I also gave copies to the church staff and our three ministers (12 in all), and they were all well received. Everyone loved the art and quality of the book.

While I had not mentioned The Urantia Book in church circles, the Parables book became a most useful introduction to expanded conversations on Jesus’ life among us. In Bible reading class, when it is time for discussion, I always begin with, “This is what I think based on my life’s experience, and I am also interested in what you think”—or words to that effect.

One of the three ministers, our youth minister in her mid-thirties, called me in to ask about The Urantia Book because it was mentioned in the Parables book. We had a delightful hour-long conversation. She marveled that in all her time at McCormick Theological Seminary, she never heard of the existence of such a spiritual work and movement. I did not take a book to this meeting since I felt it would be too much at one time. I depended on Michael/Jesus to lead me in what to say.

After these three years of preparation and meditative contemplation, I felt the time was right to be more specific—using only Part IV. And what better occasion than the Easter story! I used the links to papers on I feel this text has greater appeal to my church family since it has beautiful artwork portraying common stories from the Bible. I began with Paper 175, “The Last Temple Discourse.” Over a period of two weeks I sent to my men’s coffee group and ministers the link to one or two papers, progressing to Easter morning with Paper 189, “The Resurrection.” One of my coffee mates commented, “I felt I was there,” like the old Walter Cronkite TV series You Are There. I also received positive reactions from two of the ministers.

Why am I doing this? My primary reason is that I want to establish an island of friendliness toward the Urantia teachings in a liberal Protestant church with a conservative congregation. The key is to first become known so that your contribution will be coming from a trusted person who grew up like them, shares their love of Jesus, and offers insights that they have not thought of, but are within reach of their understanding. Seed planting is another reason. I have finally experienced “the act is ours, the consequences God’s.” 117:5.5 (1286.3)

I’m just working in a small patch of Michael’s spirit garden, but what a journey I am having. I have come to love many, many members of my church family by getting to know them—surprise, surprise! “You cannot truly love your fellows by a mere act of the will. Love is only born of thoroughgoing understanding of your neighbor’s motives and sentiments. It is not so important to love all men today as it is that each day you learn to love one more human being.” 100:4.6 (1098.3)

Or, maybe it’s the cookies?

So, to you out there who are still wondering how to serve: Your opportunity is probably just a few blocks away. Make a plan and take the first step. You can do it! The God within and the Spirit of Truth will stand by you and show you the way. But one must act. What took me so long?

Here’s to the continuing adventure of serving our sisters and brothers, wherever we find them.


Foundation Info

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Urantia Foundation, 533 W. Diversey Parkway, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Tel: +1-773-525-3319; Fax: +1-773-525-7739
© Urantia Foundation. All rights reserved