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Dr. Raymond Charles Barker

Dr. Raymond Charles Barker
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A Visit With Dr. Catherine Ponder about Dr. Raymond Charles Barker

Rev. Raymond Charles Barker
Rev. Raymond Charles Barker

As a young minister in the 1950s, Dr. Raymond Charles Barker grabbed my attention when he wrote in one of his first published books, "There's not much wrong in a person's life that $50,000 couldn't cure." In that era, $50,000 seemed like a fortune. He also bravely wrote, "Money is God in action, and it takes money to put God into action." Obviously, this was my kind of metaphysician. His words encouraged me to take up the study, practice and teaching of the spiritual principles of prosperity with a vengeance.

I first met Dr. Barker in person when he spoke at a Chiropractic Convention in Fort Worth, Texas, which several thousand doctors of chiropractic from around the world attended. He waited in a long line to introduce himself. I was speechless. A little later, in his lecture he said, "After hearing Catherine Ponder speak on prosperity, I rushed up to my hotel room and put on my best suit, before addressing you."

The thing I probably most admired about Dr. Barker was his plain-spokenness. You never had to wonder; you knew where you stood with him and what he believed, because he bluntly told you so. When his readers would write him long, drawn-out, page-after-page letters, he would return them saying, "If you want me to read this, put it all on one page. Otherwise, I don't have time."

At the regional INTA conference in Chicago, he and I were invited to sit on a sofa. His readers would bring their books to him to autograph, and my readers would do the same. The great thing about that experience was that it gave me an opportunity to visit with him personally between autographing sessions. We happily chatted about many things, and he told me he had become a millionaire through his study and practice of New Thought: further encouragement to me to "keep on keeping on."

Later, he invited me to speak at Town Hall, New York, where he then held his Sunday services. He had advertised my appearance near and far. The result was a packed house of enthusiastic New Thought students. It was at that service that both my literary agent and my editor from Prentice-Hall appeared. My agent had, for some time, been trying to convince Prentice-Hall to publish my books in paperback. After observing the way my paperback books, published elsewhere, sold at the service, my editor rushed back to Prentice-Hall, and soon my books were all in paperback.

Another thing that impressed me about Dr. Barker was his "cash and carry" consciousness. When members of his church wanted to by an old mansion in New York for their offices and weekday classes, he said, "Fine, when you raise the cash. No indebtedness." His students got busy and raised what was a considerable amount for that era. When they were eager to move into that old mansion, he said, "Fine, when you raise the cash to renovate it and make it comfortable for our purposes." Again, they went into action and came up with the cash. Dr. Barker agreed with the words of Charles Fillmore, "Indebtedness unbalances the prosperity law." And he proved the power of paying as you go in cash.

Over the years, he attended various parties I hosted at INTA Congresses for my co-workers who so graciously sold my books in their churches. When members of my own Movement reportedly refused to sell my books in their New York ministry, my readers would then find their way to Dr. Barker's services, where my books were prominently displayed. Needless to say, they became enthusiastic members of his congregation, as a result. Some might call it poetic justice.

Perhaps one of Raymond Barker's greatest contributions to the New Thought movement was that he was the first to encourage Donald Curtis to become a minister. At that time, Curtis was an actor on Broadway in New York, and he was also busy studying with Dr. Barker.

Dr. Curtis later became a personal student of Dr. Ernest Holmes and served the Religious Science movement, then the Unity movement, ministering for each 20 years. During that time, Donald Curtis lectured in 80 percent of all New Thought churches.

In his later years, Dr. Barker retired to a condo and country club complex in the Rancho Mirage area of Palm Spring, where both Ginger Rogers and Elizabeth Taylor's mothers had homes. Dr. Tom Costa, the popular minister of Religious Science International in Palm Desert, was with Dr. Barker when he bought that condo.

Dr. Barker's prosperity consciousness provided him with beautiful, lush, tropical surroundings during his retirement years; plus good friends in the Religious Science movement. All of his blessings were but a "just reward" for his many years of teaching and sharing the New Thought message with thousands through his thriving New York ministry, and his popular, successful books.

His accomplishments were another great tribute to the long-term benefits of the International New Thought Alliance's teachings of Truth, and to a minister who dared to "tell it like it was." Dr. Raymond Charles Barker was a "one-of-a-kind" metaphysician, from whom we could all learn much.

(Excerpt from New Thought Magazine - Autumn 2002)

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