1997-07-31-Art of Conversation
• 1 Heading
o 1.1 Topic: Art of Conversation
o 1.2 Group: Pittsburgh TeaM
• 2 Facilitators
o 2.1 Teacher: Tomas, Merium
o 2.2 TR: Gerdean
• 3 Session
o 3.1 Dialogue
3.1.2 Free will
o 3.2 Closing
Topic: Art of Conversation
Group: Pittsburgh TeaM
Teacher: Tomas, Merium
TOMAS: Good evening, my joyous flock.
Group: Good evening.
TOMAS: Merium and I are here and glad of it, glad for your company and indeed glad for the association. Mary Theresa, how wonderful to feel your presence once again. It is a delight to have your sparkling personality among us. How have you been, my child?
Mary Theresa: Fine, thank you. Still the same old talker, Tomas. I talk too much. I’m going to listen tonight, to you.
TOMAS: We have been exercising the art of conversation. It is a difficult art to master and we have had many challenges on hand. It is a joy that you have much to share. It is a benefit for those of you who are gifted in that gab, but for those who are shy and inhibited, it is a strain, and so the community seeks a balance.
Thus, like the Master gives self respect to those who have lost it and takes it away from those who have too much, he also seeks to distribute himself in and through his fellows with equilibrium and balance as well. It is part of the orchestration, and this orchestra has been tuning its instruments, learning when to play and when to await the direction from the Conductor.
I would like to say that we have enjoyed your structured sharing this evening. Forgive the word “structured”; we cannot find the correct descriptive adjective to relate without offending those of you who disdain words like discipline and structure, but the tonal quality of your sharing time was rife with sincerity, integrity, trust, companionship, courage and various other apparent fruits of the spirit. It is a joy to behold these fruits in action, in and among yourselves. It promotes confidence in your self and in each other. It promotes brotherhood/sisterhood. It is a method of communication that employs intimacy as opposed to familiarity.
Just for fun, this evening I will add to the smorgasbord and tell you briefly the difference between intimacy and familiarity, on which I have spoken before, and with which Leah has entertained herself.
You have heard it said, “familiarity breeds contempt” and yet here we are encouraging you to become conversationalists of an ilk you are unfamiliar with. You presume, perhaps, that we would have you give your deep dark secrets to each other in this structured communication. No, we are not asking you to divulge the skeletons in your family closet. Familiarity is a crude second place to what we are fostering, which is intimacy.
There are those of you who misconstrue my use of the word intimacy to be related to intercourse of a different ilk also than I intend to convey. This social intercourse, the art of communication, is based upon your sonship/daughtership. That you are each indwelt by The Father, that you recognize that you are brothers and sisters in the spirit, affords you an understanding of that comforting presence of The Father within that would allow for intimacy of expression without lapsing into familiarity.
“Familiarity breeds contempt.” It is like sibling rivalry — and there are always opportunities for you to lapse into sibling rivalries, even among yourselves — but if you have practiced communicating intimately, as a dignified son and daughter of the Most Highs, as a well-rounded, well-balanced personality, you refrain from the smallness inherent in familiarity. Your level of communication has been elevated to a new plateau. It affords The Father opportunity to include Himself in your rapport.
For instance, in a marriage, many of you have seen or known couples — perhaps you are party to one — where the husband and wife have known each other for so long, part of their communication is this affectionate bickering that goes on between them, and that they are comfortable with, but that is irksome to strangers, although it is understood by strangers, for they themselves are guilty of that practice.
The husband and wife, after many, many years of association, have become familiar. They have seen each other at their worst and tripped over the children’s toys and bungled life’s opportunities and the other has been there to witness each other’s failings. This would demean the nobility of the association except for the understanding that you are ascension candidates reaching towards perfection, that you are not fools but humans, attempting to elevate your modus operandi from an animal level to a human level, even to a superhuman level of functioning and cooperation and communication.
It is fostered in your churches that Christ be the true head of the family, and herein truly is the secret of the happy home, for if Christ is the head of the family, the marriage is met by and through The Father and He is involved in every conversation, He is a party to all of life’s circumstances, all of life’s foibles, challenges, failures, successes, struggles, pains, rejoicing, growth, ad infinitum. When The Father is with you, you are not belittle-able. You have been elevated.
And when we hear you sharing as you shared this evening — quietly, calmly, sincerely — we hear you speak intimately, for you are aware that The Father is hearing you; indeed, it is possible that The Father may be speaking through you, and so we pay closer attention. We honor your words, for you are His child.
It puts it in a different light than the familiarity of your culture and your society – which is not to be disdained! Familiarity is indeed a viable method of communication — but we have been working on this new understanding of sharing amongst each other. In that intimacy you may promote an aspect of association that is rich in ethics and humor and affection.
There were other things I had hoped to discuss this evening, and Merium, of course, is eager also to spend some time with you. Your evening, once again, has already been full. I, however, will persevere, since we are all together. One moment.
MERIUM: I am Merium. I am glad to be here and to be called up to address you.
Group: Nice to have you with us.
MERIUM: I have come forth primarily this evening to greet you, Mary Theresa, my little pumpkin. How are you? I am not as familiar with you as I shall be. Oops! Did I say “familiar”? (Group laughter)
Mary Theresa: It’s okay with me!
MERIUM: It is okay with me, too. I am joking for I am lightness personified, you see. I am a counter-balance to our Tomas, and I josh more readily. Perhaps I am the answer to the exaltation of the ego! I do not say that to disparage Tomas or to make unflattering innuendo, but to be joyous and to proclaim my understanding of your thought processes, your feelings and, indeed, your human condition. I am well versed in the human condition, having “been there, done that.”
Since last week, we have discussed your session of last week, and in particular the question that Elizabeth asked, and Tomas did not feel that he had answered Elizabeth’s question in fullness. I am not sure that I can rise to the occasion to attempt to further elucidate her concern, but I would like to try.
You recall, Elizabeth, that you had asked a question in which you had suggested that someone had suggested that individuals volunteer to do “dumb things” so that lessons can be learned. I have paraphrased that for the sake of simplification. Do you recall, Elizabeth?
MERIUM: For example, it was suggested by someone that [[Judas Iscariot|Judas] had — perhaps as a spirit prior to entering into the life of Judas; perhaps his Thought Adjuster, before he assigned himself into this personage — saw in advance that this is the role that he would play as he indwelt the human being, the mortal, and volunteered to play that role for the outworking of the Paradise plan.
It was also suggested that perhaps the young man who had killed himself after also killing his associate (which has been in your news broadcasts of late) may also have put himself voluntarily in such a life circumstance as to bring about an opportunity for people to question and ponder a greater reality.
Elizabeth: I remember it was based on a statement in Allene Vick’s letter about one of the Teachers about the value of contrasts, that we learn from contrasts.
MERIUM: This is true. There is no argument there. But there was a train of thought in the question you asked that inferred there was an understanding somewhere that Thought Adjusters, when they volunteer to indwell the human being, know the end from the beginning. Now neither Tomas nor I can presume to speak for a Thought Adjuster, but this is truly the answer to the question:
No one can presume to speak for a Thought Adjuster. And when an [individual] would suggest that a person did something dumb in order to teach a lesson, this is precisely because we cannot second guess and know what God’s intention was, and so we make up elaborate tales in the attempt to justify dumb behavior. It is a high form of rationalization and justification.
The fact of the matter is Judas decided to act the way he did. It was not his Thought Adjuster’s decision. It was Judas’ decision to betray the Master. It was not God’s decision to commit suicide in and through that young man. That was the young man’s decision. I am not saying that they are “dumb” but I am saying that imperfect beings often err, and rather than accept responsibility for their error or have the perspicacity to recognize error in others without passing judgment, they give it to God in such a way as to say, “God did it” and God didn’t do it. He gave us all free will. It is our free will decision that furthers us or curtails us.
Again, I am not certain that I have fully responded to the question.
Elizabeth: Yes, you have, because I’ve been wondering about that for a lot of years.
MERIUM: We rather suspected that there was a much deeper question than the one that was addressed and so we were “dumb” but we’re getting smarter. Thank you for your patience with your teachers, Elizabeth. Thank you all for your patience with your teachers, whether they be in the spirit realms or in the human realms, for those of you and those of us who can appreciate our teachers, we have the joy of learning, the joy of having teachers, the joy of acknowledging that we have yet more to learn and the soul satisfaction in accepting the growth that comes from learning these lessons.
It encourages us when we acknowledge the assistance of our teachers. It encourages us to not rationalize and justify our behaviors and our errors, but to say, “I have erred. I should have done it this way, and next time I will! I see now how I was thinking, but I can see clearly now … the rain has gone. There are no obstacles in the way.” Yes, it is a song. It is a song to learn.
We had a wonderful song on Tuesday when we met in Butler. It has been an inactive assemblage there, but it is summer, you see, and we do appreciate the steadfastness of you here in this anchor, that you so well adapt yourselves to accommodate the comings and goings of each other in order to maintain the singular solidarity of this teacher base, this devotion to The Father and to His work and His world. We thank you, our teachers, for you teach us also.
I have played my part for the evening. I embrace you, my little birds.
Elizabeth: Tomas? Tonight we have a real question we’re very excited about.
MERIUM: One moment.
Elizabeth: Merium too, certainly.
TOMAS: We are both here. I am Tomas. I have the mike, so to speak.
Elizabeth: Well, we happen to have such a lot of joy in the fact that we have a question!
TOMAS: I am so eager to hear it! May I hear it?
Elizabeth: We have never really bumped into this character that is referred to as the archangel of Michael, and we didn’t know that he had an archangel. What does that actually mean, from the reading tonight, “Michael’s archangel”? Is it just one of his many archangels that follow him? Or is it a special archangel that Michael has attending him?
Hester: It was singular.
Elizabeth: Urn-hum. It was.
TOMAS: Indeed he has thousands of angels and he may claim them as his, one and all. “His” archangel, his angel, his universe, his child. He is the Creator of the universe in which his creations reside, and so it is “his archangel.” You might imagine that if it were a particular personality, it would be identified by name, by number or, in your language, a capital letter …
TOMAS: … but in-as-much as it is only “an” archangel, it is likely unspecific and not, for example, his Personalized Adjuster, which is truly specific.
Hester: It was capitalized. The word archangel was capitalized.
Elizabeth: I don’t think so.
Hester: I remember that specifically.
Elizabeth: I don’t remember that.
TOMAS: I don’t remember that, either.
Elizabeth: We’ll go back to that section and then next week we’ll have it exactly right.
TOMAS: Well I am intrigued. Have I failed to answer your question?
TOMAS: I am ready for the next question. I feel like I am getting ready for a quiz now. (Group laughter) I am ready! I have my hand up!
Elizabeth: Well, the Fellowship is now — it’s governing body has many, many women in it, which was a startling development.
TOMAS: Why is it so startling?
Elizabeth: Because it wasn’t that way before.
TOMAS: Well, perhaps the women are getting it together. It is your conditioning, remember, that has kept you from taking those challenges that are wide open to you. It does not happen until it occurs to you to do it, and for centuries you have not had the opportunity to think that you might, and now, with the liberation and with the Master’s pronouncement that men and women are equal and particularly in the realms of the spirit. There are more and more women who are becoming empowered to step out and accept their place in the service of the kingdom. It’s wonderful.
Elizabeth: As witness our very own group.
TOMAS: Our very own group is a capital example of a Women’s Evangelical Corps. It worries me that we have no menfolk.
Celeste: Me, too.
TOMAS: I have no solution.
Celeste: Do you think as women become the majority in a group, men start to back off? It seems that way.
TOMAS: I cannot answer that as a blanket response, for it depends entirely upon the constitution of the individuals involved. There are some men who have the kind of personality who would take great delight in having this association of many women, even social and spiritually, and not necessarily physically or romantically. There are some who would be quite comfortable, who would indeed assume a jovial and fraternal place among them. There are some however that are bored with women and have been bored with women’s ways forever. There are some that simply find you to be members of a foreign planet and cannot relate and so go home.
I find you a charming bunch of women, myself. I am delighted to be among you. It is too bad that I can’t find an associate to pal around with — I mean a mortal male associate. I could use one, I’ll tell you, and an astute male could certainly use me! We could set this community afire! The thinking of a “God-fearing” believer could magnify the message of Michael ten-fold and send some real powerful juice into the circuits. How could he fail with the support of all you lovely ladies? I am not, however, going to try to entice one only to play a role for you or me or the Teaching Mission, for unless and until the genuine article shows up, it doesn’t pay to fantasize, and I know that all ladies can identify with that. [[[Silence]]] Can’t you?
Elizabeth: Yes, we can.
Celeste: And we know a real man when we … hear one! (Group laughter) We know you are!
TOMAS: Bless you, my dear. I appreciate that. Merium is fidgeting. One moment.
MERIUM: I do wish I had my own set of vocal chords. It seems you are having such fun and Gerdean only has one mouth we can utilize, but I must put in my two cents somehow. I don’t even particularly have anything to say! I just wanted to be part of the fun. I sense you are having fun and this is indeed one of the things that is possible when you learn how to have a high level intercourse. Well, I guess I’ve stuck my foot in it. I’ll leave now.
Group: (Laughing) Thank you, Merium.
Leah: Tomas or Merium, either of you, would you help us to see who Thaddeus was at the Last Supper? There’s a statement in The Book where Jesus takes the cup from Thaddeus.
TOMAS: I am well aware of the inquest. Gerdean has enjoyed chewing on this gristle and I am not going to deprive her of the challenge of continuing her research, and I hope you are not disappointed. I am going to follow up, however, and say that I admire Gerdean’s tenacity, for it is understood that it is in many cases entirely too easy to ask a teacher to answer the question, and it then relieves you of the challenge and the sense of accomplishment at finding it out by your own devices. I like that in a student. I hope you don’t think that’s a cop out, but I’m not going to tell you who Thaddeus was, although it is a good question.
Leah: Well, perhaps I’ll tell you next week.
TOMAS: Perhaps it is a good exercise for all of us, even our readers. Remember in the upper room on the evening of the Last Supper, the 12 apostles went into the room and Jesus stayed behind to visit with John Mark’s parents. And so, as the 12 apostles were without servants in the room, they neglected to do the foot washing and, instead, scrambled for their chairs, vying for position, at which time Jesus entered the room. And so there is only Jesus and the 12 apostles and yet, when “he accepted the cup from Thaddeus” … now who is Thaddeus? That is the question. That is the assignment. It is an academic and fun assignment. One that will get your nose into your textbook and out of that meddling, self-contemplating, (group giggling) time-consuming, ego-justifying behavior that we are so well known for in this Teaching Mission.
Elizabeth: We have a reputation, evidently.
TOMAS: Several. You are not surprised.
It is time. It is time, my children. It is late. We have had another bountiful repast. Our minds are dizzy from all the miscellaneous readings and miscellaneous forms of communication. We have strummed the harp from top to bottom and from bottom to top. Go hit the books and hit the hay. We’ll see you soon. We love you. Good night.
Group: Good night, Tomas and Merium.