Episode:Birth of Jesus Celebration, with Denver Pearson

From Symmetry of Soul

Denver Pearson joined Symmetry of Soul to discuss his book The Sandal Maker. It tells the story of the 4 years of Jesus' public ministry, through the eyes of a fictional old man walking with his daughter toward Jerusalem, about 40 years after those events in A.D. 70. This old man had been been present, observing Jesus and his apostles at the periphery 40 years earlier. Denver discussed his artistic writing process and challenges he overcame in writing the book. The team also discussed Christianity, Christmas, and modern traditions around these.

Listen to the broadcast

Keywords: Jesus, Christmas, Birth of Jesus, Star of Bethlehem, Lost Years of Jesus

Closing thought: Here at Christmas, may we all come together in one love. And build a better world from that starting point.

Note: The discussion with Denver begins at minute 21. This episode does not specifically study any passages from The Urantia Book; it is an interview and free discussion format.

Denver Pearson biography

Denver has been a reader and dedicated student of The Urantia Book since 1970. He was born in California but raised in New Mexico and calls Santa Fe his hometown. He received his degree in fine arts with minor studies in English, philosophy and secondary education from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. For many years he lived in Colorado where he was very involved with the Urantia community along the front range. As well as being an artist and author, he is also an accomplished musician and songwriter. In 1990 he recorded an album of original songs called "On the Wings of Faith" inspired by The Urantia Book. Many of these songs are now available in video form on YouTube under the heading Urantia Music.

Notes by Brad

  • Denver suggests reading the book slowly. Savor the images, as one might savor a Hemmingway novel.
  • "Write what you know," says Denver.
    • Caleb is somewhat like Denver himself. His relationship with Miriam is like Denver's relationships with female friends in his life.
    • Denver survived an airplane crash.
      • Denver tore his one sport coat while boarding a plane and became upset about it. Shortly later the plane crashed and Denver barely survived; the sport coat was ruined from the crash anyway. This became Caleb's story about tearing his cloak.
    • He had wanted to write the book for 30 years, but had to wait until he'd had enough of his own life experiences and emotions to incorporate into the book.
    • When Caleb has to stop mid-story telling Miriam of the crucifixion, this reflects Denver's own need to stop writing the story because of how emotional it was to write.
    • Ravens flowing through the story reflect Denver's own childhood fascination with these animals. The white mule is based on Denver's childhood horse experience. Caleb's fear of snakes reflects Denver's father's fear of snakes.

  • Some challenges encountered in writing the book:
    • It took 6 years to write, also being employed full-time as he was.
    • He tried his best not to overwrite.
      • As a representational artist (not realistic artists), he gives the reader's mind only enough details to let their own mind create the picture itself.
      • Chris noted this is what the 5th ER does as well: "Coordination of essential knowledge" (emphasis added). After all, we humans tend to get stuck in oceans of facts and miss the truth flowing through them.
      • He had to paraphrase the words of Jesus to keep the book from being too long or slow.
    • Common idioms we use today would be anachronistic. "Being sidetracked" is a term from the modern railroads. "Birds of a feather flock together" is a modern saying. Even what name to give to Jesus to be of that day and age (he selected "Joushua" and "the Master.")
    • Making the reading "smooth," particularly during flashbacks, was a challenge.
    • Extensive research on the terrain, plants, and animals of those times. This helps to set the scene artfully.
    • The chapters were designed to be somewhat self-contained (as opposed to one depending on the other).
    • Artfully dealt with stories the 5th ER says didn't happen as the Bible says.
      • Jesus didn't walk on water, but many people hang their beliefs on this and Denver didn't want to take that away from them. He provides "an out" through the character of Miriam.
    • Narrative techniques to add flavor to help the book come alive
      • Example: Caleb learns that Jesus and crew are normally thrown out of breakfasts with Pharisees, so he puts bread in his pockets in anticipation of this.
    • He lost most of his eyesight to glaucoma over the course of writing this book.

  • Denver has ambitions for another book: Dumber than Rocks: God versus the Big Bang
    • A nonfiction book about why we believe what we believe. Atheists versus creationists. Theists versus non-theists. Intelligent design (purposed biologic evolution) versus theories of aimless evolution.
    • Chris agrees: the Life Carriers has will creatures in mind. They planted all the potentials of that design in a single-celled plant, which was placed in a shallow sea here.

  • Ann testified she lost sight of God for 5 or 10 years of her life.
    • Institutionalized religion did not have adequate answers for life's problems.
    • And they seemed full of judgment and attack, backed by a wrathful God.
    • The Urantia Book brought her back to God, back to a clear understanding of the life and teachings of Jesus.
  • Denver says most atheists are rejecting institutionalized religion, not God per se.
  • "Prove to me that Jesus was more than a man," goads the atheist. "That's not my job," replies Ann.
  • Denver also notes the revelators point out that Christianity has drifted from Jesus in many ways. And it seems crystalized and not moving the world as much anymore.
  • James agrees the living Jesus is needed today [195:10.1]. He also sees good movement afoot in Christianity, and attributes that to the Spirit of Truth.
  • Ann commented that Zoroastrians she know find Jesus intriguing, but only the living Jesus. Not the one of fossilized Christian traditions of the middle ages.
  • Denver comments that overmuch focus on Jesus' death and resurrection missed everything so important about his phenomenal bestowal and life on our world.

  • Christmas has become commercialized and secularized.
    • Denver says this has caused him to abandon celebrating it altogether.
    • Chris says it's a very traditional Christmas celebration, including Bible readings and not excessive gifts.
    • Ann says she loves the decorations and celebrates from August through December. She recalls, as a child, family coming together and reading together and spending quality social time together.

External links

  • The Sandal Maker available for e-Book purchase on Amazon.com, written under the pseudonym A. Michaelson ("A Michael Son").