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Artwork & Graphic Design by Gwen Cleveland, David L. Hubbard

DATE:   April 20, 1995

LOCATION: 

TR:  David G. Schlundt, Ph.D.

TEACHER:

TOPIC:  Beethoven and Carpentry

Beethoven and Carpentry

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If you read transcripts from the teaching mission, what you will find is that the questions asked by the humans are barely articulate and the answers from the teachers are usually pretty well stated. In oral speech, comparing what the humans say to what the teachers say is like comparing a junior high string ensemble to a professional string quartet. Neither quite rivals the power of a symphony orchestra, but there is a noticable difference in quality.

When a student gets turned on by psychology, as a teacher I am able to encourage and nuture that student's interest in ways no book can. To me, the most rewarding teaching I do is one-on-one teaching in which I encourage students in the pursuit of knowledge. There is nothing more exciting than seeing a student get absolutely enthused about doing research on a particular topic. My greatest reward is when I see research papers published by my former students.

My actions as a teacher, the way I model my enthusiasm for the subject, the way I take the student seriously, the subtle and direct guidance I offer ... these are all parts of teaching that cannot come from a book.

If a student comes to me after class and talks about how they want to be a psychologist, I discuss it with them, direct them to resources, suggest experiences that might help them achieve these goals. I do not say, "go read the book, all you need to know is there". The personal attention, personalized goals, feedback, and encouragement cannot be given by a book but can be given by teachers.

The urantia book tells us that universe is one vast school. We are not told that we will be given a manual to study, or an improved version of the urantia book at each step along the way. No, we are told that we will learn from teachers, many of whom are mortals who are just ahead of us, and that much of our learning will be by doing.

How does it make sense to reject teaching because it is different from a book?

You can question the authority or credentials of the teachers. This is a very difficult issue since they are unseen and since the lessons and interactions are transmitted through humans. No one can offer definitive proof. This is what you should question. Are there teachers, or is this a mass delusion and all these people are just making this stuff up.

You can argue that Michael would never send teachers to help us because we have a thought adjuster and the spirit of truth and besides we have the urantia Book to study. But, you would have to deal with the fact that the urantia book tells us that we will be taught by teachers and that much of our learning is by doing. Perhaps the only reasonable argument is that we are under quarrantine and this is why the teaching mission is absolutely impossible according to the vision of reality presented in the urantia Book.

The teaching mission is about learning by doing. It is about individualized instruction. It is about giving homework assignments that will help people grow. It is teaching.

Yes, you are correct that there are differences in the written material. But, I question the conclusion that the teaching mission has no value. There is value to having a teacher, a mentor, that is different from reading a book, even the best book on the subject.

In essence, I agree with you fully about the quality of the Urantia book and then suggest that you consider that the teaching mission is about teaching. In that case, judge it in comparison to your experiences as a teacher and as a student. How do these sessions compare to your classes in high school or sunday school? That is a more appropriate yard-stick to use than comparing teaching to a book.

I would be interested in seeing if others who are interested in the teaching mission have anything to add, or any corrections to make to my interpretation.

So, may I now present how I feel about the TeM ..Warren draws analogy between the written material presented in the Urantia Book and a Beethoven symphony. I must agree that the Urantia book is a well composed, well rehearsed, performance of great depth and beauty. I doubt that either those interested in the TeM or their celestial teachers would in fact disagree. It is a written work of great beauty.

From what I have learned about the teaching mission, you seem to be missing the point. The sessions do involve presentation of some new material and amplification of some of the information in the Urantia Book, but that is not their primary purpose. I have seen no one claim that the transcripts of the teaching mission are intended to replace the Urantia Book. In fact, the teachers consistently refer to the book as the best available text book for learning the truth. Most groups are encouraged to study the urantia book. Others can correct me if I am wrong.

So, if you want to hear Beethoven, then listen to Beethoven.

If you instead, want to build a house, you cannot simply read books about house design and discussions of the elements of beauty in design and construction of buildings. Even the best book available on housebuilding will not prepare you to actually build a house.

No, you have to learn to be a carpenter, a plumber, an electrition, a mason, and a painter. To become a skillful carpenter, for example, requires an apprenticeship, practice, feedback, and more practice. You have to hammer a lot of nails and saw a lot of boards before you you have the skills require to build even the crudest house.

The teaching mission is more about helping people learning to apply the truths of the urantia book to their daily lives that it is about replacing the urantia book. It is about moving people from reading about service to doing service. It is about producing people who will act in ways that bring truth to the people of this planet. How does this compare to other people's perceptions of the goals of the teaching mission?

To worship effectively, for example, requires practice and repetition and perhaps even some instruction in technique. How many have read the urantia book and its beautiful passages on worship, yet have not put this into practice. The teaching mission is more about encouraging the doing and less about furthering our ability to intellectualize.

Let us borrow your analogy. If you want to make beautiful music on the guitar, you will have to devote yourself to becoming a guitar player. Reading about the guitar, while it may help you understand the theory, does not make you a guitar player. You have to pratice the guitar, and spend of lot of time at it.

When learning carpentry or guitar playing, does it help to have a teacher? You can learn guitar on your own from a book, but I recommend taking lessons from a teacher. This is not to say there are not some wonderful self-taught guitar players. The best way to learn guitar is to combine the lessons of a teacher, studying books about music, and lots of practice.

I teach college classes, and I find that my oral presentations almost never have the crisp grammatical structure that writing has. When I talk about a sUbject to a class, it is not usually as well organized and the words are not as well chosen as a written presentation.

If I want to be sure that the class gets certain essential information, I will give them a reading assignment.

However, we have classes instead of just making people read books for some reason. It is not just to keep teachers employed. There is a value that comes from the interaction, and the questions and answers. When I am writing something, I have no idea whether people will be able to follow my arguments compeletely. When I am discussing something with one of my classes, I can tell whether or not they are learning it from how they respond to my questions and the kinds of comments they make. This is what teachers do, and this is how it is different from books. A transcript of one of my classes in which there was discussion would seem very poorly organized compared to something I wrote on the same subject.