"Jesus as Teacher" Focus Groups


In the early part of the 20th century, the Canadian industrialist Dr. Henry Burton Sharman left his successful career in the railroad business to pursue an in-depth theological study of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke -- he treated the more mystical Gospel of John in a separate effort). He enrolled in the Theological Seminar at the University of Chicago and studied Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic, so he would not have to rely on translations. In a multi-year, full-time meticulous research program he undertook the difficult task of isolating from the Gospels that which, in his best scholarly judgment, was authentic with regard to the person Jesus of Nazareth and his teachings. The result of his research was published (by Harper and Row) in a series of books. The most significant titles are "Jesus, the Son of Man," "Records of the Life of Jesus," and "Jesus as Teacher." (While these titles have long been out of print, a limited number of these books are still available from us ( contact us directly in this regard)

In the 1930s, the late Stanford University law professor Dr. Harry Rathbun and his wife Emilia followed an invitation by Dr. Sharman to attend a 4-week long intensive at his ranch in the Canadian wilderness, in which they studied "Jesus as Teacher" in scholarly depth. The insights they received at that seminar profoundly changed their lives. Harry and Emilia started "JAT" groups of their own at Stanford and Palo Alto, started the spiritual quest movement "Creative Initiative Foundation," and relentless taught and lived by the principles of love, peace, acceptance, surrender, and forgiveness, until they passed on in 1989 (Harry) and 2004 (Emilia). They touched the souls of thousands of people, such as ourselves. Their most remarkable legacy is an example of incredible congruency between the messenger and the message. Their lives were impeccable. Even if one would hesitate to accept their, at times, "harsh" interpretation of what it means to be single- focused and 100% devoted to the path of doing the will of God, seeing their example would profoundly complement their teaching to the extent that those, "who have eyes to see and ears to hear" will not be the same.

Emilia taught "Jesus as Teacher" until two weeks before her passing at age 98. The study evenings were never the same. There were always new insights, new relevance to be drawn for our modern lives today from this person who lived 2000 years ago. Certainly the most profound teaching is the simple command "resist not." Extracted from the well-known biblical command "resist not evil," Sharman concluded that Jesus' teaching was likely more correct, and more profound, if the third word was omitted....

Following Emilia's passing in 2004, we have held Jesus as Teacher focus groups in Sunnyvale, California. Even though we follow the Jesus as Teacher text, augmented by other teachings, including those of Bruno Groening, Ron Roth, and Amma Bhagawan, there is neither a formal beginning nor a formal ending of a "course." Each evening meeting stands on its own feet and is, to a large extent, conducted in a leaderless, participatory fashion. We invite anybody who is interested to join us . There is no charge to attend.

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Last Updated:12/12/11