Approaching A Moment Of Transmission

2016encampmentday1wordcloud5 Approaching a moment of transmissionI am indeed grateful for the opportunity to attend the 2016 Encampment of the New Message from God. I attended the 2012 Encampment and the 2014 Encampment, and written a good bit about both events. I have had a certain anxiety that I shared some things about previous Encampments that I should have kept private. But this Encampment was a much more public event than any previous one. Many of the particulars of this Encampment have already appeared in other online media.

Approaching a moment of transmission

On the night of Friday, September 9, 130 individuals from 17 countries gathered in the Rocky Mountains National Park for the 2016 Encampment. Some aspects of our gathering were prosaic. We started with introductions, including sharing how we felt about being here. A few people compared their being here to winning the lottery, a wondrous, highly improbable event. One person used the word “miracle.” I felt a feeling like that on the first evening of the 2014 Encampment.

Approaching a moment of transmission. This is what I felt on the first night of the 2016 Encampment. This is a reference to the dervish tale “The Time, The Place, The People.” In this tale, a king discovered that he could only learn a greater truth when the necessary conditions could be arranged. I felt like we were approaching that moment, a moment when much would be given, and much would be required.

Approaching a moment of transmission. The introductions were used to make the above word cloud. The more times a word was used, the larger the word appeared in the cloud. Therefore gratitude was the dominant feeling of the opening of the Encampment. Gratitude that the New Message from God and us had found each other, through some combination of prosaic and mysterious means. Gratitude for a chance to be with the Messenger, Marshall Vian Summers, while he is still in the world. Gratitude for the chance to participate in what may one day be called a historic event.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

In His Own Tongue

John Wycliffe In his own tongueWhile John Wycliffe (c. 1330-1384) is by no means the first man to translate the Bible into his first language, he is famous for being the first man to translate the Bible into English. He is reported to have said, “Englishmen learn Christ’s law best in English. Moses heard God’s law in his own tongue; so did Christ’s apostles.” While this truth took a while to catch on, I am persuaded that having the Bible in the heart language of many Christians is a great advance for the worldwide Christian community.

In his own tongue

I share this to share with you that on Day 4 of the Encampment of the New Message from God, it was our great blessing to meet the individuals who are translating the New Message from God from English into the languages of the world.

As far as I know, all the translators are volunteers. Just as I had met some 2014 Encampment attendees at the 2012 Encampment, I met some of the translators at the 2012 Encampment. I had online relationships with some of the translators. I met some of the translators for the first time at the 2014 Encampment.

What languages are being translated? Swedish, Farsi, Hungarian, Spanish, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Chinese, Danish, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Arabic so far. How much has been translated? It varies from language to language, but there is a version of the New Message from God website in each of those languages.

What are the challenges? Well, the New Message is rather big, nine thousand pages. It uses words in unusual contexts from time to time. Sometimes the translators aren’t the most technically skilled. One translator declared “Even if I type one finger at a time, I will translate!” Another translator shared “I need to be a dedicated student [in order to be a effective translator].”

Why are they doing this? Some of the translators encountered the New Message and thought to themselves, “This must be shared.” Some of the translators shared “I trusted my deepest inclinations,” (as instructed by Step 72 “I will trust my deepest inclinations today” of Steps to Knowledge) as they described their path into translation.

Will the New Message from God catch on in the world? I don’t know. But if it does, it may well be because of the magnanimity and effort and heart of the translators we met on that day. If it does, it may well be because a speaker of a language other than English encountered the New Message in his own tongue.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

The Season Of Encampment

Methodist camp meeting 1819. The season of Encampment

In previous posts, I have described seasons of the liturgical year of the New Message from God. The Messenger’s Vigil is held in the last week of January. This vigil celebrates the birthday of Marshall Vian Summers. The Steps Vigil is held over a 20-day period starting in May and ending in June. The Steps Vigil celebrates the receiving of the book Steps to Knowledge in 1989.

The season of Encampment

The third and final season is Encampment. Encampment is the annual gathering of the worldwide community of the New Message from God. This season was instituted in 2008. This is the 7th annual Encampment. Encampment is usually held in the fall. In some years it was held at the beginning of September. In some years (like this year) it is held at the beginning of October. Unlike the two vigils, the time of Encampment isn’t connected to a particular date.

Some people compare Encampment to the Hajj of Islam. They are both annual worldwide gatherings of a spiritual community. On the other hand, attendance at Encampment is not required of students of the New Message. The word “Encampment” reminds me of camp meetings, a practice of certain American Christians in the early 19th century. Both our Encampment and the camp meetings were voluntary gatherings in relatively secluded places in nature. Both our Encampment and the camp meetings were gatherings for the purpose of spiritual development.

It was my great blessing to attend the 2012 Encampment. I believe it will be my great blessing to attend the 2014 Encampment. On the one hand, I feel I should approach this event with minimal expectation. On the other hand, I have a certain expectation that something miraculous will happen at this event. I considered the 2012 Encampment to be a remarkable experience. I was around a group of people who were remarkably free of wounds and itches.

Something particular to this Encampment will be a live webcast from Marshall Vian Summers on Sunday, 5 October 2014, at 17:15 GMT. I believe there is a feeling of great anticipation in the New Message from God community about this upcoming event. It is the season of Encampment.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Students Of The New Message From God

New Message from God students

We talk a lot at Mystery of Ascension about being a student of the New Message from God, part of which is the Steps to Knowledge.

I have been a student at the Free School of the New Message from God for exactly a year now and have to say that if all schools provided their students with such a radiant atmosphere so conducive to learning, the world might be a very different place.

So what is the Free School and who is a student of the New Message?

I will start with some facts and figures.

After being launched in March 2012, The Free School now has 1109 students: 591 students in 50 US states and 518 students in 83 other countries. You can find out more here.

The Free School is not a physical place, but a gathering in cyperspace consisting of a myriad lights scattered all over the globe, with their focal point in Boulder, Colorado. And its students are of all ages, backgrounds, nationalities, creed, and color.

Which brings me to my second question: who is a student of the New Message?

I have pondered this for a while—what does it take for one person to be drawn to this school and another to pass it by? Some may pass it by because they do not even see it, they are looking the other way, or their eyes are still closed. Others see it but come no closer, feeling disturbed, appalled, scared, or repelled. Still others may get as far as door, even step inside, but immediately be filled with doubt and walk away. Then there are the ones who come and stay.

What makes them different? Not a high IQ, not some outstanding talent or ability in a specific field, not any signs of genius, not the possession of some special skill or acumen.  So who are they? What draws them and what makes them stay?

I don’t have a ready answer. I only have the sneaking suspicion that all who attend the Free School have come to the realization that life is not all about themselves, about their personal ambitions, desires and pursuit of happiness, rather they are here to serve and serve from some deeper place within them. And having understood this, they all come with a common passion to receive Knowledge and make their small but specific contribution to this world.

I think I will even go as far as to say that the students of the New Message from God are among those spearheading the planet today.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

2012 New Message Encampment Day 5 – A Perfectly Practical Day

While the New Message from God freely admits to have mysterious elements in its teachings, there are very practical elements as well.  Many people who have attended a religious retreat or spiritual conference, especially more than once, have observed a certain protocol regarding the final day of the conference.  This protocol has become a custom for conferences because it works, and by “works” I mean “results in maximum value for the participants.”  The last day of the Encampment of the New Message from God followed that protocol, which includes…

1) Sharing of experiences, giving people an opportunity to say anything they felt a need to say to the entire gathering.  I didn’t have anything to say to the entire gathering at the time.

2) Thinking about how to preserve a profitable memory of the Encampment, how to keep the fire burning, how to keep the vibe alive within oneself.

3) Giving people the opportunity to contribute time, talent and treasure.  There was a computer station in the corner of the room, where people could either volunteer or pledge contributions.

4) Taking the group photo!  I’m in the back, from being relatively tall.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

2012 New Message Encampment Day 4 – Learning To Be A Living Letter

During the first three days of the Encampment of the New Message from God, my mind was buzzing, along with other participants, as to how to have the New Message reach a larger audience, even with limited resources.  The American Methodists of the early 19th Century had a similar problem.  Their solution was to use “circuit riders,” ministers who rode on horseback around a circuit of locations.

The circuit riders were dedicated individuals.  They gave rise to the expression “The weather’s so bad outside, there’s no one out but crows and itinerant preachers.”  I had a vision of being the Minnesota New Message circuit rider, going to various cities in Minnesota with my packages of tracts, except that I wouldn’t ride a horse.
I shared this idea with a lady on the afternoon of Day 4.  This dear lady has been a friend and mentor to me in my study of the New Message, for a little longer than a year now. While she appreciated my enthusiasm, she had an alternate suggestion.  She suggested that I engage in a practice called the Four Pillars, which comes from the teaching “Building the Four Pillars of Your Life.”

In truth, your life is only as strong as the weakest of your Pillars.

There are Four Pillars to your life. They represent the strength of your life and the stability of your life. They represent your ability to withstand change and to take advantage of opportunity. They represent your ability to face disappointment and uncertainty. Like the four legs of a table, they uphold your life.

There is the Pillar of Relationships; there is the Pillar of Work and Providership; there is the Pillar of Health; and there is the Pillar of your Spiritual Development. Each of these Pillars is of equal value, and even though at any particular moment you may be focused on one of these Pillars, the truth is, they all must be built.

My friend said “Become the tract that people read, and to which people respond.”  As she said this, I recalled the words of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians. “Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you?  You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

2012 New Message Encampment Day 4 – So When Does This Messenger, You Know, Like, Hang Out?

The evening of September 16, the fourth day of the Encampment of the New Message from God, was a night of singing.

Marshall Summers is quite skillful on the guitar.  I believe he had a lot of fun in the course of the evening.

Marshall, his wife Patricia, and his son Reed practiced T’ai chi ch’uan during Encampment.

I recall watching another instance of them practicing T’ai chi ch’uan during Encampment.  I know it was another instance because they were standing quite a bit further apart than in this photograph.  While Marshall was a little wobbly on the one-leg poses, he seemed quite flexible to me.  I wouldn’t mind being that flexible when I’m 63.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

2012 New Message Encampment Day 4 – You Don’t Know What A Day Will Bring

On the morning of Sunday, September 16, the fourth day of the 2012 Encampment of the New Message from God, I started having a certain…discomfort.  Specifically, I was thinking that it might be quite some time before I see some (or many) of these people again, and therefore I should say whatever it is I have to say to them, while I have the chance to say it to them in person.  I wondered if there was anything in particular I had to say to Marshall Summers.  And as I pondered, I recalled this poem from Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore:

I had gone a-begging from door to door in the village path, when thy golden chariot appeared in the distance like a gorgeous dream and I wondered who was this King of all kings!

My hopes rose high and methought my evil days were at an end, and I stood waiting for alms to be given unasked and for wealth scattered on all sides in the dust.

The chariot stopped where I stood. Thy glance fell on me and thou camest down with a smile. I felt that the luck of my life had come at last. Then of a sudden thou didst hold out thy right hand and say `What hast thou to give to me?’

Ah, what a kingly jest was it to open thy palm to a beggar to beg! I was confused and stood undecided, and then from my wallet I slowly took out the least little grain of corn and gave it to thee.

But how great my surprise when at the day’s end I emptied my bag on the floor to find a least little gram of gold among the poor heap. I bitterly wept and wished that I had had the heart to give thee my all.

I read this poem to Marshall in the late afternoon.  Marshall said “Would you like to share that poem tonight?”  I said “Indeed yes!”  I spent the next couple of hours working on memorizing this poem.  It turns out that an opportunity for sharing this poem didn’t really present itself, but that’s ok.

Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, for the collection of poems from which this poem came.  In the spring of 1921, he embarked on a lecture tour of North America.  One of the stops on this tour was Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, slightly north of Austin.  One of the young men who heard his lecture there was Myron Bass, my paternal grandfather.  Southwestern is a university run by the United Methodist Church, but my grandfather was impressed by the magnanimity of Tagore.  I believe he may have been the first person from India my grandfather had ever seen.  I am pleased to have but one degree of separation between myself and Rabindranath Tagore.

I believe someone is reading this and thinking “I say, you have a bit of thing for this Summers fellow, don’t you?”  I read something today that got me.  It was written by someone I met at Encampment.  He wrote:

As I support Marshall, I feel myself supporting myself, or a future version of myself.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

2012 New Message Encampment Day 3 – Why Yes, I Did Say “Meek”

People who engage with the New Message from God will hear Marshall Summers referred to as Marshall Vian Summers.  When I first met him in 1988, he was just Marshall Summers.  I’m a little fuzzy on the details of this, but I understand that the name “Vian” was given to him from the same source of the messages he has been receiving.  I understand that “Vian” is a word meaning “messenger” in a language of the source of the messages.  I don’t know exactly when this occurred, but I do know that the book “The Great Waves of Change,” published in 2009, was published under the name Marshall Vian Summers.  And yes, I am slightly amused that the Vians were a powerful race encountered by the Enterprise in the Star Trek TOS episode “The Empath.”  Ok, I’ve gotten that out of my system, now I can go on.

I am writing this to describe my experience of Marshall Vian Summers.  He was only Marshall Summers when I first met him.  He was only one of many people who were considered “channelers” at the time.  He was by no means the most well-known channeler in 1988.  We didn’t converse very much during the period of 1988-1989, but he was unfailingly nice at the time.

When I resumed my study of the New Message in April 2010, I was in email correspondence with the Society for the New Message from God, a name for Marshall’s mostly-volunteer staff.  One of the email’s said “Marshall sends his greetings.”  I have reviewed a total of 29 books at Amazon by living authors.  I’ve only received comments about my reviews from two of those living authors.  One is William Stillman, and the other is Marshall Vian Summers.  Marshall considered my review of “The Great Waves of Change” to be a fair review.  We haven’t talked all that much, but he’s been about as nice to me as someone with his enormous job description can be.

I have had the opportunity to watch Marshall speak in his own capacity on multiple occasions in webcasts.  At this point, I’d like you to conduct a thought experiment. Suppose you had an experience of God speaking to you.  Suppose this expanded into a large series of messages, which you were instructed to not only study and internalize, but to share with others.  How would you respond?  I bring this experiment up to testify that Marshall, when speaking in his own capacity, speaks and acts like someone who has thought this through about as much as a person who has had this kind of experience can. At this point, I’m recalling the Philip K. Dick story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale,” where the protagonist discovers that the memory/experience he most deeply longed for was something that was actually so.

I had a number of brief conversations with Marshall during Encampment.  One of these conversations was on the evening of September 15, the third day.  I had picked a spot in the room where one of the loudspeakers was close to my good ear.  Marshall had earlier picked a spot to sit that was next to that spot.  I was already seated when Marshall came to his seat, and I quoted a Bible verse that I’m not sure he was familiar with.

Me: “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:3, KJV)
Marshall: Meek?
Me: As in not making great claims on his own behalf.

I testify that Marshall Vian Summers is a similar kind of person to what Moses was like in his day, a combination of certainty and humility.  Why am I connected with him?  I consider that somewhat mysterious, but there it is.  Who is Marshall Vian Summers to me?  A man whom Knowledge put on an unimaginably miraculous trajectory (something to which I aspire).

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

2012 New Message Encampment Day 3 – Just Go Have A Talk With God

The 2012 Encampment was a new experience for me, as I had never been around this many (70+) students of the New Message from God in one place at one time.  I had an inner nervousness that the participants at Encampment would be True Believers, uncritical fanatics.  They dispelled my nervousness by the end of Day 2, not only by their decency and magnanimity, but by their curiosity and engagement as well.  I adopted the hypothesis that the people there were, more or less, people like me, with some people being a little more advanced as students than I am, and some people being a little less advanced students than I am.

My nervousness about my fellow participants was a layer of nervousness covering my nervousness about me being a True Believer in the New Message.  I have been a True Believer in previous seasons of life, and what I have learned from this experience is 1) True Believers aren’t very helpful to other people, except other True Believers in the same thing, and 2) True Believers aren’t much fun to be around, due to their obsession and inflexibility.  The niceness of my fellow participants not only dispelled my nervousness about them, but helped dispel this particular nervousness I had about me.  Got that?

During the evening session of Day 3, I wrote the following in my notebook:

Moses, are you angry with me?  I hear “No.”  Why are you not angry with me?  Moses asks “Why should I be angry with you?”  Buddha, are you angry with me?  I hear “No.” Why are you not angry with me?  Buddha says “Why should I be angry with anyone, much less a stranger who has been reasonably polite?”  Mohammed, are you angry with me?  I hear “No,” and I find that shocking, because there have been times, many times, when I have been angry with you.  Jesus, are you angry with me?  I hear “No.”  Why are you not angry with me?

 

I was imagining conversations with the figures the New Message calls the Messengers of earlier times in human history.  Contemplating Mohammed as a Messenger of God, and getting over my antipathy of Islam, are challenges for me as a student of the New Message.  I confess to having had a desire to be an exceptional Christian, not just a boring, generic Christian, but the Christian the devil warned you about.  I don’t know how much of that was genuine, and how much was idealism and egotism.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.