I’d like to thank Teuvo for his post on the possible death of the Fellowship (Read Here). He has raised some important questions that I think are worthy of some serious discussion. I’d like to contribute some of my own thoughts:
Rumors about the impending death of the Urantia Brotherhood/Fellowship have cropped up a number of times since the group’s inception. Readers of my generation (and certainly a few older ones) will remember the FOG-BOM implosion that raised a specter of doom over the community; they will remember the split with the Foundation that many feared as the harbinger of the group’s demise and, more recently, the hand wringing of the graying Fellowshipers over the dearth of youth in our midst, a phenomenon that surely points at the last nail in the Fellowship’s coffin.
That last death-door scenario mobilized the Fellowship into forming the now standing committee called YaYA (Youth and Young Adults), thinking that it would attract more young people to the organization. Perhaps it had. The fact is that there are more young people taking part in the organization’s activities today than there were prior to the formation of that committee. That’s a good thing. Whether or not the involvement of these young people is a direct result of the formation of this committee is a matter of some speculation. As a matter of historical perspective, it would be useful to consider that our ancient UB reading ancestors, the Forumites, most (if not all) of whom are now wearing morontia bodies, did plenty of their own hand wringing as they lamented the glaring absence of young faces at their gatherings. And then in the 1970s, in the absence of any special efforts to recruit them, hordes of young people started showing up, many joining the Brotherhood. Why this disparity? It’s hard to figure. But it’s certainly hard to make the case that those older folk of yore were any more welcoming of the youth than today’s older Fellowship members.
To my mind, the young-old dichotomy in our organizational context is a false one. To be sure, only adults should be taking on organizational responsibilities, but their chronological age should be of little consequence. What should matter is their quality of thinking, their character, their experience, their dedication to group work and their wholehearted commitment to the purposes of the Fellowship. Minimal familiarity with the fifth epochal revelation, of course, is a prerequisite. (I say, minimal, because that’s all one can expect after a single reading of the entire book.) Certainly, young people should be encouraged to participate. But when it comes down to making a selection between two candidates, say, for the General Council – provided neither is infantile or in his/her “second childhood” – we should be age-blind.
I agree with the notion that we should be making good use of available social media. After all, more and more people, especially younger people, rely on these resources to communicate and to reach out. These rapidly multiplying communication tools can help us sow the seeds of the fifth epochal revelation onto the world at large. But I think we harbor grand illusions if we think that social media alone can affect the embrace of this revelation. Nothing short of serious study of the revelation can do that.
None of us knows exactly how the fifth epochal revelation will transform our world. Most of us for whom this revelation is a reality, believe that it will, eventually, have a great impact on the evolution of this planet. I also think that most of us believe that, even in the absence of the fifth epochal revelation, a sincere adherence to the teachings of Jesus will bring this world closer to light and life. So, of course, only good can come out of our living the teachings of the fourth epochal revelation. Yet, if we faith identify with the fifth and we believe we are its ambassadors, we’d better study it and live it as best we can.