GOOD MORNING BELOVED
Here’s your joke for the week:
A man suffered a serious heart attack while shopping in a store. The store clerk called 911 when they saw him collapse to the floor. The paramedics rushed the man to the nearest hospital where he had emergency open heart bypass surgery.
He awakened from the surgery to find himself in the care of nuns at the Catholic Hospital. A nun was seated next to his bed holding a clipboard loaded with several forms, and a pen.
She asked him how he was going to pay for his treatment.
“Do you have health insurance?” she asked.
He replied in a raspy voice, “No health insurance.”
The nun asked, “Do you have money in the bank?”
He replied, “No money in the bank.”
Do you have a relative who could help you with the payments?” asked the iritated nun.
He said, “I only have a spinster sister, and she is a nun.”
The nun became agitated and announced loudly, “Nuns are not spinsters! Nuns are married to God.”
The patient replied, “Perfect. Send the bill to my brother-in-law.”
With that laugh, let’s share hugs and handshakes with each other, remembering that we all have the choice to hug, handshake or just say HI!
Sunday, March 1st is the Annual New Thought Sunday – a day in which we celebrate the New Thought movement of which Unity is a part. When I saw this online, I thought I’d share some information on Unity instead of the original lesson I had planned to share. We’ll look at that next time.
Let’s look at the origins of the Unity church:
Phineas P. Quimby (1802–66) is usually cited as the founder or earliest proponent of New Thought. A native of Portland, Maine, Quimby was a clockmaker with little traditional education but an inquiring mind. After observing the power of the mind to heal through hypnosis, suggestion and the placebo effect, Quimby began to practice mesmerism (hypnotism) and develop the view that illness is a matter of the mind. He opened an office for mentally aided healing in Portland, Maine in 1859.
In the late 19th century, New Thought was propelled along by a number of spiritual thinkers and philosophers and emerged through a variety of religious denominations and churches, particularly the Unity Church and Church of Divine Science (established in 1888 and 1889, respectively), followed by Religious Science (established in 1927). Many of its early teachers and students were women; with many of its churches and community centers led by women, from the 1880s to today.
As you probably are aware, Unity was founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore.
Myrtle Fillmore contracted tuberculosis at a young age, and spent a great part of her life seeking a cure. In 1888, she became gravely ill, but she thought she couldn’t do anything about it, because she had been sick for so long. But after attending a New Thought class held by Dr. E.B. Weeks, Myrtle left with a stronger faith in God and a new way to pray. She affirmed, “I am a child of God, and therefore I do not inherit sickness,” and she believed that she would get better.
She subsequently recovered from her chronic tuberculosis, which she attributed to her use of prayer and other New Thought methods learned in Weeks’ class. She spoke healing, affirmative words to each of her cells and body parts.
Charles saw his wives improved health and so, tried the method on his hip, which was injured as a child, causing him to walk with a limp because one leg was shorter than the other.
Charles was impressed by the recovery of both his wife and himself and began to study world religions, philosophy and the links between religion and science. They both began to write about their beliefs and discoveries and hold meetings after church on Sundays. It was their belief that these ideas and discussions were to be an addition to the Sunday service.
In 1889, Charles left his business to focus entirely on publishing a new periodical, Modern Thought. In 1890 Charles and Myrtle organized a prayer group that would later be called “Silent Unity” and in the following year, the Fillmore’s Unity magazine was first published.
Dr. H. Emilie Cady published a series titled Lessons in Truth in the new magazine. The material was later compiled and published in a book by the same name, which served as a seminal work of the Unity movement.
We will look at those lessons someday.
With the publication of the magazine in 1889 and the movement “Unity” in 1891, the students wanted a more organized group. He and his wife were among the first ordained Unity ministers in 1906.
Charles and Myrtle Fillmore first operated the Unity organization from a campus near downtown Kansas City. Later, they bought land that became Unity Village.
Unity began a formal program for training ministers in 1931.
Unity is one of the oldest churches considered part of a movement called New Thought. New Thought can trace it’s philosophy as far back as Plato, Aristotle, Decartes, Emerson and the transcendentalists, and of course Jesus.
The Unity Church is the largest New Thought movement today, with about 75,000 members. We have grown worldwide and must now be reckoned with as a genuine religious or spiritual power.
Did you know, one Unity magazine, Wee Wisdom, was the longest-lived children’s magazine in the United States, published from 1893 until 1991. Today, New Thought magazines include Daily Word and Unity Magazine published by Unity and the Religious Science magazine, Science of Mind.
Although New Thought is neither monolithic nor doctrinaire, in general, modern-day adherents of New Thought believe that God or Infinite Intelligence is “supreme, universal, and everlasting”, that divinity dwells within each person, that all people are spiritual beings, that “the highest spiritual principle [is] loving one another unconditionally… and teaching and healing one another”, and that “our mental states are carried forward into manifestation and become our experience in daily living”.
The Unity movement describes itself as “positive, practical Christianity” that teaches “the effective, daily application of the principles of Truth taught and exemplified by Jesus Christ,” with the Bible as one of its main texts, although not interpreted literally. We also believe that there are many ‘sacred texts’ from where we receive inspiration and wisdom. And, personally, I believe there are MANY way to receive inspiration, including from nature, animals, music, discussion, prayer and meditation.
We believe there exists one God–Universal Mind, creative intelligence, omnipresent–a principle (not a being), an impersonal force that manifests itself personally, perfectly, and equally within all.
We believe Jesus was exemplary of someone who fully realized his divine nature, and therefore is the “wayshower” (shows the way). Unity affirms the divinity of Jesus, but also the divinity of all human beings. “Jesus expressed His divine potential and sought to show us how to express ours as well.
No original sin, and no Satan and no evil. People make “mistakes” , ‘error thinking’, due to ignorance of one’s true nature as Perfect Mind and Love, which is God.
Salvation lies in the realization of oneness with the impersonal life force, thus unlocking one’s healing potential. Salvation is then the expanding understanding of one’s innate divinity and perfectibility through living the life demonstrated by Jesus.” So there is no ‘saving’ as it were.
New Thoughters view sin as a “separation from God, the Good, in consciousness” (Unity). Salvation is something that can be attained in this life rather than the next, and is the overcoming of physicial and spiritual sickness and negative behavior. Heaven and hell are not places, but states of consciousness. Divine Science affirms the existence of eternal life, but adds that it begins in this life and that this life is the focus.
Because it maintains that the mind is continually growing, New Thought is not a static system of beliefs. While it acknowledges the importance of traditional religious thought as a part of the mind’s development, it finds the permanence of dogma to be contradictory to the mind’s natural striving for advancement. This perpetual development of the mind is often called progressive or unfolding thought.
Charles Fillmore is quoted to say that he reserved the right to change his mind.
The Unity Church describes its basic teachings as follows, the 5 Principles:
- God is the source and creator of all. There is no other enduring power. God is good and present everywhere.
- We are spiritual beings, created in God’s image. The spirit of God lives within each person; therefore, all people are inherently good.
- We create our life experiences through our way of thinking.
- There is power in affirmative prayer, which we believe increases our connection to God.
- Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them.
In many New Thought groups, prayer is the foundation practice for helping oneself and others. Lectures and study are also important for changing one’s thinking from negative to positive.
And now, Andrea Evans will talk a little about her Unity experience which has been key in her spiritual enrichment for 35 years. I’ll let her tell you about it.
And, contrary to many beliefs, following Unity’s philosophy is not easy. It involves self-responsibility and self-growth. The Law of Attraction and the movie “The Secret” make it sound so easy. On a soul level it is. On a human level, not so much so.
Matthew 7:13-14 says. “Go in through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide and the road that leads there is easy to follow. A lot of people go through that gate. But the gate to life is very narrow. The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it.”
The last of the 5 Principles, Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them. It may be the most important. For if we are not living the TRUTH, then it really isn’t the truth, is it?
So, let’s take that question into meditation: am I living the Truth as I know it?