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Jan 05, 1995 01:58 PM
by K. Paul Johnson

Having just read John Crocker's and Art Patterson's posts, let me
begin by commending both for their articulate and thoughtful
remarks.  I won't engage all or even most of the themes here, but
there is one thing that I want to throw out for consideration.
Although it may not be as fast or as overt as some of us would
like, there has indeed been positive change in the last
half-century among Theosophists.  The most obvious one, that we
may not sufficiently appreciate, is the great strides made by
Wheaton in its publications.  I can think of no other spiritual
group that publishes as wide a range of interesting material on
contemporary spiritual concerns.  Pasadena, too deserves
considerable credit for expanding its publication activity in the
last 50 years.  Although my own experience certainly led to the
conclusion that their (TUP's, TPH's) values about what to publish
were in conflict with mine, I was still left with respect for
what they are doing.  The Quest is a very fine magazine IMHO and
is capable of attracting people to Theosophy.  Unfortunately, we
don't have a very good record at retaining new members, as
discussed here before.

One more noteworthy change is the amount of mutually supportive
networking going on among Adyar, Pasadena, and ULT.  In 1993 this
reached a climax with the cooperative work at the Parliament of
the World's Religions.  It is also noteworthy that Sylvia
Cranston's HPB biography had extensive support from all three
groups, which promote it unanimously.

So, although I know what you mean, John, when you talk about
wondering whether or not to renew membership, I hope that these
signs of progress give you some hope.  It doesn't seem probable
that there will be any dramatic paradigm shifts, but rather
gradual changes of emphasis.  I.e.  if I were to look for results
of my own work in terms of a shift from mythological to
historical ways of thinking about the Masters, two or three years
down the road it might seem like a total failure.  But who knows
about ten or fifteen years hence?

Art, maybe your status as an outsider can yield a bit more wisdom
for us.  What do YOU perceive as the common values, apart from
peace and reconciliation, that animate our discussions? Maybe we
should explore that theme some more.


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