News & Updates
Sunday, December 3, 2023.
What Mary Poppins would say about the Fillmore Study Bible
Hi Friends -
I have lots to share about the Fillmore Study Bible.
(I hope this email makes its way to you because I'm trying out a new system for sending Sunday messages). I have lots to share about the Fillmore Study Bible.
The Fillmore Study Bible New Testament is shipping, free to churches, their bookstores, lending libraries, Bible Study groups and students on the LUT and ministerial path. More about that further down.
But here's what's new:
What I am introducing today is the first iteration of the Fillmore Study Bible Old Testament. Click here to download the PDF.
Even though it's not fully annotated and we have a long way to go, it's a good start. Dozens of chapters are annotated and more are being added every week. So save this link and follow the progress we're making on the FSB Dashboard — chapters highlighted in yellow are either done or in progress.
What's more, Elizabeth Sand Turner's commentary on the Old Testament (Let There Be Light) is inserted into the relevant books of the Old Testament. So we now have an Old Testament with introductions to most of the books, along with a growing list of commentary to individual chapters.
As with the New Testament, you can read it three ways: online from a web browser or print out an individual book to read it as a hard copy. To get the hard copy, open the book you want on the web and scroll down just below the graphic to where it says "Download this PDF to read the volume from your computer, smart phone or tablet. Pages are sized 8.5"x11" for easy printing."
About the "free" Bibles...
Of the 1500 copies printed so far, we shipped 247 copies in November and we have 347 copies left in the shipping facility to send out in December. This week I will place our 4th order for printing 500 Bibles that will arrive in early January.
We have chosen to make the churches our primary method of selling the Bibles. We are sending cases of 6 Bibles/case to their bookstores, their lending libraries, their staff and their study groups free of charge. And we're sending a case to LUTs and ministers who do pastoral care to give to those in need.
This differs from the typical way books are sold today. Print on demand has its place, but we want the the churches and ministries to be the primary supplier of the Bibles. Why? Because the best way to use a Bible is in a community — where one can process the Fillmore teachings together and where a minister elaborates on the scripture — just as Charles Fillmore did many years ago.
We also want the Bibles on the bookshelves of individual congregants so that when life becomes challenging they have a resource to find inspiration right away. And we want congregants to remember where they got their copy. Will it be from the church or from Amazon? Where will they go to put their life back together?
And we want them delivered as gifts to people in rest homes, hospitals and to the incarcerated. All that requires a community.
That is to say the Fillmore Bible Society is in service to the churches, the ministries and their ministers. We will supply the Bibles as long as we are able.
However we don't have the funds to supply dozens of Bibles as a device for fundraising. For those who want a copy, we've established a way to sell them online at a reasonable price. These are coming from the same supply we are sending free to the churches, and are sold at the price we're recommending the churches use in their bookstore: $50. My pledge is to use the income to buy more copies for the churches and the ministries.
Susan and I continue to facilitate our discussion group for preaching the Bible using the Lectionary. Go to the Events page for the link. You're welcome to join us, regardless of whether you preach or listen on Sunday morning.
Mary Poppins — the great 20th century metaphysician — once said "Well begun is half done." I'm excited for this project. We've got a shipping New Testament, a usable Old Testament prototype, an online and electronic version and a dashboard to track progress. Feel free to email me. Please don't text. It's cumbersome for me and reserved for my family.
People are using the Bible in new ways. Let me know how I can help.
Sunday, December 25, 2022.
Hi Friends —
My Christmas present arrived this week. You can see it being opened to the left. To the right you see seven people who made it possible. They are the Fillmore Bible Society and the Christmas gift is the Fillmore Study Bible New Testament. I’ll share further down who it is that is giving us this gift.
I am immensely grateful for my six friends who collaborated with me on this project. And I am immensely hopeful that this project will change the direction of the Unity movement.
Let me tell you why.
A visitor walks into the church bookstore after the service, looking for information about Unity and what Unity teaches. The visitor sees the Fillmore Study Bible New Testament, opens it and turns to a passage of scripture for which they are familiar and is important to them. They read the annotation from Charles Fillmore and his students and immediately find something useful from the Fillmore teachings. That process takes less than one minute.
Here’s another scenario. An Internet visitor does a search on something like “metaphysical meaning of Jesus”. Here’s what they get:
These two search returns link to the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary (mbd) and the Revealing Word (rw). If the visitor clicks either link they are taken to the Fillmore writings and they are again connecting the Fillmore teaching to their own spiritual curiosity. One of the reasons Google returns these links is because they are repeated several hundreds of times in the online edition of the Fillmore Study Bible.
Further, if they click through to the homepage they can then select any of the 27 books of the FSB New Testament and be taken to the same content that they will see in the printed Fillmore Study Bible they would find in the church’s bookstore. What takes 60 seconds in the bookstore takes two clicks on the Internet. Further still, the visitor can, with one more click, download a formatted PDF of that book in the New Testament to send to their printer. Three clicks to a fully annotated, freely given Study Bible.
Why am I stressing the importance of finding something useful in less than 60 seconds or with two or three clicks? My answer is that in many ways religion has become like cable television (too many choices) and spirituality has become like the channel changer (too difficult to understand). People are limited in the amount of time, money and education they can put into spiritual development. Is is not possible that Unity is perceived as one more button to press, one more book to read, one more pathway to explore?
Here is my point. We in Unity can perceive our mission to get the world interested in our particular metaphysical notions or we can perceive our mission to help 2.2 billion people become better Christians. What are we asking of people?
The Fillmore Study Bible (online or in print) does not ask anyone to read a book, to attend a service, to make a donation. It does not ask for any endorsement of a political point of view. It does not ask anyone to study our Gospel. Rather it provides a light for all to better understand their own Gospel, the Gospel of Jesus Christ they find in Scripture.
Is this not the time when we need to convey Fillmore teachings in familiar ways to the world's 2.2 billion Christians? Is it not possible that these 2.2 billion Christians are looking, not for a more meaningful understanding of my faith, but their faith? If so, the Bible is that familiar way and it provides a common language for the understanding of all faith.
Perhaps that is why nearly every sermon, every book, and every article from Charles Fillmore was based on Bible passages people knew and understood. I don't find too many books on metaphysics in Barnes & Noble. But I find plenty of study Bibles.
The purpose of the Fillmore Study Bible is to help anyone who looks to the Bible for insight and inspiration to find something new in less than one minute or with one or two clicks. The Fillmore Study Bible is an outward facing instrument, designed to help people become better Christians.
The Fillmore Study Bible is not a gift from the Fillmore Bible Society. Rather it is a gift from Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, his collaborators in Unity and their students, given to the world many years ago, but now wrapped in a new way and without excessive cost in time, money or education.
It reaches out and calls people in. It just may be that the true value in this Christmas gift is not to be found in the hundreds of annotations, but rather the Word that emerges when the annotations make way for reading the Bible in a new way. That is why I believe this project will change the direction of the Unity movement.
Click here for more information about the Fillmore Study Bible and how you can get a copy.
Sunday, November 27, 2022.
In my opinion, the most impactful spiritual event in the past 40 years in North America is the PBS series Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth, broadcasted in six episodes in June 1988. Many may disagree, but one would be hard pressed to overstress the importance of the the myths we hold in consciousness and subconscious mind. Campbell introduced that notion into the religious marketplace of our time.
The series was not entitled the Power of Metaphysics, not the Power of Prayer, not even the Power Within You. It was about the power of myths, which are ideals in story form. They are meta-narratives which inhabit our subconscious mind, filtering all experience and shaping all opinion. To the extent that each of us can remember at least one or more segments of the PBS series testifies to the extent that the series has shaped our understanding of the importance of religion.
I bring this up because we may choose the pathway of metaphysics for our spiritual development. We may also choose prayer and its various techniques. That’s fine. But Jesus conveyed his religious truth in parables — mythical stories — and he drew from the Scriptures — also mythical stories — to support his teachings.
So did Charles Fillmore. He was not a Bible student. Rather he was a Truth student. But the man understood the power that mythical stories play in our spiritual life. And he chose to convey his spiritual understandings in metaphysical interpretations of Christian scripture. Also, he devoted 12-15 pages of each issue of Unity magazine to what he called “Bible Lessons.” I’ll say more about that further down.
I bring this up now because the Fillmore Study Bible New Testament is in its final stages of development. Click to the homepage of TruthUnity or the the main Fillmore Study Bible page and there you will see images representing each book of the New Testament and a few of the Old Testament as well. Click on any of the images and you immediately get the full text with annotations from Charles Fillmore and his students.
Two clicks. Two clicks to a new interpretation of the myths which pervade all of western culture and have done so for two millenia. Two clicks taking the reader from Sin, Judgement and Redemption to Mind, Idea and Expression. Two clicks from ancient stories to to modern understandings healing, prosperity and love. Two clicks from shame to pride, from hate to love, and from separateness to bondedness. And, if one browses the annotations and reads them, it just may be two clicks to a new Power of Myth.
No passwords. No popup boxes. No appeals for money. That this is coming into fruition now is because of the unknown people who compiled 70 years of Unity Bible lessons in the 1960s, the seven people who digitized 2,400 pages of Unity Bible lessons in 2013, and my seven colleagues who extracted the lessons and applied them to the World English Bible over the past three years. I couldn’t be more proud.
That this post comes on the First Sunday of Advent in Year A of the Common Lectionary, used by the majority of Christians today, is serendipitous. My friend and fellow Fillmore Bible annotator, Susan St John, encourages us to use the Revised Common Lectionary in our personal development and in the Sunday services of our churches. She is a long-time Unity student who leads worship at MacNeill Baptist Church in Hamilton, Ontario.
Does your church ever get visitors who are Catholic, Episcopalian, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, American Baptist, Reformed, Congregational or Disciples of Christ? Would you like them to feel at home? I don’t have to tell you that our metaphysical teachings can be a hurdle for many, as well as our current way of praying.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Our use of metaphysical Bible interpretations is no different than Jesus’ use of parables in conveying Truth. I know several people who, like Susan, have a Master of Divinity degree from mainline seminaries. They tell me that metaphysical Bible interpretation works well with people of many different theological stripes, and prayer methods.
Wouldn’t it be great if we would lean-in and work with mainline churches instead of drawing differences? The Fillmore Study Bible, conveyed as a Metaphysical Christian Lectionary, accomplishes that. That just may be why every issue of Unity magazine from the mid 1890s to at least the late 1950s had metaphysical interpretations of what is now called the Revised Common Lectionary. So what is being proposed is not new. It is exactly what Charles Fillmore and Unity did for over seventy years.
Susan’s idea is that we don’t need to stop with the interpretations of Charles Fillmore and his students. We could, as Metaphysical Christian ministers and teachers, meet regularly, perhaps weekly, to explore the four scripture passages for any given week in the liturgical calendar. Susan told me, “Wouldn’t it be super wonderful if a Unity person could actually participate in conversation with a mainstream person on the text of a particular Sunday? I see this as a great step forward for Unity ... inclusion in the greater world of spirituality instead of what feels now like isolation.” Susan’s contact information is given below.1
So here is a very rough example of how the annotations of the Fillmore Study Bible may be provided to those who are familiar with the Revised Common Lectionary. I’m open to publishing a document like this each week as a guide for a study group. And I invite you to click reply to let me know you’re interested or to contact Susan if you want to explore her idea.
It’s taken three years to get a first edition of the New Testament ready for publishing. I’m getting very strong guidance that it may take the next three years to get it into our churches and into use. That is a simple example of how the innovations of Charles Fillmore all too often fall by the wayside unless we lean-in to the mainline church and partner with them in the educational program inaugurated by Jesus Christ. That is, as I said, serendipitous.
First Sunday of Advent, 2022
- Contact Susan St John at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 519-502-2276, http://www.macneillbaptist.ca/
Sunday, May 16, 2021.
Mary's Introduction is concise and insightful. Commentaries often say that Matthew writes to reveal Jesus Christ as “King of the Jews.” But Mary's Introduction explains that, metaphysically speaking, “Jews” (MBD/Jews) represent our Spirit-tending thoughts. Thus, “King of the Jews” refers to a state of our consciousness when Truth becomes the ruling authority in our life, in other words the “King of our Jews”.
We’re still editing, but the work is substantially finished. We will make it available on Amazon soon. We are now one step further in having a Fillmore Study Bible – New Testament by the end of 2021. Thank you, Mary!
Sunday, April 11, 2021.
Hi Friends – We are closer than ever to having a Fillmore Study Bible ready by the end of 2021. In the past few weeks Mary Salama, my collaborator, has added Matthew 3-9 and I have added Acts 1-5. I want to highlight the "Fillmore Study Bible Dashboard", shown here. You will see it in the right sidebar for all online pages of the Fillmore Study Bible.
When you click on one of the chapters your browser will open to the online version of the Fillmore Study Bible. If the chapter is underlined and highlighted in yellow, then you will see that Fillmore annotations have been added to the text. At the top of each chapter is a link to the ASV (American Standard Version) page on TruthUnity. The ASV page is important for two reasons: it has hyperlinks to the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary and it has hyperlinks to Unity Bible commentaries and other resources for that particular Bible chapter.
But there is something more important. Click on any chapter and then scroll to the top of the book. There you will see links to download a PDF for offline reading and a PDF for booklet printing.
Have you ever been in a Christian bookstore and noticed aisles filled with Bible Study books and pamphlets? Have you ever wanted to be part of a group that studies a particular book of scripture from the perspective of metaphysical Christianity? We now have the ability to easily publish the same sort of books and pamphlets for ourselves. Our intention is for these several booklets to be augmented with more comprehensive commentary and discussion items for group bible study.
I ask everyone who visits TruthUnity to pause for a moment on the homepage, focus on the Dashboard, and envision people all over the world having online, offline and printed resources with contemporary global English text and annotations and commentary from Charles Fillmore and his students.
Metaphysical Christianity is at present a small, underestimated movement, similar in many ways to the early Christian community that is portrayed in Acts 1-5. But it just may be that we are poised to “receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon us.” It just may be that 100 years from now our small movement will lead a third great era of Christian history—the Metaphysical Christian era—and that we will be “a witness in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth” to the Christ within each and every human being.
Sunday, March 21, 2021.
Hi Friends – First Corinthians is ready for you to read online and to download for reading offline. Here is what the Fillmore Study Bible project is all about.
The annotations and commentary turned up some real surprises: First is Charles Fillmore’s identification of himself as a modern day Apostle Paul and what it says about metaphysical ministry. Second is an almost unnoticeable formula for spiritual unfoldment where Paul in 6:12 and Charles Fillmore in his commentary place justification after sanctification and sanctification after washing (denial). The third important metaphysical concept is the balance of masculine and feminine activity in the inner workings of the soul. This provides valuable insight into how thinking and feeling processes need to be in harmony.
Many additional verses and annotations provide new insights such as verse 6:15, declaring that our body (not only our soul) is a member of Christ; verse 7:21 declaring that if we get an opportunity to be free, use it; and verse 7:28, declaring that there is no need for sexual shame (oppression of the flesh). Finally, chapter 15 provides a capstone for Paul’s letter, declaring that Jesus Christ appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve; that Jesus did not leave the earth, but he did leave the consciousness of material conditions, which we call the earth. He is still in our midst in his eternal body, dwelling in another form.
Sunday, March 7, 2021.
It is not by a dead Jesus that we are saved, but by a resurrected living Christ.–Unity commentary on Romans 5:10, December 1914
A well-known Bible scholar, L. Michael White, writes about Jews and Gentiles in Paul's letter to the Romans: "Throughout, Paul asserts the place of both Jews and Gentiles in the scheme of salvation."1 And another well-known Bible scholar, Charles Fillmore, also writes about Jews and Gentiles in his Metaphysical Bible Dictionary: "The Jews symbolize our religious thoughts and the Gentiles symbolize our worldly thoughts." Charles Fillmore concludes "Paul was determined to reconcile the Jew and the Gentile" [in you].2 That is a near perfect illustration of why metaphysical Bible interpretation is important and why we need a Fillmore Study Bible.
To learn more, you can now read online the latest publication of the Fillmore Study Bible: Paul's Letter to the Romans. From there you can also download the PDF to read it offline.
Either way, be sure to read and ponder the text and commentary for Romans 1:16-17, which is the main point of Paul's letter and where you will find Charles Fillmore's commentary, mentioned here.
Note several new things about the Fillmore Study Bible project: First, the translation we're now using in the Fillmore Study Bible is the World English Bible, a contemporary language update of American Standard Version, the Bible used by the Fillmores. Second, the new Fillmore Study Bible Dashboard shows the progress we're making in putting out a printed New Testament. Third is the new styling of the online and printed version, one file and one page for each book instead of for each chapter. I hope you like the improvements.
- White, Michael L. From Jesus to Christianity: How Four Generations of Visionaries and Storytellers Created the New Testament and Christian Faith. HarperCollins, 2004. p213.
- Jews. Metaphysical Bible Dictionary.
Sunday, January 24, 2021.
A beta version of the Fillmore Study Bible is now available. The reason this is a beta version and not just a concept is because the document is useful as is—Fillmore annotations and commentary on chapter 1 of Genesis, the four nativity chapters in Matthew and Luke, the entire Gospel of John, most of Romans, some of First Corinthians and all of the Letter to James. The FSB is in PDF format, but it is print ready and the PDF has hotlinks to the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary.
Most important is that we can now get a sense for how the finished Fillmore Study Bible will look and feel. We are ready to begin regular meetings to discuss the format and content of new chapters. And hopefully this beta version will inspire you to become a collaborator.