"I believe that whether you are in Unity or just interested in Unity, this book is a must-read, especially for those looking to gain a better understanding of our founders' original intention for Unity in contrast to how we express Unity today, and the opportunity that lies ahead for tomorrow."— Rev. Shad Groverland, Executive Director Unity Worldwide Ministries
"In his book Credo of a Metaphysical Christian, Mark Hicks brings a thoughtful and judicious perspective to consider. Filled with historical references and perspectives combined with analysis of the current state of Christianity, Mark delivers a unique viewpoint on what could be for the evolution of this century old tradition."— Rev. Jim Blake, CEO Unity World Headquarters
From the Conclusion:
The Sacred Canopy of Metaphysical Christianity continues to exist today in the minds of many people, particularly those who enter a Unity church and declare that they at last “feel at home.” We should not confuse them with a spiritual buffet or require them to embrace particular social justice programs. Rather, we must teach them to embrace and internalize the words of Jesus: I Am, I exist; I live; I am present.
We are metaphysical Christians, and, quoting Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata again, we have a right to be here. We must welcome them home with the message that Unity is metaphysical Christianity and that metaphysical Christianity is an authentic and distinct expression of the historic Christian faith.
Insights about metaphysical Christian beliefs.
- Insight 1: Three Tenets of Metaphysical Christianity, provides you three things you can say to your friends and family when they ask, What is Unity?
- Insight 2: Four Bible Foundations, Metaphysically Interpreted, gives metaphysical Christian understanding for four themes most often found in the writings of St. Paul.
- Insight 3: Why Truth Transcends Culture, explains how to recognize someone as traditionalist, modern or post-modern, providing insight into what they are probably asking and what they are looking for.
- Insight 4: The Problem with Revelation, exposes a Unity’s blindspot: an unhealthy psychological state where we create a private world of our own and close it off with a feel-good outlook on life. Unless we too can see this vulnerability we will never be able to understand how others see us.
- Insight 5, The Problem with Reason, exposes another blind spot: our propensity to stereotype. Categorizing things is helpful, but, to borrow a current cliché, we need to name, claim and tame our propensity for spiritual elitism.
- Insight 6: Experience: Transforming Evil into a Greater Good, explains how metaphysical Christianity is best suited as a religious movement to answer the most difficult question: why does evil exist? If there is a case to be made for why mainstream Christians should welcome metaphysical Christians into their fellowship, then we will likely find it in this insight.
- Insight 7: God as Meta-Narrative, introduces a new framework for understanding how the cosmos works and offers a healthy replacement for the worn out mainstream Christian meta-narrative of creation, sin, judgment and redemption.
- Insight 8: From the Early Church to New Thought looks at how metaphysical Christianity got to the Fillmores (it wasn’t through Quimby). The history of metaphysical Christianity has not been adequately researched and no scholarly study has been made of how we have received our metaphysical teachings. But this insight is a start.
- Insight 9: From New Theology to New Thought, explains how metaphysical Christianity inherited theological understandings from liberal theology and how its attachment metaphysics has tethered it to scientific accountability.
- Insight 10: Benevolent and Engaged or Distant and Benign?, shifts the discussion from our understanding of God to our experience of God. The testimonies of four people describe four different ways we experience God.
- Insight 11: From Metaphysics to Mysticism, explains how metaphysical Christian understandings can lead to a deep form of Christian experience which we know as mysticism.
- Insight 12: Join Me In Becoming God, describes the discovery of the most important metaphysical Christian teaching in the Grande Chartreuse monastery near Grenoble, France.
- Insight 13: Knowing Our Christ Within, explains why the metaphysical Christian is more likely to experience Jesus as a living presence and to follow Jesus than to worship him.
Insights about metaphysical Christian ministry.
- Insight 14: Rational Choice in the Religious Marketplace, begins the second half of the credo. This insight is the first of two on how religion achieves its mission and vision. This insight addresses how to be effective in garnering confidence and commitment.
- Insight 15: Disruption in the Religious Marketplace, continues the discussion on mission and vision, but from a perspective of how to be efficient as well as effective. Five characteristics of an efficient ministry explain how Unity as an upstart movement with no money, no scholarship and no social status was able to upend many mainstream Christian churches in its first 40 years, and how it can do so again today.
- Insight 16: A Metaphysical Model for Ministry, begins with a reflection on why ministers who pioneer churches using the existing model of congregational ministry may get frustrated and abandon their ministry. It then gives concrete examples of how metaphysical movements like Unity are uniquely suited to flourish in a disrupted religious marketplace.
- Insight 17: Confidence Rests on Understanding, opens the section on education as ministry consciousness and skills. It discusses what people are looking for when they visit your church.
- Insight 18: Good Explanations, is about how the teachings of a ministry can drive confidence and commitment.
- Good Disciples, Insight 19, explains why visitors to a ministry listen more to what congregants and lay ministers say than they do to the minister.
- Insight 20: Spiritual Baptism and Spiritual Communion, is the first of three insights about ministry as worship consciousness and skills. In this insight, I explain the biggest misunderstanding we have about baptism and communion.
- Insight 21: Prayer Services, explains how prayer has changed in Unity in recent years, particularly in the criticism people are getting when they use traditional language in prayer. This insight challenges those who are critical about praying to God.
- Insight 22, Healing Services, takes a look at when Unity was making inroads into the theological conversations in mainline Christianity and how how mainline Christianity might be different today if it had been open to the spiritual healing practices of Unity.
- Insight 23, Seeing the Christ in Others, explains why how we see others is more important than how we see ourselves. It also defends Unity and other forms of metaphysical religion from accusations of spiritual bypassing.
- Insight 24: Positive Emotions That Turn On the Twelve Powers, applies what we can learn from Positive Psychology to Unity’s classic teaching on the inner process of the human mind. My sense is that what will pave the road for the emergence of metaphysical Christianity in the 21st century will be discoveries made in neuroscience.
- Insight 25: Healing the Body, introduces Charles Fillmore’s Statement of Faith and explains its power to heal the body, engage mainstream Christianity and draw metaphysical Christians together in Fillmore Fellowships. It is, in essence, a manifesto for spiritual healing, of both body and mind as well as nature and culture.